Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Adventures in Technology... Part 3

Watching HD Content on yer Big Telly for Free

(or... A cost effective and capable way of getting your HD video, music and pictures to play on your big telly)

So, I succumbed....

After many years not really that fussed about having a big telly, something broke and I got one over Xmas.

A great deal, (of course!) ..... and one of the main reasons was to actually be able to watch some HD content (the main reason actually) - having recently being drawn in by the quality and colour on other folks big telly's.

Now, the expensive way to watch HD, currently, is to go the full overpriced Sky HD route. Not an option. Other way is to buy a blu-ray player and discs - also too overpriced.

Third way - cheapest AND bestest (IMHO) is to set up a link that will play streamed content from your computer / mac / t'internet connection. HD and non-HD alike.

So, after days of searching a cheap but reliable and do-able way of what is available on the market, this is what I came up with...

Its called the Hisense 1080P Media Player.

It took a day to arrive after searching out the best price (around £50 delivered - ask me :-)

Very easy to set up out of the box, here is what you need to get it all working....

Big Telly (preferably with HDMI input)
HDMI Cable
Ethernet cable
Hisense Media Player
Computer (preferable a Mac of course :-) - with internet connection
Router or Ethernet Crossover Cable

Set up is

Connect Hisense with big telly using HDMI cable
Connect Hisense to Router (or direct to Mac using Ethernet Crossover cable)
Connect Mac to Router and Internet


Digging into the Hisense on screen menu soon 'sees' the Mac.
This is where it took me a while to figure out how to set up the Mac to share folders or directories with the Hisense, much pulling out of hair, but was dead simple in the end

Its all down to enable the SMB sharing facilty in your Mac's system preferences, basicially, SMB needs to be turned ON, for each folder you want the Hisense to see, thats all

Once connected and files placed in the Mac sharing folder, the Hisense is able to stream them over to your big telly effortlessy - pics, music, and movies, no fuss (there is a setting on the Hisense that you need to set to turn any .png image files into .jpgs, as the unit doesnt play raw .png files...)

So, the HD content, where do we get that from?

Well, its all out there in abundance on t'internet, just do a search for HD TV and torrent - there are some great sites that offer things like all the BBC and Sky HD programmes (bear i mind that these are recorded and not live streams though).

The Hisense also has 2 USB sockets on the side, and offer the ability to plug in USB content loaded sticks, or a USB Hard Drive, from which you can play content from.

And a uPnP setting, which I managed to get some live internet radio and iTunes stuff playing through, I think in a short time someone will make a dedicated uPnP server bit of software that works properly with this unit, I tried a few with limited success...

I am chuffed that I got this setup working, all made worthwhile when I watched a movie called 'Home' by Yann Arthus-Bertrand in full HD glory. Jaw dropped. Normal telly has now officially lost its appeal.

Bon Appetite!

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