Thursday, October 22, 2009

SageTV Remote for the Palm Pre

Palm Pre

Are you one of those lucky people that has the PalmPre smartphone  AND the SageTV HTPC software?  If you are you’ll want to check out this new PalmPre app that brings the SageTV web interface into the PalmPre.

The SageTV Remote app for the Palm Pre is a “front-end” to the SageTV Web Server.  It allows you to use your Palm Pre to control your SageTV HTPC just like a remote control.  There are no streaming functions yet at least but it definitely looks slick on your Palm Pre phone…



Palm Pre SageTV Remote 1


Palm Pre SageTV Remote 3Palm Pre SageTV Remote 2



Read more and get the download at the forums

Deal of the Day – Roku Netflix, Amazon VOD Player $89.99

If you’re interested in the Roku – that little box that plays back Netflix, Amazon VOD and other online video content to your TV, you might want to check this deal out.

Amazon (affiliate) has the Roku for $89.99 and free shipping.  This is a refurbished unit (has 1yr warranty) but a good price.

Roku Digital Video Player $89.99 free shipping (refurb)



For other media gadget deals follow  Here’s a few recent deals from that site:

Kindle for the PC

I’m definitely a fan of the eBook Reader devices.  If you’re one who reads many books you’ll want something that’s easy on the eyes – you know, like paper.  And e-ink is really the way to accomplish that since unlike LCD screens it doesn’t strain the eyes.  But there are those times when it’s nice to “extend” your book to other devices.  My wife has used the Kindle app on her iPhone to continue reading a book she’s been reading on the Kindle during times when she’s stuck waiting in line for example.

Today Amazon and Microsoft announced a new Kindle app that lets you extend those Kindle books a little farther – on a Windows PC.  Beyond adding yet another device you can access your Kindle eBooks on, this app adds a few additional features to note including multitouch capability and color.  Here’s the feature list mentioned on

  • Get the best reading experience available on your PC. No Kindle required
  • Access your Kindle books even if you don't have your Kindle with you
  • Automatically synchronizes your last page read and annotations between devices with Whispersync
  • Create bookmarks and view the annotations you created on your Kindle


Why is this a really big deal?  I’m glad you asked.  This will allow the Kindle books to work on TabletPC’s sporting Windows 7 and multi-touch.  Not for me, but I know a lot of you want a multi-purpose computing device that also functions as a usable eBook Reader.

Here’s a nice hands-on look I found on

System Requirements:

  • A PC with a 500MHz Intel or AMD processor or faster
  • At least 128MB of RAM
  • Screen resolution of 800x600 or greater
  • Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later, or Windows Vista or Windows 7
  • 100MB of available disk space
  • I think this is potentially as big or bigger news compared to this week’s Barnes & Noble Nook eReader.  Make no mistake, the day of the eBook breakthrough into mainstream is extremely near.

    Read more about the PC Kindle Reader at

  • International Kindle Price Drops

    Kindle Intl Price Drop

    Well that didn’t take long.  Kindle’s first move after Barnes & Noble Nook announcement is to drop the cost of the “international” Kindle to match the Kindle 2 price of $259.  It only makes sense to make the two the same price and honestly they should just make one Kindle 2 that does it all anyway.  Not really a positive for Sprint since the international version sports an AT&T radio instead of the Sprint radio.

    I expect to see more of a response from Amazon in the next few months – more price drops and probably features to match the Nook’s current advantage.  Don’t expect much though until Amazon see’s how the Nook really compares in real life.  But if the Nook reviews are on the positive side Kindle will definitely have some responding to do.

    So Kindle Pricing now looks like this:

    Kindle Wireless 6” (aka Kindle 2) $259

    Kindle Wireless 6” Intl $279 Now $259

    Kindle DX 9.7” $489


    And Barnes & Noble’s Nook sells for $259


    via Engadget

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Popcorn Hour C200 Media Player Review – Awesome Hardware

    Popcornhour C200

    Those of you who follow me on GeekTonic know that I spend a lot of time with HTPCs, Media Players and all gadgets that can play back media.  When Syabas announced the new Popcorn Hour C-200 I was intrigued.  From the specs it was clear that this device came to the party prepared.  It touts the ability to play back a multitude of different media file formats and it comes in a sleek-looking set-top device as well.  So how well does this new Popcorn Hour C200 perform?  Read on to find out.

    I’ve used the earlier version of the Popcorn Hour A-110 a little and have used the SageTV HD Theater as a media player (it works as both media player and/or full-blown HTPC), but until now have never seen a media player with as much promise and capability in the hardware department as the PCH C-200.  I had a short post up when my review unit PCH C-200 arrived and originally planned to have the review out shortly after that, but I ran into a few bumps – partly due to firmware update issues and partly because of a rough patch in my schedule.  Regardless I have a lot to share about this incredibly media player and a lot of information you’ll find useful when deciding whether this is the one for you. 

