Saturday, March 24, 2007

Unencrypted QAM HDHomeRun tuner works with Beyond TV

After many user requests and a long wait, Beyond TV is now working with the HDHomeRun dual QAM tuner. The snapstream blog says this:
"Earlier this evening, we shipped release candidate 1 (RC1) of Beyond TV 4.6.1
over at the SnapStream Beta Program
(if you aren’t a member, just sign-up;
access is immediate).
In addition to a slew of bug fixes, this release
sports a new feature: QAM support with the HDHomeRun"

Setup instructions can be found here

In short, if you have cable tv, you probably get at least the local channels in HD, unencrypted QAM and likely even more HD channels than that if you aren't on Time Warner. No antenna and no cable box required.For more information, the ProjectHTPC blog has a nice summary of what is needed to get unencrypted QAM using the HDHomeRun and BeyondTV.

I'll be posting a full review of the HDHomeRun device here this weekend.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Apple TV - I don't get it

I've read over Walter Mossberg's WSJ review of the Apple TV today. Walt seems to like it based on his conclusion

"all in all, Apple TV is a very well-designed product that easily brings the
computer and the TV together"

I don't see how it is worth the $300 msr price though if it can't act as a PVR. The Xbox 360 can do better and isn't that difficult to use either.

Here are some downers Walt mentions in the review:

  • Doesn't work with most older, non-widescreen TV sets

  • It works only with TVs that have "component" jacks and HDMI cables

  • The Apple remote control can't control the volume on either Apple TV or your TV set or audio receiver!!!

  • "You can't plug in an extra hard disk to add storage capacity, even though there's a USB port on the back and the built-in 40-gigabyte drive is too small to hold many TV shows or movies"

  • No PVR functionality. You CAN'T use the Apple TV to watch TV!!!! How crazy is this?

Bottom line, I'm much happier with my BeyondTV setup than I would be with the Apple TV. Yes, the apple tv seems to be more plug-and-play, but do I really want to get all of my TV through Itunes by paying for each show? The answer for me at least is no. Chris Lanier of course agrees with me.

You can read the review HERE

Sunday, March 18, 2007

SiliconDust HDHomeRun Qam tuner for Beyond TV

UPDATE March25, 2007:

According to the SiliconDust forums (home of the HDHomeRun Tuner), native Beyond TV
support is coming soon - possibly as soon as next week.

Silicon Dust is the maker of the HDHomeRun dual, ATSC/QAM tuner. They are currently working on the beta version of a Windows BDA driver for the HDHR device. This would allow Beyond TV users to tune unencrypted QAM and ATSC channels with the HDHR just like with any supported BTV tuner card. Nick - from SiliconDust has been attempting to get the HDHR bda driver to work with Beyond TV, but was running into errors. With the assistance of Snapstream, he seems to have solved the problem. A forum post by Nick in the driver beta thread announced the following information on Sunday (3/18) evening:

I am currently watching TV using a HDHomeRun with BeyondTV

It will take a week or so to formally finalize.


The beta bda driver currently works with MCE, MediaPortal and GBPVR. SageTV works with the HDHR using a network tuner "handshake".

I have been using the HDHomeRun on my setup for several months. While it isn't yet officially supported by BeyondTV (since it hasn't had a bda driver up to this point)Fonceur has developed an add-on called BTV Exterminator which allows BTV to use the HDHR to record shows. The main limitation with the add-on is that it doesn't allow for live tv, but it did provide everything else that was needed. My experience with the HDHR thus far has been VERY good. Another plus is it doesn't require an open slot or even an open USB port since you plug it in directly to your network router or switch.

With the addition of the beyond TV supported bda driver, LiveTV should be available soon.