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Old 06-09-2008, 09:32 AM   #1
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Mac Mini-based AV/internet solution writeup

Hello,

I just finished writing up my custom computer/audio/video/internet install over on a blog that my wife and I are keeping. Thought some folks on here might be interested in what I ended up with:

Mobile Internet/Entertainment Solution

(hope it's okay to post an external link like this -- seemed easier than re-creating it here)
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:55 AM   #2
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Thanks this is interesting. I'm just a little surprised at your choice of the microwave compartment. First I would have guessed that when the microwave in use, the RF might be a little messy. Second would be the heat and moisture that the microwave generates. I've got the convection/microwave combo in my trailer and that area becomes warm (especially when the convection side is operating).

I've not run into the Nomad ISP service that you have noted. We are still pretty new at using WiFi out on the road. We have connected our Macbook Pro to our home Slingbox via campground WiFi and have pretty good luck in watching TV through the home satellite receiver. In one case it was better than attempting to pick up the local TV stations via the trailer antenna. Outside of home, a typical connection to the Slingbox shows about a 380K download speed. Whether this would trigger any traffic shaping, I don't know. In our case we used this connection only on overnight stays so maybe a week of usage might trigger some restrictions.

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Old 06-09-2008, 10:11 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by jcanavera View Post
Thanks this is interesting. I'm just a little surprised at your choice of the microwave compartment. First I would have guessed that when the microwave in use, the RF might be a little messy. Second would be the heat and moisture that the microwave generates. I've got the convection/microwave combo in my trailer and that area becomes warm (especially when the convection side is operating).

I've not run into the Nomad ISP service that you have noted. We are still pretty new at using WiFi out on the road. We have connected our Macbook Pro to our home Slingbox via campground WiFi and have pretty good luck in watching TV through the home satellite receiver. In one case it was better than attempting to pick up the local TV stations via the trailer antenna. Outside of home, a typical connection to the Slingbox shows about a 380K download speed. Whether this would trigger any traffic shaping, I don't know. In our case we used this connection only on overnight stays so maybe a week of usage might trigger some restrictions.

Jack
Yeah mine's a straight microwave, and I'm sure if I were running it for tens of minutes on end, it would heat up to an unacceptable level. However, we tend not to use it that way, instead just re-heating leftovers, etc. Not sure this would work (without ample additional ventilation anyway) with the micro/convection combo.

Before I installed I was worried about the RF interference also, but I have not found it to be an issue in my testing and or in practice. I maintain full bars on on the WiFi and nearly full signal on the cell modem even when it's in use.
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Old 06-09-2008, 11:15 AM   #4
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That's a bit more elaborate than our approach - just using an iMac for everything. On your blog you mention using EyeTV Hybrid, but not being wild about it. Are there any other options?
We don't really watch much TV, but for the price it seems like it would be nice to have the option.
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Old 06-09-2008, 12:53 PM   #5
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Eye TV-How is it free?

Reading about your set up, sounds great. But in checking out the Eye TV-it says watch tv for free...does that mean that you have to pay for tv service somewhere else, and it connects to that system?
Or could it really be free, and it picks it up from the "air"? Looks like with slingbox, you pay for service at home and it connects to home.

Thinking of getting the sprintpcs card or usb hub for traveling internet, anyone know which is better? If I ran the usb through a router, could I give free wireless to the campground?
Thanks all.
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Old 06-09-2008, 01:35 PM   #6
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That's a bit more elaborate than our approach - just using an iMac for everything. On your blog you mention using EyeTV Hybrid, but not being wild about it. Are there any other options?
We don't really watch much TV, but for the price it seems like it would be nice to have the option.
When I got the EyeTV it was pretty much the only option. A company called Equinux has since released a competing product called "Tube Stick" (really) that uses different software and also includes support for clear QAM cable (unencrypted digital cable). I probably would have gone for the latter if it existed at the time. I think it's actually a little less expensive too ($130 vs. $150 for the EyeTV) but I have never used it, so I can't vouch for it directly.

magna, I'm just watching over-the-air High Def (as in, old-fashioned roof antenna pulling in the networks and PBS). All you need is an HD tuner (like the two mentioned above) and an antenna (like the one that probably came on your rig) and it's free (as in beer) to watch all the crappy network TV you can tolerate

As far as the two cellular network options you describe, I'm assuming you mean a PC-card form factor (like the kind that stick in the slot in a laptop) vs. a USB form factor wireless device. These should both be more or less equivalent in terms of functionality, so it usually comes down to whether you have a laptop with a card slot, or prefer the flexibility of USB. I went with the latter so I could connect it to my Mac Mini, or move it to my laptop when needed. And yes, if you get a wireless base station, it's possible to share the connection with the campground. I'm doing that very thing right now except I have mine password protected since I don't want my connection to get bogged down with too many downloaders.
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Old 06-09-2008, 02:33 PM   #7
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Rivet Nice Work!

Thanks for the link to your blog. I have considered a Mac Mini myself, I am using an upgraded G4 right now with a 37” Mitsubishi HDTV in my 34’ Excella. Photos at http://www.airforums.com/photos/show...0&userid=17830 and http://www.airforums.com/photos/show...0&userid=17830. In the second one you can see the subwoofer and DSL wireless router in the bottom of the credenza. The original radio and separate cassette deck worked until the push-button power switch went bad. I had planned to upgrade and install a subwoofer below anyway, just not as soon. I have already upgraded the Excella’s speakers (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f450...ent-38596.html) and already have a Sansui subwoofer and amp in the Trade Wind that is going to come out anyway.

I like the option of music without powering up the G4, although when I am sitting in my chair, the stereo is superior from iTunes and the JBL system it has. Another consideration is that I have been getting lockup since I installed Leopard, especially when using Time Machine. The built-in system is better for sound everywhere in the trailer, especially when company comes.

I like your install. Using the microwave venting was innovative. A mini based system would free up a lot of space for me. I would secure it in the credenza. However, I already have the G4, so…
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Old 06-09-2008, 03:18 PM   #8
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The EyeTV Hybrid has had support for clear QAM for a little while now. The one I have is an earlier one that doesn't, but then I don't have cable so it doesn't matter.

I agree most network TV is crap, but it's nice to have PBS in Hi-Def.
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:42 PM   #9
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I use an Imac at home and I have a second monitor installed, I often watch EyeTV on the second monitor while I work. The pinnacle HD stick works great with the included antenna. I receive over the air HD and Digital. Plan to take the Imac on the next trip.
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