Home » HOME MEDIA BASICS: Checklist


"Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

👆 Introduction

I thought I knew it all until I started building my own Personal Digital Library. In my previous life, as an engineer, I built 1,000's of miles of fiber networks in dozens of cities around the world. Then I started building my own Personal Digital Library and I realized that I was just an amateur.

As I put everything together, piece by piece, I was humbled by my research. Yes, I knew a lot of the stuff, but it was still all over the place. I realized that for years I had been taking a shotgun approach, making mistakes, redoing the same things over and over and just bumbling around with my photos, videos, and music.

Now, I have put it all together for you, step by step, and I have a smile on my face. I still don't know it all, but I have a pretty darn good understanding of what you need to do to get there. So, learn from my mistakes and start getting all your personal media organized and enjoyable.

This is a media plan that will help you figure out what you are going to do to organize your media. You are trying to avoid making mistakes. Mistakes that will cost you time and money and a lot of frustration.

You must start somewhere so let's start right now and make a plan before Mike Tyson punches us in the mouth.

Here are the BASICS for organizing all your media and creating your own "Personal Digital Library." You make your own plan based upon your own wants and needs. I have laid out these BASICS in a step-by-step format, but you can jump around and pick and choose, just like a menu in your favorite restaurant. You may already know what you want to order but you have some questions. These Steps will answer your questions.

😎 The HomeMedia Guy: "Don't get overwhelmed, don't get freaked out. An effective way to do all this stuff is to do one Step per week. One Step is about an hour's worth of learning. But this new learning leads to implementation and that may take a lot more than one hour. Setting your goal to one Step per week will allow you to make forward progress and give you some self-satisfaction.

As you go through all of this you will see that you already have done a lot of it. You will find some things that you didn't expect. You will have some "light bulb" or "No kidding!" moments. But most of all, you will have a smile and ask yourself, "Why didn't I think of that." Have fun.

Each Step has three sections.

  • VISITOR is free for everyone.
  • SUBSCRIBER which has expanded and interactive content.
  • MEMBER which has additional information.

The Steps 

  • Step 01: What Do I Have Now? Perform a complete inventory of your media sources and content. Streaming, cable, DSL, satellite, movies, TV shows, music, photos, home videos, etc. You need to know what you already have and what you are spending as the first step in this process
  • Step 02: What Do I Want? What media sources, streaming, cable, DSL, satellite, etc. do you want? What media content, movies, TV shows, music, photos, home videos, etc. do you want? This is a wish list. This step is not as easy as it seems. Everything costs money, there is no free media. There is a significant difference in the cost of what I need, what I want, and what I would like to have.
  • Step 03: Local Channels Broadcast, over-the-air (OTA) TV is a must-have for most people. Local news, sports, community shows are all broadcast free OTA to your home. Do you have, do you want OTA Broadcast TV? If you want local broadcast channels, how do you get them?
  • Step 04: Internet How much internet do you really need? Sure, we all need the internet but how much, how fast, and how expensive? Don't buy more than you need or use.
  • Step 05: Home Network What is the role of your home network? Before we get into the various streaming services out there you must have the ability to view these streaming service apps on your TV, PC, laptop, or phone. How important is your home network? It's just as important as every other part of the system that is delivering voice, video, and data in your home. It is the last mile, the hub, the wireless heart of your home media.
  • Step 06: Streaming Devices   How to turn a dumb TV into a smart TV so you can get the internet on all your TVs. Firestick, Roku, Nvidia, and more choices. choices and more choices are the name of the game. Where do I start? Which one is for me?
  • Step 07: Streaming Services   What are my choices? Which service should I subscribe to? Local channels, networks, sports, travel, documentaries, I want it all! Wait a minute, maybe not all, just a bunch.
  • Step 08: Cut The Cord Finally, at last, the moment has arrived. Whew! Wait, now you know what you want to do so do it. But what's next? Will cutting the cord really set me free or am I just grabbing a new cord?
  • Step 09: Create Your Libraries Now that you have all the media that you want and have saved a few bucks getting there, it's time to start migrating it all into your main media libraries. Know where all your media is making its home. Eliminate duplicate files and duplicate folders. Consolidate your computer with your tablet, your notebook, and all your phones.
  • Step 10: Photos Hi, my name is Frank, and I am a photo pack Rat! But unlike most pack rats, I know how to keep track and organize my photos. I am going to share with you how I do it. Your fellow packrats are going to love this.
  • Step 11: Videos After photos, your home videos are the next most essential elements of your media library. They are irreplaceable slices of your life.
  • Step 12: Music I want to make sure you know today's easy techniques and how to get your music library organized and ready to enjoy.
  • Step 13: Books This topic is a mixed bag of various solutions. Read it and decide what works for you.
  • Step 14: Data Add all of your important documents to your personal digital library.
  • Step 15: Backup & Protect Know where everything is and backup, backup, and backup. Hope for the best and plan for the worst. Your photos and home videos cannot be replaced.
  • Step 16: Media Management System Now that your media is all collected and protected how do you actually use it? There are software solutions (like PLEX and KODI) that will take all this stuff and deliver it up to you where you want it and when you want it. There is no magic software that will take over and do everything for you. But these five come pretty close. This is the last step out of the digital jungle. 

😎 The HomeMedia Guy: I am going to pop up, every now and then, with tips and tricks and additional info. 


There are sixteen basic Steps between you and a totally organized personal digital library. Follow the Steps or jump around and check it all out. Be ready for some pleasant surprises, but most of all, be ready to have some fun!