Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Future is Here Now ... (in just a bit)

Our kids told us that they watch streaming video on their televisions. I have a NetFlix account so we can rent DVDs through the mail. But I then discovered in my NetFlix queue on the web site that some films have a “Play Now” feature associated with them.

However playing movies on my PC hasn’t really appealed to me all that much. For one thing, the monitor is small in comparison to the screen size of a television. But also, I believe my poor ass would go numb if I sat in a steno chair for two hours watching a movie.

But I decided to give this video streaming thing a try, so I commenced figuring out how to connect Nancy’s laptop computer to the TV. Allow me to explain just how EASY this is to do.
[Disclaimer – Warning: The following is not for the technically-challenged or persons with impetuous tendencies or who suffer unrelenting levels of impatience which could possibly be classified as borderline pathological.]
First connect the S-Video cable from the S-Video port on the computer to the S-Video port on the TV. Hint: The brilliant computer engineers have designed the S-Video port to look exactly like a mouse port, so you only have a 50/50 chance plugging it into the right place.

Using a 1/8” Stereo-to-RCA adapter cable, connect the earphone/speaker output on the computer to the two RCA jacks on the TV. Hint: You are in luck here as there will be three, not two, RCA jacks on the TV, so you have better odds of beating those tricky computer engineers and getting the right connection this time than you did with the S-Video.

Boot your computer and turn on the TV. Using your TV's remote, find the “input channel” for the auxiliary input on the TV. Hint: It would be "Channel 1" if channel 1 existed... which it doesn't so THAT is your auxiliary input.

When your computer asks if you want to update the latest Microsoft patches, click “No”. Hint: If you click “yes”, go you might as well go get a beer and do something else cause you just committed yourself to an hour of rebooting your after every patch. Don't do that again!!

When your computer asks if you want to check for virus, better click “Yes” this time. Go have another, it's gonna be a while… again.

Now located the video you wish to display on your TV, like from your "play now" queue in NetFlix (or any video you can find, YouTube is cool).

Now the PC will ask if you want to update your Flash or Windows video program. Click answer: “NO, NO, GODDAM NO”. This is because some anal retentive software engineer has just developed yet another a new “improved” video codec so now nothing you want to watch that was created from the dawn of computing up until last week will EVER display on the updated video software. Trust me, they’re idiots.

Using your mouse and/or keyboard, redirect your monitor output to the S-Video port connected to the TV. Hint: How do you do this? I have no f*#king clue, but you can mess with your video settings clicking randomly until it either shows on the TV or all you see is blue on your PC’s monitor. If you screw this up, that’s YOUR problem!

Now figure out why the sound is NOT working. Try the following:
1. Set the volume slider on the video all the way up.
2. Set the volume setting for the PC all the way up.
3. Go into the volume setting Control Panel, determine if the output to the earphone/speaker port is muted.
4. Turn the volume knob up on the side of the PC.
5. Now turn the volume all the way up on the television.
6. Check that you haven’t plugged the 1/8” Stereo jack into the “microphone” jack instead. Hint: Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you... those two plugs look identical as well. (I'm telling ya... I didn’t design this crap.)
7. If the sound isn’t blasting now so loudly that your windows are breaking, give up - you are beyond hopeless at this point.

Assuming you now have your computer display showing on your TV; sit down and enjoy your video on the big screen. If the video stops, starts, hesitates and stutters, you either need to pay to upgrade your Internet connection to Terra-Mega-Gigabit Internet service or buy a more powerful PC; meaning one that was manufactured at least within the last two months.

Your TV remote with all the buttons on it; now all it is good for is changing the volume on the TV.

If advertisements pop up on the TV screen for cheap Viagra or offering to upgrade your Solitaire, you’re going to need to get your ass off the chair, go to the PC and kill those pop-ups.

Oh and finally, if you’ve actually made it this far and the video on your TV suddenly goes completely black: You probably forgot to plug the PC power cord into the wall – you just wasted all of your battery charge setting up the goddam thing up.

Next week: Programming your garage door opener to operate your toaster.


Gorilla Bananas said...

The last instruction should be: "If none of this works, resist the urge to strangle your cat with one of the wires."

Penny said...

