Archive | July, 2005

CLOSED: 2 Copies of MeedioTV & Essentials Up for Grabs!

CLOSED: 2 Copies of MeedioTV & Essentials Up for Grabs!

Posted on 30 July 2005 by

UPDATE: This giveaway has now concluded!! Congratulations to harp, Mick19c, & g808!!

To celebrate the official launch of MeedioTV we’re giving away 2 more downloadable licensed copies of the Meedio Essential & MeedioTV bundle.

You have until Midnight Eastern time Wed August 3rd to visit the MeedioTV Features page, look it over & study it…and come back to byopvr and send a forum instant message to giveaway with the answer to the following question.

How much do additional tuner licenses for MeedioTV cost?

The two winners will be randomly drawn from the pool of correct entries on Thursday the 4th of August.

Thanks again to Meedio for sponsoring the giveaway.

The giveaway is open to registered users of the byopvr forum only. The winner will receive a valid product key and downloadable version of Meedio Essentials & MeedioTV software.

update contest has concluded: stay tuned for future promotions!

SnapStream Q&A: Beyond Media / BeyondTV Integration; HDTV Options

Posted on 30 July 2005 by

Interesting and candid Question & Answer post on the SnapStream Blog about BeyondTV / Beyond Media integration & what form future HDTV support might take (i.e. ATSC, QAM, firewire)

Following the release of Beyond TV 4, we will be porting the ViewScape interface of Beyond TV to the Beyond Media architecture. Beyond Media is built on our next generation and highly extensible media shell foundation, most of which we make available today to developers in the Beyond Media SDK. Porting Beyond TV’s user interface under that architecture will provide a great unified experience for our users.

If you remeber this is was one of my gripes in my Diamond XtremeTV PVR550 PCI “power pack” review and I’m glad its high up on SnapStreams priority list.

Our initial release of Beyond TV 4 will support over the air (OTA) capture cards. QAM support is something that we are watching closely and will implement as soon as is feasible…. QAM capture is in a state of flux right now when it comes to the marketplace.

Since SnapStream is listening and responding I encourage you to participate in their Questions & Answers forum where you can submit questions for consideration for the next Q & A post.

SageTV 3.0.5 Beta: Preliminary ATSC HDTV Support!

Posted on 30 July 2005 by

The initial SageTV 3.0.3 Beta Release was a little rough around the edges (that’s why it’s a BETA to find the sort of bugs that were present) but SageTV quickly squashed the bugs and pushed a new revision 3.0.5 out to the Beta testers. This revision has included some initial support for some ATSC HDTV tuner cards.

There’s been conflicting reports on whether anything in SageTV 3.0.x Beta addresses the concerns/issues of PVR350 owners, but on my machine I’ve had mixed results with the latest Beta and the PVR350’s TV out/decoder.

### From Opus’ post on SageTV Beta Forum ###
Here are some of the main changes:

* Fixed the channel change freeze bug.
* Bug fix for closing down DX9 Full Screen Exclusive mode. Was causing app hangs when exiting full screen mode previously.
* Many other bug squashes
* The UI now has the ability to create title-based keyword favorites

And the one I’m sure many are waiting for:
* More fixes toward HDTV support.

Regarding this initial HDTV tuner support, I’m told that the following cards should work:

* ATI HDTV Wonder
* AVerMedia AVerTVHD MCE A180
* Conexant CX23883 ATSC
* Philips x237 PCI 7133 ATSC
* VBox DTA-151 ATSC
* VBox USB-A 3560

small print: cards not on the list might work, but they might not. This is still a beta, after all, so please report your testing and file bug reports.

BYO-DRM; Microsoft on OPM (Output Protection Management)

Posted on 28 July 2005 by

This may not be what many of you consider ‘PVR News’ but I do believe that DRM is extremely relevant to building your own PVR. Strolling along over at engadget I found a little contest that they are having for “The Clicker.” If you can come up with the best design for DRM, then you win a prize! Although I do not agree with most of what’s going on with DRM, I do believe that it needs to be there. So, think up something better! From the post:

After column upon column of “DRM is evil” talk, it’s time to take the matter into our own hands. It’s your turn to suggest a DRM scheme you’d be willing to live with. To that end we’re giving away an iZon Bluetooth MP3 player to the person with the most interesting comment in this thread*. Let us know how you would balance the rights of all parties involved. Just how do you think this whole crazy thing should work?

Key words: Balance the rights of all parties involved.

Also, Microsoft responds to OPM controversy. This is definitely relevant to BYOPVR. Basically, if your monitor/TV doesn’t support this new standard, then you either won’t get to watch protected content at all, or you will get a very low quality image.

