Cheap Home Office Fix – HDMI audio with multiple PCs

Many people are working from home exclusively or a couple of days a week as part of a hybrid work environment. With a few tweaks, a home office can do double-duty nicely.

My home office has evolved recently, as I’ve written about previously. I have a desktop PC with a 34″ ultrawide monitor and work laptop with a 14″ screen. I want to use the big monitor for everything. I plugged my laptop directly into my monitor’s second HDMI port and bought a Logitech MX keyboard and mouse that pair with up to 3 devices. Now, I can use my desktop monitor, keyboard and mouse with either system.

Audio was the next challenge. I started with a pair of headphones on my work laptop and another on my home desktop, but had to switch back and forth, and deal with 2 sets of cables.

I bought a Jabra Elite 45h wireless headset. It’s noise isolating, has great battery life, good microphone performance without a boom microphone (I felt so 2000s before!) and it can sync to 2 different devices.

I bought a pair of Creative Pebble V2 desktop speakers mostly for looks and to streamline cabling – they’re USB-powered. I had them plugged into my desktop, but realized when switching audio devices that there was a listing for my monitor HDMI connector. I did some poking around behind my monitor and found a 3.5mm headphone jack. Plugged the speakers into my monitor and now I have room audio that plays with the active HDMI connection!

My printers have always been networked, so no office changes were needed to enable me to print from my work laptop.

My only non-shared peripheral is my trusty Logitech  C920 webcam many years old and hasn’t failed me yet, while providing good 1080p video of my office.

My next challenge? Office lighting.

 

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