This weeks project was to hook up the speakers in my living room to my computer. I'm tired of swapping CD's in the living room to listen to what I want. I've been putting all my music on my computer through iTunes (copying all the old CD's and I'm even going to purchase a turn table to convert my LPs - yes I'm that old - to MP3's so I can keep them on my computer). I want to be able to play any of my music anywhere in the house, but to start in the living room.
I'm a bit of an Apple Fanboy. Yes you could get something almost as good for less money but it's that "almost as good" that I just don't have time for anymore. Don't get me wrong. I love gadgets and I love geeking out. I've built linux servers from components and developed custom builds of the operating system. I wired my whole house with CAT 5. I built a full local area network including a SAN throughout the house. I put in a secure wireless network for guests and laptops. You can stream movies to any of my TV's. And all this was a lot of work. Hours and hours of learning and configuring. If you don't count my time I saved lots of money too.
For this project I just wanted to wire my speakers into my computer. It's about a 30 foot run. I looked at getting a speaker switch, running wires from my PC to the switch to the attic to the living room. I've done enough of this so I'm pretty fast. I figured I could do this in about 4 hours. The multi speaker box was around $300 and the speaker cable and banana plugs would run around another $75. Then I remember this:
The Apple airport express. It's $100. It has an ethernet port, a usb printer port, and a speaker port. You can stream music wirelessly. I thought I could stream music from my computer, through the wireless network, to the apple airport express and into my speakers (via the speaker port - the one with the jack in it below).
I'd already set aside four hours for this so I figured I'd give it a try. A friend had loaned me his airport express so what the heck. Long and short of this is it took me 5 minute to hook this all together. And it worked perfectly. It was so ridiculously simple it's not even worth describing - just read the directions. From my computer I can now stream music to my living room. Using my iPhone and the Apple Remote product I don't even have to be near my computer to do this.
Going to hook up the family room downstairs and the outside speakers next. At $100 per room I'm still way ahead when you consider my time (and probably even equipment costs). See if my friend ever gets the loaner airport express back ;-).