Saturday, February 2, 2013

How to view pdf, word, excel, rtf, text files and other computer documents on my TV


There are so many ways to display computer documents such as pdf, word (.doc), excel (.xls) or text (.txt) files on your TV. Modern smart TVs can play popular media audio, video and image formats. These new TVs can access these media files whether wired or wireless. They can also play and stream from media servers from DLNA compatible devices in your home network and network attached storage (NAS) hard drives (e.g. Western Digital My Book Live 3 TB Network Hard Drive or External Hard Drives and USB Flashdrives/Thumbdrives attached to a Wireless/Wired Media Router). These TVs can also accept input from USB and from HDMI inputs. There are numerous smartphone and tablet free apps to display the said document formats. You can connect your smartphone, tablet, iPhone or iPad through a wire or cable to view it on the TV. Although there is a growing number of tv apps, but there is no app at this time for viewing these files on the big screen in the living room. Of course you can use ebook readers such as Kindle to display text and pdf files, but the question at hand is being able to view these files at the comfort of the couch and the big TV screen.

How to display pdf, word, excel, text documents on your TV:

   

I. Extend Windows Desktop to a Television (tv) monitor or Projector
This method is common on most school classrooms and workplace settings. This setup require an S-Video cable or an HDMI cable and other devices and accessories. This also require some technical know-how. This solution works but there must be someone to operate the computer (to bring page down, open files, etc.)

II. Smartphone or Tablet connected through cable to the TV

This option also is possible to view and read the files through your mobile devices but again requiring user intervention of the device. Added to this is the touch screen work that you have to do.

III. Document to Image Converter

Because modern tv's can stream photos and pictures with reliable speed and ease, you can convert your documents into images and view them on the biggest monitor in your home, your TV. There are so many freeware softwares on the internet to convert pdf, word (doc), excel or text files to image (jpeg, jpg, png, gif, bmp, etc.). There are also many free online pdf and word converters online. An example of free pdf to image converter is Kvisoft Pdf to Image converter. Another is the free Nemo Pdf to Word converter, Word to PDF and vice-versa. One problem I find with this method is that I want to enlarge and adjust the font so that it is more readable on the tv but it is hard to find a good editor to do so. I tried to adjust the size and resolution of the output image but I find the text fonts small and hard to read on the TV.

IV. Screen Capture
This method works for me. There are so many great screen capture utilities on the net (PicPick is a good example). I can adjust the font or zoom of the document (so that it is large enough and readable when I read it on the TV) and then capture it using the free software. The size of the images are small (100 - 200 KB) and yet it is viewable clearly on the TV. After capturing the documents into image files, you can then copy these files to the NAS server and share them to the home network. After copying and sharing, your DLNA-compatible TV should be able to open and view these files. You can also save these pictures to a USB and then plug them on your TV or home theatre that is connected to your Tv. Afterwards, you can browse them using the Photo browser in your appliance. 

V. Other Methods
Other solutions on how to display documents to your TV is by converting them to video or movie files. The downside of this method is the large size and long time of conversions. You can also burn your documents on a disc and play them using a DVD or Bluray player to your TV.

How to listen to your documents in your MP3 player, TV or Home Theatre Entertainment System:


If you find your eyes and yourself sleepy and tired of reading word, pdf or text files in front of your computer, tablet or ebook reader, why don't you sit in your couch and hear your documents play instead or lie down in your bed and listen to them with your MP3, MP4 player or iPod? Balabolka is one of the best free Text-To-Speech (TTS) program. It can read the clipboard content, view and read the text from DOC, PDF, TXT, RTF, EPUB, HTML, FB2, ODT, MOBI, AZW, CHM, DjVu, LIT and PRC files. You can also customize font and background color as well as control reading from the system tray or by the global hotkeys. In order to hear your documents in your Mp3 player, TV or Streaming Media Player in your living room, this software allows the on-screen text to be saved as audio files in MP3, WAV, OGG or WMA file formats. Before you save, you can adjust the Rate or Speed of reading and the Pitch of the voice. [I find Rate = -1 and Pitch = -1 suitable and best (for me)].

You can then copy these audio files to your Mp3 or MP4 players or any mobile devices so that you can hear them wherever you go. You can also save and share these files to your home network hard drive, media server, or network attached storage devices and stream, play and listen to your documents in the comfort of your sofa in your living room while drinking some refreshments and eating some snacks!

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