Send any YouTube video to your television, instantly. It’s perfect for YouTube parties or anytime you want to comfortably watch a video from your couch. All you need to make living room dreams come true is a media center powered by XBMC and a simple browser extension.
Here’s the scenario. You’re sitting on your couch, browsing the web. You stumble upon a hilarious video and – being a social creature – you want to share it with the people around you. The usual solution is to tell everyone in the room to crowd around your laptop. Sure, it’s a great way to get close to people, but it can get old fast. Which is why I propose to you another solution – hitting a single button below the video to make it play on your TV. It’s easy with the magic of XBMC.
In case you didn’t know, the latest version of XBMC, Eden, is faster and prettier than ever. If you have a computer hooked up to your TV there’s no reason not to install it. It catalogs your media for easy browsing and watching, supports amazing add-ons including Hulu, offers a wide collection of cool skins and generally makes life without cable fantastic for any TV fan. Even better, you can instantly send any YouTube video you find on your laptop to it.
How It WorksYou’re browsing the Internet, minding your own business, when it happens. You discover Ze Frank, the original video blogger, is back. The second coming is upon us!
This is clearly a moment you want to share with everyone in the room, right now. Luckily, you’ve got a television with a XBMC center, and this fancy button:
Yep, the one with the XBMC logo. Clicking this button causes happiness, as Ze Frank’s face makes its way to your TV screen.
Now you and everyone in your immediate vicinity can witness amazing. Ready to set this up yourself? You’re obviously going to need XBMC running on a computer hooked up to your TV. It runs on Windows, Mac (even PPC!), Linux and Apple TV, so pretty much any setup should be covered. Once you’ve got that working, follow the next three simple steps.
Step 1: Set Up YouTube On XBMCFirst things first: you’re going to need to install the YouTube plugin for XBMC. On your TV, head to the “Settings” screen and you’ll find the “Add-Ons” menu. YouTube is easily found under “Video“; no special repository is needed.
This plugin is awesome: you can sign in and browse your subscriptions from your couch. Feel free to play with this, but for now I’m moving on.
Step 2: Find Your Network SettingsNow that you’ve got YouTube installed on your computer, you should pull up the “Network Settings” page of XBMC. Open it, turn on control by HTTP and allow programs on other computers to control XBMC.
Also set a username and password, if you like. Keep this screen open – we’re going to need it for the next step.
Step 3: Set Up Your Browser PluginsReady for the browser plugin? Grab your laptop and head to the YouTube page on the XBMC wiki. Here you’ll find links to extensions for Firefox and Chrome. Install whichever extension you like (or both if you’re a browser polygamist).
Once you do so, you’ll see this settings screen:
Fill this in using the information from the settings screen still open on your TV. Follow the pattern they offer – username:password@host:port – and all should be well. The default plugin will work fantastically, so don’t mess with the second field.
Now head to YouTube and find whatever video you like. The button for playing media will be found beneath your video, as depicted above. Awesome!
ConclusionI love the Internet way more than I love TV. Having access to the Internet on my TV is pretty much amazing.
Do you know of any other cool television-related YouTube hacks? Share them in the comments below.