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Cheapest Way To Hook My Tv Up To A Web Browser? (newb)

#1 User is offline   phduffy 

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:09 PM

I apologize, as I'm sure this is a fairly easy question, but I've got a Panasonic Viera. I'm in Canada, and I'd like to be able to browse the internet on it using either Firefox or Chrome - other browsers won't work for what I'd like to do. I'm wondering what the cheapest way to do this is. Mac Mini would work, but I don't want to spend 600 bucks on it, and I don't think that the Roku or Apple TV will let me install firefox plus extensions. And also, in an ideal world I've got a small box hooked up to the tv (which is already connected to a Wii and a PS3, neither of which works for my purposes) and not a big desktop. Any suggestions?

Thanks
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#2 User is offline   LincolnSpector 

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:49 AM

HI, phduffy, and welcome to the forums.

For complete control, you'd need to connect a computer to the TV. If you have a laptop with an HDMI port, this is very easy.

If your PC has a DVI port or a displayport, it's still pretty easy with a DVI-HDMI or DisplayPort-HDMI adapter. (With DVI, you'll have to figure out a way to connect the sound separately.)

You can probably also use VGA.

A wireless mouse and keyboard will let you control the PC from across the room.

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#3 User is offline   compnovo 

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:55 AM

View Postphduffy, on 08 January 2013 - 01:09 PM, said:

I apologize, as I'm sure this is a fairly easy question, but I've got a Panasonic Viera. I'm in Canada, and I'd like to be able to browse the internet on it using either Firefox or Chrome - other browsers won't work for what I'd like to do. I'm wondering what the cheapest way to do this is. Mac Mini would work, but I don't want to spend 600 bucks on it, and I don't think that the Roku or Apple TV will let me install firefox plus extensions. And also, in an ideal world I've got a small box hooked up to the tv (which is already connected to a Wii and a PS3, neither of which works for my purposes) and not a big desktop. Any suggestions?

Thanks

Hi phduffy, and welcome to the forums.
Actually, given your budget this may not be an easy question to answer. I built a small form factor PC using a Foxconn kit that lives under the TV, and all up it cost a few hundred bucks.
Your best bet may be something like this:
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16856119050
You're still going to have to supply your own RAM, HDD, and operating system.
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#4 User is offline   phduffy 

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:39 AM

Thanks for the info guys.

Compnovo, I was re-directed to the Canadian newegg when I clicked on your link, and didn't see what you'd linked. Can you give me the name?

I think my mother-in-law might have an old laptop kicking around. Maybe I could use that.
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#5 User is offline   phduffy 

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:54 AM

Would something from here:
http://www.newegg.ca...s/Category/ID-3

work, if I put an OS and hd/ram into it?
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#6 User is offline   compnovo 

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 12:12 PM

View Postphduffy, on 09 January 2013 - 10:54 AM, said:

Would something from here:
http://www.newegg.ca...s/Category/ID-3

work, if I put an OS and hd/ram into it?

Yes it would. The link I provided was for the AMD-based Foxconn kit on that page.

A laptop would also work, although the TV's resolution may have to be lower than you prefer (it depends on the laptop's graphics).
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#7 User is offline   LiveBrianD 

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:09 PM

The only reason a laptop wouldn't work there would be if it were so old that it didn't support 1080p (EXTREMELY unlikely), or if you were cloning the TV with the internal screen.

Also, since I own an E350 machine, I'll note that it's perfectly fine for web browsing and playing HD video (as long as you have hardware acceleration), but not too much else. Some day I'll have to try playing blurays on it. (my dad has an external drive) Even a dual-core Celeron G530 will beat it in every possible way, though it'll cost more and likely won't be as small.

OP: http://www.newegg.ca...N82E16856119050 Here's the Canadian link for what compnovo mentioned.

