Saturday, May 30, 2009

GeekTonic Week In Review May 30

Below is a quick summary of the past week's news and stories on GeekTonic.

  • Hulu Desktop Fine Print – Non-Computers Not Welcome – The terms of service built in to the Hulu Desktop program are pretty clear – not to be used on anything but a computer.  Still, there are several options still available to you that ignore those terms of service all listed out for you in this post.
  • Deal of the Day – Logitech DiNovo Wireless Keyboard – I still don’t own this keyboard, but it’s one of the most popular with the HTPC crowd.
  • HTPC Industrial Metal Case Mod – Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this HTPC case is an example of that for sure.  Still an interesting project.
  • SageTV Keyboard Shortcut Cheat Sheet – I finally finished this cheat sheet enough to share – all of the SageTV keyboard shortcuts are organized and listed.  Available in a free, downloadable PDF.
  • ZuneHD Confirmed with XBox Live Tie-In – I’m actually intrigued by the ZuneHD.  Looks like it will be competing with the iPod touch pretty closely.
  • SageTV 6.5.16 Beta and HD Extender Firmware Released – Another set up updates for SageTV users.
  • Repair Your Own SageTV HD100 Extender – Be sure and go back to this post because it’s been updated.  The CTO of SageTV has lowered the cost of repair and tells us the fail rate (just over 1% of all units) which isn’t too bad actually.
  • DVRMSToolbox Releases to Public - for Free – An update to the powerful DVRMSToolbox
  • TV Premieres: What to Watch 5/25 - 5/30 
  • 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!

    Friday, May 29, 2009

    Hulu Desktop Fine Print – Non-Computers Not Welcome

    Hulu Desktop

    Most readers of GeekTonic already know about the new Hulu Desktop app that was released yesterday.  The idea of Hulu Desktop is to provide a flash-based application you install on your Windows or Mac computer and run a HTPC-like interface to control Hulu.

    Sound familiar?  It should because it mimics many (not all) of the things Boxee’s Hulu app did and the Boxee team is a bit ticked off as they should be.  When I first heard about the Hulu Desktop app I had very low expectations but after using it for a while I’m impressed – it works well and the UI isn’t too bad.  It does use quite a few CPU resources, but worked perfectly on my computer.  It also works with Windows MediaCenter and Apple remote controls.

    So does this mean Hulu is all the sudden okay with you watching Hulu content on your TV?  Could it be true that Hulu is now comfortable with Boxee and other apps that bring Hulu into their software or hardware?  Not really – check out this little excerpt from the Hulu TOS:

    “You may not incorporate the Content into any hardware or software application. This prohibition applies even if you intend to give away the derivative materials free of charge.”

    When you install Hulu Desktop the terms of service says you can install it on:

    “Hulu grants you a license to install and use the Hulu Software on your personal laptop or desktop computer (“Personal Computer”) for the sole purpose of streaming content that is available on Hulu’s site located at (“Hulu Content”) on your Personal Computer.”

    The Hulu Desktop TOS goes on to say this about non-computer devices such as extenders, AppleTV, mobile devices etc:

    You may not download, install or use the Hulu Software on any device other than a Personal Computer including without limitation digital media receiver devices (such as Apple TV), mobile devices (such as a cell phone device, mobile handheld device or a PDA), network devices or CE devices (collectively “Prohibited Devices”). You may not use any hardware, software or service other than the Hulu Software to stream, re-encode, project or transmit Hulu Content. 

    So I’ll take that to mean we won’t see Hulu officially supported by Extenders (SageTV or MediaCenter), AppleTV, or any other CE device.  This doesn’t mean user-developers won’t create add-ons or plugins for those types of devices, but I don’t see a company sticking their neck out to create support without an express agreement with Hulu.  Microsoft for instance might at some point make an agreement with Hulu to offer something on the XBox360’s and pay Hulu a license fee – something that seems unlikely but certainly possible.

    So as of now, where besides Hulu Desktop (and the web page) can you get your Hulu?

