Saturday, August 08, 2009

TV Premieres: What To Watch 08/09 – 08/16

Several premiering shows this week – and I’m changing the preview to be for Monday through Sunday instead of Sunday to Saturday as in the past.  Hopefully this will ensure you have the opportunity to see the post BEFORE the show airs.


Mad Men

                        Mad Men returns to AMC next Sunday, 8/16


NOTE: All Times are Listed for EST

Sunday 08/09/2009

Who Wants to be a Millionaire (8pm on ABC) – It’s popular and a game show, but seriously can’t they afford to do this in HD?

Shark Tank (9pm on ABC) – A new, business-themed reality show by Mark Burnett where contestants pitch business ideas to major investors, er "sharks." Based on Japanese reality show Dragon's Den.

Randy Jackson Presents: America’s Best Dance Crew (9pm on MTV) – Season 2 3 of Randy Jackson’s reality TV show.

There Goes the Neighborhood (9pm on CBS) – A new reality TV show/contest where 8 families in a suburb cul-de-sac get pitted vs. each other to win upgrades to their lives & homes.

Kourtney & Khloe (10pm on E!) – A new reality TV show produced by Ryan Seacrest that follows Kourtney & Khloe Kardashian as they move to Miami to start a business.  Wow, we’re really rushing to the lowest common denominator aren’t we.

Monday 08/10/2009

Teen Choice Awards (8pm on Fox)


Wednesday 08/12/2009

Man vs. Wild (9pm on Discovery - Available in HD) – A new show on Discovery where Bear Grylls travels around the globe looking for the toughest, most dangerous tourist spots & locations.  Then he shows us how to survive in them.

How’d You Get So Rich (10pm on TVLand) – Series Premiere of a new reality TV show hosted by Joan Rivers.  She asks wealthy people "How'd you get so rich?"

Make My Day (10:30pm on TVLand) – Series Premiere of a new reality TV show where unsuspecting contestants get surprised by the hidden camera.  Hmm sounds verrry familiar… Candid Camera perhaps?


Sunday 08/16/2009

Mad Men (10pm on AMC) – Season 3 begins



Season Finales this Week:

  • 8/09 9pm “'Law & Order: Criminal Intent” on USA
  • 8/09 10pm “Jesse James is a Dead Man” on Spike
  • 8/09 10pm “In Plain Sight” on USA
  • 8/10 10pm “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List” on Bravo
  • 8/11 9pm “NYC Prep” on Bravo
  • 8/12 9pm “Ghost Hunters Intl” summer finale on SyFy
  • 8/12 10pm “The Philanthropist” on NBC
  • 8/13 10pm “Tosh.0” on Comedy Central
  • 8/14 8pm “Mental” 2 hour finale on Fox
  • 8/14 8:30pm “The Goode Family on ABC
  • 8/16 7pm “Easy Money” series finale on CW


The GeekTonic Ultimate Guide to the Fall 2009 TV Season is ready and will be posted Monday – stay tuned!

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

GeekTonic Week In Review – August 8

I’m getting back into the blogging groove so expect more media-tech posts coming your way.


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!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Silicondust releases Gold Version of HDHomeRun Tuner Software

The ever popular SiliconDust HDHomeRun dual network tuner received a software & firmware update to Gold this week with Release 20090806.  The update includes some nice improvements all around including those for SageTV, GBPVR, MediaPortal and even XBMC!

This tuner is one of my all-time favorites – especially useful if you have any QAM channels in the clear.  Read my original and somewhat dated review on the HDHomeRun for more.

Firmware Update

Release 20090806:

  • Report TSID in streaminfo for use with channel matching.
  • Speed up detection of audio channels with single-frame picture - fixes problem where audio channels may be missed by the channel scan.
  • Improvements to the handling of strong adjacent channels.
  • Improvements to signal reporting.
  • Fix lockup/reboot when under TCP DoS attack.
  • Fix situation where firmware may not upgrade on the first attempt. Fix applies to future upgrades.
  • Add PnPX support.
  • ATSC: Handle ClearQAM streams that contain invalid tables from rebroadcasting OTA channels.
  • TECH: execute /sys/boot on link up rather than power up.
  • TECH: prevent timing-out of tune requests.


Software Update

Release 20090806:

  • Windows: Application support:
    • GBPVR: Automatically add HDHomeRun tuners to the GBPVR bda.ini file.
    • GBPVR: Automatically add digital cable channels that contain unencrypted programs to GBPVR qam.ini file.
    • MediaPortal: Filter digital cable channels to only report channels that contain unencrypted programs.
    • SageTV: Improvements to the handling of SageTV when user has disabled UAC.
    • XBMC: Update generated files to support second tuner.
  • Windows: HDHomeRun Setup:
    • Faster channel scan for US-cable.
    • Improvements to lineup server interaction to improve channel results.
    • Improvements to guide name/number conflict handling.
    • Workaround a Windows bug causing some DVB-T channels not to work in MCE 2005 and WMC TV-Pack.
    • Fix problem where multiple VLC notification icons were left by the clock.
    • Reuse same instance of the preview application when possible.
    • Fix in-use errors reported on some systems.
    • Add option for Canada WMC TV Pack if WMC TV Pack is detected.
    • Update to firmware 20090806 - Firmware Changelog.
    • GUI improvements.
  • Windows: HDHomeRun QuickTV:
    • New HDHomeRun QuickTV application for viewing live TV.
  • Windows: HDHomeRun Config (GUI)
    • Avoid changing the selected tuner on rescan.
    • Reuse same instance of the preview application when possible.
    • Fix problem where multiple VLC notification icons were left by the clock.
    • Fix in-use errors reported on some systems.
    • GUI improvements.
  • Windows BDA Driver:
    • Fix graph reference count leak.
    • Fix bug where the signal strength may be misreported in remap mode for a non/existant channel.
  • Windows Media Player Plugin:
    • Support additional third party h.264 codecs.
    • Display error message if a codec is missing that is needed to play the channel.
    • Add dynamic tuner allocation support.
  • Mac: Installer:
  • libhdhomerun:
    • Faster channel scan for US-cable.
    • Track TSID during channelscan for use with channel matching.
    • Resource-lock tuner during hdhomerun_config channel scan.
    • Skip discover of device ID when device ID is known.
    • Fix min/max conflict compiling with MythTV.
    • Fix possible early return from msleep.
    • Start streaming API updated to fall back to UDP if firmware does not support RTP.
    • Separate out debug disable from debug close APIs.
    • Speed up discovery process.
    • Add dynamic tuner allocation support to libhdhomerun.

Via SiliconDust Forums

DVBLink Releases 2.0 Beta 1 with Multiple HD-PVR Support

DVBLink for HDPVR 2.0 Beta 1 has been released today, with major improvements in term of usability.  Many new features have been added with the most significant one being multi-Hauppauge HD-PVR support!

Updates include:

  • Full support for Multiple HD PVRs
  • Built-in line-up editor in HDPVRBridge Properties (simplified version based on GuideTool)
  • Improved smart upgrade installation (you won’t need to save your configuration manually anymore)
  • Introduction of hooks feature (change-channel, on-idle, on-standby, on-device-error-power-cycle)
  • Various UI/Configuration edition improvements.
  • Product version validation

Be sure and read this disclaimer though:

This version is for DVBLink for HDPVR experienced users that want to give a shot at the new features (especially the multi-hdpvr). Beginners, but Computer literate users, can also try installing it. Even if the installation documentation is not accurate yet the installation is very simplified and we are confident users will be able to find their way around it.

Contrary to the 1.0 Beta versions, this version is fully licensed. That means:

  • If you have a license for DVBLink for HDPVR, your license will still be valid/compatible with 2.0 Beta and with the future 2.0 Release
  • If you don’t have a license for DVBLink for HDPVR and you have installed the 30-days version, the 30-day counter won’t get reset with the 2.0 Beta installation
  • If you buy a license using the 2.0 Beta, the license is valid both for the old 1.0.2 version and the future 2.0 version as well


Read the official announcement & get the download at 1geek1tool

ShowAnalyzer 1.0 Released as Public Beta

Dragon Global has released their ShowAnalyzer commercial detection software for HTPCs as a public beta.  This version of ShowAnalyzer works with Windows 7 and brings many great commercial skipping improvements to the table.

If you were one of the private beta testers for ShowAnalyzer, Jere, the developer of SA is giving you a one-year free upgrades license!  Current paid customers get a license for free as well.

For newcomers to Show Analyzer, buy before 10/22/2009 and you get lifetime free upgrades for $19.98.  After that it will cost $29.98 with one-year upgrades.

via theDigitalMediaZone


If you use SageTV or BeyondTV or one of the many other HTPC software programs and want to know how to get commercial skipping working with your Home Theater PC setup check out this article.

Deal of the Day – Samsung 1.5TB Drives 2 for $200

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F2EG 1.5TB 3.5

Newegg (affiliate) has a special deal for the Samsung 1.5TB hard drives.  Put 2 in your cart to see the $199.98 reduced price:

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F2EG 1.5TB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive $119.99 for 1 drive or $99.99 per drive for 2  with free shipping!

