Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hauppauge Demos PVR Recorder to record 1080p HD from Cable and Satellite Boxes

UPDATE:  For an update with more information on this device, check out this post 

hauppaugeHTPC fans, this is big news...  There has been rumblings all week on the SageTV forums about a very exciting HD Recorder for the Home Theater PC.  The new Hauppauge "HD PVR" records video from HD Cable TV or satellite TV boxes into H.264 in real-time to your HTPC.  The device takes the digital TV feed from the cable/satellite TV box's component cables (also referred to as 'YPrBp" or red/blue/green connectors) and then uses it's on-board H.264 hardware encoder to record that high definition TV programs in ISO standard, HD H.264 AVC format in real time.  It uses an IR blaster to control the channels on the set-top box so you can use your HTPC to schedule recordings and change channels.  The HD PVR can encode 720p, 1080i and 1080p content in the H.264 format at rates of 5 to 25 Mbps.  This isn't perfect, but it should satisfy almost all HTPC users.  Plus the H.264 profile is compatible with blue-ray so it should be playable in blue-ray players as well.

A working prototype was being demo'd at CES by Hauppauge.  The Hauppauge recorder is slated to be available in Q1 2008, with a suggested retail price of $249.00 according to the Hauppauge press release.

You may be asking why is this big news?  Well before this, you needed the expensive and inflexible Cablecard devices (or the lesser known and lesser supported R5000 mod) to record encrypted HD channels.  It also will likely work with Non-Microsoft Vista Media Center PC's unlike the Cablecard tuners so this would open up the possibilities to SageTV users and likely other HTPC software programs.  I would guess it would take a pretty powerful processor to do the conversion to H.264 on the fly so you better have a beefy HTPC though.

Another likely problem with this in the future would be if Hollywood realizes this "hole" exists in their plan to lock down all content, they'll probably push the cable and satellite companies to turn off the component outputs or just remove them from future boxes.  For the present though this looks like the "holy grail" for diy HTPCers.  I for one am very excited about it.  If I can find some photo's I'll put up another post with an update.

If this device works as advertised it will sell like hotcakes and give those who spent their hard-earned dollars on Cablecard a little heartburn.


More Information:

SageTV Forums

Press Release

Missing Remote

Green Button Forums

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Satellite TV PC Tuner Card On It's Way?

Earl Bonovich at DBSTalk  has the scoop on what is likely the biggest HTPC news out of the Vegas CES show to date.  DirecTV is showing off their new HDPC-20, a new dual tuner device that connects via USB to your PC and allows your PC to tune, record and viewing of Satellite TV right from your Home Theater PC!  It only references Windows Vista Media Center, but hopefully support for the other HTPC software programs such as SageTV and Beyond TV wouldn't be too far behind.

Here is a scan of the brochure available in the DirectTV CES display provided from a forum member at DBSTalk.


Feature List from the Brochure:

  • Watch DirecTV on your HTPC/Computer
  • Use your Computer as a DRVR
  • Thumbnails of recorded content
  • Movie guides with movie jackets, cast & production info reviews, etc...
  • Integrates all of your digital content in one menu:  DirecTV programming, plus your music pictures, video, sports and online media
  • Can stream all of your media to multiple TVs in the house (via Windows Media Center Extenders, other devices on the network that serve as proxies to Windows Media Center, such as an Xbox 360)
  • Remote control has all standard DirecTV functions

But yes, this is a very real product...... hopefully soon after CES, I can get some solid estimated time frames on when they will hit the streets.

On another CES/HTPC note, here might be some new information out of CES on SageTV regarding Echostar as well, but haven't confirmed it yet - hopefully by the end of today I'll have a better idea.


Discovered via SageTV forums with further coverage at Engadget and the original source at DBSTalk Forums

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Ultimate Winter 2008 TV Premier List

Looking for the Fall 2008 TV Premier Guide? CLICK HERE

Its time again for the Winter 2008 TV Premiers & I have a complete list of the premiers for you.  With the writers strike having removed most hope for good, new television programming you may be thinking there won't be any new TV shows this Winter season.  Well, your almost right as there are more reality television shows than ever and this batch looks to be some of the worst excuses for TV I've ever seen.  Shows such as "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew" and "The Bussey Bunch" join our better known reality shows like American Idol.
But there's also a few promising shows that are premiering this Winter season including Jericho Season 2 and nine episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.  There are also some episode remaining from the Fall 2007 season that will air this Winter.
I've gathered a complete listing of all of the TV Season Premiers for Winter 2008 for you.  This list includes all the new premiers for the major TV Networks (broadcast and cable) in the U.S.

