Something better than always writing DVD's? - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 2008-01-02, 08:53 AM Thread Starter
 
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Something better than always writing DVD's?

OK so i see it's called a media extender. Is there anything that will do what I'm looking for somebody can recommend? I can't get a Cat5 from computer to the TV, so it will need to be wireless or have memory I can take between the two somehow.

Last edited by DSMJim98; 2008-01-02 at 09:00 AM.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 2008-01-02, 08:53 AM Thread Starter
 
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Something better than always writing DVD's?

SO I download a lot of TV shows because I don't have a PVR. I don't watch a lot of TV but I don't like to miss the episodes of the shows that I do watch. I also download Top Gear (UK Car show) and end up writing all these onto DVD's that I watch once on my TV then throw in the garbage. It's a bit of a waste.

Is there anything that I can hook up to my TV that will allow me to put .avi files onto it and have them play like my DVD player does? Something that works like a TV tuner with a slot for a USB stick or something with an internal hard drive that hooks upto the TV would be awesome if I could get that.

I would search for that but I'm not even sure what it's called to search for it. Any help here?
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 2008-01-02, 09:04 AM
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Is there anything that I can hook up to my TV that will allow me to put .avi files onto it and have them play like my DVD player does? Something that works like a TV tuner with a slot for a USB stick ...
A USB-equipped DVD player such as the Pioneer DV-400V (available at F.S. for ~$130) could be a relatively inexpensive solution...

Last edited by eljay; 2008-01-02 at 09:09 AM.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 2008-01-02, 09:47 AM
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This is your opotions as I see it:

1. Network Media extenders. Many have wireless. Your PC or a NAS drive (which as a UPNP server), witll serve content to it.

2. USB HDD with media player output. You can get HDD cases that can hook to your TV to play media play media from the installed HDD. Some even have wired network connections. Close to that is some DVD players have USB ports to accept mass storage devices, or an HDD based portable media player which can connect to your TV.

3. Get your TV the normal way with your provider's DVR, or a wirelessly networked TiVo, or other DVR.

4. Have an HTPC.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 2008-01-02, 09:54 AM
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There are a few units from D-Link and Linksys that come with wireless built in.

When I started in the world of HTPCs, I used wireless for DivX content and it works alright.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 2008-01-02, 11:45 AM
 
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Use RE-WRITEABLE DVDs - burn,watch,erase....burn,watch,erase.

C.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 2008-01-02, 01:16 PM
 
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I can get about 13 hours of Top Gear/Fifth Gear in DivX on a single disc. The picture quality is surprisingly good on our 37" set.

Otherwise, I'd look at something like AppleTV or a PS3 to stream media to your TV.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 2008-01-02, 03:21 PM
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The xbox 360 supports XVID & DIVX playback since the fall 2007 update. You can use that for playback of your downloaded tv shows, and you have a nice gaming machine as well.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 2008-01-02, 05:15 PM
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You could also buy a portable media player that supports video-out, eg. a video iPod type of unit. There are several non-Apple options.

Then your money would get you both a solution for this, and a portable player for elsewhere.

Mike / technut
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 2008-01-03, 11:27 AM
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I know how you feel. I was doing the same thing for about five months. It started getting old when my DVD-RWs starting dying after five re-writes. But it gave me a chance to find out whether my TV and movie viewing habits were going to change once I jumped on the bandwagon. And I realized it was time to put together some kind of media streaming/extender solution.

Throw together a media server out of an old PC with a few hard drives in it. RAID card for redunancy if you want it. I use an old P4 with an ATA RAID card and 4 X 320GB HDs. Found the RAID card on Ebay for around $100.

Get a couple of Motorola WR850G modems (usually can find them refurb for $30 at a few of the College and Spadina shops). Flash them with DD-WRT.

I use one for my wireless router and another connected in client mode to my Xbox Media Center at my TV.

XBMC works great for SD and upconverted HD content (1080i) and you can't find a better interface. The 54g gives you enough wireless bandwidth to stream DVD resolution video as long as you're not too far from the AP and there aren't too many walls/floors between them.

Last edited by LttlScamp; 2008-01-03 at 11:34 AM.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 2008-01-04, 12:21 AM
 
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I've tried the Neuros OSD which is an open-source media player than can pull content from USB attached devices, from network shares, or from uPnP servers. It supports MPEG2/4, JPEG, YouTube, etc. Negatives are that there is no built-in wireless (you can add it with one of the USB ports) and no suppport for subtitles files.

I've heard that the XBox is great for this BUT that it is very noisy.

I've had the problem with the Neuros OSD and with other media players that they aren't nearly as robust in their handling of video formats as a PC with a media player like VLC. In other words, I download or encode something and find it plays great with VLC but then it doesn't work with one of these dedicated media boxes.

So, the best media player is probably a small, quiet PC with Windows or Linux and VLC, and a wireless keyboard. But this will cost more then the other solutions.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 2008-01-04, 01:22 AM
 
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Why not hack an Apple TV using AwkwardTV.org - looks pretty straight forward?

I just ordered an AppleTV refurb for $229 delivered.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 2008-01-04, 06:15 AM
 
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You can get the philips dvp5140 for around $50. It has a usb input, plays divx, easy to make region free and upconverts through the hdmi. I've tried the dsm-510 ($200) and didn't like it. I ended up building a htpc with hdmi out connected directly to my tv. the dvp5140 is the cheapest solution.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 2008-01-04, 08:18 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks guys I will search those options. I like the idea of a PC that hooks upto the tv that sounds pretty good. i did buy a new laptop on boxing day and have an RGB input on my tv and was playing with that. Maybe I'll just get a long cord run it under the couch and load stuff from my laptop. That will kinda be annoying hooking up the laptop all the time tho.

Thanks for the suggestions I will report back with what I end up doing.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 2008-01-04, 10:36 AM
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If you bought a new PC then it is likely Vista - if you have Vista Home Premium then you will have an application called media center. Add in a Microsoft MCE remote ($40) and you have a pretty much full-fledged HTPC. The only thing you are missing is a TV tuner but if you want you can buy a USB based tuner to do that as well.
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