Here's my current setup

Dell Inspiron 1720 laptop
42" digital TV with just about every input imaginable
Wired/wireless router

What I want to do is stream audio/video from my laptop to the TV wirelessly. Is there a device I can connect between the router and the TV, along with software (possibly even VLC) that would allow me to do this? Whenever I look for media streaming hardware I get hits for ROKU, Apple TV, etc. I don't care to stream media from the internet and I don't want to pay a subscription fee for services I will never use.

Personally, I have a HD WD TV Live, which is kind of like Roku, but cheaper. It works perfectly for this kind of application. The box connects wirelessly to the router, can see either shared folders (samba) or UPnP media server (which I recommend, and is easy to set-up on your computer). It allows you to view all your media on the TV directly, and with the media server thing, you don't have to worry about decoding video and stuff because it always works (i.e., if the box itself does not have the required codecs, it will get the computer (server) to decode the video for it). I'm 100% happy with that product, and it's less than 100 bucks to buy, and no subscriptions. It also has internet capabilities (through your network), like for youtube and netflix, if you ever want to use that.

Lokks like just what I want. I can't seem to get a price from the website though and even though I go to the page for the device, there does not seem to be any way to add it to my shopping cart. Probably have to create an account first.

Even better, I went to their page for further info, filled out all the required fields with my questions, clicked submit and got "Page not found". I finally talked to the toll free person and after a lot of confusion I finally was told that the Canadian web pages had been discontinued. Nice of them to leave them active to confuse the hell out of everyone.

In any case, I was able to find a reseller in Winnipeg. Best Buy has WD TV LIVE for $90 and WD TV PLAY 1080P for $70. Any idea what the difference is?

It's about 100 bucks, you can get them in your local tech store, like FutureShop or BestBuy.

I can also recommend Western Digital's TV Live box. In addition to the streaming, you can plug in a USB stick/drive as well. I think its an all around great appliance for the price.

I also want to mention that you can plug in a (wireless) keyboard with the USB plug. That will be much nicer for navigating the menu, finding your media, and when connecting to the internet. Doing everything with the remote is a bit of a pain. Also, you can control it with your smartphone, but I haven't tried that.

Any idea what the difference is?

From a quick search, it seems that this sums it up pretty well:

"The big difference is that the Play is really centered around internet apps / services and you can only stream from attached storage or from a media server. It also cannot play meg2 video.
The Live can play most files from attached storage and network drives via media server or network shares. It can also play DVD iso image files with menus."

I would recommend the Live version, as I think it will be more feature-complete. It seems that Play just has a number of arbitrary limitations that might just get annoying (more of these "why the heck doesn't this work!" moments).

might just get annoying

You are probably right. The Live version is on sale at Best Buy for $90. I'll see if I can talk the wife into it. Thanks for the help.

Good thing I didn't buy anything yet. At first glance, it looks like Chromecast (about $40) is what I want. I imagine VLC will soon support it.

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