I’m testing some new equipment for work and what better way than to put it through it’s paces as a new media center pc. Out with the old server, in with the a new nano pc. I’ve also had to try out a new wireless router because the Asus routers, installed with DD-WRT, were intermittently dropping their connection. Therefore I’m trying a new Buffalo N450 gigabit wireless router that has better range and comes pre-installed with DD-WRT. I’ve spent the past few days (in between the kitchen and living room remodel) to get the nana pc configured and so far, I’m pretty impressed. It’s now in place and driving our media center, so we’ll see how it does over the next month or so….You can see my previous configuration here!
The Gyration Gyroscopic Media Center PC Universal Remote Control and Compact Keyboard Suite is my first choice for the ultimate Media Center remote. This nifty combo consists of a compact wireless keyboard and the star of the show; the not so compact gyroscopic media remote. There are no drivers included, for the simple reason that neither peripheral needs any. Thus installation is a simple as one could hope: in true plug and play fashion, you simply plug it in, press the buttons to connect each device through RF, and you’re ready to go. If you’ve ever used a Wii controller, then you’re already familiar with the Gyration remote. In fact, Gyration is actually the unknown mastermind behind the Wiimote’s very gyroscopic system. I won’t go into great detail about this combo only because it’s no longer made and very hard to come by. If you’re lucky, you may find just the remote itself on eBay for around 80 dollars and most of the time, it’s missing its needed usb dongle. However, if you are lucking enough to find one intact, grab it! It’s like gold. Of course, it’s programmable as well, so it can easily be setup to control your tv and other auxiliary devices. I’ve used this particular combo for many months, but unfortunately, just last week, they gyro in the remote failed. But the keyboard still works like a charm and hopefully I’ll get many more years use out of it. When my Gyration remote failed, I’ve been forced to use the ever popular official Microsoft Media Center remote. Don’t get me wrong, this is an awesome remote and if you have one with the TV button on it, consider yourself lucky. But for me, I want and need a controller with a built in gyration mouse. You’d think there would be plenty of brands selling such an option, but the fact of the matter is, there aren’t. This option is very, very hard to come by. Is the gyration mouse necessary? Absolutely not, most media center remotes work flawlessly with your media center, but for me, the optional mouse control is invaluable. Once you use it, you’ll know why. Which brings me to my new remote. A Dell Premium Remote (Dell XPS M2010 Media Center Remote). If you compare the two in the attached photo, you’ll quickly see the similarities. The key layout is pretty much identical, it also gives your hands on control of your audio files through its integrated LCD screen. Like the Gyration remote, it too is programmable. I’ve just started using this controller tonight and so far, I’m very happy with it, especially since its backlit. Unfortunately, like the Gyration controller, this particular remote is no longer made and can be very hard to find. It was never bundled with the keyboard like the Gyration was, but it was bundled with the Dell XPS M2010 media center laptop. However, you can still find it on eBay for around 80 dollars. Dell still makes a media center remote (RC61R), minus the gyroscopic mouse. [Read more…]
Ok, this is the last update on this until I have a significant change in the setup. Picked up an Apple TV 2 today and incorporated it into the setup. Still have some issues with Time Warner Cable (because they suck). Will hopefully work out the bugs with Time Warner this week and finally have everything working the way that it should. So far, very happy with the setup minus the Time Warner issues!
A lot of you have been asking about setting up your own Media Center PC…I’ve included a post that I did about this time last year, however, the only thing that has changed is how I do my cable tv setup. Instead of using a Hauppauge 1800 internal TV tuner, I’m now using a Silicon Dust HDHomeRun Prime. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I get asked a lot about building a media center pc at a reasonable price. What are the benefits of having a media center pc and how does it integrate with other equipment. There really is no simple answer and I can assure you that there probably aren’t any two media center setups identical. It really doesn’t have to be an expensive project either. You’ll just have to take your time and shop around. Since I hardly ever throw anything away that has to do with pc’s or servers, I had most of these parts on shelves and in drawers. So, I’ll explain my setup (which is always changing) and maybe it’ll give you some kind of idea of what to do in case you want to build your own media center pc. A lot of money can be saved by going with a Linux distro and media center software for Linux, neither will cost you a dime. I’m a Windows person, so that’s direction I took. I’m using Windows 7 Ultimate and the license isn’t cheap.
Every once in a while, I like to plug one of my favorite iPhone or iPad apps. The one I’m plugging today is most awesome, especially if you have a Windows Media Center. Yes, WINDOWS! Ever thought about how awesome it’d be to run your Windows Media Center on your iPhone, iPad or Android device. Well, you can. And it doesn’t take special software, port forwarding, 15 different configuration files or anything that the novice can’t handle. It’ll only cost you $4.99 for the iPhone or iPad. $6.99 for Android devices. The name of the app is called Splashtop HD. Simply install the app on your iPhone, iPad or Android device, then download the free streamer from the Splashtop web site and you’re well on your way. Installing the streamer on your mac or pc is very easy. Once it’s installed you’ll need to set up a security code (password) and if you want to stream over the internet (WAN), you’ll need a Gmail account. This will allow you to connect to your media center or any other pc from anywhere! I won’t go into great detail about setting up the streamer because it’s pretty much a no brainer. If you have any questions, please feel free to send them my way.
Ok, you have the app installed on your device, you have the streamer (which runs as a service) on your media center pc (or any other pc or mac). So now it’s time to tap away. Open the Splashtop app on your device. [Read more…]
Depending on his level of geekability and tinkerability, you can’t go wrong with a Media Center. Media Center’s come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and configurations. But if he’s a true geek and likes to tinker, he’ll want to build his own. And the base of any good Media Center is a big screen tv. I’ve included a picture of my Media Center in it’s current configuration. However, I’m always changing, upgrading and tweaking. That’s part of the fun! It can be a costly hobby, but it doesn’t have too. That old computer that you’ve been thinking about getting rid of can make a very nice hub for your Media Center. As will that old Xbox or Playstation that you’ve recently upgraded to the latest model. Sure, you can throw it up on Ebay and get a few bucks out of it or, you can put it to use in your new Media Center. Some additional costs may also include a Xbox live account and a NetFlix account. It just depends on how far you want to take it. I get asked a lot about building a media center pc at a reasonable price. What are the benefits of having a media center pc and how does it integrate with other equipment. There really is no simple answer and I can assure you that there probably aren’t any two media center setups identical. And as I stated before, it really doesn’t have to be an expensive project either. You’ll just have to take your time and shop around. Since I hardly ever throw anything away that has to do with pc’s or servers, I had most of these parts on shelves and in drawers. So, you can look at my current setup (which is always changing) and maybe it’ll give you some kind of idea of what to do in case you want to build your own media center pc. A lot of money can be saved by going with a Linux distro and media center software for Linux, neither will cost you a dime. I’m a Windows person, so that’s direction I took. I’m using Windows 7 Ultimate and the license isn’t cheap. But once you’re past the cost of the software and the hardware upgrades, a media center will bring months and years of entertainment to any man cave out there! Approximate cost: $100.00 to $2,000.00.
I’d never heard of The Shadows before doing an internet search to find out who were the original performers of this song. So, after quick search it seems to been a draw between a band named “The Shadows” and a band named “The Ventures”….consensus is, The Shadows performed this number first…..Long before the Sugar Hill Gang!