    • Boxee
    • PlayOn - Works on XBox360, Playstation 3, HP MediaSmart TV, SageTV HD200 etc
    • – For Vista MediaCenter
    • Understudy – for Mac
    • ReQuest – A High-end HTPC product
    • XBMC
    • Plex - (Thanks Bill)
    • DivxConnected
    • Zink – Just Added this to the list thanks to Kevin (see comments below) for the suggestion!
    • VMCPlayIT - uses PlayOn to get Hulu and other online media to VMC Extenders. thanks Adam!
    • TubeCore - another suggestion by Adam to get Hulu to the VMC Extenders.  This one also uses PlayOn to get Hulu
    • TVersity Pro - Like PlayOn can bring Hulu to XBMC, PS3, Boxee and other devices using UPnP (thanks Andreas)

    If you want to get Hulu onto your Windows MediaCenter, check out MissingRemote’s how-to or you can check out who just added an even easier to install app for Hulu.  Obviously this won’t work with MediaCenter extenders however.

    Deal of the Day – Logitech DiNovo Wireless Keyboard $83

    Logitech diNovo Mini Wireless Keyboard - Midnight Black/Silver (920-000594)

    Dell has this Logitech mini wireless keyboard for $83.59 after 30% off coupon code XSP1HK1Q$J$2B6 

    This wireless keyboard is one of the most popular especially when used as a HTPC keyboard.  It has backlit keys, a 30-ft wireless range, and Media Center controls.

    Logitech diNovo Mini Wireless Keyboard - Midnight Black/Silver (920-000594) $83.59 after 30% Coupon Code: XSP1HK1Q$J$2B6

    Shipping is $6.99. Expires: 6/3/2009

    Thursday, May 28, 2009

    HTPC Industrial Metal Case Mod

    Most people wanting a Home Theater PC these days are happy enough with a HTPC case that is small, quiet and fits in well with the living room.  But sometimes you just want more than what you can get from a store.

    Mad Max Erlandsson (known for his casemods) has created an industrial-looking HTPC case that is actually pretty cool.  And he's showing the step-by-step process he used to build it too.


    Below is a photo of the finished case.

    HTPC Case Mod by Bit-Tech

    Photo from

    His system specs include:

    • Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200
    • ASUS P5Q-EM Motherboard
    • A-DATA 800MHz DDR2
    • Hitachi 250GB Hard Drive
    • FSP 350W 1U PSU

    Be sure and check out the complete case-mod process at

    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    SageTV Keyboard Shortcut Cheat Sheet

    It's been over a year since I started the HTPC keyboard shortcut series and this one is long overdue.  In part four, I'm sharing with you the keyboard shortcut cheat sheet I've compiled for the SageTV HTPC software.

    Other HTPC Software Cheat Sheets:

    1. Windows Vista Media Center and XP MCE Cheat Sheet
    2. Media Portal Cheat Sheet
    3. BeyondTV & BeyondMedia Cheat Sheet
    4. GBPVR Keyboard Shortcut Cheat Sheet
    5. SageTV Keyboard Shortcut Cheat Sheet


    For the full cheat-sheet, get your free PDF download of the SageTV Keyboard Shortcuts complements of GeekTonic


    Note: You can customize the keyboard mappings on SageTV to your liking - more on how to do this below.

    Here's an abbreviated version of the keyboard shortcut cheat sheet:

