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The Real Deal 137: Put Web video on your TV

Rafe and Tom talk about all the myriad ways of putting Web video on your living room TV.

Rafe and Tom talk about all the myriad ways of putting Web video on your living room TV.

Listen now: Download today's podcast

Tom forgot two of his favorite podcasts last week and feels bad. Coverville and Amateur Traveler.


I enjoy the Real Deal and have a suggestion for a future episode. You did an episode on where to get content to watch TV online. This has also been discussed on Buzz Out Loud. However, I would like an episode that explains how, once I've found the content I want, I can watch it on my TV. I'm not about to sit at my desk and watch hours of video.

Thank you, --Charlene Houston, Texas

Media Center PC
Cable/Satellite box (Media Extender)
Xbox 360 (Media Extender)
PS3 and Wii

Third-party box
Apple TV (XBMC/Boxee Mod)
Popcorn Hour
Roku Box
Tivo + Amazon Unbox
Tivo + YouTube
Tivo + Netflix (coming?)
Want: Tivo + Hulu

Direct Connection
Laptop and an S-Wideo/Composite cable
Take TV (dead:
Plug in your camera


I feel many people don't understand where to adjust the resolution to optimize the signal for their hdtv. Being that most hdtv resolutions are either 1366 x 768 or 1920 x 1080 which are the 16 x 9 aspect ratios and that many oem video cards do not support these resolutions. So could you discuss this so the public will understand what is needed for them to receive a proper signal and that other resolutions such as 1024 x 768 or 800 x 600 are 4 x 3 aspect ratios and are the default setting and not optimized for hdtv.

Thanks Jimmie from Kansas City

Hi guys

In the old days I cut things to DVD or RW DVD and use my Dvix Sam sung, at times copy things from RW DVD's to my DVR, Now I use my LG TV USB, that takes my 16GB mem stick,

Now i'm looking to get a Popcon Hour that has the HDMI 1.3 and will support my 5.1 Sound system let me pick the HD to put in the box and still let let me use my USD or US HD, also support NAS and Bit Torrents ( that I only use for legal RSS Feeds )

Only thing that I might not like about it is the missing WIFI

Jasper in VN


We don't have Tvio so my cable fees gos to nothing I'm never home when the shows are on so that why I get them in the " Gray way " after all I did pay for them

Hey T/R - i cancelled cable back in Feb 07 b/c i was tired of the worsening content, channels, and service. Now i get all my culture on the internet.

I use an MBA (macbook air) to watch content. Ok, let me make a confession. The MBA is the best thing ever for watching tv in bed. I fall asleep almost every night to a podcast, movie, or tv show.

When I want to get the real deal (!?) going, i use multiple connections. I keep a DVI extender plugged into the flatscreen and a simple a/v to microphone jack plugged into my surround sound.

Whenever Im ready, I plug the microphone jack into my MBA microphone jack. Pluf the DVI cord into the dongle that came with the MBA (firewire to DVI). The Mac OS instantly recognizes this and does some weird blue screen flip.

Now I have really good quality video but subpar microphone sound, into 5.1 dolby :(.

With a decent wifi connection I have everything i need to watch hulu, netflix, and video podcasts.

PS - I bought the apple remote and it does work with the sound, but after that it only works in iTunes. --Steve Mandzik

I use my computer to stream the video through hdmi to my 46 inch hdtv. I am very pleased with the experience.

Issues someone might encounter

  • You need a fast computer (I perfer quad-core for hd) and broadband. 3mbps down a minimum, for hd I find 7mbps is nice
  • Look for a quiet running computer, more powerful helps with less fan noise
  • Compatible browser like Internet Explorer 7 for most streams
  • Some of the problems are on the clients side of the stream such as stuttering.

I no longer subscribe to cable. It is great to be free from the locked down schemes of the cable companies. Why pay for their service plus have to watch advertising and pay for channels that many do not even watch.

Thank you Real Deal for bringing these issues to peoples attention The experience I am getting online is great.

Enoy the show Jimmie from Kansas City Mo.

As to watching internet video on TV, I have to recommend Philips dvd players, they have several quite reasonable models that include a divx chipset, so if you have an avi or mpeg, you can usually just burn it and then watch it, I think there's one that even has a usb plug so you wouldn't have to burn a disc.

Love the show, Jeremy in Austin

My Archos PMP has a headphone jack that doubles as a video output if you have a mini-stereo to RCA cable (you don't need to spring for the expensive DVR dock if you don't plan on recording anything). I use it to watch various videocasts on my TV. The 605wifi player can also be seen as a NAS device so you don't even need to walk the PMP from your computer to your TV like I do with my 404. I'm not sure about the new Archos 5 internet media tablets but I would assume they do the same thing. I love this for it's size and think it's the best easily portable solution for doing this. I can put the cable in my bag and hook it up to any TV and instantly be watching my downloaded content anywhere.

