If you’ve ever wanted to share a funny cat video with friends or family, then you already know what a hassle it can be to gather everyone around a single tiny PC monitor. You think to yourself, “There has got to be an easier way to share hilarious internet cat antics with my kin.” As it turns out, you’re absolutely right. There are many ways to stream content from your PC or Mac computer to your TV set.
Note that the methods mentioned below require, at the very least, an HDTV or 3D TV, a PC (which usually needs to be running Windows 7 or XP), and, in most cases, a broadband connection. If you can muster that much, here’s how to stream video from your desktop or laptop to your television.
Use Windows Media Player – The Windows Media Player application, bundled with Windows 7, lets you stream videos, pictures, music, and more from your PC to your HDTV. If you’re interested in learning how to set up Windows Media Player for your television, visit Microsoft’s website for specific instructions.
Consider using Netflix, Hulu Plus, and other paid streaming services – Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus are simple to use, and are a great way to keep up with television shows, movies, and more. You typically need to pay a monthly fee to use them, but their ease of use and picture quality are unsurpassed as far as streaming technology goes.
Plug your computer into your HDTV – Most HDTVs have connectors specifically for a computer. Of course, it’s much easier to plug in a laptop, if you have one! Once your computer is hooked up, watching PC-based videos on your TV is a breeze. This YouTube video has easy-to-follow instructions for hooking up your PC directly to your TV.
Wi-Fi connections are an option – If you’re not big into the idea of wires criss-crossing your living room, keep in mind that there are ways to stream the contents of your PC to your television wirelessly. This can be a little tricky, though, so PC World has a write-up explaining how to engineer a wireless connection for your video streams.
Use your PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 – Your Xbox 360 is more than a game console: it’s a veritable media hub. You can use the system to play content from your PC on your television. Microsoft’s Xbox website has detailed setup instructions if you need them. Note that Sony’s PlayStation 3 offers similar solutions as well.
Looking for more advice on how to stream content from your PC onto your TV? Visit:
From PC to TV at Microsoft
Are you a movie aficionado who drops a lot of money every month at the cinema? Maybe it’s time to consider building your own home theater. There are several compelling reasons to do it: the price of movie tickets is rising steadily, a bag of popcorn slathered in something akin to oily, melted plastic costs an arm and a leg, and the time gap between theatre releases and DVD/Blu-ray releases is steadily closing.
Of course, if you relish the public movie experience as it exists now—screaming kids, people talking on cellphones, sticky floors—that’s cool, too. Keep on keepin’ on. If you’re ready for something a little more personal and exclusive, though, here’s what you need to know about building an in-home system. Check out the following home theater buying guide for hints, tips and advice when shopping for hardware:
Go with an HD screen, but consider your viewing distance – Needless to say, you’re going to want an HD display for your movies. The question is, how big do you want that screen to be? “Bigger is better” seems like a philosophy you should subscribe to automatically, but that’s not necessarily the case. Only you can be the judge of what “works,” so go with your gut, but PC World’s home theatre buying guide reminds consumers of a general rule: “The diagonal screen size should not be larger than about half your seating distance. With a 42-inch TV, for example, you probably should not watch from closer than about 7 feet.”
Multiple-disc carousels are good – Getting up and down to change discs can be a bit of a hassle. A multi-disc setup will cut down on the number of times you need to stand up to change the movie, which will keep you in a viewing mood.
Start with three speakers – There’s little point in going nutty with your home theatre purchases at first, especially if you’re on a budget. Start by buying three speakers: left, right, and center. If you like what you hear, you can add satellite speakers and sub-woofers later on.
Make sure your AV receiver supports Dolby Digital decoding – For many movie-goers, sound quality makes the biggest difference between the public and home theatre experiences. Make sure your AV receivers can support Dolby Digital Recording, preferably Dolby Pro Logic II. Your home videos and regular music CDs will sound a lot cooler, too.
Make sure you buy from a store with a good return policy – You’re probably going to engage in a lot of hemming, hawing, and experimentation before you finally settle on a theater setup that works best for your living room. Make sure your purchases all come from a store that has a decent exchange/return policy—not to mention patient, helpful sales clerks.
Setting up a system is a big job, so for more information and home theater buying guides, check out:
How to Buy a Home Theater System at PC World
Things to Look Out For Before Buying a Home Theater System at Economic Times
Home Theater Buying Guide at How Stuff Works
Do you have old, used-up electronics sitting around your house? It’s a sure bet that you do. Maybe you’ve even accumulated enough old stuff to start building little model cities and tributes to ancient races gone by. Did you know there are ways to get money for your used electronics? It’s a much better alternative to throwing them out, given that many electronic devices contain metals and liquids that are poisonous (often classified as “E-waste”) and therefore shouldn’t be discarded in a typical landfill.
Given the shortening life span of modern electronics (that brand-new iPhone in your pocket will be fit for a museum in less than five years), it’s not feasible to just let your old stuff pile up in your house. Next time you’re looking to do a spring cleaning, keep these methods of making money off your old gadgets and electronics in mind:
Bring it Back to Best Buy for Store Credit – Best Buy participates in an electronics recycling program for old video games, tablets, computers, smartphones, mp3 players, and more. You can assess the value of your old product online, or you can bring it into a participating store. (U.S. only.) Depending on your item’s worth, you’ll either receive a gift card for trading it in, or if the product has no value, the store will recycle it for free.
Trade it Back to Amazon for Online Credit (and Free Shipping) – Amazon.com likewise has a trade-in program that rewards recyclers with store credit—and your products don’t even have to come from Amazon to qualify for said credit. You simply look up the value of your item online, print a shipping label to send it off (shipping is free!), and get a gift card for the agreed-upon amount.
Sell Your Electronics on eBay – And then there’s the ol’ standby: sell your electronics on eBay. Of course, it’s initially a bit of a hassle to set up your online store, assess the value of your electronics, sell them, deal with customers, then ship them, but you’ll receive actual cash for your items. Moreover, you have far more control over their presentation and pricing.
ExchangeMyPhone.com – As its name suggests, Exchange my Phone is a website that lets you exchange various models of smartphone for cash. You get a quote based on the condition of the quote, have it shipped to EXMP’s headquarters (shipping is free), and are paid via PayPal or cheque. You can also choose to make a tax-deductible donation to one of several charities.
Gazelle.com – Gazelle lets you sell electronics of all kinds, including smartphones, tablets, and pretty much everything Apple has produced since the iMac. Your electronics are evaluated, shipped to Gazelle’s headquarters for free, and you receive a cheque, a PayPal deposit, or an Amazon gift card.
Consider Donating! – There are tons of organizations that are always looking for older cellphones and electronics that can be re-issued to other recipients. As was mentioned above, ExchangeMyPhone can donate your old electronics and issue a receipt. You can also bring your used electronics to a Goodwill outlet that participates in the Reconnect program. They’ll refurbish and redistribute your items.