Ever since my brother setup a media center pc for his tv, I’ve been fascinated with the computer to tv network. His setup was literally a computer in the family room with the big tv acting as the monitor. I assumed then, that this was the way things would go but I was wrong.
We’re living in the digital age. Information is our chief export and everything is small, sleek, fast and wireless. Since we’ve created the computer and internet we turned the corner at the J-curve representing human technology. We rounded the corner and we can see off in the horizon all the wondrous and life changing things that technology will bring us….
However we’re living in a gap. A gap between our abilities, technology wise and what’s currently commonplace in the average persons lives. This gap in technology from discovery to implantation is continuous, however I feel that the gap between the Internet and the tv is broader than it should be at this present moment. There is an unlimited amount of media on the web and it’s literally unacceptable to me not to be able to access this from my HD television.
Ok I’m done with my thoughts on the matter here’s how….
There’s many different ways to do this but none have stood above the rest. I’m going to tell you what I do and then list a few other alternatives that might be better for you personally.
I bought an apple tv 2 from best buy for $99, brought it home and plugged it right into the tv. Setup was easy as entering my wireless password, entering in my Netflix account information, and turning on home sharing in iTunes.
The original apple tv has a hard drive. The apple tv 2 does not, but a hard drive is pointless when you can easily and without lag, stream from your computer. The apple tv 2 has Netflix, YouTube, pandora apps built in and also streams from your computer. Here’s the con, you can only stream what is in your iTunes. That means that whatever non-iTunes purchased media you have, needs to be converted to be added to your iTunes library. If you don’t download from iTunes like myself, this can be a very time-consuming and annoying process.
Now this is how you get around that. Like any device running an apple os (operating system) it can be jailbroken. What jail breaking does is open the device for unlicensed 3rd party apps. It’s a simple process that consists of downloading a file, plugging in your apple tv, opening the file, then hitting restore for your apple tv in iTunes. There’s a few different developers for jailbreaking atv2 (apple tv 2) software but I used season pass and nitotv.
Once you do that you have the option to enable a plugin called Plex. Plex is a media management plugin/program that allows you to stream content from your computer to your tv over wifi. It’s as simple to install on your pc or Mac as downloading the free software from the Plex site and opening it. It will index all your media and you can access it from your atv2. Of course you can easily choose what and what not it indexes.
Now in the next 5 years this gap between the computer and tv will become very small. Not to mention the gap between your computer and everything but that’s another article. My point is it will be built in to the tv. Some of the news ones already come with wifi and Ethernet ports built in.
However another inexpensive device that streams Netflix as well as media of all codecs from your computer is the Roku box. I believe there’s a $60 and $100 model. There’s also external hard drives that perform this task as well as TiVo and a bevy of assorted boxes… Like boxee. Boxee is very cool but priced high at approx $250. Ps3 and X-box 360 are both gaming devices that will do Netflix and computer streaming along with the gaming. The Ps3 is the better of the two with a built in blu-ray player but you’ll pay more for it.
The reason I prefer apple tv 2 as opposed to the other ones is because its much more developed than the other ones as far as 3rd party apps. I have an app to surf the web, check my email, and have the weather on the apple tv 2 home screen to name a few
I hope this article could help open you up to how technology can lift the chains on your computer. If you have any custom questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via the contact form. I’ll be happy to provide you with whatever informations have free of charge.