What is MediaConnect?
What is the difference (as of 2k10 & 2k11) between the NAFTA version and the European version of PMC? NAFTA Version - Uses pull approach - i.e. The PMC app should be running on your PC at all times, you have to go to the TV menu and click on the PMC icon on the main menu to send command to the PC app, which basically tells the PC app to start encoding and sending a real-time encoded audio-video stream of your PC screen to your TV.
Philips MediaConnect is a feature which is built into specific 2010 & 2011 Philips TVs, Blu-ray players & HTiB-Blu-ray players which allows consumers to stream their PC (Win7, Vista & XP - not Mac) screen along with audio to their TV. Directly to the TV if it is a PMC enabled TV or to any other display device if you are doing it via a PMC enabled BDP/HTS-BDP.
Note - Due to this reason, the "Stop Projecting" option in the menu is grayed out, since you cannot control this feature from the PC. The PMC app on the PC is in an always ready mode, waiting for a go command from the PMC product via your home network.
European Version - uses push approach - i.e. the TV has no PMC icon anywhere in the menu. The app on the PC has an option to "Start Projecting"; once you click on it, it will find a PMC enabled TV on your home network and start encoding and streaming video to this TV. So no matter what source you were on your TV, it will switch to the PMC video stream automatically.
Can I use the European software if I have a NAFTA PMC product?
How does PMC actually work and what are the recommended requirements the home PC and network should meet for it to work seamlessly?
No, since they both work very differently, the NAFTA & European apps are not cross-compatible.
The first thing to remember is that PMC is very taxing on both your PC and home network since not only is your PC doing its regular tasks, but also encoding and streaming video in real-time at a significantly high resolution (max supported resolution is 800p). So in essence it is a stand alone 1:1 video server while running PMC.
If your PC processor is not fast enough, if other apps running on your PC do not provide PMC enough head room (CPU usage %) for PMC to run smoothly, there are fluctuations/interference in your home network bandwidth, you WILL face performance issues and drops in connection.
So, the way it works is:
1. Your PC and PMC enabled product should be on the same home network, i.e. connected to the same router. It can be wireless, wired or a combination of the two, does not matter. However, this is what I would recommend in order or preference.
Note: Many older/slower Wireless N routers (usually based on the draft N spec.) have performance issues when using PMC. These days, if you visit websites of the major wireless router manufacturers, you will see that they a slew of new products which are optimized for video, gaming, home AV apps, etc. I would recommend using one of these routers if you are facing issues with your current router.
a. PC to router (wired) + PMC product to router (wired)
b. PC to router (Wireless N) + PMC product to router (wired)
c. PC to router (Wireless N) + PMC product to router (Wireless N)
2. There is a PMC app (NAFTA version) which you need to download from http://www.wifimediaconnect.philips.com/ (after entering the code from your product) and then install on your PC, which by default will run in your start-up.
3. Make sure your TV & PC are connected to your home network, you can ensure this by visiting a website on your PC or accessing some NetTV app (e.g. Internet Radio) on your PMC product and see if it works fine. (FYI ... you do not need the internet for PMC to work since it is a connection between your PC & PMC product through your home network)
4. Now that all of the above is done, goto the PMC product menu and click on the PMC menu item.
5. For the FIRST TIME ONLY, if you have a firewall running on your PC, it will ask you if you want to grant various permissions to PMC. Please allow them all. Even if you by mistake denied or canceled some of the dialog boxes at this stage, you can still go into your firewall settings and grant these permissions to the PMC app. In some cases routers have firewalls built in to them as well, you might have to grant permission within your router firewall as well. I can show you guys how to do this but there are so many firewalls and routers that it is beyond my scope to show you how to do it on each and every one in this post. But most of them are pretty similar. You can search online how to do grant permissions to an app in your firewall or contact your PC/router manufacturers help-desk for help. The first time you provide these permissions on your PC, the PMC feature in your PMC product might time out and it might not work for the first time. If this happens just try again.
6. ... now you should have your PC desktop (with) audio streaming to your TV.
Other noteworthy points:
If you have Vista or Win7, PMC will turn off Aero (i.e. your desktop theme will change to Basic) to conserve PC resources since it needs a lot for real-time video encoding.
Since PMC literally mirrors your PC desktop on your PMC product display, it will change your PC resolution to the max resolution it supports. e.g. if you have a 1920x1080 monitor, it will will bring down the resolution to 1280x800 or 1280x720. Sometimes it even streams a 4:3 resolution to the display, in which case it gets stretched to 16:9.
I prefer keeping a pure 16:9 resolution on the PC since most TVs now are 16:9.
To do this here are the settings I make while using PMC:
Before you activate PMC, change your PC resolution to 1280x720 (your PC/laptop monitor should support it for this trick to work). The go into the options of the PMC app of your PC and in the resolution tab change it from "Automatically select ..." to "Use the current PC resolution ..."
Then go to the PMC product menu and run PMC - this is the best way to do it IMHO.
How does the PMC app stream audio?
When you first install PMC on your PC, it creates a new (virtual) Audio device in your "Playback Devices" called "Speakers (WFMVCAD)".
Whenever you run PMC, it switches your default audio device from your PC speakers to this virtual audio device.
When you stop PMC, it reverts back to your previous default audio device. If for some reason this does not happen, you can do it yourself by performing the following simple steps:
1. Right click on the volume icon on and task bar -> click on "Playback Devices"
2. Once the list opens, right click on your PCs default audio device and select "Set as default device"
What about the lag?
Even though I have mentioned the word real-time gazillion times in this post, real-time primarily refers to the fact that the video is being generated in real-time (i.e. Live Webcast vs. watching videos on YouTube), depending on the speed of your processor, the lag between what you see on your PC screen and the TV can range between 1.5 to 7 (that is the most I have seen) seconds. However, the audio-video of what you see on your TV will always be in sync.
Purpose of PMC:
Purely Personal Opinion (you can use it however you want) - The main purpose of PMC is the ability to view anything from your PC on your TV, i.e. not having to worry about codecs, formats, burning stuff to DVDs, setting your your PC in your living room, etc. i.e. You can watch any website, e.g. Crackle.com, VideoJug.com, Hulu.com, ESPN3.com, ComedyCentral.com, abc.com etc. ... hope you get the flow ... on your TV. Also applies to your huge picture and video library on your Home PC. So if your PC is in your study or bedroom and you wanna watch content from your PC on your big screen TV in your living room ... use PMC.
I felt it was necessary to create a new thread for PMC since it is a different beast altogether. I will update this thread and answer queries from time to time.