Saturday, June 23, 2007

How To: Access Beyond TV WebAdmin Over The Internet

BEYOND TV TIPS: How to Access BTV WebAdmin Over The Internet

This how-to is especially for Snapstream Beyond TV users. If you're not a Beyond TV user, just know that the BeyondTV webadmin is a very powerful and feature-rich web-based interface that adds to your HTPC experience.
If you use BeyondTV as your Home Theater PC (HTPC) software , you know that WebAdmin is the web-accessible settings page for Beyond TV that will allow you to change any settings for Beyond TV. From the Snapstream BeyondTV website:

If you're the kind of person who knows what he wants, and expects to get it,
Beyond TV's Web Admin is just what you're looking for. It gives you extensive
control over advanced settings and options through an easy to use web interface.
Change the directory your shows are saved to, customize your channel lineup, and
control the quality and format of your recordings. Configure specific
ShowSqueeze, SmartSkip, and timeshifting settings and more.
The Webadmin also gives you the ability to watch BTV recorded shows over the internet. I'm listing out the steps you need to take to set your network up to do all of this from within your network or via the internet.
  1. Set your BTV PC as a static IP address on your LAN. If you need instructions for this, check out this how-to on LifeHacker.
  2. Forward port 8129 to this static IP of your BTV machine. If you need help forwarding the ports, check out this site for help.
  3. You can now access your webadmin within your home network using http://(Beyond TV PC's IP address):(Beyond TV PC's Admin port). You can also access the webadmin page from the internet (outside your home network) by changing the "Beyond TV PC's IP address" to your PC's internet IP address. To find out our PC's interent IP address go to THIS LINK.
  4. (If you would like to make an easier to remember address instead of your ip address, follow steps 4-7) Create a DynDNS account HERE, select (or any domain name from their list), add your own sub domain, then configure the router with the account information
  5. Download the DynDNS Updater HERE
  6. Install & set up your DynDNS Updater to log into the DynDNS account you created with your username and password
  7. It will take care of the rest for you. It will now update send your internet IP address to the DynDNS address automatically.
  8. Be sure and turn on password protection for the web admin (Advanced Settings >Security Settings >Enabled) so that others can't access your web admin.
  9. You should now be able to access your BeyondTV Settings (WebAdmin) using an address like this:
If you're interested in how to view BeyondTV recorded tv shows across the internet, check out THIS POST.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Links for the Weekend

Finally, the weekend is here. I have lots of stuff to catch up on after a very busy work week. In the meantime, here are a few of the best posts I ran across over the past few days.

1- DVD Home Media Center, We Hardly Knew You - The EFF, put this piece out referring to the proposed amendment to the DVD standard licensing agreement. It's very bad news for fair use and the consumers of any media products.

2 - CableCard 2.0 is ready - It's ready, but where is it? Everyone is still kind of waiting to see if CableCard 1.0 will work out. This is the third in a series of articles by Ben Drawbaugh on the CableCard 2.0. There is a lot of good information on CableCard there if you are interested.

3 - Cox to add 50 HD Channels by year end - More HD, I just wish you didn't have to have cablecard or a junky cable box to view them...

4 - Skitch Image Editing/Sharing Tool: A Perfect Blend of Desktop and Online - Michael Arrington talks about this promising tool and offers betas to the first 1,000 takers. Mac only for now though.

5 - Screencast from your Computer for Free - Davis Freeburg talks about CamStudio (not to be confused with the more advanced but costs money Camtasia)

6 - Five things you probably didn't know you could do in Google Docs & Spreadsheets - From webware some useful stuff about google docs and spreadsheets

7 - AT&T Giving Consumers The Runaround Over Secret $10 DSL - Consumerist reports that AT&T is making it difficult for customers to get their unadvertised $10 DSL.

