TVs & Home Theaters

Question

How to watch internet TV channels on my TV set

by Loriole / July 18, 2013 8:43 AM PDT

I have a Panasonic Viera TX-P42G20B plasma TV with integral Freeview and Freesat tuners, plus a wireless LAN adaptor and broadband router modem. I want to have a second TV in a bedroom where there are no TV aerial outlets.

I see there are now websites - wwiTV, Live365, Rad.io, etc - providing free internet access to TV channels worldwide, including all of those found on Freesat / Freeview. So, how best to access these from a TV set?

A Smart TV suggests itself, except these don't seem to have the PC-type controls necessary to facilitate this. I would need either to connect my iMac - normally in my study - to my TV set - not the most practical solution - or manage things remotely from my study.

I see also there are now "Android 4 based HDMI dongles" which, plugged into a TV's HDMI port and accompanied by a small remote control, effectively convert an ordinary HDTV set into a Smart TV with integral controls to boot, enabling access to any internet channel, rather than just the few available through Panasonic's Viera offering.

I think I need one of these HDMI dongles and an ordinary, non-Smart TV for the bedroom, plus a second HDMI dongle, as a replacement for my existing LAN adaptor, to convert my existing, non-Smart TV set into a 'super-Smart' TV set.

What should I do?

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All Answers

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Answer
So far most require a PC.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 18, 2013 8:52 AM PDT

But those dongles are cheap so you won't feel too burned. I wonder if you'll ask how I know.

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Dongle or PC . . .
by Loriole / July 18, 2013 9:27 PM PDT

I say, I say, I say . . .

I guess you have one.

Point is, cheapness aside, does a dongle win hands down? And if not, why not?

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Don't bother with Dongles for a reliable solution
by Pepe7 / July 19, 2013 12:42 AM PDT
In reply to: Dongle or PC . . .

You can either search this forum or use google to learn why they are less than ideal. Using a PC or Mac would be the more reliable solution. Using a dedicated internet streaming device would be good too (Roku, WDTV Live,etc.), but they have limitations to which content they are licensed to provide/stream to your TV(s). Some of the streaming boxes (mostly older ones though) do actually have composite (analog) connections, and could send at least some content to your older TV. Here's one example:

WDTV Live
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136997&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleAdwords&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleAdwords-_-pla-_-Video+Devices+%26+TV+Tuners-_-N82E16822136997&gclid=CKyfidfku7gCFcU7MgodP3sAEQ


There are several methods to get internet content from your iMac/PC/etc. to your HDTV & regular TV. The regular TV is the hardest one to accommodate due to the distance involved, and the fact that it is not a digital device/lacks HDMI input. Most of the current crop of equipment will lack composite connections of the WDTV Live unfortunately. For shorter distances though, using HDMI output from your iMac to the main HDTV would be the ideal solution, and nearly bulletproof, provided your iMac has HDMI output. Wired always trumps wireless if both are available/practical. Another benefit of going w/ a wired HDMI connection is that you don't waste the local wifi bandwidth for other internet activities.

More expensive streaming solutions include using a Slingbox, which also lets you do a lot more outside the home with your paid content (CATV/Satellite) & broadband internet connections. See this here:

http://www.slingbox.com/

Let us know if you have any questions.

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HDMI rather than dongles
by Loriole / July 20, 2013 4:30 AM PDT

Thank you for your directions, Pepe7, which I will follow up once I understand how to deal with my iMac's HDMI shortcomings. HDMI would seem in theory to be the next simplest way, after an android dongle, of satisfying my need to manage my HDTV input remotely from my computer.

However, my Early 2009 iMac has a Mini Display Port, rather than an HDMI port, that transmits video but not audio signals. I've been trawling the forums for solutions, only to be made aware of more associated problems.

Apple, at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT424, names three examples of "third party Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapters that conform to the VESA DisplayPort Dual-Mode Standars", that will deal with this. However, this is disputed by 'eww', posting on 23/09/10 at https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2590139?start=0&tstart=0, who reckons that these adapters, connecting to the Mini DisplayPort alone, will find no audio signal there to transmit, and recommends three other adapters that combine the video from the Mini DisplayPort and the audio from either a headphone port or a USB port.

Then, 'SlugBlanket', posting on 12/09/11 at https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2639905?start=0&tstart=0, points out that these are not plug-and-play solutions and that care must be taken to appropriately modify one's video and audio System Preferences, and the MIDI setup utility in Audio MIDI Setup.

As if this wasn't enough, other posts elsewhere refer to the existence of associated software bugs in OSX . . .

Assuming all of this (and doubtless more) can be overcome, the possibility of 'wirelessly' connecting my computer and HDTV, via my domestic power circuit, using Powerline Network Adapter Kits, beckons. But again, the Devil appears in the detail. OK for Ethernet connections, but not so simple or inexpensive for HDMI . . .

Finally, my apologies for having taken so long acknowledging your helpful post, but I'm finding myself going round in circles trying to get to grips with all of this.

In the meantime, I would appreciate any further advice that you or anyone else might like to offer.

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I agree- there are usually some hiccups
by Pepe7 / July 22, 2013 4:25 AM PDT

Just be aware that with the Android dongle, you also will encounter issues.

Short of buying a newer Mac which can mirror the screen on the HDTV, you will still have to wade through shortcomings all around.

Another option would be to use a full fledged HTPC at the location(s) where you need internet. Works better than the media streamer boxes too since you can 100% control the software you employ for the task.

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I think the android dongle is neat
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 19, 2013 4:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Dongle or PC . . .

But you can read the reviews about issues. Sadly all true. But let's say you luck out and get a better than average one (I'm going to shortchange you about the issues as it's all out there) and your next hurdle is a question.

Does this dongle have the internet TV app?
Bob

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