    Navigation Keyboard Shortcuts

    Home Home Screen HOME 28
    Power On/Off Toggle Toggle Sleep SageTV / Wake SageTV CTRL-Z 19
    Power On Wake SageTV if sleeping Not assigned to key by default 43
    Power Off Puts SageTV to Sleep when running Not assigned to key by default 44
    Close Close SageTV GUI (this is actually a windows command that closes the application in focus) ALT-F4  
    Options Options: Toggle ESCAPE [or] CTRL-O 29
    Search Search Not assigned to key by default 40
    Setup Setup Not assigned to key by default 41
    Select Selects the currently highlighted item and proceeds to next screen ENTER 20
    Delete Delete recording/video etc DELETE 83
    Left/Back Move left (or if no such item) back one screen LEFT ARROW 2
    Back Back one screen ALT-LEFT ARROW 75
    Right/Next Move right (or if no such item) select & goes to next screen RIGHT ARROW 3
    Forward Forward one Menu ALT-RIGHT ARROW 76
    Up Move up UP ARROW 4
    Down Move down DOWN ARROW 5
    Right/Volume Up Right in menu & Volume Up in playback CTRL-RIGHT ARROW 51
    Left/Volume Dn Left in menu & Volume Down in playback CTRL-LEFT ARROW 52
    Up/Ch Up/Next Ch/Next Track Up in menu, Channel Up in TV Playback, Next Chapter in DVD Playback, Next Track in Music Playback CTRL-UP ARROW 53
    Down/Ch Dn/Prev Ch/Prev Track Down in menu, Channel Down in TV Playback, Prev Chapter in DVD Playback, Prev Track in Music Playback CTRL-DOWN ARROW 54
    Channel Up/Next Ch/Next Track/Page Up Channel Up for TV Playback [or] Next DVD Chapter for DVD Playback [or] Next Track for Music Playback [or] Page Up in Menus PAGE-UP 11
    Channel Down/Prev Ch/Prev Track/Page Dn Channel Down for TV Playback [or] Prev DVD Chapter for DVD Playback [or] Prev Track for Music Playback [or] Page Dn in Menus PAGE-DOWN 12
    Page Up Page Up: In Guide or Menu F5 55
    Page Dn Page Down: In Guide or Menu F6 56
    Page Right Page Right In Guide F8 57
    Page Left Page Left In Guide F7 58
    Full Screen Toggle Go in and go out of windowed mode CTRL-SHIFT-F 27
    Full Screen On Full Screen On Not assigned to key by default 97
    Full Screen Off Full Screen Off Not assigned to key by default 98
    Music Music:  Jumps to Music Browser Menu Not assigned to key by default 84
    Online Online Screen Not assigned to key by default 103
    Library Library Not assigned to key by default 42
    Input Change Input Not assigned to key by default 92

    TV Keyboard Shortcuts

    TV If no playback occuring, Starts LiveTV; If on menu=jumps to media playback; If viewing playback=jumps to most recently viewed menu CTRL-V 15
    Live TV Live TV: From Menu goes to LiveTV, During Playback jumps playback to current time for liveTV Not assigned to key by default 63
    Guide Guide: Go to/view TV guide [or] if already in TV Guide=go to current time in guide [or] if on input screen toggle upper/lower case CTRL-X 18
    Recording Schedule Recording Schedule Not assigned to key by default 85
    SageTV Recordings SageTV Recordings Not assigned to key by default 86
    Watched Set Watched: Marks show, video or group of shows as watched so the episode/show won't be recorded again CTRL-W 21
    Favorite Toggle Mark Favorite: Marks show to not record unless manual recording CTRL-K 22
    Don't Like Toggle Mark Don't Like: Marks show as a favorite or if already favorite, removes as favorite CTRL-J 23
    Info Info: During Playback toggles info OSD on/off; In menu goes to detailed menu screen for a highlighted video CTRL-I 24
    Record Record: Add or remove scheduled manual recording or favorite CTRL-Y 25
    Previous Channel Previous Channel Not assigned to key by default 60
    Number Input 0-9 LiveTV or Guide: Go to channel, DVD Playback: Jump to chapter, Music Playback: Jump to Track NUMBER KEYS 0-9 30-39
    Custom 1 Custom 1: Special Command for Custom STV's Not assigned to key by default 78
    Custom 2 Custom 2: Special Command for Custom STV's Not assigned to key by default 79
    Custom 3 Custom 3: Special Command for Custom STV's Not assigned to key by default 80
    Custom 4 Custom 4: Special Command for Custom STV's Not assigned to key by default 81
    Custom 5 Custom 5: Special Command for Custom STV's Not assigned to key by default 82
    Customize/SageTV Studio Customize/SageTV Studio CTRL-SHIFT-F12 77


    This is only part of the shortcuts available.  To view the complete list download this free PDF download of the SageTV Keyboard Shortcuts complements of GeekTonic.


