Thursday, October 11, 2012

aug(de)mented media realities

It is kind of crazy how certain appliances are defined by their use. The TV is a group appliance and the PC is a personal device. If you merge the two together, you cause conflict in the home if the personal use overlaps sharing use too much. I've talked about this before. My CD player bit the dust and in the meantime I took an extra PC and hooked it up to the living-room TV. It is not a great solution, we had to do some adjusting.

TV is a shared device and simple to use. The PC requires some savvy. There are still the less savvy among us. Right now I do all the media playing on the TV-PC, till we get a standalone player. So I don't do any Internet stuff on the TV, in fact I don't even have a net connection. I want to keep the sharing use of the TV alive and well (happy wife as well). This means all on the TV's PC is from the jump drive, hard drive or DVD player. My daughter has a multimedia laptop with a remote, that's sweet. I'm looking at Bluetooth control, hmmmmmmm!

Anyway my PC's video card has a S-video output jack and a RCA video output jack. Both work OK, putting out a signal to the TV. The TV has assorted video input jacks. The problem is that the neither the S-video nor the RCA jacks put out an audio signal. I use external speakers from the PC's sound card. The sound input jacks on the TV are RCA plugs, the PC's sound jacks are smaller headphone type. There is no way to get the sound from the PC sound card to the TV inputs, thus I can't control the sound via the TV remote when using the PC media input. Whoooooah!

So when the TV is receiving broadcast, the remote does its job. When the PC is the source, the TV is just a monitor for the PC. I really hate using adapters but I hope one exists or at least a Bluetooth controller solution. And yes, it is a head banger to use a mouse and keyboard in the living-room. Wireless would be nice. In my house wireless messes up the TV signal on some stations.

Now, what do I gain by this merger? Not only can I play the usual DVD and CD recorded movies, but what I can't do with CD players is play stuff I put on the PC's hard drive like slide shows. My art portfolio looks good on the TV, as does the array of other artist works I enjoy. All the shared media functions of the PC are now on the TV too, not just broadcast TV and DVD movies.

On the PC I use a app called Moovida which used to be Elisa Media Player. It simplifies playing all the various media stored or channeled through the PC. This is so you don't have to use separate apps for each type of media.  Yeah I'm one of those who doesn't like paying to have cable TV. I can bring content of my own choosing into the shared TV appliance.

I'm working out the kinks in this concept. I haven't heard anything exceptionally good about a TV receiver card in a Linux PC and a large monitor. lnfo and opportunity have not converged in my presence yet. And the PC still hasn't shaken it's "personal" stigma to where it is the sole media player in a shared living-room or its "savvy person" operation. But hey, I flick a light switch, the wife says I'm a hacker, go figure!

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