This post has been edited by LiveBrianD: 09 January 2013 - 07:12 PM

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#8 User is offline   Stevey 

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 11:05 PM

If your tv is hdtv then get 1 HDMI connector if not get an adaptor, just borrow from some friend, what? The connector or the adaptor if you skeptical with the affording thingy
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#9 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 07:13 AM

View PostLiveBrianD, on 09 January 2013 - 07:09 PM, said:

The only reason a laptop wouldn't work there would be if it were so old that it didn't support 1080p (EXTREMELY unlikely), or if you were cloning the TV with the internal screen.


Under those situations, the laptop would still work...it just might not be ideal.

And depending on the size of the TV and distance you are sitting from it, you might not actually want to use 1080p (aka 1920x1080 resolution)...text etc might be too small to read. I agree this is likely not the case, but the point is that every situation is different.
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#10 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 07:32 AM

View Postphduffy, on 08 January 2013 - 01:09 PM, said:

I apologize, as I'm sure this is a fairly easy question, but I've got a Panasonic Viera. I'm in Canada, and I'd like to be able to browse the internet on it using either Firefox or Chrome - other browsers won't work for what I'd like to do. I'm wondering what the cheapest way to do this is. Mac Mini would work, but I don't want to spend 600 bucks on it, and I don't think that the Roku or Apple TV will let me install firefox plus extensions. And also, in an ideal world I've got a small box hooked up to the tv (which is already connected to a Wii and a PS3, neither of which works for my purposes) and not a big desktop. Any suggestions?

Thanks


Basically, your options likely are:

1) cheap, used, or old spare laptop (as others have mentioned)
2) cheap, used, or old spare desktop (as others have mentioned). From what you state, you will want a smaller form factor desktop, which like means some "new" (whether really new or used) that you buy rather than some spare, old desktop your might have sitting around. Of course, you could go with a larger/bulkier desktop that you "hide" somewhere but connect to the TV with a longer cable (or maybe a wireless video connection) and then control with a wireless keyboard and mouse.
3) Maybe an Android tablet with an HDMI port. Of course, to some degree, if you go this route, then it might just be easier to have the tablet sitting in your lap and browsing on it rather than the TV unless you specifically want to show something on the TV.

The cheapest option likely is a some budget, low powered desktop...but this will likely be a big bulky "box" desktop. The next cheapest will likely be a "budget", lower powered laptop.

What kind of budget are you looking at?

I suppose if you ONLY want to browse and Chrome will do what you need, then you might look at a ChromeBook. I believe you can find versions for around $300 to $400.

If for some reason you do really want to go the route of a Mac Mini, you could look at used ones on eBay or some similar site. You should be able to find older models for $200 to $400.
Good riddance PCWorld.
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#11 User is offline   LiveBrianD 

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:58 AM

View Postsmax013, on 15 January 2013 - 07:13 AM, said:

View PostLiveBrianD, on 09 January 2013 - 07:09 PM, said:

The only reason a laptop wouldn't work there would be if it were so old that it didn't support 1080p (EXTREMELY unlikely), or if you were cloning the TV with the internal screen.


Under those situations, the laptop would still work...it just might not be ideal.

And depending on the size of the TV and distance you are sitting from it, you might not actually want to use 1080p (aka 1920x1080 resolution)...text etc might be too small to read. I agree this is likely not the case, but the point is that every situation is different.

True, but in that case, there's the windows dpi scaling.
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#12 User is offline   compnovo 

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 07:53 PM

View Postsmax013, on 15 January 2013 - 07:32 AM, said:

I suppose if you ONLY want to browse and Chrome will do what you need, then you might look at a ChromeBook. I believe you can find versions for around $300 to $400.

Acer and Samsung just released new models, for $199 and $249, respectively:
http://www.google.co...chrome/devices/
I was checking into them for a friend who was looking for a simple machine.

This post has been edited by compnovo: 15 January 2013 - 07:54 PM

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#13 User is offline   LiveBrianD 

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:59 PM

The only problem with those is that although they'll work for streaming sites like hulu (I'm not sure about Netflix, since that uses Silverlight), he can't play any local video files with them if he ever chooses to. The Chromebox is pretty small though, judging by the pictures.
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