Multimedia setup question

Just a question someone might hopefully be able to answer. I have very limited knowledge of all the various technologies of pushing content to networked TV’s etc as I always just watch it on the computer.

I finally have an independant TV in the other room, I have a very beefy computer for all my multimedia so I can do multiple screens and all that if I wanted to. The built in smart tv software is decent however the controller is just too clunky, web browser disfunctional, things I can do are limited etc etc. I have kodi set up pushing media over the network which works fine, however it’s still not the level I’m looking for, the remote is still an annoying way to control things and I’d rather be able to easily do everything on the TV when I’m in the room.

Now I could run a bunch of cables, HDMI, USB, sound etc through. However the cables would have to be pretty long, getting them through 2 rooms and a hall annoying, and it feels like something I should be able to avoid doing. Equally I could get another computer and just use the TV as the monitor for that, then VNC or something however that doesn’t feel great either. I imagine some Rasberry Pi based solution would be the best case for this. I’d also rather avoid battery powered devices where possible.

Ultimately I want to be able to just view my computer desktop from my TV and use a, preferably wired, mouse and keyboard to use everything I need, while video playback etc still works as intended. I’m sure this is a really simple and common question however, as I said, I haven’t ever used a TV for this stuff before.

Thanks for helping a multimedia moron out!

The answer, as (almost) always is, it depends! :smirk:

How important is it that you can “View your computer” ? If this is a must, then a VNC or some other remote desktop solution is the way to go. You could then use a pi or other simple embedded system to connect. You’ll need a good wireless keyboard / mouse / touchpad device, but there a re a few of them about.

A VNC sessin is not, however, the best way to stream video, for that you’ll be better off using a dedicated media app. I’d recommend Kodi or something along those lines. This will give you an awesome interface when all you’re doing is playing back your media. I’d set it up so that your main media PC had the media on network shares, and Kodi connects and indexes the content that way.

The only draw back for this solution is that when you want to do the desktop stuff, you’ll be quitting Kodi and launching your remote desktop session.

My main questions, before going too much further would be:

  1. Do you envisage needing to do 2 desktop things at once?
  2. How do you feel about switching apps / contexts when you go from computing to playing media?

I won’t be doing two things at once nor do I mind context switching when I do, that’s fine.

I already have kodi set up with the upnp thing, if there is a better UI I would love it, the kodi UI on my computer looks nice but on the TV its just the native TV player. I have to hold down the arrows for 5-10 mins to fast forward to the end of a video and if I pause it then go away for ten minutes the TV complains about losing connection then I have to restart. Aka not ideal

As for the other things, my web browser on the TV doesnt load a lot of pages nicely, the remote based input is unavoidably terrible and more recently the cursor on the app has decided it doesnt want to move at all, not impressed by it at all. I probably could go through the various support systems and get my web browser working against after 4 hours on a phone but it’s still a crappy experience of the web at its best.

That is basically my usage. Ability to check a couple of social programs and check on my torrents etc would be a bonus but I can setup some web server to show the torrents and there might be smart tv apps for some social things, else I have my phone.

Using a raspberry pi would be an acceptable solution if it works, however the TV is 4k and I just worry the pi can’t handle that. Also if you tell me that the best solution would just be to buy some 15 metre cables and drill some holes, I’ll do that, I just feel like in 2015 there should be a better way to do it.

Hmm. 4K makes it a little tricky. I was going to recommend a streaming box, but none of them, other then the nVidia shield STB, which is reasonably expensive, (and not even Available here in Australia) do 4K.

The pi can be made to display 4K, but I don’t think it’s really up for 4K video at this point.

I feel for you on the built in apps. Most of the UI’s for consumer devices are appalling, or painful at best.

If your bits of gear are located such that a a 15m cable is actually do-able, it might well be the lowest friction solution. At 15m you may need an active cable for 4K support though. I’ve not used it personally, but something like this may do the trick. I’m sure you can get it cheaper if you look around. I’ve heard of wireless 4K capable HDMI transmitters, but I’ve not yet seen one in the wild.

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