How do I best set up a Windows 7 “Play To” Home Theater?

Mike April 4, 2010
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I have 3+ computers on my home network with Windows 7 and a really nice home theater set up with a Pioneer receiver. I was wondering what is the easiest and/or cheapest way to set up the Windows media Play To feature with my home theater?

I’ve seen lists of hardware options to hook up, but the majority of them seem like replacements to my receiver, or they don’t work too well.

After doing a lot of searching it seems like this question hasn’t been answered yet which was shocking to me.

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  1. Anonymous
    April 22, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Hi Mike,
    I had been asking the same question for quite some time when it hit me, treat your Windows media the same way you would any other source.
    Like many, I would imagine that you have a newer TV and are, most likely, using HDMI to connect the sources to the TV, either directly, or switch through your receiver. If this is the case, you can find, for not too much cash, a micro, small, or HT sized PC that will nicely blend in with your other components.
    There are a number of reasons why I like the approach of embedding a PC in a home theater setup. First, it will give you direct, uncompromised access to all types of media on the PC without a third party tool. Second, there are an ever increasing number of high-quality video and audio sources available over the internet. One example that led me down this path was missing programs. When my dual tuner DVR was recording two programs, or a time shift caused me to miss one, sites like HULU, or network TV websites, host full length, high quality episodes of their prime time programming with very limited commercials. This is very difficult to find a device to handle and has saved my butt a number of times.

    I would suggest heading to your local Computer store and asking for a PC that would fit the bill. It does not need to be anything too special, I was able to build a PC for less than $400 that is able to produce a full 1080P output to my 50" Plasma. I would suggest a MicroCenter if you have one nearby.
    Let me know if you would like any further help!

    Best Regards.

    • Aibek
      April 29, 2010 at 10:53 am

      @ bjohnsonmn

      Have a question for you. I have a similar setup at home and my problem is that I can't get my my home theater to output the sound coming our of the source (that is PC). The video is sent to screen via HDMI. Tried using 3.5mm to 2 RCA cable to send the audio from the source to home theater but no luck.

      Any tips?