Monday, February 10, 2014

Come Monday...Chromecasting Away (Kinda)

“Come Monday…” is a weekly series that will involve a review of (or commentary about) websites, movies, documentaries, television shows, sports, music, and whatever else may tickle my fancy at the time.  Be assured that these reviews will be generally positive, as in accordance to the Jimmy Buffett song “Come Monday.”  This is subject to change, however.  In fact, I would be most derelict in my duties to neglect going on a rant every once in a while.  For rants promote change, and change can be good—right?  Therefore, since good is generally considered as being a positive force in 99.3% of the parallel universes that I am aware of, even a rant could be considered as being something positive, and a genuine hissy-fit would be even better (so I’m told).

I have had a dream for quite some time now.  It is a dream of being able to get rid of our cable TV provider while actually increasing our viewing entertainment possibilities.

It would be through accessing the internet on our TV that this dream could be realized at this particular intersection of the space/time continuum.  For our trees are too tall to allow for the picking up of a satellite signal from [DirecTV] or the [Dish Network], and [AT&T’s U-verse] and [Verizon’s FiOS] are not available to us up here in a poorer part of town.

Okay, we cannot completely cut our cable.  For my mother-in-law has to have her [Hallmark Channel].  So, we cannot go back to a TV antenna on the roof, and cable does provide a better broadband signal (most of the time).

On the other hand, we need to do something.  For [Mediacom] has been increasing our cable bill by a dollar or two a month on a fairly regular basis.  What started out at around $100 a month a year or so ago is now $128.83 a month.

Furthermore, our DVR has shut off and came back on a few minutes later several times the last two weeks without us doing a thing.  Could it be that Mediacom really wants us to get one of their new [TiVos] so that they can jack up our bill another $20 or more?  Since they can remotely turn off and on their DVRs, along with cancel the recording of shows that have been scheduled by their customers, a more cynical mind than mine just might go there.

The course of action appeared to be hooking up our desktop to the TV through its [HDMI] port, but I landed on a reef before I could unfurl the sails of my dream ship.  For my darling wife does not want a cable strung across the living room, and she did not think much of my idea about it also serving as an indoor clothes line.

What to do?  What to do? Moving our desktop to the living room is not feasible because of me often needing to do other things online (like this) while Arlynda and her mother are watching their “stuff,” and we cannot afford to get another computer (not even a used one) at this time.

Eureka!  The new [Google Chromecast] thingamajig looked like a Godsend.  For it only costs $35.00, and it would allow for the watching of just about everything.

Oh, but it was not until the one I bought on Amazon arrived and was plugged into the back of our TV that I discovered that I had missed some things.  For one has to have a [Wi-Fi] connection to cast through, and that meant we needed a wireless router.  So, I purchased on Amazon a [TP-LINK TL-WR841N Wireless N300 Home Router] for $18.93.

Also included with the purchase of that wireless router was a [Logitech Wireless Desktop MK320 Keyboard/Mouse Combo] for $29.99, [25 feet of RJ45 Cat5e Ethernet Patch Cable] for $6.49 and a [USB-RJXT over Cat5/5e/6 Extension Cable RJ45 Adapter Set] for $9.95.  For I had already discovered that control over what is cast to a TV stays with the casting device.  In other words, if you want to pause a program playing on your TV that is being cast from your desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone, you have to pause it on that device.  For there is no remote for Chromecast, and I thought I could do that from my chair in the living room, which is around 20 feet from our desktop computer in another room, with a wireless keyboard and mouse.

Ah, but it was not until I had everything hooked up and ready to go (except for the USB extension) that I discovered that the mouse curser does not show up on our TV screen.  $#&%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey, at least I saved myself some grief by not yet stringing the USB extension cable from our computer room to the edge of our living room.  For it turned out that the wireless keyboard and mouse were being picked up by the unifying receiver from my chair in the living room without having to have the unifying receiver also in the living room.  

Yeah, yeah, yeah, someone not as technologically-challenged as I am would have known from the start what I discovered later on.  Nonetheless, there is a certain nobility to always having to learn things the hard way.

Anyway, we have been Chromecasting away on our TV, but I have to go get on our computer to start, stop and pause what is being cast, which spoils it for us.  For it takes everything I have to walk 20 feet these days, and it is even harder on Arlynda because of carrying around at least a hundred pounds of excess fluid (that her doctors can’t seem to find) that has been dumped into her abdomen by her failing liver.

Alas, I am almost ready to risk the ire of my wife and her mother by going ahead and stringing a HDMI cable across the living room.  Almost…

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  1. I lost patience just reading this post, Jerry! No! No! Not with you; I could feel what you were going through.

    Putting myself in your situation I would've been tearing my hair out! I have absolutely no patience whatsoever if something does go right the first time around! lol

    There is so much change going on with our viewing options these days, I can't keep up with it all. Only last night I made a note to remind me to look up a certain offer that was advertised on TV re viewing options. At present, I have a set-top box (PVR) on which I can record two programmes simultaneously on two different channels while watching another on another channel. And I also have a separate USB recorder that allows me to record another channel as well.

    That's enough for me...but now with the rating season upon us once again, another set-up wouldn't go astray! But I'm not going there!!!!! lol

  2. Well I never thought of using my HDMI cable for a clothesline. I'll keep that in mind next laundry day

  3. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Lee!!! The DVR we have from Mediacom will allow for the recording of two shows at the same time, but we would have to watch something we had already recorded if we weren't in the mood to watch one of the shows being recorded at the time. Be assured that this is something we could live with if we were not having to pay an extra $25.00 a month for the use of the DVR. Sigh.

  4. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Ann!!! I will tell Arlynda that you are fully supportive of my plan.

  5. Oh my. We are also looking to get rid of our cable bill but after your story for now, it might be worth putting up with it.

  6. i am one of those that will continue to subscribe to cable and pay exorbitantly for it. just to avoid these sorts of things. i admire your tenacity.

  7. Tsk, technology too much for the old man eh...?

  8. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Lady Lilith!!! I am quite sure that it would be rather simple for someone who knows what they are doing. Sigh.

  9. Thanks for stopping by, my dear TWG!!! Come on now, stand up and fight the power! (LOL?)

  10. Thanks for stopping by, my dear Adullamite!!! Yep.


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