Saturday, December 26, 2009

TV Premieres, Finales & Specials This Week 12/26/2009

Time to finish of 2009 and run into 2010.  This week brings us several New Years specials along with a few premieres as well.

For those interested in the new TV Winter 2010 season, I once again joined  Phil Lozen and Adam Thursby on the “Seen in HD’ Podcast to run through the Winter 2010 TV Season.  Head over to Seen in HD to listen to the podcast or add it to your iTunes.

Don’t miss the Ultimate Guide to the 2010 Winter TV Season Premieres with free downloads by premiere date & by show name!


Ryan Seacrest & Dick Clark

                  Dick Clark with Fergie and Ryan Seacrest take us to 2010

Below you’ll find all this weeks TV premieres, finales and specials through next Sunday.

NOTE: All Times are Listed for EST


Sunday, Dec. 27

Witness: The Kidnapping of Patty Hearst (10pm on MSNBC) – a look back at the infamous 1970s case that made the Symbionese Liberation Army a household phrase. If it were on any real news network I might check this one out.  But since it’s not I won’t.

Monday, Dec. 28

American Masters- Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women (9pm on PBS- Available in HD) - Louisa May Alcott, author of ``Little Women,'' leads a double literary life by writing under the pseudonym A.M. Barnard, and that identity remains until the 1940s.


Tuesday, Dec. 29

Rudolph’s Shiny New Year (8pm on ABC) – Special where Rudolph the reindeer comes to the rescue when an evil bird kidnaps the New Year baby. Voices of Red Skelton, Frank Gorshin, Morey Amsterdam.  Originally aired in 1976

32nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors (9pm on CBS) - Mel Brooks, Dave Brubeck, \Grace Bumbry, Robert De Niro and Bruce Springsteen all get honored.  Why it isn’t in HD is beyond me.  UPDATE:  While my guide information still shows this as not airing in HD, I am told it will be in HD.

One Big Happy Family (9pm on TLC – Available in HD) – I normally don’t do realityTV unless it’s a particularly interesting Amazing Race or Survivor season but I’m going to make an exception here and watch this series.  It’s lead editor is Vince Anido who also happens to be a HTPC enthusiast using SageTV.  This realityTV show is about a morbidly obese family and their attempt to deal with the weight issue without professional help.  I can’t imagine doing that but it could be interesting.  From my favorite TV critic’s words about this show on TVBarn:

To their credit, TLC’s producers have chosen an entertaining group to follow, and it appears from the way the show is scripted that TLC is trying to get the Coles on the diet wagon. If it’s painful to see some of the Coles in denial about their problem, well, it’s hard to argue that isn’t a slice of Americana these days, a la mode. “If you don’t like looking at us,” one of them says, “look away.”


Wednesday, Dec. 30

The Real World DC (10:30pm on MTV) Another season (24) of the Real World


Thursday, Dec. 31 – New Years Eve

NBC's New Year's Eve With Carson Daly (10pm on NBC – Available in HD) Carson Daly does New Years.

Billboard's New Year's Eve Live (11pm on Fox) Hosted by Carmen Electra.  That alone should make one change the channel and if that doesn’t do it – it’s not in HD…

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2010 (11:30 pm on ABC – Available in HD) Seacrest does the New Years thing.  Honestly I’m not a huge fan of Seacrest, but I consider this the best of the three network options on New Years.

Friday, January 1 – Happy 2010!

Tournament of Roses Parade (11am on ABC – Available in HD) – “The” New Years Parade to watch so they say.

NHL Hockey 2010 NHL Winter Classic (1pm on NBC) For something a little different on New Years day you can catch the Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers at the open air Fenway Park.

Brian Boitano Skating Spectacular (4pm on NBC – Available in HD) So NHL isn’t your thing?  Perhaps ice skating???  Brian Boitano with Michael Weiss, Yuka Sato, Kimmie Meissner, Alissa Czisny, Steven Cousins, and pairs Elena Leonova and Andrei Khvalko and Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon

Great Performances-From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2010 (9pm on PBS – Available in HD) Julie Andrews hosts the 26th annual New Year's celebration with the Vienna Philharmonic.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (9pm on Cartoon) – Season 2 returns

Iron Chef America (9pm on Food – Available in HD) – Season 8 premieres and then switches back to Sundays on 1/3

Jake Johannsen: I Love You (9:30pm on Showtime – Available in HD) Special with popular stand-up comedian Jake Johannsen fimed at Kansas City’s own Uptown Theater.

