Saturday, September 27, 2008

TV Premiers: What To Watch 9/28 - 10/04

If you've survived last week - you're likely ready for the TV Premiere week of Fall 2008 - week 5 and I have the scoop on all of the premieres.
(To see more about the past weeks premieres: week one , week two , week three, week four).
Note:  The complete guide to the Fall 2008 TV Premieres with a free, downloadable guide is here
                  Sarah & Chuck


GeekTonic Picks for Shows Premiering This Week:
  • The Amazing Race – If you have to watch a realityTV show, this is one of the better ones
  • Desperate Housewives – I don’t watch this one, but my wife and seems like everyone else does.  Lots of silly soap opera storylines and very attractive people. 
  • Chuck – Don’t take it too seriously cause its not meant to be, but it’s good entertainment.  I thought it was stupid when I first saw it (and it probably still is) but it grew on me.
  • Sanctuary – I’m going to take a chance on this new SciFi TV series even though I’ve never seen the web series.  I think it will fall flat, but I’m curious.

NOTE: Times are EST
SUNDAY 9/28/2008
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (7pm on ABC - Available in HD) Season 6.  Let's see we have Lance Bass, Toni Braxton, Brooke Burke, Rocco Dispirito (chef), Maurice Greene (Olympic Medalist), Kim Kardashian, Susan Lucci and more.  My wife loves this show - me, not so much.
60 Minutes (7pm on CBS - Available in HD) Get your 60 minutes (less commercials) on CBS’s old (41 seasons old) news show.
The Amazing Race (8pm on CBS) We’re on season 13 of this “race-round-the-world” reality TV/contest.  Still not in HD though which is a bummer.
Amazing Race3
                  (The Token Barbie Dolls of Amazing Race)
The Simpsons (8pm on Fox) Wow, 20 seasons of this animated comedy!
King of the Hill (8:30pm on Fox) Follow the Hill family in season 13 of this animated comedy.
Desperate Housewives (9pm on ABC - Available in HD) The 5th season of this prime-time soap opera.
Cold Case (9pm on CBS - Available in HD) Season 6 starts off when the team re-opens the 1973 case of a murdered football player when it's discovered that he may have been murdered earlier than it was originally thought.
Family Guy (9pm on Fox - Available in HD) Season 7 starts off with Brian meeting the girl of his dreams.
Dexter (9pm on Showtime - Available in HD) Season 3 Dexter has put his life back together but as always things will likely fall apart again.  Season 3 of the show about a killer.
American Dad (9:30pm on - Available in HD) More fun with the Smith family – already in season 4
Brothers & Sisters (10pm on ABC - Available in HD) Season 3 starts with the Walkers going to the beach for a family vacation.
The Unit (10pm on CBS - Available in HD) Season 4 starts with the women and men of the Unit being separated.
Californication (10pm on Showtime - Available in HD) Season 2 starts off with Hank getting a vasectomy.
Life & Times of Tim (10:30pm on HBO - Available in HD) This series premiere on HBO is a animated show about a young guy named Tim who just can't seem to catch a break in life. He's a normal guy who always tries to do the right thing, but for some reason the world conspires against him.  I watched a few clips from the premiere and don’t feel like I’m missing anything since I don’t have HBO.
Little Britain (11pm on HBO  - Available in HD) I cannot express how stupid this comedy looks.  It’s British humor though so if you’re fond of that you might want to check it out…

MONDAY 9/29/2008
Chuck (8pm on NBC - Available in HD) Season 2 starts off with an assassination attempt on one of the main characters.
Life (10pm on NBC - Available in HD) Get your ice cream here – Season 2 of Life.

TUESDAY 9/30/2008
Scare Tactics (10pm on Scifi) Season 3

WEDNESDAY 10/1/2008
Pushing Daisies (8pm on ABC - Available in HD) Season 2 – this is a very quirky show that my wife is fond of and I’ve heard others praise as well.  It’s not for me, but might be for you.
Friday Night Lights (8pm on DirecTV 101) Season 3 will only be available to DirecTV customers.  So I won’t be watching.
Private Practice (9pm on ABC - Available in HD) Addison and Charlotte work on a patient together to start off season 2
Dirty Sexy Money (10pm on ABC - Available in HD) This is one messed up soap opera and survived to season 2.  I have to admit it’s something I watch though.