This post is sheer genius. Not only have you managed to give enough detail for a "technically challenged person" to give doing this a go, but you've managed to make it hilarious as well.

Can't wait for the toaster instructions. :D

HMBabb said...

Dang! I'm going to have to try this!

Robert the Skeptic said...

Bananas Poor kitty, ours is just happy to listen to the radio.

Penny Don't get too excited about the toaster instructions, I'm still having problems getting the garage door to open.

HMBabb Yes, give it a go... and report your progress/success if you can.

Actually I am told that you can download movies through your X-Box to your TV (or maybe it was some other device that I am clueless about.. donno)

theWaif said...

Silly Daddy. Just get a Roku like us and save yourself all that trouble. It let's you instantly stream any "Play It Now" content on Netflix through your TV, as well as a lot of other video and audio content.

KleinsteMotte said...

You might want to visit the Hacker News site for fun. There's a lot there to be amused with.I think you are getting right up there with the techies!! At our home we all have laptops with wifi. We don't use cable. We have antenna and get about 7 HD stations, enough for our TV experience, Our laptops all configure differently to the TV. One's Dell. one's HP and mine's Macbook. We found going through the dvd/blue ray player with an HMDI outlet works well too. Using external speakers also helps with sound issues.For us the best is saving stuff to an external hard drive and hooking it up like your laptop. It solves the remote issues and the sound issues but the it's not live streaming since it was recorded but it was live,lol. I really enjoyed this post. Oh how we all struggle with the daily tech changes,eh?? My new Rebel is my latest challenge.

OnsenZen said...

Okay, so now if something happens to you, I can pull up this blog and attempt my own set-up for my Nordic Track movie viewing. Right now I have to ask for instructions just to get it to go full screen, even after its all set up.

The Mother said...

This is where having children who are html friendly is really handy. They can program my vcr to not flash 12:00, AND they can write code for my blog.

I knew I had all those kids for a reason.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Bravo for even taking on the challenge of finding your way through all that. A very entertaining post. While I can claim bringing a blog into rudimentary life and adding ONE paragraph to a website formerly handled by a pro, when the wires have to go elsewhere, I surrender. A tech-smart son saves me every time.

Orhan Kahn said...

I don't mean to be an asshole but I've had my TV hooked up to the computer for five years now.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Waif I saw your Roku, though I couldn't remember what it was called ten minutes after we walked out of the house. I guess I should relent and get one... either that or go back to projecting our old Super-8 movies on a bed sheet tacked to the living room wall

KleinsteMotte I just figured out what "Blu-Ray" was last year. My experience with all this new technology is to wait it out a few years until they settle on a "winner" that will be standard. Otherwise I end up putting it in permanent storage in my closet along with the 8-track cassette player and the Betamax VCR camera.

OnsenZen This wouldn't be so difficult, Nancy, if you would just leave your laptop alone next to the TV and not use it for all that other stuff you seem to think you need a computer for.

Dr. Mom In the distant past we actually have dragged our teenager out of bed to have him fix something on the computer.

Marylinn I actually know some HTML and am pretty astute at diagnosing network problems, but unfortunately what I know NOW was obsolete just a couple of scant years ago. The trouble for me is just keeping up!

Orhan It took me 5 years just to discover that doing this was even possible!! Our TV is still one of the old CRT jobs... it weighs a ton. I'm afraid to replace it fearing that whatever I purchase will be phased out in eight months.

Wow, that was awkward said...

I have a projector at work that I hook up to my computer for power point presentations. It works great for movies too. And it cuts out just about every step you just wrote about.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Awkward I've seen those computer projectors; they're spendy but really cool. It would have been awesome, back when I was heavily into MS Flight Simulator, to have a projected cockpit view of me bring my Airbus 319 into LAX. What'd be even more rad - projecting Far Cry II on the big screen!!

secret agent woman said...

Yeah... think I'm going to stick to watching them on my laptop. But in a comfy chair.

Robert the Skeptic said...

SecretAgent Yeah, my description of just how "easy" this all is probably is a bit discouraging.

The Idiot said...

You lost me at S-Video cable....I have my teenage son hook all that stuff up for me....

Entre Nous said...

Stop, I'm having flashbacks....