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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
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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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...
 

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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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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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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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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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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.
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter #14
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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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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Wayne - What does that have to with getting the content to his TV? Just curious as I a looking for a solution myself and getting the content to an upstairs TV is the only part I am missing. I am using the Vista Media Center and burning to watch upstairs like the OP.
 

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Wayne - What does that have to with getting the content to his TV?
The OP asked how can I watch content that I download from the net onto TV - one way is to actually connect a PC to the TV which is what I was getting at. With a remote you can then effectively control content like videos, etc. from 10 ' away. He says that his PC is a laptop so this may work even better as you could leave a VGA cable hanging off of the TV and connect the laptop into it when you want to watch this content.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
That sounds good wayne, however the very first thing I did was remove Vista from the new computer. I tried to live with it, but vista is just so slow and annoying with all its well slow and annoying-ness I just coulnd't deal with it. Honestly Vista is so annoying that when I was upgrading to XP HP was telling me the computer is not ment for XP and drivers are hard to find etc. I told them I they dont get me XP drivers (which they did in the end) I was sending back the computer. I honestly dislike Vista that much. It's retarded. (no offence to vista lovers, thats just a personal opinion)...
 

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To each his own - I built a full HTPC just over a year ago just before Vista was released. I therefore qualified for a free upgrade to Vista. I have not upgraded this HTPC since it took a lot of playing around and configuring to get everything working properly. Plus the UI in Vista Media Center is slightly different. I don't want to tick off "She Who Must Be Obeyed" by having the system not work for a while because I am playing with video drivers, etc. and then have her get frustrated by the new interface. I also have bought 3 (soon to be 5) extenders that allow me to play this content on other TVs around the house and these extenders don't work with Vista, only XP MCE.

But I do have Vista on another PC and, for the most part, I like it - it looks gorgeous.

Assuming that you still have a license for Vista you could always try installing it in a dual boot config. It probably isn't worth spending $100 for XP MCE plus it would require an OS reinstall.

The other things you could try are other HTPC software - I once tried something called Meedio and it was good but then it was bought by Yahoo and killed. There are other options out there - MediaPortal, etc. that act as a front end for media content.
 

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Are you sure about that Dubble? My dvp5140 has no USB or HDMI. Just Composite and Component output - not even S-Video. Are there different versions of this player?
 
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