The Outdoor Room with Jamie Durie (10pm on HGTV – Available in HD) A new home improvement show on HGTV.  They help families with a little cash renovate their patios.

The Squeeze (10pm on MSNBC) – A new documentary-style series about a criminal investigation unit at the Cook County Jail.  Not in HD and on MSNBC – both turnoffs for me but might be worth a look if you’re into the criminal investigation thing.


Saturday, January 2

It’s Me or the Dog (8pm on Animal) – A new season of the Reality TV where a dog trainer tackles behavioral problems in dogs by teaching their owners responsible dog ownership

What I Hate About Me (9pm on Style) – another new reality TV show

Demons (10pm on  BBCA) – The remaining descendents of Van Helsing fight demons in the London underground

The Soloist (8pm on HBO – Available in HD) Robert Downey Jr. is Steve Lopez in this documentary/drama based on Lopez's book about his friendship with a musically trained homeless man (Jaime Foxx )

Sunday, January 3

Platinum Weddings (9pm on WE) New reality TV series – not in HD

Brothers & Sisters (10pm on ABC – Available in HD) – Season 4 continues with so much overly done drama Mrs GeekTonic’s emotions will be torn :)

Desperate Housewives (10pm on ABC – Available in HD) – Season 6 continues.  Housewives like this don’t seem to be in my neigborhood – probably not yours either.  Perhaps that’s the appeal of this soap opera?

Worst Cooks in America (10pm on Food) – They finally found a realityTV show I’m qualified for – just ask Mrs GeekTonic about the bugs in the broccoli meal ;).  New realityTV series for Food network.


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Week in Review – December 26, 2009

This past week was a little quiet thanks to a Christmas-shortened work week.  But there was still some good reads to be had so here’s a quick summary:

  • Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!
  • 2009 GeekTonic Guest Posts – a summary of all guest posts on GeekTonic for the year.  One lucky contributor won a SageTV HD Theater and everyone else received a small token of my appreciation.  Some great articles in this list.
  • Kindle DRM Cracked – Books Now Transferrable – Well I thought this was more significant than it really was.  Apparently, according to the comments the Kindle DRM had already been cracked.
  • SageTV HD200 – DTS Shortfall and How To Overcome It 
  • Barnes & Noble Pushes Out first Nook Update – firmware update – A good sign that B&N is working towards improving the Nook with firmware updates.
  • Last Minute Gifts – Amazon Kindle – Based on hits at GeekTonic over the last few weeks, a large number of people received a Kindle this year for Christmas.
  • Avatar is a Must See Movie – Good Story Spectacular Effects – I loved Avatar on an IMAX-sized screen and it looks like many others did as well.  I plan to see it at the theater one more time – it was that good imo.
  • TV Premieres, Finales & Specials This Week 12/20/2009
  • Enjoy the remainder of your holiday break!  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, December 25, 2009

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!

    I wish all readers of a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

    I hope you all enjoy time with your family and friends and possibly even get a few cool gadgets as a bonus.

    Thought I’d throw in a little something extra in this years annual Christmas post.  I’ve followed Jeremy Jones MultiMedia PC’s site for over a year now and last year noticed a little hobby of his – he creates house Christmas light shows matched to music.  Here’s a display from this year:

    Check out other music matched with Christmas lights at his site.  Very cool

    Merry Christmas!

    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    2009 GeekTonic Guest Posts

    Earlier this month I reminded readers that they can share their media-gadget story on GeekTonic.  I also mentioned a possible reward to the guest bloggers on GeekTonic this past year.

    The winner of the SageTV HD Theater Player/Extender is ZetaVu.  He was chosen by random drawing, but it probably didn’t hurt that he had the most contributions this year – and therefore the most entries.  Congrats to Zetavu – The HD Theater should arrive on Christmas Eve!

    For nearly all of the others who contributed guest posts this year a small gift was e-mailed to you last night.  Check your e-mails for a little gift certificate from Amazon if you contributed.

    For everyone else, I encourage you to check out the guest posts from this past year – there were some extremely good ones.  And consider sharing your story or a summary of your media-gadget setup with everyone here on GeekTonic!

    If you’re curious on contributing:  Write an Article for GeekTonic! Looking for Guest-Submitted Articles at GeekTonic


    Guest Posts on GeekTonic in 2009:

    The Non-GeekTonic Review of the Nook – From the Recreational Readers Perspective by Mrs GeekTonic
    Windows 7 MCE + DVBLink for HDPVR = HD Happiness by David
    The Perfect HTPC Graphics Card by Ganesh
    Smart Sports Recording with Sage Recording Extender by Wayner
    Video with MythTV by GadgetWisdom
    The Second Digital Transition by Scott
    DIY HDMI and USB Over Ethernet – An Extender Alternative by Clift
    Placeshifting With The SageTV HD Theater by Dave
    Control Your HTPC With EventGhost by ZetaVu
    BeyondTV Plus MediaPortal vs SageTV – Redux Part 1 by ZetaVu
    BeyondTV Plus MediaPortal vs SageTV – Redux Part 2 by ZetaVu
    Keeping the Analog Hole Open by JarkHD

    When Socialism is a Good Thing - a Revolutionary Idea in Commercial Skipping by Ray (GhostLobster)

    The Non-GeekTonic Review of the Kindle 2 - From the Recreational Readers Perspective by Mrs GeekTonic
    Video Editing Power Tools by ZetaVu
    iPod Without iTunes by ZetaVu
    Testing The MediaPortal Waters - Experiencing New HTPC Software by Ray (GhostLobster) NOTE:  actually written in December of last year.


    Media Gadget Showcase – Home Theaters and HTPC Setups

    What Did We Do Without HTPC’s by Jamie
    MythTV, VMC, GB-PVR and SageTV Oh My! by Clift
    Blaze818's Home Theater and HTPC by Blaze818
    Home Theater PC Setup by Damian
    Suresh's Home Theater and HTPC by Suresh
    HTPC Setup by Wayner
    Home Theater PC Setup by ZetaVu
    Home Theater Setup by Dennis
    HTPC Build by Sodarkangel


    If I missed anyone (or any article) from the many guest posts at GeekTonic in 2009 please let me know.  Thanks to all who contributed – I appreciate it!

    Tuesday, December 22, 2009

    Kindle DRM Cracked – Books Now Transferrable

    I first shared this with my Twitter followers and as I said then – this is big.  According to BGR, an Israeli programmer has cracked the DRM protection on Amazon e-Books making those books open to converting to PDF and of course transferable to other devices.

    Kindle on Bookshelf

    I have mixed feelings about this honestly because I fear it will cause publishers to be even more fearful of releasing their books as eBooks and make it more difficult for all eBook manufacturers.  On the other hand, it sure would be nice to be able to purchase an e-Book from any store and view that book on any e-Reader…

    Read the full story at BGR and the forum thread with the complete (translated details) here

    Monday, December 21, 2009

    SageTV HD200 – DTS Shortfall and How To Overcome It

    Do you have lots of MKV files?  Do those MKV files have DTS only audio tracks?  Don't have a DTS capable receiver/TV? Then SAGEAudioConvert is for you. 

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

    Developer mikep has create this very handy tool.  It uses a few freeware tools (eac3to and mkvtoolnix) to automatically scan an input folder, create an AC-3 track then remux the new track into the file.  The tool is in beta, but it helps to overcome one of the few shortfalls of the HD200 extender.  As most know, the HD200 will not decode DTS tracks.  By adding the AC-3 track to the file the user is able to switch to the AC-3 track by hitting the audio button on the remote.
    SAGEAudioConvert is currently a command line tool and the author (mikep) even posted his SJQ code to run the tool when sage finds the new file in it's automated scans.
    There are several options to use and more can be found at the sage forums.
    Current SAGEAudioConvert post

    About the author:  Dave who goes by the screen-name "hugenbdd" on the SageTV forums is a reader of GeekTonic and SageTV user.  He also wrote the how-to on “placeshifting with the SageTV HD Theater

    Barnes & Noble Pushes Out first Nook Update – firmware 1.1.0

    Reports are leaking out that Barnes & Noble Nook eReaders are getting their first official firmware update today & the updates include some much needed fixes to the interface.

    Barnes & Noble Nook

    Version 1.1 (updated from 1.0) includes the following per Barnes & Noble’s Nook Website:

    • Improved page turn and formatting of downloaded eBooks
    • Improved startup time for My Library, The Daily, and Settings
    • Immediate launch of the reader upon choosing Select from The Daily and My Library, for books and subscription issues that have already been downloaded; otherwise the book detail page is displayed, with Download as the first option.   For instance the “read” option will be gone from the library so it just goes to the book immediately.
    • No longer shows “formatting” whenever you select “read” now.
    • Exclusive Barnes & Noble in-store content and promotions: when a customer enters a store, your nook will recognize the location and display the Barnes & Noble logo and welcome message, as well as special articles and offers.  - This looks like the beginning of the free in-store reading (limited to one hour per book) as mentioned at release.
    • Elimination of the page skipping that has occurred in certain PDB eBooks
    • Status bar (battery indicator, signal indicator, and clock) is displayed in reader
    • Page numbers are now at the bottom of the page instead of the top
    • The battery indicator & clock is now consistently in the upper right hand corner when you are reading
    • Overall system improvements
    • Side Effect being reported:  The items in “My Documents” get re-ordered and not in a meaningful way apparently


    You can update to 1.1 via wireless (3G or Wi-Fi) or you can force a manual download.  Your registered nook (if connected wirelessly) should download automatically & install on your Nook taking about 6 minutes.  To force a wireless update go to “My B&N Library” and press “check for new B&N content.”

    The update involves downloading the firmware, installing the new firmware as seen in the photo below

    Nook Update Firmware

    And then a reboot of the Nook as seen below

    Nook Update Firmware Reboot

    Thanks to Len Edgerly of Kindle Chronicles Podcast for the screen-caps of the installation and reboot


    According to Nookdevs, the firmware update does NOT disable rooted nooks so even the hackers will be relatively happy with the update.

    I don’t have my review unit Nook anymore so I can’t test this update out, but I wouldn’t expect miracles here – I expect the fixes in this update will probably be noticable, but fairly minor overall.  But it’s a great sign that Barnes & Noble has already pushed out a firmware update – let’s encourage them to continue the process.

    via Barnes & Noble Nook Support Page with many tips about the firmware via Twitter particularly Dave Zatz

    Last Minute Gifts – Amazon Kindle

    One of the last remaining tech gifts you can purchase online with free shipping and still have in time for Christmas is the Amazon Kindle.  Amazon has definitely stepped up their game in the eBook market this holiday and just by having an ample supply of their popular Kindle eReaders (the Nook and Sony Wireless aren’t available for this Christmas) they win out.

    Kindle Gift

    Add to that Amazon is offering free 2-day shipping for you last minute shoppers out there and it’s hard to argue with their strategy.

    If you want to give a Kindle e-Reader this Christmas there is still time.  Head to Amazon (affiliate) and order now while there’s still time

    Amazon Kindle with Free 2-Day Shipping $259

    Kindle Wireless Reading Device $259 with free 2-day shipping

    Sunday, December 20, 2009

    Avatar is a Must See Movie – Good Story Spectacular Effects Make it Amazing

    Okay, I was pretty skeptical about a movie so hyped and expensive as Avatar was.  Even my teenage daughter (a huge movie buff) was saying Avatar could end up like Waterworld with it’s over-priced cost to make and full of hype in the news.  I had seen the previews for Avatar in theaters which left me curious, but unsure of how it would turn out. 

    Well yesterday I took my daughter to see Avatar on a “IMAX” screen in 3D and after watching the long spectacle I can sum it up in a few words: This movie was spectacular!

