Laptop vs Tablet vs Smart phone

I am in the market for a mobile device. The number 1 feature I want is streaming video from a wifi connected device to my HDMI television. I don't want the power consumption of a dedicated media PC. I know laptops can do this. They can also play some games (more if I pay more) but low cost laptop video screens are horrible. My question is can android or ios tablets or smartphones do this reliably? I don't really like the monthly fees that can wrack up from a smartphone but they do offer options the others don't (portability, text, calendar and e-mail notifications). I don't feel tablets are as portable as smartphones so their convenience isn't as useful to me but they do have the benefit of e-reader and movies on the go. Brand recommendations are ok, but I'm more interested in which of these devices can do most of what I need. I'm just not sure where to look for impartial tablet and smartphone information. The possibilities are overwhelming.
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  1. Some smart phones do come with an HDMI jack (not full size) but according to this article
    there are limitations on what can be played/viewed.
    I would think that your best bet for that sort of use would be a laptop (opinion only based on reading very little on the subject and having used my laptop for that).
    My $.02 only
  2. Look at these tablets,

    Different sizes and price points, all run Android and will connect to a streaming media server, at least one that uses DNLA. If you want to have a portable device to watch movies on, I'd stick with at least a 7" screen for that. While a smaller 4" screen like on a phone is OK, unless you are carrying the thing with you everywhere you go, it's not fun to watch. My wife has a Nook and I find that size screen to be a good mix of portable and large enough to watch on.

    But something you wrote is a bit odd. What does your TV have to do with this? Or are you just saying the streaming device is also connected to the TV? Or do you want to stream media FROM this thing you want to buy to your TV?
  3. I want to use this device to stream movies to the TV. Not necessarily watch it on the device. I'd probably go with an Ipad if wanted to watch on the tiny screen.
  4. You don't really want a tablet or a phone for this then, you want a network media player like this;comparable.1

    Or a network DVD or BluRay player like
    Any of the tablets with a mini hdmi out will play on the TV. You'd want a pretty high-end model to play HD media though.
  5. I looked at the Roku, with netflix and hulu, and it looked like a decent solution, but setting up a private channel doesn't sound easy for local media. The DVDs/Blue-rays have the same limitations. I could burn the movies to disk, but I'd have to replace my burner (why can't one last more than a year?). I'm heavily looking into just getting a laptop. I'm was just curious is tablets or smartphones could do this well enough. I know the Ipad/Iphone can stream through itunes, but Apple is kinda heavy handed what you can access. I know I could jailbreak them but I don't really want to risk that. I have heard, not looked into, that Android has similar limitations (although not quite as bad) that encourage rooting.
  6. You don't need to burn anything to watch if off the modern DVD players, just hook up a USB hard-drive to them with your media files, they will play off that.

    Tablets and smartphones are OK for viewing things, but not as a server. You will need to configure any device you get to use your own media off the network, it may not sound easy.

    The best devices for setting up network streaming is either a server (pricy and more complex to setup), a media device like a Roku (make sure you get a higher end model of that or a simimal device) or a newer gaming system like XBOX360 or PS3. I use an XBOX connected to my TV for Netfix and playing movies off my computer. Works great once setup. If you get a PS3, you get a BluRay player and a Media Center extender which can stream off your network.
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