Stream computer desktop to TV using DLNA, TVersity and VLC

1. What’s going on with TV?

People want their TV with more features, like internet ready, apps, web browser etc. All these extra features are basically already there on computers. Now they want a combination. Basically they want a computerized TV or a TV = TV + PC + Internet.

This is exactly what happened in the handset/phone field, Phone = game player = Handset/PDA = GPS = MP3 player = Video player = Camera/Camcorder = Book reader = Photo frame = web browser = Email browser = … = Computer! This is revolution. One is everything. Basically one thing is a PC that can of course install a lot of apps and has WIFI with extra physically dedicated features such as phone, camera, gps.

This is what’s happening now in TV field. TV companies put a dedicated board (a computer) inside their TVs to make theirs TV = TV + PC. Apple, google make some dedicated box (a computer) sitting beside the TV. Question is why bother making new things, why not just buy a netbook or any cheap desktop PC and connected to TV? The reason is this. A dedicated unit is fancier, and it can be made small, fast, and even put inside TV. It can be made so because it is only used for TV, so it doesn’t need that good quality/much cost to include all those redundant hardware/software.

2. PC to TV

For the time being, TV is not as powerful as PC yet. So sometimes, we want to stream signal from PC to TV. The specific purpose of streaming desktop to TV can be varied for people. One common reason is basically you want to see something  on TV that you can see on PC. This is the exact reason why Internet-ready/connected TV is so popular, Apple TV and google TV are so popular.

For the time being, I don’t have such a powerful TV. I have a samsung LN40c650 LCD HDTV that is internet-ready, with apps and DLNA certified. It is a nice TV, but still not as powerful as computer.

Now I want to see online TV on my TV. What can I do?

There are a variety of ways to send signal from PC to TV.

1) Connect with Video/Audio cables directly, e.g. VGA,DVI,HDMI etc. This is the simplest way. It makes good video/audio quality. But I have to move my PC and make the connection every time. It is not very convenient.

2) Connect wirelessly with PC to TV video/audio transmitters. This is good. But the devices are over $100, which is expensive to me.

3) DLNA, through network. This is compromised way, but doable. DLNA is more and more popular due to its convenience to share media within various devices. But through network, the quality is not that great. The speed is also an issue. There is a tradeoff between media quality and speed. It varies with the hardware.

In my case, I want to try DLNA, since the source media online is not great already. Using TVersity, I can get photos, audios, and videos on my computer, and online such as youtube, and even live TV such as Justin.tv. For more details about this, please refer to another post: http://alenblog.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/tversity-dlna-for-samsung-tv/.

The question is: can I watch online TV like PPStream, PPLive etc (Chinese) on TV, which are not natively supported by DLNA?

There are some methods introduced using VLC: Link 1, Link 2, and Link 3. But it seems none of these works for me for uusee, pplive and ppstream, since I can’t find the streaming source for these software.

3. Stream Desktop to TV

Now I moved to this method that streams desktop to TV, which is universal.

The new VLC version has a feasture to live stream desktop: screen://.

You can create a desktop streaming using VLC to localhost, such as mms://127.0.0.1:1234. Then you can add this live streaming media into TVersity library.

Now you can just watch this “video” on your TV through DLNA (samsung Media Player).

Of course you could also use another live streaming software if available. In principle, this can do the work. The quality and speed might be an issue. It is an issue to me for the time beining. But as least, this provides a possibility.

p.s. screen:// doesn’t actually work for video+audio YET. Please check another post here http://alenblog.wordpress.com/2011/04/24/watch-online-tv-ppstream-pplive-etc-on-tv-via-dlna/ to see how to make it.

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27 Responses

  1. [...] Stream computer desktop to TV using DLNA, TVersity and VLC [...]

  2. Completely horrible tutorial. If that’s what it was supposed to be. If there’s no heading in VLC with “You can create a desktop streaming using VLC to localhost, such as mms://127.0.0.1:1234” head then you need to eplaind wtf your talking about step by step. I would have taken you a few extra lines of writing.

  3. Hi

    I really need some help. I have recently purchased a Lg smart tv upgrader for my HD lcd Tv. I can now share media between my laptop, tv and samsung galaxy tablet using dlna. Now I want to be able to view my laptop desktop on my TV wirelessly, Is that possible? If so please give me some simple instructions. Thanks in advance

      • Hi

        Thank you for your response.

        I want to stream my desktop so I can stream itv player, 4od, basically, anything streams on my desktop. If you could give me some simple and easy to follow instructions I would really appreciate it.

    • Did you check the link I gave you?
      The basic idea is to use VLC to capture the screen and create a streaming source, which is then put in TVersity library.

      However, the screen capture feature in VLC is not working well with audio output. So we need use some DirectShow filter, such as VH Screen Capture or UScreenCapture to do the capture job. The DirectShow filter installed can be called directly in VLC.

