Digital home takes shape
By christophersaul on Dec 27, 2007
I'm slowly moving forward with defining how our new 'digital home' will look like. After owning the same small hifi for 8 years or so, along with a small TV and only one computer purchase (an Acer laptop a few years ago), I think I deserve an upgrade!
The TV's been identified - a nice 40", 2 Mega pixel Sony LCD. Surround sound will be from a Bose 3-2-1 or Sony DAV-x10 - Bose sound quality is better but it's more expensive, Sony looks good and only one controller is needed to operate both surround sound and the TV. Mrs Saul wants a solution with the minimum number of speakers...
Mrs Saul will have a new laptop to use. The current Acer will trudge along for a year or so more as a general laptop/iTunes controller, streaming to an Airport Express plugged into the sound system. I may upgrade the Acer with an N enabled wifi card.
Central shared and backup storage was supposed to be provided by 'AirDisk', a usb drive attached to my new Apple Extreme router. This really isn't working as it should do. Assuming Apple don't release a firmware upgrade that improves things in the immediate future, I'll use a Linksys NSLU2 to store all our content centrally, wired to the . The disk attached to the Apple router can continue as a general back up disk. Surprisingly, despite trawling the electronics shops of London today, I couldn't find an NSLU2. If I can't get one in Dubai either, I'll order it from Amazon.
A decent way of playing music and downloaded or ripped content (legal content of course) directly on the TV or straight to the sound system is proving difficult. Current media-centres from the likes of D-Link and Netgear get good reviews from the press, but bad reviews from users. They also lack Blu-ray or HD-DVD, Gb ethernet and N wifi. Sony have a nice new media-centre PC out, but it seems like expensive overkill and doesn't have a Blu-ray drive. I think a new, HDMI enabled and Blu-ray equipped laptop may be a good compromise in a few months' time, unless other vendors get their act together and bring out something that works and has up to date networking.
I'm also not sure of the best way of getting music to the bedroom. I see there are several wifi enabled players on the market, but I need something that will read from a shared drive, rather than going through a PC. It should also be able to integrate with playlists created in iTunes.
I'm surprised that no one vendor has quite managed to pull all of this together yet.