I have my requirements....what TV/media extender should I buy? - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 

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Old 2012-05-02, 01:50 AM   #1
sue27
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Default I have my requirements....what TV/media extender should I buy?

I am looking to purchase a TV/media extender that will allow me to easily do the following:

-Watch movies download online (for example, from iTunes)
-Watch movies from external hard drive
-Watch dvds
-Watch TV shows online (for example: watch.ctv.vca - requires flash player)
-Watch Netflix
-Skype (would be nice but not essential)
-46"


I also need to be able to listen to what I am watching using a headset (preferably wireless)

I just have a desktop and a laptop at home.

I purchased a Sony 46" Bravia (HX729) this week ($1397 including taxes from Future Shop) but I am seriously questioning my purchase. It doesn't appear to do everything I want it to and also has a lot of bells and whistles that I don't think I need.

If you can advise as to what I might want to look at purchasing instead, that would be greatly appreciated. I am a newbie...

Last edited by sue27; 2012-05-02 at 02:13 AM.
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Old 2012-05-02, 09:16 AM   #2
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Given your list of requirements I think you're best off buying or building a small HTPC (Home Theater PC) box.

AFIK there's no commercial all in in one media extender solution available at the moment that will do all of the above.

If you do go the HTPC route, I would recommend the shuttle small form factor PC's. The X350 and X6100's are both very nice units which are very suitable to HTPC building.
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Old 2012-05-02, 09:19 AM   #3
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If you are able to take back the TV, then I would go out and buy a Samsung TV with SmartTV. This feature will allow you to watch Netflix, stream videos from an attached HD, stream videos from any shared drive on your network and also from a NAS. There are also a bunch of Apps that you can download from Samsung for it. There is also CinemaNow installed, where you can rent videos. I haven't tried this personally, so I am unable to comment on it. But there is a thread somewhere in these forums discussing it.

For a Media Extender. I would buy an Apple TV. If you don't like to be tied to iTunes, you can jailbreak this and install XBMC. This will allow you to play any file type and access your network stored media. There is also Western Digital Live streamer. I have one of these and it will allow you to play most file types, but I don't like it as much as the ATV2. There are threads in the Internet Television: Streaming Services including Netflix and Apple TV forums discussing all of this.
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Old 2012-05-04, 09:29 AM   #4
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Unless space is extremely limted, it is generally better to buy a cheaper (and bigger) TV instead of one with the so called bells and whistles. Use the extra budget for media box, HTPC, etc.

HTPC has the best expandibility but the maintanence is high assuming you're using Windows
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Old 2012-05-04, 10:25 AM   #5
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I believe a Mac Mini should meet all of these requirements out of the box, although some may consider it to be overkill.

It will even handle streaming to all your other devices via something like Plex.
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Old 2012-05-04, 11:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
HTPC has the best expandability but the maintenance is high assuming you're using Windows
I'm not too sure if I agree with that, been running mine for 2 years, AV & updates are done automatically. Other than the occasional reboot for it to finish the windows updates, my HTPC hasn't really been touched for OS/software maintenance.
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Old 2012-05-04, 03:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jshel101 View Post
If you are able to take back the TV, then I would go out and buy a Samsung TV with SmartTV. This feature will allow you to watch Netflix, stream videos from an attached HD, stream videos from any shared drive on your network and also from a NAS. There are also a bunch of Apps that you can download from Samsung for it. There is also CinemaNow installed, where you can rent videos. I haven't tried this personally, so I am unable to comment on it. But there is a thread somewhere in these forums discussing it.

For a Media Extender. I would buy an Apple TV. If you don't like to be tied to iTunes, you can jailbreak this and install XBMC. This will allow you to play any file type and access your network stored media. There is also Western Digital Live streamer. I have one of these and it will allow you to play most file types, but I don't like it as much as the ATV2. There are threads in the Internet Television: Streaming Services including Netflix and Apple TV forums discussing all of this.
If you have a Windows based PC, a good option for an extender is the XBOX 360 or Apple TV.

I love my Apple TV (jailbroken) and run Plex on the HTPC (server) and ATV2 (client). Plex does all the transcoding and it lets me watch any ripped movie + recorded TV, HD and SD. It automatically grabs all media coverart, etc. Plex is free.

A jailbroken ATV2 also lets you watch Netflix and rent movies. Something you can't do in Canada with the XBOX (you can't do without a XBOX Gold subscription). Plug-ins for the jailbroken ATV2 like XBMC are better than anything you'll find for the XBOX extender.

A jailbroken ATV2 is faster than a XBOX.

Right now you can not jailbreak a ATV2 with the new iOS version.
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Old 2012-05-05, 12:50 AM   #8
sue27
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Thanks everyone for your replies!

