Video: Creating a Connected System
Tara W. has worked for Crutchfield since 2004. She writes about whole-house music and video gear, and works on Crutchfield's video team.
More from Tara W.
Most of the people appearing in our videos are employees at Crutchfield. We pull in folks from around the company to share their expertise. A lot of our on-camera stars come from our Advisor Group — they help people choose the right gear via phone, email and chat every day, so they're good at explaining the products and technologies.
HDTVs, Blu-ray players, gaming systems, and more — a lot of audio/video gear can connect to the Internet. Learn about what you need to create a connected system.
Tara: Hi. I'm Tara.
Malcolm: And I'm Malcolm. You know, these days, more and more products connect to your home network. That way, you've got TVs that let you check the weather or surf YouTube, video game consoles that let you stream Netflix movies, and just a lot of other really cool options.
Tara: Right, but some folks aren't sure what they need to set up a connected system in their home. So in this video, we're going to walk you through the basic framework you need for a connected system. Then, we'll offer some tips on how to choose connected gear.
Malcolm: There's a lot of different audio/video gear that offers Internet connectivity, and to take advantage of these web-based features, you'll need a home network.
Tara: That's right. Now setting up a home network isn't too difficult. First, you'll need a modem. This is a device you may get from your Internet service provider, or "ISP." It connects directly to the Internet by a cable jack, satellite, or phone line.
Malcolm: Next, you've got your router, which serves as the Internet access point for all of your connected devices. It can be wired, connecting to your devices via Ethernet cable, or a more popular option, wireless, which allows wired connections, but also sends Wi-Fi® signals throughout your home.
Tara: A couple of things to keep in mind if you do go wireless: First, some of today's networkable components don't have Wi-Fi capability built in, so you'll still need to make a wired connection to your home network or invest in a Wi-Fi adapter. Second, you'll want to make sure your network is secure, usually by using a simple password system that's pretty easy to set up. Visit crutchfield.com/homenetwork for more information.
Malcolm: The final piece of the puzzle is your computer. This will be your most flexible, powerful, Internet-connected device. Your computer or an associated hard drive or media storage drive is probably also where you'll store your digital music, photos, and even videos.
Tara: And once your network's up and running, you can connect other networkable devices just like you connected your computer. So let's look at a couple examples of what you can do when your computer and your A/V gear are all set up.
Malcolm: Say you're a Netflix subscriber and you want to be able to watch movies on your Instant Queue on your HDTV. When connected to your network, some Blu-ray players offer built in Netflix streaming capability, or you could connect an XBox 360™ to the Internet, and with an Xbox Live Gold subscription, you can get access to online gaming as well as Netflix streaming.
Tara: Here's another example. If you're one of the many people these days with a lot of music stored in your computer, you'd probably like to play that music in any room of your home whenever you like. Again, there are a lot of ways to make that happen, from small portable music players you can take from room to room, to multi-room systems that let you fill your whole home with music and even play different songs in different rooms at the same time. Some of these systems also let you stream music from Internet radio stations and other online sources. Visit crutchfield.com/wirelessmusic for more information.
Malcolm: There's one more important thing we wanted to mention: Even if a component can connect to your network, it probably won't give you full access to the Internet the way a computer does. And capabilities can vary widely, even across the same types of products or products by the same manufacturer. For example, one networkable Blu-ray player might let you stream Netflix movies, while another might be designed only to let you stream photos from a compatible computer.
Tara: Or, one networkable HDTV might let you access weather reports and YouTube videos while another may let you view photos from your Flickr account and check news headlines. The bottom line — when you're shopping for networkable gear, pay very close attention to the capabilities and the limitations of each product. For an overview of different kinds of networkable gear, visit crutchfield.com/gearoverview
Malcolm: And if you have any questions, you can always give us a call at 1-800-555-9408.