You have all that wonderful music and digital photo content on one or more Windows PCs around the house.  Now, suppose you want to be see the photos and listen to the music through your TV and stereo system in the family room.  You can, so easily.

Intel and Linksys have teamed to create a new little box that does just that, using the standard 802.11b wireless networking protocols.  It’s called the Wireless-B Media Adapter (model WMA11B), with a retail price from about $130 – $140.  Search for the best online prices HERE 

Here is how it works, and it works very well.  First, one or more PCs must be wired or wirelessly connected through a router. It works much more elegantly through wireless means, however.  A router is the common device used in homes and offices in which multiple computers share a single broadband connection to the Internet, such as DSL or Cable Modem.  Supplied Linksys software is installed onto all the PCs containing content.  Even in a wireless setup, the Media Adapter gets connected to the router or a PC through standard Ethernet cable for initial configuration.

Configuration consists of going through the on-screen steps to find the network and to join it, then telling the device from where to draw the content on each PC (generally in the My Photos and My Music folders), and that’s about it.  When initial setup is done, move the Media Adapter to the TV area and connect the video output to the TV, with the supplied wires.  Now, connect the audio output from the Media Adapter either to the TV or to a nearby audio receiver, and that’s about it.

When the TV is switched to the input from the Media Adapter, you will see a nice on-screen image through which you may select the photos, organized as they are on your PCs, as well as the music, similarly organized as on the PC, according to artist, album, etc.

The rest is magic.  All those digital photos, now at your fingertips, viewed using a wireless remote control, through your TV, and they look great!  You can run a slide show at the push of a button, or zoom an image.  You can also listen to the music the way you want, selecting via any of the available criteria.  Even better, you can watch a slide show AND have the music playing at the same time.

I found this product simple and satisfying!  It was simple to set up and simple to use, and I am very satisfied with the fun and pleasure I am having hearing my music and seeing my digital photos through the convenient and comfortable location of my family room TV and audio system.  Now, you really can enjoy your music and photos, and share them all with guests, too.

If you haven’t gone wireless, this is as good an excuse as I know to get started.  Cut the cord!  Wireless connectivity is THE way to connect in your High Tech and DIGITAL Home, and it’s easier than you may have thought.

Watch for the next generation of these devices coming soon.  Next time out, they will be the wireless 802.11g standard, with about five times more bandwidth, so you can not only share music and photos, but your videos stored on PCs can be sent to the connected TV as well.   And then watch for dual-channel units that occupy two wireless channels to effectively double the bandwidth of “g”.  the more bandwidth, the more file sharing can occur without slowing down connectivity over the Internet. Ah, yes, it’s a very exciting time for technology in which we all live.

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