Archive | February, 2005

MythTV 0.17 Released

Posted on 11 February 2005 by

MythTV, the popular and versatile linux based PVR and media center software, has released MythTV version 0.17.

Here’s the changelog. Some highlights include:

— Native support for the frontend (ie., almost everything but recording) running on Mac OS X. I’ll probably be buying a Mini myself at some point for an extra frontend in the bedroom, so that’s pretty cool.
— “Timestretch”. Though, it’s really ‘time-compression’. This allows the user to adjust the playback speed slightly, but keeps the audio at the same pitch. If you’re recording a lot of shows, timestretch lets you get through them faster. =)
— Big improvements to both DVB and HDTV (for the pcHDTV cards) support. They’re much more useable, with less manual configuration. Also, there’s a new-ish HDTV capable card (the Air2PC) that uses the DVB drivers in Linux and is capable of receiving unencrypted broadcasts from cable TV. I just recently bought one, but haven’t had time to set it up yet.
— A firewire capture method was just added, for those with cable boxes capable of firewire output (Motorola DCT-6200 + cousins, SA 3250, etc).
— And brand new this week: wide screen/HDTV support in the user interface. The theme in that screen shot is still under construction, but it’s included in the 0.17 release (Minimalist-wide).

For now only the source code is available, but binary packages should be appearing soon.

Some SnapStream Tidbits of Interest

Posted on 10 February 2005 by

My contact at SnapStream sent over a round up of some of the going ons in their labs & in the Beyond Media/TV community:

First, we have a big Valentine’s Day special going on right now through Feb
15th. We’re offering both Beyond Media and the Firefly Remote Control (full
retail product) for $60 — this is a $40 savings over the standalone prices
of Beyond Media and Firefly.

Now on to the product: a tremendous of work has happened since we launched Beyond Media on December 1st.
1. We launched the Beyond Media SDK
Dowload the Beyond Media SDK

The SDK is broken into two parts:
A) there is detailed information on the Beyond Media skinning architecture
B) there is detailed information on creating application plug-ins for Beyond

We invested a fair bit of work in the SDK so there is a great deal of sample
code and a detailed explanatory help file (CHM) that walks you through
creating a skin or plug-in for Beyond Media. This isn’t new, but just a
reminder that there’s also a very rich Beyond TV SDK that people have used to do all kinds of cool things.

2. New Skins Available in the SSDN
Community development on both skins and plug-ins has really taken off. For
example, check out this TIVO-esque skin that airball created for Beyond TV:
BTVO screenshot full post and download

A host of other skins for Beyond Media: here and here

3. New Plug-ins Available in the SSDN
The most popular community plug-in for Beyond Media, at the moment, is the
DVD library plug-in It’s possibly the most powerful DVD/movie viewing front-end available for the PC. It combines movies recorded in BTV with ripped DVDs (VOB or ISO). It has an automatic importer, displays cover art, allows for searching. This plug-in was created by kilrsat.

There are quite a few other new/updated plug-ins from Comics to Stocks to NetRadio to PIN protection of modules.

TiVo Releases SuperBowl Viewer Statistics

Posted on 09 February 2005 by

Tivo has released the aggregate “anonymous” viewing stats garnered from sampling random TiVo DVR users during the Super Bowl. via engadget

According to TiVo stats these were the Top 10 Commercials on Super Bowl Sunday.

1. Emerald Nuts – Unicorn
2. Anheuser Busch – Designated Driver
3. – Censorship Hearing
4. Diet Pepsi – Cindy Crawford Eye Catcher
5. Ameriquest – Robbery
6. – Monkey Brown-Nosing
7. Tabasco – Burn
8. Fed Ex – Super Bowl Commercial Formula
9. Paramount Pictures – War of the Worlds
10. Anheuser Busch – Thank You to Troops

SnapStream Builds Uber 10 Tuner "Hydra" BeyondTV DVR

SnapStream Builds Uber 10 Tuner “Hydra” BeyondTV DVR

Posted on 08 February 2005 by

Holy snikeys batman! SnapStream has upped the ante on their already insane 6 tuner Medusa DVR ( official link ), with a 10 tuner PC DVR dubbed Hydra using 5 dual tuner WinTV PVR 500MCE encoder cards and the multiple tuner capable BeyondTV 3.5 DVR software.

That’s right SnapStream Media fans, we’re at it again and this time around we’ve taken Beyond TVs versatility to the next level. We know how much you love the Medusa with it’s SIX tuner capability, so when we received word about the release of the PVR-500MCE dual tuner, we knew we had to give you more. With The Hydra, you now have the ability to record TEN shows at the same time. We built Hydra here at SnapStream to show the newly revised multi-tuner capabilities of Beyond TV 3.5 using off-the-shelf PC parts.

