Friday, April 04, 2008

Hauppauge HD PVR 1212 Is Born

I've spent a lot of time on this yet-to-be released product, but it's important to those of us HTPC users so I aim to keep everyone as updated as I can.

Today I posted some photos of the device thanks to SHS who is also keeping everyone very informed on today's developments.  Just this evening, Hauppauge updated their website with further details and photos of this component video recorder.  Here are some highlights:

  • Will begin shipping May 1st 2008.  Earlier than the late May/early June we had heard earlier this week.
  • The official name is the "HD PVR 1212".
  • Records at data rates from 1Mbs to 13.5Mbs, Constant and Variable Bit-Rate (this was the latest I'd heard, but it had changed from initial reports so its good to get a confirmation.)
  • Blu-ray format AVCHD recordings, so you can burn your TV recordings onto a standard DVD disk (up to 2 hours of video at 5MBits/sec) and playback on Blu-ray DVD players
  • Dimensions: 19.8cm wide x 17.3 cm deep x 7 cm high
  • Power: 5V at 2 amps
  • Weight: 1 lb, 3 oz
  • System Requirements are fairly high
      • Processor Requirements (minimum):
        • Dual core CPU
      • Graphics with 256MB memory (or greater) Note: the playback of high definition H.264 requires a fast CPU and at least 256MB of graphics memory
      • Sound card
    • One Component video input and one loop through Output

    What I don't know yet:

    • No confirmation on what HTPC software programs it will work on out of the gate although I expect SageTV and Beyond TV support early on with MythTV possible and Vista Media Center sometime later this summer.
    • No actual reports of performance yet (obviously since it hasn't been released yet and anyone who has a test unit likely won't (or shouldn't) talk yet
    • No idea of how many units will be available when they begin shipping on 5/1/2008


    The Hauppauge HD PVR Recorder Model 1212 is for sale as of 11:30 Central Time Today.

    You can order yours for $249.00 plus shipping at the Hauppauge Website at this link

    For more details check out my post from earlier today updated at 9PM Central.

    And Chris Lanier, the HTPC/Media Center expert has some very good comments/questions on this device including the Vista Media Center support question, question on whether the 13.5Mbps Max could possibly be "adjusted" via registry hack etc.  Definitely worth a read at Chris Lanier's Blog.

    Hauppauge HD-PVR Photos - Preorder Available Soon

    Details on the Hauppauge HD-PVR are flowing in now.  UPDATED 4/4/2008 8PM CST.  We had photos of the device this morning thanks to a post by "SHS" on the SageTV forums that included photos of the coming-soon (not soon enough) Hauppauge HD-PVR component video recorder.   The official name is the "HD PVR 1212".  As I've posted before the main features are:

    • Built-in hardware H.264 high definition encoder, for high performance, high quality TV recordings
    • Record at HD 1080i resolution, 720p or VGA/D1
    • Record at datarates from 1Mbs to 13.5Mbs, Constant and Variable Bit-Rate
    • Blu-ray format AVCHD recordings, so you can burn your TV recordings onto a standard DVD disk (up to 2 hours of video at 5MBits/sec) and playback on Blu-ray DVD players
    • Includes high definition video player, so you can playback recordings to PC screen
    • Audio / Video loop through enabling HD Viewing and Capture at the same time
    • High Performance Noise Reduction Function
    • NTSC,PAL and SECAM Support
    • IR receiver for remote control
    • IR Blaster to change the TV channels in your set top box

    UPDATE: The Hauppauge HD PVR Recorder Model 1212 is for sale as of 11:30 Central Time Today.

    You can order yours for $249.00 plus shipping at the Hauppauge Website at this link


    Also confirmed - Mike Machado of SageTV told Dave Zatz the following:

    "We’re working to support the HD PVR as soon as we can. We expect we’ll support it at or near launch."

    I've also confirmed the validity of the photos with an e-mail from a Hauppauge representative.  This representative also confirmed that the release date is this May

    Without further delay here's the photos:


    Front of HD-PVR with remote control which looks very much like one of the Hauppauge MediaMVP remote controls.  Difficult to tell what that is on the front, bottom-left of the unit is, but probably IR receiver as well as a power button and led indicator lights.


    photo obtained from SHS's post on SageTV forums and a post on the AVSForums

    Below is a diagram of the front panel found on the Hauppauge website.  Notice that there is an S-Video In, Audio In and Composite Video In on the right front (hidden by the remote in the picture above)





    Back of unit with input/output connections.  It looks like dual inputs - if true this would be a very nice surprise.  More likely though would be once set of input and one set are outputs.  You'll also see optical SPDIF input and outputs, an IR emitter (for controlling cable/satellite boxes), the USB port and power port.  Pretty basic but it doesn't look half bad.


    photo obtained from SHS's post on SageTV forums and a post on the AVSForums

    Below is a diagram of the front panel found on the Hauppauge website.  Notice that there is an audio in and out, component video loop out and componenet video in, optical audio in and out, usb, IR blaster and power ports.


