I’ve recently came upon a problem that required some thought and ingenuity to overcome so I thought I would make a blog post about Windows Media Center and how it has solved my problems.
I have a need to watch TV over the internet from a location that has no televisions. I know there are illegal avenues for doing this, but I wanted to stay legal. I researched slingbox, and ended up purchasing the SlingBox SOLO from amazon.
The Slingbox is a device that confuses some people, but serves a rather simple purpose. You can connect your cable connection to the slingbox via RCA/component inputs and then connect the output to your television as normal. The slingbox, when connected to your home router, will provide a way for you to watch television on the go from your android phone, iphone, web browser, etc. It’s a fantastic idea that I wish I would’ve thought of.
After receiving my slingbox, I realized the inputs do not include a coaxial input. Go ahead and laugh now, I realize that many people don’t even use coaxial inputs to their televisions anymore, but I’m not a huge TV addict nor do I care about HD quality. The way a slingbox works is almost the same as if you were sitting in front of your TV.
For example, say I’m at a remote location and wish to watch my cable subscription. I can remotely log into my slingbox via the internet and control my cable from a remote location. In turn, if my wife is at home she would be unable to use the cable port/DVR box that I was remotely controlling. She could watch the same channel as me, but hopefully not change the channel.
Slingbox Streaming Problem
So here’s where the problem arises. I have a coaxial cable in the room I wish to place the slingbox and the slingbox does NOT have a coaxial input. I could purchase an additional DVR box from Cox Communications for $7.99/month + $9.99/month for the DVR “service”. What a huge F*&ing rip off. If I was an idiot and wanted to purchase a DVR for the slingbox it would cost me $18 a month and I would be plugging a HD input into a SD stream. This makes absolutely no sense (too bad for Cox since their prices are so astronomical).
I had an old computer laying around that had Windows 7 Home Premium installed and I happened to find a Conexant 23880 Video Capture card in the bottom of a dusty box in my closet. I installed the Video Capture card into the computer and fired up Windows Media Center. Viola! I now have a computer that can Play/Record/Pause Live TV from a coaxial input in SD format. Not only can it watch TV, it can also play any clips, music, or videos I’ve downloaded from the internet BONUS! All this for the price of whatever it costs me to provide electricity to this computer.
Now that I have a computer with Windows Media Center that will play my coaxial connection, my problem still remains that I need to provide RCA input into the slingbox so that it can stream my cable via the internet.
Welcome the solution from amazon! Say hello to my little friends:
The PC to TV video converter is the workhorse of the operation. This bad boy takes VGA output (monitor output) from the media center machine and converts it to RCA (yellow) video input to the slingbox.
Since the slingbox is equipped with an IR blaster, it will be capable of controlling the media center computer remotely when a Windows Media Center IR remote is installed. This Remote was less than $20 and will do the job nicely!
This solution isn’t complete yet since the parts are on order, however once they arrive I’ll update with the final working solution. You may be wondering how I’ll control the computer if the outputs are sent to the slingbox. The answer is two part:
- I’ll have a small 19inch tv hooked up on the output side of the slingbox.
- I will be able to remotely control the computer with logmein.com’s free services.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading, please feel free to ask any questions or provide input in the comments below.