Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Remote Control Design – What’s the Ideal Remote?

I’ve used and reviewed quite a few different remote controls for Home Theaters and HTPC setups.  Most of the lot have a very similar design – to fit into your hand with as many buttons crammed in there as possible.  But there are several variations out there that shake things up a bit.

This article on design4impact complaining about the “grotesque multi-button remote controls that clutter our coffee tables, media cabinets and minds” got me wondering. 

What is the ideal control?  Does it have to be a candy-bar shaped, button-filled device?  Speaking of buttons, what buttons need to be there for proper function?

GlideTV Navigator Snapstream Firefly

Harmony 550 Harmony 890 ATI Remote Wonder II URC RF10

Let me know what you think in the comments.  Beyond Remote Controls, is motion control or voice control or touch possible alternatives for the future remote?

Windows 7 MediaCenter Gets Weather Plugin - Heatwave

Popular Vista MediaCenter plugin, Heatwave has been updated to support Windows 7 Media Center.

Heatwave Plugin for Windows 7 MC

The developer has also added a few new features including:

  • Widescreen layout option

  • An optional day/night (sun/moon) forecast indication now displays next to the location title.

  • Improvements to the main page layout

  • Times displayed are now formatted according to the system time format

  • Temperature ranges are now presented in high-low order (can be changed back to old way in settings)

  • Negative temps formatted to make more legible

Download the 32-bit version here.
Download the 64-bit version here.

via GreenButton Forums

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

MissingRemote Reviews the GlideTV Navigator

GlideTV Navigator

The GlideTV remote control device is making the rounds.  First was the review from ZatzNotFunny! which left me with a pretty positive impression of the device.

Now, MissingRemote has published a very detailed review with screen-cast videos and all.  Be sure and check out both reviews if you have any interest.

I hope to get my hands on one of these eventually although I’m pretty happy with my URC remote control.

MissingRemote GlideTV Navigator Review

The Second Digital Transition

Throughout the over-the-air digital transition cable companies made a point of advertising how it wouldn't affect cable customers.  While part of their message was focused on how that they were already providing their customers cable boxes, they also tried to reach out to people who were reluctant to buy converter boxes by telling them that they'd still be able to plug their cable straight into their TV's like they were used to. 

NOTE:  This is a guest post by Scott.   Basic guidelines for writing and submitting a guest post at GeekTonic can be found here.

While, it may have been true at the time, it was also a bit of a disingenuous claim as the entire time the cable companies knew that someday very soon they'd be doing the exact same thing.  And, at least up here in Seattle, that day is here. 

CATVDigital Cable Lineup

Now, I know for us HTPC enthusiast this has lots of game changing implications but, at least for this post, I'm not going to focus on those.  For today, lets just start with the why.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

TV Networks Decide DVRs are Okay After All?

The NY Times had an interesting piece about how the American TV networks have all of the sudden decided DVRs are okay with them as long as they can advertise and get TV watchers to watch those commercials…  You’re likely scratching your head now wondering what the heck are they talking about right?  Well read on.

Quote number one that knocked me off of my couch:

“The reason is not simply that more households own DVRs — 33 percent compared with 28 percent at this point in 2008 — helping some marginal shows become hits. It is also that more people seem content to sit through the commercials than networks once thought.”

I guess I’m sort of shocked to hear it’s still only 33% with DVRs.  And then to read that  people are content to sit through commercials!!!

But it’s really a good thing for those of us HTPC and DVR users who are smarter than that – those of us who don’t waste our time with most commercials because others are obviously willing to watch those commercials for us – so the networks won’t give up because of us.  This fact is emphasised by this quote from the article:

“These factors combined mean DVR ratings now add significantly to live ratings and thus to ad revenue.”

The article goes on to explain that studies show that those that watch their shows time-delayed as many with DVRs and HTPCs do, nearly half still watch the commercials even though they could simply fast forward through them…

The article on NYTimes is a very interesting one with many more statistics to check out.  It also goes into several tactics networks are using to get the viewer to watch the commercials – for instance placing something with the TV show characters in the middle of the advertising.

Check out the entire article at

Month in Review – October 2009


October 2009 turned out to be the biggest month (by a large margin!) ever at GeekTonic in terms of pageviews and number of readers – thanks to all of you for frequenting GeekTonic!  Thanks to an increasing readership, I’m working on a few things to improve the effectiveness of advertising so that I can offer even more giveaways and nice reviews for the readers.
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 up October 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. 


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    5. Consider doing a guest post on GeekTonic.  If you would like to share with others in the community, consider writing up a guest post.  I’ll edit it if needed and add it to the article queue to share with GeekTonic readers.  This year for the first time I’m rewarding a select group of those guest bloggers at the end of each year as well with a little “guest blogger” contest for anyone who contributed during the year..
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    TV Premieres – What to Watch November 1 - 8

    With November comes a few more premieres right in the middle of sweeps week.  The remake of V, Legend of the Seeker and a few others.

    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.


    V on ABC

                        V arrives on ABC Tuesday
    NOTE: All Times are Listed for EST

    Sunday, November 1, 2009

    • Nostradamus Decoded (8pm on Discovery)  A 2-hour special
    • Jack the Ripper: New Evidence (10pm on Science) A 1-hour special
    • Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew (10pm on VH1) A new series for VH1
    • Styl’d (10pm on MTV) A new series for MTV

    Monday, November 2, 2009

    • Poliwood (7:30pm on Showtime) A 90-minute special
    • I Want to Work for Diddy (9pm on VH1) – Season premiere
    • American Gangs (9pm on Discovery Channel) – Season premiere
    • For the Love of Ray J (9pm on VH1) – Season premiere
    • Strange Rituals: Last Rites (10pm on History) – a one-hour special


    Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    • V (8pm on ABC-Available in HD) – Series Premiere.  I’ll be checking this one out even though I pretty much know the story…  Note: as mentioned in the comments below, this is supposed to be a full series as opposed to a mini-series like the original.
    • Tabatha’s Salon Takeover (10pm on Bravo) – Season 2 premiere


    Wednesday, November 4, 2009

    • Bill Cosby: The Mark Twain Prize 2009 (8pm on PBS – Available in HD) – 90 minute special
    • Johnny Mercer: The Dream’s on Me (8pm on TCM) – 110 minute special
    • Most Daring (9pm on truTV) – Season premiere
    • Tyler Perry’s House of Payne (9pm on TBS) – Season premiere
    • Flowers Uncut with Jeff Leatham (10pm on TLC) – Season premiere
    • Strange Sex (10pm on Discovery Health) – 1 hour special


    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    • The Real Housewives of Orange County (10pm on Bravo) – Season 5 premiere


    Saturday, November 7, 2009

    • Legend of the Seeker (7pm on SYN – Available in HD) Season 2 of this fantasy series
    • The Wanda Sikes Show (11pm on Fox) Series premiere



    • Greek has it’s fall season finale at 9pm on ABC Family 
    • Popular Science’s Future Of…has it’s season finale at 9pm on Science
    • Destination Truth has it’s season finale at 10pm on 11/4 on Syfy


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