Archive | September, 2005

Welcome BoingBoing’ers: DIY PVR links to help you get started

Posted on 15 September 2005 by

First, Welcome fellow BoingBoing’ers! Second, here are a few links to get you started:

PS I’m sorry the site looks slightly skewed/retarded in Safari, it’s on the todo list! I get never ending grief from one of the other admin MacVangelist about this.

TiVo’s DRM Red Flag Snafu

Posted on 14 September 2005 by

PVRblog broke the news of content protection in Tivo rearing it’s head albeit supposedly it’s just an accident/glitch. The fact that the capability is built in and can be triggered “accidently” at the head end when certain shows should expire doesn’t bode well for TiVo, in my opinion.

See also:

“A bug in the latest version of TiVo’s operating system has some users concerned that the service’s content protection mechanisms–supposedly intended solely for pay-per-view and video-on-demand content–may someday be applied to broadcast television programming.”

TiVo won’t save certain shows or allow moving them
BoingBoing Tivo Alternatives
SlashDot: Tivo OS update adds content protection
PVRwire: DRM scare creeps into Tivo
TVHarmony: Tivo and the red flag
Gizmodo: Tivo OS 7.2 aka screw you luanched
Kottke: Tivo hates its customers

You probably already know how I feel about DRM in general, but to surmise: I can’t stand that a device I own and a service I pay for can be a moving target (in the wrong direction) with the possibilty of me having less PVR functionality now than when I purchased the device.

New GBPVR Release Version v0.94.8

Posted on 13 September 2005 by

Sub has relased a new version of GBPVR onto the world! GBPVR v0.94.8 forum announcment and release notes!

Snippets from the release notes:

– Added support for using the EPG that is broadcast with DVB transmissions. Please note, you have to be using the default 2 for this to work. Those that changed to 1 will not be able to use this feature.
– Fixed a bug with auto detecting the the encoder/mux filter on the ATI 550 Pro
– When you’re in the search screen you can press the blue key to bring up a free text title search. It’s a bit of hack, and pretty primitive, but it gives you some more options if you need them.
– Fixed a bug with ratDVD playback
– Fixed an bug with cancelling recordings from the TV Guide.
– Minor changes to MVP DVR-MS support.
– You can now plugin a different MVP transcoder by creating a Trans2MVP.bat file. First argument is the name of the file to be played. The second argument is the name of the temporary MPEG file.
– Added a ‘remove channel’ button in the capture source settings.
– Added functionality to call ParallelProcessing.bat when a recording starts if the file exists.
– Added API for plugin developers to be able to start live TV.
– New ‘processing’ tab in config app, with several features…
+ Ability to configure system to use either Comskip or ShowAnalyzer
+ Ability to configure Comskip/SA during the recording
+ Ability to configure automated conversion of MPEG2 to WMV/XviD/DivX. WMV seems to the most reliable transcoding. xvid/divx can be quirky depending on versions of filters installed etc.
+ Ability to configure automated conversion of DVR-MS recordings to standard MPEG2, or WMV/XviD/DivX. See comments above regard WMV vs XviD/DivX.
…If you’re an MVP user, I recommend you stick with standard MPEG2 files since this is the only native file type the MVP can play. Anything else would require on the fly transcoding back to MPG format, which is less than desirable.
– Added logic to dynamically reload the comskip file when it is updated, which is usefull when you’re running Comskip/SA during the recording
– Fixed a bug where the screen saver picture wouldnt move on the MVP
– Added an auto fine-tuning for Hauppauge PVR cards to work around missing audio reported by some PVR150 owners

via HTPCnews

Sale: SnapStream Free Firefly with BeyondTV 3.7 Purchase!

Posted on 12 September 2005 by

Now through September 19th you get a free FireFly RF remote with a purchase of BeyondTV 3.7 through the SnapStream store. There’s a few other cool bundles like pairing a pvr150 MCE, BeyondTV 3.7, and the free FireFly remote which makes for a pretty cool setup at a pretty darn good price.

See site for official details but here’s the dealio:

# add any one of the following items to your court:

Beyond TV 3 (CD-ROM or Download)

Beyond TV 3 and Hauppauge WinTV PVR-150 Kit (PCI)

Beyond TV 3 and Diamond Xtreme TV PVR600 USB 2.0 Kit (USB)

Beyond TV 3 and Hauppauge Dual-Tuner WinTV-PVR-500 MCE Kit (PCI)

Medusa PVR

# Then scroll down to the ‘Related Items’ section below the cart and add the $0.00 Firefly PC Remote to your cart.

It’s important to note that if you buy BeyondTV 3.7 now you get a “free” upgrade to forthcoming HDTV capable BeyondTV 4! Speaking of which there’s some interesting scoop about BeyondTV 4 & HDTV with this choice quote re: HDTV EPG TV listings:

We’ve also licensed and rolled out new HDTV guide services in preparation for HDTV support in Beyond TV 4. Apparently some companies consider this optional? No, I really don’t understand it either.

Review: Full ATX HTPC Case Ahanix MCE 601

Posted on 12 September 2005 by

HTPCnews reviews the new Ahanix MCE 601 HTPC case. Overall they seemed to like it, but had a few small things they woulda like to see slightly different. Go check out the review for the full scoop!

Semi-Related ramblings: I keep looking at the micro and full ATX cases over at PCAlchemy and am just dying to pull the trigger, which will cause a calvalcade of upgrades. After all I can just put my wimpy sempy 2200 micro-atx budget board in a sexy 200 dollar HTPC case can I?