Computer Panic Button

For anyone who has exerienced frustration with their computers, this is the perfect "tool" - better than the "easy button". It's a USB Stress Panic Button for PC's - I saw this on TechnaBob a blog I just recently discovered and really enjoy. This panic button is a bit silly, but I'm seriously thinking of buying one as a gag gift.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Proposed Amendment to Ban DVD Copying in Any Form

Mark Hachman of PC Magazine is reporting that there is a new, proposed amendment to the current copy protection license that governs DVD's. This new amendment to the license agreement for the DVD "standard" and the DVD Product companies. It would completely ban all DVD backups and prevent playback without the DVD disk being present in the drive.
The amendment was proposed by persons at Warner Brothers, Walt Disney Studios, Intel, Hewlett Packard, Toshiba and Pioneer Electronics.
The proposed amendment would be another stab at consumers who wish to serve up movies that they have purchased on their Home Theater PC's or use their purchased media on an ipod or similar device for instance. Once again the consumer is being treated as a criminal. This proposed amendment seems to be targeted at Kaleidescape Movie Servers who recently survived a lawsuit against them for their DVD Server systems.

For the full article go to PC Magazine: Link

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Zap2It Free TV Listings Discontinued On September 1st

Zap2It has announced that they will no longer offer their free TV listings service to hobbyists for their own personal, noncommercial use. They blame the misuse of the Zap2it Labs data as well as business factors for the decision to discontinue Zap2itLabs effective September 1, 2007.

This is bad news for those HTPC users who use the xmltv importer and zap2it for listings imported into their HTPC programs like MythTV, GBPVR and MediaPortal all use zap2it for their listings.
I should note that it has been confirmed by Snapstream & SageTV on their respective forums that BeyondTV users who use the BeyondTV guide feed will NOT be affected, as Beyond TV and SageTV both use the paid tvguide service for their built-in tv guide information. The Beyond TV & SageTV users who use the alternative XMLTV & Zap2it for their guides however will be affected by this.
It is likely that someone will come up with some sort of screen-scraper add-on that will take the place of zap2it - hopefully by the time September 1st comes around. Either way, it would make me nervous if I were relying on it for my TV Guide on my PVR.

Joost TV Killer? VeohTV

You may have noticed a post I had recently about finding TV episodes online. In that post, I mentioned a site called TV-Links that uses Veoh to stream the shows. I was impressed with the content available on Veoh, but wondered how they could survive as they use P2P technology for streaming and basically search for any content online whether it is legal or not. I continue to wonder about the legality and more-than-likely lawsuits that will result towards Veoh. Still, this looks to be a very, very strong competitor to Joost, Babelgum and Democracy Player.

There are many stories about the VeohTV player on the web this morning, but the most comprehensive one is from Read/Write/Web. Here's their conclusion on VeohTV:

"Is it a Joost killer? Joost is an excellent company and I doubt they are
quivering in fear, but they are going to have to do some "Matrix like"
dodging in my opinion."
To read the full writeup, go to Read/Write/Web.
You can sign up for the VeohTV beta at their site. LINK

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New Details on the Iphone

Details are leaking out on the iPhone. According to reports on Ars Technica, there will be:

  • No Flash

  • No Java support

  • There Is PDF Support

  • Quicktime is used to encode & display video & audio

  • Video is encoded via H.264

  • You can call a number with a click - with links on a website

  • Web pages are limited to 10 MB

  • Javascripts can only run for five seconds

for more follow the link to ARS TECHNICA

Windows Media Center Fiji Update - Delayed Until 2008?

According to speculation by Chris Lanier, the next version of Windows Media Center (codenamed fiji) might be delayed into the end of 2008 instead of 2007. There is nothing more frustrating for fellow HTPCers to have to wait for a very long time for HTPC updates.

A competitor to the Windows Media Center product, Snapstream hasn't released anything for quite a while now either. Rumors in the snapstream forums were brewing about a possible, new user interface for Beyond TV that would wrap Beyond Media Functionality into the Beyond TV user interface and allow plugins and PIP - but there has been nothing coming from Snaptream publicly for several months. Hopefully, they are working on a major upgrade that will be worth the wait.

How To Setup a 2nd Router as an Access Point & Extend Your Wireless Network

Do you have two routers in the house and need to use one of them wireless access point (WAP) instead of a router? You may want to do this would to extend the reach of your wireless or wired network or simply to have a second access point on the router.

