Make your dumb TV smart: use your laptop to get it online

About The Author

CNET Editor

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

Taking it wireless

So you've got your PC displaying to your TV, you can browse photos, watch videos and surf the web — but it's more than a bit clunky with that HDMI cable in the way. Let's look at the options for getting things wireless.

Controlling your PC wirelessly

The first thing we'd recommend is to get some wireless input. It's really not easy to get any more, but something like Logitech's diNovo Mini might be exactly what you need. Alternately, a bog-standard wireless keyboard and mouse would be a good first step, although you'll never get into the reclining position with those. If you're up for some experimentation, you can even control your laptop with your Android phone or iPhone. If you're heading more towards a media centre set-up, perhaps a gyroscopic mouse is more your style.

Logitech diNovo

Logitech's diNovo Mini is hard to get now in Australia, but it's excellent and tiny.
(Credit: Logitech)

Wireless video

This is still a developing field, with only a few players in Australia. At this point in time, connecting wirelessly to a TV requires extra hardware on top of your wireless router.

Some newer Intel-based laptops come with a feature called WiDi, or Wireless Display, with the concept being that you only have to push a button on your laptop to get things working on the TV. It's not prolific, and we've yet to see a TV that supports the feature. Belkin plans to bridge the gap by introducing an adapter, although it's yet to be released. We'll have to look into other options then.

McTivia

It's smaller than it looks. The McTivia is only slightly longer than a smartphone, and twice as thick.
(Credit: AWind)

This is the McTivia — a device you hook up to your TV using HDMI, and connect to via Wi-Fi with your laptop. You'll need to install software before it works, but our initial testing shows that it works rather well. There are some caveats though: due to lack of bandwidth it will only output in 720p with stereo sound, and expect some latency when connected over Wi-Fi. There are other options coming down the path, but for now streaming your laptop screen wirelessly won't give you the best possible results.

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idiotphone4lover posted a comment   
Australia

Want a smart TV Laptop Computer, with 17.3" FULL HD & HDMI 1.4 out?

Get the Asus G73sw ($2399).
Backlit full keyboard with num pad, 17.3 full HD (1920 x 1080) screen with led backlight, Blu-ray burner, USB3, SDXC, 2 x 500gb HHD, Intel i7 2630QM, Nvidia GTX460m with 1.5gb ddr5 vram, HDMI v1.4 and 8gb of ram. With free Asus mouse & backpack.
With 2 year Warranty.

 

CampbellS posted a comment   

Sounds like the best thing to do to is use an HDMI connection to play all your media. Wireless is too slow and clunky. You could buy a media box . I have a western digital that plays all movies incl MKV , H264 MP4 , AVI , in fact it has played everything I have thrown at it. Now they come with internet connections , and stream content. The thing is auntil Australia telcos get into some sort of arrangement with US content providers we will forvever be getting 'this is not availble in your country ' for most things. Hulu is useless in Aus for example.

 

jbray posted a comment   
Australia

Ha, that's exactly my HTPC (Antec Fusion). Have been running it for 3.5years now (via Windows Media Center and other bits and pieces), and I still love the setup. Allows you to do anything, and the current SmartTV push by the manufacturers is also a "meh" for me, I couldn't think of anything worse than trying to struggle with the limitations of what's programmed into a TV.




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