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Play music in the living room from your PC in your home office. Connect to the Internet on your laptop in any room in your house. It can be done and all by you! Building a Home Entertainment Network: Multimedia in Every Room will show you how to take an Internet connection, digital audio and video equipment, and a PC, and then integrate them into a home entertainment powerhouse. Building a Home Entertainment Network will show you how to exploit your computer and other devices. You'll even learn tips on how to ...
Play music in the living room from your PC in your home office. Connect to the Internet on your laptop in any room in your house. It can be done and all by you! Building a Home Entertainment Network: Multimedia in Every Room will show you how to take an Internet connection, digital audio and video equipment, and a PC, and then integrate them into a home entertainment powerhouse. Building a Home Entertainment Network will show you how to exploit your computer and other devices. You'll even learn tips on how to plan for your home entertainment network and how to purchase the best equipment. You have all the pieces, now just learn how to put them all together!
IntroductionIntroductionPower Your Home with an Entertainment Network
One of the most exciting uses for a personal computer is as an entertainment device. Most PCs being sold today are fully capable of being the hub of a whole-house entertainment center. Current home PCs can
In fact, properly configured, your PC is one of the most powerful entertainment devices you can find at any price. Even better, when you examine the cost of using your PC as your home entertainment center, you realize it is the lowest cost solution—after considering how much it would cost to buy dedicated consumer electronic devices that do all of the preceding tasks.
As you will discover in this book, you can create a home network of your PCs, TVs, stereos, and other entertainment devices. Once put together in a home entertainment network, those devices will become your new home entertainment center. It will be powered by your PC, and it will take full advantage of content from the Internet. With a home entertainment network in place, you can do the following:
This book is about how you bring allthose devices together to work with each other. If you are like most people, you probably have never thought of your TVs or stereos as devices that can work with your PC—but they can. In fact, you will learn that for a very low price, such devices become "extensions" of your PC and allow you full access to all the media content on your PC—and broadcast, cable, or satellite services, too.Building with What You Have
One of the nicest things about building a home entertainment network using your PC as the "hub" is that you can put all the devices you currently own and use to work in the network.
If you have a fairly current PC (such as a Pentium PC with Windows XP), some TVs, and home stereos, you already have most of the key devices you need. A home entertainment network most often consists of the following:
All the preceding devices can be put to work in your home entertainment network. You need to add a few items to allow this equipment to become a part of a networked home.Adding Networking Hardware to Your Current Devices
PC-based home networking not only allows you to network PCs, but it also allows you to add TVs and stereos.
Your PCs need a network interface card (NIC) to become a networked device. Most current PCs come equipped with an Ethernet port, but if yours doesn't, it's easy to add one. Once PCs are equipped with Ethernet ports, you can connect them wired or wirelessly to a home entertainment network.
Just as a PC needs a network card, TVs and stereos need a way to become a part of the network. Unlike PCs, which are, of course, computers, TVs and stereos need network adapters that add a small amount of computing power. Called media extenders, the network devices that connect to your TV or stereo are small computers that pull audio or video from the hub PC and play them on TVs or stereos they are connected to.
As you will learn in this book, media extenders are an important part of a home entertainment network. Where you traditionally need a PC for playing media, you now can use a media extender. The device is ideal for the purpose, and it costs far less than a PC.Putting Them All Together
When you take your PCs, add a home network, and add media extenders to your TVs and stereos, you have something totally new: a home entertainment network.
It brings the amazing media creation, storage, and media playing abilities of your PC to every TV, stereo, or portable media playing device in your home. You can access all the media content on your PC anywhere you like, using the devices that are easiest to use: TVs, remote controls, stereos, and even radios.
By bringing your entertainment devices together with your PC, you can also get at media content from the Internet on devices that have never been able to play such media before. Your home stereo can play streaming audio from Internet radio stations. You can watch videos of all types from the Internet on your TV. This setup gives your TV and stereo access to more content than any broadcast, cable, or satellite service can offer.
This book is your guide on how to put your computer devices and your entertainment devices together into a home entertainment network.Who This Book Is for
You will definitely fit into one of the following categories:
It's also okay if you are a highly experienced, know-how-to-do-it computer user! A lot of the ideas in this book are about how to change the way you use media—not just how to hook up devices and configure your PCs.What You Need to Use This Book
Users of this book should have at least one PC, a high-speed connection to the Internet (although dial-up will do if a high-speed connection is not available), and a TV source such as cable, satellite, or antenna near the computer. You also need some basic home networking equipment such as a wired or wireless router and network adapters for devices on the network. You can use your existing TVs and audio devices.Icons Used in This Book
The following is a brief description of the icons used to highlight certain types of material in this book.
Tip - Each tip gives you additional information that adds to the topic under discussion. The information typically springs from something in the immediately preceding paragraph and provides a succinct suggestion that you might want to follow up while working through the chapter. In effect, a tip says, "You should try this as well."
Note - A note is just that: a note. Usually, a note provides information related to the topic under discussion but not essential to it for the purposes of working through that topic. A note says, essentially, "Here's an interesting point about the topic or something you might want to keep in mind."
How This Book Is Organized
The Cross-Reference icon refers you to other chapters that cover a point just mentioned in the text in more detail. You'll also sometimes find cross-references in parentheses.
I've divided this book into four main sections. After introducing you to the basic concept of a home entertainment network in this Introduction, it starts with planning your home entertainment network and then looks at installing it, managing it, and how to get the most out of it. The following sections describe briefly how the book is organized.Part I: Planning Your Home Entertainment Network
This part will help you create a strategy and plan for your home entertainment network. It will identify all the places you can add PCs and entertainment devices in your home and identify the networking hardware and media extender devices you need to create your home entertainment network.Part II: Installing the Network
This section will take you through the steps required to install all the hardware and devices for your home entertainment network. It will also guide you through creating the network using Windows XP and its networking tools and wizards.Part III: Managing a Home Entertainment Network
With all your PCs and entertainment devices connected in your home entertainment network, this section will show you how to manage and administer it. It will cover how to share media files, record content, and establish viewing rights.Part IV: Going Beyond the "PC" Network
Although a home entertainment network is built on PC-based equipment, you will be able to stop thinking of it as a computer-based activity. This section talks about how to leave the "PC" out of the home entertainment network and focus on media creation and playing.Part V: Appendixes
A list of networking vendors plus third-party hardware and software that you can use in a home entertainment network appears in the appendixes.
© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
|1||Planning the right home entertainment network for your home||9|
|2||Configuring your PC as an entertainment server||25|
|3||Using PCs and TVs as clients in your network||39|
|4||Getting the right networking gear||51|
|5||Adding a network router to your main PC||71|
|6||Securing your PCs||91|
|7||Securing your home entertainment network||103|
|8||Adding additional PCs to the router||117|
|9||Adding TV and media extenders to the network||137|
|10||Limitations of media extenders on wired and wireless networks||157|
|11||Sharing files and adding users||177|
|12||Creating a media server strategy||195|
|13||Adding media content from the Internet||209|
|14||Working with portable entertainment devices||225|
|15||TV sources : cable, satellite, antennas, and DVDs||245|
|16||Using game consoles, DVD players, and digital video recorders||261|
|17||Programming your own media network||273|