Thursday, May 26, 2011

Scott's HDMI Hobby House

Okay, so the overall goal of this whole thing is to get rid of any type of TV payment subscription. Lots of people have been asking us how we plan on doing this (Scott, really, I don't plan on doing anything). So I thought I would document his work, which is experimentation, trial and error at times. Oh, and he gets to use fun tools and the biggest drill attachment you've ever seen.

Part one consists of figuring out how to get our PS3 (which is downstairs) to work with our TV upstairs, so that we can run Netflix up there, and also Blu-Ray movies. We (Scott) plan on doing that by splitting the HDMI output of the Playstation using an HDMI splitter and run one cable to our TV downstairs and a fifty footer all the way upstairs. Remember how we weren't going to put any more work in this house? Ya. Well, that doesn't count if the work is fun, I guess.

Part two is going to be putting a TV tuner card into our server, which lives upstairs in the very tippy top of the baby's closet. It doubles as a white noise machine. Okay, so that was Scott's first plan, but now they have a separate box available that you plug the antenna into and it connects to the server over the network. But the concept is the same. The server is going to receive all the programming and push it out to the entertainment centers.

Ya, so did I mention that we have a server and a home network that connects all (five) of our computers? (which includes the server). This is what happens when you graduate from the computer science department, and the wife is more than happy to go along for the ride. We also have a family emergency 24-hour IT customer service phone center in our living room.... haha nah just kidding, although it does seem that way, and since I reap the benefits of quick and easy installs and bug fixes I am all too happy to pester Scott into helping out. He spent half an hour on the phone with my sister the other night when she caught a virus while studying at school.

The software we are going to use on the server is really meant to communicate with computers at each TV. Instead of the satellite box that we have, we would have an actual computer. But we don't want to do that, because we are trying to save money. So we will record the shows into a format that can be played by the Samsung TV and the Playstation. There's a program called Myth TV which is a free Linux program that will do that for us.

We also have an eighty inch directional antenna on top of our house. SO ugly. I had rules about where he could put it so that it would bother me the least. But we got it up there, and it picks up the big stations, mainly from Santa Barbara, and connects to our server, feeding those in.

So yesterday, Scott used a mighty, mighty drilling tool and takes like hours and hours to run the HDMI cable about twenty five percent (hahaha) from the PS3 to our room. It has to run from the attic down into Ben's room, then down from Ben's room to the PS3. Then in another step, he will run it from the attic down into our room. So far, he dropped it down into Ben's room and that took all day. He also cut a bigger hole where a speaker wire was already feeding through to the downstairs center, and fit it with a special panel so that he could use it for the future HDMI cable.
Before he even started he figured out that nothing in the walls lined up like he thought it would. He ran into about a foot and a half of solid wood that he hadn't anticipated.  Solution? More holes in the walls.

Then, While trying to run the cable from the attic into our bedroom, he runs into another issue. A very... skinny wall?

Ya. Those are matching holes on each side of the wall from where Scott was laying down up in the attic. So... this is not an easy straightforward process. So far we have the PS3, downstairs, connected up to our bedroom TV. I am about to go up there and watch some Netflix right now! I'll get back to you with the rest in another post (ahem, when he actually finishes). There are bits of attic sprinkled around (thank goodness Ben is not yet a crawler) and dust and stuff all over him and in his hair. But despite all the griping and complaining, this is what he thinks of as fun. Crazy person.

Good times.


  1. I feel like Scott can out smart ALL those electronics and make this thing happen.

  2. Haha I have faith that he is obsessed enough to do it!

  3. For some reason I've read this blog entry twice (b/c shitzer is freaking out and I need to kill time before I go to bed in my actual bed so he will go to sleep and stop mitching (meow-bitching = mitching?) at the door) Anywho, it's fun times. For some reason the line "He spent half an hour on the phone with my sister the other night when she caught a virus while studying at school." cracks me up b/c it seems like her studying at school was why she got the illusive evil virus, with no mention of a computer. I'm also going to re-read this one day when I get an actual TV, but I also will be refusing to buy a cable package. BOOKMARKED!