Saturday, December 27, 2008

Deal of the Day – Seagate 1TB $100 free shipping

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB 3.5

Newegg (affiliate) has the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive for $100 after $10 discount using coupon code EMCBCCGAE (expires 01/01/09) w/ free shipping.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 1TB Internal Hard Drive features:

  • Interface SATA 3.0Gb/s
  • Capacity 1TB
  • RPM 7200 RPM
  • Cache 32MB
  • Average Latency 4.16ms.


For more deals check out the GeekTonicDeals Blog

Christmas Aftermath - What Gadgets Did you Get or Give?

Well by now most of us have survived Christmas and many have some new gadgets they received (or gave) as gifts.  Tell us in the comments what you got!

Photo by SentienceCC License

My guesses are the majority of gadget gifts included these types of things:

  • Blu Ray Player
  • Movies – Blu Ray or otherwise
  • MP3 player
  • iPhone or other mobile phone
  • HDTV, HD200, new PC, monitor, wireless router
  • PS3, XBox360 or Wii
  • Video Games
  • More Storage (Hard Drives)
  • HTPC Extender like the SageTV HD200 Extender/Player
  • Media Player like the Popcorn Hour or HD200
  • Digital Camera/Camcorder
  • Computer/Laptop
  • Home Theater Components


A few of my geekier toys I received:

  • 46” LCD TV Sharp 46SB54U (family gift we found a deal of less then $900).  This is by no means the best HDTV we could have gotten and probably not up to Ben D’s high standards but it fit the bill (and budget) for us and I’m very happy with it.  Currently testing the new SageTV HD200


I gave (or recommended) a few techie gadgets too:

  • Tiny WD External drive for my teacher wife for her PowerPoint and video clips
  • Wii Fit – a bit better than I expected.  Don’t know if it will help us much, but it’s actually kind of fun
  • LG Shine Mobile phone for the kid
  • Cheap, but working DVD Player for the college kid (less than $40 at Walmart)
  • EyeFi for my Dad (I really like this one - now I’m hoping he’ll actually offload photos when he takes pictures…)

I’m still holding off on the Blu-Ray Player purchase.  No particular reason why other than the fact I don’t care at all about the extras that come with Blu-Ray players and I can’t yet integrate Blu-Ray with my HTPC setup.  Even still, I’ll probably will bite on that sometime in 2009.


Okay, it’s your turn – tell everyone what you got this year in the way of gadgets.

Try Out Windows 7 Beta Now – Leaked Windows 7 Beta ISO Torrent

The Windows 7 beta won’t be out until January 2009, but DownloadSquad pointed out that a leaked copy of the Windows 7 beta ISO can be obtained via torrent.  Looks like the ISO includes Windows 7 M1 build 7000.  Lots of new features are in the beta and of course the newer version of Windows Media Center is in there.

                            Screen-shot of Music Page via Charlie Owen


Personally, I’d rather not risk messing up my system with a leaked version (you never know who’s messed with this ISO) and just let others play with the beta version at this point so if you’re like me and want to watch from the outside for a little longer, check out Paul Thurott’s review of Windows 7 from last week.

I did some searching and found a little more info on the ISO:

ITWire goes into more detail about the ISO DVD image, which they say includes the following Windows 7 versions: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate.

Neowin has a little more including screen-shots

via DownloadSquad

Stay up-to-date on all Media Center and HTPC News and Information by subscribing to GeekTonic

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!


photo by krisdecurtis - Creative Commons License



I wish all readers of a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I hope you all enjoy time with your family and friends and possibly even get a few cool gadgets as a bonus.  Stay tuned to GeekTonic for more gadget and Media Computer talk before 2008 is over.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Boxee Beta Opens to all Mac & Ubuntu Users

If you've had your head buried in the sand (it's gotten a lot of good press), you might not have heard about Boxee.  Boxee is a project based on the xbmc (XBox Media Center) open-source project.  Boxee was developed to be a “social” media center program that plays media from your home network and the internet and also allows you to stream or download movies, tv shows, music and photos. 

