• New Patreon Tier and Early Access Content available. If you would like to support AVForums, we now have a new Patreon Tier which gives you access to selected news, reviews and articles before they are available to the public. Read more.

Should I play PC files through PVR, or direct to TV?


Standard Member
Sorry if it's a stupid question... My equipment is as follows:

TV: 47LM760T
PVR: Probably Panasonic DMR HW120
Amp: Cambridge Audio, an old one, so no optical input, but would rather keep it.
Desktop PC: Old Dell but should do the job

I don't have the PVR yet but I want one as I want to be able to pause, rewind and record live TV easily, and don't want another Sky subscription.

I THINK I can connect any two of TV, Blu-Ray and PVR to the PC via Ethernet, and probably the other one wirelessly, but they all seem to have lots of networking options so I'm not sure how best to set it up...

Say I want to watch a film that is on my desktop, should I send it to the PVR or to the TV? Or is it better to run it on the desktop, and drag the picture across to the TV?

Say I have some friends round, and they want to pick Youtube songs (which often happens) - is it best for them to do on the PC and drag the picture across (messy), or choose songs direct on TV's Youtube (but text input on TV is messy and this would only give TV sound, no amp connection), or is there a better solution? Access Youtube on the PVR, which is connected to amp? :/

Also with the audio set-up, I was thinking I could use RCA from the PVR to my amp, but if I then play PC files direct to TV, then I'd only have TV sound for those. I know I can get an Optical > RCA converter for about £15, but not sure yet if this is best solution, you guys might have other suggestions...

I'm not great at all this (as you can probably tell), and nowadays with all the different elements of the system all having networking capabilities, I'm not sure what bit of kit to leave 'responsible' for each thing - so any help would be greatly appreciated, including anything I've not thought of that might be useful.

Cheers, James. :)

Mark uk

Established Member
How you can do this depends on
1. Which format the files are in, different devices accept different file formats.
2. Do you want to do this via DLNA (network). Using say Serviio for instance.
3. Do you want to use a USB flash drive or a memory card. Do your devices accept any?


Standard Member
1. Tbh, I'm not sure yet - I've never used a PC to watch films before, but friends say they have lots of films on their PCs that I can borrow - sorry that's not much help.

2. If that's the best way, then yes. I've no idea how to do any of this, its totally new to me, but I've already got my TV connected by Ethernet to my PC and the TV recognises the network, so I assume that's what you mean. When you talk of 'Serviio', does that mean I will need to install some software for my TV to play PC files? And if so, is 'Serviio' a good recommendation for a newbie?

3. Would it be better to do it with a flash drive than via Ethernet to my PC? Happy to do whichever is best.

Thinking about my initial post, the ability to let my friends easily play and operate Youtube on the TV is probably the most important bit of all this, so if anyone has recommendations of how best to do this, I'd be pleased to hear them.

Also if anyone can recommend a good beginners guide to networking / file-sharing on a Smart TV, that would also be much appreciated. :)

Mark uk

Established Member
1. You need to know the format type of the files and then see which of your kit will accept them.
2. Yes you will probably need to install software to play files on your TV from the PC. Some software will transcode some file types but others not. I find avi/divx files work best but mp4 and mkv will transcode in various degrees of success with serviio.
3. Flash drives are excellent but file type compatibility with your devices is more important going down this route.

In essence before you do anything you need to know what type of files they are and how compatible your kit is.

If it helps I can stream avi files over the network but mp4 and mkv files are a little choppy.
I use a Roku to access mp4/mkv files over a usb flash drive for the best quality, that does not accept avi, however my TVs and disc players (Panasonic) only like certain avi files of certain types.

TBH I only found this over time by trial and error and your kit probably accepts a different flavour of file types.
My laptop is wirelessly connected but the rest is wired over ethernet.

Mark uk

Established Member
Here is a diagram showing all the equipment and how it is all connected. This might explain things a little better.:)



Standard Member
TBH I only found this over time by trial and error and your kit probably accepts a different flavour of file types.

I wholeheartedly agree with post 4 - the best place to start is with the user manuals, as they can have lists of acceptable file types. BUT watch out, as there can be variants of file types which they don't handle.
Be prepared to have to get tools for converting files - there are a lot around, and they don't always do what the packaging says!

Good luck


Standard Member
Wow lots of really helpful stuff on here, thanks. I'm working away for a few days, but when I'm back on Friday I'll go through all this in relation to my set up, so please be patient with me if that leads to any more questions...
Cheers. :)

The latest video from AVForums

Is 8K TV dead? Philips OLED+907, Pioneer LX505 AVR plus B&W 700 S3 Reviews & Visit + AV/HiFi News
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom