That damn dragon

That damn dragon

So last night the Year of the Dragon wanted its last laugh at us. It wasn’t happy with trashing the engine in my car last week. Nor did it think smashing our internet connection at home over the past 3 weeks was enough fun – 16Mb down to 1Mb and dropouts every minute (damn annoying trying the play MOHW multiplayer).

But now that bloody Dragon, with only minutes to spare before the end of the New Year last night, has decided to fry the motherboard on the media centre PC.

I tried being creative tonight, but to no avail:

  • Thought I could connect the iPad to the TV and stream from the file server. I found the iPad VGA adapter, but couldn’t find a VGA cable ! (plenty of DVI cables found though!)
  • Tried getting the Wii to play videos. The Wii would see the content on the SD card, but refused to play the content, no matter what conversions to the “correct” format I did.
  • Tried looking for my extra-long HDMI cable – to connect one of the office PC’s to the big screen TV – but that’s gone missing too, along with all my VGA cables.

So we had to suffer “free-to-air”. What an abomination commercial TV is.

We don’t have the cash to replace the fried motherboard, (and the likely fried CPU and RAM), so I need to think of alternative ways to push content from the file server to the TV – the old plasma doesn’t have DLNA.

I’m considering the “Western Digital TV Live Streaming Media Player” (latest build WDBGXT0000NBK). This will do everything the old media centre used to do (and more), except it won’t record/pause live TV. With the proliferation of catch-up TV services around, such as ABC iView, I think a dedicated media centre box to just record/pause live TV is now redundant. And for $130 at Officeworks is a pretty good deal.

Has anybody had any experience with the WD TV Live unit? Good, bad, indifferent?

Or do you have any other recommendations I should consider? My key requirement is that is can handle not only our music and photo library, but lots of video formats – mp4, mkv, avi, xvid, wmv, etc.

I also did think of finally jumping into an Xbox 360 + Kinect, but that’s $299 for just the 4GB option.

Our big issue is the dollars – we don’t have any. So a cheap solution is keenly sought – hence why I’m considering spending $130 on the WD TV Live.


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