Saturday, June 13, 2009

BeyondTV 4.9.2 Released from Beta

The folks at Snapstream quietly (extremely quietly as I only found out about this from a tip) released the latest version of the popular BeyondTV PVR software, BeyondTV 4.9.2 (build 6323) out of beta.  This is a minor release, but has a few bug fixes and improvements:

Bug Fixes

- Fix to management of pooled video folders
- During LiveTV or Recorded Show playback, a system's screen saver or auto-lock will end the playback session
- Fixed bug in web admin where large lists would cause timeouts before a page could save
- Fixed several scheduler issues regarding lineup configurations with show duplicates existing on analog/digital
- Fixed a bug that caused ShowSqueeze operations on 4+ hour HD recordings to fail and/or loop
- Improved QAM mapping resolution detection and fixed a bug that would show 1080i for all channels
- Fixed a bug where special characters in LDAP group names would cause them not to import
- Extremely large HD files would report incorrect duration


- Overhaul of the lineup configuration page of the Web UI (Channels.aspx)
- Updated h264 Decoder
- Improvements to the WebUI when using IE8
- Improved handling of recording meta-data when being transferred from an external source

Head over to to get this latest version of BeyondTV and see the full release notes

SageTV 6.5.17 Beta Released – New Features Include System Alerts

SageTV Logo

It's only been a week or so since the last one and true-to-form, the SageTV team has released another beta for their Windows, Linux, Mac and Extender HTPC software programs.  This one includes a very nice new feature as well as a bunch of improvements and bug fixes. 

SageTV “System Message” Alerts

The most important new feature is the 'System Messages' in SageTV.  SageTV users now have a new built-in “alert” menu that lists various important messages from the HTPC system. 

To view the system messages you either select the indicator icon or go to Setup->Help->System Messages

Below is an example of a system alert message.  When you move focus under one of the messages you’ll see detail about the error (I circled the detail info in blue for the screen-shot below).  This example is one caused by a QAM channel that was removed (blocked with encryption) by my cable provider *#@* Time Warner…

SageTV System Messages 3

Messages include things like:

  • Capture device failures (in other words, when a tuner or other capture device fails to “capture the media” for TV recording or any other type of capture it will tell you.)
  • New channels added to lineups – A very welcome addition.  When a new channel is added to your TV lineup, it tells you!
  • Channel removed from lineup – just like the one above except this is an alert when a provider removes a channel.
  • Encoder halt detection
  • EPG server connection failures (alerts you when SageTV fails to connect to the EPG server in past 2 days)
  • Recordings missed due to conflicts – It used to tell you when there was a conflict in advance, but now tells you even after the fact so you know what was missed due to those conflicts.
  • Recording failed completely (is zero bytes in length)
  • Out of disc space available for recordings
  • Out of system memory
  • Status messages otherwise suppressed by the user

Whenever there is a new message, you’ll see an icon indicator (blue/yellow/red) which indicates if there's new messages and what their severity is.  Note this indicator is only supported on the default STV at the moment.

SageTV System Message Indicator

You can clear messages one-by-one by selecting “reset alert” or clear all of them with “delete all.”

SageTV System Message Reset Alert

Here’s one last screen-shot showing many different messages with varying levels of importance noted by the color.

SageTV System Messages

The SystemMessage support also saves all messages to the sagetvmsgs.log file of your computer.   and are intended to handle special failure cases, error messages, warnings and status messages that may otherwise be suppressed from the user.   Read more about the new System Alerts Messages in this SageTV forum thread.  I’ll be updating to the latest version of SageTweet which has now been updated to optionally show these messages in tweet alerts as well.

Many Additional Improvements and Bug Fixes Included

Other SageTV Beta Highlights include:

  • Fixed bug with some ATSC/QAM recordings being recognized as MPEG1 instead of MPEG2
  • Fixed bug where DVD subtitles were showing when they shouldn't be
  • Added new Remap Channel menu, used when choosing to remap a channel in Channel Setup.
  • Added new Add Channel menu where channels are added by editing data fields instead of filling in a series of dialogs.
  • Fixed bug where scheduling conflicts didn't show up for all the Airings of a Favorite if the corresponding show was non-unique
  • Fixed issue with MKV playback using DirectShow where we needed to use a specific source filter (i.e. not our own) (Windows Version)
  • Use AC3 encoding for analog audio now with the HDPVR (added to Linux Version)
  • Fixed bug where smooth FF/REW would sometimes stall on the media extenders
  • On Extenders, added fix for RC5 repeat detection logic so it works better with universal remotes (the disable_rc5 setting should no longer be needed) – This is a big improvement for those of us (like myself) using universal remotes that use RC5 protocol.
  • Many additional improvements/updates to the channel setup process – this continues to be a work in progress to improve the easy of setup and use with channel setup.

