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windows 7 streaming to hdtvContinuing on from part one 2 Things You Should Know Before Streaming From PC To HDTV 2 Things You Should Know Before Streaming From PC To HDTV Read More of 4 Things You Should Know Before Streaming From Your PC to HDTV. Now that we know what HD video is exactly and that almost every computer can stream to your HDTV, let’s talk specifics about how you can actually use your PC to stream video to your television.

It is actually pretty simple, and the steps below are definitely optional. You can use your normal PC desktop, mouse and keyboard while your PC is hooked up to your TV; but the 2 tips below will actually make the viewing pleasurable.

Software Makes the Experience

Sure you can hook up your plain desktop to your HDTV and have a huge monitor. But the UI is what really sets apart your PC from any regular hack and turns it into a true ‘HTPC’, or Home Theater PC.

A few software programs really dominate in this area, they are covered below.

Windows Media Center

windows 7 streaming to hdtv

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I bet you already have this available if you have Windows 7 installed. Any version of Windows 7 above ‘Starter’ and ‘Home Basic’ has Windows Media Center installed by default. Launch it by going to Start -> All Programs -> Windows Media Center.

Windows Media Center, or WMC, has a beautiful 10-foot interface which is just another way of saying that it is readable 10 feet away from the screen. You can view movies stored on your computer, watch Netflix movies from it, and do all kinds of other cool stuff.

Windows Media Center also supports TV Tuners and some other hardware applications.

Boxee

hdtv streaming

Boxee is an free up and coming Boxee Beta - The Best Media Center App for Your TV Boxee Beta - The Best Media Center App for Your TV Read More application that works as a platform for content publishers and app developers to extend. It includes a great 10-foot interface and a compelling array of television and movie shows. It can stream from dozens of sources online or play local media.

Some Boxee apps include Pandora radio, Netflix, MLB.TV and YouTube. And that is on top of the Movie, Music and TV library. We use it daily in our house and I would highly recommend it. Boxee is based on XBMC which is another piece of great software, if not as ready for prime time as Boxee.

MythTV/SageTV/BeyondTV

hdtv streaming

These software packages are built to replace a DVR functionality. All three of them record video at set times, have guides built in, and offer different solutions for watching television on a PC.

MythTV is free and primarily Linux based but it is possible to compile it on Windows if you should be so inclined. It is also open source and although it has a lot more flexibility, it is less refined than some other choices.

SageTV and BeyondTV are both commercial software package that replace your DVR and work wonderfully. I have used BeyondTV personally since about 2004, however their last software update was June 2009 and I think they are focusing more on commercial applications. SageTV is a worthy replacement, and I have heard good things about it. If compiling your own binaries are not your cup of tea, then SageTV is worth a look.

Don’t Forget the Remote

The final piece to the puzzle is how you will remotely control your PC. There are a few options in this regard. I personally use the Snapstream Firefly remote which is an X10-based piece of equipment and uses RF which does not require line of sight. Some PCs come with a remote, you can use them as well.

Logitech Harmony remotes are also a great option for your PC. They are expensive, but control not only your PC but also other components and are a good ‘all in one’ remote.

windows 7 streaming to hdtv

A great free option if you have an iPhone is the Logitech Touch Mouse. You install a server on your computer, and then use your phone to connect to the computer and remotely control the mouse and keyboard. It has worked great for me and I would highly recommend it for anyone with an HTPC and an iPhone/Touch.

The Ultimate PC Streaming Setup

Using your PC to stream video or audio to your HDTV is really pretty simple to do with a little configuration. The media experience you get from an HTPC is much more fulfilling than watching normal television programming, which is mostly a one-way affair. Much content is available online either free or from legal sources such as iTunes or Amazon Video On Demand, and you will find it much cheaper than a cable subscription.

Share your HTPC setups with us, and let us know any hints or tricks you have for setting one up!

  1. Dave Drager
    September 29, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    That sounds like a great setup. I love Boxee on the big TV. One thing I wish they would add is LiveTV via MythTV via a plugin.

    The iPhone remote for Boxee works well. I actually prefer Logitech Touch Mouse better, but I think that may be for Windows only.

  2. Gpz500
    September 29, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Hi! I have got a Fujitsu Siemens mini PC Esprimo Q5020 with Ubuntu Linux & Boxee. As video connection I use DVI. The HDTV is a Samsung one and as remote I use, for now, the Boxee app for iPhone (but I could suppose an IR remote would be better...).

    • Dave Drager
      September 29, 2010 at 11:22 am

      That sounds like a great setup. I love Boxee on the big TV. One thing I wish they would add is LiveTV via MythTV via a plugin.

      The iPhone remote for Boxee works well. I actually prefer Logitech Touch Mouse better, but I think that may be for Windows only.

  3. tryme
    September 18, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    I've been using an HP Laptop that has an HDMI connector to just hook it up directly when I want to watch something off the Internet. SageTV was great back in the day when I would actually record, but lately, all my favorite shows are online.