Thanks to nethead on twitter for the tip!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wireless for the SageTV HD Theater Has Arrived

We told you that the SageTV HD Theater was getting wireless soon, but didn’t know how soon.  Well the wait is over because SageTV announced that the latest SageTV HDTheater (HD200) firmware beta has been released for the masses.  In this beta includes support for Wireless N via a supported wireless N USB dongle.

They are starting with support for a single adapter at this point although there may be more in the future.  The supported adapter is a 802.11 a/b/g/n network adapter from 'Encore Electronics' - model #ENUWI-N.  The adapter is available at Newegg and on sale for $16.99 (sale ends Thursday) so go get one already!

ENCORE ENUWI-N USB 2.0 802.11n Wireless Adapter

Newegg (affiliate) ENCORE ENUWI-N USB 2.0 802.11n Wireless Adapter $16.99 (save $23.00)

I also see the Enuwi-N priced at $14.99 plus $4.99 shipping at an Amazon Store (affiliate)

I’m sure you can find it at other stores as well.  It officially supports G and N networks.  I would highly recommend you stick with wireless N to get the best chance of a good experience with this – especially with HD video.

SageTV had this to say about their testing of the device and the HD Theater:

In our testing we've been able to get 20-30 Mbps on G networks. On N networks we're able to achieve 40-50Mbps.  These numbers will of course vary depending upon a wide variety of conditions including device placement, access point location and signal interference.
This device uses the Ralink 2870 chipset; so other devices which use the same chipset *may* also work; but have not been tested and are not officially supported at this time. However; if you do have success using a different wireless device with the same chipset, please let us know.

The firmware update also includes

  1. Updated file sharing code for better compatibility
  2. Fix issue with some large mkv files index (Also for HD100)
  3. Fix audio video sync issue of some AVI files with non standard encoding of audio offset (Also for HD100)
  4. Fix audio on some AVI files that had 0 size audio blocks (Also for HD100)
  5. Various core fixes (Also for HD100)

Read the official announcement at the SageTV forums and this post listing the complete firmware update


So what if you don’t have a Wireless N router or switch and want to get in on the wireless action?  Well I always say don’t use wireless for streaming video unless you definitely have no wired option – but there are those times you just need wireless.  Here are a few decent routers as options for you (links all Newegg affiliates):

1. WRT400N

LINKSYS WRT400N Simultaneous Dual-Band Wireless Router

LINKSYS WRT400N Simultaneous Dual-Band Wireless Router on sale for $113.60 Free Shipping! a really good deal in my opinion.


2. DLink DIR 825

This D-Link is one I had multiple people suggest to me.  It’s true dual band and feature-rich

D-Link DIR-825 Xtreme N Dual Band Gigabit Router $129.99 Free Shipping


3. DLink DIR 655 2

D-Link DIR-655 Xtreme N Gigabit Router $94.95 Free Shipping – another good price


4. Linksys WRT610n

LINKSYS WRT610N Simultaneous Dual-N Band Wireless Router $132.99


If you have your own suggestions on Wireless N routers let us know in the comments.  I’ll be reporting on how well the wireless works with the HD200 soon!

Tame Those Media Codecs with the AntiPack


If you’ve spent much time trying to play a video file on your computer you’ve likely run into a codec pack or two.  You’ll sometimes be told “install this or that codec” to fix a problem you’re having with a certain video file.  Then you’ll hear the much more sane advice (in my opinion) to never install a codec pack – especially if it’s on your beloved HTPC.  Well a nice little tool has been created to handle this problem by someone who hates codec packs – and yes the tool is ironically part codec pack – but a good one…

Andrew Van Till, the developer for DVRMSToolbox and many other excellent HTPC-centric applications created his own application which is part tool, part codec pack.  He calls this application “AntiPack” and has developed it to help guide you through the installation of codecs in a less haphazard way that walks you through the installation of the specific codecs you need for your system. 

Note that AntiPack is currently for x32 systems so if you’re using x64 you should wait until he updates it for those systems.

UPDATE/CORRECTION:  Andy tells me AntiPack should work fine for X86 players such as SageTV running on a x64 OS.  It will not work for x64 players.

I personally don’t deal with codecs too much any more as most of my TVs are connected with my HD Extenders.  But I do have one computer-based HTPC client and of course the server HTPC.  Even if you don’t have an HTPC, this app is a very useful tool that can save you hours of time dealing with problematic codec installs and uninstalls.

Get the download and instructions at Andy’s babgvant site (also crossposted at MissingRemote)

College Football in HD Guide

For those college football fans out there you know summer is nearing its end and the college football season is almost here.  I ran across a few college football guides you might want to check out including the HDTV guide and the overall schedule.

College Football HD TV Schedule

College Football HD TV Guide

Check out the entire schedule at

Note that this site has similar guides for other sports as well.

