Simplifying the “home theater”

So my project for the day was to re-do my ‘home theater’ setup. I put that in quotes because we’re talking, y’know, the living room, not a dedicated home theater in a separate room. My goal was just to get components plugged in so that I could turn them all completely off, rather than have everything in ‘standby mode.’ Good for the environment, and good for the electric bill, right? But of course I didn’t want the DVRs turning off, nor the hubs.

Once I started pulling stuff apart…I was pretty amazed. I ended up with a huge pile of gear I really no longer need to have hooked up. First, my ancient Laser Disk player. I haven’t turned that on since I moved into this apartment a few years ago. Next, VCR. Can’t remember the last time I used that. DVD player? Just collecting dust, since the PS3 upscales DVDs so nicely. I found out I had a wireless bridge running that was supplying ethernet to the XBox. Not the XBox360, mind you…the old XBox. And speaking of the old XBox, tear it out and stick it into storage. I don’t have time to play all the new games I want to play; I’m never going to get around to playing those old XBox 1 games.

Now I was really getting into the spirit of things: I pulled out the #2 Comcast Box, and the Tivo that was hanging off it. I never watch Tivo anymore because I can no longer tolerate SD content delivered through an s-video cable (the best my Tivo Series 2 offers). I’ll either put the 2nd Comcast box in the office, or turn it in and save the $10 or $12 that Comcast charges me every month. I did end up re-connecting the Tivo just to see if it gets its podcasts (like Cranky Geeks) via ethernet, or if it somehow is pulling them now through the cable. I can’t imagine how it would be… anyway that still might end up going. I had an Airport Express out there to stream music from my computers to the stereo, which I last did about 18 months ago. And I never print to the printer hanging off of it. So out that went.

Suddenly, a brace of switch boxes and y-cables were no longer needed, so I got rid of those, several of which were powered. Which mean fewer plugs and so fewer power strips.

That whole side of the room looks so much neater and uncluttered now. I’m using 3 power strips. One will be ‘always on’ and has the Tivo, the Comcast DVR and the single remaining ethernet hub on it. One controls the receiver and the XBox 360. And one (plugged into a different circuit) controls the TV, PS3 and Sub-Woofer. So when I’m turning out the lights at night, I can just toggle off those power strips and all that energy going into keeping all this gear on standby no longer gets wasted.

Now my big challenge is… where to store all these gear I tore out!!?