We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
A couple of people asked in my recent barrage of 'NCIS' posts how to port the videos to their TV, and since Google has just broken new ground in the area, I thought I'd slap together an overview.
There are a number of factors in play; price, difficulty/ease of setup, difficulty/ease of use, software features, extra goodies like a remote, and location of the computer & TV.
Probably the main factor is the location of the two units. The flat-out easiest routine is to just run video and audio cables directly to the TV or controller box, with the only inconvenience being that you'd have to dash back to the computer to start, end or pause a clip. But if you're just playing one long movie, no big deal.
Despite the way you're sitting there on the edge of your seat in vibrant anticipation of what's coming next, it's probably best we dip below the fold for the remainder. There are some technical terms coming up and we wouldn't want to unsettle the children.
The picture's probably scary enough.
Unless you have a fairly fancy rig with a 'Video Out' jack on the back, a direct hookup would require you to buy a video card, one with whatever type of video cable jack your TV or controller box uses for its 'Video In'.
And it might be noted that there's a workaround to the start/stop/pause problem if you have a laptop with an Internet connection next to the TV chair. You could always access the main computer with a program like PC Anywhere, where you're actually controlling things like its pointer, and then the video player's pause button would just be a tap away.
Another alternative is wireless, but that's when things get both messy and limited. It might require multiple devices (beside the computer) and have bandwidth limitations (which translates to a lesser-quality video), but at least it's a viable option. The articles below elaborate on the various current options.
Another choice would be an Xbox (or similar device), where you would transfer the clips or movie to a memory stick and load it into the Xbox that way. As I understand it, the hitch is that the Xbox only plays a few video formats, so if your download or DVD rip or whatever isn't in the right one, the video will have to be rendered to the correct format and that might take four hours to do a 2-hour movie, CPU speed depending.
On the subject, it might be noted that rendering video is the only function in the entire computer universe that a normal user would ever want a faster computer for. You might want a bigger hard drive, or monitor, or wireless keypad or mouse, but all of those are obviously vastly cheaper than a whole new rig, which is really just a bigger hard drive and faster CPU. When it comes to video rendering, however, the time it takes is directly related to CPU speed. Double the CPU speed and it cuts the rendering time in half.
Also on the subject, it should be noted that there are free high-quality rendering programs out there and lots of guides (including my own), so it shouldn't be a detriment to going the Xbox route.
How To Make The PC - TV Connection — Although it doesn't cover the latest wireless devices, this is a good overview and explains the various types of direct computer hookup.
The One True Streaming TV Device — Discounting that the headline is a complete lie and that he comes across as a paid Google Chromecast shill, he at least explains it in depth and is fairly forthcoming about its drawbacks.
If it were me, I'd probably go the Xbox route if I couldn't wire it up directly. I'd first check around to see what devices are similar (and what video formats they play), then I'd start hunting down yard sales, garage sales, eBay and Craigslist for an older model that'd do the job but is being sold dirt cheap. The rendering would take some time, but that's just a case of not being impatient. And video editors are smart enough that you can queue up a bunch of short clips and it'll do them all in one sitting, and even combining a bunch of short clips into one big clip really isn't any big deal. You load the first clip, then 'append' the rest, then hit the 'Save' button. It's not much more complicated than that.
Any questions or additions, give a holler in the comments.
I've been using the Xbox routine for years and it works fine. I could actually punch a hole through the wall and hook it up direct, but I don't often want to play computer stuff on the TV. The wifey and I wanted to watch the three full-length features in the three "NCIS" posts (we watched the short clips on the 'puter), so I converted them to WMV with a program called "AVS Video Converter" (which I think you turned me on to years ago?) which made the Xbox happy and a good time was had by both. I bet we watched that Christmas scene ten times. Like you said in the post, always something new.
By no mere coincidence, I watched that Xmas scene again just last night. I honestly don't have a word for it. It's not 'eerie', but that's close. You could say 'juxtaposed', but that's a little clinical. Offsetting? Offputting? Unsettling? Desettling?
I suppose we'll just have to resign ourselves to marvelous and let it go. I still think the way Ziva immediately goes after the bad guy when their clips are gone is one of the greatest single moments of the show. It's the unflinching, unblinking look that sells it. We're sure gonna miss her.
We put a laptop near the TV, plug in an hdmi cable, then control the laptop with a remote mouse.
If you get a chance, let us know about subtitles/closed captioning. I'm getting old and hard of hearing, actors all mumble these days and Hollywood's collapse includes technical standards, especially sound recording.
Standards and skills are all over the map. Some hardware manufacturers and content providers are happy to provide subtitles (Netflix especially) others, not so much. My new "The Borgias" season 1 discs have no subtitles. How hard could it be to hire a secretary to transcribe the sound?
My new Samsung basement TV will show subtitles from a .srt file if it's playing from a usb chip stuck into it. If it's playing the exact same video file over our household network, it won't show subtitles. What kind of programming genius decided to do that?
Without qualification, subtitles are the biggest pain in the ass in the entire realm of video. There are about a dozen formats, with some in plain text, some in binary, and some actually small BMP pictures. About the only thing I could add is that there are conversion programs that'll pretty much go from any format to another, so if you're at least in a situation where one format works, like your SRT, then the whole thing would boil down to having a site (might even be $ubscription) that has a fabulous collection of subtitles to download and then doing the conversion routine. If there's a timing problem, the program should also take care of that.
Buy a TV with a VGA input. And a Vga spliter cable [pay attention to the male/female connections] and a 15 foot VGA cable . This way you can use the monitor for surfing or the TV for movies. I'm using this setup now and it works. The splitter and cable were less than $25. If you go farther than 15 Feet I'm told you will need a booster box, approx $35. All of this is at Amazon. Enjoy...