The Mac Media System is bound to be a “Solar System” of components until the day there is an integrated solution from Apple or from a likely partner. Jim Louderback writes about the connection and integration issues in his latest column for PC Magazine, The Role of the Media Center.
Jim attempts to integrate several moderately priced components in his home system for various needs – movie playing, music sharing and photo viewing. He chose the Gateway Connected DVD Player, Pinnacle Show Center, Roku SoundBridge Network Music Player and ADS Tech Media Link. There were a litany of connection and connectivity issues, even using the latest firmware and wired vs wired network options, though he tried wireless (802.11G) as well.
It’s quite interesting reading and reveals just how complex this can really be and what the potential advantages (assuming you like the supplier and system) are of an integration solution.
But whichever way you go—a web of smart single-purpose devices or the solar-centric PC-based approach—one thing’s clear: We’re not there yet. The software’s too difficult to use, the connectivity too fractured, the devices too expensive and limiting, and the network is too slow.
Fortunately, help on the way and it comes from a trusted source – Elgato!
EyeConnect promises to enable easy interaction between your Mac and any hardware product that supports the UPnP™ standard. This includes the EyeHome, but opens up your options considerably if you prefer. UPnP™ is a way for devices to easily be “plug and play” on your network. The EyeConnect software will manage EyeTV recordings, Pictures, Music and Video you keep connected on your Mac and present them through the device you choose to enable presentation on your Home Theater or even a set of speakers in another room.
We’ll be keeping tabs on the release of EyeConnect, due out in Q1 2005 and give it a full work-over at that time.
– Jonathan Greene