    Something like GlideTV's What's On or other optimized browsers are really the way to go. I have struggled with Boxee since as someone pointed out, it seems better suited to those who have lots of downloaded content. Streaming is really the way to go.

  4. tryme
    September 18, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    I've been using an HP Laptop that has an HDMI connector to just hook it up directly when I want to watch something off the Internet. SageTV was great back in the day when I would actually record, but lately, all my favorite shows are online.

    Something like GlideTV's What's On or other optimized browsers are really the way to go. I have struggled with Boxee since as someone pointed out, it seems better suited to those who have lots of downloaded content. Streaming is really the way to go.

  5. JW2009
    September 18, 2010 at 5:43 am

    I've been using GlideTV's browser, and I have to say it's been a great experience. They recently came out with their newest software, What's On, which I downloaded for free a few days ago. What I like about it is that it shows you everything that you can watch online on and works with Boxee, Hulu, Amazon Video on Demand, Windows Media Center, and XMBC. Might be worth taking a look at

    http://glidetv.com/whats-on

  6. JW2009
    September 18, 2010 at 3:43 am

    I've been using GlideTV's browser, and I have to say it's been a great experience. They recently came out with their newest software, What's On, which I downloaded for free a few days ago. What I like about it is that it shows you everything that you can watch online on and works with Boxee, Hulu, Amazon Video on Demand, Windows Media Center, and XMBC. Might be worth taking a look at

    http://glidetv.com/whats-on

  7. puzzler995
    September 17, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    I use Boxee with a laptop HDMI cord, controlled with the boxee app for my iTouch.

  8. David Tosi
    September 17, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I have a MythTV box on my sailboat, which I live on full time. It’s connected to an antenna up on my mast which gives me about 30 Digital Channels. I have 2TB of storage on the machine which houses hundreds of movies on it and TV shows. I have written a few scripts to automat ripping my DVDs and convert to Xvid. All connected to a 22” (TV/DVD combo LCD screen, I should have saved my $$$ and not have bothered with the DVD player, don’t really ever use it).
    I hardly ever watch live TV. And LOVE the feature to autoskip commercials.
    MythTV works amazing, record HD and watch a record HD program all at the same time without a hiccup.

  9. David Tosi
    September 17, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    I have a MythTV box on my sailboat, which I live on full time. It’s connected to an antenna up on my mast which gives me about 30 Digital Channels. I have 2TB of storage on the machine which houses hundreds of movies on it and TV shows. I have written a few scripts to automat ripping my DVDs and convert to Xvid. All connected to a 22” (TV/DVD combo LCD screen, I should have saved my $$$ and not have bothered with the DVD player, don’t really ever use it). I hardly ever watch live TV. And LOVE the feature to autoskip commercials. MythTV works amazing, record HD and watch a record HD program all at the same time without a hiccup.

  10. Dave Drager
    September 17, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I should have mentioned XBMC. I usually consider Boxee to be XBMC with additional features, which is why I only mention Boxee most of the time. If you just want the local media playback, XBMC is probably better - also if you are into development and customizing your player, there are a ton of options for XBMC.

    Boxee has online video streaming out of the box, and a supreme user experience, which is why I recommend it over XBMC. Although they are both great pieces of software.

  11. Mcgilljam
    September 17, 2010 at 8:51 am

    How the H*** could you forget XBMC as media software?
    It's easy to install on Windows, Mac or Linux. It's easy to use.

    How could you...

  12. Mcgilljam
    September 17, 2010 at 6:51 am

    How the H*** could you forget XBMC as media software?
    It's easy to install on Windows, Mac or Linux. It's easy to use.

    How could you...

    • Dave Drager
      September 17, 2010 at 10:10 am

      I should have mentioned XBMC. I usually consider Boxee to be XBMC with additional features, which is why I only mention Boxee most of the time. If you just want the local media playback, XBMC is probably better - also if you are into development and customizing your player, there are a ton of options for XBMC.

      Boxee has online video streaming out of the box, and a supreme user experience, which is why I recommend it over XBMC. Although they are both great pieces of software.

  13. Misko3000
    September 17, 2010 at 2:01 am

    3 Ghz Dell Desktop with Boxee, Hulu desktop and Kylo. All my DVDs copied to a network HD and taking the video from a DMI connector to HDMI on my TV. I don't know how I lived without this setup.

    • Dave Drager
      September 17, 2010 at 10:06 am

      Awesome. I personally use a Acer Revo, its a 'low cost' solution with an Nvidia ION chipset to power video decoding. Would love to get a 'full' machine though. Don't know how I lived before my setup too :D

  14. Pzscranton
    September 16, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    I found downloading the KYLO browser the easiest way to set up a system to stream Internet content to your TV. I tried XBMC and Boxee several months ago when I was building a machine to stream internet to my TV. At the time I found them more oriented toward organizing the media stored LOCAL on your computer rather than organizing sites on the Internet. Myth TV had too difficult a learning curve and finding a TV card that works is with it was too much a pain for me.

    • Dave Drager
      September 17, 2010 at 10:05 am

      Kylo looks great! Need to check it out. Always a pain to use IE or Chrome because the text is too small.

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