    Unlike what I've heard and reported last week, the Hauppauge site is saying that shipping will start May 1, 2008.

    latest release date for this device is May 2008.

    More details from the Hauppauge Website: Notice the fairly high system requirements including dual core CPU.

    • Hardware encoder
      • H.264 AVCHD video encoder
      • Data rates from 1Mbit/sec to 13.5 Mbits/sec
    • Size:
      • 19.8cm wide x 17.3 cm deep x 7 cm high
    • Power:
      • 5V at 2 amps
    • Weight:
      • 1 lb, 3 oz
    System Requirements
    • Processor Requirements (minimum):
      • Dual core CPU
    • Graphics with 256MB memory (or greater) Note: the playback of high definition H.264 requires a fast CPU and at least 256MB of graphics memory
    • Sound card
    Included with the HD PVR
    • HD PVR high definition personal video recorder, USB
    • Remote Control Including batteries
    • IR Blaster transmitter cable
    • Component video cable set
    • Audio cable set
    Bundled software applications
    • Arcsoft “TotalMediaExtreme”  for video capture, preview, playback, and authoring and burning your TV recordings onto a Blu-ray DVD compatible disc
    • Arcsoft “TotalMedia Theater”, a video player so you can play back your TV recordings to your PC screen
    • Arcsoft “MediaConverter” , to convert your HD recordings onto other formats
    • Includes Hauppauge's WinTV scheduler for scheduled TV recordings
    • Component video input and loop throughOutput
    • SPDIF Optical audio Input and loop through Output
    • Left/ Right RCA audio Input and loop through Output
    • Composite and S-Video Inputs
    • Left/right audio input
    • USB2.0 High speed Device


    Want to see the board on this thing?  See photos of it in action (albeit naked without the case on?)  The snapstream blog has the scoop - check it out here

    Thursday, April 03, 2008

    iTunes Now #1 Music Retailer?

    Apple's iTunes Store surpassed WalMart as the No. 1 music retailer in the U.S. this January 2008, according to the NPD MusicWatch Survey via ArsTechnica.  While this is an astounding feat, Apple has already announced that they were the number 2 retailer in February 2008 so it was a temporary rise.  Still a very quick rise to number 2 (or number 1) for iTunes which only started selling online music back in April 2003.

    From the ArsTechinca article:

    "The fact that a digital-only retailer has ascended to the top of the sales charts is not unexpected, but it does demonstrate just how much the music landscape has changed since the beginning of the decade. The NPD Group has been tracking a "sharp increase" in digital downloads over the past several months as physical sales dry up. According to NPD's research, 48 percent of US teens didn't buy a single CD in 2007, compared to 38 percent in 2006."

    While iTunes may have passed the competition in the past month, its likely that this is a temporary thing related to Christmas sales and such.  Its only a matter of time though as the trend for online, digital music sales is a sharp arrow in the upward direction.

    Read more at Ars Technica



    Apple put out a press release later today saying the following:

    "*Based on data from market research firm the NPD Group’s MusicWatch survey that captures consumer reported past week unit purchases and counts one CD representing 12 tracks, excluding wireless transactions. The iTunes Store became the largest music retailer in the US based on the amount of music sold during January and February 2008."

    I think this means that iTunes was #1 in the months of January and February, but their earlier statement of being #2 in February was based on a full years data.

    Wednesday, April 02, 2008

    One Click DVD Rip to HTPC

    Want a super-easy way of archiving your DVDs to your hard driver or even to your Home Theater PC?  I'll share with you my method of ripping the movie from the DVD and putting it into a folder for viewing on your HTPC.

    I needed a one-click script that would rip a DVD to my HTPC with the click of a button.  Add to that, I wanted the rip to end up in a single mpg file with just the movie, but including any subtitles and audio tracks - all with no transcoding to maintain quality and still reduce the size a little (size reduction in this script is only achieved by removing the extra features.)