So far I have been able to get the following requirements working on the Sony Bravia (I have 30 days to return).

-Watch movies located in my computer using iSedora
-Watch Netflix

The Sony Bravia TV is very nice....but I don't think it will allow me to easily watch the content I currently watch on my PC monitor. I guess I am looking for a setup that will allow my TV to display what I can display on my computer monitor if that makes sense.

1) What do I need to do to watch online tv shows (for example: www.cbc.ca/video/) on a TV? Can you do this with AppleTV using aTV Flash?
2) What TV's should I be looking at to purchase if I don't need a Smart TV (purchase a media extender instead). If you can point me in the right direction, that would be great.
3) If you want to rent movies from iTunes and watch on a TV, do you have to buy an AppleTV?
4) Have anyone tried renting movies from You Tube? I can't access movies from You Tube on the Sony Bravia but I can from my computer. http://www.youtube.com/movies
5) No one mentioned purchasing a blue ray player as an media extender. Is this an good option?

I am new and learning.....there are so many different options and configurations....it's overwhelming..

I have a HP Pavillion computer. I am assuming this is a HTPC?

Maybe I should post also in the Internet Television forum?

Last edited by sue27; 2012-05-05 at 03:10 AM.
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Old 2012-05-07, 12:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
1) What do I need to do to watch online tv shows (for example: www.cbc.ca/video/) on a TV? Can you do this with AppleTV using aTV Flash?
No flash support..even with ATV Flash

Quote:
2) What TV's should I be looking at to purchase if I don't need a Smart TV (purchase a media extender instead). If you can point me in the right direction, that would be great.
Are you partial to LED, LCD or plasma? Is this TV located in a room with lots of light? I just bought the LG 47" 47LK520, and love it! Can be picked up for around ~700 bucks.

Quote:
3) If you want to rent movies from iTunes and watch on a TV, do you have to buy an AppleTV?
AppleTV, a PC or apple computer

Quote:
4) Have anyone tried renting movies from You Tube? I can't access movies from You Tube on the Sony Bravia but I can from my computer. http://www.youtube.com/movies
I havn't sorry

Quote:
5) No one mentioned purchasing a blue ray player as an media extender. Is this an good option?
The ones I've seen are pretty limited in functionality.



Any PC can be re-purposed as a HTPC. Just put XBMC or a similar program on it, plug in a wireless keyboard and mouse, and an audio/video cable and you're set.

As I mentioned before, AFIK there's no out of the box media streamer solution that will satisfy all of your requirements. An HTPC networked to your home network, with a DVD or bluray drive should do the trick.
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Old 2012-05-08, 10:11 AM   #10
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Thanks timmaywpg! Great advice - really helpful!!

Thanks again!
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Old 2012-05-10, 03:06 AM   #11
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timmaywpg: Can I ask where you bought your LG? It seems like many tv's in stores (future shop and best buy) have way more smart TV's to chose from than not smart tv's.

Are you partial to LED, LCD or plasma? Is this TV located in a room with lots of light? **TV is not in room with lots of light. We will watch mostly at night, our living room is on the darker side. My husband said he is partial to LED. He likes the picture on our Sony Bravia (1080p 240 Hz LED Smart TV - HX729), but we both agree in hindsight...we won't use many of the features that come with this this TV. We still have 2 weeks to return.

This looks like it might be an option? http://****************/Samsung-UN46...6542576&sr=1-1
I am not sure where we could buy in Canada though....

We are thinking of getting a HDTV and a media extender like Roku or Boxee.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 2012-05-16, 10:43 AM   #12
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I bought mine at Visions...FS used to have them as well. Looks like the new 2012 models are out, the 47CS570 seems to be pretty much identical to the 47LK520

Considering the room is pretty dark, you could get a plasma TV. They're fairly cheap and feature great contrast and deeper blacks compared to LED or LCD.

The room my TV is in is pretty bright..so I went LCD to minimize the glare. When I finish my basement rec room, I'm planning on going with a plasma setup.

"dumb" tv + media extender = great idea IMO. Plus you'll usually save some money.

Let us know how you make out, and what kind of setup you end up with.

Cheers!
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Old 2012-05-16, 01:40 PM   #13
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We have our Samsung Plasma in our bright living room, and we don't have problems with glare. There are some glare when the blinds are open, not any more that the Samsung LED TV I returned to get the plasma.

Sue27 - If you will be watching a lot of movies on this TV, then you might want to look into the "Soap Opera Effect" you get from watching movies on LCD/LED TV's. This is the reason we returned our LED for the plasma. It really bothere my wife and I, but it doesn't bother some people. I was told that it can be reduced, but we could never get rid of it.
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