This holiday week, take over your relatives' televisions with these apps

The little streaming engine that could. Credit: Photo by iannnnn

These tools just might save you from having to watch their tired old DVD collection.

Technology has come so far that there is a really good chance your relatives will have some kind of web connection on their television. And it just might save you from having to watch their tired old DVD collection.

You've got a few options when it comes to bringing great videos with you on the road or across the country. Here's what to keep in mind as you pack up to go. Prepare to ask for the Wi-Fi password, people.

  • Grab-and-go: Chromecast: If you own one of these handy little plug-in devices, go ahead and bring it, along with its optional power cord. Almost any flat-screen TV has an HDMI port now, and plugging in your Chromecast gives you access to your own Netflix, Hulu, Songza, and other accounts, wherever there's a TV and Wi-Fi.
  • Remote hijacking: apps: If your relatives have a Roku, get a Roku remote app for iPhone or Android. With that app, you can send photos and music to a Roku, and use your phone as a remote. Apple TV hijackers need a Remote app for iPhone.
  • Straight from your phone: AllCast: Just released today, this app from prolific Android hacker Koush (a.k.a. ClockworkMod) lets you fling any photo or video from your phone or tablet to a Roku, AppleTV, XBOX, or most any kind of "smart" or DLNA-connected device on the Wi-Fi network.
  • Your HBO GO account: Fling your HBO shows from your phone or tablet to your relatives' devices, or sign in on their own device. You know people do it. It seems like it's passively permitted by HBO, within a reasonable number of devices. Wink. Nod. Etc.
  • Some kind of sling/cast device I don't know about: I'm not much into DVR-ing or storing all my movies on a home network storage device, but I know there are some keen solutions out there. The obvious one is the Slingbox—what else am I missing?
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