Saturday, November 15, 2014

Why I Wanted a Wall Mounted "TV" in the Nursery

Brianna and I are probably going to be spending a lot of time in the Nursery in the near future, trying to get Link to fall asleep. I can't speak for Brianna, but I'm not expecting Link to be particularly intellectually stimulating between day 3 and day 90 (and maybe beyond). I started thinking about what I could add to the nursery for entertainment.

This was definitely a “Brian” project, and I had a lot of fun with it (which was good – since the house budget was empty, this mostly came out of the “Brian Fun Money” budget). Planning out this project helped keep me sane during the Great Room paint touch-up day.

The whole idea centers around a Chromecast – a little HDMI dongle with a WiFI antenna and a minimum of smarts – which can be controlled by any phone on the WiFi network. This was important: because it is controlled by a smartphone, the user interface can be one-handed (unlike a wireless keyboard, like the one we use for the big TV), while a baby occupies the other arm. (I have had the Chromecast device since it was first released, and I have been looking for a purpose for it for most of that time; such are the hazards of buying things you don’t need.) The Chromecast allows access to Netflix, Hulu Plus, a variety of podcast apps, and (most importantly) our local video and music libraries via the Plex app.

Starting from the Chromecast, I mentally added an old nineteen-inch monitor I had laying around, an HDMI-to-VGA adapter, some cheap speakers, and an articulated wall-mount I found on clearance.

Once I ordered all the parts, and everything arrived, I plugged it all together. It worked!

I disassembled the speakers to remove a kick-stand I didn't want. Turns out the "Dual Driver" speakers I ordered each had one "passive" driver:

I wound up using epoxy to mount the speakers onto the monitor. I used my Dremel (thanks Dad!) to rough up the plastic first, then clamped the speaker onto the monitor, one at a time. It turned out pretty well, I think:

Then it was time to mount the whole assembly on the wall in the nursery.

Brianna discovered she could use her pregnant-lady-grabber-stick to turn the monitor on and off:

Finally, I installed a new outlet at the level of the monitor, to keep all the cords tucked out of the way:

Final product:

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