I have a PC in my living room that rocks Windows Media Center for recording TV. The bedroom is where the Roku is located. I thought it would be oh so nice to be able to play some of my Windows Media Center recordings on the Roku. I had to find a solution for this. Here are the steps you can take to get started.
After installing a PC in my living room and slapping Windows Media Center on it, I was off and running with the entertainment solution I always wanted. I didn’t think ahead though, and used a standard keyboard and mouse with it. This combo doesn’t function well in a Living Room, so I set out on a quest to find the perfect keyboard.
My favorite feature of the Roku Media Player is the USB port. You can watch MP4, M4V, and MKV video files from a USB Drive. How do you watch those files though? Here are the steps:
1. Add the Roku USB Media Player Channel. You can add it to your account via the Roku website or find it under the Music or Photos & Video categories in the Channel Store.
2. Plug the USB drive into the USB port on the Roku.
3. Open the USB Media Player channel and select “Movies”.
4. A list of videos will appear. Select the one you want to watch and enjoy.
You can use the normal Play, Pause, Forward, and Rewind buttons just as you can with most other Roku channels.
It’s huge, ugly and emits more heat than your furnace. That old analog TV has been sitting there, unused for months. What should you do with it? Most people would give it away or throw it in the trash. I think old analog TVs still have a place in this world though. Especially when devices like the Roku work so well with it.
If your old analog TV has composite connectors, the Roku comes with everything you need. Connecting a Roku instantly makes any old analog TV a modern entertainment solution, giving you access to services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Sure the picture isn’t in high definition, but if your TV can do 480i, it’s still a beautiful picture.
So find room in your kitchen, office or even your bathroom for that that giant tube that’s just been sitting around. It’s still got some years left.
Update: Since I wrote this post, the Roku 3 has since arrived. While the Roku 1 and 2 will work with an analog TV, the Roku 3 will not unless you have a converter box.
It’s sometimes difficult to identify whether or not a TV supports a digital connection. Some sets may look new enough, but only support an analog connection. So how do you know if a TV is digital?
The best way would be to Google the make and model of your TV, followed by the word “tuner”. You can usually find the make and model of your TV on a label located on the rear of the set. When searching, you should be able to find a manual or shopping page that includes the type of tuner the set has. You’re looking to ensure that the TV has a built-in Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) tuner. It may also be noted as a “digital” or “HDTV” tuner.
If your TV has an ATSC tuner, you can attach an HDTV antenna and receive television over-the-air for free or, if your cable company supports it, attach an incoming cable connection.
If your TV does not have an ATSC tuner, you will need to obtain a digital converter box to convert the signal from digital to analog to watch digital channels. You can then attach an antenna or incoming cable to the converter box to receive your channels. Cable users may want to check with their cable provider to see what options they have. Many cable companies provide converter boxes to their customers.
Hopefully with these steps, you have found out if your TV supports a digital connection and you’re well on your way to kicking back and watching some shows. Happy watching!