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Stream to TV: laptop or nettop?

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Hello all you geeks, errr, experts out there. I have a question, maybe you can help me.


I have very limited cable service on the TV (by choice) and use an old laptop to stream shows that I want to watch to the TV. I figure if I buy 5-6 seasons of shows a year through iTunes or Amazon (the ones that I really want to watch), I will still save money because I won't have to pay $60 more a month for the cable service. Incidentally I think it is ridiculous to pay $100 a month to watch programming that is full of commercials. The original concept of TV was that they would give us some interesting entertainment and we would sit through their stupid commercials. Nowadays we have to pay twice--once for the cable connection and once with our time.


Wow, that turned into quite a little rant. Sorry about that. I didn't realize I had such strong feelings about that!


Anyway, the reason I am asking for suggestions is because my laptop seems to be on its last legs. It is an old Dell Inspiron 1440. The wifi card has died so I use a usb dongle. The video card blanks out every once in a while and comes back on again, leaving a message that it has failed and recovered. Lately it has started crashing between uses, so that when I come back to start it up, it says it had crashed.


I would like to get a cheap computer to replace the Inspiron, something that is more dependable. I am thinking about one of those "nettop" computers, as they seem to be cheaper than a laptop, but I'm not sure about it.


What specs do you think are necessary for a good entertainment laptop/nettop? The hard drive does not have to be huge, but it has to have a fairly good video card (for HD), solid wifi, a cpu with just enough oomph to chew through videos, and at least one hdmi port. No disk drive necessary.


It might be interesting to get a nettop and a wireless keyboard.


On the other hand, maybe a chrome book or something similarly priced would work?


I'd like to keep it under $300, if that is possible.


Thanks for any ideas you might have.




ps: I have done a search and did not find any other topics that were related to this. If I am mistaken, I would love to know (please share a link or two).

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