Thursday, April 26, 2007

More Joost Invites - get them here

I had a great response to my last Joost Invites "raffle" and now have some more Joost Invites to give out. Add a comment to this thread and include your name (the name I'll put in the invite form); e-mail (put it like myname @ hotmail . com or if you are a blogger user, I can contact you that way. I'll announce the winners Monday night, April 30 before 10pm.

If you want to read more about Joost on this site CLICK HERE

I also recently did a write-up on four newer video, search engines that will search for video content including Joost and Network TV shows. More on that HERE

Mike McGuff has a mini-review of Joost and is giving away some invites on his blog also HERE

UPDATE 4/30/2007: Congrats to James, Patrick, & Aaron. They won the Joost invites this round.
UPDATE: 5/1/2007 I am again giving away Joost Invites. Click HERE

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Four Promising Video Search Engines Alternatives to YouTube or Google Video Search

I use youtube and google video when I'm searching for on online video clip. I recently ran across three fairly new alternatives to those:

Blinkx is an excellent video search engine. They also recently introduced a new tool for finding full-length TV programs on the Web called blinkx Remote. From their site "available at, leverages blinkx’s unique speech to text transcription and indexing technology, to quickly identify full-length TV shows by season and episode. In addition, blinkx Remote corroborates search results with information from trusted online sources, including Wikipedia and, to provide users with the most accurate TV search results available anywhere"

Truveo - recently purchased by AOL and renamed is a similar site. Truveo has indexes audio and video content and catologes it even with little or even no meta data directly associated with that content.

Ulinkx - I noticed this new site in an article on WebTVWire by Chris Tew. It looks like a promising web app also.

CastTV, is a yet-to-be released site I learned about from TechCrunch. CastTV reportedly improves on searches for video compared to other video search engines like Yahoo and Google by diggin up online videos buried behind Flash, Javascript and related plug-in technologies. For example CastTV can find Grey's Anatomy shows that the other search engines can not. I signed up to hopefully get a private beta invite.

It seems like these types of webapps could be usefull to an HPTC plugin. Imagine a simple plugin to BTV or MCE that would use one of these search engines to find shows or videos across the net. I think the media companies are waking up to online video and see the possibilities of distributing directly online. I think HTPC programs that can't get that online content will eventually lose out.

New Blog Design

A little off-topic here. I'm in the process of cleaning up the look-and-feel of the blog. I like the simple design of the stretch denim blogger template so let me know if you like or dislike the new look.

What's on my HTPC? Software I'm using on my new HTPC

Since I'm in the process of building a new HTPC (this one will be a client PC getting its music, tv and movies from a server PC), I thought I would outline the software I'm installing on this new PC.

  • Windows XP - I'm not ready for Vista. Matter of fact, I'm not sure I understand any advantage of upgrading to Vista for an HTPC at this point unless Cablecard support becomes a necessary evil for you.
  • Microsoft Powertoys Tweak UI - I use this to tweak several XP things such as auto-login (don't have to select the user when PC starts up), remove the recycling bin from the deskop and a few other misc customizations.
  • Girder software, USBUIRT driver and USBUIRT plugin for girder. This is so I can use my MX500 remote to do anything I want it to. Totally customized to my liking and to make the remote as easy to use as possible for maximum WAF (wife acceptance factor).
  • Several Codecs to properly play any media I throw at it.
  • Beyond TV Link from Snapstream (I'm using Link on this PC - Link is a client software that connects to the BTV server PC to watch recorded or live shows. It allows you to watch one show in room 1, stop in the middle of the show and pick up where you left off on the BTV Link PC in room 2).
  • Beyond Media from Snapstream. This is a separate, HTPC front-end software. With this program and its various plugins, I can watch movies from a disk or the hard drive; listen to music streamed from MP3's on the hard drive, CD's netradio stations, Pandora, or XMRadio Online; Watch online videos from CBS Innertube; See what is showing at a theater near you and watch previews - if you don't want to go to the theater for a certain movie, click on add to netflix to add the movie to your netflix que; View and manage your netflix que, view the top 100 netflix movies, watch previews (some previews currently broken on the netflix plugin). All of this can be done with your remote from the comfort of your couch.
  • PhotoShop Elements - manage photos - I also use the PSE plugin for Beyond Media as a improved photo viewer on the HTPC.
  • JRiver Media Center - an advanced music and media software to listen to and view your media. I use this along with the JRMC plugin for Beyond Media for music management on my HTPC. The JRMC plugin is a wonderful software that makes listening to mp3's from the hard drive a great experience - again all from the convenience of the couch using the remote control.
  • Zoom Player. I use Zoom Player behind the scenes in conjunction with Beyond Media for DVD playback. Zoom Player is highly customizable and does an excellent job.
  • VideoReDo - an excellent mpeg editor I use to edit shows and other mpegs. The software recognizes the smartchapters generated by Beyond TV so it is easier to edit out commercials.
  • Joost - An online Video Player I run from girder