RT Cunningham

Stream Videos from your Laptop Computer to your Television

There are three ways to stream videos from your laptop computer to your television. One is with a device that broadcasts the videos, like the Chromecast dongle by Google. Another is to connect one or more cables from your laptop computer to your television.

The third way depends on the capabilities of your Smart TV, if that’s what you own. You can use Wi-Fi or you can use an Ethernet cable. The capabilities depend on the age of your Smart TV. I’ve never owned a Smart TV and I probably never will, so I can’t say anything more about it.

To Stream or Not to Stream

I guess it depends on the video. If you’re going to watch videos from Netflix, you obviously need to stream them. If you have a Smart TV capable of doing it, you can probably run an Ethernet cable from your router to your TV, completely bypassing the need for a laptop computer.

Most modern televisions, “smart” or otherwise, have more ports than you will ever use. The two key ports are the USB and HDMI ports.

You can watch a lot of videos by copying them to a USB stick and plugging that stick into the TV. Of course, you then have to select the correct TV input option with your remote.

There’s a bug with the playback firmware in a lot of televisions where videos will quit at about the one hour and 15 minute mark. My TV is like that.

Using the HDMI ports to Stream Videos

I won’t get into the older methods of connecting cables. In my opinion, it isn’t worth the effort. With HDMI ports, it is.

It doesn’t matter the order in which you do it with the HDMI ports. Once you boot your laptop and connect the HDMI cable, you can play with your options.

In Windows 10, right-click the start menu icon and select “Mobility Center”. When you choose the secondary or external monitor, both the video and audio will redirect to your TV. With the TV, select the correct HDMI input with your remote.

Various Linux distributions have their own methods, so I won’t get into it.

Me and the Videos I Stream

I don’t like messing with movies on the TV. If I want to watch a movie that isn’t being broadcast over cable, I’ll use my laptop computer to watch it.

Prompted by others, I started using the USB method in 2015. Again, most movies fail at a certain point. Yesterday, I hooked up my Windows laptop by HDMI for the first time. I had a movie stream going within five minutes.

Many of the newer DVD players can play AVI, MKV and MP4 files. It shouldn’t be difficult to use one to stream videos if nothing else seems to work. I wouldn’t know how, of course, because I haven’t used a DVD player for anything in more than 11 years.

I’m not a big fan of watching videos, regardless of what I may write about from time to time. It eats up too much time. Unfortunately, the people around me don’t think as I do.

February 2, 2017
Entertainment and Recreation

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