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Which laptop for streaming video?

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Gentmark, Feb 7, 2009.

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  1. Gentmark

    Gentmark Notebook Enthusiast

    Jun 22, 2008
    I want a laptop for streaming video from the internet. I am doing this to get rid of my cable.
    I may use it for web browsing, but the main function is for viewing television.

    Also, what connections would I need for analog televisions.

    The reason that I want a laptop instead of a desktop is so that I can move it around to different rooms. I don't want to be stuck in my living room.

    If you have any information regarding tv tuners, or local channels via an antenna that would be appreciated also. I am a newbie to watching television on the internet, but it drives me crazy to pay the cable company $67 a month, especially when I only watch maybe 20 channels out of 250. Of course the cheaper packages don't have the 20 channels that I watch.
  2. jonhapimp

    jonhapimp Notebook Virtuoso

    Jul 20, 2007
    please fill out an FAQ and give a budget and you will probably have to buy an external tv tuner when you get your laptop
  3. jonlumpkin

    jonlumpkin NBR Transmogrifier

    Sep 19, 2008
    Almost any laptop will be able to handle streaming video just fine. I would simply recommend something with a decent screen. You would probably be best served by a WXGA (1280x800 or 1366x768) glossy screen of ≈15 inches. Integrated graphics will also be fine as long as you don't game.

    For hooking up to a TV you should look for the following ports. S-Video (common on most TVs made after 1995), provides decent quality (can also convert to RCA (Yellow prong) with a simple adapter). VGA (common on many LCD and Plasma TVs), almost all laptops have this. HDMI (found on all newer TVs), digital connection, provides HD video and audio on a single cable. HDMI carries audio, but for VGA and S-Video you will also need an 1/8" (headphone) to RCA (White/Red) converter cable.

    A good resource for free to air channels in your area is AntennaWeb. You simply enter your address and it will list all of the broadcasters in your area, locations, distance, and the type of antenna (e.g. small omni-directional or amplified directional) to receive those channels.

    For receiving these channels on your laptop you have a few options.

    A TV tuner will allow you to tune/record directly on the laptop (with an attached antenna). Some laptops have this tuner built in, but you would probably be better served by a USB model (can transfer if you replace your laptop). Hauppage tends to make one of the better tuners.

    One other option that is highly intriguing, but I haven't yet tried, is the HD Home Run. This is a set top box that attaches to your network (wired or 802.11N is preferred, but 802.11G might work). The nice thing about this is you can feed multiple computers and you don't need to cart a TV antenna along with your laptop. However, if you don't already have an 802.11N router it will be more expensive than a simple tuner.
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