Samsung Smart TV + Streaming French News = Quandry
December 6, 2013 6:06 PM   Subscribe

Hello. Ever since the cable company discontinued French news programming in our area, my mother has been desperate to stream a French news program (20 heures) to the Samsung UN32EH5300 Smart TV I recently purchased for my dad.

I need to figure this out to strategize the best course for my holiday gift-giving.

She's very hard of hearing, so using her netbook speakers, even with headphones, doesn't work for her. I have considered external speakers as a last resort, but she has expressed that she would like to see the picture on the TV to get closer to what she used to have with the cable channel.

I got her a Chromecast, but unfortunately her Win XP netbook, as well as my Dad's Win 7 netbook have pretty poor specs and aren't good enough to stream the Chromecast. The video is extremely laggy and choppy, and the image quality is poor even with my thorough troubleshooting using the Chromecast guide. I believe that part of the issue lies in their connection speed, but am solving that by upgrading their internet package from DSL to cable through XFINITY. I know their hardware just won't cut it though, because they can load the video on their machines if they buffer it, but the transfer to the TV using the Chromecast is poor.

So, I would like to know if it's possible to watch the news through the built-in browser. Since I'm not at my family home, I haven't been successful in my attempts to get my octogenarian parents to test this out. I could take a trip home and check/train them, but on the off chance someone has this TV (or similar) and can tell me if they can play the video on the above site (or flash content in general), that would be really helpful. If it is possible, can anyone recommend a decent wireless keyboard and mouse compatible with the set? I'll scour Amazon reviews anyway...but would like a direct rec if possible.

My other option is to purchase a new computer, probably a desktop, for the purposes of streaming Chromecast. I'm thinking Mac Mini, but other creative suggestions to this issue would be most welcome.

Thanks in advance for your answers!
posted by xiaolongbao to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Pretty sure I have the bigger version of this model. The built in browser is a regular fully functional browser and I've used it to watch ESPN online streaming and shows. I'm not sure if it can handle flash video but I can probably fire it up a little later to confirm if it can stream from that site.
posted by TwoWordReview at 9:07 PM on December 6, 2013

It looks like also uses flash so I think you're good!
posted by TwoWordReview at 9:28 PM on December 6, 2013

I've been testing out several tvs at a local "used tvs R us open box scratch n dent!" shop. I've tried out this model, the higher end 5000 series with 3d, the 6xxx, and the 7100.

They all have the same browser, but the beefier models have dual or quad core CPUs.

What i'm getting at, is i believe that it has the software capability to play it in theory, but that it might not play back super awesome or smooth. A lot of times flash is just a wrapper for a video file the SOC in the tv can natively play anyways though, and smart TVs usually support a wide range of codecs... so it might just play great.

In short, i think there's a 99% chance it will just play. I can't guarantee how smoothly it will play though.

However, just before i hit submit i remembered one of the tvs i tried was a 6000 series which does not have the dual core. And although the menus and browsing weren't buttery smooth, it played anything it tried totally fine once the actual content started.

If you want a new machine both as a new system and a new "home base" media server/streamer though, just buy something off the desktops and AIO section of lenovo outlet. A mac mini is overkill and a lot of money to toss around. They've had imac-style all in ones on there recently with 1080p screens and decent intel CPUs(and 8gb of ram, etc) that were nice for under $300. That place is bonkers.
posted by emptythought at 9:34 PM on December 6, 2013

Upgrading their internet might make the Chromecast work. Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought the video when streaming to Chromecast doesn't actually flow through the computer -- when it's set up it comes directly from the router to the Chromecast dongle, and so the quality of their current hardware may not matter.
posted by AwkwardPause at 6:26 AM on December 7, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far.

TwoWordReview: That you can stream is good news - thanks a lot! How would you rate the quality/experience? Have you ever watched a full show that way? If you could try the actual French news site I linked I would be really grateful to you...

Emptythought: Yeah, I agree that the mac mini is overkill. Thought was that they (or I, when I'm home :) could use it for something else as well, but I'm going to scour lenovo outlet as well...I've heard metafilter sing its praises. Good idea.
posted by xiaolongbao at 11:43 AM on December 7, 2013

Best answer: Playing without a hitch right now!
posted by TwoWordReview at 8:05 PM on December 7, 2013

Best answer: Quality is reasonably good overall, less or equal to Standard def but so far pretty smooth. A couple of little glitches, but no worse than anything you'd get on a good laptop.
posted by TwoWordReview at 8:11 PM on December 7, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks guys! You saved my bacon, TwoWordReview =]
posted by xiaolongbao at 8:19 PM on December 8, 2013

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