Archives » August 14th, 2003

August 14, 2003


Photo of the Linksys wma11b.jpgThe Linksys WMA11B, the Wireless Media Adapter. This is the kind of thing that might get people more excited about wireless networking. It is a Wi-Fi device that plugs into your TV, and it browses the shared files on your computer. It has a built in picture viewer, and an MP3 player. So you can set this thing on top of your TV, and play the MP3 files on your computer through your home stereo. Or bring up the pictures from your digital camera on the TV screen. Of course you could do all of this before, by running wires all over the house. The key innovative thing about this device, which is something I’ve been waiting for for a while, is that it does it all over your Wi-Fi connection. And, it’s actually processing the files itself. It’s not just some dumb box that converts your computer’s output into a TV signal (which is also something I’ve considered getting), it actually plays the files itself. This is a really exciting idea, and the more I think about it, the more I like it.

Yes, I could have found out about it two months ago if I had looked. But I’m always behind the times. I still need to poke through the User’s Guide to see how it works. So far, I see that it relies on software running on the host computer, and apparently that software will only run on XP. Not a problem at my house, but it could be a stopping point for other people. And it does work whether your computer is using the Wi-Fi directly (through a card, like my laptop) or is connected to an access point (like my main computer is). So I could take this little box with me when I go to my grandmother’s house, and hook it right up to her TV to show the vacation pictures. That’s a lot better than “Let’s huddle around the laptop in the kitchen, everyone!” like we usually do.

The next challenge? Finding someone nice enough to give us the $170 that it costs to buy this thing. And also a towel to clean up the puddle of drool.