Playing media on a TV


Mar 20, 2010
I'm a very savvy computer/PC person, but when it comes to home theater, media, and TV's, I have much less experience.

I'll be moving into a new place soon, and I'm going to be buying a new TV and a new router. Now, in the past, what I might have done to watch Netflix and media files on my TV, is I would just plug a laptop into my TV via HDMI cable, and viola, I can play anything.

Problem is that it isn't very elegant (though it is powerful). I know a lot of solutions exist. People have HTPC's, Roku or Boxee boxes, Chromecast, NAS drives, etc. All various ways to watch or stream HD wirelessly so they can watch stuff on their TV or tablets.

I have many media files I'd like to watch on my TV, in addition to Netflix, Amazon, and various streaming services. My questions is what are the "best" solutions here?

I know a console, or Roku/Boxee, or some TV's will be able to handle watching Netflix and stuff, that's easy. But what if I want to also stream or play media files as well? What are good ways to access and play those files wirelessly... and if so, what hardware (TV, boxes, router) are needed? Maybe something I can install XBMC onto?

I understand there isn't any one answer. My problem is that I feel like there are many solutions to what I want to do, and I'm not really sure the best approach here. Thanks!


Lots of set top boxes that have online movie applications also have capability to play files off network storage and shares off a computer.

I have not tried the Android based HDMI TV dongles, but those should work to get files off the network

I can use my phone to connect to my computer shared files using DLNA and can play movies and music off it, the android TV devices should work the same way.

WD has some products also