Starting January 8, 2009, Boxee will move from alpha to beta meaning all Mac and Ubuntu users that want to try out the Boxee Beta will get their chance (it was limited to a smaller group of alpha users in the past).  If you haven't signed up already, head over to Boxee and do it now.

For the Windows users, the windows version is still in alpha so it's still closed to a smaller group, but the CEO commented in the Boxee post that the Windows alpha program will begin in "early 2009" with plenty of invites to go out each week.


via Boxee Blog


One more thing - if you are interested in joining the limited number of early-access users for the pre-release boxee versions, head over to Boxee and complete this form to see if you can get on the list. via Boxee Blog

SageTV Beta 6.5.5 and HD Extender/Player Updates

SageTV released another beta update with a few more features and bug fixes.  This is a "release candidate" which means we'll be seeing SageTV 6.5 escape from beta very, very soon.

This is mostly a clean-up update, but there are a few feature additions that might be of interest including support for multi-audio track switching of MKV and similar video files.  A few of the more significant SageTV updates include:

  • Added windows support for the HVR-1250 analog tuner
  • Several bug fixes and improvements to the SageTV Core
  • HD Extender can now handle audio track switching for MKV, ASF, MOV and AVI files (requires firmware update on HD100 and/or HD200)
  • Improved interface support for RC5 protocol remotes (setting is now in the detaled settings page of the UI instead of requiring a change to a properties file)
  • Several other UI improvements

Read the full change list for the SageTV 6.5.5 update


HD100 and HD200 firmware Updates include:

  • Fix for some cases of audio track selection on HD100 and HD200
  • Several changes to the HD200 standalone mode on the HD200

Read the full change list for the firmware updates

MediaPortal Leaves Beta - 1.0 Arrives


                      Image from

After many years (five to be exact) in beta development, the MediaPortal team has released the 1.0 version (read: non-beta) of their popular HTPC software.  What started as a port from XBMC and eventually grew into a near-complete redesign of the software is now a fully-featured, opens-source, windows-based media center software.

Congratulations to all of the Media Portal Team!

Download, Installation Notes and More Information on MediaPortal 1.0


Media Portal 2.0 In the Works:

Not ones to just sit back and enjoy their accomplishments, the MediaPortal team is now shifting their attention towards MediaPortal 2.0 (and of course any needed bug fixes for 1.0).  Check out this link for a preview of MediaPortal 2.0

Monday, December 22, 2008

Add Christmas Cheer to your HTPC with Holiday Themes

Want to add a little special Christmas spirit to your Home Theater PC (HTPC) this season?  If you use SageTV, MediaPortal and BeyondTV you are in luck as each of these HTPC programs have Christmas themes you can install and use on your own HTPC.



I've been working on several themes for the SageTV addon "SageMC" recently and decided to experiment with a few different Christmas themes to begin learning how to make my own themes for SageTV.  I'm fairly happy with the ones I've made so far.  The Christmas themes for SageMC include:

Holiday Sleigh Theme for SageMC


 Installation Instructions and Download for the Holiday Sleigh Theme


Next I made a Holiday Snowman Theme for SageMC:



Installation Instructions and Download for the Holiday Snowman Theme


And finally the Holiday Christmas Tree Theme for SageMC:


Installation Instructions and Download for the Holiday Christmas Tree Theme


I created the icons in each of these themes by modifying the icons from the BlueTwo theme with a little santa hat.  The background images were found at PS3-themes.comThe SageTV Christmas theme discussion thread has more information as well.



Media Portal

Media Portal seems to have a new Christmas theme each year and 2008 is no exception.  This year we have two Christmas Themes:

First up is the Blue3 Christmas Theme staring the MeePo characters:


Info and Download for the Blue3 Christmas Add-on at Media Portal


The second MediaPortal theme this holiday is the 2008 Christmas Theme by forum user "spragleknas." :


For more information and the download, head over to the Christmas Skin 2008 MediaPortal Forum Thread



Snapstream BeyondTV

Finally we have a Christmas Theme for Snapstream BeyondTV.  This one was created three years ago but still looks very nice:



BTV Christmas House Theme installation instructions and the download


Hope these add a little Christmas spirit to those of you who enjoy the holidays.  I was going to make a bah humbug theme as well, but haven't had the time to get it finished.  If you know of any other HTPC Holiday themes including those for other holidays let me know in the comments.  Merry Christmas from GeekTonic!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ultimate Guide - the Winter 2009 TV Season

Christmas time is almost here and many of you will be searching for those last-minute presents, drinking eggnog and watching Christmas specials, but its also a good time to see what's coming in the TV world in the new year.  All of our favorite shows are either in hibernation or just winding down for 2008.  But very soon, we'll again be bombarded with even more Television including many anticipated series premieres.  I've gathered as much about the Winter 2009 TV Schedule as I can and there are several premieres included.
Wanting to know when that show from the Fall season is returning?  Or maybe you're curious about what new shows are starting January - March?  The Winter 2009 season will soon be upon us so I have compiled the complete Guide to the Winter 2009 TV season for you.  I've included the premieres for Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS, SciFi, CW and more.
 Photo of the cast of Dollhouse - a highly anticipated Scifi Drama by Joss Whedon
The chart below guides you through the entire Winter 2009 TV Season by date.  Season/series premieres will have their season number in the "season premiere" column as well as being marked in bold text.  All start times are U.S. Eastern time.  There are some shows that may have a special premiere date and then follow later that week in their normal time slot day - in these cases I only show the first premiere.  GeekTonic will have a weekly preview of new Winter 2009 airings each Sunday and noting those that will air in HD as well as more information about each series/season premiere in those posts as well.
New Premieres include:  Dollhouse, Kings, Castle, The Unusuals, Lie to Me, Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns, The United States of Tara, East Bound and Down, The Beast, Lie to Me, Trust Me and Harpers Island.
New Reality/game-shows include: Howie Do It, Confessions of a Teen Idol, Superstars of Dance, True Beauty, Homeland Security, 13: Fear is Real, Tool Academy, RelicQuest, The Exterminators and more.
Returning Reality shows include: The Bachelor, The Real World, The Apprentice, American Idol, Amazing Race, Survivor, Dancing with the Stars, Superstars of Dance and more.
Returning Drama and Comedy includes:  Lost, 24, Scrubs, Damages, Medium, Psych, Monk, Kyle XY, Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights, Reaper and more.
It's quite obvious that the networks are moving towards fewer quality dramas and more cheap, reality-type programming.  I'll have to do some stats on the shows from the Winter 2009 listing to see what percent are non-scripted shows - I'm betting it's pretty high unfortunately.   New and returning TV shows on the most anticipated list include:  Lost, 24, Dollhouse, Battlestar Galactica, Kings, Reaper, Damages and unfortunately (in my opinion) American Idol.
Free Printable PDF Guides for the Winter 2009 TV Season:
NOTE:  The PDF Downloads (see above) are up-to-date and comprehensive including some changes and additions not reflected below.