THURSDAY 10/2/2008
No new premieres
FRIDAY 10/3/2008
Wife Swap (8pm on ABC) Yep it survived to see season 5 – amazing really.
Ghost Whisperer (8pm on   - Available in HD) Eli has a near death experience to start off season 4.
Everybody Hates Chris (8pm on   - Available in HD) Season 4 – A decent comedy, but I’ve lost interest.  Chris Rock narrates.
The Game (8:30pm on CW - Available in HD) Robin Givens guest stars to start off season 3
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (9pm on Toon) The latest animated series in the Star Wars franchise to hit the small screen. The series takes place between the films, Episode II: Attack of the Clones and before Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Anakin, Obi-Wan, Padme, Yoda, Palpatine, General Grievous are all back in this new series.
Supernanny (9pm on ABC - Available in HD) Another season (5) for this reality TV show
The Ex List (9pm on CBS - Available in HD) CBS has a new show where a woman explores all of her past relationships after a psychic tells her she's already dated her future husband.  Yep, that’s the plot ;)
Sanctuary (9pm on SciFi - Available in HD) This series was developed specifically for the Internet & is now making it to TV.  Filmed entirely on Green Screen.  Dr. Magnus takes over her fathers' sanctuary for supernatural creatures, collected from all over the world.
                        (The cast of Sanctuary)
Numb3rs (10pm on CBS - Available in HD) Season 5 starts off when Don's team gains a new member.

SATURDAY 10/4/2008
No new premieres

You’re almost there – there’s still a few more premieres for the Fall, but these past few weeks had the bulk of them.  I'll have the post for week 6 on Sunday, October 5th.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Use Twitter to Find Good TV to Watch

With the new TV season here I’m always looking for ways to gauge interest of the new shows so I know which ones to watch and which ones to delete from my DVR favorites list.  A easy way to do that is to use Twitter Search (summize) to see what others are saying about the show.
For example, check out this Twitter Search of “Knight Rider”:
As you can see by the comments on Twitter, Knight Rider is NOT going to be a hit this time and as I keep saying, the show is really, really bad.  I like @theTVaholic’s comment “A flaming pile of KITT”

Then we have Fringe.  Fringe was a little bit of an unknown.  Lots of early talk that it was just okay or trying to be too much Lost or Alias or something.  But I liked it and it looks like others are liking it too.  Check out these twits on twitter search about Fringe:
Not too bad.  And like those commenters on twitter, I recommend this show as well.  If you haven’t already, head over to Hulu to get caught up and add it to your TV favorites to record.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Deal of the Day - $50 off Blu-ray Player with 3 Discs

The $199 deal for the Sony Blu-ray player is over (it's now $229), but if you're still in the market for a Blu-ray Player, Amazon has a decent deal where you get $50 off when you buy a Blu-ray disc player together with 3 Blu-ray discs from Warner Home Video.

To check out the deal, click on this link:
Blu-ray Player + 3 Discs = $50 Off
Check out the list of eligible Blu-ray disc players and eligible Blu-ray discs from the link above, add all items to your Shopping Cart. Then at checkout, enter the code BDPLAYER to receive your discount. The offer expires October 3rd.

DVB-T Version of HDHomeRun Delayed

silicondustSiliconDust, the makers of the HDHomeRun Dual-QAM/OTA HD tuner continues their work on the DVB version of the very popular HDHomeRun tuner.  The company had previously projected that the DVB version of the HDHR would be ready for mass delivery by September, but based on a post last week by a SilconDust representative, production on the DVB-T hardware has begun already and SiliconDust will announce a retail release date once everything is ready - so no projected date yet.

