Personal Video Appliance

I just bought a really nifty doohickey (that’s the technical term) that fits a really neat niche in my life.

I have a nice G4, with videos and audio and photos and all that. It’s in the basement. Our TV, stereo, and all that stuff, naturally, is in the living room on the 2nd floor. Digital music and videos and photos aren’t very useful if it only lives down on the G4 in the basement.

Enter EyeHome. This brilliant little gizmo (sorry about all the technical lingo) connects to my TV using HDTV or regular composite video connectors. It connects to my LAN with good old ethernet. Then it speaks Rendezvous over the network to find all the Macs in my house.

EyeHome streams the videos out of my Movies folder, shows the Photos in my iPhoto folder, plays music in my iTunes library, and surfs the web. It can also stream some Internet radio stations, too. They play on my regular TV and my regular stereo. I don’t have to connect my G4 to the TV at all.

I also connected this bad boy wirelessly. I bought a Netgear WGE101 wireless bridge, so my EyeHome is connected to the network via 54Mbit 802.11g.

Some limitations that are a bummer:

  • It can’t play encrypted music from the iTunes store.
  • It can’t play many movies, except those encoded with MPEG 2. Most people don’t have the Apple MPEG2 decoder, so they don’t deal with these kinds of movies a lot. This can be a pain.

Other than that, though, this thing is a real gem. It’s letting me digitize my life. I can literally put my CD player in a closet. I’ll just rip all my CDs and put them on my G4. I can put my VHS VCR away, too. I’m using the EyeTV (a separate product from the same people) to digitize all my old VHS stuff into MPEGs that this gadget will stream for me.