My tech home hub

As I was sitting back in the sofa today, streaming online content through my TV, I thought I would say a little about my tech home hub.

The internet

First up the obvious. My entire infrastructure is driven by the internet. Where I live right now – my ADSL provider’s  bandwidth is, at best average, and at worse painfully slow. Although, touch wood,  it’s better lately and i’m averaging between 3.5-5.0 mbps. Far from ideal, and rarely up to the ISP’s claim of 6mb. But I’m stuck with it – so not much I can do.

Network

Piggy backing off a standard ADSL wireless router I currently use an an Apple Express (80211.n) as my main hub for the network. Not essential, but as my ecosystem is Apple dominated – I benefit from shared services such as bonjour.

Plasma TV

Central to my home hub is a 50” LG Plasma TV (50PS300). This is really the key , and certainly most noticeable, piece of kit in my setup. The TV itself is standard 1080p with a bunch of ports including 3 x HDMI.

Apple TV

Now this is where it starts to get interesting. Connected through one of the HDMI connections is my AppleTV . Described as a ‘hobby product’ by Steve Jobs himself, I have to say it really is an under-rated gadget. Hooked up to my network, it seamlessly integrates with iTunes  content from my all my computers. I also get to enjoy stunning HD content through it. Streaming music and my podcasts through this is awesome . (Particularly as the audio exits through my Sony amp surround sound setup).

I mentioned that my setup is dominated by Apple kit. A net feature that works with the Apple TV is the ability to hook up my iphone(s) as a remote for the media. This also works with iTunes on Apple computers too. It’s great. Basically I get to control Apple TV anyway in the apartment.

Windows (yes I admit it) laptop

The anchor of my hub. Connected through HDMI the Windows 7 based laptop plays the central role in my setup. This provides me with all the benefits of a fully fledged computer connected to a giant screen (I squeeze out  a resolution of 1360 x 768). Primarily I use it for the web, but also stream my slingbox client through it. Bandwidth willing, it always amazes me – streaming live UK TV miles from home. I have to also add that playing MS Flight Simulator X on this setup is incredible! But perhaps the most exciting part for me – is to stream twitlive.tv . Geeky I know – but watching my favourite shows in the comfort of my lounge  is amazing.

Tell a lie. The most incredible thing about this setup is running Skype through it. Connected via USB, and sitting on the top of the TV is a Microsoft HD webcam  Talking, seeing and hearing friends and family on this has to be seen to be believed!

Wii

Big deal. Everyone has one right. But it’s pretty fun on a 50”.

Other Kit

Running off the network also worth noting my Macbook Pro 15” and Dell 9 Mini Hackintosh complete the setup….Oh and throw in two iPhones, an HTC Hero and Revo wifi radio….

Plans…..

With growing plans for further podcasts …….I want to build a mini studio. One step at a time…..