Monday, November 07, 2005

How to watch TV - from outside your house.

Sony's Location Free PC Kit.
Originally uploaded by gadget.
Many people find a need to watch TV in rooms, like the bathroom, or locations, most likely the patio, that typically do not have televisions nor cable TV drops. Short of cutting a one-way mirror into your bathroom, or peering into a window to look at your or your neighbor's television, Sony created LocationFree TV. This $1500 WiFi based "tablet style" television encoder and wireless transmitter sits near your audio/video gear and beams to a pricey 12.1" LCD that operates on batteries and has the necessary receiver. Sharp followed suit with a similar LC-15L1U-S Aquos 15" portable LCD screen and transmitter which works well, even in environments with WiFi data present. Cheaper solutions have surfaced as Sony announced that the $249 Playstation Portable with version 2.5 firmware will become a 4.3" LCD screen for LocationFree TV. However, at the time of the announcement, they forgot to tell us where to get the stand-alone transmitter for it, without the TV. The device has surfaced as the LocationFree Player Pak for $349.99. If you do not have a PSP, you can add the LocationFree Player for PC software LFA-PC2 for $29.99 (which is a $120 discount from the older LFA-PC1 it updates) and use your laptop as a screen - you are even able to connect to this when you are outside of your house. Now LocationFree bundles can be as low as $370 using your PC to view programs or $600 with a PSP. My solution however, is use a $249 SlingBox encoder if TiVo is your media server at home as they integrate extremely well together. I have one sitting on a Verizon FIOS (2 Megabit Fiber Uplink) and get ~1Mbps downlink video that looks amazing. You can install their required viewer and control software on all of your PC's, but can only connect one at a time to your encoder. If you have a Media Center Edition of Windows XP, the only way to go is with the free Orb Network. Add its TiVo Anywhere upgrade and you have a web launched Windows Media player that you can even get to from Internet cafe's. Note that TiVo recorded programs must be transfered from their hard drive to the XP MCE box before they can play remotely. Now, it is only a matter of time before someone comes up with a realtime MPEG4 encoding module (versus the Windows Media codecs that Orb uses now) to stream MCE video to a PSP or even a 3G phone via MPEG4. For free.
Location Free TV
Sing Media
Orb Networks

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