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I have a laptop permanently attached to my TV. The laptop is on the same home network, connected wirelessly to the desktop where I download my torrents. Today the fastest way for me to watch something is to copy it to a USB drive and then connect it to the laptop.

I want to know if there is a good way to just watch files over the home network. Today it just seems very slow and even copying files seems to be a pain.

[Edit] I use Windows XP Pro and VLC player. I have a 802.11g network.

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Upgrading your network is the simplest and best way - for wireless streaming of videos, often times the 802.11g bandwidth simply cannot cut it, especially if you are dealing with HD content.

In order of preference, you should try :

  1. Upgrading your network to full wired Gigabit ethernet
  2. Upgrading your network to full wired 100mbps ethernet
  3. Upgrading your network to full 802.11n wireless
  4. Try powerline networking e.g from Netgear.
  5. Connecting your desktop to the wireless router with wired Ethernet

P.S I'm assuming you are running an 802.11g wireless network.

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My desktop is already connected to the router with wired Ethernet. The simplest thing would be to try and upgrade to 802.11n I guess then. – Kapsh Sep 14 '09 at 16:32
You can try powerline networking - edited my answer to reflect the additional choice. – caliban Sep 14 '09 at 16:34

This sounds similar to my home setup. I have a directory on my desktop computer (running Ubuntu) that I share on the local network with Samba. I then access that shared folder using the laptop downstairs (running XP) the same as if it were a local folder. Should work the same with a Windows box doing the sharing, just set the sharing properties on the folder(s) in question.

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it all depends on the quality of the video and the speed of your wireless network connection.

wireless networks are not really suitable for high quality media streaming. if your laptop has a Wireless N controller, upgrading your router to Wireless N may help but ultimately you may want to use a wired gigabit network connection.

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What OS and media player? The way some players(MS Media Player) buffer don't seem to work well on slower links, even though they "should" Try VLC and see if that helps at all. May not be the solution you are looking for but you can decide if it's a network issue or not

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You can try adjusting the buffer size for whatever player you use when streaming over the network. Increasing the buffer will cause a delay when starting it up but will smooth out some of the lag caused by the network.

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