Friday, January 22, 2010

Hauppauge HD-PVR Back in Stock $200

If you’ve been shopping for a Hauppauge HD-PVR component video recorder in the last few months you may have noticed they’ve been pretty difficult to find.  Apparently after a very good black-Friday deal at Amazon, they were backordered and even Hauppauge themselves had few to ship.

Well they are begginning to get caught back up and that’s good news for HTPC shoppers.  And the “normal” price seems to be settling much closer to $200 these days as well.  Here’s a few places you can find the Hauppauge HD-PVR:


Hauppauge HD PVR High Definition Personal Video Recorder 1212

Newegg (affiliate) now has these back in stock.  The Hauppauge HD PVR 1212 is $209.99 with $8.50 shipping.


Amazon (affiliate) has the Hauppauge HD-PVR in stock as well although their website says “usually ships within 2-4 weeks”.  Hauppauge HD-PVR But the cost is even lower at $200.70 and free shipping!

Bestbuy and both show it out of stock so far.  I expect we’ll see the Hauppauge device settle around $200 as the new AverMedia device gets closer to release.  Speaking of the AverMedia, I had a very interesting (and promising) interview with the folks there and plan to have a few posts about that in the next few days.  Stay tuned!


Deal of the Day - Hauppauge Tuners

ZetaVu on the Snapstream forums pointed out a couple of very nice Hauppauge deals at (affiliate):

Hauppauge 1200 HDTV Adapter WinTV-HVR-850 USB 2.0 Interface

HVR 850 is a USB Hybrid tuner  Hauppauge 1200 HDTV Adapter WinTV-HVR-850 USB 2.0 Interface for $43 after rebate with free shipping


Hauppauge 1199 WinTV-HVR-1600 Hybrid Video Recorder - PCI - ATSC, NTSC

Next up is the HVR1600 – It’s PCI based with a dual tuner (1 ATSC and 1 Analog tuner) Hauppauge 1199 WinTV-HVR-1600 Hybrid Video Recorder - PCI - ATSC, NTSC for $64.60 after rebate and includes free shipping.


Hauppauge 1196 WinTV HVR-1250 Hybrid Video Recorder - PCI Express - ATSC, NTSC

Finally they have the HVR-1250 Hybrid Tuner.  This one is a PCIE single tuner: Hauppauge 1196 WinTV HVR-1250 Hybrid Video Recorder - PCI Express - ATSC, NTSC for $41.99 after rebate with free shipping.

For more HTPC and tech deals head over to GeekTonicDeals

Monday, January 18, 2010

Media Gadget Showcase – Rothgar’s MythTV Setup

It’s time for the first of 2010’s GeekTonic Media Gadget Showcase Series.  Today Rothgar shares with us his experience with HTPCs – in particular his current MythTV HTPC setup. 

NOTE:  This is a guest post by Rothgar.  To read more about how to submit your photos and/or write-ups for the GeekTonic Media Gadget Showcase Series, read this.  Basic guidelines for writing and submitting a guest post at GeekTonic can be found here.


Let me start with the specs of my media setup.

TV: Samsung 43" DLP HLN4365WX
Receiver: Sony STR-K670P
Storage: HP MediaSmart Server ex485 (2.75 TB)
Remote: Harmony 550
Gaming: 40 GB PS3

This is what the system originally looked like in 2005. I know it isn't much but I started piecing this together while a senior in college on a limited budget.

I bought the TV and receiver in 2005 with left over student loan money. My wife agreed that I could have $2,000 to buy everything needed for our home entertainment. At the time that included the TV, receiver, NTSC set top box, speakers, TV stand, speaker stands, and any other misc stuff I needed for the setup. That is not a lot of money, especially for 2005 when HDTV was still really new, but using eBay and some fancy sales I got everything I needed, even was a little under budget. My original plans was just for OTA HD but in just a few years I have gone way beyond that.

My HTPC path has included many different machines and I’ve tried a lot of software suites (both Windows and Linux). Most of my previous HTPC's were built using free/retired computers from work which meant they were always kinda slow. I started using MythTV back in 2006 and keep coming back because of the cost (free), hardware support, and features. You can see some of my HTPC history here as well as a couple other blog posts.

But I didn't want to dwell on my history with HTPC's.  Here is my current machine setup:

Currently the system looks a little bit different and looks like the picture below.





Current HTPC Setup Specs:

Case: Silverstone LC13-B
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P
Processor:  Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz
Ram: 24 GB DDR2
Video Card:  Nvidia 9500 GT 512 MB PCIe (fanless)
Hard drive(s): 160 GB system drive, 250 GB media drive
Capture card(s): 1 SiliconDust HDHomeRun Dual Digital HDTV Tuner, 1 HD-PVR, Hauppauge HVR-1600
Remote: Windows MCE receiver
Other: Battery backup, Motorola DCH-3200 STB

Operating System: Mythbuntu 9.10 x64, Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (but I have only booted into it once).
Software: Mythbuntu 8.10 with MythTV 0.22 (Planned to include XBMC, Boxee?, and Hulu Desktop)


The whole HTPC probably cost me about $900-1000 including tuners which has made this build really more of a budget build than anything. Most of the items came from selling/trading things or gifts for Christmas or birthdays.
Currently my HTPC is plugged directly into my TV using DVI with my HDHomerun and HD-PVR plugged directly in with ethernet and USB. The HD-PVR is plugged into a Motorola DCT3200 cable box and channel changes are done via firewire and the Mythchanger software. Recorded TV is stored on my 250 Gb hard drive and archived TV and other media is stored on my HP MediaSmart server. The MediaSmart server is mapped to ~/Music, ~/Pictures, ~/TV, ~/Movies, and ~/Videos which allows me to easily access any of the stored media.