PREMIERS - (New Shows in Bold)
Premier Date Day Show Name Network Notes
1/1/2008 Tuesday Biggest Loser 5 NBC Reality
1/1/2008 Tuesday Just for Laughs ABC Comedy
1/2/2008 Wednesday Make Me A Supermodel Bravo Realty
1/2/2008 Wednesday Power of 10 CBS Game Show
1/2/2008 Wednesday Wife Swap ABC Reality
1/2/2008 Wednesday Supernanny ABC Reality
1/2/2008 Wednesday Law and Order NBC Drama
1/3/2008 Thursday Apprentice: Celebrity Edition NBC Reality
1/4/2008 Friday Flash Gordon SciFi Drama
1/4/2008 Friday Stargate Atlantis SciFi Drama
1/4/2008 Friday How to Look Good Naked Lifetime Reality
1/4/2008 Friday Top This Party Lifetime Reality
1/4/2008 Friday Matched in Manhattan Lifetime Reality
1/4/2008 Friday 1 vs 100 NBC Game Show
1/5/2008 Saturday 48 Hours Mystery CBS Drama
1/5/2008 Saturday Cops Fox Reality
1/5/2008 Saturday Alien Abductions: True Confessions WE Reality
1/6/2008 Sunday (Wed.'s after premier) Cashmere Mafia ABC Drama
1/6/2008 Sunday Russell Simmons Presents: Def Comedy Jam HBO Comedy
1/6/2008 Sunday American Gladiators NBC Reality/
1/6/2008 Sunday The L Word Showtime Drama
1/6/2008 Sunday The Wire HBO Drama
1/7/2008 Monday Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann ABC Reality
1/7/2008 Monday Medium NBC Drama
1/8/2008 Tuesday One Tree Hill CW Drama
1/8/2008 Tuesday Guinea Pig SciFi Reality
1/8/2008 Tuesday Parking Wars A&E Reality
1/8/2008 Tuesday Life of Ryan MTV Reality
1/8/2008 Tuesday Rob & Big MTV Reality
1/9/2008 Wednesday Ghost Hunters International SciFi Reality
1/9/2008 Wednesday Law and Order: Criminal Intent NBC Drama
1/10/2008 Thursday Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew VH1 Reality
1/10/2008 Thursday Make Me a Supermodel Bravo Reality
1/11/2008 Friday Monk USA Drama
1/11/2008 Friday Psych USA Drama
1/13/2008 Sunday (and then moving to Mondays beginning 1/14) Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Fox Drama
Sci Fi
1/13/2008 Sunday Complete Jane Austen PBS Drama
1/14/2008 Monday Kyle XY ABC Family Teen Drama
1/14/2008 Monday Prison Break FOX Drama
1/15/2008 Tuesday American Idol 7 Fox Reality
1/16/2008 Wednesday Reno 911 Comedy Comedy
1/20/2008 Sunday Breaking Bad AMC Drama
1/21/2008 Monday Wildfire ABC Family Teen Drama
1/22/2008 Tuesday Millionaire Matchmaker Bravo Reality
1/22/2008 Tuesday The Bussey Bunch TLC Reality
1/23/2008 Wednesday The Moment of Truth Fox Game Show
1/23/2008 Wednesday Pros vs. Joes Spike Reality
1/24/2008 Thursday This Old House: Katrina Victims PBS Learning/
1/26/2008 Saturday Torchwood BBC America Drama
1/26/2008 Saturday Trading Places w/Paige Davis & Original Crew TLC Reality
1/28/2008 Monday In Treatment HBO Comedy
1/31/2008 Thursday Lost ABC Drama
1/31/2008 Thursday Eli Stone ABC Drama
2/04/2008 Monday Welcome to the Captain CBS Drama
2/04/2008 Monday New Adventures of Old Christine CBS Comedy
2/7/2008 Thursday Survivor 16 CBS Reality
2/7/2008 Thursday Lipstick Jungle NBC Drama
2/7/2008 Thursday Dexter (CBS Version) CBS Drama originally shown on Showtime
2/12/2008 Tuesday Jericho CBS Drama - MUST SEE
2/12/2008 Tuesday Big Brother 9 CBS Reality
2/17/2008 Sunday Knight Rider NBC Drama
2/18/2008 Monday Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious CW Reality
2/18/2008 Monday The Baby Borrowers NBC Reality
2/18/2008 Monday Quarterlife NBC Drama
2/20/2008 Wednesday America's Next Top Model 10 CW Reality
2/22/2008 Friday New Amsterdam FOX Drama
3/??/2008 TBA Greek ABC Family Teen Drama
3/??/2008 TBA Tracy Ullman’s State of the Union Showtime Comedy
3/2/2008 Sunday Oprah's Big Give ABC Reality
3/2/2008 Sunday That's Amore MTV Reality
3/2/2008 Sunday Unhitched Fox Comedy
3/3/2008 Monday When Women Rule the World Fox Reality
3/5/2008 Wednesday High School Reunion TV Land Reality
3/7/2008 Friday The Return of Jezebel James Fox Drama
3/7/2008 Friday Till Death Fox Comedy
3/11/2008 Beauty and the Geek 5 CW Reality
3/17/2008 Monday The Bachelor ABC Reality
3/17/2008 Monday Dancing with the Stars 5 ABC Reality
3/28/2008 Battlestar Gallactica Revisited SciFi Review Show to prep for new season starting April 4
3/30/2008 The Tudors Showtime Drama
4/01/2008 The Shield FX Drama
4/4/2008 Battlestar Galactica Scifi Scifi Drama
4/01/2008 Tuesday Hells Kitchen 4 Fox Reality
4/11/2008 Friday Canterbury's Law Fox Drama

If you're interested in how many episodes remain for the TV shows from the Fall 2007 season, check out my regularly-updated ultimate guide to the remaining shows - writers strike guide