Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

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Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby snyder66 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:59 pm

Just downgraded our cable today. What is the cheapest laptop that we could get to stream from computer to Tv? Could we use a small tablet? Cheap laptop? Just looking for a cheap way to watch and non-netflix/hulu stuff for free.
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby henry A » Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:05 pm

I recently lost my cable bill and did the same thing. I simply have an old laptop hooked up to an HDMI port in the TV. The laptop stays on and I also own a wireless mouse. Thus, all I have to do is change the input to HDMI on the tv. I then have lots of my favorite websites and streaming media saved as favorites so I can use the mouse to get to everything I need. The best part? I never have to get out of my seat. :D

I like this set up so much I've considered purchasing a wireless keyboard and simply using my TV as my computer..
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby Watty » Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:11 pm

My TV has a PC input plug that will allow you to hook it up like a monitor.
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby EagertoLearnMore » Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:23 pm

Amazon sells HDMI cables that are very inexpensive and they work very well. I would suggest that you purchase a cable that is slightly longer than you think you will need because I found that having the longer cable allows better placement of laptop and more possibilities. Wireless mouse also helps and remember you can close the laptop lid and still watch tv.
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby ryuns » Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:28 pm

Laptop with HDMI is probably your best bet. Most of the tablets that manage it are a little more expensive. I had a cheap one that actually did support micro-HDMI, but it could barely handle the stress. Also, all tablets are "portable" that will require the use of Hulu Plus, which is a waste of money for my use. VGA (the old school one with all the pins) will work, but it doesn't handle sound, so you would need to use a separate headphone cable.

If you're going to use it often or regularly, you might consider henry A's suggestion of using the TV as a big computer screen all of the time. If that's the case, then even a desktop computer would work. A wireless keyboard and mouse make this a reasonable proposition, just make sure they can handle the range.

This Logitech is awesome for that use because you don't need two pieces of equipment and don't need a solid surface for mousing: http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Wireless ... d+with+pad
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby snyder66 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:35 pm

I have had Netflix. I'll give Hulu plus a try. What other shows can you watch, that can be gotten strictly from your TV?
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby Toons » Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:49 pm

henry A wrote:I recently lost my cable bill and did the same thing. I simply have an old laptop hooked up to an HDMI port in the TV. The laptop stays on and I also own a wireless mouse. Thus, all I have to do is change the input to HDMI on the tv. I then have lots of my favorite websites and streaming media saved as favorites so I can use the mouse to get to everything I need. The best part? I never have to get out of my seat. :D

I like this set up so much I've considered purchasing a wireless keyboard and simply using my TV as my computer..


+1 Exact setup here ,matter of fact I am typing with wireless keyboard ,viewing Vizio 42 inch TV.Purchased an inexpensive laptop from Walmart years ago as a dedicated computer for this TV,logitech wireless mouse ,keyboard combo. Inexpensive HDMI cables can be purchased from Amazon or Ebay. Computer is wireless.
This particular Vizio has Picture In Picture feature (PIP). I Use it all the time to view both computer and tv at the same time,that way I can keep up with the Boglehead posts :wink:
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby Epsilon Delta » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:53 pm

EagertoLearnMore wrote:Amazon sells HDMI cables that are very inexpensive and they work very well.


HDMI cables are cheap, so buy two. HDMI does not use the most robust connector ever designed. If it is used with a laptop it will be plugged and unplugged frequently and otherwise jostled and it will give up the ghost within a year or two. At that point it's nice to have another HDMI cable in it's original wrapper so you can:
  • Verify that the problem is a $5 cable and not your expensive laptop or TV
  • Get on with watching TV.
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby Toons » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:02 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
EagertoLearnMore wrote:Amazon sells HDMI cables that are very inexpensive and they work very well.


HDMI cables are cheap, so buy two. HDMI does not use the most robust connector ever designed. If it is used with a laptop it will be plugged and unplugged frequently and otherwise jostled and it will give up the ghost within a year or two. At that point it's nice to have another HDMI cable in it's original wrapper so you can:
  • Verify that the problem is a $5 cable and not your expensive laptop or TV
  • Get on with watching TV.