      So the whole procedure is:
      1. install VLC
      2. VLC->steaming->Capture device->Choose video device (DirectShow filter you installed) and audio device.
      3. Choose streaming output, such as a file, HTTP, RTP, MMS etc. You could output to a file for testing. Later on, you could choose, say HTTP. I usually add a file name, such as path /test.flv
      4. Choose Transcoding.
      5. Stream
      6. Add streaming URL in TVersity, such as http://127.0.0.1/test.flv.
      7. Play on TV.

      3 and 4 are critical. It depends on what file formats and encoding types are supported by your TV. Find some transcodings natively supported by your TV. If it is not supported by your TV, then later TVersity may perform another transcoding, which will slow down the video a lot, or make unplayable at all.

      It is not easy to make it work. It takes a lot of testing. Try to stream to a file first, then add the file to TVersity, and play on TV.

  4. Hi

    I have done the following steps but need some clarification

    1) VLC installed
    2) I have ‘UScreenCapture’ in the drop box under video device. Is that ok? I have ‘default’ ‘none’ ‘microphone’ ‘vitual-audio-capturer’, which I should I select?
    3) Do I click ‘stream’ now?
    4) When I click ‘stream’ a new box appears called ‘source’. with dshow:// in the box. Do I need to change anything here?
    5) click next. from the drop down menu i selected ‘http’ and put the path /test.flv and then ‘stream’
    6) vlc starts streaming
    7) where do i add the url in tversity?

    • 1. Ok
      2. UScreenCapture, OK. Audio, on one computer, I choose SoundMax HD Audio, on another one, I choose default. Not sure what device it is using. You need try, default or ‘vitual-audio-capturer’?
      3. Yes. But you have options to configure. For example, for video device, you can set frame rate. The higher rate it is, the more data captured. 24p movie is about 25 (frames per second), some people use 30. But it also takes more computer resources and network bandwidth when streaming. You could make lower if needed, such as 12. But the picture jumps if it is too low.
      4. No. Click next.
      5. selected ‘http’, and you clicked “ADD”, right? and put the path /test.flv. Can you TV play flash videos?

      Again, it is important to select a proper file format and transcoding. But you can do a lot testing. Check “Activate Transcoding”, profile-> select one from the list or create a new one if needed, e.g. “video – H.264 + AAC (MP4)”. “edit selected profile”->video codec->Codec: H-264, Bitrate (e.g. 2048) and Frame rate (same as what you set for capture device). The larger bitrate you choose, the more date generated, again you need test to optimize. Choose a value that delivers decent picture quality and streaming quality; -> Audio codec->Codec: MPEG 4 Audio (AAC), bitrate: e.g. 128, channels: 2, sample rate: e.g. 44100. But I always make it lower, since it’s not as important as pictures.

      H.264 delivers the best quality. You could try other codecs. You need test to get the best video quality and network speed.

      6. You should see something like: :sout=#transcode{vcodec=h264,vb=4096,fps=25,scale=0,acodec=mp4a,ab=128,channels=2,samplerate=44100}:http{dst=:8080/test.flv} :no-sout-rtp-sap :no-sout-standard-sap :ttl=1 :sout-keep

      The link is :8080/test.flv, where localhost is ignored. You could add it: dst=127.0.0.1:8080/test.flv

      To test the link, it’s better to test with vlc or other media players first. Open another vlc session, Media->Open network stream-> URL: http://127.0.0.1:8080/flv.test (localhost could ignored).

      * Another test is optional: stream to a file, using the codecs you are using, then add the file to TVersity and play one TV.

      To add the URL to TVersity library: TVersity->Library->Internet Media->Internet Video->Add data->Video URL: http://127.0.0.1:8080/test.flv

      Try TVersity with other internet videos first, and make sure URL videos work. I’m using 1.9.3. I tried 1.9.6(?) last time and got problems.

      Check VLC and TVersity documentations for basic settings.

  5. thank you for your response. I have followed your instructions and tested it in vlc and it works. When I add the file to TVersity and try to play i get error “There may be network conjestion”

    Also, you advised in your post to set the frate rate. When I select uscreen capture — then configure — when I change ‘capture frame rate’ from 10 to 24 and click apply. When I go back into ‘configure’ the ‘capture frame rate’ has defaulted back to 10.

    Secondly, you suggested I test TVersity with other url. When I put in a url it asks me to upgrade to pro. It is essential for me to upgrade to make this work?

    Finally, Is there any other way to display my laptop’s desktop to my TV using DLNA? Do you think there will be a easy to download software coming out soon to share desktop wirelessly with your TV?

    I recently purchased the LG smart tv upgrader to make it DLNA ready and now I can play videos from laptop or tablet to tv wirelessly without any problems which is great but really want screen share option. Are you aware of any hardware which allows you to play videos wirelessly and allow screen share that I could purchase?