    I started with a script I picked up from a friend on the Snapstream forums pwlong.  With that script I modified it to serve my purposes - no transcoding, a single mpg file and one-click action from the HTPC 10ft interface?  Here's how to set it up:

    1. This script uses a program called DVD Decrypter which isn't updated any longer, but is still available and works with most DVDs.  If you don't already have it you might be able to find it by searching for "dvddecrypter fileforum"                                         11
    2. Download the script zip file from here, and unzip the rip2one.cmd file.
    3. Install the script into your preferred directory on your HTPC.
    4. Open the script with notepad or another editor
    5. Go to the User-defined variables and change the "set dvddrive=" to your dvd drive21
    6. Change your drivespeed to the dvd read speed you prefer.  Slower will be quieter.  Also update the location of your movies by putting the path in "set dvdlibrary="22
    7. Finally, change the logfile location to the location of your choice.  The default is "c:\temp\rip2one.log"
    8. Save the script - I have it named rip2one.cmd but you could rename it if you want to.
    9. We'll eventually add it to our HTPC, but for now its time to try it out.  Put a dvd in your drive and run the rip2one.cmd script.  Once the dvd is extracted to your hard drive the command-line window will close.  Check to see that the movie was placed in a folder by the movies name and that the folder now has a single mpg file ready to be played.

    Now that you know the script is working, you can either create a shortcut for it and just run it as a quick-and-dirty, standalone way of backing up your DVD's or you could integrate the script into your favorite HTPC program.  I'll show you how to do this in SageTV, but you could easily add this script as an external program to most HTPC software programs or even use it as a standalone.  For a simple script to

    use with Snapstream's Beyond Media check out pwlong's how-to



    1. You either need to have SageMC installed or Nielms Dynamic Menu Plugin.  SageMC has that plugin built-in.
    2. Right-click with your mouse or press the escape key on your keyboard to open up the Dynamic Menu Options menu.  Select Main Menu Options   1
    3. Select New External Program from the menu2
    4. Type in the path to your command line script "rip2one.cmd" or whatever you renamed it to7
    5. On the next window where it asks for you to insert arguments, just press "ok"4
    6. On the next window, select "do nothing"5
    7. Now type in the name you want used for the plugin - this is what you'll see on the menu item - I named mine "Extract DVD"                                   6
    8. Now Save your menu file.                                         8
    9. You now have your SageTV DVD Extracting Plugin.23

    Note:  When you run the script it will do the following:

    • DVD Decrypter will pop up and begin working
    • A command line window will pop up and provide some info about the processes running
    • Once the rip is complete these two windows will close again.

    Because of the way this happens, focus is taken from the HTPC app when the two windows first open so you'll have to regain focus with your remote.  I have ways of avoiding this, but since this particular script needs to do cleanup after dvddecrypter is complete, I couldn't run it minimized.  If anyone has a solution for this let me know.

    My plans (hopes) for this script is to have SageTV pause to show me the DVD label on the screen and give me the chance to modify the name or select okay to use the DVD label to use as the resulting filename.  I would imagine this is possible, but my programming skills are slim to none.  Instead, I'm just learning Sage Studio and maybe some day I'll get there :)

    Disclaimer:  This tutorial (and script) is being shown for instructional purposes only.  Use at your own risk.  Only use this to back up your personal movie collection of DVDs you own.

    Tuesday, April 01, 2008

    April Fools Day Comes to the HTPC World

    I'm really not a big fan of the online April Fools Jokes.  I do find them funny, but it's sort of annoying to try to sort through the truths and fictions when running through my RSS feeds for the day.  Still, I thought I'd share with you a few Home Theater PC - related April Fools Gags that I noticed today.


    April Fools #1.  Snapstream's Television Search-Now with BearCheck

    Zack at snapstream put up a funny little "press release" and corresponding video on their new BearCheck feature.  The story itself is just sort-of-funny, but the video is pretty good.  Check out BearCheck at the Snapstream Blog




    April Fools #2. The Developers of SageTVs, SageMC Replacement User Interface Get Cease & Desist Order from Microsoft

    Dirk, the main developer of the SageMC very popular replacement user interface had this to say on the SageTV forums:

    He's obviously (I hope...) having a good time enjoying the resulting scare of forum posters analyzing which parts of the interface are being targeted by Microsoft.  Many have picked up on the April Fools joke, but others haven't and it is kind of funny to watch.  Check out the forum post here


    April Fools #3.  Microsoft MaxWin

    Ed Bott has a very funny April Fools post on MS's latest MaxWin project:

    "Yesterday, I wrote about Microsoft’s efforts to reduce the size of the Windows kernel as part of its MinWin project. Early today I learned of a top-secret parallel development effort being run by a separate group at Microsoft. The hush-hush project is called MaxWin, and if my sources are correct you’ll see it soon.

    The idea behind MaxWin is simple. As a development lead explained to me: “You have a terabyte hard disk and 16 gigabytes of memory. We plan to use it all.”

    In the MaxWin dev center, large posters remind every developer, tester, and product manager of the team’s motto: “Bigger is better.” When MaxWin is released, it will consolidate every version of Windows ever released into a single binary package, delivered in a 13–DVD boxed set."

