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Streaming Media to your Amazon FireTV or Amazon FireTV Stick using Plex.

Streaming Media to your Amazon FireTV or Amazon FireTV Stick using Plex.

Maybe people have asked how to set-up a home media center using the cheapest method possible.  Amazon has just released their Amazon FireTV Stick, which for the next 2 days is only $19.00 (after that $39.00).  That coupled with an existing computer, and the Plex App ($4.99) you can turn your home TV into a modern day Media Center.

Users can start a movie on their iPhone, resume on their Windows laptop, and pick up where they left off on their Amazon Fire TV. Plex allows effortless content streaming to a wide range of devices, including Mac, Windows 8, Linux, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Roku, Chromecast, and now Fire TV. The Plex app for the Amazon Fire TV and Kindle Fire is available on the Amazon Appstore.

You will need to download the Plex Media Server for your laptop/computer from the following link:

Once you install the media server, and the app on your Amazon FireTV or Amazon FireTV Stick, you can follow the step by step video and documentation from Plex’s website here:


DLNA Media Center Setup

DLNA Media Center Setup

It all started for me back in high school.  I had a huge movie and music collection (20GB of music, 300+ movies) stored on an external hard drive.  Anytime I wanted to watch one of my movies, or listen to music, I’d have to hook up the external hard drive to my computer, copy over the movie or music, and put it on a USB drive.  I’d then have to take said USB drive and plug it into my PS3 or XBOX 360 to be able to watch or listen to my media.

While in college, I had built myself a machine that used my TV as a monitor so that I could watch my movies that way.  That solution will not work now that I don’t want my computer sitting in my living room next to my TV.

I had researched many different DLNA media servers that I could use; many were free, few had a price tag.  My requirements were that it needed to stream to my Sony PlayStation 3 in my bed room, my Microsoft Xbox 360 in the family room, and my iPhone for where ever I wanted to be in my house – price didn’t matter.

I found a program called Mezzmo that offered these solutions.  Mezzmo automatically finds and organizes all your music, movies and photos on your computer and imports music, movies, photos and playlists from your iTunes, and anywhere else that you specify in the program.  Media format support includes all popular video file formats, music file formats and image file formats.  You can even connect and stream to multiple devices at the same time- which was a huge plus to me because I have more than one device in my house. Mezzmo transcodes music, movies and photos on-the-fly so they play perfectly on your DLNA-enabled device such as the PS3 or XBOX 360.  I personally chose the option within Mezzmo to pre-transcode all your files before you stream them, preventing any buffering or synchronization issues that can associated with transcoding files on-the-fly.

Not only does Mezzmo organize your media files, it has the ability to provide each of your devices with thumbnails of the movies and pictures.

Mezzmo is ready to run and start being your media center with just installing, adding and processing media, and starting the server.  Once the server is started and it has processed all your files, fire up your PS3 or XBOX360 and you will see your Server as a video source in the menu of your device.

Check out Mezzmo here – the cost is $29.95, but worth every single penny!

Replacing the Hard Drive in Macbook Pro

Replacing the Hard Drive in Macbook Pro

I wanted to update to replace the hard drive on my Early 2011 Macbook Pro.  Since I have had my computer for over a year, my drive was getting bottled down, and I only had about 40GB left.  Most of the space was filled with videos from my GoPro, pictures, and my extensive music colleciton, and I wasn’t willing to part with any of it.

I decided to go with the Western Digital 320 GB Scorpio Black SATA Notebook Hard Drive – WD3200BEKT from Amazon.  It was an affordable drive, with very good reviews.

There are plenty of guides on how to replace the hard drive on an early 2011 Macbook pro online.  My problem came when I was reinstalling OS X.  The version of Snow Leopard I was installing was 10.6.7.  When I went to boot from the DVD, my Macbook was emanating 3 POST beeps.  The 3 beeps indicate an issue with the memory (RAM), which I had recently upgraded by purchasing 2x 4GB RAM chips.  However, I hadn’t touched the RAM, and it was working perfectly fine before I touched the hard drive.  Upon further research, the 3 Beeps on start up on my Macbook Pro from early 2011 indicated that I was using an install DVD that was not supported on my Machine.  I ended up digging out the box that I got back in early 2011 and pulled out the install DVD that came with the computer.  It was version 10.6.6, and after booting into that by holding Command + C at startup, it went right into the installation process.  The installation took about 50 minutes, and my Macbook was running just like new, if not faster (due to the upgraded RAM and a fresh HDD).

The great thing about my MacBook Pro is that I can still boot into my original hard drive.  I picked up a Macally PHRS-250CC FireWire 400/USB2.0 External Storage Enclosure for 2.5″ SATA HDD and all I need to do to access my old OS X installation is hold the option key at startup, and select my Firewire hard drive from the list.

Home Theater Set-Up

Home Theater Set-Up

A friend of mine recently bought a house in Long Valley.  We had a budget of $3,500.00 for everything (electronic), which included:

  • HDTV
  • Blue-ray players
  • Receiver
  • Speakers
  • Logitech Harmony Remote Control
  • Speaker Wire
  • HDMI Cables

Given the space for the TV, and the way my friend wanted everything set-up, I settled on the following.

  • Logitech Harmony Remote
  • IR to RF Converter


More to come…

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