Early reports stated that SiliconDust planned to have Microsoft Media Center and MythTV support and other HTPC programs support was still to be determined.
This is especially important to the non-US TV viewers as Europe and many other non-US countries use DVB as their digital television standard.  Included in the SiliconDust tuner will be support for DVB-C (digital cable) and DVB-T (Terrestrial broadcast).  Without a DVB tuner, many in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa cannot tune to the majority of television channels.

via SilconDust Forums

All My TV Favorites On At Same Time?

 I've been using all six tuners on my HTPC this week.  Here's a screen-shot of my SageTV Web Server Upcoming Recordings for this past Monday to give you an idea of the activity:
 Lots of Shows
The first few weeks of the Fall TV season are always busy ones for my Media PC and this year has been no exception.  Both Monday and Tuesday nights I had all six tuners recording shows at once.  I' don’t watch all of them, but like to check out some of the premieres to see if they interest me.  Add to that the shows my wife and daughter watch and it gets to be a busy HTPC.

Here's a screen-shot right from the Recorded Shows of SageTV from last night:

For the record, I’m watching Fringe (recommended) and checking out the Mentalist (It was good and worth watching.)  Of the others listed on the screen-shot above taken from my SageTV recorded TV page, House is the only other show I’ll be watching all of the way through.  What are you watching this TV season?  Anything you recommend to watch or not watch?  Ever run out of tuners to record everything you want to watch on TV?

SageTV Tip: TV Channel Logos in SageTV Guide

One of the things I love about the SageTV Home Theater PC Software is the many ways you can customize it and make it your own.  To make my SageTV setup stand out I used SageTV's built-in channel logo feature to add channel logos like the ones below to the Program Guide.

Once you add those channel logos, you’ll then see those logos on the TV Program Guide, the Web Interface and nearly anywhere else you see Channel Names in SageTV.  When you add the logos to your SageTV serverPC, you will be able to view them on all of your SageTV HD Extenders, MediaMVP Extenders as well as on your SageTV Placeshifter.  For any SageTV Client PC's (softsled PC's, you'll need to copy the image files in the instructions below to the channellogo directory on the Client PC.

The Channel logo image files aren’t provided with the install of SageTV – you’ll need to find them or create them yourself first.  I’ll give you some pointers on that in the instructions below.  First, here’s some examples of how the logos change the look of your SageTV Program Guide:
SageTV Program Guide (SageMC version) with Channel Logo’sSageTV Program Guide
SageTV Web Interface with the Channel Logo’sSageTV Web Interface TV Guide

The most difficult part of adding channel logo’s to SageTV is finding the logos and integrating those logos with your individual program guide.
  • FIND LOGO IMAGE FILES:  First, find as many logo’s as you can.  The best places to find channel logos include:
    • Higher Resolution Channel Logos – this SageTV thread has several zipped packages of logos that a user uploaded.  A decent-sized collection that I used as my base.  Browse through that entire thread as there are several other zip files with logos that you might find helpful.
    • SageTV Channel Logo Download Pack – This is another channel logo pack put together by SageTV user Queonda
    • Chanel Logo Packs in the SageTV Download Section:  Transparent Channel Pack 1, Pack 2, Pack 3, Pack 4, Pack 5, Pack 6, Pack 7, Pack 8
    • Icon Harmony – Here you’ll find hundreds of high-quality channel logos with a searchable database and the ability to download individual channel logos or select and download multiple logos.  A great place to find that missing channel logo.
    • – This is a decent database of channel logos that includes many international channels as well as U.S. and Canadian logos.  There isn’t an easy way to search, but you can view by letter which helps.  Another great place to find that missing channel logo.
  • ENSURE PROPER IMAGE FILE FORMAT:  Be sure that all of the image files you’ll be using for your channel logos are in JPEG (.jpg), GIF (.gif), or PNG (.png) formats.  Do NOT use .jpeg format.
  • RENAME IMAGE FILES TO MATCH CHANNELS:  Now run through your channel guide and look for the “channel name” in your SageTV program guide.  For instance, The Biography Channel might be identified as “BIO” in your TV Guide.  So you’ll want to rename all of your channel logo image files to match those channel names.  Using the example above, you would need to change a downloaded image file titled “Biography.jpg” to “bio.jpg” without the quotes so that SageTV will identify it properly.  Do the same for each channel in your guide.
    Next Move all of those downloaded & renamed channel logos to your “C:\Program Files\SageTV\SageTV\ChannelLogos” directory.
  • MOVE IMAGE FILES TO CHANNELLOGO DIRECTORY:  You can move these logo image files into the channellogo directory without shutting down SageTV, but it might take several minutes for SageTV to recognize the new logos.  If you want the logos to display immediately, just exit and restart SageTV.
Thats it.  This feature is built-in to SageTV which I believe is one of the few HTPC software programs out there that have channel logos as a feature.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Heroes Volume 3: Villains - A Great Start To New Season