As for software, I am using the standard MythTV 0.22-fixes frontend installed with Mythbuntu 9.10 because it was the easiest and fastest way to get up and running. When the main TV is being used I also use my laptop as a remote frontend which allows me to watch live TV and recordings anywhere I have wireless access. I plan on moving over to MythBox once XBMC 9.11 officially comes out. I also hope to switch between XBMC and Boxee/Hulu Desktop just for more features if I ever decide I want them. Or there are a couple of plugins in development that might make these programs unnecessary.
Right now the setup is great. Commercial flagging was as simple as checking a box, and adding and managing 5 tuners is much easier than I expected it to be.

xbmc movies

I look forward to the next release of MythTV 0.23 in Q1 2010 and hope that Nvidia continues to improve their VDPAU drivers. Right now I will just continue supporting the best open source media center software and look forward to new releases. Follow my how-to's and reviews on my blog, my daily adventures on Twitter, or my Linux talks on the mintCast podcast I co-host.



tv with art

About the Author:  Rothgar first got into media gadgets with the KISS DP-600 DVD player which could stream DivX from a file server. From then on I was hooked on media gadgets and all things home theater. I really got into Xbox hacking with Xbox Media Player (now known as XBMC) and have modded more Xbox's than I can count. As the hardware started to show it's age, and the growing desire to be able to record live TV I made the natural jump to HTPC's. I started with MythTV, GotAllMedia, Media Portal, XP WMC, and tons of other software. I always stayed on the free side of things because I was putting myself through college and dirt poor. Hardware specs were also very important to me because I always was building systems on second hand hardware. While I am now out of college, and currently working full time for the university I graduated from, I still like to keep my expenses modest and almost every HTPC and tuner I have used has been a gift or from selling a previous HTPC system.
The cost to feature ratio has always kept me coming back to MythTV (the hardware requirements and flexibility help) and that has opened up a whole new world of computing. I currently co-host the official
Linux Mint podcast and frequently talk about Linux and HTPC's on my blog, twitter, and youtube.

SageTV HD Theater Beta Update

It’s been quiet around the SageTV beta forums for the past month as they appear to be preparing for the next version of SageTV.  But it appears they still have some HD Theater extender/player goodness to throw our way while we wait.

The SageTV team has now released two new beta firmware updates for their popular HD Theater (HD200) Player/Extender.  Nothing Earth-shattering, but a few nice improvements/updates were included.  The most recent version adds support for NFS drives for imports and BD ISO support for the standalone player mode.  The beta firmware from earlier this month added some very cool music visualizations – check them out if you haven’t already:

Beta Firmware Version "20100118 1"

Core changes:

  1. Update rendering system (not sure what this means as of yet – but it sure sounds good ;)
  2. Fix playback of time-compressed 720p content
  3. Fix forced sub-picture decoding
  4. Fix invalid AVI parsing (won't seek)
  5. Various specific file playback fix

Media Player (Standalone) UI changes:
  1. Added support for 1080p option for YouTube videos.
  2. When modifying existing import paths in the File Browser, add paths before removing any to prevent removal of the mounted import path.
  3. Updated OSD's handling of duration for BD media and added the "BD Title Select" option in the pop-up options dialog during playback of BD media.


More at the SageTV Forums

Teacher Tech – by Mrs GeekTonic

Teacher Tech – words that strike fear in many teachers, laughter in many students, and headaches in technology employees.  It is now 2010 and our students must be prepared for the world outside of academia which is filled with ever changing technology, right?  Well, who is going to prepare them for that world?  Their teachers?  ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Forgive me while I pause to stop laughing.  In my house, I am the least knowledgeable about technology.  But at work, I am seen as an “early adopter”, a technology trainer, the go-to-gal with technology questions.  For Mr. GeekTonic that is cause for a regular belly chuckle.

Note:  This is a guest post (series) by Shelly (Mrs. GeekTonic), the non-geek in the family ;)

This sweet little combo set runs $250 at

My college teacher technology training only extended to making sure we understood that images on the overhead projector were reversed and how to adjust the transparency.  During my student teaching, the first lesson my supervising teacher gave me (the most important lesson she said) was how to "un-jam" the copier.

(This sign can ruin the day for a teacher)

At least by the time I was teaching we had copiers.  Some of my colleagues were around for typewriters and dittos (kill me now).  Yet now those same teachers are supposed to learn how to use a gradebook program in 1 hour, and post grades on the internet.  Forget teaching them how to make powerpoint presentations with embedded video and audio clips.  We had a teacher who retired a few years ago that had seven years of unopened emails.  He didn’t even know how to log in to his computer and didn’t want to know.