NCAA College Football Schedule

NCAA College Football Schedule

For the full NCAA college football schedule check out ESPN


By the way, if you’re a sports fan & a comcast subscriber and have been waiting for the NFL Network, you’re in luck.  Mari at ZatzNotFunny! is reporting that Comcast has added the NFL Network.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

TV Premieres: What To Watch 08/02 – 08/08

More summer TV premieres arrive this week including Monk & Psych.  Read on for all of the details.

NOTE:  I’m a bit late with this week’s “TV Premieres.”  I normally work to post this no later than Sunday mid-afternoon, but this week had a few unavoidable distractions.  Should be back on schedule next Sunday along with a special Fall 2009 TV Season Guide for next Monday to prep you for your Fall premieres!



                           Psych returns to USA this Friday


NOTE: All Times are Listed for EST

Sunday 08/02/2009

Legally Blondes (8pm on ABC Family - Available in HD) Special Miniseries

Defying Gravity (8pm on ABC - Available in HD) – A new sci-fi show that takes place in the near future and focuses on the lives of eight astronauts from five different countries on a six-year mission through the solar system.  I missed this one so I’ll be watching it on Hulu.  You can too – here's the link

Wednesday 08/05/2009

Moment of Truth (9pm on FOX - Available in HD) Returns from hiatus

Giuliana & Bill (9pm on Style) – Series Premiere of a new reality TV show with former Apprentice winner Bill Rancic along with Style Channel anchorwoman Giuliana.


Thursday 08/06/2009

Skins (9pm on BBCA) – Season 2 premiere of this teen drama from across the pond.


Friday 08/07/2009

Monk (9pm on USA – Available in HD) – You know the drill.  Monk returns for one more season.

Psych (10pm on USA – Available in HD) – A favorite in our house.  It’s cheesy, but entertaining – especially if you like pineapple ;)


Season Finales this Week:

  • 8/04 9pm “'Paris Hilton's My New BFF'” on MTV
  • 8/06 8pm “So You Think You Can Dance” 2 hour finale on Fox
  • 8/06 9pm “Burn Notice” on USA ends its short summer season.
  • 8/08 10pm “Dirty Sexy Money” on ABC – the end of this show forever.


The GeekTonic Ultimate Guide to the Fall 2009 TV Season is ready and will be posted next Monday – stay tuned!

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

Month in Review – July 2009


The summer is going fast!  Another busy month around here but I’m doing my best to keep you GeekTonic readers up-to-date. 

GeekTonic continues on a steady diet of HTPC and media-tech goodness.  Thanks to you, the readers for reading - I will continue working hard to bring you the content you came here for!

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


    Other Content from past months on the Most Popular List include:


    More coming soon.  I hope to get back to my regular posting schedule very soon as I have a huge stockpile of articles I need to finish.  Stay tuned.

    Unraveling Netflix Pricing Strategy

    The Consumerist took on the Netflix Pricing Strategy in an article today with some interesting analysis.  It’s a short write-up, but they delved into the different rental options and the corresponding prices.  I thought I’d take it a step further and satisfy my need to get into the numbers a bit more…

    Analyzing the Netflix Subscription Plans

    Netflix Rental Plans

    Their signature plan is the 3-out-at-a-time so they are keeping it pretty cheap at $16.99/month to compete with Blockbuster’s $16/month but the extra for the 4th, 5th or more out at a time are relatively costly for the convenience. 

    To really get into the accounting side of the brain, here’s a chart of the DVD (not Blu-Ray) pricing for the unlimited plans at Netflix:

    You’ll note the per disc cost is actually highest for one-out-at-a-time (the one I’m using).  And still high for 2, but 3-out-at-a-time is extremely low in comparison.  The thought is, most of us will take a while to return movies.  And the more you have the longer it takes to watch them right? So Netflix is counting on those with the 3, 4 and more plans will cost them less just because those extra discs will just sit waiting to be watched where those like me with my one disc are more likely to watch, return and repeat meaning quicker turnaround and more postage.  Strange logic, but it probably works out that way.

    Beating Netflix “Throttle”

    I used to be a pretty heavy user, but don’t have the time to watch movies as much as I used to.  So these days I’m on the 1-out-at-a-time and supplement the urge for an instant movie with Redbox and the watch-now feature that comes with my Netflix subscription.  I was a little surprised with the Consumerist article linked to my somewhat dated (2007) article titled:  “Beat Netflix Throttle - 7 Steps to Getting the Netflix Movie You Want” because I’m just not a heavy user anymore and as such haven’t had any trouble getting the movies I want.  I do definitely order new releases for delivery Tuesday which works 99% of the time except for the occasional Blu-Ray.


    How about You?

    If you’re using Netflix what plan are you on?  How fast are you at returning your movies to Netflix?

    via the Consumerist