How to raise a TV's IQ?

Discussion started by glenos, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. glenos

    glenos Member 2018 Sabbatical 2015 Sabbatical

    I have a "normal" TV, Samsung plasma thing and I want to use it as a 'smart' TV **. Actually I want to watch NetFlix or some such service. So lets assume I have WiFi or even an ethernet port near the TV. What do I need to connect the TV to my network and the WWW? I guess there are several options what are the pros and cons of each?

    TV has USB and HDMI inputs.

    While your at it, what are the options for streaming services? Netflix, Stan, ... Torrent (legal minefield).

    ** I don't like the smart TV tag I want it to be able to access the internet not solve integral calculus equations, althuggh I'm sure searching on the internet would provide all sorts of ways to do that.
    Mark1966 likes this.
  2. MrT

    MrT Commander of Soap State Rep - NSW Group Buy Associate

    You could get an apple TV. If you have an iPhone or iPad these work particularly well with them. You can use Netflix with that. These are about $100. I quite like mine.

    If you have an android device in your home, you could consider a Chromecast. I think it does Netflix... These are about $50.

    Or, if you don't already have a bluray player, you could buy one with "smart" capabilities including Netflix. Probably about $150 for that.

    Or if you have a laptop with an HDMI port, you could just connect it directly to your TV. About $2 for the cable :)
  3. StueyB

    StueyB Member

    Chromecast definitely does Netflix asking with Stan and *cough* Presto *cough*.

    Although you will need a second device to get the best use if it. I find my android phone is fine but prefer the table sized screen for searching.

    Prior to the Chromecast I had used a laptop and hdmi cable

    Have a look over at ozbargain, they often have links to deals on the Chromecast. I got mine for $30 when I signed up with Stan and brought it thru Dick Smith.
  4. Monsta_AU

    Monsta_AU ...can I interest you in some vintage blades? Forum Administrator Grand Society

    Admin Post
    If you want a nice, integrated solution then you are out of luck. Best bet is a Chromecast/AppleTV, or possibly a small PC running Kodi (formerly XMBC) and plug that into the HDMI.

    Personally, my Samsung is a SmartTV, and I just added the Plex app on it, and point it at my NAS which runs the Plex server app. I download my material from various sources and save it onto the NAS. Plex automatically indexes it and makes it available through the TV (and phones/tablets with the app). Easy.
  5. MrT

    MrT Commander of Soap State Rep - NSW Group Buy Associate

    If you want to go down the plex or XBMC route, a Raspberry Pi 2 is a very capable machine. Costs less than $50. Definitely not for a technophobe though.

    I have a RPi2 running plex, and it is fantastic.
    glenos likes this.
  6. Nick the Knife

    Nick the Knife Krill Enabler Grand Society

    Meant with all due respect. but if you're asking such a question the best suggestion given BY FAR is a Chromecast. ~$40 and you'll have it installed in under 5 mins, it'll just work - great support from multiple providers etc.

    Some of the other suggestions were very good BUT I sense you're prolly not a bit IT-stuff around with Tech person (which is the vast majority) of folks and I've set Chromecasts up for several friends much like yourself and they've been elated with them.

    Netflix, Stan, Presto (which has a free 6mth trial on at present - go to Ozbargain to read about - better act fast). :)
    filobiblic likes this.
  7. glenos

    glenos Member 2018 Sabbatical 2015 Sabbatical

    Actually, I am pretty IT savvy, I have a RPi B connected to an external HDD running as a file server for backups and photo/video storage, it also runs a web server and uses some bash and python scripts (which I wrote) to control the temperature of a fridge I use as a fermentation chamber for my home brew, +/-0.2°C control.

    I just wasn't sure what was around and whether I needed to go full HTPC or there is a simpler solution. I saw a couple of Android boxes while I was in China and they looked nifty, albeit hard to understand because they were in mandarin.

    Handy to know the RPi 2 can handle it, I love the RPi B I have. I guess I would need a NAS to serve the files from.
  8. stillshunter

    stillshunter a man of resolve, a man of conviction State Convenor - ACT Group Buy Associate 2015 Sabbatical Fail

    Watching this with interest, as I bought an android Kaiser Baas unit and have found it rubbish. Not it's fault that I can no longer watch BBC, Channel 4 or even iTV - stupid regional ban thing that Hola can't help with no more. Anyway, the Kaiser Baas interface makes the whole experience super frustrating, so been thinking of alternatives.

    Also anyone know how to get BBC, etc, back again?
  9. MrT

    MrT Commander of Soap State Rep - NSW Group Buy Associate

    Also had the B, but the 2 was a bit step up in the snappiness of the UI.

    I have plex server installed on my desktop, and Rasplex on the Pi. All very easy.

    Rasplex is your only option if you go down the plex route, but if you do XBMC you have a few choices. But I like plex because it means my desktop does all the heavy lifting (like cataloging and transcoding if need be), and the RPi is just a thin client. Plus you can have as many clients as you like, including multiple Pis or any iOS or android device. The Pi has hardware h264 and MPEG 2 decoding, which is all I have so no transcoding is ever actually done, and the Pi cpu use is minimal.

    I'd be happy to sell you my old RPiB if you want it. $20 delivered and it's yours. It still runs Rasplex fine, just not as snappy.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2015
  10. MrT

    MrT Commander of Soap State Rep - NSW Group Buy Associate

    I use unblockus. Costs $5 USD per month. It will make the region blocking a thing of the past for any device that uses it.

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