Watch downloaded movies on your television

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Watch downloaded movies on your television

Post by ZiN »

Original Guide created by TFO. Updated by someboy and `·. ZiN `·.

Your PC's monitor is great for high-resolution graphics and crystal-clear text when you are browsing the Internet or sending emails, but wouldn't you prefer to watch your downloaded movies on your TV from the comfort of your sofa?

You could use the files you download and convert them to a format your standalone DVD player can play (e.g. VCD/SVCD/DVD-R). We have many guides in our tutorial section on how to do this but it does have its drawbacks. One notable drawback is time, as conversion could take anything from an hour to all night, depending on the processing power of your PC.

The alternative is to leave the file as it is, and have your PC play the movie through your TV. I should point out that this too has its disadvantages in that it is less convenient to use your PC's keyboard instead of your DVD player's remote (although you can now get wireless keyboards which double up as remote controls), and a noisy PC fan can overwhelm the sound during quiet sections.

The way you watch your video therefore comes down to personal preference. This is a guide to a typical PC to TV setup and the common problems encountered. Since there are numerous possible configurations of hardware and software, no guide can be completely comprehensive, but I hope that you will find it useful and informative.

Video Connections
The three most common methods of getting your PC to display a picture on your TV are summarized below; more detailed information and other methods can be found in the Further Reading section at the end of this guide.


A. S-Video
S-video will give superior image quality, and you should use this system, if available, in preference to composite video.

You will need an S-Video cable:


and a TV with an S-Video in


or an S-Video enabled SCART socket with a suitable adapter.


You should consult your TV's user guide to find out if its SCART sockets are S-Video compalible. Bear in mind that if the TV has several SCART sockets, only certain ones may work with an S-Video signal.

B. Super S-Video
Like S-Video but with 7 pins allowing the signal to carry extra information. The other three pins can have then some extra signals which are not part of S-video (usually some pins of those carry composite video and some control signals, but the use of those three extra pins vary quite much).


C. Composite Video
If your graphics card only has an S-Video connector you can still use composite video using an S-Video to composite converter. You will usually get one bundled with the card.


For composite video you need a composite video cable:


and a TV with either a composite video in socket


or a SCART socket with suitable adapter.


DVI Digital Visual Interface

DVI is another option you may use to connect your TV to your PC. Most new HD sets come with DVI inputs. If your computer uses DVI you may want to use this option.

The DVI connector usually contains pins to pass the DVI-native digital video signals.


The DVI connector on a device is therefore given one of three names, depending on which signals it implements:

* DVI-D (digital only)
* DVI-A (analog only)
* DVI-I (digital & analog)


Audio Connections
Modern sound cards have several connections that can give digital surround sound if you have the correct hardware and speaker system, this guide will just cover basic stereo sound. For most users, the easiest way to hear the sound from the AVI file is to connect the TV to the line-out jack in your PC's soundcard. You will need a stereo 3.5mm jack (aka 1/8 miniplug) to 2 xRCA (aka phono) cable.


Plug the jack into the line-out socket on your PC's soundcard which is usually coloured green. Unfortunately you will need to unplug your PC speakers, unless you buy a 3.5mm splitter similar to this one:


The two RCA plugs go into your TV; make sure the colours match up and that you are using the same AV channel that you connected the video signal to - in the pictures above you can see the red and white RCA sockets next to the video inputs. The red one carries the right audio channel, and the white one (sometimes this is black not white) carries the left channel.

If you have a dedicated home cinema receiver with Dolby Pro-logic decoder, then you should connect the RCA plugs directly to this. You will get much better sound than from the speakers in your TV, which are normally small and tiny in comparison. If you have downloaded a file with AC3 sound, the Dolby Digital information can be down-mixed to a 2-channel Dolby Surround soundtrack which the receiver will be able to decode.

Video Card Driver Settings
The importance of video card drivers is often understated when it comes to video playback. Sometimes problems that you might think are caused by the media player or the codecs can be rectified by changing from hue colour (32 bit) to high colour (16 bit) mode in Display Properties, or by updating your display drivers.

I am not saying that you should always use the very latest drivers for your video card, if you are experiencing no problems then stick with your current version. You can however carry out a simple diagnostic test to determine if problems are related to your video drivers. If setting the "Hardware Acceleration Level" to "None" in Display Properties rectifies a particular problem then you should try a driver update first, before tweaking your player or codec settings.

Video cards with ATi Radeon chipsets
Open the Display Properties dialogue from the control panel or the desktop right-click menu, and click the "Displays" tab. (In later driver versions the Displays tab is located under Settings -> Advanced.) If the TV is connected correctly you should now be able to enable it by clicking the red button above the picture of the TV; it will turn green (1). Now click IV (2), and in the format tab ensure that the correct TV format used in your country is selected (3).