The full 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.

SageTV HD Extender Firmware Released 20090611

SageTV continues to update their HD Extender products with improvements and bug fixes.  Over the past week there have been two firmware updates.  Changes include:

HD Theater (HD200) and HD Extender (HD100) Beta firmware version "20090609 1" includes:

  1. Improve seeking in flac files with index (HD200 and HD100)
  2. Fix flac audio decoding for larger packets (file with very high settings still can't playback because of cpu resource limit) (HD200 and HD100)
  3. Fix 5.1 downmix when using software decoding (HD200 and HD100)
  4. Add support for forced subtitles (standalone or v6.5.17 & newer server) (HD200 and HD100)
  5. Fix for network share browsing (HD200 Only)
  6. Fix possible network streaming error case (HD200 Only)

HD Theater (HD200) and HD Extender (HD100) Beta firmware version "20090611 1" includes:

  1. Fix bug when pausing for a long time (HD200 and HD100)
  2. Update content type detection (HD200 Only)
  3. Add new syslog debugging (HD200 Only)
    (Creates sagetv_0.txt and logs/messages & logs/messages.0 in TempLogs share; enable debug logging and Windows File Server option.)

When using the STP-HD200 as a SageTV media extender, it is recommended that SageTV server beta v6.5.17 or newer be used.


Remember, these updates are still in beta so to get the updates you need to follow this procedure: While using the HD200 as a Media Player (standalone mode), use the remote's number pad to enter the code 2382 ('beta') on the HD200's Settings -> System Update menu in order to tell it to look for the beta version

More information at SageTV Forums:  HD200 Firmware Information and HD100 Firmware Information

Friday, June 12, 2009

Deal of the Day - SageTV HD Theater $20 Off!

If you've been waiting for a discount on my personal favorite HTPC extender (also can be used as a standalone media player), now is your chance.

You can get the SageTV HD Theater (HD200) for $179.95 (usually sells for $199.95)

Or if you need the SageTV software as well as an extender get the SageTV Bundle that comes with the HD Theater as well as the Windows version of SageTV for $224.95 (Over $54 less than ordering separate).

To get the discount enter DADGRAD09 coupon code in the SageTV online store at checkout. (Coupon expires June 25, 2009)


For more on the SageTV HD Theater read the GeekTonic Review

Thursday, June 11, 2009

ATI Remote Wonder II with SageTV - RF Remote Goodness

ATI Remote Wonder II

An RF remote control is a great addition to any Home Theater PC and the ATI Remote Wonder II is a great choice.  Unfortunately it isn't sold new any more so you'll have to purchase used (it's available on Amazon used or EBay.  Further the setup for most HTPC software programs might take a little extra work.  Fortunately David Vielmetter has a nice how-to on setting this remote control for SageTV.

"Rather than depending directional infrared signals, it operates using x10 radio frequency signals (~433 Mhz) that can penetrate walls and greater distances than infrared. This makes it much more responsive than than traditional remote controls especially in situations where you need repeating signals. Up until recently I had been using a SnapStream Firefly RF remote control, but after 2 years of use its performance degraded to a virtually unusable state. So I picked up this ATI Remote Wonder II on eBay for $15 and so far it has proved to be a great replacement for my HTPC running SageTV. Here’s how I configured it..."

Read the full how-to use ATI Remote TV Wonder with SageTV at David Vielmetter's blog


For more about SageTV's HTPC software, check out GeekTonic's Ultimate Guide to SageTV

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

HD Movie Trailers for a Dead HTPC Software?

Beyond Media HD Trailers

Over a year ago I used to use Snapstream's Beyond Media HTPC front-end software along with Beyond TV.  Back then I had hopes that Beyond Media would evolve into an integrated HTPC software to take BeyondTV to the next level.  Unfortunately Snapstream abandoned BeyondMedia and even ceased to sell the software and focus on their Enterprise product and leave BeyondTV as a TV-centric, software-based PVR product.  Since then there are still a few users of Beyond Media including one guy who made a new plugin - HD Movie Trailers!