It looks like Archos now has an "Archos TV+" set top box that looks like it was built for this type of thing and comes in 80gb and 250gb versions. It's a Wi-Fi connected media streamer, DVR and TV based internet browser box with a neat little qwerty remote.

Great idea for a show. I'm currently in the market for something new as my archos player is about 2 years old and is on it's last leg. I kinda just want a cheap PC running Boxee hooked up.

Adam B. from Madison, WI.

A possible solution I don’t watch any big Network shows from online sources but, I DO watch my video podcasts eg. Diggnation, Tikibar on my TV. What I did was installed Miro on my server, set it up to automatically download the podcasts to my ‘Xbox 360/podcasts’ folder and stream to, you guessed it, my Xbox 360. It works great for me, But I want more, and that leads up to my question.

Jimboramma in Winnipeg

For me, I bought the Apple dongles for my G4 iMac in 2003 and for my Intel iMac in 2007. With the help of a simple Y connector from Radio Shack(for audio), it's pretty simple to make a connection to play streaming a/v into a TV, if you don't mind the wires between the two devices.

When the TV is too far away from the computer, things get a little complicated. For those situations, I use an "RF-Link A/V" 5.8GHz system to transmit from the computer to distant TV's in the house. Normally, I use these boxes to send my Direct TV signals around the house.

I'm not saying that this is convenient. For long streaming shows, with a little preparation, this isn't hard to use. If you don't mind all the wires.

Downloaded material is a lot easier to watch on TV-- with an iPod. I have the Apple iPod A/V kits for my 5.5Gen 80GB iPod and for my 2nd Gen iPod Touch. But you already know how simple these are to use. Don't assume however that everyone knows about this possibility. *

I attended a family wedding in the Bay Area back in May. My family is scattered all over USA and in parts of Ireland. The wedding was a major family reunion involving 4 generations. We were in a hotel room getting reacquainted and I hooked up the 80GB iPod to the 32in Flat screen TV and showed off home movies and photos of people here in NY who couldn't come to the wedding and even some old photo's(1940's and 1950's) that I'd found of some people who were present.

And for the next two days, I heard over and over again the same words, "I didn't know an iPod did that."

Understand, the people who kept saying that were well-informed, reasonably tech-savvy people. The people who didn't know anything about tech, just accepted that iPod's did that.

I have one more solution for downloaded material.

There's a curious thing, Toshiba has been manufacturing Portable DVD players for years that will play MPEG1 and MPEG2 files from a CD or DVD. And they don't tell anyone. It's not in the manuals or on their website. And now the DIVX certified portable DVD players from Toshiba still play the other formats. (They also ignore regional coding on commercial DVD's-Also not in the Toshiba manuals. )

It's easy enough to download Xvid or DIVX or MPEG files from a web site and burn them to CD/RW or DVD/RW(in Finder) and play them into the TV with the appropriate mfr provided cables.

I don't doubt that there are better solutions, but I do doubt that anyone else knows about the Toshiba Portable DVD Player secrets.

I enjoy the show, yes, I listen to it on an iPod, R T in Brooklyn


I enjoyed episode 136. Previously, I was curious about what podcasts you listen to and how you consume them. Here's one thing you didn't cover, however, and it's still a burning uncertainty for me in the realm of podcasts: how do you get recommendations for new podcasts? (Besides iTunes)

For the record, here's my one recommendation for a quality independent podcast: The Dirtbag Diaries. It's kind of like This American Life, but for outdoor sports like rock climbing, skiing, and surfing.

-Reid from the Catskills

I just listened to your podcast about podcasts and thought I'd give my 2 cents. I enjoy useing media monkey to download my podcast and i also sync it to my ipod. most of the podcast I listen to come from They have a lot of great authors and great books you can download as free podcast. Keep up the good work love the show. Jerry


Phone Call - Jason in Nashville Flight Simulator

TIP FROM ALEX HADDOX MP3 'call' on how virus definitions work

Next episode - COMING DECEMBER 2! (No show next week) Last but not least, I've got a show idea for you. In these trying and uncertain times [ha ha], I'm sure there are a lot of listeners out there who are looking for ways to save money on technology, specifically in getting the longest possible lifespan out of pieces of tech. Though I'm sure Tom cares little about this as he rolls around in his bed of money each night, maybe Rafe has some ideas about how to:

  • Choose reliable pieces of tech that will have a long operating life
  • Maintain said gadgets to prolong their lifespan.

-Reid from the Catskills