We're all for anyone who can build a better mousetrap outdoor home theater, especially at a minimal price. After seeing one for huge price of $3,499.00, the inventive Dave Banks came up with his own screen for $122.75, used his own DVD player and got an old projector and speakers from work.
Note that we went for inexpensive. If it rains, the movie should be canceled. But for that little amount you can toss in a couple of lawn chairs and some
popcorn and still have a total around $300.00. We figure we can always attach the cloth with clothespins to our backyard fence. We may be thrifty, but we can also wield a mean twist tie.
While using a wireless network in your home is usually the way to go, there's something elegant about a house that's on a Cat-5 wired networking set-up. We found a simple but information tutorial that'll help you figure out the proper way to wire your home with cat-5 or cat-6 ethernet cables. The tutorial covers these steps:
step 1 - Initial Considerations and Planning
step 2 - Required Tools and Materials (and costs)
step 3 - Mounting the Wall Plates
step 4 - Measuring and Running the Cables
step 5 - Connecting the Wires to the Jacks and Patch Panel
step 6 - Testing Your Connections
step 7 - Connecting to the Internet
step 8 - Cool Options to Make you Geek Friends Drool
The tutorial is worth a read so be sure to check it out.
Hoping for a new home theater system for Christmas? We'll keep our fingers crossed for you. If you do get one, we found a generic but handy video series over at YouTube that'll help you with the entire setup from beginning to end. Enjoy!
As our homes become more entrenched with technology, one of the biggest issues is trying to keep up with the it. One example of a fast moving technology is home networking. It seems just a few years ago, our only choice was a wired network with Cat 5 cable. Not anymore! We ran a great across a great article at Computerworld.com that goes into your choices for setting up a home network. The article starts by explaining the types of networks:
A network lets you connect multiple PCs and other devices together so that they can share resources such as printers, files or an Internet connection. There are three major types of home networks: Ethernet networks that make connections over special (Category 5) wiring; power-line networks that use existing electric wiring and outlets; and wireless (Wi-Fi) networks based on components that send data over the airwaves using radio frequencies.
The article covers these areas:
Draft-N vs. Pre-N
Older and slower standards
2.4 GHz vs. 5.4 GHz
The Ethernet option
Speed and Range
And much more. This is an excellent article you'll want to check out to make sure you're getting the most out of your home network.
It's been a few years since we here at NetworkingAudioVideo built our Home Theater PC. At the time it cost us around $1000 for our setup. Here's a decent video on building a Home Theater PC that shows you how to build a pretty nice setup for around $500 and it's a lot nicer than the one we built.
So if you're interested in building a home theater pc, be sure to check this video out.
Yesterday we told you about a cool little project to build your very own Wireless Audio Streamer for under $100 bucks. So once you build your streamer, what do you listen to? You might want to check out this handy "wiki" at Wired.com that shows you how to stream your music online.
The tutorial starts out:
You've spent a lot of time and money collecting digital music. And by now, you have a pretty sweet library of MP3s and AACs to show for the effort.
But let's say you want to take that library to go? Before you start carrying around a huge hard drive, you might want to try streaming your tunes online instead. All it takes to start streaming your music over the internet is a playlist, a server with some storage space, and a software player that can open and play an internet stream.
The steps are:
Step 1: Host it somewhere
Step 2: Create a playlist
2.1 Extended M3U
3 Download Software to Do It For You
4 Don't Feed the Lawyers
If you're not sure where to start when you want to stream your own music, this article is a good place to begin.
Are you curious about the guts of the Netflix Player by Roku but you just don't what it takes to tear it apart? Well the good folks at TechRepublic.com have torn apart a Roku player, saying us the pain of doing it ourselves.
So for you geeky types who drool over disassembled hardware, be sure to stop by TechRepublic and see all of the images.
When we here at NetworkingAudioVideo rolled out our review of Networked Media Tank from Popcorn Hour we didn't really talk about the ability to add a harddrive to the device.
Well, our sister site TVSnob.com has found a video on how to install a harddrive on the Networked media Tank. The nice thing is the 10 minute video also shows how to set up the device as a BitTorrent client. Be sure to check the video above out.
Looking for another way to get the most out of your Xbox 360? Well, if you're a Netflix subscriber you can stream "Watch Now" content over your Xbox 360. What makes this possible is a neat little add-in for Microsoft Windows Vista Media Center called vmcNetflix. Lifehacker.com has put together a nice tutorial on how to install vmcNetflix to your Xbox 360 and gives a rundown on what vmcNetflix does:
With vmcNetflix, you can watch, browse, and queue movies to your Netflix Watch Instantly queue all from your Xbox 360 or Vista Media Center. A highlight of the list of growing features listed on the vmcNetflix site include:
Stream WatchNow movies directly to the Media Center player.
Download WatchNow movies to a "Watch Later" gallery.
Support for Vista Extenders on both x86 and x64 platforms.
Support for Netflix Instant Queue.
Support for Episode listings.
Search for movies by keyword.
Browse DVD and WatchNow movies by genres.
Sort Gallery by Title, Year, or Star Rating.
View your queue, history, and recommendations.
Add, remove, move movies in your queue.
Supports DVD/Movie Parental Controls
Here's a nice little video from HackingNetflix.com that gives you more information about vmcNetflix:
Overall Lifehacker did a great job with the tutorial, so be sure to check out the link below if you want the complete details to stream Netflix over your Xbox 360.
Steve Moore, a London-based networking audio video installer, has come up with a reasonably low-cost way to turn an iPhone into a universal remote. Using an application called AirRemote, which will be available via Apple's App Store after July 11 for $99, and a Global Cache communications box ($120-$150) that converts the iPhone's IP commands into infrared signals that can be read by home theater products. Moore says support for more devices is on the way, so keep your eyes peeled for this one.
We came across a pretty simple setup guide to get your PS3 streaming all of your media to your TV. There have been a lot of updates to the PS3 over the past couple of months and it has turned into a pretty full functioning media streamer. If you already own a PS3 then you might not need to go out and buy a pure media streamer at all. From the looks of it the PS3 can handle all of the streaming duties you throw at it.
It is nice to see the PS3 really catch up with the Xbox 360 in this area. It seems that all of the companies producing the next generation consoles realized the extra benefit of adding media streaming capability to their device. We know a lot of people that aren't geeky gadget owners and who aren't into the whole streaming thing, but once they found they could stream movies via their console they loved it and were converts. It seems that console streaming could be the gateway application to get a wider audience to realize the beauty of having all of your movies, music and pictures at your fingertips. Anyway, check out the simple guide to get the server and the PS3 working together here.
We are always preaching here about the importance of a good backup strategy for your media files. More times then we care to count we have lost files because of a drive that failed. In the end we went overboard and created a large RAID 5 storage system that will keep all of our data safe even with drive failure. Well, it seems that as much as we tell people that they should buy storage to back their files up they don't want to listen. A bunch of people we know over the past year have lost a lot of very important files because of a drive that failed. Even the simple act of buying an external USB drive can save you in case of a crash.
Well to hammer home the point a little further we would like to point you at a real world example of what can happen if you don't take a lot of care with your data. Baratunde Thurston writes an excellent blog over at baratunde.com and he has a very sad article about what happened to him one day when his hard drive crashed. If you think you've lost something important go check out his article and you will learn about how devastating it can be to lose your data. Losing some MP3s or some photos is one thing, but losing the last recording of your dead mothers voice puts it on a whole new level.
So once again, please, go out and buy an external hard drive and make sure you protect the files that are important to you.