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I need a Home Theater Solution for my kid's room

Last response: in Home Theatre
May 12, 2012 9:33:45 PM

Right now I pay for cable but I never really watch it and I want to get rid of it. Everything that I watch is pretty much exclusively online content, and I hook up my laptop to my TV via HDMI when I want to watch something. Now I'd have no problem at all getting rid of cable (which runs me roughly $80/month), but I have three young girls who might have a tough time without Dora the Explorer and the Disney Channel.

Here's what I would like to do:

- Download TV shows for the kids onto a networked 2TB hard drive (which I already have and use to store my media) and then *somehow* stream them to the TV in the kids room.

I've thought of making a very small box PC to go next to their TV and do it that way. The only problem I can think of with this is that they would have to navigate the file system to find their shows - something that my wife doesn't even know how to do (I know, it's sad). Also, that would involve keeping a mouse and/or keyboard in their room which I would rather not do. I looked around and saw some remotes for PC's but I'm not sure how well they would work for general PC navigation. there any other way to accomplish what I want? The main things I'm looking at are price (something under $300 would be ideal) and extreme ease of use for the kids.
May 14, 2012 2:38:08 PM

have you thought about windows media center? not the prettiest but it is simpler than clicking on files. you might have to do a bit more backend work but my guess is they would rewatch the same episodes after they complete a season. you can get away with either building a tiny pc or just buying the cheapest small pc you can get and networking it in.

do they have a gaming system? like a wii, xb360, ps3.... i know some of them allow you to network hard drives to them for movies (or use your netflix account to stream movies direct).

going with a mini pc idea... you could just train them to use the pc. kids nowdays are often better at such things than their parents! just have shortcut links to the folders in which the files are stored and have things set to autoplay. honestly most kids should be able to learn this (your wife too!) with just a few times of you supervising.

they make "air mice" which are motion controlled and dont need a surface to navigate the mouse. i dont think you need a keyboard hooked up all the time.. if you dont use passwords on the pc. mouse navigation is probably more than enough. they also make keyboards with trackballs in them which are wireless. many options depending on how you want to go.