Find a relatively inexpensive computer so that you can "dedicate" it to the TV so that you are not disconnecting and reconnecting laptop. That was my original intention when I purchased laptop for TV several years ago. I find myself now using this laptop connected to TV as my MAIN computer as I find it more enjoyable from a viewing standpoint (42" screen).

http://www.amazon.com/GOLD-PLATED-Premi ... dmi+cables
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby camper » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:07 pm

Try monoprice.com for hdmi cables.
Best way to go from laptop to HDTV.
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby Calm Man » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:13 pm

henry A wrote:I recently lost my cable bill and did the same thing. I simply have an old laptop hooked up to an HDMI port in the TV. The laptop stays on and I also own a wireless mouse. Thus, all I have to do is change the input to HDMI on the tv. I then have lots of my favorite websites and streaming media saved as favorites so I can use the mouse to get to everything I need. The best part? I never have to get out of my seat. :D

I like this set up so much I've considered purchasing a wireless keyboard and simply using my TV as my computer..


Pardon my ignorance. Although I intend fully to keep cable, are you saying that connecting the laptop up to the tv allows you to use the mouse and see everything on the computer right on the tv? And can you see writing and websites adequately when you view it on a tv or does it take a lot of adjustment, including for typing, etc?
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby magellan » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:20 pm

ryuns wrote:This Logitech is awesome for that use because you don't need two pieces of equipment and don't need a solid surface for mousing: http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Wireless ... d+with+pad

I also use this with my TV/PC setup and it really does work great. You might be able to pick it up at your local Walmart store for $30. It comes with a little USB receiver that plugs into the laptop. It was completely plug and play on a windows laptop, a Mint Linux laptop, and an Android tablet. I didn't even bother with the included driver disk. It just worked.

Jim
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby henry A » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:02 pm

Calm Man,

This scenario is very similar to using a DVD player or anything else that hooks up to a TV. When you change the 'input' to your Television, you will change it to the HDMI setting. You will then be able to see your computer on the television as you would normally. Granted, this is only possible if connecting the TV and the Laptop using an HDMI cable. Not all laptops come with an HDMI port, so this will be something that you will need to check. Most newer televisions have an HDMI input.

Here is a quick tutorial on youtube. If you have purchased a computer in the past 5 years or so you will most likely not need any adapter to connect the HDMI cord to your computer. (your computer will already have a HDMI port) In reality, I have way overcomplicated this.

All you have to do is plug the HDMI chord from your computer to your tv. Hope this helps!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6rFTkVfE8k

Also, whenever watching anything full screen, I can never tell the difference between HDTV/DVD/or streaming from the laptop.

Henry
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby nirvines88 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:15 pm

I've been happy with my Roku so far. It allows you to stream stuff (as long as you have internet), including Netflix, over the TV. Google it!
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby PS241 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:20 pm

Lots of DVD / blueray players are WiFi-enabled these days. You could probably get one for $100 -150. Haven`t researched it enough to know if they are junk. You could try a Google chromebox from Samsung. The "desktop" is $300 I think and laptops are$250.
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby WHL » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:17 am

I use my ps3 for Netflix, amazon prime instant streaming, Hulu, and other services.

Most modern tv's are wifi-ready and have the capability for built in apps. My moms 55" Sony Bravia led has this capability.
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby Alex Frakt » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:54 am

Calm Man wrote:
henry A wrote:I recently lost my cable bill and did the same thing. I simply have an old laptop hooked up to an HDMI port in the TV. The laptop stays on and I also own a wireless mouse. Thus, all I have to do is change the input to HDMI on the tv. I then have lots of my favorite websites and streaming media saved as favorites so I can use the mouse to get to everything I need. The best part? I never have to get out of my seat. :D

I like this set up so much I've considered purchasing a wireless keyboard and simply using my TV as my computer..


