Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Houston, we have a problem

My In laws and I are all in IT and being on vacation this means that we brought more technology with us than actually landed on the moon in 1969. I personally have a one to one relationship between people in my immediate family and laptops at the shore.

The house we are staying in is well appointed for Ocean City rental standards technology wise. It has a nice older 42 inch LCD panel hanging on the wall with one major short coming: The HDMI is video only and therefore you need to run a second audio line to be able to see and hear content.

Being In IT, this means that we have to watch movies from the laptops onto the big screen. This ends up being one of those things that sounds like a good idea but becomes complicated quickly while the old people stare at us bewildered.

Attempt 1. Sunday Night.
The Goal: Watch Avatar blu-ray on the big screen from Uncle Rick's brand new HP laptop.

Rick has an HDMI output on the new laptop  and so he thought it would be a simple as connecting the HDMI to the big screen, redirecting the output and off we would go. We connected the HDMI no problem but couldn't get anything to show there and after and hour of fiddling determine the TV end of the HDMI did not go all the in so reseating it fixed it. Then Rick would try to switch to the HDMI out while the movie was playing only to be foiled by Windows 7. It would not let him output the signal in any reasonable HD format and we had no audio.

Outcome: Fail
The Lesson: Microsoft Sucks.

Attempt 2: Monday Night
The Goal: Watch Iron Man from The Chancellors laptop from the 1.5 TB external drive with MPEG movie files.

This went a little better but we had to fool with the HDMI cable again for some unknown reason. The biggest obstacle continued to be the audio but we came up with a rather novel solution. It was Rick that said hey can we use the Boom Box some how? and then we laid out an assortment of cables and connectors that the roadies for Pink Floyd would have been proud of and starting working.

It was like that scene from Apollo 13 where the Engineers in Houston have to make "one of these from one of those" using these parts.

When I saw the FM transmitter I knew had this licked.

Outcome: Success! Laptop with external drive and HDMI out for Video. FM transmitter connected to the laptop broadcasting 10 mw at 88.1 MHz to the BoomBox FM receiver.
The Lesson: Those FM transmitter thingees work great at the shore.

Attempt 3: Tuesday Night
The Goal: Watch the Niece's iTunes Rented copy of "The Last Song"
The Niece's laptop has no HDMI out and therefore has no connection to the big screen. We copied the movie onto the 1.5 TB external hard drive and imported into iTunes but were foiled by iTunes. We tried everything to authorize The Chancellor's laptop to view the rented copy of "The Last Song". Finally I simply gave up and re-rented and downloading it on The Chancellor's laptop.
Outcome: Success using the now patented FM transmitter method.
The Lesson: DRM Sucks.

God only knows what tonight might bring but I know it won't be as simple as popping a DVD in and watching it.

1 comment:

Lets just call me Joey said...

Ever thought about a male to male audio cable ... might be simplier