Tommy (goes by Tmar89 on the Snapstream Forums) created a plugin for Beyond Media that retrieves the list of HD trailers from Yahoo! Movies and allows the user to view details and download any of the available trailers in 480p, 720p and/or 1080p. The plugin has two main views: Poster view and Title and Actors view. Also, there is a file library built in to see what's been downloaded and give the user to ability to delete them.

Beyond Media HD Trailers List View

If you're one of the few lonely, abandoned Beyond Media users you can read about the HD Movie Trailers Plugin at the Snapstream Forums


There are a few different plugins (and a built-in way) to get Movie Trailers in SageTV, but I'm not entirely pleased with any of them.  Here's hoping they get an easy-to install and use way of getting HD movie trailers in SageTV soon.  Congrats to Tommy for a job well done on this plugin.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Deal of the Day - 2TB Hard Drive $230

Western Digital 2TB 3.5

It wasn't long ago when 1TB was considered a huge amount of hard drive space.  But this past year 1.5TB and now 2TB drives are becoming more and more common.  I noticed when browsing the deals this morning that NewEgg (affiliate) has the Western Digital 2TB internal hard drive on sale for $229.95 w free shipping.  You can still get a little lower cost per terrabyte with slightly smaller drives but this price isn't too bad.  I think it's time to change out my formerly, decent sized 250GB hard drive as this 2TB drive would fit in nicely with the other 1TBs.

Western Digital 2TB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive $229.95 with Free Shipping!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

TV Premieres: What to Watch 6/7 - 6/13

This weeks list of premiering summer TV shows includes The Closer, Raising the Bar and Weeds among others.  Read on for all of the details.

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


Mary Louise Parker stars in Weeds on Showtime

         Weeds Season 5 Premieres on Showtime Monday Night


NOTE: All Times are Listed for EST

Sunday 06/07/2009

Tony Awards (8pm on CBS - Available in HD) - the 63rd annual Tony Awards Show

Gene Simmons Family Jewels (9pm on A&E-Available in HD) - Season 4 starts with Gene trying to turn Sophie's birthday celebration into the ``Sweet Sixteen of the Century.''

Next Food Network Star (9pm on Food) - Season 5

Bridezillas (9pm on WE) - Season 6 starts with Valerie discovering that her wedding venue is in the middle of dangerous wildfires.

Discovery Special: Inside Planet Earth (9pm on Discovery - Available in HD) - a Special Presentation profile of the Earth's core and its protective powers.

Army Wives (10pm on Life) - Returns for season 3

Brooke Knows Best (10pm on VH1) Season 2 of the reality show starring Brooke Hogan, daughter of the wrestler known as Hulk Hogan

Kendra (10pm on E!) Series premiere.  Kendra Wilkinson grabs the spotlight in this reality series on E! Formerly one of the three stars of Girls Next Door, Kendra has since left the Hefner mansion and is now engaged to Eagles wide receiver Hank Baskett.

Denise Richards: It's Complicated (10:30pm on E!) Season 2.  Really season 2?  The only thing complicated here is how this show got renewed.


Monday 06/08/2009

Law & Order: Criminal Intent (8pm on NBC-Available in HD) - Law & Order CI new for NBC, but already aired

Closer (9pm on TNT- Available in HD) - Season 5 of the closer begins.  One of the few bright spots of summer TV.

Raising the Bar(10pm on TNT- Available in HD) - Season 2 begins.  From the creators of NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues, and L.A.Law; Raising the Bar is about a group of young lawyer friends and former law school classmates who find themselves on opposing sides of this legal drama on TNT.

Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (10pm on Bravo) - New timeslot.

Weeds (10pm on Showtime- Available in HD) Season 5 begins with Mary Louise Parker, marijuana and the suburbs...

Nurse Jackie (10:30pm on Showtime- Available in HD) Series Premiere with the return of Edie Falco to TV.


Wednesday 06/10/2009

Top Chef Masters (10pm on Bravo- Available in HD) - Series premiere of another food-based reality TV show on Bravo


Thursday 06/11/2009

She's Got the Look (9pm on TVLand) Season Premiere


Saturday 06/13/2009

Kings (8pm on NBC- Available in HD) - returns from a long break.  Will end forever after these few summer episodes.


Season Finales this Week:

  • 6/13 10pm "Pushing Daisies" ends forever on ABC
  • 6/13 10pm "The Graham Norton Show" on BBC America


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GeekTonic Week In Review June 7

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

It will be light posting this coming week as I'll be mostly disconnected from the Internet.  I will have a few auto posts though so keep an eye out.

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!