HOWTO: Connect Your PC to TV, Wirelessly!

Category: Television , Wireless

Wouldn't it be great to beam whatever is on your computer screen directly to your big-screen TV? Now you can wirelessly send Netflix, Hulu, YouTube videos, photos and computer games from your PC screen directly to your television screen. Even browse the web on your fancy big-screen HDTV. Here's how to make a wireless PC to TV connection...

Making a Wireless PC to TV Connection

If you have a laptop or desktop computer with an average sized screen, you've probably thought "Wouldn't it be great if I could magically beam my computer screen to my nice big flat panel HDTV in the living room?"

Poof... you can! Some computers can connect directly to a television set with an HDMI cable, effectively turning your HDTV into a second monitor. But this is practical only over relatively short distances, and the cables can be messy and expensive. Computers that don't have HDMI outputs can make a wired connection to an HDTV by using a converter box such as the Manta VGA to HDMI with 1080p Scaler by Sewell.

But hey, we were trying to do this wirelessly. So enter the age of the wireless video sending device. By connecting a wireless video transmitter to your computer, and a wireless receiver to your television, the problem is neatly solved. So how does it work, and which device is best for wirelessly sending websites, YouTube videos, photos, games and other content from your computer screen to the TV?
Wireless PC to TV

Let's look at several wireless PC to TV devices to determine which is right for you. Some of them will even send what's on your smartphone or tablet to your living room television screen!

Wireless PC to TV Options

WiDi (also called WWi-Fi Direct) is a technology from Intel that lets you stream HD 1080p content wirelessly from a WiDi-enabled computer to an HDTV. If the HDTV also has the WiDi feature, no cables or extra software are needed. Other HDTVs can be used by adding a WiDi adapter such as the Actiontec ScreenBeam Pro ($69), or the HP's Wireless TV Connect Kit ($159).

You can stream videos, music, photos and games from PC to TV, in high definition with surround sound. WiDi has low latency, which minimizes screen lag for interactive applications like videos and games. If you have WiDi on both your computer and your HDTV, this is an excellent solution.


Chromecast is a new gadget from Google that lets you wirelessly beam content from a PC or (or an Android smartphone or tablet) to an HDTV set. Stream internet content such as Netflix, YouTube, HBO GO, Hulu Plus, or Google Play Movies. You can beam web content via the Chrome browser, or use the screen mirroring capability to send whatever is on your PC screen to your HDTV. With a price tag of just $35, this has become a very popular device for bringing the small screen to the big screen.


Sewell Direct's Wireless PC to TV Converter connects to any PC, video game console or other VGA source with the included cable. The SW-28760 sends both audio and video signals to your TV from up to 150' away. Connect the receiver to your TV via video/audio cables. In addition, this unit can be utilized as a wired VGA to TV converter box with S-video, RGB and composite outputs. This unit is 480i VGA (not HD), so it's not recommended for text based applications such as email, unless you use a font of 14 points or larger. And although it'll send whatever is on your screen to your TV, the relatively low-res VGA signal may result in grainy videos. The Sewell Converter is very reasonably priced at $79.95.


The Veebeam HD wireless PC to TV link, priced at $99, promises that anything you see on your PC can be sent to your TV. Surf the web, or stream from Hulu, Netflix, or YouTube to your HDTV over a wireless link. Simply plug the USB antenna into your computer and "Veebeam it" to your TV in HD 1080p (high-def) video. The Veebeam is for in-room use, and cannot transmit through walls, making it best suited for laptops. Works with Windows Vista/Win7 and Mac OS X (10.5 or higher)


AItek's ProPC/TV Wireless Converter not only looks good, it does more than just conversion. Connect your laptop, desktop or Media Center PC to a TV up to 100 feet away, through walls, floors, ceilings and doors. With this device you can play a DVD, see what your kids are up to, display presentations and even send a greeting from your cubicle at work to the lobby, all from your PC. Add more receivers and send the media to multiple TVs. The ProPC/TV needs no software and has a price of $171.95, cables included.


Grandtec USA calls their converterUltimate Wireless. Use it for gaming, presentations or just browsing on your Mac or PC. With four channels, it has a range of 125 - 150', needs no software and has menu controls as well as zoom. Although the Ultimate's sending module has composite, S-video and RGB output, only composite video is available on the receiver. So you won't be getting HD quality video. But hey, you can always connect that composite output to a VCR or a video camera if you want to record what's happening on your computer screen. The Ultimate Wireless includes a battery pack for portable usage of the transmitter and has a price of $89.95.

Another option from Grandtec is the YFi2TV HD media streamer. This unit can connect to your PC (or your smartphone or tablet) over a wireless network, and stream music, photos and videos to your TV, in HD quality.


