Looking for ideas (watching video on TV via PC)

steve198, Oct 21, 11:09pm
I have a friend who doesn't have Internet or a computer. He has an external hardrive that I put video content on for him like movies, documentaries etc & he plugs it either directly into his TV or a WD TV player. Trouble is a lot of content either doesn't work, does weird things, sound goes out of sync etc.

In my opinion if he could plug his hardrive into a computer that ran VLC he could play content flawlessly. Obviously a traditional laptop/desktop could do this but they are pretty expensive & overkill for what he wants to do.

Would one of those Raspberry Pi things be perfect for him? Do they run on Linux or something?

r.g.nixon, Oct 21, 11:55pm
A computer can be cheaper, and is more flexible than a Raspberry Pi.

steve198, Oct 22, 12:15am
That's true. Don't think my mate will want to spend $300 though but that is his only realistic option of watching video reliably on his tv via a hardrive I guess.

oclaf, Oct 22, 12:27am
Raspberry pi, 1A USB charger, SD card, case, wireless combo keyboard/touchpad, and an hdmi cable is all you need. Under $100.

I would run Raspbian or Raspbmc

gyrogearloose, Oct 22, 12:29am
Find out what kind of videos files play well and take note of the codec, resolution and bitrate, and then convert the videos that don't play well into the formats that do.

Alternately, a newer TV might do a better job of playing more of the formats without trouble.

steve198, Oct 22, 12:53am
He watches a lot of content it's simply not worth my time & effort to convert video to other formats. If he can play videos through the tv via VLC it simply will solve all the problems.

steve198, Oct 22, 1:00am
My friend now seems prepared to spend $300 on a laptop but if your setup works it will be a much better solution because a laptop is overkill for his needs & more expensive.

Can you run VLC through that software (Raspbian)?

r.g.nixon, Oct 22, 1:03am
Then spend just $85. Plus keyboard & mouse. See listing 968265986 - I bought one last year. Plenty powerful.

steve198, Oct 22, 1:09am
Ideally I want a system that has an HDMI port, also that thing is a bit of an eye sore but definitely good idea as a last resort option.

gyrogearloose, Oct 22, 3:07am
Another suggestion is a blu-ray player, these typically include a USB port and seem to play everything including music CD's and DVD's, they have an HDMI port and are quick to boot up and easy to use. About $100

oclaf, Oct 22, 3:27am
Yes, though Omxplayer is probably a better choice for a Pi. I have not done much (none) video watching with Raspbian, so I can't be exactly sure.
If I was to set this up, I would use Rasbmc which is designed for home theater computers. Google tells me that Raspbmc is now OSMC which looks even better.
The only caveat is you probably will need to buy the MPEG-2 decoder licence. It's about $5 or so. It's annoying, but if you research it, the reasonings are sound.

rz_zone, Oct 22, 4:41am
desktop? may just need a decent video card.

spyware, Oct 22, 7:32am
R Pi running Twonky or Plex maybe as TV will have DLNA client most likely.

steve198, Oct 22, 8:25am
Honestly I have zero confidence that anything other than VLC will play my friends video collection reliably.

I think the safest bet is to go ahead with a basic $300 laptop. That Pi thing seems more trouble than it's worth even though it's a 3rd the price of a laptop.

r.g.nixon, Aug 18, 4:18pm
About $40 for a new HDMI video card, for a PC. e.g. auction 966404808

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