I have a relative who is looking for a something they can connect to their TV and watch TV shows on. They do not have paid accounts with any service, the goal is to be able to watch shows streamed from CBS, NBC, Hulu (free - not plus), etc, etc. Their TV is either 27" or 32", it's 1080p and they would like to connect at that resolution.
I'm looking for advice on what the minimum spec is they should get that meets that requirement. They have a highspeed internet connection. Cost is one of the most important factors. They also give some value to mobility, so I've been leaning towards laptops. And I've ruled out something like a nettop. They expressed an interest in tablets - but as far as I'm aware, with a tablet they would have to pay for a service such as, for example, Hulu Plus. Am I wrong? Is there a tablet that they could connect to their TV that would let them stream TV shows from the internet?
As far as laptops go, if I'm looking at Intel should I be looking at an i3 with HD3000 as the minimum they could get? Could I go lower? Does it matter if its Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge? If I'm looking at AMD, will an A6 meet their requirements? Could I go lower? Or am I completely cracked and should I be looking for something with a discrete card?
Is there another type of device I should be considering? (Cable/satelite & DVR are already ruled out.)
Thanks in advance for your assistance.
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If you are going to use a tablet to stream videos to the HDTV, then just make sure the tablet has a HDMI / mini-HDMI port like the Asus Transformer Prime. If there is already a wireless network in the house / apartment, then all you need to do is ensure the tablet is setup so that it can access the wireless network. You can then stream videos to the HDTV.
A laptop is a little more versatile since it can be connected to the network either thru a wire or wireless. If it has a Blu-Ray drive, then you can watch Blu-Ray and DVD movies. Any laptop with Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge or an AMD A6 APU should be fine. It's just a matter of picking one that fits in the price range and has most of the features you are looking for.
The closest device that I know of which may allow you to see free content on the web is Roku but it's mainly used for paid services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon. It's something you should research to see if it can deliver actual free content.
The Roku, and other boxes like it, suffer from the same problem tablets appear to suffer from. As far as I've been able to dig up, you have to have a subscription (NetFlix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, etc) or rent tv shows / movies (Amazon, iTunes, etc).
Are you saying that any Sandy Bridge chip will support 1080p output to a TV? Even their Pentium lines like the following laptop with a B970 chip? ASUS X401A-RBL4
If you know of any links / reviews / references, please share. There's plenty of information about the chips & their gaming capabilities, as is expected, but little mention of their minimum capabilities / resolution support for something as boring as streaming to a TV.
By Sandy Bridge I mean the Intel HD 3000 graphic core. It wouldn't hurt if you were to get a Llano / Trinity based laptop since their graphic core would be more powerful than the Intel HD 3000. I actually recommend getting a laptop with an Ivy Bridge CPU that has the Intel HD 4000 graphic core; if you are incline to buy Intel over AMD.
The Intel HD 3000 had a slight problem with stuttering that a few people complained about when watching movies (23.976 FPS). Apparently most people do not notice it. I don't use my laptop to watch video other than the occasional documentary on Youtube, but I tend to do other things while listening to the documentary.
As for the Intel HD 3000 supporting 1920x1080 resolution... here is what a fellow THG forum member has to say...
Thanks for the clarification, and link. I'm not partial to Intel or AMD. But it seems like there are more Intel choices and so there are more often deals on an Intel vs an AMD. If I could find an A8 for under (or maybe at) $400, or an A6 for under $350, AMD might win. But more often than not it's the i3's popping up at $350. I'll need to educate myself on which chips have the HD4000.
Only the new 3rd Generation Ivy Bridge i3/i5/7 CPUs have the Intel HD 4000 graphic core.
There are no Ivy Bridge i3 CPUs; Intel has not released them yet. Presumably, they will be released in early Fall. Ivy Bridge CPU models begins with a "3" for 3rd generation. For example, i3-3110m, i5-3510m, i7-3520m.
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