I absolutely love technology. Though, I have to be very careful not to get so absorbed in a new gadget that it actually steals time from real life. To that end, the wife and I decided to kill our cable TV service about a year ago.
After realizing just how much time we were devoting to our heroin-like dependence on Tivo, we pulled the plug and went to rabbit ears. It’s been great. Our 3 young kids adjusted quickly and HDTV broadcast over-the-air is stunning.
Our main home PC is in the living room corner opposite our 44″ Plasma TV home theater system. Being the technophile that I am, I demanded we have dual 19″ LCD screens. Careful: once you go dual, you’ll never be satisfied with a single monitor again!
We have a Netflix subscription and recently heard they were offering a huge selection of streaming HD videos at no extra cost. Heidi and I watched one movie on the PC and quickly realized that was no fun. Movies are best enjoyed on 44″ Plasma TV screens… not 19″ PC screens!
After a little investigation, we discovered that several devices are out which can connect your Netflix account directly to your HDTV. The $99 Roku Player got my attention first because most of the other options were Blu-Ray players running at over $250.
I was about to pull the trigger when this thought suddenly occurred to me: “Hey, I wonder if there’s a way to connect my PC directly to the Plasma TV?”
A little more digging and I found a way to do it for about $100. This solution is much better because it opens an even larger world of online digital content. There are tons of great HD shows available (with commercials) for free from Hulu, Fox, NBC, CBS, and more. Plus, I can now connect our iTunes music library to the home theater speakers.
Here’s what I bought:
The video card features 2 PC monitor outputs and an additional HDMI output. The HDMI output carries HDTV and 5.1 surround sound (on a single cable!) to our HDTV. This allows our HDTV to act as a 2nd monitor… unfortunately the card only allows you to have 2 screens at a time running from the PC. But still, it worked like a charm!
As a side note… Heidi and I were most satisfied with all the movies and TV shows we’d missed. My 6 year old daughter, Emma, however, was most impressed with the fact that she can drive SpaceClaim on “the big TV!” Charlotte (5) and Henry (2) haven’t quite figured SpaceClaim out yet, however, and prefer catching up on the Wiggles and Scooby-Doo.
Got a loved one with Techno-lust? Try this as a gift idea!