Here's how to set up your second router as an access point. We'll use the Linksys Wrt54G router for this example:

  • First take a network cord and hook one end up to your PC (laptop or otherwise) and the other end up to a numbered port on your wrt54g (second) router. The numbered ports are the ones bunched together on the right side of the router (looking at it from the back of the router - see photo below). Make sure you aren't connecting to the internet port.

  • Open the web browser on your PC, type in (assuming the wrt54g is set at its default ip) and hit enter. This will bring up the setup page for the router.

  • In the router setup page, disable the DHCP server (again, this is on the second wrt54g of course)

  • Now in the router setup page, renumber the second WRT54G local IP Address to be with in the subnet of the main router, but outside it's DHCP server range. Like (dhcp starts with up to

  • Set up your wireless ssid and other wireless settings the exact same as on your main wireless router.

  • Save Settings and unhook the network cord from your PC and wrt54g

  • Now you can connect the incoming lan cable from your main network (or main router) to one of the numbered ports on the wrt54g. This basically turns your wrt54g into a switch or wireless access point. Do not plug anything into the internet port on this second router.
That's it. For my house I have two Linksys wrt54g wireless routers. The first one is used as a router and wireless access point and the second one is just an extender of that wireless (and wired) network. Since they have the same SSID, I can drag my laptop from one end of the house nearer the main router to the other end of the house nearer the second router (access point) and always have a very strong wireless signal. For other models of routers the steps and concept would be basically the same. There is no need for a hackable firmware updated like DD-WRT, but you can still do this with that firmware also of course. I use the DD-WRT on my main router for now and the standard Linksys firmware for the second router (now a Wireless Access Point :)

Iphone vs Smartphones - a Complete Chart N95, Blackjack, Blackberry Curve & Treo 750

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Yesterday I posted a quick chart that was supposed to add to the features/specifications chart comparison that Apple Released comparing the iPhone to some of the competing phones including the n95, Blackjack, Blackberry Curve and Treo 750 .  That post received a bunch of hits, but several commenters pointed out some mistakes in the chart I posted as well as some missing specs.  So in another attempt I'm trying this again.  This time I've added back the Curve 8300 and the Treo 750 to the chart just as Apple did and I've added some additional specs as well.

In the end, I'm not sure which one wins on the specifications and features list.  I will be the first to admit the iPhone is different and has the intagible "look and feel" factor going for it by a large margin.  The multi-touch interface is just amazingly cool.  I saw another tv commercial for the iPhone last night and I am always blown away by how cool it is.  I think time will tell how the slower edge network speed will affect the functionality.  Another thing I'll be interested is how people will fare with the touchscreen interface.  Will it be difficult to use (dialing phone numbers without buttons)?  Will the smudges on the screen be a problem?  Will the glass display be a bad thing or will it really be an advantage over the plastic?

This much I know.  The interface is really cool, the iTunes support and the ability to use it with iPod docking solutions all will make this a popular device.  I would probably buy one if I had the money to do it.  Speaking of price, I didn't include that on the chart because that will fluctuate over time, but right now you should be able to get the iPhone for cheaper than the N95, but not cheaper then the 8300 or the 750.

Let me know in the comments which one you like better.  Are you planning on buying one of these in the next few months?  Is an iPhone in your future?

Apple iPhone Nokia N95 Samsung Blackjack Blackberry Curve 8300 Palm Treo 750
Thickness 11.6 mm 21 mm 11.7mm 15.5 mm 22 mm
Overall Dimensions 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 in. 3.9 x 2.1 x 0.8 in. 4.5 x 2.3 x 0.46 in. 4.2 x 4.0 x 0.6 in. 4.4 x 2.3 x 0.8 in.
Weight 135g 120g 106g 111g 153g
Screen size 3.5 in. 2.6 in. 2.2 in. 2.5 in. 2.5 in.
Storage 4gb or 8gb up to 2gb microSD up to 2gb microSD up to 2gb microSD up to 2gb microSD
Display Surface Glass Plastic Plastic Plastic Plastic
Wi-Fi Yes Yes Yes No No
Touchscreen Yes No No No No
Replacable Battery No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Talk Time 8hrs 6.5hrs 5.5hrs 4hrs 4hrs
Keyboard - see while typing No Yes Yes Yes Yes
View Flash Apps Not at this time Yes Yes Yes Yes
GPS No Yes No No No
Quad Band Yes Yes Yes
Data Network Speed Edge
200 kbps max
3g 385 kbps max HSDPA 385 kbps max Edge 200 kbps max HSDPA 385 kbps max
Bluetooth 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 1.2
FM Radio No Yes No No No
Camera 2mp 5mp + 2nd 1.3mp + 2nd 1.3mp + 2nd 1.3mp
Removable SIM Not Sure Yes Yes Yes Yes

