In Part 1 of this guide, the broadband network and HDMI cable connection between the computer and HDTV were described. This instructions explain how to configure Windows Vista or Windows 7 for streaming internet video to the HDTV.
TV Audio/Video Input Source Select
Look for the “AV Source” input select button on your TV remote control. My TV is normally set to AV 1: SAT for DirecTV. In the image below, the laptop is logged into Netflix while the TV is showing a hockey game on DirecTV.
Click the AV input source button on the remote to choose the HDMI port (in my case HDMI 1) which the computer is plugged into.
Very important – you will see a blank screen on the TV until you tell the computer to use the external display! Refer to your computer’s user guide for the specific keystroke for selecting an external display. On the HP Pavillion laptop, press Fn + F4 keys together to toggle between the laptop display, laptop and external display (TV), and external display (TV) only. On a Dell LatitudeD630, the key combination is Fn + F7. (Do not press the plus + sign.)
In the next image, the laptop and TV displays are both active.
At this point, you will have video but no soundthrough the TV.
Configure Windows 7 HDMI Audio
It’s necessary to configure the Windows HDMI sound device before watching Netflix. To configure Windows, do the following:
- Start → Control Panel → Hardware and Sound
- In the Sound section, click Manage audio devices
- The Sound dialog is displayed. The computer speakers and headphone output is the default device as indicated by the check sign in the green circle.
- Click the Digital Output Device (HDMI) and click the Set Default button to change the default sound device to HDMI so we can hear the sound on the TV.
- Click Properties and the Advanced tab.
- Click Test. You should hear a melody played on the TV speakers.
- Click OK and go back to the Control Panel.
- In the Hardware and Sound section of the Control Panel, click Adjust System Volume. Verify the sound volume is at 100% for the Digital Device Output (HDMI). 100% is should be the default setting.
- Save your settings and exit the Control Panel.
Configure Screen Saver and Power Timeouts
Disable the Windows screen saver and “Turn off the Monitor” power management settings. Otherwise, you’ll be watching a movie only to have the screen go blank after 10 or 15 minutes when Windows goes to sleep! Do the following:
- Start → Control Panel → Appearance and Personalization → Change Screen Saver
- Change the screen saver to 9999 minutes (or a period that is longer than your movie!) as shown.
- Click OK to save and return to the Control Panel.
- In the Control Panel, click on Power Options → Change when the computer sleeps
- Set Turn off the display to Never, and Put the computer to sleep to Never
- Click OK to save and exit the Control Panel.
Watch a Netflix Movie on TV through the Computer
At the computer, login to your Netflix account, pick movie in the “Watch Instantly” category and click Play.
To view the movie in full screen mode, scroll down and click the full screen button as shown:
Once you’ve got everything setup correctly, turn off the computer display by pressing Fn + F4 (or the appropriate key combo on your computer) a couple of times – wait several seconds between keypresses – to turn off the laptop display and show the movie only on the TV.
My experience with Netflix streaming video has been great! The videos load quickly and movie starts playing in a minute or so over a 6mbps DSL connection over my home WiFi network. A refinement of my setup is to run a digital audio out line from the TV to my home theater audio system. Until then the stereo speakers on the HDTV do an acceptable job.
Troubleshooting Common Problems
- The most common problem is no sound on the TV speakers after configure the Windows Digital Audio Device (HDMI). Save the HDMI configuration and try rebooting the computer.
- Check with your computer manufacturer for an sound device driver update for HDMI.
- Verify the TV volume is turned up. I have a home theater audio system so my TV volume is normally off.
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