    How to customize the keyboard shortcuts and remote control mappings:

    Don't like the way a keyboard shortcut works?  Want to map your own infrared remote controls buttons to SageTV functions?  Its easy to do using the "commands" setting under detailed setup in SageTV.

    Go to Detailed Setup > Commands > Link Infrared Keystroke to Sage Command. That will provide you a list of currently linked keyboard commands and let's you link new ones if you like.

    Go to Detailed Setup > Commands

    From there you have three options:

    1. Link Infrared/Keystroke to SageTV Command
    2. Show SageTV Commands linked to Infrared/Keystroke
    3. Unlink infrared/keystroke from SageTV Command

    SageTV Commands



    You can select "Show SageTV Commands linked to Infrared/Keystroke" and then any remote control button or key on the keyboard will display the associated function (if any).  For example, below I hit the stop button on my remote control and SageTV shows me the keyboard shortcut for it as well as the named function "stop."  Very useful to see if your remote control is mapped and for the keyboard to see what keys do what.

    SageTV Commands Show



    To re-map a key on the keyboard or map an infrared remote control button, simply select "Link Infrared/Keystroke to SageTV Command" from the menu and select the SageTV command ("Left" for instance) and then hit the button on your remote (or key on the keyboard) that you want mapped to that function.

    SageTV Commands Link


    When I set up my first URC-MX-500 remote control I used this mapping setup so the remote control buttons would work with SageTV as I wanted.  For programmable remotes like the Logitech Harmony's for instance you simply set up the remote to work like the SageTV Extender remotes and then you don't have to map anything.


    If you see a command missing from the list or have any requests for the SageTV Keyboard Shortcut PDF, let me know in the comments.


    For even more information on SageTV, check out the Ultimate Guide to SageTV Page

    Tuesday, May 26, 2009

    ZuneHD Confirmed with XBox Live Tie-In

    Well, the ZuneHD rumors have now been confirmed by Microsoft and it's coming this Fall.  And they are talking about a tie-in with the XBox Live service too.

    Zune HD

    Looks like the ZuneHD is targeted as a direct competitor to the iPod Touch.


    A press release by Microsoft tells us the following about the new ZuneHD:

    • The Zune HD comes with a built-in HD Radio receiver - I like this idea although it's not something I'd pay much extra for to get the feature.  Still its a differentiater that should help.
    • It comes with a OLED touch screen interface and a 16:9 widescreen format display (480x272 resolution)
    • A high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) audiovisual docking station that connects direct to an HD TV in 720p is available at an additional cost
    • Zune HD will include a full-screen Internet browser optimized for multitouch functionality.
    • Zune HD is Wi-Fi enabled, allowing for instant streaming to the device from the more than 5 million-track Zune music store.
    • "Zune will be a premium partner in the Xbox LIVE Video Marketplace."  This means TV, movies and games could be accessible to the Zune through the Xbox Live Video Marketplace

    I see a few things here with the Zune HD that are interesting for sure and I definitely would love to see Apple get a little more competition on the iPod front.  But you know what I see glaringly missing from the Zune HD press release?  There is no mention of any Microsoft MediaCenter tie in - absolutely none.  I hope I'm wrong on this, but this really sounds like once again MediaCenter is not going to get "connected" to another Microsoft hardware device.