For completeness, I'll also mention the ROKU box, which I have previously reviewed. Priced from $59 to $99, it's a great solution for streaming HD quality movies from the Internet to your TV, using a wired or wireless connection. But it's not a general purpose "send your PC screen to your TV" device, either. ROKU connects to your Internet router, and pulls content from ROKU partners such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, and a variety of free and paid TV channels.

Other devices such as the Netgear NeoTV, Sony NSZ, Vizio CoStar, WD TV Play, Panasonic DMP, and the D-Link Movie Night all offer similar streaming options. Some support online online content, while others can stream local content such as movies, music and photos stored on the hard drive. Like Roku, none of these offer full screen-mirroring capability.

If you're looking for the best device for a Mac, iPad or iPhone, get the Apple TV. If your Mac is newer than mid-2011, then you can use Apple TV using AirPlay mirroring. It should also work on all iPhones or iPads that can run iOS6 or higher. Apple TV has Hulu Plus and Netflix out of the box. If you use iTunes, then your entire library is supported.

Summing Up...

All of the wireless PC to TV devices do pretty much the same thing -- sling content via wifi from your computer to your TV -- yet each has features that are unique. You may not need HD quality video, or the ability to stream wireless video 150 feet through walls. And of course, there's always the wired option for sending your PC screen to the TV. (See the first gadget mentioned near the top of this article.) Although the wires may be unsightly, you'll get better video quality, and eliminate the potential for interference from appliances and other signals floating around.

When choosing, check compatibility with your computer, operating system, and personal requirements. Look for actual customer reviews to how they perform in real-world situations. Have you used a wireless device to transmit from your PC screen to a TV? Post your comment or question below...

 
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Posted by on 12 Dec 2013


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Most recent comments on "HOWTO: Connect Your PC to TV, Wirelessly!"

Posted by:

john
12 Dec 2013

Since this all comes down to picture quality. How would someone find out which of the choices would be best? It's the old saying I guess, choice can kill you, or in this case your wallet. Best regards, john.


Posted by:

Annie
12 Dec 2013

Hey, Bob -- is there anything out there for us dinosaurs with old TVs? I think mine are all analog and one has a digital converter box with rabbit ears. Really lousy reception. Since I don't have cable, throwing onto that screen what I have on my iPhone would be awesome. Impossible?


Posted by:

Adrian Cargill
12 Dec 2013

I love my Veebeam. Connecter sits in the transmitter until needed. When it is needed, it easily plugs into laptop usb port. Pick the right input on the TV and away you go. Picture is great HD(I usually watch EPL soccer games and there is no pixilating) and does everything as advertized. The only slight drawback is a 1 sec delay from PC to TV, but I turn the laptop screen away so that it cannot be seen and problem solved.


Posted by:

Bruce
12 Dec 2013

My Tv is connected to a PC by VGA cable (Dsub), I stream content to it via my lan, dead easy!


Posted by:

K
12 Dec 2013

For a year now I have been enjoying a Philips DVD/Blue-ray/streamed media player I got from Walmart for less than $50.

It does not support PC to TV, but instead it uses my WiFi router to connect to Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube.


Posted by:

RandiO
12 Dec 2013

I hope I am not way off-base by stating that there may be some severe security implications with some of these wireless means of TV>PC connectivity solutions.

Although quite a nascent technology, named HDbaseT (http://www.hdbaset.org/technology)has been released that requires a wired network connection. The newer Integra (part of Onkyo) brand of receivers are some of the early adopters of this technology.

Digital Living Network Alliance® (DLNA >> http://www.dlna.org/‎) may also potentially offer alternative solutions for those who are seeking a wired/networked bridge between their entertainments system and their computing equipment.

Additionally, the HDMI2.0 specification (http://www.hdmi.org/) was released on September 4, 2013. This newer standard may also need to be evaluated prior purchase of any currently available hardware. Especially, if a user is seeking the best possible video quality (Ultra High Definition; aka 4K (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4K_resolution)) for the long term w/o the upcoming obsolescence issues, when it becomes the de facto standard for movies and the associated hardware to render 4K.

EDITOR'S NOTE: What are the "severe security implications" you mention?


Posted by:

RandiO
12 Dec 2013

@Bruce,
If you are connecting your PC's display VGA output (via a graphics card) directly to your TV, this is not technically called streaming but I am also confused for the need for a LAN in such connectivity; unless, you have some additional hardware in the loop and the VGA cable is an output from such hardware (on the TV side).
Longer VGA cables have a tendency to be associated with quality degradation in such an analog PC video output.


