Life before Apple TV

Well, before Apple revolutionizes the TV business with whatever it is (can you believe BTW that Apple is up almost $100 a share since Steve’s passing and it worth more than Google and Microsoft combined now), what can you do to make actually using your home theater easier, here is what I’ve found:

  1. The new Mac Mini plus the Ipad running Touchpad works amazingly well as a content system. When you combine it with TVShows and Vuze, you get in effect video on demand plus the ability to watch Netflix and anything else that is on the internet. What you do is that the Mac Mini hooks directly to HDMI now with audio so you only need one cable to connect it to your TV. And since it has gigabit ethernet and wireless as well the only other thing you need is power. The Touchpad connect to the Mac Mini and acts as both a touch interface and a virtual keyboard plus it knows how to emulate a Frontrow, VLC and Quicktime player remote. So you can just watch to your hearts content! You setup TVShows to grab bittorrents of recent releases and that is quite automatic. If you have a Tivo, you run Pytivo to grab shows and transcode them automatically to the Mac Mini for those NFL games you love so you don’t have to buy an extra Tivo box for the other room).
  2. TiVo although old actually works pretty well for regular viewing and it has a much better interface than Comcast. Hre, you can again use the iPad with the quite good Tivo IOS application. TiVo Premiere of course works better but the Tivo HD and Series 3 let you have a nice remote. The main issue is that there is some sort of time out so the TiVo application is always losing connectivity to the TiVo itself.

The to do items are:

  1. I haven’t quite got the very key volume control and controls for the Denon receivers that I have although as Ludwig says it is just a matter of time. The Denon does have a web interface to its later receivers so maybe that is the ticket. Just use the web interface from the iPad. Clunky but it works. But the old Denon that I have doesn’t have a web interface, so maybe the answer is one of the universal remote dongles that folks have.
  2. The things for which I don’t have quite a solution are a remote that let’s me use a Bluray player like the PS3. A little frustraing since the PS3 itself understands Bluetooth, so you’d hope that the iPad could talk to it. There is a free application called Bluray that is supposed to do this but never finds my PS3.
  3. And it would be nice to have a macro program that would let you switch things like a universal remote controlling all this junk.

Things that I just realized I don’t need.

  1. The ones I don’t have a solution for are the Wii and the xBox I wouldn’t need the Blu-ray player anymore and with the Wii and xBox, you need de
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