Basically, Microsoft believes they stand merely as the platform provider, and with OPM they’re merely giving the studios the software support for what said content providers believe is required in order to secure their product from theft. So ok, it’s fair enough for MS to say OPM still leaves it “up to ‘the market’” to determine what’s viable to the consumer. Sorry though, but we still have to call BS on it.

Microsoft and the other big companies holding all the cards on your personal hardware and media can’t be good. This appears to be the wave of the future however. Hopefully it will be toned down a bit.

Reviews: VisionTek Theater 550Pro, DFI DAGF & Lanparty NF4

Posted on 28 July 2005 by

I’ve just now settled down for the day and was browsing around over at HTPCNews.com and I ran accross two articles of interest. First, it seems that [H]ardOCP has got a review of the VisionTek XTASY Theater 550Pro. From their article:

Uniquely, the Theater 550 Pro supports a 3D comb filter for almost perfect luminance and chrominance separation eliminating dot crawl and rainbow swirls for images that remain constant. Normally, only very high-end televisions offer 3D comb filters, but the Theater 550 Pro has one built right in.

Worth taking a look at… Sounds like the 2D and 3D comb filters on board might challenge the Hauppauge line of cards for quality.

HTPCNews.com has also got two reviews in one on a couple of DFI boards, namely the DFI NF4-DAGF and Lanparty NF4 Ultra-D. From their review:

So here we have the board itself in all its’ UV reactive glory. The first thing that should stand out here is that there are two PCI Express x16 slots, “but I thought this was an nForce4 Ultra board?” you say. Well yes, yes it is, and DFI could care less if NVIDIA thinks dual PCI Express x16 is only for the nForce 4 SLI only. See those rows of jumpers in between the PCIe x16 slots just down from the PCIe x1 slot? they let you split the x16 lane into two x8 lanes just like an SLI board does. Interesting yes? Sadly NVIDIA has now blocked this from working in SLI mode with their drivers. Does that mean this ability is worthless? not totally. It still lets you have two independent PCI Express graphics cards running in one system. This comes in handy for running two displays at once. While the uses that spring to mind are more professional, having two graphics cards could be handy if one were to use a case like the Uneed x15e which has an integrated LCD display.

Can you say picture and picture on steroids on that second display?

Meedio TV Officially Released!

Meedio TV Officially Released!

Posted on 27 July 2005 by

While browsing over at HTPCNews.com, I was reminded that today is the scheduled release date for MeedioTV. Head over to the Meedio home page and take a look around. It should be out in no time!

UPDATE MeedioTV is now officially released. It supports all the major Hauppauge hardware encoding tuner cards, comes with a “lite” version of Meedio Essentials called Meedio Express, and is only $39.95!! I’ve posted the complete MeedioTv announcement below.

THE GIVEAWAY HAS NOW CONCLUDED
To celebrate the official launch we’re giving away 2 more downloadable licensed copies of the Meedio Essential & MeedioTV bundle.

You have until Midnight Eastern time Wed August 3rd to visit the MeedioTV Features page, look it over & study it…and come back to byopvr and send a forum instant message to giveaway with the answer to the following question.

How much do additional tuner licenses for MeedioTV cost?

The two winners will be randomly drawn from the pool of correct entries on Thursday the 4th of August.

Thanks again to Meedio for sponsoring the giveaway.

The giveaway is open to registered users of the byopvr forum only. The winner will receive a valid product key and downloadable version of Meedio Essentials & MeedioTV software.

The giveaway is now closed: no more entries will be accepted!!

Continue Reading

SnapStream BeyondTV 4 Announced (HDTV, DivX, & FM support)

Posted on 26 July 2005 by

I just stumbled upon this tantalizing post over at the SnapStream Blog and it’s re-posted in its entirety below.

Beyond TV 4 Announced! With HDTV ATSC support!

SnapStream Media will release Beyond TV 4 in the next few months. Beta users have already started seeing some of the upcoming features under the codename “Retro.” But until now, it’s all been very hush, hush. In general, at SnapStream, we like to stay quiet about new releases until beta users have had a chance to give us significant feedback. Well, the verdict is in, and things are looking very good. Three big ticket items slated for Beyond TV 4 are FM Radio support, DivX support, and HDTV!

Yes, HDTV. We’ve already got this up and running in our office lounge and the difference is simply unbelievable especially on our plasma TV. It’s six times the picture quality, two and a half times the audio channels with Dolby surround sound, and countless new camera angles, all in one easy-to-use product. If you’re wondering about the camera angles, you should have seen the digital broadcasts of the summer Olympics last year.

A select group of beta users have already started putting HD support through the paces at home and have really helped us create an HD PVR product that everyone can use. So a shout out to them and a big thanks for all of their early feedback. In my opinion, the coolest thing is that with Beyond TV’s built-in multiple tuner and multiple lineup support, I can simply add a digital tuner to my existing setup. I will still get all my analog content and be able to surf through all of my digital and analog stations in one seamlessly integrated program guide.