    The ZuneHD Website is now live as well.

    via ZDNet

    SageTV 6.5.16 Beta and HD Extender Firmware Released

    SageTV Logo

    It's been 20 days since the last one, but the SageTV has released another beta for their Windows, Linux, Mac and Extender HTPC software programs.  This one is packed full of bug fixes and a few other tidbits.  Highlights include:

    • Update scan frequency for Stockholm Sweden
    • Added new trick to potentially increase HDPVR device stability on Windows when changing channels. Its controlled by the property 'mmc/hdpvr_magic' and it defaults to true.
    • Fixed bug where SageTV service can hang on Vista when transitioning between analog and digital modes on the HVR 2250
    • SageTV Service is no longer removed as part of the upgrade process. The upgrade to 6.5.16 will remove it; but after that it will remain which means all settings related to it will be retained. (i.e. enabled/disabled, login/password, etc.)
    • Added support for 5.1 output when playing back WMAPro audio content (the decoder is now configured to support this)
    • Multiple bug fixes and tweaks for SageTV Placeshifter
    • Fixed bug where we didn't always find the last PTS in an MPEG2 PS/TS file when it was being played back on an extender
    • Fixed bug where VC1 BluRay playback didn't work properly after a seek on the HD media extender
    • Fixed some subtitle bugs on the extenders
    • Various improvements in the channel setup process (more to come soon)
    • Updated Speed TV online videos.

    The list of changes and bug fixes is very long and gets pretty techy.  For a full detailing of the update, check out this thread at the SageTV Forums

    Once you've updated your SageTV server, be sure and get the new beta firmware update for the HD Theater (HD200) and the HD Extender (HD100) as well.

    Core HD200 Theater and HD100 Changes:

    • Improve network performance
    • Fix hang in some mkv files.
    • Modify range of volume control
    • Fix vorbis audio decoding
    • Fix early ending in some streams
    • Improve game dvd playback
    • Add support for HFS+ external drives (HD200 only)
    • Fixed issue with ReadyNAS 'share' security mode and file playback
    • Fixed issue with browsing network shares on Buffalo LinkStation
    • DVD aspect ratio fix
    • Various small fixes

    HD200 MediaPlayer (Standalone Mode) Changes:

    • Updated Speed TV online videos.
    • Updated UPnP automounter command.
    • Added "Rescan Existing Library Files" option in Advanced Setup -> Advanced, used to redetect file format & metadata info for imported files.
    • Added a note to the "import scan started" dialog to tell the user that the dialog can be closed & the now-scanning status icon will disappear when the scan is done. The icon is displayed in the dialog to show the user what it looks like.
    • Added dialogs to notify user when file deletions fail.

    For more info on the SageTV HD Extender firmware update read this post on the SageTV Forums




    via SageTV Forums

    Repair Your Own SageTV HD100 Extender

    There are several SageTV HD100 (the predecessor to the SageTV HD200 Theater) extender owners having issues with their extenders.   The SageTV HD100 extenders in question seem to be experiencing a whistling/hissing sound.  Then, when the extender completely dies, the LED power light blinks constantly every several seconds.  If your HD100 is having this issue, you have two options.  Fix it yourself with the instructions detailed below with a few dollars and some soldering know-how or pay SageTV $60 to repair the box for you.


    With some basic soldering skills and a replacement capacitor from RadioShack you can fix your HD100 extender yourself.  Here's a video showing you the basics of how to do it:



    Read the entire how-to at CocoonTech



    Read the entire how-to at CocoonTech


    If you're not inclined to solder or your HD100 issue is different, contact SageTV.  They are handling HD100 repairs for $60 regardless of the issue.


    The CTO of SageTV posted this update on the situation.  Basically they have reduced the cost of repair for this situation, and also added that there has been just over a 1% failure rate – not bad really, but good to know there is a reasonable route to repair if you happen to experience this problem and you don’t want to deal with the soldering iron route.

