I need a Hero!
February 13, 2008 7:50 AM   Subscribe

How can I get streaming internet video to my television? Specifically from abc.com. Difficulty: separate rooms.

I have a wii which allows me to watch youtube and some other short videos, but the opera browser has no flashplayer functionality. (My home dsl is fully wired, the wii is using anon-neighbor donated wifi.) I have not had cable or satellite in over ten years and I want to be able to watch Lost (abc.com) and Heroes (nbc.com) on my 40" lcd in the living room while keeping the computer sequestered in the office. A wireless solution would be preferable but I will consider wired solutions as well. Between my husband and I, we can set up nearly any system, we just don't know what to look for here.
posted by Talia Devane to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Well, you dont want to watch youtube on a 40" television. Youtube quality is pretty terrible on a small screen. It will be unwatchable on a big screen.

What I do is just download shows with bitorrent (I usually find shows at mininova ) and just put them on a share on my desktop. Then I hook up a laptop to a tv (s-video cable and special minijack to rca audio cable) and just open the file on the desktop via wireless.

Thats the cheap way to do it. From there it gets more expensive like a dedicated Home Media PC or one of the consoles which is media friendly like an x-box360 or an x-box running XBMC.

You will need to buy a wireless router for this and its bad form to be leeching off your neighbors.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:04 AM on February 13, 2008

TVersity can transcode your video into a version of flash that is friendly to the Wii web browser.
posted by jozxyqk at 8:21 AM on February 13, 2008

Upon re-reading the question, tversity won't help you if you're trying to transfer streaming video. Sorry.
posted by jozxyqk at 8:24 AM on February 13, 2008

Best answer: I do pretty much what DDA does, except I have a 50-foot s-video/rca cable tucked along the baseboards of my place, which connects a Windows PC in one room to the TV in another room (very far away) as a "second monitor" that is mirrored. This might be the best thing if you really need to watch things in a browser, too. Since there's no real hardware, there's very little to go wrong. If it works on my PC, I can see-and-hear it on the TV.

If you can give up on the browser part and be content to watch only downloaded content (however you get it), there are a million cheap little wifi video players (LinkSys, Buffalo, etc) that will mount any volume on your network and play any content (avis, mpgs, mp3s, etc) they find there. They're pretty plug-and-play simple.

Mid-range and wirelessly, various slingbox products will "throw" video, even streams, from a PC to a TV.

At the higher end, a full-blown Mac Mini with WiFi, with a wireless keyboard/mouse, is about $400 on eBay. That might be the most versatile solution, since it's a real unique PC that can do anything (mount your shared volumes AND run a browser to view streams), and it even looks cute on top of your TV, though it's a bit expensive compared to the $99 wifi video boxes. Of course, it replaces a DVD player too, so maybe that's worth something. There are Mac drivers for that Wiimote, too, to make it a sort of air-mouse.
posted by rokusan at 8:35 AM on February 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

I forgot to add that also like DDA, I often wifi-mount the shared volume containing video on other computers, so I can watch episodes or whatever on the laptop in bed.
posted by rokusan at 8:36 AM on February 13, 2008

I have a modded Xbox with Xbox Media Center (XBMC) and am able to stream wirelessly from my PC in one room to my TV in the other. You can find lots of info about XBMC here on this board or just google it. It's pretty fantastic.

Original Xbox's are really cheap nowadays (Game shops here in the UK are now selling used ones with guarantees for £20. Or try eBay). Doing a "soft mod" (no soldering or chips necessary) is not too hard and XBMC will also play YouTube directly from the internet. However, I agree it's better to simply download a show and then stream it.
posted by gfrobe at 9:14 AM on February 13, 2008

Response by poster: I had heard of slingbox before but had not researched it after a tech friend said it was a one-way from tv to internet. At the time that was true. It seems that there is a product called slingcatcher that is not on the market yet, it has been pushed back several times, that will be able to project the computer desktop to the tv.

I think that for now my solution is going to have the cpu, router, and ups on a cart that can be moved as needed. My office monitor will stay on the desk. Running wires through the house is not feasible because of two small, curious boys.
posted by Talia Devane at 7:23 AM on February 14, 2008

I use MythVideo on MythTV to watch HD shows downloaded automagically with rTorrent and PyTVShows. MythTV also records stuff on Freeview (I'm in the UK).

This is probably too complex for what you're looking for, but is perfect if you have a computer in the house that runs Linux to use for backend. You can then use an Apple TV or Mac Mini as a frontend on the TV.
posted by phatmonkey at 8:54 AM on February 14, 2008

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