Monday, January 25, 2010

TV around the house

When we set up our new home office arrangement, one of the things I was most excited about setting up was distributed TV. Our Media Center system is in the living room and does all of the recording. It's hooked up to the big antenna outside and has the horsepower to handle multiple HD recordings.

But we don't always want to watch TV in the living room, so once we had two desks set up in a permanent location (as opposed to using laptops on the couch), one of the first things I did was set up some TV sharing. I had an extra antenna laying around which I hung on the window. The line then runs into a splitter and then into the two extra USB tuners I had.

Both of our computers are running Windows 7, so setting up the TV tuner was quick and easy. So now both computers could watch live TV. The next step was to share the recorded TV and movie libraries. After some brief network troubleshooting (lots of running back and forth between computers), all was up and running.

So now, assuming the main Media Center system is turned on, we can watch all of our previously recorded TV and movies. Even as I write this, I'm watching an old episode of Wipeout. :-)

It's a good thing I set this all up,'s already come in handy for baby distracting. Just the other night, actually, Amber simply refused to go to sleep, so I sat with her at my desk. I was able to surf the 'Net while Amber sat calmly watching Poker After Dark on my second monitor. Not my first choice of late night activities, but hey, it's better than having a crying baby. Oy.

Anyway, if you are already using Media Center for your TV recording and/or movie watching, I highly recommend taking advantage of network library sharing. Even if you don't want to set up live TV watching in another room, the network sharing has been awesome. It has liberated our TV, so to speak. I highly recommend it.