Wireless all the things! Streaming audio and video in 2016

I recently realized that a few of my technology annoyances have been solved. In fact, for a few things, there are great solutions!

wireless-all-the-things

Streaming Music to Speakers:
For example, I use Microsoft’s Groove Music Pass for my music. I can stream and download unlimited music on multiple devices. In the car, I use streaming “bluetooth audio” from my phone which allows me to take my playlists on the road. At home though… ugg. I have a Windows machine where I have the Line Out jack hooked to a home stereo tuner via RCA jacks. So, I can only listen “on the big speakers”, the audio out from this one Windows machine.

Bluetooth enable ALL home theaters, and home stereos:
I thought in my head: “I wish I could stream music from my phone or iPad to those speakers” – and voila, that technology exists! And, it only costs $22 each:

image

With this device, you plug in power, and it has a jack and included cable that goes to RCA plugs. So, for each home theater/AV/home stereo you have – get one of these. Then, hit the button on the back and pair it to your phone, tablet, and computers (Windows/Linux/macos all support this).

Oh, and remember my main Windows machine used to be hooked up to those speakers? Well, I just pair it to the device too:

image

What is interesting is that many devices can be paired and connected to this bluetooth device – and whenever a device is sending audio, that is the one that gets through. If multiple devices are sending audio at the same time, the bluetooth device either makes it choppy or picks one. Bottom line though, many devices can easily share a home stereo or surround sound system from computers, tablets or phones.

What a cool technology, right? So now, for $22 each, you can stream from any computer/tablet/phone to any audio system you have in your home or office.

OK, so streaming audio is now a solved-problem!

Streaming Video to TV’s and Monitors:
Along the same lines, wouldn’t it be cool to “throw something up on the screen” in your office or living room… wirelessly? Well, that technology already exists too – and it’s also somewhat cheap! I recommend these Microsoft Wireless Display Adapters, which are $49 new – but you can find used ones for typically half that:

image

Now, before you go saying “who needs some Microsoft proprietary device that only works with Windows?” – that’s the thing, although I think Microsoft does use it’s own technology when connecting from Windows, these also support “miracast”, “HDMI over wifi”. Miracast is widely supported on Android, iOS, macos, and even Linux.

Wireless enable ALL monitors and tv’s in your home:
So, imagine that any public screen in your home or office that has an HDMI port, you could have one of these, and you could connect to it as an “extra monitor” from pretty much any computer/tablet/phone! Connecting to a “wireless display” is natively supported in Windows 10 too:

image

Now, this isn’t all good news. First, is that although the technology works great – it can be flaky. To be clear, you can stream 1080p video/audio and it works without issue. However, suddenly (and a couple of times a day), it will randomly disconnect. You just need to reconnect. Also, in the case of my phone using a miracast app, I can see the display adapter, but it won’t successfully connect. So, it’s not perfect.

Bottom Line:
I was pleasantly surprised that technology now easily exists that let’s you share your audio or your video on any device in your home/office. Using those bluetooth devices above, I can move to the living room and continue streaming my music to the home theater system. When I go to the office, I can stream to the system there – all from phone.

Similarly, if I want to show someone something on an extra monitor or TV somewhere near me, I can do that from virtually any computer/tablet/phone.

This is one of those things where I just took a few minutes and bought the hardware I needed, and you just need to set it up once – and it’s easy. After that, you can live like you’re living in the future!!

Posted in Computers and Internet, General, Infrastructure, Organization will set you free, Professional Development, Uncategorized

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