PC Magazine: DIY HDTV DVR for the SuperBowl

Posted on 04 February 2005 by

Enough acronyms in that title? HDTV to Go for the Super Bowl

“The idea for a portable HDTV system occurred to us last summer while checking out the new generation of compact home theater projectors at CEDIA Expo. Would it be possible to create a fully self-contained HDTV system that could be easily transported by one person? We’re not talking about a mobile system built into a car or something handheld. We mean a fully capable system that includes a display, 5.1 channel audio and DVR capabilities.

Why, exactly, would anyone want to do this? The answer lies in an American phenomenon: the Super Bowl party. The annual athletic ritual that crowns the National Football League championship team has become more than just another game.

Since the Super Bowl will be broadcast in high definition, it’s natural to want to watch the game that way. Not everyone has HDTV yet, however. And not everyone with HDTV may want to host a Super Bowl party. So why not take the HDTV to the party”

CinemaNow to Offer NBC Shows for Download

Posted on 04 February 2005 by

PVRBlog on Cinemanow which in turn links to ehomeupgrade’s article: CinemaNow will be offering NBC shows and movies for download which in turns links to this Lost Remote Article Phew! Got all that?

CinemaNow will be offering the shows for $1 – $3 an episode. They already have downloadable full length full sized movie downloads available on their site.


Related tangent: I tried MovieLink last weekend because southwest airline was giving a $5 free credit to the site and didn’t feel like trekking to blockie. I was reasonable impressed with the process. I could start watching “Twisted” within a few minutes of downloading, although if you start viewing a movie while the download is in progress you temporarily lose rewind/fastforward functionality until the movie is completely downloaded. And of course there’s the whole 24 hour beat the clock DRM from the first moment you press play; That is just too much pressure for me to finish a movie in one setting =) Get your own free $5 coupon to MovieLink One other complaint, their site is NOT very firefox friendly… boooo hisssss, booooo!

Back on topic: Although i’m sure some of you will emotionally balk at the idea of paying for something that’s already broadcast free over the air (or pay to be delivered via cable/satellite) I do find this an intruiging turn of events in non-traditional TV content delivery. It would be cool, for example, to get to the point those Dot Com era Qwest commercials promised, “Every show ever broadcast, instantly searchable and downloadable ala carte” (for a modest fee). Imagine IMDB but being able to download the movies/shows from the hyperlinked filmography. Ok I’m getting ahead of myself here and getting into blue sky punditry zone, but nonetheless seems like a very cool first step.. until they add Coke and Army commercials to the content that you already paid to see =(

Review of Fanless Tranquil T2.e – Silent Media Center PC

Posted on 03 February 2005 by

This review is about a month old, but was too cool not to post. I stumbled upon it while visiting EPIA center looking for scoop on when the nano-itx mobo’s were gonna see the light of day.

Tranquil T2.e – Silent Media Center PC review from trusted reviews. I’m a sucker for fanless PC, cases, and powersupplies… what can I say?

Diamond Multimedia XTremeTV DVR Media Center

Posted on 02 February 2005 by


DVR/TV Tuners Include MPEG-2 Hardware Acceleration As Well As “Beyond TV” From SnapStream Media and the Firefly PC Remote Control

rampy-> Looks like a pretty cool bundle of SnapStream’s BeyondTV with a low-ish cost Diamond DVR hardware cards. Although calling it a “media center” is kinda confusing to me, marketing wise as that made me think it was a full STB integrated solution. Not that getting good quality software with a dvr card wouldn’t be a welcome change, just that dubbing it a media center has certain connotations in my mind.

(hat tip: random-abstract )

Copy of press release in read more for the link following impaired:
Continue Reading

HTPCnews PVR150 MCE Low Profile Review

Posted on 02 February 2005 by

The venerable HTPCnews has posted a review of the Hauppauge WinTv PVR150 MCE low profile edition Lots of good info for you to soak in, including a visual quality comparison test of the pvr250, pvr150, and plextor convertX PVR/

GB-PVR v0.90 released

Posted on 01 February 2005 by

Sub has just made the announcement that GB-PVR v0.90 is available for download:

He writes:
“This release wasnt quite ready for the public and several things are still very shakey, but given the bug with the TV Guide – you’re welcome to try it if you like. Consider yourself warned. :D”

Some of the new features include:
– Corrected some issues that could cause freezing during channel changes.
– Some speed improvements when changing channels.
– Implemented initial DVB support for devices with BDA drivers. …
– TV/Video/Music/Pictures/Guide/Radio buttons now functional on new 45 key Hauppauge remote.
– FM Radio now works correctly for the PVR150MCE and PVR500MCE.
– Added support for widescreen or high resolution skins.
– USB-UIRT remote control support added.
…and much more… (hence the version jump!)