DIVX/XVID from PC to TV by DVI
January 12, 2008 3:08 PM   Subscribe

I want something just like an Apple TV, but without the reliance on iTunes. Specifically, I want to view DIVX/XVID content from my Vista PC, wirelessly, with DVI output. With a $200 budget, have I no hope?

All the CES coverage has reignited my interest in this product category. If streaming devices are too expensive, are there any simpler products analagous to the SanDisk TakeTV... again, with DVI or HDMI out?

DVI out (or HDMI in a pinch via a converter) is important because I'll be viewing content on an LCD monitor lacking component inputs.
posted by onshi to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about DVI output, but an old modded Xbox with XBMC is, without question, the absolutely best TV-top media player out there for streaming to your TV. I use it all the time to watch *ahem* found films, stored on my computer. XBMC plays *anything* out there, and it's a breeze to configure. And, with the new softmods available for the Xbox, you don't even have to do any soldering.

I'm thinking that, for $200, you could pick up an old xbox, and a converter (this would likely work, but there are zillions of options out there), and be off to the races.

Msg privately if you need more info -- I've modded a bunch of xboxes, and think they're the ultimate console. :)
posted by liquado at 3:26 PM on January 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Take a look at the D-Link MediaLounge series. Here's an example that supports HDMI.
posted by null terminated at 3:26 PM on January 12, 2008

I use a MVIX HDTV wireless - thinkgeek.com has them I love it.
posted by thilmony at 3:29 PM on January 12, 2008

Response by poster: Liquado: I'm not sure about the XBOX (I'm looking for a ready-made solution with some kind of warranty), but I appreciate the link to the converter.
posted by onshi at 3:35 PM on January 12, 2008

The very first thing I thought when I read your question on the main page was "XBMC", in fact my wife and daughter are in the living room right now watching a movie on the xbox. Before you shell out $100-$200 on a commercial box that will come with all sorts of limitations and imposed rules... I'd consider purchasing or making your own modded box. My whole family loves our XBMC! =)
posted by JFitzpatrick at 3:57 PM on January 12, 2008

Keep in mind that Xbox/XBMC can only handle SD video.
posted by rxrfrx at 4:41 PM on January 12, 2008

There are hard drive enclosures that act as media players, like this one from MediaGate. This review says it has DVI output, even though their website says it doesn't. It is about $220 before adding a hard drive, so it might be outside your budget unless you already have an IDE drive to put in it.
posted by O9scar at 5:04 PM on January 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

There's a D-Link DSM-520 MediaLounge HD Media Player for $150 at CircuitCity, according to BensBargains right now:
I can't vouch for it, though. Never used one.

I was in the market for the same thing half a year ago and settled on a LaCie Silverscreen, which is what O9scar is talking about. 30GB for $100 total, but it's not wireless. It quit mounting as USB mass storage a month ago, and I'm not happy with the purchase. I'd also consider getting an ipod video (or the like) and doing the same thing. Again, not a wireless solution, but affordable.
(If anyone knows where I can get one for $100 let me know).
posted by monkeymadness at 5:11 PM on January 12, 2008

I am not trying to shove this down your throat as you have already mentioned that you want something with a warrenty, but you should be able to find a modded xbox on Craigslist for <$150. I challenge you to break it. I mean come on, what other media player do you know that can play ISOs over the network? ISOs! I have one currently, and I will soon be getting two more for other rooms in the house. Great investment.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 6:08 PM on January 12, 2008

Xbox 360. HDMI output, plays WMV, H.264, Divx, Xvid, etc. $279 is stretching it a bit, but you may able to find a used one for cheaper.

XBMC is so 2 years ago. Unless you are stuck with a SDTV and DVDs, there is no reason to use it. There is plenty of 720p and 1080p content that XBMC can't play.
posted by mphuie at 6:28 PM on January 12, 2008

The MediaGates can do wifi and HD, the older models have DVI and component out and I think the newer ones might have HDMI. They don't need a HDD -- but can't stream HD over wireless (too slow), and have support issues. That said, I'm happy enough with my MG-350HD+wired connection.
posted by 5MeoCMP at 5:39 AM on January 13, 2008

If you're spending over $200 then you might as well just get a used laptop off Craigslist, a cheap wireless adapter, and set it up to sync with your computer in the other room. Then you'd get web browsing on top of media. I'm thinking that's a little more tinkering than you're willing to do, though. Please do let us know what you end up with.
posted by monkeymadness at 6:46 AM on January 13, 2008

The DSM-520 (D-link Medialounge) does 1080i, wireless, and has an HDMI output. They can be found on sale for $100-200. I have one and love it. It streams photos and music as well and has some online capability. It can also play video from flash or hard drives connected to its USB port.

Actually its getting better all the time as the company continues to release new firmware and server software which adds new features and improves existing ones. And with UPnP compatibility there are plenty of choices for servers if you don't like theirs. TVersity is one that works well.

There are a few issues though. It doesn't play back H.264 files natively and the audio sometimes falls out of sync with the video when seeking. I haven't tried streaming HD content wirelessly yet so I'm not sure how well that works. As a product it is 90% of the way there and requires a bit of fiddling to get working well.
posted by euphorb at 10:10 PM on January 13, 2008

Response by poster: In frustration, I gave up on finding a suitable networked device and settled for a fiarly cheap ($~70) Philips upscaling HDMI DVD player with a handy USB port on the front for use with one of the many flash drives I have kicking around. Sneakernet lives!
posted by onshi at 4:48 PM on January 24, 2008

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