Pardon my ignorance. Although I intend fully to keep cable, are you saying that connecting the laptop up to the tv allows you to use the mouse and see everything on the computer right on the tv? And can you see writing and websites adequately when you view it on a tv or does it take a lot of adjustment, including for typing, etc?

Flatscreen TVs are nothing more than computer monitors with an added TV tuner. You can plug your computer into them just as you would any other monitor and work on it the same way. The issue is size and resolution. 1080i (and 1080p) is only 1,920x1,080 pixels, which is about what you'll get from a decent 17"-19" dedicated computer monitor or a 15" laptop screen. So you can stick a 50" TV on your desk, but you aren't going to be able to get more stuff on the screen, it's just that what is there will be bigger. Much bigger. If you sit too close to a big monitor, you'll be able to see the individual pixels. But if it's a several feet away, you should be fine. Actually, in a lot of the world where space is at more of a premium than US suburbs, it's very typical for a single 20"-42" screen to serve as both a TV screen and the computer monitor.

BTW, if you get your TV through a cable or satellite box, you aren't actually using the TV tuner, so you can use also use a computer monitor as a TV. You just need to be sure to get one that supports something your box can output (normally 1080i or 720p) as a native resolution or you'll get a blurry image.
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby soaring » Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:02 am

snyder66 wrote:Just downgraded our cable today. What is the cheapest laptop that we could get to stream from computer to Tv? Could we use a small tablet? Cheap laptop? Just looking for a cheap way to watch and non-netflix/hulu stuff for free.


I considered changing too but then when we moved in about six months ago I found top internet speed in my area 750kb - 1.3mb. Sure would not have bought here had I known that. Sometimes can't even listen to a streaming song as it stops to accumulate data and play again. stop-start-stop-start. Yuck!

DSL only no cable. Phone company said could get 10mb but when installed said I lived across street from 10mb :(
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby snyder66 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:42 am

I have a Roku as well. I'm talking about accessing content that is on your computer only. There are some shows that are only on nbc.com etc.
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby Grasshopper » Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:54 am

On older TV's and laptop's its also possible to hook up through a VGA connection, but the picture isn't the best.
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby paulsiu » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:36 pm

What's the connection on the TV? Do you have an HDMI port? Do you have a composite or component input on the TV? Do you want Blue Ray playback from your laptop?

The best connection will be HDMI. I used composite via Svideo, but the picture looks a bit blocky on the LCD tv. If your tv is so old that it has no input and you need to use a RF modulator, then that's a real problem.

It also depends what you want to do. If all you want to do is to stream netflixs, get one of the streaming boxes like Roku or its competitor. They cost about $50 and have a really decent interface. You can also for a bit more get a blue ray player with a wifi interface. If you get one on sale, you can find one for about $70. The interface on the ones I see are not as nice as Roku, but tolerable.

If you a hacker type, you can looking getting one of those Android on a stick or box. Essentially, you have the equivalent of an Android tablet or phone that plugs into your TV's HDMI. I tried doing the equivalent by hooking my Asus TF101 tablet to my tv and find this to be problematic. A lot of sites like Hulu will block your browser's access and flash performance is pretty terrible.

If you have a PC, you have access to the most stuff: Neflix, Hulu, and even video from less than legal sources.

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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby nirvines88 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:22 am

Grasshopper wrote:On older TV's and laptop's its also possible to hook up through a VGA connection, but the picture isn't the best.


I use this setup as well, since my laptop lacks an HDMI port. I combine using a VGA cord and some speakers, which ends up being an OK picture and OK sound. Gets the job done.
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby jridger2011 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 3:45 pm

You might be looking for something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6883103588

It comes with wireless keyboard and mouse which adds value, small footprint, and big hard drive if you rip dvds on it.
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Re: Cheapest way to go from laptop to TV.

Postby smalldata » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:07 am

If you really want the cheapest, try a raspberry pi loaded with raspbmc for $35, perhaps a few extra $ for cables, etc. I use this for streaming video from my main computer, or from the internet using the free cable plugin.
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