Premiere Date Day Time  Network Season Premiere Show Title
1/1/2009 Thu 9pm A&E 8 The First 48
1/2/2009 Fri 10pm TLC 2 Countdown to the Crown
1/2/2009 Fri 9pm SciFi Stargate Atlantis
1/3/2009 Sat 8pm FOX Cops
1/3/2009 Sat 8pm CBS 1 Game Show In My Head
1/3/2009 Sat 9pm FOX America's Most Wanted
1/4/2009 Sun 10pm ABC Brothers and Sisters
1/4/2009 Sun 10pm CBS The Unit
1/4/2009 Sun 7pm ABC America's Funnies Home Videos
1/4/2009 Sun 8pm VH1 1 Confessions of a Teen Idol
1/4/2009 Sun 8pm ABC Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
1/4/2009 Sun 8pm NBC 1 Superstars of Dance
1/4/2009 Sun 9pm CBS Cold Case
1/4/2009 Sun 9pm ABC Desperate Housewives
1/4/2009 Sun 9pm VH1 3 Rock of Love with Bret Michaels
1/5/2009 Mon 10pm ABC 1 True Beauty
1/5/2009 Mon 8pm CW Gossip Girl
1/5/2009 Mon 8pm ABC FAM Secret Life of the American Teenager
1/5/2009 Mon 8pm ABC 13 The Bachelor
1/5/2009 Mon 9pm CW One Tree Hill
1/6/2009 Tue 10pm NBC Law & Order: SVU
1/6/2009 Tue 10pm FX 5 (pt 2) Nip/Tuck
1/6/2009 Tue 10pm ABC Primetime
1/6/2009 Tue 10pm CBS Without a Trace
1/6/2009 Tue 8pm CW 90210
1/6/2009 Tue 8pm ABC According to Jim
1/6/2009 Tue 8pm ABC 1 Homeland Security
1/6/2009 Tue 8pm CBS NCIS
1/6/2009 Tue 8pm NBC 8 The Biggest Loser: Couples
1/6/2009 Tue 9pm CW Privileged
1/6/2009 Tue 9pm ABC 8 Scrubs
1/6/2009 Tue 9pm CBS The Mentalist
1/7/2009 Wed 10pm FX 2 Damages
1/7/2009 Wed 10pm NBC Law & Order
1/7/2009 Wed 10pm MTV 21 The Real World
1/7/2009 Wed 10pm TBS 1 Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns
1/7/2009 Wed 8pm CW 1 13:Fear is Real
1/7/2009 Wed 8pm NBC Knight Rider
1/7/2009 Wed 9pm SciFi Ghost Hunters International
1/7/2009 Wed 9pm TBS 3 Tyler Perry's House of Payne
1/8/2009 Thu 10pm NBC ER
1/8/2009 Thu 10pm ABC Private Practice
1/8/2009 Thu 8:30pm NBC Kath & Kim
1/8/2009 Thu 8pm NBC My Name is Earl
1/8/2009 Thu 8pm ABC Ugly Betty
1/8/2009 Thu 9:30pm NBC 30 Rock
1/8/2009 Thu 9pm ABC Grey's Anatomy
1/8/2009 Thu 9pm NBC The Office
1/9/2009 Fri 10pm CBS Numb3rs
1/9/2009 Fri 10pm USA 3 (pt. 2) Psych
1/9/2009 Fri 8:30pm CW The Game
1/9/2009 Fri 8pm CW Everybody Hates Chris
1/9/2009 Fri 8pm CBS Ghost Whisperer
1/9/2009 Fri 8pm NBC 1 Howie Do It
1/9/2009 Fri 8pm ABC Wife Swap
1/9/2009 Fri 9pm CBS 2 Flashpoint
1/9/2009 Fri 9pm USA 7 (pt. 2) Monk
1/9/2009 Fri 9pm CMT My Big Redneck Wedding
1/9/2009 Fri 9pm ABC Supernanny
1/11/2009 Sun 8pm FOX 7 24
1/11/2009 Sun 8pm NBC Dateline
1/11/2009 Sun 9pm NBC 8 The Apprentice
1/11/2009 Sun 9pm VH1 1 Tool Academy
1/12/2009 Mon 10pm CBS CSI: Miami
1/12/2009 Mon 8:30pm CBS How I Met Your Mother
1/12/2009 Mon 8pm FOX 24 (part 2 of premiere)
1/12/2009 Mon 8pm CBS Big Bang Theory
1/12/2009 Mon 9:30pm ABC Samantha Who?
1/12/2009 Mon 9:30pm CBS Worst Week
1/12/2009 Mon 9pm ABC FAM 3 Kyle XY
1/12/2009 Mon 9pm CBS Two and a Half Men
1/13/2009 Tue 8pm FOX 8 American Idol
1/14/2009 Wed 8:30pm CBS Gary Unmarried
1/14/2009 Wed 8pm ABC Lost (repeat of last season's finale)
1/14/2009 Wed 8pm CBS The New Adventures of Old Christine
