Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hauppauge HD-PVR Driver Update for Media Center

This week Hauppauge released a small, but helpful driver update for the Hauppauge HD-PVR Media Center driver.

The update 1.0.28171 includes the following two fixes:

  • Fixed IR blaster failed after system resume.
  • Fixed video glitch when connected to PAL capable PS3

So if you’re experiencing the IR blaster problem head over to Hauppauge to get the driver update.

via techlifeweb

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Deal of the Day – Hauppauge HD-PVR $169.99 No Rebates Required

Amazon has the Hauppauge 1212 HD-PVR High Definition Personal Video Recorder (read more about it here) for your HTPC setup now for $169.99 with free shipping and unlike the deal from earlier this week - no rebates required

A great deal if you’re in the market for a HD-PVR to use with your HTPC or to record video game play. 

N PVR HTPC Software (formerly GB-PVR) Updates to 1.5.21 Beta

It was just over a week ago when N-PVR was introduced as the next generation of the popular freeware HTPC software formerly known as GBPVR.  Today an update, N-PVR 1.5.21 beta is available for download with many bug fixes and improvements.


Some of the changes include:

  • now defaulting to 9750/11700/10600 LNB settings outside of NZ.

  • .mpg playback is now honoring the decoder selections. Previously only .ts files would, and decoders used during .mpg playback would be chosen by Windows.

  • minor visual changes to the Recording screen to make it clearer that left/right will switch between the various recording lists.

  • fixed several PCH issues (some screen rendering problems, playback position, skipping, problem with switch back/forth between cover/list views)

  • added tray icon support for starting N-PVR.

  • added basic support for EVR aspect ratios with negative values. Its not perfect, but does work. Due to an EVR limitation, the OSD graphics are displayed in a slightly incorrect position on the screen (too narrow).

  • fixed a problem where MVP server windows were visible
    - window size and position now remembered between runs of the application.
    - added a setting screen for selecting which plugins are visible in the main menu. (I expect to do more work in the future to allow reordering etc, but this is at least a start)



More information about the N-PVR upgrade, full changelog & the download is at GBPVR forums

MediaPortal 1.1.0 RC5 HTPC Software Released


MediaPortal, one of the more popular open-source and free HTPC software programs released the 1.1.0 (release candidate 5) version of MediaPortal 1 this week.

The beta version of 1.1 was released last August with many updates.  This RC5 version should be the last one before officially releasing the 1.2 version. 

Major changes include:

  • [fixed] 0002936: MPC-HC subtitle engine is not working with MPC splitters
  • [fixed] 0002919: Timeshift repeating on channel change
  • [fixed] 0002940: Starting/stopping a current program recording gives an exception
  • [fixed] 0002920: Scheduled recording could be inerrupted by epggrabber
  • [fixed] 0002948: bug in MediaInfo.dll causes playback of ATSC recordings to fail

Check out the complete change list and details at the MediaPortal website

WDTV Live Plus Review – With Netflix Streaming


Western Digital’s WDTV media streamer has been one of the more popular media player devices over the past year and just recently introduced the next generation of that player, the WDTV Live Plus.  ZatzNotFunny! has a full review of the device worth reading if you’re interested in media players.  Here’s a few excerpts from the review:

I’ve been looking at WD’s lineup for some time and finally decided to pick the newest rev up. It can stream 720p, 1080p video content and Netflix – the main things I am looking for. It also supports streaming popular media codecs and enclosures. Here’s the list supported file types:

Video: AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG1/2/4), MPG/MPEG, VOB, MKV (h.264, x.264, AVC, MPEG1/2/4, VC-1), TS/TP/M2T (MPEG1/2/4, AVC, VC-1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, h.264), M2TS, WMV9
Playlist: PLS, M3U, WPL
Subtitle: SRT, ASS, SSA, SUB, SMI

The player includes optional WiFi support for these cards and now includes Netflix streaming which is a very nice-to-have feature for a box in this price range:

By comparison, Netflix streaming was great. You need to register the device with your Netflix account and then after that you are good to go. The interface is the similar to the one found on the PS3. And the WD TV also steams Pandora Internet Radio and Flickr.


Check out the full review of the WD TV Live Plus at ZatzNotFunny!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Deal of the Day – 2TB Seagate Hard Drive $80

I’m always on the lookout for cheaper storage for my HPTC setup and today noticed what looks like the cheapest price on a 2TB drive yet – TigerDirect (affiliate) has the Seagate Barracuda LP HD 2TB SATA 3Gb/s Internal Hard Drive for $79.97 (109.97 less $30 mail-in-rebate)  This includes free shipping.

