Not so long ago (http://www.scribd.com/doc/4485587/HowThe-Computer-Can-Transform-Your-Home-Theater) I introduced you to the concept of hooking your computer to your home theater (http://www.chinavasion.com/index.php/cName/homeaudio-video-projectors-home-theater/) system to eliminate DVD and VCR clutter and introduce new media to your system. This is the second part of that article series where we look at the satellite TV and media center.
Check out part one of this series where we looked at the UPnP media server. If you can't open the hyperlink enter the following link into your browser:
The world of home cinema has changed incredibly since the days Betamax and VHS when was first introduced. It is now possible to fit the same library into half the space. Game consuls too have become a more commonly-seen part of the home theatre system and it's not unusual to see a Microsoft Xbox, Sony PS3 or a Nintendo Wii (or sometimes all three) become part of the home cinema system. However, when it comes to new media and the digital entertainment era not many people are ready. Many systems aren't even ready for the digital TV broadcasts which are only around the corner (literally for countries like the US where digital broadcasts happen as soon as the middle of next year). Most home owners haven't realized the benefits the digital age can bring to them.
A map showing the location of each of the different digital broadcasting frequencies. The US will be one of the first countries around the world to make the complete shift to digital transmissions, stopping NTSC transmissions on the 17th of February, 2009 according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATSC)
Enter media servers, satellite TV receivers and media centers. The new generation of home theater drivers remove the clutter, guarantee higher playback quality for longer and let you record from the TV again. So what exactly are satellite TV receivers and media centers, how can they be of benefit to my in home theater experience and are there any problems we will have to face when incorporating them into the home theater system?
Satellite TV Receiver
The satellite TV receiver is a little box that sits on top of the TV or computer which receives DVBT/ATSC signals and puts them on your screen. The majority of models on the market currently are designed to be attached to the computer but an increasing number are being made for strictly home theater use. Satellite TV receivers most resemble VCRs in that they are able to store TV shows for later viewing. The most famous of these is the TiVO system.
DVB S receivers, or satellite TV receivers remove cumbersome and problematic video cassette from the home theater system but that isn’t their biggest benefit. Satellite receivers can very easily be programmed to record anything at odd hours on a continuing basis (anybody ever successfully program their VCR please let me know) and will automatically fast forward through ad breaks. Some units, like Chinavasion’s satellite TV receiver even include child locks to help parents make sure their children watch only suitable programs. If you do choose to buy and set up a DVB S receiver or satellite TV receiver then you are likely to face two problems. The first is the software may not work first time and the second is the satellite reception might be bad. While the first can be solved with a little trial and error the second is a serious problem and it might be a good idea to contact a local broadcasting technician (cable TV installers or the Sky TV help desk would be a good bet) to see if you are in an area that will have a problem getting a signal or not.
Universal Satellite TV Receiver for PC DVB-S [CVSB-832] http://www.chinavasion.com/product_in fo.php/pName/universal-satellite-tvreciever-for-pc-dvbs/
Satellite TV PCI Tuner Card [CVSB-838] http://www.chinavasion.com/product_in fo.php/pName/satellite-tv-pci-tunercard/
Media Centers/ Hard Disk Media Players
Media centers, or hard disk media players as they are sometimes called, are just a hard disk (like the one used in your computer) used to store photos, movies and songs rather than documents. Because everything goes onto a disk it means that you are able to fit almost all of your VCR/DVD collection onto one small unit, freeing up space in the house.
Some units, like the Apple TV and Chinavasion’s HD wireless media center hard disk with WiFi and PC connection also act as wireless media centers (a hybrid between media servers and media centers) where it doesn’t only store material on its hard drive but it gives you access to your computer as well. Our HD wireless media center hard disk with WiFi and PC connection is one model that extends its versatility by playing 11 digital video formats, multiple audio and picture codecs as well as having a host of inputs to make sure it can be used with any home theater system.
HD Wireless Media Center - Hard Disc Plus Wifi PC Connection [CVSBN-6000] http://www.chinavasion.com/prod uct_info.php/pName/hd-wirelessmedia-center-hard-disc-plus-wifipc-connection/
When dealing with media centers or HDD drives there are two very serious points to consider-- connection and disk formatting. When you buy an enclosure or media center and the hard disk drive separately from each other you'll need to format both of them before putting them in ...otherwise the media center won't work. Formatting disks is a fairly easy process which can be done by connecting your HDD or media center to your PC with a USB cable and then using the format a disk option (choosing the external drive to avoid wiping the data off your computer hard drive of course). If you've already got data on the hard drive you'd probably be better to choose a third party application to do the job as the Microsoft function will simply take material off your existing hard drive. Connection is also a potentially hazardous time when setting up a media center with hard disk capabilities or a UPnP media server.
HDMI IDE Hard Drive HDD Media Player - All In One Media Center [CVASQ-014] http://www.chinavasion.com/prod uct_info.php/pName/hdmi-idehard-drive-hdd-media-player-allin-one-media-center/
You should make sure you have all the necessary passwords and addresses written down before hooking up the system so that you can type it in when you need to. Without hunting through the house for that elusive scrap of paper. Once it's in it is a very good idea to press save. One minor problem you might find when trying to control the media center is the remote for the TV and the media center may work on the same frequency. This can be overcome simply by positioning the two devices so they won't be in the same 'line of sight' (A remote has a vision span of 45 degrees) Bringing the home theater into the digital age is as easy as hooking a few boxes to your system, which doesn’t need to be hard if you’re using UPnP and wireless network streaming.
Do you want to update your home theater (http://www.chinavasion.com/index.php/cName/home-audio-videoprojectors-home-theater) but don't want to get another TV? Visit http://www.chinavasion.com now for Western Quality electronics at China prices.
Did you enjoy this story then why don't you check out these other articles by the same author:
How The Computer Can Transform Your Home Theater http://www.scribd.com/doc/ 4485587/How-TheComputer-Can-TransformYour-Home-Theater
7 Guy Gadgets Girls Hate http://www.scribd.com/doc/ 3039192/7-Guy-GadgetsGirls-Hate
Information On Installing A Car DVD Player, The Seven Most Commonly-Made Mistakes http://www.scribd.com/doc/ 2414246/Information-OnInstalling-A-Car-DVD-PlayerThe-Seven-MostCommonlyMade-Mistakes