The Continuing Saga of My Media Center

March 31, 2012 by · Comments Off on The Continuing Saga of My Media Center 

Since I last talked about my media center adventures, I still had a Panasonic 50-inch DLP HDTV and was toying with several media center software solutions. Well, that was February, 2009, and two weeks after I was laid off from a job I had for 27 years, my house was robbed. The 50-inch Panasonic? Gone. The 32-inch LG LCD HDTV in the bedroom? Gone.

Fortunately, my homeowner’s insurance helped out quite a bit. I got an adequate 32-inch Vizio HDTV and used the balance of the settlement to get a good, monitored alarm system, vowing I’d get a bigger and better HDTV someday.

I was only out of work for five months, when I landed a wonderful job with a small maker of high-tech goodies, working in the field where I started in 1987, technical writing. 2009 and the early part of 2010 were very good for my new employer and while things were especially good, we got some very respectable bonuses. One of them was earmarked for a new, killer HDTV. CompUSA was having a sale, and I wound up with a 52-inch Sony LCD, though not one of the fancy new LED backlit models… It’s still a great set and the centerpiece of my new media center. 30 months later, I am still very much in like with it. As for the rest? Read on. Read more

Add a Mac mini to Your Home Theater

March 18, 2012 by · Comments Off on Add a Mac mini to Your Home Theater 

This article is a work in progress, as is my home theater installation. I also intend for this article to spawn several product reviews as I go along. Be warned.

I’ve been playing with HDTV, ever since I got a really nice bonus from work a few years ago. I mean a REALLY NICE BONUS. Being the foot loose and fancy free single guy that I am (and not having a “finance committee” to control my expenditures), I had no intention of doing practical things like paying bills with that money–noooo, it was time to build a home theater with a big screen high definition TV! Read more

Content for Your Home Media Server

March 9, 2012 by · Comments Off on Content for Your Home Media Server 

A while back, I wrote about using a Mac mini as a home media server, but felt that maybe I hadn’t sufficiently described some of the huge variety of program content available—a lot of it free.

Free Content

Most of the big television networks, including many non-premium cable networks offer free downloads of their popular programs, but they’re all web-based and inconsistent in terms of the user experience. As you might have guessed, there are alternatives to the network-operated websites. Read more