Depends on whether you want to play the content on your laptop and merely “push" the display to your TV (so in effect your laptop is the media server), OR, store the content on your laptop and "pull" the data to some other media server connected to your TV. Of course, in either case, you’ll need a compatible TV input (composite, component, VGA, HDMI, etc.).
It's not clear from your original post which is your primary interest.
I Want to be able to watch the movies displayed on my TV, that I have stored on my laptop, with the sound being picked up as well for the home theater system.
With Wifi, so I guess a receiver of some sort connected to our LCD TV ( which will take the various inputs.
We must update/upgrade our dinosaur g wireless router, so I am getting the latest NetGear wireless router that is DLNA compliant, but I do not know what to get for my LCD TV that will receive the wifi signal. Other than a PS3, which I don't have or want to get.
I could go with hard wire, but find that to much to set up each time.
I have a remote Netgear print server but don't think that will work.
Is your TV DLNA compliant? If it is, then it probably has a wired ethernet port (rj45) on the back (and maybe a USB port as well for a wireless adapter) and you should be able to pull content directly to the TV from your PC/laptop via standard file sharing protocols. But it’s just a plain ol’ TV with only various analog/digital inputs, then you need a separate media server.
Btw, all that your typical router does is switch/route traffic. So I don't see how DLNA compliance is a factor in your search for a router. If anything, you might want to consider QoS (Quality of Service) features, esp. if you have lots of other traffic competing w/ your home theater.
The reason many ppl like XBOX and PS3 as a media server is simply because so many ppl already have them, and it's only a short step from there to a full-fledged media server. It's just more economical, esp. in the case of the PS3 since it comes w/ a built-in blu-ray player.
You can save some money if you know you’ll be needing say, a blu-ray player, TiVo, DVR, etc. anyway, and consider models that often including media server features for only a few bucks more.
But if you’re looking for a simple standalone device, Western Digital carries a popular line of media servers that would probably meet your needs.
Thanks for all the info, it is very useful as I am learning more about various media etc.
Our TV is a Sony Bravia LCD, top of the line a couple of years ago when HD was getting popular. (I'm away from home so I can't give the model number or look to see what it has in the back). I am pretty sure that it doesn't recieve Wifi signals. It does have various inputs in the back though.
The router i have chosen for our home, is labeled as a NDLA server... this is how I started leaning about NDLA.
Netgear RangeMax Dual Band Wireless N Router (WNDR37AV-100PAS)
I'll look more into a media unit that can plug into the TV.