SmartHome Improvement: World Series Nerdiness

You may think smart homes are a thing of tomorrow, but you can make your house a smart home today. Thanks to our regular do-it-yourself series with tips from Darren Gladstone and Josh Schoonmaker, we’ll super-size your nerd cred.


Not much has changed when it comes to watching the World Series with your buddies. Sure, you can afford better home theater gear -- and maybe you're drinking a better caliber of beer --  but why not amp it up and turn your home into a kick-ass sportscenter? Or, at least a super-nerdy one.  That's why I sprinted over to the HP SmartHome with a mission: Work with Josh Schoonmaker to create our digital monument to baseball for this latest  installment of SmartHome Improvement.


Now before we go too deep into it, I should warn you: there are lots of little tips that Josh and I came up with to get you through the World Series. So check out the video first, then we can dig into some of the specifics on how you can set up some of this at your home, below.





Media streaming and stat-tracking


I'll admit that even by nerd standards, I'm not exactly, "Normal." We covered streaming video stashed on your hard drive throughout the house in a previous episode, but have you considered streaming live TV through your PC? Not everyone takes advantage of the fact that you can plug a TV tuner into your PC.  We didn’t dive into it in this episode, but your computer is also a fully-functional DVR. It’s possible with external USB dongles from companies such as AverMedia and internal cards like AMD’s All-In-Wonder  -- I use both types because, God forbid, I don’t want to miss a second of boob-tubery.


Windows 7's MediaCenter app is, in a word, awesome. Beyond watching shows, MediaCenter also offers lots of neat features, some Internet TV integration and there's this handy "Sports" tab. It pulls data from Fox Sports to give you the latest scores and for all you stat nuts out there, it can track statistics for individual players. During the play-offs, I had the app keep me posted on some key players and it showed me their post-season progress.


Get in the game


baseball.JPGYou know all those neat tricks the networks use now in their instant replays? All those pitch-tracking graphics and such? If you've played a sports videogame, it's pretty obvious that's where some of that inspiration is coming from. Since we have an Xbox 360 set up in the HP SmartHome, I thought it’d be smart to bring along a copy of 2K Games' MLB 2K10.

Considering how torturous the post-season games have been so far, you’ve got to be prepared for a series that’ll have you wanting to replay last night’s game on your terms. One thing I love about MLB 2K10 – besides the degree of polish and presentation – is the stat tracking. You fire up a quick game and it’ll reflect what games are happening right now in the real world. It’ll point out players on hot streaks during the World Series. Then, you can keep it going in-game.


Going mobile


These days, Josh walks around the SmartHome with his HP Zeen, it’s an eReader and Web-browsing tablet, but here’s the crazy part -- it’s also the control panel for HP’s PhotoSmart eStation C510 printer. It’s actually pretty neat that you can use this to check documents, browse the Web and keep reading the latest from the ESPN home page as your roam around the house. BUT, despite Josh’s cute bit of kit, you need to leave home at some point -- you know, for work or when it’s time to make a beer run. There's no need to miss out on the latest plays and with smartphones, it's pretty dead simple. Fortunately, I have a holster full of gadgets at the ready...and a couple choice apps you should consider for tracking the games.


On my Palm Pre, I prefer using Sporting News Pro Baseball (Free) for news and stats and LiveSports! ($7.99) for up-to-the minute scores and notifications.

All right enough talk – time to get back to the game. You have any tips about how you trick out your home around the big games for maximum sports-nerdiness? Drop a line and let us know (or just speak your piece in the comment box below)!

by Gordon van Zuiden
on ‎10-29-2010 08:40 AM

Love it, some great World Series baseball watching ideas!


How about some baseball rally songs played over the whole house audio system to get people dancing!



by Jeremy S
on ‎10-29-2010 10:00 AM

Definately some awesome info guys!  How are the photo frames connected to the server?  To me, that is the problem with most frames is that you have to upload the photos to individual frames. 



by John Thomson
on ‎10-30-2010 04:52 PM

Its great to hear what smart media can do but I have a question? First I need to tell you I'm old with a pre-technological mind, that said, where can I learn how to get my smart media to do all the things you say it can do.

by pC
on ‎10-30-2010 04:58 PM

 The technology here is sweet....but really come on people. Here is yet "another" example of the bigoted and pathetic Yankee ignorance. A "world" series is something the countries of the world participate in. Quite frankly, and thankfully, the rest of the world, which really begins outside the borders of USA, isn't even interested in such a sport. At best this is NOTHING more than a interstate championship.


by GizmoGladstone
‎11-01-2010 03:09 PM - edited ‎11-01-2010 03:50 PM

For what it's worth, I wish we had this series up-and-running sooner. I would have LOVED to run an episode around the World Cup. Basically, I'm a fan of sports worldwide, it just so happened that the timing here was  right for the above story.


And, I should point out, that most of the tips here can apply to just about any sport that you follow.


@Gordon: Rally songs are piping through the SmartHome as we speak! ;p


@Jeremy S: Josh can jump in here and try to field the photoframes question. BUT I can tell  you that we're working on a separate episode about hooking up your home with digital photo frames.


@John Thomson: I don't have my own MediaSmart server (yet), but we have a couple episodes that talk about different aspects of this server. I need to check back with Josh on this as well.




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