As some of you know I recently moved into a new condo. Unlike my previous living arrangements, I will be living here alone… although my children will visit, they (and the dogs) will be living with their mother.
You all know me as a Windows guy, and that has not changed; however there are so many aspects to Microsoft Windows that there are few (if any) who know and use all of it. Until the motherboard fried I did for a time use a Windows Media Center PC as my main TV controller, however after it died my wife (whom I married before the PC fried) suggested we just get a PVR from out Cable TV provider… and although the motherboard was replaced under warranty, I never did rebuild it as a Media Center.
Over the past couple of years I have heard a lot of talk about people ‘cutting the cable’… simply watching all of their TV over the Internet. While I know that works fine for a lot of people, I am simply not there. I like to sit on the couch with the remote control in my hand and channel-surf. Call me old fashioned. I also know that with my younger son (he is four and a half) it behoves me to have a TV with Disney Junior and whatever other channels he watches, lest his visits be very short and sweet. So when I confirmed where I would be moving to, I called Bell Canada. I know, they suck… just like all of the other providers. Well my youngest loves the Fibe experience, so that is what I plan to get, along with a decent Internet package.
Here’s the problem… Bell Fibe TV is not available in all areas. I am assured by a friend of mine on the inside that more often than not this is no longer a technical issue, they just roll out the marketing machine before they begin to offer the service. So while I was able to get a decent Internet package (not spectacular, but I won’t be running servers anymore) for a good price, I was told that Fibe would not be available for a few more weeks… and in the meantime would I be interested in subscribing to their satellite service? <No, what kind of idiot would make that deal knowing that the better service was coming in a few weeks?>
So the condo is taking shape; on Saturday my older son and I raided Ikea, and my living room is completely arranged. On Sunday a buddy helped me move (read: disassemble, move, and then reassemble) my desk, and now my workstation is just about the way I like it. And of course the technician from Bell Canada came Sunday morning, and after a little bit of confusion he got my Internet and Wi-Fi signal up. But here’s the issue… while I have a TV, couch, and everything I need to watch TV in the living room… I have nothing to watch. Doh!
Wait a minute… I remember when I bought the TV a friend of mine advised me to get one that supported DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance). I even remember paying extra for a USB Wi-Fi adapter for the TV. Maybe now was a good time to see if I could get that voodoo to work. Remember… I’ve set up thousands of Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines before… but I have never set up a home group!
It took a little bit of figuring out – of course my computer was already connected to the network, but I had to configure my TV on the wireless as well, and that took some figuring out. However once it was done, all I had to do was tell my Windows homegroup to recognize the device, and to share my movies, music, and pictures with it. Voila, this evening I watched movies in the living room on a TV that wasn’t actually connected to anything!
What about Netflix & Xbox?
Yes, I do have a Netflix account, but so far I haven’t figured out how to watch it on the TV – of course, I can just take my table and plug the HDMI cable into the TV directly, but that is cheating. In a month or two I will by an Xbox One and that will be my main Media Center (including Netflix, DVDs, and BlueRay), but for the time being I am okay being able to watch the movies I have stored on the computer. However I do think I am going to have to figure out a good way to sort the movies… but that’s next week’s problem 🙂