    Read the entire post at Ed Bott's Microsoft Report


    I'm sure there will be more, but that's enough for the moment.  You'll see a bunch of bloggers participating so take what you read today (except for what you read here :) ) with a grain of salt.

    Monday, March 31, 2008

    How I Met Your Mother - Madeline Albright

    himymhimym2Don't know if I have any HIMYM (How I Met Your Mother) fans as readers, but thought I'd point this one out...

    Former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright had another cameo in How I Met Your Mother last night - well it wasn't a real cameo per se, but her smiling photo did show up when Barney, played by Neil Patrick Harris was having all the women he has supposedly slept with flashing through his mind (actually they used the same 7 or so women more than once in the "flashes", but the one that stuck out for a split second was the one of Albright.  There's a running joke that Barney slept with Madeline Albright

    And if you actually watch last nights episode, you know that website they talked about  Well it's real - they used blogger to put it up, but they actually purchased the URL.  Nice touch!


    Here's the screenshots of the woman before, Albright and the woman after.  Plus the look on Barney's face after the "flashes."  Screenshots are thanks to my HTPC's capabilities :)






    I love HIMYM.  One of my favorites, despite not being the most popular comedy on the block....

    Easily Add Major League Baseball Team Schedule to Your Calendar


    Its time for Baseball with the first signs of summer peeking through.  Monday marks the beginning of baseball for most Major League baseball teams.  Keep up with you favorite team by importing the baseball schedule into your calendar program. 


    With the help of, you can import your team's schedule into Outlook, iCal, Google Calendar, Lotus Notes and even a PDF or Excel Document among others.  And if you think you team isn't popular enough to be included think again - even my beloved, but beleaguered Kansas City Royals are included!


    Here's how to import the schedule of your favorite baseball team:

    1. Start up a web browser and head to

    2. You can browse to the "sport" category or do as i did and use the search bar and type in your baseball teams name.   


    3. Click on the hyperlink of your teams name


    4. Make sure the dates are for the most current season.


    5. When you're ready to add the schedule to your calendar, click on the "add to calendar" button


    6. Select your time-zone from the drop-down list (they have them all)


    7. Pick the calendar application that you want to import into your schedule into - in this case I selected Outlook 2007.  Depending on your calendar application your next steps will vary


      • For Outlook 2007, a window will open up.  Click ok and then you'll see a window asking for you to confirm whether you really want to add the schedule to your calendar.9

    11 Outlook 2007


      • For Google Calendar, the Google Calendar will open and you'll see these button selections10 gcal

    1. You'll now see the schedule added to your calendar application.

    In Outlook 2007


    12 Outlook 2007

    In Google Calendar

    14 gcal

    15 gcal


    That's all there is to it.  You now have your teams schedule with times and location on your calendar!  I can't resist - Play Ball! has many other calendars that are added to daily including holidays, city events, radio, television, sports and more.  It's a great, easy way to get a schedule or calendar updated to your favorite calendar application.

    Sunday, March 30, 2008

    In Review - The Past Weeks Posts

    A summary of the weeks pasts posts follows:

  •   The Hauppauge HD-PVR device which was originally to be available by March 31st and then "April or May" and now Hauppauge sales is saying the device "should hit the market toward the end of May, early June." ...
    • A theory on the many mysteries of the Lost TV Show has been posted on the web that actually make some sense...

    • If you're a BeyondTV user you already know that it comes loaded with its own commercial detection they call SmartSkip…
    • smartskip2

    • If you're a TV junkie or even a casual TV watcher, you'll want to check out the TV Status Watch page.  There are running updates for nearly all television shows with information on the number of episodes remaining, whether they are being renewed for next season and when the next episode airs.  Also included are updates on the Last Spring 2008 and Summer 2008 premiers…
      • I thought I'd follow up on the all-day Netflix Outage I reported on Monday .  Because I was one of those whose movie delivery was affected by the outage, Netflix sent me a nice e-mail apologizing and giving me a 5% credit for my inconvenience...
        • Do you use Comskip for your Home Theater PC commercial skipping ?  If so, be sure to check out the latest updates to comskip…
          • Nielsen Media Research has an amazing chart showing the plummeting ratings for the evening news viewership.  This won't come as a surprise to many of us, but fewer and fewer people are watching the Network News...
            • Its become obvious to the Television Networks and the Advertisers who pay the Networks bills that DVRs are having an impact on their business.  The big question has been what kind of impact?  …
              • One of my favorite Home Theater PC software programs is SageTV .  SageTV turns your PC into a souped-up TIVO that can do DVR functions, movies, music and so much more…