Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Home Network Configuration
I recently got a new PC. It has a small form factor and is about the same size as the sub woofer in my sound system.
Before I got the new PC, I also got a sweet 32" Samsung HDTV. For a while I had my laptop connected, running it as the biggest monitor I ever had and playing DVDs on it. A little later the XBOX 360 Elite came out, so I got one and took advantage of the HDMI connection. Now I play DVDs using that.
I had a nice PC that I could play WoW on, browse the net, play music, watch movies and downloaded TV. I had an XBOX that I could play games on. I had a nice TV that I could watch basic cable on. Everything seemed pretty sweet. The only downside was that if I wasn't actually home, I couldn't watch shows.
I realised something. I wanted to share files from the PC to the XBOX. I found TVersity which streams any content to any device capable of viewing it.
Then I realised something else. The new PC, with Vista Home Premium, has a Media Center. I did some research into things like personal video recorders and Windows Media Center and wondered what I could do to get all this to work. I realised I needed a TV Tuner.
After opening up my PC, I found that my super stonky graphics card took up both PCI slots available. Whoops. No big deal.
I went out and got a new monitor (just... because!), and a WinTV-PVR-USB2 thingy. I plugged them all in and installed the drivers and software.
I fired up Media Center. It told me it found a new TV Tuner. It asked for my postcode. It downloaded a 14 day TV Program Guide. It let me schedule things to be recorded. It was, frankly, utterly amazing.
Then I connected the XBOX to the PC as a Media Center Extender. I can watch live TV from my front room. I can schedule recordings from the front room. I can even, using the "MSN Remote Record Service", schedule recordings from work.
This is the first time in the years I've been using PCs that everything has just come together smoothly in one seamless package. The on screen interface is awesome. I didn't have a video recorded, or any other gadgets. I believe I can even set my laptop up as a Media Center Extender and watch TV from anywhere in the apartment.