Friday, May 01, 2009

Deal of the Day: Hauppauge HD-PVR $165 Free Shipping!

Hauppauge Computer HD PVR High Definition Personal Video Recorder

Well if you missed that Dell deal on the Hauppauge HD-PVR from March you're in luck.  Dell has the Hauppauge HD-PVR component tuners (read more about it here) for your HTPC setup now for $164.99 with free shipping:

Dell has the Hauppauge HD PVR Component Video  Recorder for $164.99 (219.99 less $25% coupon code 7WD7KLJJNSZX44 - and free shipping!

If you're planning to get one don't wait - the offer expires May 7th 2009. 

Month in Review - April 2009


April is over and Summer is nearly here.  Good news for this blogger who has so much to share with the readers of GeekTonic, but hasn't had enough time to do it.

GeekTonic had another good month - Thanks to you, the readers for reading - I will continue working hard to bring you the content you came here for!

To wrap of April 2009 I wanted to share the most popular posts (as measured by Google Analytics) of the month:

Comcast Presses Forward to Eliminate Analog Channels

Comcast Logo

Based on a conference call Comcast hosted for analysts, Comcast is pressing forward to eliminate most if not all analog channels and move towards an entirely digital lineup. reports that the project named "Project Cavalry" intends to spend

"roughly a billion dollars to reclaim 40 to 50 channels of analog spectrum, freeing up bandwidth for DOCSIS 3.0, more HD channels, and more VOD"

This is good on one hand as it frees up bandwidth for Comcast to add more HD channels, VOD and internet services.  But for many HTPC users it makes those analog tuners useless and forces more towards CableCard, Hauppauge HD-PVRs and for the unencyrpted channels, QAM tuners like the SiliconDust HDHR.  For those who didn't want a cable box in the home this is not the best of news.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hulu gets Disney/ABC and a new shareholder

The popular online video streaming aggregator site, Hulu has picked up another major content provider - this time Disney/ABC.  Disney and Hulu announced today that they were joining forces to provide online video streaming content from Disney properties (this includes ABC Network) and in turn, Disney will become a joint partner along with NBC and Fox.

So we can expect to see additional prime-time content like Lost, Gray's Anatomy, Desparate Housewives from ABC and then some content from ABC Family and Disney Channel along with some older shows.  ESPN which is also owned by Disney wasn't mentioned probably because they recently made a deal for ESPN content on YouTube.

The press release directly mentions the following shows will be on Hulu:

  • Full-length episodes of ABC primetime programs like Lost, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, Samantha Who, Scrubs, Private Practice and popular late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • Full-length episodes of hit ABC Family series like The Secret Life of the American Teenager and Greek
  • Popular series from ABC Daytime and SOAPnet like General Hospital and The View
  • Classic series from ABC's library like Hope and Faith, Less Than Perfect, Commander in Chief, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Dancing with the Stars
  • Select hit programs from Disney Channel like Wizards of Waverly Place and Phineas and Ferb which can be easily accessed from a new DISNEY location in the Channel section of
  • Popular library titles from The Walt Disney Studios
  • Short-form content including webisodes, sneak peeks and episode recaps from ABC Entertainment, ABC Family and SOAPnet

So that leaves us with CBS which is the only major U.S. broadcast network not with Hulu.  CBS streams to though so all major networks seem to be slowly moving towards some online content one way or another.


Full Press Release on


via LATimes

Windows 7 RC 1 Now Officially Available

You don't have to sift through torrents to get the release candidate of W7 any longer. Windows 7 RC1 is available for download for MSDN, TechBeta and TechNet subscribers.   The general public will be able to download RC1 on May 5th.

Prepare for a long wait if you're downloading today as the MSDN, TechBeta and TechNet servers are obviously struggling to keep up with the onslaught of downloads.

MSDN Download for members

via ZDNet

Eye-Fi Explore Video 4GB Wi-Fi Memory Card Review

About 2 years ago a small company innovated with something as simple as a camera storage card by sticking wireless connectivity in it and giving the ability to wirelessly transmit photos from a basic digital camera to a computer and online photo  site wirelessly.  Eye-Fi over time, also added the ability to wirelessly upload video, geotag the photos with the location taken and added many new online sharing sites.  I've just received their latest version of the Eye-Fi with many additional features I thought were missing from their earlier product.


