So there I was with my DirecTV DVR in the den, and my computer in my office at the other side of the house. Normally this wouldn't be a...
So there I was with my DirecTV DVR in the den, and my computer in my office at the other side of the house.
Normally this wouldn’t be a cause for concern because up to now, my TV had nothing to do with the computer.
But I should have known better because I knew one day my TV equipment would require something that was computer-related.
It turns out that my TV system, or more specifically, the DirecTV DVR hooked into my TV, now needed a way to link up to the Internet and I had no way to get it there.
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But let me go back a few days and tell you what happened.
DirecTV lets you get television programming via one of those little satellite dishes.
The latest box from them offers many cutting-edge services, like a slew of high-definition (HD) stations broadcasting HD movies and television shows. Its latest box has a built-in HD digital video recorder (DVR) that lets you record up to two different stations while watching a recorded show all at the same time.
Believe it or not, this scenario comes up more than you would think. And while they also offer pay-per-view shows, all of their programming is available on their schedule.
Of course, you can time-shift the programming by recording things onto the DVR so you can watch them at a later time. But that’s still on their scheduled time of shows.
But now DirecTV has introduced Video On Demand (VOD), where you can choose from a growing library of movies, TV shows and other programming and you can begin playing them at any time you want to see them.
The difference is that these shows aren’t delivered over the satellite. They are delivered to your HD DVR via the Internet. Oops. I have no Internet outlet in my TV room. And now let’s fast-forward to the solution.
A wireless solution can’t work simply because the DirecTV box has no way to set up a Wi-Fi network.
All that’s there is an Ethernet connection for a long cable to my computer in the other room (unacceptable). Fortunately, Netgear (www.netgear.com) offers a way to use a home’s existing electrical wiring.
Its Networking over Powerline model HDXB111 consists of two little transceiver boxes that both plug into your home’s electrical outlets.
In my case, I plugged one into the AC outlet next to my computer’s router and the other one into the electrical outlet next to my TV set.
I then plugged an Ethernet cable from the HDXB111 into the computer’s router and another Ethernet cable from the DirecTV HD DVR to the other HDXB111. That’s it.
A bright-blue LED indicator on both of the HDXB111 units signified that they had connected. Problem solved!
Netgear’s HDXB111 offers one extra solution that I have not seen in similar devices. Networking over Powerline devices requires that you plug them directly into the wall’s AC outlet.
For technical reasons I won’t go into here, just know that you cannot plug them into any kind of power strip or surge suppressor that usually offer several AC plugs.
Because of that limitation, you had to give up one of the two precious outlets usually found in an AC wall outlet.
But the HDXB111 overcomes this limitation by offering its own pass-thru female AC outlet. In other words, you get the one it uses back.
This is a very nice touch. The other nice thing this newest device offers is a faster speed — 200 megabits per second is more than capable of handling the video content coming from the DirecTV service.
Networking over Powerline offers another Internet delivery option. Netgear’s HDXB111 is that missing link you’ve been looking for.
The HDXB111 sells for about $199.