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Author Topic: Connecting a laptop to these newfangled fancy-dancy TVs
Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted April 03, 2011 05:04      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've been googling, but I'm confused, so I am turning to the Knowledge Bank(tm) that is GeekCulture. Here's my predicament: I would like to watch videos downloaded via the Internet on my TV. It's an AOC Envision with a boatload of ports. My laptop is a MacBook. Can I connect the two machines using one cable, or will I need an adapter or converter (like my mom has to use with her (much older) TV and computer)?

Have any of you used Apple TV? Do you recommend it?

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Sprocket
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Icon 1 posted April 03, 2011 05:08      Profile for Sprocket   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Most tvs now have VGA input, I dont know whether Apple gives you a VGA out for an external monitor, but that is the best way I have found to use a laptop with a Tv for a monitor!

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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted April 03, 2011 05:21      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So I could use something like this? http://www.cablestogo.com/product.asp?cat_id=3446&sku=52054

Is there any way to do it cable-less? I'm thinking about getting a wireless router. Could I plug the TV into the router and use the AirPort on the laptop to control what shows up on the TV's screen?

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Zwilnik

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Icon 1 posted April 03, 2011 12:00      Profile for Zwilnik   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If you get a $99 Apple TV you can use AirPlay to wirelessly view your videos from the MacBook (and iPhone/iPad/iPod) on the TV

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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted April 03, 2011 12:42      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yeah, I was looking at the Apple TV because we could stream Netflix and other programs directly. But, I kinda like the idea of a wireless router because I could plug my printer in there and wouldn't need to connect my printer directly to the computer. Except, the printer and the cable modem are on two different sides of the room. Hmm.

Can you tell I hate making decisions like this?

EDIT: Oh, and we don't have any videos downloaded to the computer, nor do we have Apple phones. I sometimes watch shows on hulu.com, but I'd like to do it on the TV so I'm not tying up the laptop. Also, it would be easier to see on the TV than on the computer, obviously. [Smile]

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MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted April 03, 2011 12:50      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Unless you have an absolutely super-colossal AMAZING TV, you're not going to be able to plug it into a network, and even if you can, your results will be less than awesome.

The most amazing/awesome/cool way to go about doing what you want to do is to get an AppleTV. This is a great solution because it's basically just plug in and go.

The most geeky/do-it-yourself/roll-your-own way to go about doing what you want to do is to build a Linux-based Media-Center PC using something like MythBuntu or another Linux with MythTV installed. This is extremely customizable, but can be kind of expensive and a little tricky to set up.

The simplest/cheapest/easiest way to do it is to buy one of the cables on this page and connect your laptop directly to the TV. (note: the cable you linked to won't work as that is a Male-Female cable and you need a Male-Male cable.)

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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted April 03, 2011 13:49      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hmm. So what I could do is buy a random wireless router so the laptop is not tethered to the cable modem, and buy one of the m/m cables to which you linked, MMKK, so the TV and laptop would be tethered to each other. I could deal with that.

Any recs on wireless routers?

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted April 04, 2011 04:20      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
For a wired connection, "a boatload of ports" isn't a very useful description. Give us a model number and we can probably find a manual and figure out if there's a simple cable connection that you can make.

For a wireless connection, take your pick. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different wireless streaming solutions available.

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littlefish
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Icon 1 posted April 04, 2011 06:14      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Does it have a usb connector? Modern TVs can often play stuff directly from USB sticks. Does it have ethernet? Despite what MacManKrisK says, network connected TV's are not that uncommon these days.
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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted April 04, 2011 09:07      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If you use a VGA cable, you will have to get an adapter. If you use a DVI cable, you will have to get an adapter. The Mac cable adapters cost $30.

If your TV takes FireWire you can use that.

If your TV takes HDMI you can get a cable that runs from your Mac display port to the TV.

If your TV takes USB that will also work.

IIRC, when kreziserb and I have hooked our computers up to our TV we used a VGA cable and an adapter. I'm not sure if we've done it that way because it was the only way available to us or because we didn't want to rip our home apart looking for a spare USB.

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted April 04, 2011 14:11      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Rhonwyyn:
Any recs on wireless routers?

It is pricey, but the Apple Airport Extreme is a very fast solid piece of kit, with a setup that involves no technical mumbo jumbo, a USB port for an external drive for automatic Time Machine backups, and any firmware updates delivered automatically via Software Update.

There are much cheaper alternatives, but for anyone with a Mac, these really are worth the extra outlay, and so long as your Mac is new enough to do so, do use the Time Machine backup system. It's by far the best set and forget automatic backup system.

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quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted April 04, 2011 15:12      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
AFIAK, the MacBooks all have DVI or display port to DVI, so you'll need DVI to the back of the TV and a second cable for audio.
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zesovietrussian
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Icon 1 posted April 04, 2011 16:33      Profile for zesovietrussian     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You'll need a mini-DVI to VGA adapter for video and 3.5mm to RCA cable for audio, both are dirt-cheap on monoprice.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10218&cs_id=1021804&p_id=665&seq=1&format=2
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10419&cs_id=1041912&p_id=4850&seq=1&format=2

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MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted April 05, 2011 02:30      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by GrumpySteen:
[QB] For a wired connection, "a boatload of ports" isn't a very useful description. Give us a model number and we can probably find a manual and figure out if there's a simple cable connection that you can make.

^^what he said!

Everybody that is giving you answers (including me) is guessing at what ports your TV actually has. If you could give us a model number (which would be most likely printed on the back of the set) we could look up the owners manual and find out exactly what ports you have and then give you a much more helpful, precise, exact answer.

