Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Big Decision

Hamlet was decisive compared to me
Once I had the money to move forward, I immediately became mired in indecision.  Actually, I was stuck in unending questions long before the budget was set.   To get this to work within my budget,  I had to choose a single backbone to build from. Just sticking in a bunch of equipment wasn’t going to work.  

Although it looked huge to me, the compartment was actually pretty tight.   15" deep and 16" wide.   The height varied due to a couple inner platforms. 

It could be altered, but I wanted to preserve as much of the original cabinet design as possible. 

Mac Mini
I could build this around a Mac mini.  They’re small, powerful, work seamlessly with iTunes and it has the flexibility I’d need.  The TVs in my house could be networked with AppleTVs and wireless speakers.  And then I started adding up cost.   I was buying a lot of computing power I didn’t need.  I’d need at least double the budget to do this right.  Plus, I’m not a huge Mac fan.  They’re slick, but I’m not taken in by them.

TiVo Premiere
The Tivo Premier system might work too.  I’m a huge Tivo fan, so this was really enticing to me.  Although it is built to record TV, it still has decent  music through Sirius, Live365 and other similar services.  I’d have to get used to using my TVs as stereos, but we’ve been doing that for awhile on a here and there.   Limited internet content is also available and the boxes are all networked.  Needless to say it would kill on the whole DVR thing.   In the end,  I felt this would be too much of a closed loop.  Getting it to work with the various computers in my house would be a hassle and ultimately, it just wasn’t designed to do what I wanted it to.  

If I didn’t need it to do video, the possibilities were endless.  There are some really impressive audio options out there for streaming audio from just about any source to multiple rooms.  Sonos, Squeezebox, Naim and others were all good solutions.  I could even use traditional stereo components and hook them up with wireless speakers.  But no video.

I went back and forth through the options for months. Hamlet looked positively impulsive compared to me.  I poured through specs.  I created spreadsheets, drew up specs and compared price sheets.

In the end, I let go of the video requirement.   Once that was out of the way, everything became easy.  Sonos was the clear winner. 

No comments:

Post a Comment