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The need - to allow my non-technical family members to access our media library (our pictures and movie clips).

My setup is: Upstairs desktop Windows Vista machine with 1TB of media files on it, mainly my pictures (JPG) and home videos (AVI, MTS, AVCHD). These clips are 1080p, so require reasonable computing power to play. Also, upstairs PC is connected to a WIFI router to stream the data.

Dowstairs there's a HDTV with an HDMI input.

Also a laptop with a HDMI port on it, and some media playing software.

The problem is, the HDMI cable would need to run all across the room and I'd rather have something connected to the TV permanently and available as a HDMI input for the TV.

I was thinking about getting a Logitech Revue box, but when I saw its performance when displaying pictures (only one at a time, no previews etc) I decided this wasn't a good idea.

I thought about Apple TV, but read that it only "has" the latest 1000 pictures, whereas my Lightroom library has 100,000 items :-)

Then I thought about mini-PCs, like Asus EEE Box, or Mac Mini, but the prices of reasonable machines start at around £300. I could get an external HDD if the WIFI wouldn't be fast enough to stream the HD video (about 2MB/s is required).

Is there a cheaper and equally good way to get the media down "on demand" and easily accessible on the TV?

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migrated from Dec 22 '11 at 21:36

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closed as off topic by Sathya Dec 23 '11 at 4:47

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I'm mostly interested in good slide shows, however playing back video captured by the same camera is almost equally important in the whole setup. – Marcin B Dec 22 '11 at 19:00

Well, a $99 Apple TV will do what you want, as will a similar model from WD called WDTV. Apple will show all the images in a given folder, you just need to configure it in iTunes. If you have a PS3, or Xbox, they also can do this, especially if you purchase DLNA capable software (DLNA Server) for your PC. For the Mac I use MediaLink, but there are many, some free.

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Apple TV doesn't support MTS files from my Panasonic G3 :-( – Marcin B Dec 22 '11 at 19:24

Leave the HDMI laptop sitting by the TV, and buy a Bluetooth mouse ($20-$50). Use the mouse to control the laptop remotely. You'll need a surface to run the mouse on, or buy a bluetooth trackball mini keyboard like this. ($60)

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I do have a long range mouse, it's just the laptop "lives" on the couch, and hooking it up to HDMI and moving the power supply to another socket is a bit of a pain just to watch a movie. – Marcin B Dec 23 '11 at 9:54

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