Chakra Announcements

Home Multimedia Setup

by Pratyatosa das

Posted March 3, 2008

For the sake of my own Krishna consciousness, I've set up a home transcendental TV station. I have three TVs. The big color TV in the living room/bedroom came with the apartment. I got a 5-inch black and white set for the kitchen/storage room on clearance several years ago for $20. The third one is a 12-inch black and white set that I picked it up at a thrift store last week for only $8. It works great; I have that one in the bathroom.

What's the program source? It's an old XP desktop with an add-on PCI video card with TV (S-video) out. The programming is provided by two free programs: the sound by Winamp (www.winamp.com) and the picture by Google Photos Screensaver (www.haklabs.com).

When the computer first boots up, Winamp automatically loads. It then chooses "at random" among 1843 lectures/conversations by Srila Prabhupada. A couple of minutes later, the screen saver starts. It displays a different picture every five seconds, choosing "at random" among 19,494 pictures of Srila Prabhupada.

The image collection is available for download; go to click here, then download the file <srila_prabhupada_all_photos.zip>. Be aware that this is a huge file; it's 1.35 Gigabytes and will take three to four hours to download, even on a broadband connection.

Both the audio recordings and the pictures are copyrighted by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International (www.krishna.com), and are being used with permission.

The programming is very interesting, because I never know what picture is coming next or which lecture or conversation is going to play next. Quite often the picture being displayed is one that I've never seen before.

The Google Photos Screensaver screen saver is great. Every picture fills the entire screen, and the transitions are fast and smooth. I just wish that there was a way to create a Prabhupada screen saver of the same high quality that would work on older Windows 98SE or ME computers. If you know of such a program, please let me know (pratyatosa@gmail.com).

Beside the TVs and the computer, I needed to purchase a radio frequency (RF) modulator (US$16.84 from Wal-Mart). This device is sold as a way to connect DVD players to older TVs that don't have separate audio and video inputs. I also needed various lengths of cable and a couple of splitters, but since my apartment came with cable TV, I was able to get them for free from the local cable TV company. All these items should be readily available at any electronics store.

I must admit, I'm hooked. I think a nice enhancement to the programming would be to include synchronized transcriptions for the MP3s that have it available (See three examples on http://causelessmercy.com/t/), and the transcendental slide show for those that don't. This would take some doing, but I'm pretty sure that the whole thing could be accomplished using an Internet browser, XAMPP (an Apache distribution), PHP, HTML and JavaScript.