PC video -> TV, recommended configuration?

Johnny Meet

May 25, 2013

I'd like to be able to play my audio/video libraries, which are on my computer, on my TV. My computer is in one room and the TV in another. What I want is to be able to access those libraries and control playback with a remote control. I thought of hooking up my TV to NAS and then installing XBMC or VLC on top but there are appear to be many options to choose from in this configuration and I'm not sure which one is best.

Should I host the files on external storage like NAS or leave them on my computer? Should I network via Wi-Fi or Power over Ethernet? How can I control whatever I choose with a remote control? Should I choose XBMC or VLC? What would be the cheapest configuration for this with support for most file types?



Oct 24, 2011
The way I do that for my bedroom TV is though my PS3 using a app called PS3 media server. If you have a PS3 it is one of the easiest ways to play them and requires very little setup. Just a thought.

Johnny Meet

May 25, 2013

Sadly, I don't have a PS3.



Jun 5, 2013
Hi Johnny,

The short answer to your question is: DLNA/UPNP compliance. OK, I know dlna is a bit complicated but the short form is this: DLNA is the whole upnp protocol pulled together into a standard (AKA 'smart tv", smart set top boxes", "smart media players" etc etc). DLNA is the standard that permits "dlna certified" devices on the same network (subnet) to communicate with each other and share each other's media related resources (photos, videos and music). This can be done wired or wirelessly.

Sounds like you already have at least some of the components you'll need to do what you are trying to do. First you need a DLNA server (a box that will serve the media you want to view/listen to etc) examples of a DLNA server are NAS's (eg Synology ZyXel, D-Link etc), WIndows PC's with DLNA APP installed, Cell Phones with DLNA App installed and others.

Next you need a DLNA Player/Renderer. This is the device on which you want to play the media that your are sourceing from your DLNA Server. examples of DLNA playback/rendering devices are: Smart TV's, Cell Phones with DLNA app installed, Windows PC's, DLNA enabled radios, DLNA enabled tablets etc etc.

There is a third category of DLNA devices that seems to elude many people. DLNA Control Point. The thing to remember about DLNA is that one device can function as one - two - or all three categories of DLNA appliances. For example: Let's assume you have a synology NAS (which holds thousands of your music files, hundreds of your video files and so on) and you have a TV on which you want to playback a movie you have stored on your NAS. At this point, the Server is the NAS, the renderer/playback device is your smart TV. You could use the smart
media (DLNA) menu on your smart TV to control all aspects of playback - which would make your smart TV your Playback device as well as your control point.

Now let's assume you want to use the DLNA app on your smart phone to control the server (NAS) to decide which video/audio you'll be enjoying -and- also to control the device you'll be playing that media on (your TV). In this scenario the server is still the NAS, the player/renderer is the TV and now the Control Point is your cell phone. Neat huh. Now your cell phone is acting as the remote for your TV. Basic playback functions FF, PLay, Rev, Pause Volume etc etc are all specified in the DLNA protocol.

OK, so now let's see what you have and what you'll need;

Your Server: Your PC can be your server (either install a DLNA app (twonky, tversity etc) or use media center

* ______ I personally recommend the Synology 2-drive-bay NAS' DS212J
* ______ Remember you can have as many DLNA servers on your net as you like

Your Player/Renderer: Your TV can be your render/playback device

* _______ CAVEAT: TV must be DLNA certified and have ethernet or wireless connection to your network. If TV is not DLNA, get a smart media player (ie WD TV Live, KD Links, PS3 and even some of the BlueRay players are now DLNA certified, etc etc there are many!). If you use an external media player, attach it to your TV's HDMI port. Many media players offer composite video out - but HDMI offers the best quality by far.

Control Point: Use you TV (only if it's smart TV) or if not smart TV - use the Smart Media Player or your Cell Phone (with DLNA app installed), to be your control point.

CONNECT IT ALL TOGETHER by way of your network. Make sure all devices are on the same local subnet, this means that each participating device must have an IP address on the same local network (an example of this: 192.168.1.x ) for all devices. Make sure all devices are either communicating on the same network by way of a network switch/hub and/or a multi-port router. In most cases you can use the Wifi and ethernet connectivity of your internet router to form your local network. I have a (jpeg) diagram of a sample (typical) DLNA Media-based network if you'd like to see it. post your e-mail and I'll send it to you. Tried to figure out how to get a picture merged into my reply but don't see any options to do that.

NOW, once you have all your devices set up, configured with IP addresses and communicating with each other, it is time to start making sure your DLNA devices are seeing their servers and that the proper DLNA menus are appearing on the various playback devices.

HINT: make sure you check and make certain that each DLNA device on your network is also able to decode the various video, photo and music formats you have stored on your server. Example: many so-called 'smart' TV's
can playback only a limited number of video formats natively. For instance, my Samsung TV can playback MP4 videos but not VOB's or MPEGs which is why I use my PS3 (and/or) my HD TV Live as a DLNA front-end to my Samsung TV for the VOB's and MPEG's stored on my NAS. Music file formats are far more widely supported than video file formats.

Smart Media PLayers (such as the HD TV Live or KD Links box or the Micca or Aios Media Centers ) serve as a great DLNA front-end to non-smart TV's but are also quite handy when used with Smart TV's which don't support the file
formats you want to view/play. Virtually all of these smart media centers offer native playback of almost all media file formats. They also can provide additional functionality that is rarely seen on the TV such as (internal hard drives,
USB slots, Internet browser support on your TV, impressive DLNA and mediafile Menu browsing. Most of these little wonders have very small footprints and are typically priced at or under $100.00.

Hope this has been some help to you, Let me know if you'd like additional detail.

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