The basic premise behind the Eye-Fi is a solid one.  Take most digital cameras, plug in the Eye-Fi SD or SDHC memory card and you can wirelessly transmit photos to your computer and to your favorite online photo/video sharing site and even automatically geotag that photo with the location the photo was taken.  Yes you can do all of this manually with many additional steps, but not this easily.  The original Eye-Fi was a simple, but smart creation.  This new video-aware version along with Eye-Fi's other improvements make the card even better for those that need the process to be crazy-easy or even those that are just don't want to mess with the additional steps required to do all of the above.  Better yet, if you want it to, it tags where you took the photo as well. 

Eye-Fi Specifications:

Wi-Fi Security: Static WEP 64/128, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK
Note: Shared WEP and Apple’s version of WEP TSN are not supported.

  • Typical Range: 90 feet outdoors and 45 feet indoors
  • Storage Capacity: 2.0GB and 4.0GB (1GB is defined as 10^9 Bytes)
  • Power: advanced power management optimizes use of camera battery
  • Card Dimensions: SD & SDHC standard 32mm x 24mm x 2.1mm
  • Wayport (Now AT&T) Hotspot for uploads and/or geotagging


Review Hardware

I received this latest version of the Eye-Fi card thanks to Dave Zatz of ZatzNotFunny! who had reviewed the earlier version of the Eye-Fi card last year.  This review card is the highest-end version called the "Eye-Fi Explore Video" that runs $99.99 retail.  The card has one year of public wi-fi hotspots (formerly WayPort, but now owned by AT&T) access, geotagging, 4GB SDHC storage and video upload capability.  The review was done using my Panasonic DMC-TZ5 camera that has SDHC and video capability.


My previous experience with the Eye-Fi card has been good.  My parents purchased the 2GB version of the Eye-Fi and got it working to wirelessly upload their photos to their computer and flickr without any problem.  So when I received my first review card for this new version I expected everything to be flawless.  Unfortunately, I had hours of trouble.  After some time with Eye-Fi customer support it was determined that the card was a dud.  While the process was admittedly frustrating, customer support offered to send a replacement card free of charge even before they realized I was reviewing the card.  Good customer service was had and while disappointing to get a bad card initially, Eye-Fi took care of the problem


Setup was as easy as it could be.

I plugged the card into the provided reader (actually you can use the reader or your own SD card reader) and the card was detected immediately on Windows or Mac computers.

Eye-Fi Detected 1

Installing the software and proceeding through the registration process (this "attaches" that card with your account) is done via web page to set up your Eye-Fi account.

Eye-Fi Create Acct 2


Once you've registered the card automatically searches for available wireless access points.  Select your WiFi access point and enter your "network password" (WEP 64/128, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK key).  The setup then runs through a few tests and then your card is connected to the wireless network - you can set up multiple Wireless networks if needed.

Eye-Fi Select Wireless 3


You then can optionally enable hotspot and geotagging.

Eye-Fi Select Wireless 5


You can configure to optionally upload photos to your computer along with options to add the date, use photo creation date or upload date etc.


  • Setup any online web photo/video sharing sites you want to upload to including:

    • Flickr
    • Picasa
    • Smugmug
    • Photobucket
    • WalMart
    • Webshots
    • Facebook
    • Shutterfly
    • Snapfish
    • TypePad
    • MobileMe
    • RitzPix
    • Dotphoto
    • Kodak Gallery
    • AdoramaPix
    • Costco
    • Evernote
    • Fotki
    • Gallery
    • Nikon My Picturetown
    • Phanfare
    • Px
    • Vox
    • Zenfolio


    Eye-Fi in action

    Once you've set the Eye-Fi card up on your computer, using it is easy.  Take your photos and videos anywhere and as soon as you're in range of your home Wi-Fi network or one of the public WayPort hotspots (only the ones that don't require signons) it will upload the photos automatically to the places you designated during setup.  I set mine to upload to my personal HTPC computer (so I can instantly view the photos on my HTPC and laptop digital photo frame) and to upload to my flickr and YouTube account.  Depending on the file size (high quality photos and all videos can take a bit of time), the photos upload automatically - in my case less then one or two minutes for a bunch of photos or a even one or two short video clips.

