Friday, March 05, 2010

Deal of the Day – Gyration Motion Sensing Remote Control - $30

I came across a heck of a deal on the Gyration Motion Sensing Remote – a 2.4Ghz RF remote that is Windows 7 Media Center compatible.  This thing sells around $90 normally, but TigerDirect (affiliate) has it for $29.99 right now.

Gyration Motion Sensing Remote $29.99

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Media Gadget Showcase – GadgetWisdom’s MythTV Rig

It’s time for another installment of the GeekTonic Media Gadget Showcase Series.  Today the guys from GadgetWisdom are back to share with us their whole-home MythTV HTPC setup which even includes a MAME Arcade Emulator!  The first post from GadgetWisdom about video & MythTV can be found here.

NOTE:  This is a guest post by GadgetWisdom.  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.

Our current HTPC setup runs MythTV. MythTV uses two basic pieces for its  for its system. A backend that records video and a frontend that plays video back. These two pieces can run on the same system. In our case, we've opted to run them separately. Our backend is on 24/7 recording, but we usually shut the frontends down when not in use.

The Backend


Our MythTV backend has gone through a lot of changes over the years. The first iteration was in a yellow server case on wheels. We went through a period of overbuilding, and the yellow version of the case was $17, the other colors were all closer to $100. We probably have a picture of that iteration somewhere, and will post it if it is ever found.

Click Through to See Photos and More Info on this Awesome Setup!


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Beautiful Future for SageTV User Interface

When you compare the feature-set of popular multi-OS HTPC software, SageTV to the competition it’s pretty difficult to argue against it on features alone as they have about as much functionality and flexibility of any HTPC solution available today.  But you’ll often hear complaints about the old or underwhelming user interface on SageTV.  We’re beginning to hear and see some information about one of a few new UI projects in the works for SageTV and today the “Project Ortus” team began showing off some of what’s to come for SageTV users.

Project Ortus is a SageTV add-on led by a team of 3rd party developers making a new user-interface add-on for SageTV that includes a brand-new UI.  They are still working on this behind the scenes in an alpha testing phase, but are welcoming curious folks to check out a few screen-shots of their work:

Main Menu

Ortus Main Menu Movies 2


Movies Menu

Ortus Main Menu Movies

TV Series Menu

Ortus Main Menu TV Series

TV Guide: What’s On at a Glance

Ortus Main Menu TV Guide


As you can see, this new add-on will be offering a very, nice, new look for SageTV.  The public beta is slated to begin in approximately four months (timing could change) from now. 

More Options to Come

Keep in mind, this is only one of a few different projects like this going on for SageTV – and the company SageTV is also working on their own new UI for the next version of SageTV – SageTV 7 as mentioned here at GeekTonic this January.  And even beyond these options, there will continue to be different “skins” to further customize the look of your HTPC setup to your hearts desire.


via SageTV forums

Monday, March 01, 2010

Are SSDs ready for HTPCs? Solid State Drives versus Hard Drives

Intel 160GB SSD Drive

I’ve been toying with the idea of dropping a SSD drive in my HTPC setup for a while, but the price has always held me back.  Andy (known as babgvant on the web) takes a look at using SSD’s verus HD’s in your HTPC.

Excerpt from the article:

Like rocket cars, moon vacations and watchable online video we all know that solid-state drives (SSD) are the future. Of course it will be a long time before any of us can afford to replace that 2TB drive with one, but with prices for smaller SSD finally approaching a reasonable level it makes sense to start thinking about how to fit one into the HTPC (especially a client).