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted April 05, 2011 03:12      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
____ I just Googled name and series:AOC Envision:

http://us.aoc.com/television/lc32h063d

____ However I am sure that if the owner would RT$M she could find out more info. Some times the Manual even lists the cables needed!!

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MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted April 05, 2011 04:07      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Assuming MoMan is linking to the page that references the TV that you have, Rhonwyyn, you need the following cables, and zesovietrussian is correct that Monoprice is the place to get them.

Mini-DVI to VGA adapter (for MacBook): http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10419&cs_id=1041912&p_id=4850&seq=1&format=2

VGA Male-Male Cable with integrated 1/8" audio cable (pick one):
- 15 foot: http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10201&cs_id=1020105&p_id=3339&seq=1&format=2
- 25 foot: http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10201&cs_id=1020105&p_id=559&seq=1&format=2
- 50 foot: http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10201&cs_id=1020105&p_id=560&seq=1&format=2

Plug the Mini-DVI to VGA adapter (the little white thing) into the port on the side of your MacBook that has a little picture of a computer monitor on it.

Connect one of the big rectangular connectors from the long black cable to the other end of this adapter. Don't forget to screw in the little screws.

Plug the little round connector from the same end of the big black cable into the little port on the side of the MacBook that has a picture of headphones on it.

Plug the other big rectangular connector on the long black cable to the port on the back of the TV (on the back, near the bottom) that says "VGA." Don't forget to screw in the the little screws.

Plug the little round connector from the same end of the big black cable into the little port next to it that says "PC/DVI Audio In."

Locate the remote control and press the "TV" button to make sure the remote is in TV mode, then press the white and red power button on the upper-right side of the remote control to turn the TV on.

Press the "Input" button (near the lower-left) on the remote control, then press the down arrow to highlight "VGA" on the screen. Now press "OK/Enter" to select the VGA input.

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get rich and you still die"


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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted April 05, 2011 06:26      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
____ Oh, the joy of playing Solitaire from the recliner across the room.

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Benjamin Franklin,

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted April 05, 2011 08:24      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
TheMoMan wrote:
____ I just Googled name and series:AOC Envision:

http://us.aoc.com/television/lc32h063d


That's one of 26 different models that they sell and different ones have different ports.

All the manuals can be found here (not that it's particularly helpful without a model number to go by): http://us.aoc.com/support/downloads

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted April 05, 2011 09:34      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
____ Ahem


____ However I am sure that if the owner would RT$M she could find out more info. Some times the Manual even lists the cables needed!!

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Benjamin Franklin,

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted April 05, 2011 14:05      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Though I may not entirely agree with the presentation of the argument above, I agree with the idea behind it. (On that note, I know someone who kinda got nailed on a review along those lines.) Though many manuals stink, they are a good starting point! I'm sure they will spell out what connectors exist, etc. -- almost every manual has a 'here are all the plugs, buttons and doodads' diagram, even if they don't explain each one. A quick check of Wikipedia or Google Image Search can reveal what each plug looks like and/or explain the purpose.

It's damn near impossible to just have the answers on every 'newfangled fancy-dancy TV,' so more information is better (as Steen said, there are 26 diff. models). Assuming you have more than one computer (these days, who doesn't?), try out some bog standard cables (i.e. with a PC/desktop) and see how that works. Building on your initial successes, get the necessary parts to make it permanent. Or just buy a Roku/Boxee/Apple TV and be done with it.

P.S. It might help to liberally consult this:
http://xkcd.com/627/

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted April 05, 2011 14:57      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
Assuming you have more than one computer (these days, who doesn't?)

We got some new phones recently, as I was adding them to the list of approved devices on the home firewall, I realized our network now consists of...

3 phones
3 notebook/netbook computers
2 macs
1 PC
1 blu-ray player
1 Wii
1 printer
2 NAS boxes

That's 14 devices in a household of 4.

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted April 05, 2011 20:52      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
____ Well it appears that AOC does not disclose as much info a Sony.

http://esupport.sony.com/EN/tutorials/homeav/hookup_pc.html

____ I have also found such statements as not all Models have all these options (If so equipped) seems to be the catch phrase.

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Benjamin Franklin,

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littlefish
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Icon 1 posted April 06, 2011 06:52      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
TFD, that sounds more than reasonable. In our household of two on the network we have:
3 laptops
3 phones
2 NAS
1 PS3

The TV and printer are not networked, but could be, and the ipad is on order. The wii has never been unpacked since we moved 6 months ago.

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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted April 06, 2011 14:41      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Eek! I'm sorry to make y'all upset, guys (particularly Mr. MoMan). I didn't realize this was such a complicated question. When we connected Mom's PC and TV, we didn't have options: bought the right cables and a converter box and there you have it. That was several years ago, though, so I figured things would have improved by now.

I do have the manual for the TV, and I will look at it, but being as most things are geared toward PCs, I didn't know if Macs were different.

Also, we own three laptops, but only one is working at the moment. We aren't very technically progressive. I mean, I'm actually considering buying a spinning wheel or at least a drop spindle. [Wink]

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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted April 06, 2011 14:46      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Kris, I really appreciate your step-by-step instructions. I may have to boot up the printer and make a hard copy of those. Thanks!!! [Applause]

EDIT: I was about to purchase the SVGA cable (J already has a mini-DVI adapter) when I remembered that our TV has an HDMI port. Is there a way to convert mini-DVI to HDMI, or is the way you told me to do it the best method?

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