Displaying on TV from computer
March 14, 2015 5:31 PM   Subscribe

I would like for my TV to display streaming video from my computer. How do I hook this up?

My video card is an Nvidia GeForce GTX460 Dual (ADX). I have two monitors hooked up to it. I would like for my TV (Insignia NS-42E480A13 Rev A) to display streaming content from my (Win 7) computer.

The TV has 3 regular HDMI slots and the video card has a mini HDMI slot in addition to its two DVI slots.

What's the best way to go about achieving this? Do I simply get a mini HDMI to HDMI cable and plug it in? Does that also connect the sound to the TV?

I also have a Roku 3 (since there's no Ethernet port on the TV and no wireless on the TV) and I use the Plex server on my computer and app on the Roku in order to watch previously-downloaded items on my TV, but this doesn't work for streaming content. Or am I missing an easy way to do this?

posted by juliebug to Technology (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I think this is the exact use case for a Chromecast.
posted by jeather at 5:37 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: mini HDMI to HDMI cable and plug it in

Yes, and it's so easy. This is what I do (well, sort of, I have a dedicated desktop next to my TV that just IS my only computer/tv) and it's the absolute best. Five bucks.

For an additional 25 bucks you can live like a goddamned king.
posted by phunniemee at 5:47 PM on March 14, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah, just a cable and you should be fine. The only issue I can find is that you might need to configure audio in the Nvidia driver control panel/app, but it should be straightforward.
posted by rhizome at 5:55 PM on March 14, 2015

Best answer: Nth-ing that you just need a cable with a caveat... it might take a bit of tinkering with multiple monitors and getting things positioned right. Will the TV be mirroring one of the monitors or will it be a 3rd display. Also, some TVs are horrors with things like auto-overscan. You set your computer to do 1920x1080 but the TV does overscanning and part of your display is off the screen. There may be a menu item on the TV to turn this off, or a driver setting to compensate. On my crappy SONY I can either get HDMI+sound with overscan or I can get HDMI w/o sound and no overscan. So I still end up with HDMI cable to TV + audio cables to one of the AUXVIDEO inputs on my receiver to get both perfect picture and sound at the same time.

I hope you're lucky and have a combination that just works when you first wire it up.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:33 PM on March 14, 2015

Best answer: The one thing I'm not sure about: can that card actually drive two monitors and a TV at once? In many cases, these cards won't actually be able to drive all their outputs simultaneously. Unfortunately I don't see anything definitive anywhere about this, but I recall older cards like this one struggling.

If you do end up going that way, I use a program called DisplayFusion Pro to switch video and audio profiles on the fly when I go to TV. It's not free, but it works great.

Otherwise, Chromecast is worth trying. I haven't used one myself. There are other devices that can desktop mirror but the Chromecast is popular.
posted by selfnoise at 6:35 PM on March 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: HDMI will transfer sound as well as video, and the cables are like $5 or less. Try that and see how you like it. You could also use something like Chromecast -- there are a million options but Chromecast is only $35.
posted by AppleTurnover at 6:45 PM on March 14, 2015

What streaming video are you trying to play that the roku can't handle?

I've done the cable from video card thing, the chromecast thing, had an ouya to do this, and now have an amazon firetv.

The biggest annoyance with the cable-from-computer setup was controlling the computer on a the tv, from the couch. I had several keyboards similar to the one linked above, remote control apps on my phone... it was always clunky and awkward and generally required getting up and fiddling with the computer once in a while.

Chromecast gets stuck a lot, and often required quitting and restarting the controlling app on the phone/tablet/laptop every few sessions or rebooting the chromecast to get it back on wifi or unstuck from the netflix loading screen or whatever.

It all comes down to what exactly you're trying to play. At this point i'd only bother with the direct cable, or firetv(or firetv stick!) solutions since having a real freaking remote is soooo much better than some clunky keyboard setup and trying to mouse around through the windows interface from the couch.
posted by emptythought at 6:54 PM on March 14, 2015

If an HDMI cable is not possible, then thirding Chromecast. Ours works really well for this sort of thing. We regularly stream TV shows through Amazon Prime (which does not have its own chrome cast app) and live in a community with tons of internet connections, but have never had a problem with the streaming or broadcast to our TV from laptop.
posted by echo0720 at 8:53 PM on March 14, 2015

Video mirroring in Chromecast is in beta and doesn't yet work too well. Keep any receipts, if you go this route.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:07 PM on March 14, 2015

Chromecast works fine for me. I use chrome's vcast plugin to play videos from my hard drive. It's nice to not have to deal with a wire between my laptop and the tv.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:16 AM on March 15, 2015

Chrome cast works perfectly for streaming video from the computer. It also works well with the plex media server, allowing you to line things up to watch using your phone or tablet.
posted by roshy at 5:08 PM on March 15, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for all the info with regards to Chromecast and the different possibilities.

I'll be trying to stream something that's on a webpage. There's no app, no well-known webpage, just a flash player in my browser. I'm planning to essentially hit play and then sit on my couch for the next couple of hours. As such, no need for the video card to support both monitors AND the TV, but thanks for the warning there. I'll also keep DisplayFusion Pro in mind!

I'm going to try the cable first and hopefully, that'll go flawlessly.

Thanks again for the input!
posted by juliebug at 7:04 PM on March 15, 2015

Response by poster: Update:
HDMI cable to mini-HDMI adapter to my video card worked like a charm!

Of note: My video card disabled my second screen (secondary display), thus proving that the card only allows two to work at once. I'll be looking into DisplayFusion Pro for sure.

Thanks again for all your advice!
posted by juliebug at 1:21 AM on April 5, 2015

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