Heroes returned to television last night, and the new season started very strong.  I’ve heard talk this summer that series creator Tim Kring and the writers worked to weave multiple characters all moving into the core story – no more lingering, weakly-connected story lines this time.  Even a few new characters are being added, but all characters are building on the one, core story.  I loved it, my wife wasn't as excited about the new premier - said too much going on.  Still, I think it will appeal to most people - especially fans of the first two seasons of Heroes.

This Volume 3 is named “Villains” and if you missed recording it last night I encourage you to Watch Heroes Season3 Episode1 Now (cost = $1.99 for this episode) as its available commercial-free at Amazon Video-On-Demand (affiliate).

Monday, September 22, 2008

View NBC Shows A Week Before Their Premiere

I mentioned last week that NBC is releasing a handful of their premieres online for free streaming a week before their air date.  I used the streaming preview to check out Knight Rider on Hulu (man I’m sorry I watched that…) and will probably do the same thing this week with one of the new premieres.
Note that these are available on Hulu, iTunes and Amazon VOD right now:
And three additional shows will have their premieres available a week before airing as well:
The full, Hulu Fall schedule with details about which online episodes are available after TV broadcast can be found here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Deal of the Day - $200 Sony Blu-ray Player

If you've been waiting for one of those Blu-ray Players to be priced right, you might want to check out the Sony BDP-S300 Blu-ray Player.  It's a solid performer for less-expensive Blu-ray and comes from a well-known brand.   If you're still unsure, check out Ben Drawbaugh's review from this past April at EngadgetHD.  And don't forget that Sony has been upgrading the firmware to keep it up to date too  - check the details on the firmware updates in the first review listed on Amazon.

Sony Blu-ray BDP-S300 $199.99 including shipping At (associate)

TV Premieres This Week: What to Watch 9/21 - 9/27

We've arrived at the biggest TV Premiere week of Fall 2008 - week 4 and I have the lowdown on all of the premieres.

(To see more about the past weeks premieres: week one , week two , week three).

Note:  The complete guide to the Fall 2008 TV Premieres with a free, downloadable guide is here

 Simon Baker and Robin Tunney starring in The Mentalist
GeekTonic Picks for Shows Premiering This Week:
  • Heroes - One of the best shows on TV in my opinion.  SciFi with a good storyline and lots of heroes and villains - what's not to love? 
  • Worst Week - Like comedy?  Give this show a chance.  It's not your average sitcom either - its funny like movie-comedy funny without the live television audience or one-liner jokes.  The storyline is whats funny and to me the pilot is hilarious.  At least set this one up to record and give it a shot - I think you'll be glad you did. 
  • How I Met your Mother - Comedy for my generation.  I love it, some don't. 
  • Survivor: Gabon - If you are one who likes reality shows, it's hard to ignore the granddaddy of them all (in my opinion) - Survivor.
  • Opportunity Knocks - If you're a game show fan, this one looks interesting.  It has to be better than "Deal or No Deal" right? 
  • The Office - good, cubicle comedy for the geek & office dwelling crowd.
  • Ugly Betty - because girls can be geeks too.  And it is funny.

