Technology is evolving at a rapid pace. With new products or better versions of older products being released every year, older products are rendered useless.
Internet use is increasing by a great extent.
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Every household has an assortment of ‘outdated’ technology. Technology left unused for years, covered with layers of dust.
But often the use of these ‘outdated’ products is only limited by our creativity and willingness to experiment.
I recently noticed an old Sony stereo system, and an old Dell Pentium III desktop lying around the house.
At first, I thought about disposing of these, but then I thought better. I ended up with a setup that allows me to remotely play music on the stereo system using any device with wi-fi and a browser, whether it be a desktop, laptop, Palm Pilot, HP or a cell phone.
How it basically Works?
The Dell computer, which is connected to the stereo system, acts as a server on the LAN.
Other devices on the LAN can either stream songs to the server, or remotely access the server and launch locally stored songs on it.
The following explains how I accomplished this setup. It assumes that you already know how to set up a wireless router.
The following hardware was used:
- Sony Stereo System
- Old Dell CPU (500 MHZ Pentium III, 128 MB Ram, 6 GB Hard Drive)
- A Y cable (male stereo 1/8-inch plug to two male RCA plugs)
- An Ethernet cable
- Speedtouch wireless router
Note: The monitor and mouse are only required when the computer is being set up.
Once the software has been installed and correctly configured, the computer only needs a keyboard attached to it to boot up.
If a laptop is being used as the server instead, the extra hardware is not needed.
The following software was used:
- Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition
- VLC Media Player
- TightVNC server and viewer
Note: The same setup could be obtained using a different operating system, such as Linux or Mac OS since the software required is available for these operating systems as well.
What I did, Step by Step?
1) I hooked up the monitor, keyboard, and mouse to the Dell CPU
2) I powered it on, inserted the Windows XP CD, and booted off the CD
3) Following the onscreen steps, I formatted my 6 GB hard drive and installed Windows XP on it
4) After the installation was complete, I plugged the computer into the router using the Ethernet cable
5) I launched up the browser and downloaded VLC Media Player from
6) I installed VLC media player
7) I downloaded TightVNC and then installed it.
(During the installation, you will be asked to ‘Select Additional Tasks’. When asked, make sure to select both boxes. This will register TightVNC server as a system service, and start it whenever windows starts)
9) I set a password for the VNC server
10) I went to Control Panel -> Power Options, disabled hibernate and standby, and set ‘When I press the power button on my computer’ to shutdown
11) I went to the properties of the network connection, opened up TCP/IP, and set a static IP address. The IP I set was 10.0.0.5. The range for IP addresses differs from router to router. Consult your router’s manual, or the internet if you need to find out the IP range for your router. More instructions on how to set a static IP address can be found online.
12) Using the Y cable, I connected the computer to the stereo system. The male 1/8-inch plug goes into the audio out port on the sound card. The red RCA plug goes into the right “AUX in” port on the stereo, and the other RCA plug goes into the left “AUX in” port.
13) The stereo was set to AUX
After this, I unplugged the monitor and mouse from the CPU. I neatly stacked the CPU, with the keyboard, under the table on which the stereo was placed
If the power button is pressed, the computer boots, load up Windows XP and loads up the VNC server. Pressing the power button again shuts down Windows and turns off the computer.
CPU As a Server:
This CPU is basically a server with a permanent IP on the network, which can receive streams from other devices on the network, and play them on the stereo.
If you want to know more about permanent / static IP address then read here.