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OK so I'm REALLY new to this so please have a little patience. This is what I would like to do...
I would love to dl my movies onto an external hard drive and be able to watch them on my dlp tv set. What I have read here it seems possible. Can someone dumb it down for me or point me in the right direction of what I need to do or is this even possible?
Thanks in advance
Buzz
Alright my friend...

It's a tad hard to know how much you really know and don't know, but I'll go for what you exactly write, namely that a) you know very little about movie playback onto a TV and b) you want to know exactly what you describe.

Playback on TV generally speaking
Most TV's have either HDMI or a VGA input and many have both. In order to play downloaded movies you just need to hook up a computer to the TV with a HDMI or VGA cable and off you are picture wise.

Then you of course needs sound, which is easy with HDMI as it supports also sound input (if TV and graphics card support it). Otherwise the TV may have some line-in in the shape of 3.5mm jack plug or RCA in which case you need to get a 3.5mm => 3.5mm cable or RCA cable.

Playback software
If you are as green to all this as it seems, I would suggest sticking to some simple solution to start with, such as using VLC Media Player for playback, via Windows or Linux, and from your ordinary PC. Using XBMC for Windows would indeed be a nicer solution, but if you're a total newbie you should at least start by getting the simplest possible setup to work, then move onto XBMC if you want something better, but at the same time slightly more advanced.

In the case you run Windows7, it also has a semi-decent built in media center (simply called Windows Media Center).
OK so it looks like I'm in the neighborhood I want to be in.
What about Western Digital WDTV? I've read a little about it and it sounds like an easier solution but I don't know if it plays dvd files. By the way does XBMC play dvd files?

What happens if I already have an HDMI plugged in and no other HDMI port? Is there a splicer available?

Thanks for the 6th grade level reading. Please keep it simple.
Buzz
WDTV doesn't run XBMC. XBMC can play DVD files. HDMI switchers are needed to give you more HDMI ports.
Buzzard Wrote:Thanks for the 6th grade level reading. Please keep it simple.
Buzz

Alright, good (dont want to offend anyone) Smile

So, from what I gather you have a PC. Is it running windows and in such case which version (XP, Vista or 7)?

You say the hdmi port is already in use, is that for your monitor? If so I'll assume you have stationary PC (not a laptop). Does it also have a VGA or a DVI port available?
Hey,
Sorry to derail but I read about the WD Hub machine that hooks up with your TV. You also get 1TB of storage. I'm thinking this might be the way to go. Is this a decent option?
Thanks
Buzz
Buzzard Wrote:Hey,
Sorry to derail but I read about the WD Hub machine that hooks up with your TV. You also get 1TB of storage. I'm thinking this might be the way to go. Is this a decent option?
Thanks
Buzz

What would help is to actually tell us what you have. What kind of computers, what video card and what OS (Windows,Mac etc) is on them. Tell us the brand and model TV you have and we can check the specs. The WDTV boxes are good but don't forget that you still have to have a way to get movies on that 1TB drive which means a computer.
Dobyken is right and it's the direction I was heading myself. Given your very basic IT skills, I'd go for a simple but functional solution (which would not be XBMC*) and providing us some input about what you have at hand would make us able to give some tips and advice.

Without knowing your setup, I can still offer the following general advice:

  • Get the cables needed to connect video and audio to your TV (by means of VGA/DVI and 3.5mm-to-RCA or 3.5mm or whatever is relevant)
  • If the OS is not Win7, then download VLC media player, it will run just about any content and with good and easy to use settings management.
  • If the OS is Win7, then just use the built in Media Center, but download and have VLC at hand for any content which Win MC does not want to play (due to codecs, copyright issues etc)
  • The WDTV looks like a very versatile and well priced first step product, but why buy something if you have most of the components you need already (bar some cables)?
* I'm decently computer literate, but let me tell you that half of the questions and answers on this forum are -far- beyond my level...
Orclas Wrote:Dobyken is right and it's the direction I was heading myself. Given your very basic IT skills, I'd go for a simple but functional solution (which would not be XBMC*) and providing us some input about what you have at hand would make us able to give some tips and advice.

Without knowing your setup, I can still offer the following general advice:

  • Get the cables needed to connect video and audio to your TV (by means of VGA/DVI and 3.5mm-to-RCA or 3.5mm or whatever is relevant)
  • If the OS is not Win7, then download VLC media player, it will run just about any content and with good and easy to use settings management.
  • If the OS is Win7, then just use the built in Media Center, but download and have VLC at hand for any content which Win MC does not want to play (due to codecs, copyright issues etc)
  • The WDTV looks like a very versatile and well priced first step product, but why buy something if you have most of the components you need already (bar some cables)?
* I'm decently computer literate, but let me tell you that half of the questions and answers on this forum are -far- beyond my level...

XBMC scales. It's very easy to use if you only use basic features, making it no harder to use than VLC or WMP, but with a better GUI and more. If you want to manage a massive library of movie files with cover art, summaries, trailers, smart playlists, synced libraries, launching emulators, managing automatic downloads, custom skins, multiple profiles, live tv, dimming room lights, and so on, then yeah, it gets harder. It is up to the user how far down the rabbit hole they wish to go.
All agreed, except I'd argue that a versatile alternative like VLC is the most fool proof and simple to use alternative available, since it most of the time only takes as much as a) locate file/folder b) double click file (alternatively drag'n drop file/folder) c) double click window to toggle full screen d) watch the movie.

Beyond that, it's of course not comparable to what for example XBMC offers, it's only just darn simple (even compared to Win MC) and I could probably even teach my dad to use it for basic playback (and that says a lot...) :p