I am extremely fortunate to work in a district that has extremely generous patrons and fiscally responsible administrators that afford us the ability to expand our technology purchases and tech “toys” to the degree that most of the staff does not have a CLUE as to what to do with them.

BUT all districts are NOT created equal.  There are districts that would be pleased as punch to have the overhead projectors that we tossed aside when we installed LCD projectors in every classroom in the district.  Yet, when school started that fall, many complained.  We sounded like some of our students that we roll our eyes at when they complain that daddy bought them the wrong kind of car for their 16th birthday.

Teacher Tech?  I would like to slay the dragon here at GeekTonic.  I am going to show some of the latest teacher toys that I have been playing with as well as sharing some of the trials and tribulations of dealing with the technophobes that I work with as well as the technology "Nazis", I mean department and the processes that they have put in place to keep us (the users) from breaking the system thereby making the system worthless in some ways.  So stay tuned …. And if you know any teachers, technophobes or not, send them to Mrs. GeekTonic.

TV Premieres, Finales & Specials This Week 01/17/2010

Another batch of new shows this week.  24 gives us four hours of Jack on Sunday and Monday, several returning shows and a few new ones as well.

Don’t miss the Ultimate Guide to the 2010 Winter TV Season Premieres with free downloads by premiere date & by show name!  I’ve updated this guide with some additions and network changes.

 Spartacus: Blood and Sand on Starz

                  SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND premieres Friday on Starz

NOTE: All Times are Listed for EST


Sunday, January 17

Human Target (8pm on Fox– Available in HD) – A new series on Fox.  This will be followed up on the 20th with the same episode re-aired.  The series follows the cases of a unique bodyguard/private detective who interferes with murder attempts by impersonating the intended victims to draw the killers fire.  I’m curious about this one and will have it on my favorites list to check out later.

The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards (8pm on NBC – Available in HD) - Ricky Gervais hosts one  the more popular awards shows highlighting TV and Movies

24 (9pm on Fox-Available in HD) – The two-hour premiere of 24.  Will be followed up on the 18th with the two-hour, part 2 of this one.  CTU is back and so is Jack.  Early reports are that this first two hours will continue to confirm that the 24 writers are completely back on track.  It should be good.


Monday, January 18

One Tree Hill (8pm on CW – Available in HD) – Season 7 returns for a few more episodes and then goes back in hiding until 4/19

24 (8pm on Fox-Available in HD) – The next two hours of 24 unfolds (part 2 of the 4-hour premiere).

Life Unexpected (9pm on CW – Available in HD) – A new series on CW

The Buried Life (10pm on MTV) – A new realityTV series on MTV

American Pickers (9pm on History) A new series on the History channel that follows professional trash “pickers” as they dig through junk piles, abandoned barns and other places for hidden treasure.  Hmm.

I’m In The Band (7pm on Disney XD – Available in HD) – A new musical sitcom with Logan Miller starring as a teen who helps a group of aging rockers known as Iron Weasel make one last stab at the big time.

Benjamin Latrobe: America's First Architect (10pm on PBS – Available in HD) A special that profiles the architect who worked on buildings such as the U.S. Capitol, White House & Baltimore Basilica


Tuesday, January 19

90210 (8pm on CW-Available in HD) – Season 2 returns

Melrose Place (9pm on CW – Available in HD) – Season 1 returns

Millionaire Matchmaker (10pm on Bravo) – Season 3 premieres

White Collar (10pm on USA – Available in HD) – One of the better new shows from the Fall returns for the second half of its first season in a new timeslot


Wednesday, January 20

Meteorite Men (9pm on Science – Available in HD) – A new realityTV show on USA


Thursday, January 21

The Deep End (8pm on ABC – Available in HD) – A new drama/comedy series about young lawyers at a high-powered LA law firm.  This one has been promoted heavily and is on Mrs GeekTonic’s list of shows to check out. 

Supernatural (9pm on CW – Available in HD) – Season 9 continues

Burn Notice (10pm on USA – Available in HD) – Season 3 returns with 7 more episodes.


Friday, January 22

Smallville (8pm on CW – Available in HD) – season 9 returns

Dollhouse (9pm on SyFy – Available in HD) – The two-hour series finale is here at the end of season 2.

Caprica (9pm on SyFy – Available in HD) – The prequel to Battlestar Galactica.

Say Yes to the Dress (9pm on TLC) – season 4 premiere

Spartacus: Blood & Sand (10pm on STARZ – Available in HD) – A new series on Starz – I’d check it out if I had Starz.

State of the Union (10:30pm on Showtime – Available in HD) – Season 3 premiere

La La Land (11pm on Showtime – Available in HD) – a new series on Showtime


Saturday, January 23

The Pregnancy Test (9pm on Lifetime) – A made-for-TV-movie where a cyber-journalist investigates an “outbreak” of teen pregnancies.

Sunday, January 24

No new premieres


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