Todays Suggested Reads

1. Apple & Timex working on i-Control watches - an ironman watch that wirelessly controls your ipod. Brilliant!

2. Opera Takes on iPhone with Mini 4 Beta Browser for your phone - Lets face it, this will not make your phone anything like the iPhone... Still, I'm going to give this one a try this week - looks interesting.

3. Venezuelans set new WiFi distance record: 237 miles! - Wow, that's some serious distance for wifi.

4. Hands On with YouTube's Remixer - Mari Silbey over at Zats Not Funny runs through using the new YouTube, online video editor they call "remixer".

5. How to Convert Vinyl Records to MP3 - Chris Pirillo tells us how he plans to use the Ion LP-Ripping Turntable with USB Output to digitize his albums. I'm thinking of doing something like this so if anyone has any suggestions on the best way, let me know.

6. CableCard 2.0: What's the Hold Up? Ben Drawbaugh at Engadget gives us another update on why CableCard 2.0 is taking so long. No answers on when 2.0 will show up (if ever) but it does shed light on what is really going on behind the scenes.

7. Wireless Charging will be here July 9th - Gizmodo talks about the upcoming release of the very cool WildCharge wireless chargers. Still no word on cost, but I want one if its anywhere near affordable.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Ten Dollar DSL from AT&T

You read it right. AT&T beginning today is offering $10, 768kbps DSL starting today (new customers only, one-year contract and bundled landline required). The $10 DSL deal was agreed to by AT&T as a BellSouth merger condition, but they apparently don't intend to tell anyone that they're actually offering it. As a condition of the merger they have to offer the deal for 2.5 years.

Story via

The Chart Apple Forgot to Release on the Iphone

UPDATE: I've posted a new and hopefully improved chart including more phones in the comparison as well as more specs and features compared. Please go to THE NEW CHART CLICK HERE to see the updated chart

As Robert Scoble pointed out earlier today, Apple "accidentally" forgot to say that the Nokia N95 does in fact have Wi-Fi when they published their comparison of the iPhone vs. some other popular phones. I just typed up this quick list of features and details of three of those phones below and included some of what I think could be considered disadvantages of the iPhone like the battery, no-keyboard, no GPS, slow network speed etc. The iPhone is still really exciting, but it isn't nearly perfect. To see Apple's version of the chart, follow this link.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

More Sites for Finding and Watching TV Shows Online

Earlier this month I wrote a post on How to find legal, full episodes of TV shows online. In that article I found several sources that aggregate TV shows that are available online including from the TV Networks sites as well as some of the for-pay sites like Netflix, Itunes and Amazon Unbox. One of the main themes in the story was that I was looking for legal episodes and not the ones that were being "pirated" using torrents and such.

Today, on the makeuseof blog - a blog I read daily by Aibek- There is a good read on 7 excellent destinations to watch TV shows for free. There are some really good, up-to-date sites he highlights that aggregate the listings, and then show the show in a single streaming player. I was amazed at the available content and realized that my favorite of the sites he mentions, TV-Links uses Veoh to stream the shows. It looks like Veoh uses P2P technology for streaming. Some of the episodes are in very good quality and others are just passable. I checked out an episode of "House" that had Japanese (or some asian language) subtitles.

My question on all of this is this. Are these legal? The listing includes every episode of the HBO series "Rome" and I kind of doubt HBO is okay with those episodes being streamed. What do you guys think?

By the way, Aibek has created a MOVIES and TV SHOWS Search engine using Google Co-op. It is a custome google-powered search engine that searches all of the 'free-to-stream' movie and tv show sources he listed. It's pretty good so you should check this out too.