Will VoIP work with DSL?

Michael writes: “I have been thinking about going VoIP at home, but we have a DSL connection. So, my question is this: Would I save any money doing going VoIP? Would I not still have to pay for a LAN line on top of my DSL connection and the VONAGE or whatever service fees? I mean VoIP seems to be more tailored to those who have broadband Cable, or am I just mis-informed?”
The short answer to this question is yes, VoIP works with DSL. Many of the phone companies currently providing DSL and landline phone services are in the process of unbundling DSL and phone services. Depending on who your DSL provider is, you may now choose to get only DSL service instead of needing to pay for phone services to get DSL service. The rate for DSL service unbundled from phone service is fairly competitive with cable Internet rates. There is no special LAN connection required for VoIP. The VoIP phone adapter I use connects into my router just like another PC would. The key is to compare costs of local service to costs of VoIP service before making the connection. You also need to look at what other services you need to connect over your phone lines, like satellite television, for instance. Read on for a more indepth look at VoIP vs. tranditional phone service.

MPEG Standards Explained

You frequently talk about video formats, can you explain the difference between MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 and what their possible uses are?

There are so many different formats floating around, I frequently find myself double-checking to make sure I’m referencing the right thing. Without realizing it, many of us spend a great deal of time watching MPEG-2 format video either on DVD or delivered over cable and satellite to digital subscribers around the world because it remains the accepted compression standard for the television industry. Assuming you have the right software installed on your system, most of the subtle differences between the various video formats should be transparent. Things get tricky when you’re missing a codec, which is software designed to interpret the audio or video information contained in a file. Read on for a breakdown of the three most common MPEG formats.

VoIP over Phone Wiring

VoIP creates a few minor frustrations for those of us already comfortable with the way landline phones behave in the house. If you subscribe to satellite television, for instance, how does your satellite box make the required phone connection using VoIP? If you want to have phones in several rooms of the house all tied into the same VoIP line (just like you would with a landline phone) how can you make it work when the phone adapter for your VoIP service only has one jack? I found the simple solution. Connect all your home phone wiring to the VoIP service. It’s easier than you think. Read on to see how I did it.

To VoIP or not to VoIP

I’m moving to a new house and I’m trying to decide whether I should keep my current phone line, drop my traditional phone carrier, or rely on a VoIP service like Skype?

After testing the VoIP waters on numerous occasions, I finally took the plunge and subscribed to Vonage last weekend. So far, I couldn’t be happier. If you’ve tried VoIP in the past and found it lacking due to the annoying echo of latency or have avoided VoIP completely because the handset options didn’t match up to what we’ve come to expect from traditional phone companies, it’s time to revisit the service options. Read more about my VoIP adventures.

Creating The Perfect Surround Sound

Just recently, I posted five HDTV shopping tips designed to help you find the perfect high definition television. Those suggestions will help in finding a screen that’s right for your HDTV viewing needs, but without a decent sound system to go with it your HDTV experience will definitely seem lacking. After spending $1000 or more to get a great looking picture, you’d hope the cash outlay would be at an end. If you already have a 5.1 surround setup, you may be set. On the other hand, if you’re audio is languishing in the Pro Logic era, some improvements may be required to get the full effect of your hefty screen investment. Several factors help you determine the best course of action when shopping for the right surround system for your high definition home theater.

Dealing With Digital Camera Lag

My husband got me a digital camera for Christmas and I’m really frustrated by the gap between the time I press the button to take a picture and the moment the camera finally reacts. How can I speed this up?

We’re all frustrated by that little feature of digital cameras. There have been numerous times when my son does something I want to capture with a camera and by the time the capture actually happens the moment has passed. This is not something we of the 35mm point-and-shoot generation are accustomed to. Even though I’m aware of the slow response time, I still find myself forgetting on occasion and blowing what was otherwise a really great shot. The only surefire way to avoid this problem is to buy an expensive digital camera. I’ve considered replacing my Canon G5 with a Digital Rebel specifically because I want a better reaction time. On the other hand, I find it hard to justify the expense because I don’t take that many pictures. There are several tricks to making the most of a digital camera’s slow reaction time, if you know how to make the camera work to your advantage. Read on to find out more.

How far do I sit from my HDTV screen?

The simple answer to the question about how far to sit from your HD screen is the closest distance that feels comfortable for you. If you are looking for a formula, there are a couple of ways to measure what some experts consider the critical viewing distance that I cover in this article.

Playing Music All Over the House

I recently bought an iPod and recorded all my CDs to my hard drive. What I would like to do now is use the Audio Out points on my PC to run speakers to the lounge, family room, bedrooms and outside.

My concerns are that the computer soundcard doesn’t seem to handle the music correctly. Sometime vocals are missing, other times guitars are too loud (all the songs sound perfect on the iPod.)

My questions are:

1) Is there a CD-quality sound card I should be using in my PC built especially for home audio or to home audio quality?

2) Is there some sort of amplifier I need to use between the computer and the speakers? I’ve never linked speakers up before (except to a normal off-the-shelf stereo), how do I do this?

I’m assuming I need an amplifier, a new sound card, and 2 speakers per room to attach to the amplifier. Am I correct? Has anyone done this before?

Fortunately, this is a popular result of putting lots of music on hard drives. Once it’s there, why not take advantage and use the audio in every room of the house? There are several ways to approach this problem, ranging from something as simple as plugging the iPod in around the house, to purchasing connected media devices for each room of the house, to running lots of wire and connecting everything to a central point off your PC sound card. Read on for details on each possible solution.