Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Glad I don't throw stuff away

The new receiver is installed. I didn't think there would be a huge difference in sound....but more so in convenience. I was wrong. The sound is amazing. Even watching  just regular TV. Main reason is the sound is all now digital.

Previously our sound was digital from the device (Uverse, Xbox Blueray) to the TV but then turned to analog as the TV sent the audio down to the old receiver. No more.

Now all content is digital from the device (Uverse, Xbox, Blueray) to the receiver and then the receiver passes the video and audio (for those extreme cases where I don't want surround sound) digitally to the TV. I did run into two problems.

Our Samsung 750 series TV can control our Samsung BD2500 Blueray player thru the HDMI cable. This is working very nicely. Well the new Onkyo HT-RC160 has the same functionality (known as CEC). But I ran into an unexpected issue.

When I connected the Uverse box to the HT-RC160 it worked initially. When I switched to the Blueray it worked fine. Then when I went back to Uverse the screen just blinked on and off. If I pulled the power on the Uverse and plugged it back in....everything was fine. Hmm.

An hour later I figured out the CEC functionality of the HT-RC160 was the issue. The Uverse box and HT-RC160 were not able to "shake hands" when switching video. Once I turned the CEC off in the HT-RC160...all was well. Kinda.

The Xbox 360 was connected via PC/VGA cable to the TV previously. Not an option with the new HT-RC160. No issue...I have a ton of cables! I dug out a set of component cables for the Xbox 360. Once connected (I used optical audio initially) the screen was scrambled. A quick Google search found another issue.

Lucky for us we have TWO Xbox 360's (Don't judge...Eric & Angela have two as well)! The new one has built in HDMI. After a simple swap all was well.

I am very happy. We will soon go from 4 remotes down to just 2. Sweet. Maybe one day I will get a Logitech Harmony remote and go down to just one remote.

Last night Kelli was having a good time watching me scramble around the house trying to get it all running. All of the synergy I try to set up has a lot of craziness to get setup.

For example. Kelli's phone is setup to allow her to look at all four cameras in the house no matter where she is. Now she only really does this when we are on vacation. I can do it as well. Getting that to work took a good amount work on my part.

Kelli appreciates it. Years ago she lead such a simple life. Basic phone. Toyota Corolla. Simple Dell computer.

Now she has a high tech Google Smartphone, Prius, Macbook, Zune HD and a house full of LCD TVs, computers and cabling. Only downside? Well she wears contacts now....didn't when I met her. All in the name of progress.

Today is my brother in law's birthday. Kelli thought it would be funny to call him at 12:01 AM and wish him Happy Birthday. Well not her call...just a message.

I found one website that allows you to setup an automated callback at a preset time. The site is GetMooh.com as in Get Me Out Of Here. The concept is to have your phone ring at a set time to get out of a social situation. Like a date. I tried to set it up but the timing mechanism sucks.

I then found Wakerupper.com . Very easy. It can be set to call and then have a computer voice remind you of something. I had it say, "Happy Birthday Bryan from Darren and Kelli. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Don't call us back." at 12:02 AM in Oregon. Not sure if it worked as MY phone wrong at 2:02AM. Hmmm. Damn technology.

Norwegian Cruise Line has an online check in program for cruises. I emailed out directions to all who are going. Everyone at least started to process. I will check back 2 weeks out too make sure it's done.

For the cruise I am going to buy walkie talkies for everyone to stay in touch. New ones can go 20+ miles. This will come in handy staying in touch on the ship as well as in port. Especially since we won't have cell phones.

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