There are a number of ways to get TV shows for free over the internet. We use AirPlay to stream shows from Netflix, from the HBO GO app, from the PBS app, and from the ABC app. It looks like CBS is joining the party.
Okay, I'll grant that it probably hasn't been a full year. We're reviewing the latest version of the SiriusXM app for iPad, which is excellent, and should be a mandatory purchase for all SiriusXM subscribers. For most of us, satellite radio is strictly for the car. Getting their signal in your house was a ridiculously difficult process - you needed to purchase equipment, and use an antenna near a window. I wasn't interested. I also wasn't particularly interested in their browser-based internet radio (even though I had it on a free trial.) It was more or less tied to the computer, and my speakers weren't great. Then, SiriusXM released a mobile app, (and worked out their contract issues with Howard Stern, making his broadcasts available on the app), and Apple introduced AirPlay, making every bit of iPad audio stream-able to any AirPlay device. Suddenly, this was a seriously compelling product. I could listen to any SiriusXM content, over my home
Spotify is pretty great. But, if you're like me, you probably prefer to stream your music to somewhere other than your computer - such as a stereo, or a whole home intercom. Spotify has built-in AirPlay compatibility - IF you have a premium subscription. I don't. I DO, however, stream every other kind of music from my iMac or iPad using AirPlay - Sirius XM works great in that regard, and obviously iTunes was built for it. But not Spotify.... Until I learned this simple trick. Hold down the Mac option key, and click the volume control icon at the top of your Mac's screen. Now, you can see a list of output devices, and can see your AirPlay speakers. Click on one of them. Then just fire up Spotify, and AirPlay your music wherever you choose! NOTE: You'll be streaming EVERY sound that your Mac makes, so close the rest of your programs - if your kid has some Nick Jr. Flash game running in Safari, you'll hear that alongside your music, too.
Last year, I upgraded our AV Receiver, because I came to understand that an ARC (Audio Return Channel) HDMI connection was absolutely necessary. It still is, and the stereo wasn't that expensive, especially considering that I was able to sell the old one for a decent amount. But now Sony has gone and done it - AirPlay directly integrated into a reciever . It would seem that if I'm building an Apple-enabled home, this would be required, right? Well, I'll look into it. Right now, the stereo system DOES have AirPlay access, in that it has an AppleTV attached. And that isn't going anywhere - the AppleTV works so well with the iPad that it should be considered a required accessory. Would adding AirPlay to the stereo help out? Or would it be overkill/redundant? If, for instance, the stereo input would automatically change to AirPlay the moment I select the stereo on my iPhone, it might eliminate the step of having to change the TV/Stereo input to the AppleTV. Knowing
Who says we can't multitask? On to Project 3! We made a return trip to Best Buy, and learned the prices had essentially doubled on most of their SmartHome Insteon products. ( I must have happened across a huge sale last time - and I have before/after photos of the pricing to prove I wasn't imagining things !) Anyway, I'm sure we'll be picking up most of this stuff at BBY, but in the meantime, it's off to eBay, where I picked up a 2414 SmartLinc central controller (retail $99) for $22. This will allow us to control all connected Insteon switches with an iOS device - which was the entire point of this enterprise from the start. The dimmer switches will be a bit more expensive, at $40-50 each, retail - and our home theater room alone is going to require 4. And a couple of LampLincs to make sure our table lamps get with the program. Back to eBay! We're also going to need (want) a KeyPadLinc in order to control "scenes" - i.e., "all
(Post title courtesy of Craig Finn of The Hold Steady - playing next week at the Taste of Randolph street festival!) In one of my first posts on this blog, I noted that we wanted "AirPlay Everywhere", including the patio. I wasn't exactly sure how do to that on a permanent basis, however - I didn't want the "solution" to be dragging an outdoor speaker around with me. Well, our house has a feature that has made this issue moot. AirPlay project - partially completed! When the previous owners built this house, they had an infant and a toddler. So, they had the entire place outfitted with a whole-home monitor-speaker system. The "monitor" aspect is not particularly useful for us with our 5-year old, but the "speaker" aspect comes in handy. Primary Monitor/Speaker control panel We noted right away that the main control box for the system has an AM/FM radio and a CD changer. Even more promising, the system has an AUX input, which is