    Planet Avatar

    There, I’ve added to the hype.  Both my daughter and I left the theater completely amazed with what we had just experienced.  The story was good – it kept our interest throughout without many (if any) dull points.  And the effects were simply amazing.  The 3D technology really is something special when they put the amount of detail and work that obviously went into this movie.  I have to agree with Gizmodo’s review of Avatar which said

    Avatar Review: Yes, It Changed Everything After All


    If you haven’t seen it yet, skip the reviews.  Just go see it and decide for yourself.  If you’re still not sure, try checking out what others who have seen it are saying on twitter.  Here’s a few choice comments from twitter I picked up.  I’m pretty sure you can do a search for Avatar on twitter and see similar comments as well

    Avatar lives up to the hype! Go see it!!!!

    Avatar was a great movie! Its snowing so I'm happy!! :)

    Best description I've heard yet of Avatar's planet Pandora and its wildlife: "Like the discovery channel on acid"

    If the devil is in the details, Avatar is impressive because it gets a so many of them right. It successfully creates an entire world.

    If you have seen the movie already, check out DVice’s picks for the best 3D moments of Avatar – I mostly agree with them.  And also check out Popular Mechanics “behind the scenes” of how they used 3D technology to make the movie

    The next question will be, does this somehow make us all want 3D TV screens in one room of our homes some day soon?  I’m still not sure about that.  But I’m pretty sure movies like this will make studios pay attention and discover something that makes audiences want to see movies at theaters again.

    TV Premieres, Finales & Specials This Week 12/20/2009

    Since we’re in a bit of a slow period for TV I thought I test a few changes to the weekly GeekTonic TV Premieres roundup.  I’ll continue to provide a listing of the new TV premieres and specials for the week along with extra information such as show description, season number, whether it’s in HD or not etc.  But I’m also mixing in the season finales and show cancellations as well.  Not a huge change, but hopefully useful.

    Don’t miss the Ultimate Guide to the 2010 Winterl TV Season Premieres with free downloads by premiere date & by show name!

    It's a Wonderful Life

          Popular Classic, It’s a Wonderful Life airs a few times this week


    Below you’ll find all this weeks TV premieres, finales and specials through next Sunday.  Lot’s of Holiday & Christmas specials to be had…

    NOTE: All Times are Listed for EST


    Sunday, Dec. 20

    It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play (3:30pm on PBS) Special

    Meet the Natives (6pm on Travel – Avail in HD) -  series premiere

    Two Weeks in Hell (8pm on Discovery– Avail in HD) – Special – documentary following Green Beret boot camp

    Survivor (7pm - 10pm on CBS– Avail in HD) 19th season finale


    Monday, Dec. 21

    Sons Of Mistletoe (11am on ABC Family) Special

    The Christmas List (1pm on ABC Family) Special

    Unlikely Angel (3pm on ABC Family) Special

    A Carol Christmas (5pm on ABC Family) Special

    Santa Baby (7pm on ABC Family– Avail in HD) Special

    The Sing-Off (8pm on NBC) – Season 1 finale

    The Closer (9pm on TNT– Avail in HD) – Season 5 finale

    Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe (9pm on ABC Family– Avail in HD) Special

    Make My Day (10pm on TVLand) – returns from hiatus


    Week in Review – December 20, 2009

    Well, actually two weeks in review.  The combination of the Nook reviews and holiday season has made this a very busy month.  But plenty of great content to be had here at GeekTonic.  Here’s a quick summary of the articles from the past two weeks:

    Barnes & Noble Nook Articles

    Other Content

  • Windows 7 MCE + DVBLink for HDPVR = HD Happiness – A guest post how-to on using the Hauppauge HD-PVR with Windows 7 to record all cable and satellite TV content on Media Center.  A great how-to & worth a read for any MediaCenter user.
  • The Perfect HTPC Graphics Card – A guest post about choosing a HTPC videocard.  The author works for a company called “Ambarella” which makes the card that goes inside the Hauppauge HD-PVR.
  • Amazon Plans 2010 Kindle Update For Vision Impaired – great to see Amazon working towards a solution for the vision impaired.
  • WDTV Live Media Player Firmware Update Problem Resolved
  • Deal of the Day – SageTV HD Theater
  • Ultimate Guide to the Winter 2010 TV Premieres – Your one-stop authority on the new Winter 2010 TV season.  Free downloads of the new TV season with a by-title & by-date listing.
  • Boxee Announces New Beta & Previews Hardware Box
  • 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!