    We have worked on continuously improving product quality and in the HD100 case we have had a little over 1% failure rate in the first year. We have tried to provide convenient warranty service for folks in the first year and after the first year we have tried to provide affordable out of warranty service. For any HD100 power supply problems that don't show signs of abuse or intentional damage we have now been able to reduce the out of warranty service price to $39 including return shipping in the US (International additional cost) and we currently include a 1 year warranty extension with the $39 power supply out of warranty service. Customers who have paid the $60 power supply service fee previously can get in touch with SageTV for a store credit. While the HD100 product quality is near industry norms, we have tried to improve the quality of our HD200 and have seen fewer issues with that product and it uses a different power supply from the HD100. We truly appreciate everyone's support, patience and understanding. We will continue to try to provide the best quality product and support services we can at the best price we can.

    DVRMSToolbox Releases to Public - for Free

    Windows 7 Logo

    If you are a MediaCenter user and haven't tried DVRMSToolbox yet, now is your time.  The latest version of DVRMSToolbox is now available to the public (read available to all for free).  DVRMSToolbox works with MediaCenter and SageTV, but the newest feature is its support of the Windows 7 MediaCenter .WTV files.  You'll need DVRMSToolbox along with ShowAnalyzer to get Commercial Skipping working in Windows 7 MediaCenter.

    For more on how to get commercial skipping working with Windows 7 MediaCenter read this.

    For the full release notes and download, head over to

    Monday, May 25, 2009

    TV Premieres: What to Watch 5/25 - 5/30

    This weeks list of premiering summer TV shows includes the Goode Family, the short return of Pushing Daisies and a new drama called Mental.  Read on for all of the details.

    Note:  Download a free, PDF of all summer 2009 TV premieres


    The Goode Family

                The Goode Family Premieres on ABC Sunday Night



    NOTE: All Times are Listed for EST

    Monday 05/25/2009

    Here Come the Newlyweds (9pm on A&E) - A reality show where seven couples fresh from the altar compete for a nest egg worth hundreds of thousands of dollars by accomplishing a variety of contests

    Cake Boss (9:13pm on TLC - Available in HD)  -  Baker Buddy Valastro host a "documentary-soap" about a baker for the stars. Valastro runs a family bakery in Hoboken, MJ where he has baked for Britney Spears and others.


    Tuesday 05/26/2009

    The Apprentice (UK) (9pm on BBCA) - UK version of the nearly forgotten reality show.

    Hitched or Ditched (9pm on CW) - Another reality show - this one puts couples in long-term relationships who have not yet taken the final leap towards marriage to be nominated by a friend who believes it's time for the couple to make a decision:

    Mental (9pm on FOX- Available in HD) - A new Fox drama that has had  very poor reviews.  This episode deals with a doctor who decided to strip down naked to help a patient.  Yes I'm serious.

    The Little Couple (10pm on TLC- Available in HD) - Reality TV with you guessed it, short people.  This picks up where the special "Little People Just Married" left off.

    Wednesday 05/27/2009

    Wipeout (8pm on ABC- Available in HD) - 24 contestants compete against each other and the clock in hopes of winning the $50,000 prize.

    The Goode Family (9pm on ABC- Available in HD) - A new animated series by Mike Judge, creator of Beavis & Butt-Head and King of the Hill. This one is about an obsessively "green" family whose politically correct life results in constant laughs.


    Friday 05/29/2009

    What Not to Wear (10pm on TLC- Available in HD) - Reality TV


    Saturday 05/30/2009

    Maneater (10pm on Lifetime) - miniseries on Lifetime

    Pushing Daisies (10pm on ABC- Available in HD) - It's back for the last few episodes.  All episodes will be over by June 13th.


    Season Finales this week:

    • 5/25 10pm "In Treatment" on HBO
    • 5/26 8pm "Reaper" on CW (series finale)
    • 5/26 10pm "The Phone" on MTV
    • 5/26 10:30pm "My Boys" on TBS
    • 5/29 11:35pm "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (series finale)
    • 5/31 10pm "Breaking Bad" on AMC

    Click Here If You Would Like to Get a Weekly E-mail for GeekTonic TV Premieres & News

    Sunday, May 24, 2009

    GeekTonic Week in Review May 24

    Below is a quick summary of the past week's news and stories on GeekTonic.

    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!