    If you turn off your camera or go out of the WiFi range before it has uploaded all of the photos, it will continue where you left off next time your camera is on and in range.

    On your computer, you'll see the following pop-up notification show up on your taskbar with a preview of the media being uploaded.


  • Eye-Fi Video Upload

    TRANSFER TIME:The longest it took to upload the highest quality JPEG photo my camera could handle was 15 seconds.  Videos took longer, but no longer then one minute per short video clip.

    E-mail and Text Message Notification

    One of the new features available that I really liked was the ability for notifications to e-mail and/or text message to let you know new uploads had been completed via Eye-Fi.  Below is a screen-shot of an e-mail I received after uploading a single video and photo:Eye-Fi e-mail notification

    You also can see your upload history and adjust settings using the Eye-Fi manager (website based) on the computer where you installed the software on.


    Eye-Fi Manager Upload History



    Public Wireless Hotspots and GeoTagging

    On the version I tested (Eye-Fi Explore Video) there is one free year of public, wireless hotspots access which gives you the ability to upload photos and videos.  I tried this out on four different wireless hotspots (WayPort now owned by AT&T) and of the four, one of them actually allowed me to upload photos.  This is because many of those hotspots require some sort of login - which your camera can't do.  So not quite as useful as it first seems.  When it works though it's quite useful - I had some photos I took at the Kansas City airport that uploaded to my computer at home and to flickr as soon as I snapped the photos.  And best yet, I could see previews of those photos on my phone moments later.

    Geotagging is another really nice feature.  If you enable the feature in the setup, any photos you take on the Eye-Fi card are tagged with the location they were taken at.  This is not an exact science as the location is determined based on the local Wi-Fi it can attach to.  I found that this worked throughout Kansas City where I took my pictures even when I couldn't upload a photo on one of those many public hotspots, the Eye-Fi was still able to grab the location to geotag the photos.  Obviously some will be slightly mis-tagged if there is no nearby Wi-Fi, but it will typically capture the city your in as soon as it can grab a nearby Wi-Fi location.



    One Moment of Concern

    Other than the initial bad card I received, everything worked nearly perfectly with the Eye-Fi.  I say nearly because there was about 10 minutes where I couldn't upload photos.  Why?  Because their website (probably server) was "under maintenance" in the middle of a Wednesday.

    Eye-Fi Website Down

    This exposes an issue with a service that requires a central server the way Eye-Fi does although you could always hack your Eye-Fi if you really needed to.  I don't see this being a big deal, but it definitely is a possible weakness in the service if something ever happened to the company.


    • Wifi transfers aren't as fast as USB - so large numbers of photos and videos will take a longer time to transfer
    • JPEG Only - still no RAW format support
    • will geotag all photos and adds Wayport hotspot uploads (free the first year, $19/yr thereafter). While the geotagging feature is pretty cool, until/unless Starbucks hotposts (AT&T or T-Mobile) are added, I’d purchase the Share card… which I’m surprised they’re not offering (yet?) in 4GB capacities.
    • It's going to upload every single photo you take - even the bad ones.
    • Requires that the camera does not power off otherwise obviously transmission is interrupted
    • Will have an undetermined effect on camera battery life
    • Only available in SD or SDHC cards


    • Super easy to move photos and videos to your local computer and your favorite online websites - no cables, card readers or manual imports needed
    • Geotagging feature works amazingly well
    • 4GB capacity has arrived finally.  And is definitely required if you plan to record video with this card.
    • Automatic notifications of uploaded photos by e-mail and/or text message


    This new version of the card and the improvements made by Eye-Fi make the new Eye-Fi worth it.  They now offer four different versions of the Eye-Fi cards at different prices and features:

    • Eye-Fi Home $49.99 - Basically the original 2GB version that allows you the capability to upload Jpeg photos to your computer wirelessly.
    • Eye-Fi Share $59.99 2GB version with free uploads to online sharing sites
    • Eye-Fi Share Video $79.99 4GB version with free uploads to online sharing sites
    • Eye-Fi Explore Video $99.99 4GB version with all features including lifetime geotagging and 1 year of Wi-Fi hotspots ($14.99 per year after)

    While there are certainly cheaper (and faster) SD and SDHC memory cards available, the convenience and ease the Eye-Fi provides is something you should consider.  I think wireless is a technology we'll begin to see integrated into more and more photo and video cameras going forward, but for now, Eye-Fi is a great way to get the additional features at a low cost and easy-to-setup process.