NOTE: Times are EST
SUNDAY 9/21/2008
No new premieres

MONDAY 9/22/2008
Dancing with the Stars (8pm on ABC - Available in HD) Season 7.  Let's see we have Lance Bass, Toni Braxton, Brooke Burke, Rocco Dispirito (chef), Maurice Greene (Olympic Medalist), Kim Kardashian, Susan Lucci and more.  My wife loves this show - me, not so much.
The Big Bang Theory (8pm on CBS - Available in HD) Season 2.  Nerds and hot chicks on comedy.  I stopped watching this one after the first episode last season - I guess others liked it though.
Heroes (9pm on NBC - Available in HD) Season 3 - (View Trailer) Tim Kring has reworked the storyline to make it more tightly woven than season 2 which should be a good thing.  Still one of my favorite shows running.  There is a "catch-up" episode at 7pm and then the 2-hour premier beginning at 9pm.  Don't miss it.

How I Met Your Mother (8:30pm on CBS - Available in HD) Season 4.  I personally love this comedy - before Britney Spears guest starred on the show.  Neil Patrick Harris is brilliant in this comedy.  Expect more hilarious shows in this season.
Two and a Half Men (9pm on CBS - Available in HD) Season 6.  A very popular comedy - if you aren't familiar with it you're one of the few.
Worst Week (9:30pm on CBS - Available in HD) Season 1 -  A new comedy about a good guy trying to do right, but screwing up most of the time.  Kyle Bornheimer who plays Sam (main character) in this comedy makes this worth a watch.  I think this will be one of those love it or hate it shows (see the trailer to get what I mean)    By the way, this show is yet another title from overseas - this one from BBC show "The Worst Week of My Life."
Boston Legal (10pm on ABC - Available in HD) Season 5.  Getting a little stale as it heads into season 5.
CSI: Miami (10pm on CBS - Available in HD) Season 7.  Speaking of stale, I never liked the Miami version of the CSI juggernaut.  But yeah, it's now into the 7th season and they'll resolve that cliffhanger they left us with from the end of season 6.

TUESDAY 9/23/2008
Opportunity Knocks (8pm on ABC - Available in HD) Season 1 - New game-show where one lucky family is brought together each week to play the game of a lifetime and will have to prove they know each other inside and out on national TV to win.  I'm not a game-show fan, but this one is slightly interesting.
NCIS (8pm on CBS - Available in HD) Season 6 - Anyone still remember that this was a spinoff of JAG?  This premiere of season 6 starts with a petty officer found murdered & Gibbs learns about the mysterious connection between the disbanding of his team and the case.
The Biggest Loser (8pm on NBC)  Season 6 - A reality show that really fits its name.  seems to be popular with some, but not for me.  UPDATE:  MY WIFE TELLS ME THIS ACTUALLY PREMIERED LAST WEEK -  SORRY ABOUT THAT FOR THE TWO OF YOU WHO READ THIS BLOG AND WATCH THAT SHOW ;(
The Mentalist (9pm on CBS - Available in HD) Season 1 - The Mentalist is about a guy employed as an independent detective working with the California Bureau of Investigation to solve crimes. He has refined his observations skills to a near perfect level and lends these skills to the CBI to help them solve cases.  He also happens to be notorious for his blatant lack of protocol & past as a psychic medium, whose paranormal abilities he now admits he feigned.  Sounds kind of like Psych without the cheeky comedy.  I've decided to give this a second look after seeing more clips of the premiere - looks promising after all.
Without a Trace (10pm on CBS - Available in HD) Season 7 - Everyone's favorite fast-paced, procedural drama about the Missing Persons Squad of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Season 7 starts with this guy going missing just like his daughter did years ago.  Now the team tries to connect his desire to help another couple missing their son.
Law & Order: SVU (10pm on NBC - Available in HD) Season 10 - Not much can be said about this one since everyone knows what Law & Order (including the SVU version) is about.  Season 10 starts with the team investigating a couple accused of abusing their foster child.

