Category Archives: Hardware

Wireless projection and wireless tv

Update Aug. 27, 2012: Added another wireless projection/TV option under projectors & TV.

I know we have a blackbox product that does wireless projection (and will work with Tvs as well), but it requires you to load software/drivers onto the computer, and also while connected to it you don’t get any internet on the wireless. So I looked around for any solutions that A) Don’t require any software/drivers and B) Don’t interrupt your internet connection.

Both Windows and Mac/iPad/iPhone support wireless projection out of the box but there are some gotchas.

1. Windows
In Windows this is called Windows Network Projector. If there is a compatible projector on the network, a Windows computer can connect to it wirelessly, no drivers required and internet is not interrupted. The problem is that right now there’s only a few compatible projectors, all from NEC (e.g. NP-PA500X from B&H).

2. Mac/iPad/iPhone
In Mac/iPad/iPhone this is called AirPlay and it requires you to connect an AppleTV ($99) to your projector or switcher or TV but will work with any projector/switcher/TV with HDMI. Right now it only displays iTunes content, but this summer Apple is releasing a new version of the OS which will show anything on the computer screen. No software to load, internet is not interrupted.

3. Cross-platform option
Intelix recently released their SkyPlay-HD product [1][2]. It consists of a sender and receiver box. The sender can connect to any PC or Mac with HDMI or DVI output (no drivers or software needed). The receiver can connect to any projector or TV. Similarly, Gefen has a more affordable wireless HDMI extender (GTV-WHD-1080P-LR) that seems more affordable.

See my update above about the wireless cross-platform product. This will work with any TV. Also, see my note above about Mac/iPad/iPhone. The AppleTV will work with any HDMI TV. I did not find anything that would work on Windows without having to load special software.

A couple of TV manufacturers (e.g. LG) make boxes that communicates wirelessly with the TV. Using regular wires you plugin the computer or standalone DVD/Blu-ray/VHS to the box and the box sends the a/v signal wirelessly to the TV. Seems to be limited to 45 feet and may be sensitive to other wireless devices in the vicinity. I guess the benefit here is that you don’t have to run any wires to the TV other than power.

Also, some TV manufacturers make Tvs that are “web-enabled”, meaning that they can connect to web sites without a computer. However this seems to be limited to web sites like Netflix, Youtube, Amazon, etc.

Have you heard/seen any other wireless projection/tv solutions?


Power Conditioners

We’ve certainly had our share of brownouts and blackouts. We are currently using APC power (voltage) conditioners. The SVC magazine came in the mail today. I noticed the Belkin PowerConsole PF60 conditioner. Looks good and reasonably priced. Something to keep in mind.

SlingMedia, Slingboxes, Placeshifting

So, Slingmedia (the makers of the Slingbox) discontinued the Slingcatcher some time ago. It is still possible to buy some of these devices, albeit prices vary.

There are alternatives such as Videobrick and Haivision’s Videofurnace, and these scale well with lots of users and channels.

However, if you have a bunch of old Mac Minis or maybe XPe thin clients, these can be used to substitute the Slingcatcher by installing the Slingplayer application.

On the other hand, Dish Network is offering DVRs that are Slingloaded and can be used with the Slingreceiver 300.

Update 6/25: Belkin now sells a reasonably priced Slingbox alternative (@TV), but no receiver.

So… lots of options for placeshifting…

Virtualizing Mac OS X

The non-Mac world has had VMWare’s bare metal hypervisors for some time now. Not so long ago, Apple made it legally possible to virtualize specific versions of Mac OS X. Around the same time Parallels introduced their own bare metal hypervisor designed specifically for Apple hardware. This would make it possible to turn a single Xserve into a more productive system that can host several independent instances of Mac OS X Server for various purposes (file shares, netboot, open directory masters, software update servers, remote desktop servers, etc).