    I recommend this to most casual photographers and probably the average blogger as well.  I convinced my parents to buy one of the older versions of Eye-Fi and still consider this new one a great option.  With my Panasonic TZ5 camera I was able to snap photos and videoclips and have them arrive on my computer, laptop digital photo frame, flickr and YouTube without even thinking about it.  The slightly higher cost for the Eye-Fi card is definitely worth it for me and I think worth it for a good number of casual photographers as well. 

    Verdict: Recommended


  • Read more about Eye-Fi and purchase at the Eye-Fi website

  • NOTE:  There is also a new Eye-Fi iPhone app that I've just started to test - I'll post another article specifically about that soon.Eye-Fi on the iPhone

  • I'd like to thank the Eye-Fi team and especially Dave Zatz of ZatzNotFunny! for the opportunity to review the Eye-Fi Explore Card.

  • Wednesday, April 29, 2009

    New SageTV HD Theater (HD200) and HD100 Firmware Update Available

    The SageTV team has released a new beta version of the SageTV HD Theater HD200 extender/player and the older SageTV HD100 Extender.

    Highlights include:


    • Improved UI performance
    • Network streaming improvement for media player mode
    • Optimized performance for high bitrate mkv files
    • Added support for zlib compressed subtitles in MKV files
    • Various subtitle support fixes
    • Autologin support for placeshifter mode
    • New ZoomC and Fill Wide aspect ratio modes
    • New customization of menus in standalone mode
    • Added caption and subtitle options for playback options menu on standalone mode
    • Many other bug fixes and improvements

    Read more about the new beta firmware update at the SageTV forums

    Monday, April 27, 2009

    Meedio Gets 2 New Beautiful Chrome Themes

    The popular Meedios HTPC software never lacked attractive themes and now has two new ones to add to their repertoire.  Chrome Energy and CarbonV have arrived to keep those looking for flashy HTPC user interfaces happy.

    First up is an attractive mod of the popular Chrome theme called "Chrome Energy":

    MeediOS Chrome Energy 1

    MeediOS Chrome Energy 2


    Next is a new theme called "CarbonV" based on a "dark carbon" look.  This one requires the latest MeediOS build to test it.

    MeediOS CarbonV 3

    MeediOS CarbonV 2


    Check out the Chrome Energy Theme at

    Check out the CarbonV Theme at Reviews SageTV HD Theater - And Likes It

    SageTV Hd Theater

    SageTV doesn't get a lot of press in the more mainstream tech sites so when one of them reviews one of their products its something to note.  When they mostly understand it and even like it stands out as something to mention.

    This review of the HD Theater was done mostly from the media player perspective - not as a HTPC extender although they did mention both purposes.  They knock it for no integrated Wi-Fi (a valid con if you're using it as a media player), the overly active flashing indicator lights (this annoyed me too) and the remote control.  But other then that they liked it quite a bit as you can tell by the title

    "Little Black Box Streams HD Content Like a Flash Flood"

    They gave it an 8 out of 10 which isn't too bad considering.  I've really come to the realization that the true beauty of the SageTV HD Theater (HD200) is it's crazy-easy use as an HTPC extender.  I now own three of them and have relegated my HTPC Client PC to an extra bedroom.  Why?  Lower total cost, easy setup, easy maintenance, silent, small and it just works.

    Check out Wired's review here


    And check out the GeekTonic review here

    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    GeekTonic Week In Review: April 26

    Really a two-week review this time.  In case you missed anything from the past week(s), here is a summary of the past week's news and stories on GeekTonic.

    Week In Review:

    Coming soon this week on GeekTonic:

    • A review or two of some cool media gadgets
    • Some exciting new SageTV add-ons
    • A new how-to series

    Stay tuned for more in-depth content for Media Gadget Fans at  If you’re in to the Twitter thing, be sure and follow me on twitter under the name GeekTonic.  Thanks for Reading GeekTonic!