The Day The AV Dream Died, Cont.

So a 3 TB Seagate Go Flex Home network storage unit was drafted, which in addition to networked AV devices provides digital combat support for up to three PCs and Macs. The Go Flex Home also supports adding an external drive for holding even more, don't look at me, I didn't buy them music videos.

An iTunes Charge Account's BFF

I plugged the Seagate into my hardwired LAN—don’t get me going how about how wonderful it is seeing streaming, stuttering Hi Def video over WiFi—the GT30 and the Oppo shouted out a big DLNA hello, the Go Flex Home answered back, and they all partnered up. All hookups should be so easy and good.

Additionally included with the Seagate is a PC backup app as well as support for Apple Time Machine backups, all of which worked Obama-drama free right out of the bi-partisan box. You also get free remote access to your Go Flex files over the Internet.

You can also access Go Flex Home files via your iPhone, iPad and Android device using the free GoflexAccess apps. Just the thing for sending your cubby mates diving under their desks, as yet again you show off the drooling baby videos on your phone.

Finally, I tied my homebuilt HTPC running Windows 7 into the overall AV system. The computer has a quad core AMD Athlon II sitting on a MSI 890GXM-G65 motherboard. DIY HTPC's are great fun, so try it. Just don’t send me the bill for a fried system if you forget to unplug it from the wall when fiddling about with its guts.

I also installed a Radeon 6850 graphics card that Ginsu-slices through almost every kind of techno-gumbo. The 6850 has HDMI 1.4a support; supports Blu-Ray 3D; pumps out Deep Color, and has an integrated HD audio controller that can deliver uncompressed Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio over HDMI.

But be aware that both ends of an HDMI connection must be qualified to handle this uncompressed audio task. To make it simple, if you don’t see DolbyTrueHD, DTS-HD High Resolution or DTS-HD Master Audio logos listed in the specs for both the source player and the audio processor, all you’ll probably hear is compressed bubkus.

Because the multichannel audio processing is not done in the DVD player when using an uncompressed HDMI audio hookup, the processor or receiver must do the work instead. This audio offloading gambit allows vendors to make cheaper Blu-ray players, but it also sucks you into buying a new HDMI 1.4a receiver or processor to do the heavy audio lifting.

For PC Blu-ray playback I installed a Samsung optical drive (SH-B123L/RSBP). And for pristine PC audio output I added the incredible RME Audio HDSP 9632 card. I also installed CyberLink’s PowerDVD 12 software for DVD/Blu-ray duties and video file playback.

I also added to the HTPC a Seagate 3TB Go Flex USB 3.0 external drive. Mostly, I use the big Seagate along with the free TiVo PC app. It’s great for archiving all my TiVo’d SyFy marathons. This frees up disc space on the TiVo for even more crap I will never have time to watch.

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