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Home Theater Computer

Monday 19 December 2005 - Filed under Default

Home theater is no longer as plug ‘n play as it used to be. Time was, you could plug the TV into the wall, attach the VCR and you were good to go. Nowadays, there’s TiVo, DVD recorders, Home Theaters in a box, and cable/sattellite set-top boxes not to mention the legacy VCR.

Getting all of these to play together so you can use them can be quite challenging. On the last couple of setups I’ve done, I’ve actually gotten out pen and paper and made a circuit diagram to figure out the best way to set this stuff up. Inevitably this is followed by a few minutes of “training” so the user can access their home theater “applications.” You know… watch TV? Or record a tv show? Or maybe watch a movie?

Then there are the remotes: I’ve got a remote for each device and a “universal” remote to try to consolidate tasks when possible. My universal remote is pretty good but for some things you’ve got to go native so the universal remote mostly just brings my remote total up to 5. Yes, 5.

What about those connections? RCA, component, svideo and fiber don’t help to simplify. They give you some control over quality and help with interoperability but if I’m going to need to be a computer expert to setup a home theater, then I’m just gonna say hell with it and build a computer to do this stuff: hard drive, mouse, keyboard and all. When it comes to doing the things you want to do, there really needs to be a bus and that’s why “advanced” technologies like SCSI and PCI were created.

What would I tell my Home Theater computer? “Source Action Destination.” I would press(or say) “DVD play TV”, “DVD record DVD”, “TV record VCR”. And my life would be simple and quality could be upgraded and the whole home theater can be on the internet, and remotely controllable.

All I need now is a VCR with an IDE interface and an 800w 5.1 sound card.

2005-12-19  »  David Sterry