    Look forward to your response

    • 1. “It works”. What works? Setting in VLC?
      2. “There may be network conjestion”. Are you playing URL? If you are need upgrade to TVersity Pro, you won’t be able to play it.
      3. “When I go back into ‘configure’ the ‘capture frame rate’ has defaulted back to 10″. I don’t have this problem. Click apply, click ok. Then Click configure again, it is there. Anyway, for now, this is not a concern.
      4. “It is essential for me to upgrade to make this work?” Yes, non-pro version seems not be able to stream URL video. You can google to find a free one.
      5. Other options to use DLNA is to use other softwares (for Screen capture, for DLNA server, for streaming), but the idea is the same. A different idea is to use cable with wire and to use wireless video/audio without wire, which are not using DLNA at all. Google “wireless video”.

  6. cunyalen,

    That is interesting. Currently I am using Tversity to stream mp3s that I have on a WD network Harddrive. There are 600meg of mp3 files.

    Unfortunately, Tversity seems to lock up after a short period of time.
    I rescan the mp3s each time I start the server. It seems ok, but does lock up.

    I did have this working in the past. I was able to listen to my mp3 collection through my surround sound system connected to my DLNA tv, but now I am having problems.

    Any Ideas?

    Tony V

    • Tony, I don’t have a WD HD. I’m not sure what the problem is in your case. I suggest that you post your question on http://forums.tversity.com/, and see if anyone has similar exprience. If nothing found, I would suggest re-install it. If your version is not the latest, maybe try the latest, assuming it’s a bug of the program.

  7. Looks like TVersity is only for Windows; is there a Mac alternative?

  8. Am I right in saying that you beleive TV is not versatile enough.If so can you tell me what the point is of internet TV is then?

  9. its nice post.i love to read it.i like to visit hare again.

  10. Doesn’t work the screen:// command only streams video not audio and is very buggy and tversity cannot open it so you can’t stream it.

  11. Thanks for great post! I have a problem, vlc crashes:
    This is what’s happening:
    1-Open “VLC”
    2-Clicking on “Stream”
    3-Choosing “capture device”
    4a-Choose video device: default / 4b-Choose video device: UScreenCapture
    5-Clicking on “Advanced options”
    6-Choose “video input frame rate” to 25. Clicking OK
    7-”Steam”
    8-”Next”
    9-Changing from “file” to “http”. “Add”
    10-Path: /test.flv
    11-Ticking “Activate Transcoding”
    12-Profile: no changes
    13-Next
    13-”VLC has crashed”.

    What do I do? It’s only crashing when i choose “http”, but this is what I need to stream from my PC to my TV via TVersity, right? It seems like none of the other options/settings has any impact on the crashing, only http. Why is VLC crashing? I’m not kind of tech advanced, so its nice if you explain carefully.

    Relating to this post I’ve downloaded VLC (updated), TVersity and UScreenCapture.

  12. [...] think this will work. Stream computer desktop to TV using DLNA, TVersity and VLC You could also use an old computer with VNC. Reply With [...]

  13. Even though this post does provide a potential solution, it is not an easy solution, due to the bad integration of these software and hardware. Plus, a good quality of video streaming to TV does require good quality of hardware. That is why the most reliable way for PC-To-TV HD Display through network today is using a dedicated device connected to TV to receive signal. But that brings a problem in incompatibility. Airplay (Apple), AllShare Cast (Samsung), Miracast (Using Wifi direct, few devices yet) all limit to certain devices.

    “AirFlinger” from TVersity seems very interesting. It “is not limited to any particular mobile OS or TV connected device.” I’ll be happy to see how it works.

  14. Hello
    Maybe tooo simple, but on my PC, I see my TV as a device (Samsung DLNA enabled). Now the question, is there a simple way to do like on a laptop, to basically switch screen -> but evidently this time to the “Samsung” device ?

    Thanks in advance for your support

    • I’m not quite sure what you mean by “see my TV as a device” and “switch screen”. Do you mean you see your TV as device in TVersity? Or you are simply connecting your TV to your PC using a VGA cable, and see a second monitor in the display settings? If it is connected using a VGA cable, it’s just another monitor. Of course, you can switch screen to the TV. But you see it in TVersity, and you TV is on network, then there no simple “switch screen” feature. The way to do it using DLNA is explained here: http://alenblog.wordpress.com/2011/04/24/watch-online-tv-ppstream-pplive-etc-on-tv-via-dlna/. There are some other technologies out there to make this work, for example, Apple airplay, Samsung Allshare Cast, Miracast (direct WIFI), and TVersity Airflinger etc. But there are availability problems, either due to hardware, or software. Airflinger seems very interesting, but “AirFlinger is shipping as an App or as an SDK intended for pay TV operators and video publishers to integrate with their existing mobile apps.” Hope this helps.

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