I am not technical at all so please answer as if I'm really, really studpid. I have a desktop pc (running windows XP) in my bedroom and I want to be able to surf the internet from my plasma large screen tv in my family room. I want to do this wirelessly. What do I buy in order to do it? Also, will the range be a problem from my bedroom to the family room? Can you get the product in different ranges?
You have to understand that you’re describing two very different requirements as if they are one and the same. Using your TV as a display for your PC is completely different than streaming content from your PC to the TV. I know it sounds similar, but they’re not.
If you want to use your TV for display purpose (i.e., surf the ‘net), as long as your PC supports an output type compatible w/ an input type on your TV (composite, s-video, dvi, vga, etc.), you can project that PC's output to the TV using an appropriate cable (aame w/ audio). It may not look that great since TV resolutions are not always the best for computer output, but that’s a pretty basic capability.
If you want to do the same thing over WIRELESS, you could consider something like the Warpia Wireless USB PC to TV/Projector Display Adapter Kit.
Essentially the same results w/ the convenience of wireless. This model requires a TV that supports VGA or HDMI (DVI with additional adapter).
The reason I included the wired option it is because compared to a wireless solution, using a cable is chump change. But if you insist on wireless, the option is available.
It’s also possible to stream content from your PC to the TV so you can play audio/video files that are stored there. Your PC acts a server and either the TV streams content to itself (if your TV supports DLNA), or some other device handles the streaming and projects it on the TV. One of the best of those “other devices” available today (but certainly not the only one) is the WD TV Live HD Media Player.
Again, you may not even need this device if your TV already supports DLNA. DLNA is a technology built-in to some modern TVs that allows them to be networked directly and supports streaming. You need to check your TV’s spec to see if that’s possible (note: it would minimally require a network port (rj45) somewhere, so if you don’t see one, you don’t have DLNA support).
But if you don’t have a DLNA capable TV, a device like the WD TV Live accomplishes pretty much the same thing. Plus you can access YouTube, Flickr, Live365, maybe even Netflix, from the Internet. Unfortunately it only comes as a wired device but can always be wireless enabled using a wireless Ethernet bridge. Also, realize this does NOT make your desktop available on the TV (as the Warpia does).
If you plan to buy a blu-ray player in the near future, realize that some are DLNA capable and already support many of these same features. All DLNA capable blu-ray players come w/ wired networking as standard, some will include wireless too, or require a USB wireless adapter (sold separately). So it may be more economical (and convenient as in space savings, fewer cables, fewer remote controls, etc.) to invest in a single device that combines more features.
Yes, it gets complicated. But the most important thing to understand right now is that there’s a big difference between “projection” (as in projecting your PC on the TV) vs. “streaming” (as in gaining access to content/files stored on your PC for playback on the TV).