Home media has absolutely exploded in the last five years. Children in this generation will have their whole lives documented, for better or worse, on video and in photos. Cheap, high quality consumer media products have driven this revolution. But the media revolution hasn’t been just in home video and photos, it has also included movies and music. As media has moved from analog to digital, it has fueled the need for massive disk space and all the inherent issues that come with it. All of this can be very confusing. Let’s put down some strategies to tame this beast.
Invariably, folks buy a nice digital camera or camcorder. They start taking lots of pictures and videos and love it. But they soon realize that that digital media is starting to eat through hard drive space like crazy. And, if they are forward thinking, they realize that backing this stuff up is going to be a real issue. What’s more, most homes now have multiple laptops. Those users typically start putting pics on their computers independently. As you can see, this quickly becomes a mess. Invariably, one of the computers dies and all those photos, videos, and music are gone.
The two great problems for home media in this day and age are centralized storage and a backup plan. Most homes have neither. Centralized storage allows all users to use a media storage facility. This gives all users access to access and store media. I would highly recommend that users go out and buy a network storage device. This is simply a small computer with hard drives in it that can access the network directly. I really like the Iomega Home Media Network Drive. You can currently get a 2 TB version for under $200. If you have no idea what 2 TB is, let’s just say it’s an enormous amount of storage. This box will allow you to access music via itunes. It will also let you access your pics and videos from things like computers, PlayStation 3s, and Xbox 360s. It also includes a Mozy application that allows you to tap into Mozy for backups. So, in this little device, for under $200, you have solved your home media problems. I would say that’s a good deal.
The other issue surround how to deal with TV and movies. A lot of people go the cable, DirectTV, or Dish route. I didn’t like those options because of the ongoing cost involved. Here’s what I did. I first purchased a really nice over the air HD antenna to pick up local HD channels. You would be amazed at the amount and the quality of these stations. Next, I purchased a Netflix account for movies. For under $10 a month, you get movies in the mail or streamed instantly. Then, I purchased a Roku box for under $100. This allows you to stream the Netflix account on your HD TV. In no time, kids were watching their shows, and we were watching awesome movies at night. What a bargain. Also, Roku includes MLB and other premium programming that you can subscribe to. We also use Amazon movies on demand. They come in 5.1 channel sound and the picture quality is fantastic. So, I got great local HD programming, Netflix, Pandora streamed over my home theater, and on demand movies for $10 a month. That’s super hard to beat.
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