Out of the gates, Beyond TV 4 will support several over-the-air ATSC tuner cards. Some of the cards that we’re already testing with our software include:

AVerTVHD A180
HDTV Wonder
VBox DTA 151 and USB-A 3560
Fusion HDTV 3

We’ve also been running the software on ATSC reference designs by Conexant and Phillips, so there are probably many other cards that Beyond TV 4 will automatically support.

A quick note about DivX support. Beyond TV 4 will not only support ShowSqueeze to DivX, but will also enable watching live TV and recording direct to DivX from software encode cards. It will also support Plextor’s DivX based hardware encode cards. Through our partnership with DivX, Beyond TV 4 will bundle the necessary encoders and decoders so you can get up and running with DivX just as easily as you can with MPEG2 or WMV today.

Anyone who purchases Beyond TV 3 starting today through the Beyond TV 4 launch
will get a free upgrade to Beyond TV 4 when it releases. We haven’t finalized the upgrade pricing for existing users just yet, but we will have more information closer to the launch.

Obviously, another item on many users’ minds is complete integration of Beyond Media and Beyond TV into one application. We are well aware of this and are working on it for a release after Beyond TV 4. Users who own both Beyond TV 4 and Beyond Media will be able to upgrade to the fully integrated product for free when it is released.

As you can see there are a lot of cool things in the pipeline from SnapStream and Beyond TV. So definitely stay tuned (hehe) for continued updates and information on Beyond TV 4!

PromiseTV, PVR records a month’s worth of shows from all channels

Posted on 26 July 2005 by

I was intrigued by Cory Doctorow’s boingboing post on a project he saw at the OpenTech Conference in London which has a lot of “promise” 🙂

PromiseTV PVR records a month’s worth of shows from all channels (see also a sea of Slashdot Comments and a promiseTV discussion brewing in our forum)

My understanding is that it’s legitimate, although it’s a slight overstatement as for a consumer it would be prohibitively expensive (right now) to store 30 days worth of 35 channels, but it is possible based upon what they’ve done as a proof of concept.

They’ve taken some off the shelf DVB-T “freeview” tuner cards and are pulling down the 1 full multiplex “stream” stream per card (there are 6 multiplexes that carry the 35 or so freeview DTV terrestially broadcast channels in the UK). So they are essentially slurping down digitally 6 channels at once instead of “tuning” just one, and writing it out to disk (and presumably have some way to split that out into useful mpg files for playback)

Here’s a Flicker photo of the promiseTV 3 tuner card 4.2TB demo box (which if you were judcious in what channels you wanted to record you could still slurp down a full week or two’s of like 16 channels or so.. incredible!

Their site is a little sparse on details but they have an email list for further announcements you can join: promise.tv

( hat tip PVRwire )

HTPC & DVR News Extravaganza

Posted on 26 July 2005 by

Our news pot is full to the brim with DVR & HTPC news, reviews, and guides:

Although not specifically HTPC oriented a budget system builder might want to consider Mikhailtech’s $400 system guide

HTPCnews has a review of an interesting entry in the HTPC keyboard arena the Belkin Media Pilot *cue Pimp My Ride Mad Mike: We put a universal IR remote IN your RF keyboard 🙂 HTPCnews also has a review of the Chaintech Zenith VNF4 Ultra a SLI board for street price of 90 bucks?!!

PVRwire alerts us to the fact that PVR users have doubled in past year

TV-cards.com has an ever increasing list of TV tuner card and related reviews from all over the web.

Gigabyte i-RAM: Instant on for your HTPC?

Posted on 26 July 2005 by

I was wasting time while I should be studying and I ran across this little article over at AnandTech about Gigabyte‘s new i-RAM solution. Sounds like a really good idea to install your OS and PVR software on so that you can get near instant-on functionality. Of course, we’ll need to make sure that data integrity is top notch, but its sounding very nice. Heres something from the AnandTech article:

With a Western Digital Raptor you can go from the boot menu to the Windows desktop in 14.06 seconds, with the i-RAM it takes 9.12 seconds. It’s not instantaneous, but it’s definitely quicker and noticeable.
Our thoughts are that with further optimization, the boot process can be better tuned for very low latency storage devices such as the i-RAM, but that won’t happen with any currently shipping version of Windows.
The second reason for installing your OS on an i-RAM card is a bit more specific, but one we came up with when thinking about a secondary benefit of Gigabyte’s i-RAM: it’s silent.

I know that I am personally working on a solution similar to this, using a server in a different room to do mass storage duties. Sounds like a very good idea to me. (when are these hitting the streets again?)