Another HTPC case review of note: Silverstone’s LC11M @ Small Form Factor Tech which I think is the same case Bouchecl used in his MythTV box (via the BYOPVR flickr pool )

Windows Vista Will Have *7* Flavors of Product Variation

Posted on 11 September 2005 by

ArsTechnica is reporting that Windows Vista To Come In 7 Flavors: Windows Vista Starter Edition, Windows Vista Home Basic Edition, Windows Vista Home Premium Edition (which will include MCE features/software), Windows Vista Professional Edition, Windows Vista Professional Small Business Edition, Windows Vista Professional Enterprise Edition, and finally Windows Vista Ultimate Edition.

While I like choice… I’ve always found Microsofts product variations arbitrary and maddening, especially since there was no easy way to just upgrade features ala carte on a lesser product tier (e.g. buying a “join a domain” functionality update for XP Home for a modest price without doing a full OS upgrade/re-install).

Not to mention the confusion this will cause. I can feel the Windows PVR forum swelling with confusion, consternation, and newbie posts wondering which edition to get and if the “Ultimate Edition is worth it for a PVR” (don’t let my cynicism stop you from posting, it’ll be a valid question/concern when the time comes!). I’m sure the OEM desktop manufacturers aren’t going to be happy about this from a support or creation of product fizzures point of view.

More Vista Editions Coverage at Windows IT Pro
via SlashDot

Here’s the paragraph on the “MCE” flavored Vista:
Windows Vista Home Premium Edition: Whole home entertainment and personal productivity throughout the home and on the go. As a true superset of Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium Edition will include everything from Home Basic, as well as Media Center and Media Center Extender functionality (including Cable Card support), DVD video authoring and HDTV support, DVD ripping support (yes, you read that right) (rampy note: ripped from one DRM of CSS to Windows DRM format — although that functionality is interesting from a legal point of view), Tablet PC functionality, Mobility Center and other mobility and presentation features, auxiliary display support, P2P ad-hoc meeting capabilities, Wi-Fi auto-config and roaming, unified parental controls that work over multiple PCs, backup to network functionality, Internet File Sharing, Offline Folders, PC-to-PC sync, Sync Manager, and support for Quattro Home Server. Windows Vista Premium Edition is similar to XP Media Center Edition, except that it adds numerous other features and functionality, including Tablet PC support. My guess is that this will be the volume consumer offering in the Windows Vista timeframe (today, XP Pro is the dominant seller). This version is aimed at PC enthusiasts, multiple-PC homes, homes with kids, and notebook users.

New BYOPVR Flickr Photo Pool; Add Your Entertainment Center!

Posted on 10 September 2005 by

Right now it’s looking a little sad with only one byopvr’s entertainment center / HTPC posted… so please, think of the kittens and upload your entertainment center picture to the buildyourownpvr flickr photo pool!

(similiar photo pools of interest PVRwire’s and the SnapStream digital living room photo pool)

Speaking of showing off a cool setup…. You’ve got to check out Aint Skierd’s Home Theater room/setup *drool* Huge projection screen, custom in wall cabinet, slick HTPC case…. just pretty mint all and all…

Kibble & Tidbits: Beyond Media Plugin, MCE Keyboard, & Nvidia Decoder

Posted on 10 September 2005 by

Little bit of a Saturday Roundup:

Cool new Beyond Media plugin called Beyond Lyric which searches and displays song lyrics and album cover image for the currently playing song for the karaoke loving folks out there.

Some Magna Global study seems to indicate that PVR penetration won’t go beyond 30% of households *Shrug* Not sure I agree with their findings. I remember when microwaves and answering machines were luxary items, now they are indispensible conveniences. via PVRwire

AVerMedia laptop cardbus slot TV tuner MCE certified and now available

MS Remote Keyboard for MCE Review & CNET: MCE Remote Keyboard review

Make Magazine article on recording HDTV/etc in MCE 2005 via firewire

Interview with Nvidia Pure Video decoder developer

(last 5 links via Chris Lanier’s blog what a pot of gold!)

Hauppauge Wireless MediaMVP Coming Soon

Posted on 09 September 2005 by

Dug up some inside scoop on the upcoming Hauppauge Wireless MediaMVP (link goes to wired MediaMVP product page).

First: People have noted in the forum that the regular wired MediaMVP has been marked down at Radio Shack. The “wired” regular MediaMVP is not going away, as it is still useful for setups with more than 3 MediaMVP’s or if you have poor wifi signal strength/extremely long distances between the “server” PC and the MediaMVP client. So there’s no reason to not grab one if you want the wired network version.

Second: The wireless/wifi MediaMVP will be 802.11g.

Third: The Wireless MediaMVP will start to be available mid-October and have a MSRP of $149

Fourth: Can’t wait to get my hands on one. I was considering grabbing one of the wired MediaMVP’s from Radio Shack and adding a wireless game adapter (basically an ethernet to wifi adapter commonly used to get your Xbox onto a wireless network), but I can wait a month or so for an integrated solution that’s been tweaked to be a wireless media extender.

For those that don’t know the MediaMVP is a popular small/quiet playback client that streams your content over your network. There are 3rd party “clients” to allow you to interact/stream/watch your content from your GBPVR server or SageTV server. Some people use the MediaMVP as their primary playback device (as opposed to putting the noisey pc in the same room as the TV and using video card TV output); others use the MediaMVP to extend their existing setup to multiple/additional TV’s in their house.

Review: Plextor ConvertX PVR PX-TV100U

Posted on 08 September 2005 by

Our pals over at BoxGods just posted a review of Plextor ConvertX PVR PX-TV100U. The Plextor ConvertX PX-TV100U is Plextor’s recent “entry level” $99 MSRP external software encoding TV tuner device that features SageTV 3.0 lite edition. It doesn’t look like the TV100U fared as well as it’s hardware encoding big brother the Plextor ConvertX PVR PX-TV402U we previously reviewed.

Also see Personal Tech’s Plextor ConvertX PX-TV100U review (hat tip PVRwire)