1/14/2009 Wed 9:30pm CBS CSI: New York
1/14/2009 Wed 9pm CBS Criminal Minds
1/15/2009 Thu 10pm CBS Eleventh Hour
1/15/2009 Thu 10pm A&E 1 The Beast
1/15/2009 Thu 8pm FOX Bones
1/15/2009 Thu 8pm CW Smallville
1/15/2009 Thu 9pm CBS CSI
1/15/2009 Thu 9pm FOX Kitchen Nightmares
1/15/2009 Thu 9pm CW Supernatural
1/16/2009 Fri 10pm SciFi 4 (pt.2) Battlestar Galactica
1/16/2009 Fri 10pm NBC 3 Friday Night Lights
1/16/2009 Fri 8pm FOX Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader
1/16/2009 Fri 9pm FOX Don't Forget the Lyrics!
1/17/2009 Sat 10pm HBO 2 Flight of the Conchords
1/17/2009 Sat 10pm SHOW 1 The United States of Tara
1/17/2009 Sat 7pm FOX Hole in the Wall
1/17/2009 Sat 8:30pm FOX King of the Hill
1/17/2009 Sat 8pm FOX The Simpsons
1/17/2009 Sat 9:30pm FOX American Dad
1/17/2009 Sat 9pm FOX Family Guy
1/17/2009 Sat 9pm FOX REAL 3 Solitary
1/18/2009 Sun 8pm HBO Big Love
1/18/2009 Sun 9pm SHOW The L Word
1/18/2009 Sun 10:30pm SHOW 2 Secret Life of a Call Girl
1/19/2009 Mon 10pm A&E 3 Paranormal State
1/19/2009 Mon 8pm FOX House
1/20/2009 Tue 9pm FOX Fringe
1/21/2009 Wed 10pm ABC Life on Mars
1/21/2009 Wed 10pm SciFi 1 RelicQuest
1/21/2009 Wed 8pm ABC 5 Lost (clips at 8pm 2hr premiere at 9pm)
1/21/2009 Wed 9pm FOX 1 Lie to Me
1/22/2009 Thu 10pm USA Burn Notice
1/24/2009 Sat 8pm CMT 3 Gone Country
1/26/2009 Mon 0p TNT 1 Trust Me
1/26/2009 Mon 9pm VH1 2 I Love Money
1/26/2009 Mon 9pm TNT 4 (pt. 2) The Closer
1/29/2009 Thu 9pm FOX 5 Hell's Kitchen
1/31/2009 Sat 8pm NBC Chuck
1/31/2009 Sat 9pm NBC Heroes
2/2/2009 Mon 10pm NBC 5 Medium
2/4/2009 Wed 10:30pm A&E 1 The Exterminators
2/4/2009 Wed 10pm A&E 5 (pt 2) Dog the Bounty Hunter
2/4/2009 Wed 9pm NBC Life
2/12/2009 Thu 10pm BRAVO 2 Millionaire Matchmaker
2/12/2009 Thu 8pm CBS 18 Survivor
2/13/2009 Fri 8pm FOX Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles
2/13/2009 Fri 9pm FOX 1 Dollhouse
2/15/2009 Sun 7pm CBS 60 Minutes
2/15/2009 Sun 8pm HBO 1 East Bound and Down
2/15/2009 Sun 8pm CBS 14 The Amazing Race
2/18/2009 Wed 10pm TV LAND 5 High School Reunion
3/9/2009 Mon 10pm ABC 1 Castle
3/9/2009 Mon 8pm ABC 8 Dancing With the Stars
3/17/2009 Tue 9pm CW 2 Reaper
3/19/2009 Thu 10pm NBC 1 Kings
3/24/2009 Tue 10pm ABC Cupid
4/1/2009 Wed 10pm ABC 1 The Unusuals
4/9/2009 Thu 10pm CBS 1 Harpers Island
TBA TBA ABC 1 Better off Ted
TBA TBA FOX 1 The Goode Family
TBA TBA NBC 1 The Listener
TBA TBA NBC 1 The Philanthropist
Well, that should give you enough TV to watch for a while.  I've done my best to make this guide as accurate and complete as possible, but let me know if you notice a show I missed or if you see anything out of place - it's very difficult to get these right as the networks tend to change things around quite a bit.
Also Let me know in the comments which shows you're most looking forward to.  To get the weekly Winter 2009 premier updates be sure and subscribe to the GeekTonic RSS feed or subscribe to the daily newsletter
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