Lights! Camera! Action!

Lately I’ve had a real luxury in my shop: internet. I took an extremely old laptop I had, a Toshiba that was built in 2005, out to the shop a few months ago. Having XP (a tablet version at that), I didn’t really trust it. I installed Xubuntu and it was working fine, for awhile. One of the problems I found with the OS was it would go to sleep after ten minutes of inactivity. Watching live sessions or longer videos would cause it to hibernate. Might think that’s not really a big deal, but with Ubuntu’s proclivity to ask you for a password at every single opportunity, it is boring.

So, I had in mind that I would eventually look for a replacement. I enjoy the chat feature on WTO, so I was thinking I would look for another old laptop. Then yesterday, I found a smaller LED HDTV for just $30 at a local store. $30!! I had to go grab it.

So, I’ve lost chat capability, but I’m not that sad about it. I could still easily fire up the old laptop for that purpose. The TV is a brand called SuperSonic, and the size is 15.6″ – about the size of my current laptop screen. For my size shop, that’s actually a bonus. The TV has a 75mm VESA mount, built-in DVD (not really a plus), HDMI, USB, and other inputs. For me, the HDMI and regular (not service port) USB was important, along with the VESA. The VESA mount will allow me to mount it to the wall very easily.

We ditched satellite a couple of years ago, and have been streaming since. When the Amazon FireTV stick was announced late last year, I took a flyer on it at a reduced price. The layout is nice, but we lost the remote and the Android app leaves a lot to be desired. No iOS app at this point, which limited its use with my wife and kids. We prefer the Roku devices. So, I had a FireTV stick that wasn’t being used, and now a TV for the shop – it was a natural pairing, and actually played a big role in me going with a TV instead of some sort of computer.

For a cheap TV (it’s actually still $140 online at any of the retailers), it’s surprisingly decent. Speakers are tinny, but louder than the laptop. Picture quality is ok, more than enough for my shop. The FireTV allows me to watch YouTube vids, Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, anything I want almost. YouTube is the key for me in the shop, participating in Wood Whisperer live events, all the vids from my woodworking subs.

OK, so I’ll address the picture you see now. I’m fully aware how not level the TV is, and it isn’t a factor of the shop itself. I did a quick and dirty mount to see how well it would work in the shop. I took a scrap piece of ply, drilled the 75mm VESA holes and counterbored for the screw heads. I then tried to put a piece of French cleat on the back. I knew that this wouldn’t be pretty until I got an opportunity to cut. I don’t know if I’ll do a French cleat again, or just screw a board to the wall. Either way, it will be easy to bring in if the temp seems like it will go below the operating temp of 23°F. Part of the issue with mounting is that the DVD player sticks out and comes up right next to the mounting holes, so it’s not as if I can use a big piece of ply.

I also wasn’t sure what the WiFi reception on the stick would be, and as it turns out, not good tucked up behind the screen. At least on that wall. So, I had to let it hang and it works fine. Just not neat. I’ll tidy up the cable when I have a good idea of how tight I need it to be. I’ll also need to figure out exactly where I’ll put it. Perhaps on the wall near the workbench? I don’t know. It also has a short power cable.



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