WEDNESDAY 9/24/2008
The New Adventures of Old Christine (8pm on CBS - Available in HD) Season 4.  Another season of Julia Louis-Dreyfus proving there is no Seinfeld curse despite Jerry trying to prove otherwise with Microsoft commercials.  This first episode of season 4 starts with Christine offering to marry Barb to help her avoid deportation. And Richard plans to propose to Christine.
Knight Rider (8pm on NBC - Available in HD) Season 1 - KITT is all new and there's no David Hasselhoff.  It's being billed as a "continuation" & sequel to the first Knight Rider.  Hmm, not my thing, but I'm sure plenty of people will watch it.  You can check out the first episode online right now on Hulu if your so inclined, but be warned - I watched almost all of this premiere and can honestly say "this show is really terrible DO NOT WATCH IT."  You've been warned...

Gary Unmarried (8:30pm on CBS - Available in HD) Season 1 - following in the footsteps of Worst Week (see Monday's premiere above), Gary Unmarried again is a comedy about a good guy trying to do right, but screwing up most of the time.  This one stars Former SNL comic Jay Mohr.  This is a little more typical of sitcoms then "Worst Week" and might appeal to many.
Criminal Minds (9pm on CBS - Available in HD) Season 4 - Season 4 starts with the behavioral analysis unit composed of an elite team of FBI profilers fights to save their colleagues & get the terrorists after a bomb explodes an SUV that is carrying team members.
CSI: New York (10pm on CBS - Available in HD) Season 5 - The NY variety of CSI starts season 5 picking up where season 4 left off.  The team investigats the death of a woman linked to the bank robbery.
Lipstick Jungle (10pm on NBC - Available in HD) Season 2 - Lipstick Jungle tracks three powerful career women who are willing to do almost anything for success in the business world.  You can check out the first episode online right now on Hulu if your so inclined.

THURSDAY 9/25/2008
Ugly Betty (8pm on ABC - Available in HD) Season 3 - one of the smartest shows I don't watch (but my wife and daughter do).  Season 3 starts off with plenty of questions to answer:  Who will Betty choose as her guy?  And who does Tony choose (Hilda or wife?)  Who does Alexis choose to rune Mode?  This premier episode guest stars Lindsay Lohan and Regis Philbin.

My Name is Earl (8pm on NBC - Available in HD) Season 4 - I was humored by this show in its first season, but it's growing very tired.  But NBC needs a few shows people will still watch and this one fits the bill.  They start off with a special one-hour premiere episode.
Survivor: Gabon (8pm on CBS - Avail. in HD 1080i for the first time) Still running strong, the survivor reality tv franchise keeps on churning - now on its 17th season.  This seasons cast includes an Olympic gold medalist, a doctor, an actress/pin-up model, and a world champion gamer.
Grey's Anatomy (9pm on ABC - Available in HD) Season 5 - We have a new doctor to start season 5 off right.  A special two-hour premiere.
The Office (9pm on NBC - Available in HD) Season 5 - Another show I didn't catch on to at first, but love now.  This season starts out with a special one-hour premiere highlighting the summer activities of the Dunder Mifflin staff.  For an office dweller like me, this show is too funny and sometimes too close to home.
ER (9pm on NBC - Available in HD) Season 15 - I remember back in season one when my wife watched this show faithfully.  Is anyone still watching?  It won't matter after this season since it's the last one.

FRIDAY 9/26/2008
No new premieres but you should really be watching the Presidential debate anyway:
The Presidential Debate between McCain & Obama airs 9pm Eastern and is moderated by Jim Lehrer at Ole Miss.

SATURDAY 9/27/2008
48 Hours Mystery (10pm on CBS) Season 12 - for the mystery crowd we have the old standby in its twelfth season... wow.

Whew.  That's a lot of TV coming at you all at once.  Hopefully you have a HTPC or TIVO with several tuners and plenty of storage space to keep up with all of that stuff.  I'll have the post for week 5 (still lots of new premieres to come) on Sunday, September 28th.