Posted by:

robert
12 Dec 2013

I use a long HDMI cable that goes along the wall and is primarily out of sight. It works the best and is the cheapest. The others may have problems (see reviews on Amazon).


Posted by:

Bob H
13 Dec 2013

I am interested in sending my TV to my PC but all the searches I make on the web only show the other direction (PC to TV) Will any of the devices mentioned in this article do that? Is there any device I can use to send the program I am watching on my TV to my PC using WiFi?


Posted by:

Bob
20 Dec 2013

I did a lot of research and read countless reviews from actual users on Amazon. There aren't really many choices out there. Some devices are not HD, some have considerable lag, connection problems, lousy picture quality, must be set up line-of-sight to the TV or can only be used to stream Netflix, Youtube etc.
I have a Ceton InfiniTV4 receiver in my computer and use a CableCard ($4/mo) instead of a settop box. I use Windows Media Center to watch TV, movies, Netflix etc.
I finally bought the Nyrius Aries Pro wireless transmitter & receiver. This system simply streams the video signal from my computer in the office to my 52" Samsung LCD HD TV 30 feet away in the living room. The bathroom is in between. The transmitter plugs into an HDMI output of my graphics card (Nvidia GTX 680) and to a USB port for power. The receiver plugs into one of the TV's HDMI inputs and also to a USB power supply (included). The receiver can connect with up to 4 transmitters, selection is via a small remote control.
After pairing, the TV says 1920x1080. Picture and sound quality are excellent, the same as with an HDMI cable. There is no discernible lag. Closing the office door does not impact quality. I control the computer with my Samsung Galaxy S4 (iPhone 4 before that) via Wi-Fi using the Mobile Mouse app. For Media Center I use the Ceton MyMediaCenter app. I can do just about everything from the living room that I can do sitting in front of the computer: TV, iTunes movies, YouTube, surf the internet, music, email... Couldn't be happier.


Posted by:

Sompopo
21 Dec 2013

Roku is not DLNA compliant and cannot stream from PC to TV without third party software.


Posted by:

Ray
23 Dec 2013

I currently have an HDMI cable from the PC to the Pioneer Plasma which works pretty well.
I recently purchased a Sony Bluray player with "Super Wifi" whatever that is for the kitchen TV. I can stream anything from my PC except 1080P. The bandwidth is not good enough and the picture stutters.


Posted by:

Lydia
23 Dec 2013

I've used Roku for a couple of years, now, and the Plex channel on Roku connects with your PC (your PC acts as a server) and streams content from your PC. Plex has now added its own channels, with content from YouTube, The Daily Show, TED,WB, and others. There is a browser app that allows you to add things you find to your queue, which is pulled up in the Plex app so you can watch it on your TV.


Posted by:

Brian
27 Dec 2013

I tried Chromecast a couple of days ago, and it wreaked havoc on my wireless network.

Chromecast appealed to me, as supposedly it works on Macs and PCs, and I have both. However, in one location, it mentions Mac OS 10.7, another 10.4-10.5-10.6. I have 10.6.8. It also noted the apps that would work as being Netflix and Hulu+, among others, while what I had read pre-purchase said free Hulu, which was my primary interest, as I have the others. I wondered if this was a bait-and-switch.

The setup requires a new wireless network of sorts, which starts out Chromecast####. Then, it "requests" access to your wireless network, i.e. its password. That, in and of itself, made me nervous.

The Chromecast app wouldn't add to my version of Chrome. I noticed that my version of Chrome was outdated, but would not update. I downloaded the newer version, then had to drag Chrome from my Applications folder and drag the new one in (doing just the latter wouldn't work, as I'd get an "in use" message).

Casting free Hulu worked for a few seconds at a time, then stopped. Also, the audio was out of sync with what was on screen. Worse, though, was that, after later restart, I kept getting messages every few seconds about my local host name being in use and a new one being assigned! Further, my wireless connection went kaput, one machine and then all of the others. How do you fix something without network access? Restarting the router did nothing, either. It was a nightmare.

Enter "tech support," my 24 y/o son. He fixed the network, but after the day of havoc with Chromecast, I won't go there again. If my experience is typical, I'd look elsewhere for a wireless solution.


Posted by:

steven ariss, jr.
11 Mar 2014

Hello Mr. Bob Rankin
My predicament is the following:
I would like to watch the most current episodes of "the Voice" which are available on the NBC website but not on iTunes
I have Apple TV. is it possible, and if so, how?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Not sure... This may help, https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3006521?tstart=0


Posted by:

Marcella
29 Jul 2014

Is there a wall-mountable solution to the PC wireless monitor?


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