    Read on for all of the details and photos after the jump

    iPhone Kindle App Update – 1.2

    Kindle iPhone App

    Amazon has released an update to the free, iPhone Kindle eReader app.  Nothing mind-blowing here, but for those of you who use this app regularly (yes this includes my wife) check out the list of updates:

  • Tap and hold on a word to create a note or a highlight. Whispersync will back up & sync annotations with your other Kindle devices
  • Locked portrait or landscape position is remembered across sessions
  • Bug fixes
  • If you’re still using 1.0 you might notice the updates from 1.1 too:

    • ability to choose different backgrounds
    • ability to change text color

    Kindle iPhone App Link


    via iPhone Freak

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    CableCard and SageTV Sittin’ in a Tree

    CETON CableCard Tuner

    One of the things Microsoft has had over competing HTPC software makers was the CableCard tuner which allows native tuning of all digital CableTV content whether it is encrypted or not.  Yes you can do this with the Hauppauge HD-PVR as I continue to do very successfully, but CableCard doesn’t require you to have a separate, set-top Cable Box.  The problem till now has been that CableCard only works on Microsoft Vista Media Center and Microsoft Windows 7 Media Center.  SageTV, BeyondTV and the other HTPC software programs have been left out of the CableCard party.   Well thanks to Andy Van Till, the developer known for DVRMSToolbox, FWChannel Proxy and many other HTPC apps for Media Center and SageTV we just might have that CableCard solution for SageTV.

    Until this year CableCard really wasn’t that enticing to most SageTV users, but now with “relaxed” restrictions for CableCard, interest definitely has increased.  How is Andy getting CableCard to work with SageTV you ask?  Well in very basic terms, he’s created an app called SageMCTuner (named from Sage + MediaCenter + Tuner) that turns Windows Media Center into a Network Encoder – for simplicity’s sake think of it this way: 

    SageMCTuner turns Windows MediaCenter tuners into just another tuner for SageTV so that SageTV can access those CableCard tuners to record content and watch LiveTV.


    How SageTV Tunes with CableCard Tuners

    Based on Andy’s Blog Post about this here’s the basics of what happens behind the scenes to make all of this work:


    • SageTV sends a request to Windows Media Center and tells it to tune a channel
    • The SageMCTuner app creates a C2R request and submits it to Windows Media Center
    • Media Center then begins recording – the recording file location is noted by SageMCTuner
    • SageMCTuner changes the Media Center file container to a .TS file recognized by SageTV in SageTV’s recording directory
    • SageTV begins playback


    Looking for Testers

    All of those details don’t really matter to most of us as long as the end result is a painless, trouble-free way to record with CableCard tuners in SageTV.  I first caught wind of Andy’s work on this when he tipped us off in this blog post.  This week he posted what he’s calling an “experimental release” where he’s hoping to find people who have CableCard tuners with the “relaxed” firmware, Windows Media Center AND SageTV so he can get some testing of this work and perfect it.  Even EngadgetHD caught the importance of this and posted a write-up about it.

    If you’re interested in trying this out and helping Andy test it, don’t wait – head over to Andy’s babgvant blog to read more and get the download.  And don’t forget to let us know here at GeekTonic how it goes!

    Barnes & Noble Announces Nook - New Semi-Color eBook Reader

    Nook eReader from Barnes & Noble Color

    The “nook” ebook reader arrives from Barnes & Noble and you can pre-order one today.  Here’s a few quick facts about this new eReader:

    • Cost: $259 – just like the current Kindle 2, this one costs $259.  Keep in mind that you’ll be paying sales tax on this also since there’s a Barnes & Noble in about every place you might purchase from.
    • Powered By Android – They call it “android based” meaning its somewhat powered by Google’s android.
    • Dimensions – 7.7 x 4.9 x 0.5 Inches (compares to 8X5.3X0.36 on Kindle)
    • Weight – 11.2 ounces (compares to 10.2 oz of the Kindle 2)

    Nook eReader Main Display

    • Main Display – e-ink display is from Vizplex and is a 600X800-pixel screen with 16 shades of gray color (yes you read right color) screen.  This main display is not a touch screen or color unfortunately

    Nook eReader Color, Touchscreen LCD

    • 2 Screens?  Yep, there is the main display where the book itself is read and the lower, 3.5” screen where you select the book and other details.  This lower “screen” is touchscreen unlike the main reading area
    • Wireless – Includes built-in WiFi (802.11 b/g) AND AT&T 3G

    Nook eReader Connectors

    • Storage – 2GB internal AND a microSD expansion slot up to a total of 16GB of storage(supplemental microSD or microSDHC cards. Class 2, 4, and 6 cards are also supported)
    • Others Stuff – MP3 Player (you can listen to music & read from ebooks at same time) , built-in mono speaker, 3.5mm headphone jack & micro USB port.  Font sizes can be adjusted for easy viewing.  The back cover is replaceable/interchangeable with 4 color choices.
    • Format Support: The nook supports ePub, PDB, PDF, MP3, JPG and possibly other formats
    • Custom Screensaver – The nook supports loading of your own wallpaper/screensaver images using JPG, GIF, PNG or BMP formats Find out more about nook
    • Notation – supports note making, highlighting etc.
    • Sharing – A unique feature of the nook allows “lendme” which lets users share from nook to nook. The FAQ says that starting Nov. 30th, you can lend to and from any device with the Barnes & Noble eReader app, including PC, Mac OS®, BlackBerry®, iPhone™ and iPod® touch. All you need to know is your friend’s email address. You can lend many of your eBooks one time for a maximum of 14 days. When you use our LendMe™ technology, you will not be able to read your eBook while it is on loan, but you always get it back.
    • PDF Support?  Yep.  According to the FAQ it supports PDF documents
    • Battery – The battery is a lithium polymer just like the Kindle, but it’s replaceable which has a nice ring to it.  The battery time appears to be about 28% less than the Kindle however probably due to the extra screen…
    • When?  You can preorder now, but the first shipments are expected near the end of November – at least by 11/30.  According to the FAQ, at least one nook will be available to demo at every Barnes and Noble Store beginning November 30th
    • Returns – I called customer support to ask this question and she claimed she had never heard of the Nook (that was the official line at least) so I found on the FAQ that there is a 14 days from receipt return policy (via store or online) with a 10% restocking fee that applies when the seal on the box/shrink-wrap is opened.


    What You Get with Nook Purchase:

    • The nook eBook Reader
    • Micro-USB 2.0 cable
    • Quick Start Guide
    • AC Adapter
    • Rechargeable Battery (installed)


    Nook eReader from Barnes & Noble Custom Screensaver


    Nook eReader from Barnes & Noble 3

    Nook eReader from Barnes & Noble

    As a fan of the Kindle 2, I’m intrigued.  So intrigued I’m planning on reviewing one in November…  Things I see that are weaker compared to the Kindle:

    • No text-to-speech at least thus far
    • A little heavier and thicker
    • Battery life is worse
    • I kind of favor Amazon as a retailer for a few reasons.  One of the big ones though is that I don’t have to pay sales tax on the Amazon device or books which I likely will have to do with the nook.

    Obviously this doesn’t put the price at $150 or $99 like many GeekTonic readers have said needs to happen before they’ll consider biting.  But it does provide some very powerful competition that the Kindle frankly didn’t have until now in my opinion.

    If you would like more information on Nook or are ready to pre-order head over to the Barnes & Noble Nook Website.  Those who pre-order now get a free copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” book

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    TV Premieres – What to Watch October 18 – October 25

    I’m late with the TV Premieres guide this week, but since Sunday through Tuesday don’t have much exciting to talk about I think that’s okay.  We’re now into that period of the TV season where few new premieres are popping up.  Fortunately for us there is a gem here and there worth checking out – this week from USA.  

    Don’t miss the Ultimate Guide to the 2009 Fall TV Season Premieres with free downloads by premiere date & by show name!

    If you haven’t already, be sure and check out the link above and download the TV Premiere Listings recently updated.  Note that I continue to do these weekly, weekend “What to Watch” posts that will keep you updated with any changes to the schedule from that premiere guide, add some additional information about the shows for the week including whether they are in HD or not.  I also throw in any TV movies and specials for the week for good measure.

    Below you’ll find all this weeks premieres through next Sunday.


    White Collar on USA

    White Collar premieres Friday on USA–I expect this to be another great “formula” Drama from USA

    NOTE: All Times are Listed for EST

    Sunday, October 18, 2009

    No New Premieres


    Monday, October 19, 2009

    No New Premieres


    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    No New Premieres


    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    • Lock n’ Load (8pm on Showtime – Available in HD) – A reality series from Showtime.  I call this one a *yawn*, but that may because of my reality TV series exhaustion.


    Thursday, October 22, 2009

    No New Premieres


    Friday, October 23, 2009

    • White Collar (10pm on USA – Available in HD) – White Collar is a new series on USA that the Kansas City TV critic, Aaron Barnhart calls “TV’s best new drama.”  From the clips I saw I agree that this will be a good one so fire up those DVRs and HTPCs and be sure and let me know what you think.  I say that with this caveat:  White Collar uses a similar formula as does Monk, Burn Notice and other popular series on USA.


    Saturday, October 24, 2009

    No New Premieres


    Sunday, October 25, 2009

    No New Premieres


    Season Finales this Week:

    • 10/20/2009 8pm on VH1 “Shark Tank” season 1 finale
    • 10/20/2009 10pm on Bravo “Flipping Out” season 3 finale

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