When you play your AVI file, the video will only appear on the primary display, so you must set your TV as primary by clicking the button shown (4).
Many monitors do not support the PAL refresh rate of 50 Hz, and some could even be damaged if the video card attempts it — in any case, a 50 Hz refresh rate on your monitor will give you severe eyestrain! Therefore, set the monitor as clone (5), this allows you to keep your monitor at its existing refresh rate.

Video cards with NVIDIA GeForce chipsets
1. Right click on desktop - then left click properties - then settings - then advanced.


2. Click on geforce - then display mode - which gives you dual mode or clone - click clone, then set up TV to NTSC or PAL depending on your TV, also set PC to primary & TV to secondary. (All these are done through display mode.)


3. Click overlay controls - you should have something that says full screen device, this will be disabled, click it to secondary, this will give you fullscreen on both displays.


4. Using this method it may ask for the screen size to change, it will be automatic, just click yes and resize it back after it is set up, as long as the leads are connected all the time, on reboot you won't need to change screen size again.

Television Setup
If you have followed the guide so far, your computer should now be connected to one of your TV's AV channels. Turn on your TV and select this channel now. I am guessing that 50% of readers who get to this stage will have a black-and-white image of their desktop on the TV. (If you are one of the other 50%, then well done you may skip this next part!)

This is most likely because either:
• You incorrectly set the PAL/NTSC format setting in the video card drivers. See the above section on driver settings.
• The TV is expecting the input to be a composite video signal, and you are feeding it an S-Video signal (or vice versa).

To correct the latter, use the on-screen menu system of your TV to tell it whether you have connected a composite or S-Video signal.


The picture on the screen should now be in colour. If you have a widescreen TV you can set your display to "Zoom" or "Cinema" for any widesceen movies you have downloaded.

Last edited by ZiN on Sun Feb 25, 2007 12:37 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Wantos »

This doesn't add anything to directly connecting your computer to your television, but if you have a router and are planning on buying a new graphics card only to connect your computer to your TV, then it's worth it to consider buying a standalone DVD player with an ethernet connection. The advantage is that you don't have to set your computer and TV close together, so you won't have the noise of the computer. 20 meter ethernet cables can be bought everywhere.

One of these DVD players is a KiSS DP-1504.

1) Connect an ethernet cable to the back of the DVD player.


2) Connect the other end to your router.

3) Download a server application like FreeKiSS, fill in the ip address of the DVD player assigned by your router (i.e and specifiy the folder on your hard drive with the videos (or music/images).


4) Turn on your TV and DVD player. Browse through the movies, music or images on the hard drive of your computer via your TV screen, select whatever you want to play and click the 'OK' button.


Keep in mind though that you are limited to the capabilities of the DVD player. Most DVD players do not support AVI videos encoded with options like QPel, GMC, Packed Bitstream and 2 consecutive B-frames. AVI's with a frame size bigger than 720x576 (PAL) and 720x480 (NTSC) or AVI's with DTS audio are also not supported by most DVD players.


Post by mitsikid »

I use a Modchipped Xbox Running XBMC as a dashboard with an internal 200gb HD. My Pc is linked to the Xbox via FTP. I use Flash FXP to transfer files to the Xbox at speeds of up to 8000kbs. The Xbox has managed to play every type of media I've thrown at it including .bin files. Xbox's are dirt cheap now due to the release of the 360. You also have the added bonus that it plays games aswell. There are loads of tutorials across the net about Xbox modifications so spend a little time reading through them & you can have a very good versitile Media Center for very little money.

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TV connection tutorial

Post by Lord FlashHeart »

Just wanted to add that ATI users can switch from monitor to TV and back with alt + F5 which is invaluable to people using standard def large screen TV's and small fonts. Also knowing the hotkeys for your media player are handy for the same reason.
I know VLC uses F for fullscreen and back, space for play pause, P plays the movie from the beginning again, Keypad + and - to speed and slow the movie, M for mute, there's more I've forgotten I'm sure...

And if you have to cover a bit of distance, dont be a tightwad on the lead, a cheaper one will be all distortion and interferance by the time it covers 20 meters or so.

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Another way to watch avi files on your tv

Post by Wingnutt »

I just finished reading your guide to connecting your tv to your pc. Great job. However there is also another method for watching avi files on your tv that I use and thats purchasing a DVD player that plays Divx/XviD files. These can be had for as little as $60. You can find a list on The one I have is the Philips DVP 642. It is progressive scan and has the full range of outputs. I paid $59 for it and it works great. Then I just burn movies to a DVD/RW or CD/RW and play. You can even put entire seasons of tv on 1 or 2 discs and select the episode you want to watch or the player will play them in sequence. Player also outputs to either NTSC or PAL. Just thought this may be an attractive method for the less technically inclined members or those who cant conviently connect their tv to their pc. If you find this info helpful please feel free to add it to your post on connecting your tv to your pc

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