The Killer Kindle Feature – Price

With the iPad coming soon talk of the tablet/MID device killing off the Kindle (and other eReaders) has been going strong.  I would argue that this talk is premature – especially for those of us who actually still read books on a day-to-day basis.  But even still, I’ll admit the iPad will definitely have an effect on the eReader market in some significant way.  So how will the Kindle survive?  The number one way will be price and that’s a great thing for the reading public.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s Digital Daily blog, the ARM chip inside the Kindle devices has a new chip design that could (I repeat, COULD) drive prices of the Kindle’s most popular eReader device down around $150 or even below.  I’ve always said the biggest negative for the Kindle is the high price.  Put the Kindle at $99 or even just above that and you could easily pull in those hard-core readers who couldn’t justify the cost before.  I’d probably even pick up a third Kindle for our family – one for myself if the price dropped that low.

What do you think?  Would a $99 or $149 Kindle be enough to make you buy one?  Or do you need an internet device that also functions as an eReader regardless of price difference?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

TV Premieres, Finales & Specials This Week 02/28/2010

March is here, the Olympics are over and the winter “pause” is over.  That means the TV schedule gets back to normal and some new premieres. 

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


Parenthood Cast

              The case of NBC’s new show, Parenthood premiering on Tuesday


Sunday, February 28

Winter Olympics: Closing Ceremonies (7pm on NBC – Available in HD) The games conclude with the men's hockey and men's cross country skiing finals (noon NBC) and the closing ceremonies (7 p.m. NBC).

The Family Crews (10pm on BET) – The guy who played the father on “Everybody Hates Chris,” Terry Crews stars in this docu-series

Masterpiece Classic: The 39 Steps (10pm on PBS – Available in HD) – A new adaptation of the Alfred Hitchcock espionage thriller classic.

The Marriage Ref (10:30 on NBC) – A new realityTV/Comedy show – this one is has been pushed by NBC all throughout the Olympics with lots of facetime for Jerry Seinfeld since it’s his show.  The Marriage Ref features a different set of celebrities taking sides in marital arguments each week with Jerry Seinfeld, Kelly Ripa and Alec Baldwin as “panelists.”  Moves to it’s regular time slot on Thursday, March 4th.

Sinbad: Where U Been? (11pm on Comedy) – Sinbad does a standup comic routine


Monday, March 1

Rules of Engagement (7:30pm on CBS – Available in HD) – Season 4 premiere

The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (10:35pm on NBC – Available in HD) – Leno returns to late-night.

The Bachelor (7pm on ABC – Available in HD) – Season 14 seoson finale

Tuesday, March 2

Southland (10pm on TNT – Available in HD) – Were you a fan of NBC’s police drama, Southland?  You know, the one that NBC cancelled last season?  Well TNT has picked the show up with all new episodes for your viewing pleasure.

Madman of the Sea (9pm on Animal Planet – Available in HD) – New nature/realityTV series on Animal Planet

Parenthood (9pm on NBC – Available in HD) – An all-star cast for this new sitcom.  On my list of possible good ones although it will be a very tall order to beat out or even come close to the greatness of Modern Family in my opinion.  Parenthood stars: Peter Krause, Dax Shpard, Craig T Nelson, Lauren Graham among others.  Produced by Ron Howard which makes me set it up as a record on my HTPC.

Players (9:30pm on SPIKE) – New series on Spike…  Executive Producer Matt Walsh stars in Players about a happy-go-lucky guy who owns a bar with his conservative brother.


Wednesday, March 3

Nip/Tuck (10pm on FX – Available in HD) – Nip/Tuck airs its series finale with its 100th episode

Web Soup (7pm Wednesday on G4 (second-season premiere).

The Locator (9pm on WEtv) – Season 4 premiere


Thursday, March 4

Instant Recall (7:30 pm on GSN) - Series premiere

The Real Housewives of New York City (10 pm on Bravo) – Season 3 premiere


Friday, March 5

Who Do You Think You Are (8pm on NBC – Available in HD) – A new series with Lisa Kudrow that covers the inside family history of celebrities


Saturday, March 6

Destination Design (12:30 pm on HGTV) - series premiere


Sunday, March 7

Breaking Bad (10pm on AMC – Available in HD) – Season 3 Actually starts March 21st – thanks to Craig for pointing out my mistake


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