Brains of the Operation, Pt. 4

Brains of the Operation, Pt. 4

In some homes, the kitchen is one of the most advanced rooms - with self-cleaning ovens and various other time- and energy-saving appliances. Still, most kitchens aren’t wired for television, and finding counter space for a computer is tough, so it’s hard to look up a recipe online or play music while you channel Rachael Ray or Bobby Flay.

 

Watch TV on Your Mac

A MacBook or MacBook Pro connected to your wireless home network solves the looking-up-recipes problem. Plus, you can easily fire up Safari and read the latest Digg.com news. But what if you want to watch CNN? That’s where the Slingbox AV ($180) can help. You’ll also need two SlingLink Turbo adapters ($100 each) and the SlingPlayer for Mac software (free). Here’s how to send your TV shows to your Mac for real-time viewing:

 

1. Hook Up the Hardware

Install the hardware first. You’ll start in the room where you keep your television—probably the living room or den. We set up our Slingbox AV system using a DISH DIR-622 digital video recorder, but you don’t need a DVR to make it work. The essential steps: Connect the cable that picks up your TV signal to the Slingbox AV, using RCA cables out from a DVR or any cable set-top box, or just by running RCA cables directly between the Slingbox and the TV (if you just have a coaxial cable running from the wall into your TV). Use the supplied Ethernet cable to connect the Slingbox AV to the SlingLink Turbo. Plug the SlingLink Turbo into a wall outlet.

 

How can such a small device carry such a fat video signal? We don’t pretend to know - but it works.

 

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2. Configure the Software

Now, in your office or wherever your Mac and wireless router are, plug the second SlingLink Turbo into a wall outlet and connect it via Ethernet cable to your router. (If you don’t have a wireless router, you can plug it into your Mac’s Ethernet port, but that probably means sacrificing your broadband feed, so we advise setting up a wireless network.) Launch the SlingPlayer for Mac software; if you’ve hooked everything up correctly, the software should find your Slingbox AV automatically.

 

This initiates a rather lengthy setup process, but it’s fairly intuitive: Select your specific model of DVR (or your cable provider if you’re using a set-top box), configure the way you want to change channels using SlingPlayer AV, and configure the player so that you can access the TV signal over the Web.

 

Watching television on your Mac means you can catch up on the soaps and email at the same time.

 

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Load Recipes onto Your iPod

If you prefer to keep your Mac out of the kitchen, consider your iPod. It’s small enough to stash away in the corner (or in an apron pocket), and it’s easy to load recipes that you can use while cooking in the kitchen. Kraft foods has helpfully formatted hundreds of recipes for the iPod, available free at www.kraftfoods.com/kf/ff/ipod/ipod.html. Connect your iPod to your Mac, double-click the iPod icon the desktop, and drop the recipes into the Notes folder.

 

Just be sure to keep your kitchen 'Pod in a splash-proof case.

 

View the final part of Brains of the Operation here. 

 

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