Movie night no longer means a trip to the theater, the video store, or even the mailbox. Today Hollywood blockbusters, Top Forty hits, best-selling games, and more can be delivered directly to every room of the house. The trick is getting the network that connects your laptops and desktops to the Internet to do double-duty as an entertainment delivery service.
A home entertainment network frees you from dependence on discs. It lets you organize all your media in one place and enjoy it from anywhere. You’ll be able to use your existing equipment—from TVs to PCs to mobile phones—within the network, and your media tags along with you wherever you go. It all starts with a media streamer like the Boxee Box by D-Link.
Connect a Boxee Box to an HDTV via an HDMI cable, and you’ve got instant big-screen access to media files stored on all of your computers and on the Internet. The device joins your network wirelessly, acting as a bridge between the TV, computers, networked data storage, and so on. Alternatively, you can plug a media-filled USB hard drive directly into one of the Boxee Box’s two USB ports or slide your camera’s SD card into its slot. It will stream video and audio to the TV as well as any computers and mobile devices on the network. If your network links to the Internet, you won’t be limited to files stored locally: Boxee Box gives you access to thousands of movies, TV shows, and recordings via online services like Netflix and VUDU.
A wireless router is essential for connecting the Boxee Box to the network and, from there, to the Internet. Most routers of recent vintage will work, but if you want to stream hi-defvideo throughout your house — not just to the TV, but to all your computers and mobile devices — you’ll get the best results with a dual-band router like the D-Link DIR-825 Xtreme N DualBand Gigabit Router. This unit delivers plenty of performance for streaming media throughout your home.
Of course, a wireless router may not reach every corner of your castle. You may want to expand your network if you have lots of square footage, or if you want to enjoy media outdoors. The D-Link DAP-1522 Xtreme N Duo Wireless Bridge/Access Point can extend a wireless network. For wired networks, there’s PowerLine technology, which routes network traffic through your building’s electrical wiring. D-Link makes a range of PowerLine adapters, such as the DHP-307AV PowerLine AV Network Starter Kit, that extend your network to every power outlet in the house.
Finally, a dedicated data storage solution can organize and protect your collection of media files. Consider a network-attached storage (NAS) device — an external hard drive with its own network address. Any device on your network can store files to and retrieve them from the NAS, including computers and, of course, any number of Boxee Boxes. The D-Link ShareCenter 2-Bay Network Storage (DNS-325) is a great option.
Home entertainment networking is high-end technology, but setting it up is simple. With a few affordable, easy-to-setup components, you’ll soon be streaming media from your PC or the Internet direct to every screen in the house. Don’t touch that dial!
This story, "Build the ultimate entertainment network" was originally published by BrandPost.