Tired of Watching Netflix – Cast your Own

Hopefully, we are all doing our part and are sheltering-in-place as we continue our fight to control the spread of COVID-19. That probably means we are watching a lot of television.

Personally, I am growing tired of watching what my cable provider, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and other commercial sites have to offer. It’s not that I have run out of things to watch from their offerings. It is just I would like to watch or listen to content that is stored on my computer.

Sure I can watch videos, listen to music, and look at slide shows or groups of photos sitting at my computer. But there is not room for more than a couple of people (for now family members) to crowd around my computer monitor. And my speaker is OK for speech, but not for music.

What I really want to do is watch and listen to the content I have on my computer from the comfort of my family room on my flat screen TV. I even have a sound bar that provides much improved audio than my television.

Luckily, since my PC is running on Windows 10, there is an easy way to do this. For those of you who use Macs, I am sure there is a way that is equally simple that allows you to do the same.

All you need besides you PC to do this is either a smart TV or, as in my case, a smart DVD player. What follows are the steps required to view photo images, listen to recorded music, or watch videos stored on your PC or one of its hard drives on your television.

Step 1   Turn on and Prepare Your Smart Device

This needs to be done before you do anything on your PC. The figure below shows the Home screen on my Samsung DVD player. The arrow points to the mode that is used to mirror what is playing or being displayed on my PC in another room.

DVD Home Screen

Not described here, but I have also set my sound bar to the right source.

Step 2   Set Up Your PC for Streaming

Click on the Start button > Settings.

Select PC Settings

Click Settings > Devices.

Settings Devices

Select Bluetooth > UBP-X700 (my DVD Player’s system name)

UBP-X700 is the system name or ID for my DVD player. This can be found in your DVD’s System Settings screen. Note the figure below was captured while setting up to play audio files. That is why the XBP-X700 video icon is not connected.

Buetooth Devices

Step 3   Select the Media to be Streamed

Using File Explorer, select the files to be streamed. This example is for casting an audio file. At this point it could also be video files. In the figure below, only a single file was selected. Multiple files (songs in this case) could have also been selected.

Right click on the selected file or files and then click on Cast to Device > XBP-X700 as shown below.

Cast to Device

Step 4   Click on the Play/Pause Button

Play Audio

 Step 5    Return to your Easy Chair and Enjoy

A couple final tips:

    • You can select one folder at a time for music. All of the songs in that folder will play and then repeat when the last song has played.

    • For videos and photo images, you can select multiple folders in Step 3, and they will all play.

    • Once the files begin streaming you can Pause etc. from the devices remote – in my case, my DVD’s remote.

    • This last one is strictly for my benefit, and most likely is not applicable in many/most cases. I keep my cable box/DVR on and select the applicable input of my DVD player on my TV to begin the steps.

There you have it. Let me know if you found this post helpful.

Until next time…


AppTip Video – Rip Music From a CD

Certainly this is nothing new, but you may find it useful if you have a memory like I do – poor.

Have you been in the middle of preparing a slideshow or similar project and needed to add some background music from a CD you? You know you can do it, in fact you have done it before – months ago. That is exactly what happened to me.

Because it had been so long since I had ripped music from a CD, I had forgotten how to get started and a couple of key steps. As I was doing this, I thought maybe there are others out there who follow my blog, and may want a quick review.

Below is  video that reviews how to rip music using Windows Media Player.

I hoped you found the video helpful.

Until next time…

Archive Data CDs Going Bad Revisited

In my last post I described how my old data CDs may beginning to go bad. I ended the post saying I duped the problem CD and was going to try it in my car. It contained MP3 files recorded as data, not as an audio CD. I duped the CD successfully with Nero. I spot-checked it on my PC, and it seemed to play fine. However, it did not play well at all on my car stereo. I can’t say if the problem was with the same files or not.

The only way I am going to salvage the CD is to remake it from the MP3 files still on my computer. Since it appears to play (at least many of the files) ok on my PC, I won’t throw it away just yet. The good news is the next archive I tested on my car stereo played fine. However, I recorded it in February 2003. The problem CD was recorded in December 1999.

Are Your Home Recorded CDs Going Bad?

Like many of you, I have been archiving data and photos on CDRs and DVDs for many years now. True, I currently back up my photos onto external hard drives. But back-ups are a snapshot in time of what your data or photo collection looks like. The longer a single back-up exists, the less valuable it becomes, because as time goes on, the data or photos that are on that backup do not represent the current state of your data or photo collection. That is why we do periodic back-ups. But this article is not about back-ups.

When we archive data or photos our intention is often to move it off of our active storage devices and put it somewhere for safe keeping or to bring back selected items occasionally as needed. Currently, my archive media of choice is CDRs and DVDs that I recorded many years ago in some cases. I know that these CDRs and DVDs do not have an infinite lifespan. To be honest, I am not sure what the current predicted lifespan estimates are. It depends on how well they were recorded, stored, and the quality of the blank that was used to record the data. This brings me to what I just experienced.

Audio MP3 Files

Several months ago, I upgraded my car stereo system with a unit that can play MP3 and other audio formats that have been written to a CDR as data. My earlier car stereo could only play audio CDs. So for many years as I downloaded MP3 audio files I made audio CDs. But I also archived the MP3 files on CDRs. The big difference here is that typically an audio CD held anywhere from 20-25 songs, depending upon there length. But my archive CDRs could hold several times that number. Now I could play one of my archive CDRs directly in my car.

Well, the other day I loaded one of these archive CDRs, and initially it played well in my car. This particular CDR was made on 12-31-1999. After playing through several songs the first thing I noticed was that occasionally the music would stop for a second and pick up again without skipping a note it appeared. As the CDR progressed through the large number of songs, I noticed it was skipping 4-5 songs at a time. It finally played to the end, but had skipped many songs.

Today, I decided to see if I could salvage the the CDR. I use Nero to duplicate CDs and DVDs. On one of my computers, I have two drives. The first CD compatible drive had trouble reading the CDR. I put it in the other drive and I appear to have made a valid copy without any errors. I will now go and try to play it on my car stereo all the way through. Hopefully, I indeed got a good copy. If it is still bad, I am not too worried. I have audio CDs for all of the songs, and I still have the MP3 files on my computer as well. By the way, I use Photoshop Elements to manage my music files in a separate Catalog from my photos. I then back them up repeatedly with PSE’s Back-up command.

To be honest I have no idea whether my archive CDR went bad, or whether it was bad from day one. I do know two things, however. The CDR recording software/hardware we had back then was not nearly as good as we have today. Also, this particular CDR had a paper label on it, which I now know is a no-no. But, I am now going play all of my archive audio CDs in my car to check to see if others suffer from the same problem. Once that is done, I will probably copy them on to a new CDR, so I can start their lifespan clock all over.

I took a quick look of my Favorites websites and came acrossthis article that was written in 2006. It might be worth a read.

I’ll keep you posted on what I find as I go through my archived MP3 data CDRs.

Leave a comment and let me know what experiences you have had with CDRs and DVDs recorded some time ago.

Also, if you are on Facebook, I would appreciate it if you would Like my Facebook Page. There is a link to do that in the upper right corner of this page. Thanks a lot.