Archive for January, 2007

No shit?

January 24, 2007

Tell me something I don’t know.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — 65 percent of consumers are spending more time with a computer than with their significant other, according to new independent research commissioned by support.com.

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HTPC

January 24, 2007

 

One of the projects I’d really like to undertake if and when we move into the new house is to set up a network-based home theater system. All my media — photos, music, and video — goes on the server and is then served up to the (hopefully) HDTV set in the TV room. Sounds simple in the abstract, but it’s the details that take some sweating.

I’d like to use some sort of Mac-based or at least Mac-supported solution, since that’s what I’m most used to. The storage angle for all the files I already have figured out; thanks Greg. I think I even have the TV picked out. The hard part is to figure out how I’m going to get the media from the server onto the TV. Kevin has a knoppmyth setup that is very, very slick. And free. I have an unused PC that’s sitting in Kevin’s basement waiting to do something, but I’d need a TV tuner card for it. And a front end to get the media from the server to the TV. Seeing a pattern?

There’s a lot of information out there on using a Mac Mini as a home theater PC. This seems like the way to go. Throw in one of these, and we’d be able to record off the cable, too. We’ll see how it goes. There’s more research to do. And some time in which to do it.

01/17 afternoon addendum:

So I’ve been doing a little research and thought I’d add some links and some numbers to all this. New TV is probably going to run about $800. Mac Mini about the same, although I plan on waiting for the Core 2 Duo running Leopard. I’ll need a couple cables, but they’ll be cheap: One Toslink to mini plug cable for the digital audio out from the Mini, and one DVI cable to connect the Mini to the TV. It would be cool to be able to play all the video we have of Ava on our TV more easily than burning it to disc first. Maybe down the road a bit I can add the Elgato EyeTV unit.

01/19 afternoon addendum:

Looks like it’s going to have to be this TV, not the 37″ model. The 37″ is just too darn big, but this one fits about perfectly where we have our set now. Specs are still comparable, so no worries there.

01/24 afternoon addendum:

I’ve learned a couple things over the last few days that warrant an update to my HTPC plans. First off, I have a package from my cable provider that passes along “Clear QAM” unencrypted HD channels. Cool. Not a lot, just a couple of the biggies. We wouldn’t need much more than NBC anyway.

Secondly, the TV I have my eye on does, in fact, have a QAM tuner in it. That’s good news. But I want to run my cable through my Mini so I can take advantage of its optical audio out, which the TV does not have. I was stumped on this for a while, because there are products out there that will let me get HD cable channels to my box, but they don’t have an analog tuner. That would require, I guess, splitting my cable and sending one side directly to the TV for analog (SD) programming (with only composite audio out) and one side to to the Mini for HD video and digital audio, with a DVI-HDMI cable providing video to the TV. Not ideal, for sure.

Enter the Miglia TVmini HD+, which boasts an HD (Clear QAM) tuner and an analog tuner. It’s just what I need. It’s not shipping yet, but I have time. So, as of today, it looks like the three pieces of the HTPC will be the 32″ Olevia, the TVmini, and the Mac Mini. If I knew that the current high-end Mini wouldn’t have any trouble working with HD files, I could probably get all this set up as soon as the TVmini starts shipping.