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Hi everyone. John and I are ready to go. Standing by for your questions.
Is is true that hdmi cables from places like monoprice are just as good as the MOnster cables?
generic vs. "premium" HDMI
For most uses, yes. We recommend and use cheap HDMI cables for our setups, rather than pay the huge mark-up for premium brands. The one exception: if you've got a long run (more than 20 feet), you might want to go with a more expensive cable.
How do you do that?
I am new to this. How do you connect the laptop to an HDTV?
Depends on the laptop, but most newer Windows laptops have an HDMI output. Simply buy an HDMI cable, connect the laptop to a free HDMI port on your tv, and swap the TV video source to that port.
That's the ideal wired solution. If you have other video outs, like DVI or mini DisplayPort in the case of some recent Mac laptops, you may need an HDMI adapt
windows 7 to connect to home theater
Does the a/v receiver have to be connected to the internet?
No--any old AV receiver will do
So long as your PC has the correct audio outputs (e.g. digital optical, HDMI), the AV receiver doesn't need to be online--just the PC.
Please give a basic methodology of how to connect the two
Please give a basic overview of how to connect a PC to a computer
See earlier response on HDMI
there are also ways to get the content on your PC to your TV. Xbox 360 and PS3 both work as Windows Media Extenders, and can let you stream content to your tv across your home network. Other methods include using any device that supports the DLNA standard, which recognizes media across a network. Home media streamers like Google TV devices, and others support DLNA.
Google TV & Tivo
What's the latest on the possibility of the next Tivo having Google TV in it?
I'd say slim
Right now, Google TV and TiVo are competing products. TiVo is currently delivering a better overall experience, but Google TV can certainly come on strong if and when they work on delivering more content (i.e. less browser blocking). So, in the foreseeable future, I don't see Google TV coming to TiVo. (But that's just my opinion--no inside knowledge to share.)
Linux and PC->TV
I have a Fedora box behind my TV but I seem to be lacking support for some video formats for some TV websites, should I abandon and await WHS V2 (as the PC is also a home server), or is there decent support under Linux for most video formats?
Is streaming TV "live" just like we watch on regular TV?
Not entirely. You don't have full DVR functionality or the breadth of channel availability, and certain kinds of content, live sports for example, may be blocked due to licensing agreements. Streaming from the networks' sites or other legitimate sources can work for some kinds of programming, but they don't yet provide the seamless experience you get from a typical cable box.
which TVs can do this
I have a 1080 plasma TV that is about 2-3 years old. It doesn't have a VGA port in the back. Can I connect to PC some other way?
Use HDMI or DVI in
If you don't have a VGA input on your TV, get a laptop (or PC video card) with HDMI or DVI outputs. With the proper cables/adapters, you'll be able to connect from that PC to your TV's HDMI input. Be sure to set the PC resolution at a TV-friendly resolution (720p, 1080p, etc.).
What is the minimum needed to watch internet TV assuming nothing on the TV other than an HDMI port?
Need a device that's connected to the internet
Don't mean to be obvious, but not entirely sure I understand the question. Feel free to rephrase, but in short, in order to get internet-based content to your TV via the HDMI port, you need something on the other end of that HDMI cable that can provide that content. Min requirements for a computer for that purpose aren't too bad. A modern desktop or laptop with 4GB of RAM and a 2.0GHz CPU or better shouldn't have trouble with even 1080p content from YouTube or elsewhere.
Laptop to TV
How can I use my laptop as my keyboard/search tool from my lap and still have my TV set up wi-fi. I know I can just change my input, but what too?
Hi Rich and John. I have a relatively new, although big, box TV and live in a rural area. I'm learning web design and my eyes get very tired viewing a monitor up close all day. I'm wanting to buy a flat screen TV to give them a break. I'm pretty clueless about options. Help please? Tks.
Try LCD or plasma, but at a distance
Assuming you want a living room TV to be viewed at a distance, there are plenty of LCD and plasma options. Our list of best TVs is here:
You should experiment with turning the brightness down as well, and make sure there's indirect lighting in the room to avoid eyestrain.
wireless backlit touchpad keyboard
I would start building a Home Theatre PC right now - but I can't find a wireless backlit touchpad keyboard keyboard ANYWHERE. I need backlit so I can type on the sofa at night.
PS3 vs Home Entertainment Center
I have a PS3 currently hooked into my HDTV and is connected to my home network wirelessly. My problem is that when I try to steam video content off my PC to the PS3 it is usually laggy and not very reliable. I have put thought into building a PC that would sit permanently underneath my TV as a home entertainment unit. Any suggestions on a solution without having to run Cat-5 all across my house and make it look bad. I've also looked at Ethernet over Power as an alternative to streaming over wireless.
Wireless network stability?
That would be the first thing I'd check. Otherwise, I'd suggest any one of the PCs listed here: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20023367-1.html (except maybe the eMachines, since it can't do HD content so well). All of them support WiFi.
How much computer do I need?
I'd like to get a dedicated used desktop PC to use as a media center. My goals are watching DVDs, streaming Netflix and recording TV content. How much computer do I really need to do this in high definition?
Not that much
For an off-the-shelf solution, you don't need to spend that much. All but the eMachines listed here will do the job: http://reviews.cnet.com/2795-3118_7-551.html. I like the Gateway system in particular, which goes for about $500.
Hi def web programs
I see netflix and youtube and others offer HD programming, but I'm not sure they are really true HD. Are they 720? 1080? whatever your bandwidth allows?
HD versions available, but...
Yes, Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, and others have better HD video than ever on some videos--up to 1080p and beyond in some cases. If you've got the bandwidth, you'll see the high-res versions on the applicable programming. If not, the systems automatically drop you to a lower-resolution version--whatever your Internet speed can support.