I’m not a fan of mail-in-rebates, but this is still a pretty good deal for this OEM drive.  Deal expires July 2nd.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Microsoft Media Center 7 add-on Big Screen EPG Released

Many Microsoft Media Center users are familiar with Big Screen Global for several popular Media Center Vista add-ons.  Since Windows 7 has released, they have been working on Big Screen EPG which is being officially launched as a release version and ready for download and purchase.

Big Screen EPG 1

Some of the core features Big Screen EPG brings users include :

  • Ability to import rich EPG data from any combination of XMLTV based data sources – and assign them to any Free-to-Air and PayTV Services available inside Media Center – including Terrestrial/Satellite/Cable based Digital TV (such as ATSC, DVB-T/T2, DVB-S/S2, DVB-C), Analog/CCTV Channels (PAL/NTSC/Secam) as well as IPTV Services.
  • Allows use of custom Channel Logos which are displayed within the Media Center EPG.
  • Intelligent and Sophisticated Unique Program and TV Series detection features – allowing for more reliable and powerful scheduled recording in Media Center.
  • Automatic Series Matching and Metadata import (with inbuilt database of over 20,000+ ‘known’ TV Series) – which injects TV Series Artwork, Star-Ratings and other rich program information.
  • Works with Multi-Lingual EPG metadata – including support for non-latin and DBCS character sets such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, Greek, Russian, Arabic, Thai and others.
  • Enables Media Center’s inbuilt Parental Controls

Big Screen EPG s

For more information, read the full press release and then head over to the Big Screen Global Website

Windows 7 Media Center Cumulative Update for June Available

Microsoft pushed out a Microsoft Cumulative Update for June 2010 with some new Windows 7 Media Center updates. 

This months update fixes the following issues:

  • If there is a revoked version of the PlayReady PC Runtime installed when you use Windows Media Center to play protected content, a “Copy Prohibited” overlay message or a black screen is displayed. After you apply this update, the overlay message will direct you to the appropriate PlayReady PC Runtime update on the Microsoft Update website.
  • You reference a backup database when the guide database in Windows Media Center is corrupted. If you set a manual recording on a channel that is not listed in the backup database, the Mcupdate.exe process crashes.
  • Schedule data may disappear in regions that use in-band guide data. For example, schedule data disappear in Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) regions.
  • Windows Media Center crashes when you use an invalid path for a recorded TV location.

    The update is available now via Windows Update.

    Read the entire changelog at

    Sonos Music Server Getting iPad Controller App

    If you follow me on twitter you likely know I’ve been reviewing a Sonos setup for whole-home, wireless music.  The free iPhone (and iPod Touch) app that controls Sonos is one of the things that makes Sonos an easy device to love.  But I’ve been thinking of how nice an iPad app would be with Sonos given the extra real estate you have with an iPad and the fact that you’re likely only going to be using your Sonos in the house.  Well today Sonos announced they are doing just that and should have a new Sonos Controller for iPad available in the iTunes App Store sometime late August.

    Sonos iPad 2

    The Sonos Controller for iPad will include the following features:

    • Landscape and portrait modes
    • Multi-pane view
    • See your music menu, what’s playing in every room, and what’s in your queue, complete with vivid album art—all at once.
    • Quickly search for your favorite artists by typing on the virtual keyboard and browse through albums by pointing and flicking. Then simply drag and drop to add to your queue.
    • Price = free.  Like the iPhone app, the iPad app will be available as a free download

    Not sure what it’s all about?  Check out this video demo promo by Sonos:


    You can read more about the new iPad controller at  Visit to learn more about Sonos.  I’ll have a full review of Sonos in the coming days.

    Deal of the Day – Hauppauge HD-PVR $169.99

    The Hauppauge HD-PVR, a HD capture device for nearly all HTPC software programs is on sale at (affiliate).

    Hauppauge HD PVR High Definition Personal Video Recorder 1212 has the Hauppauge HD PVR 1212 component capture device (read more about it here) for your HTPC setup now for $169.99 after rebate with free shipping

    A great deal if you’re in the market for a HD-PVR to use with your HTPC or to record video game play.  Next best price is at Amazon for $185 - As of 6/24 Amazon has a better deal with $169.99 with no rebate required plus free shipping.

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    iOS 4 Walk Through for iPhone – With How-to

    I was able to download and install my iOS4 update to my iPhone 3G in a matter of 30 minutes or so.  My next step was to answer the question: how do those new features work?

    I first checked the Apple website which talked about the features, but didn’t exactly tell me how to use them – you know the quick, “dummy’s guide.”  So after checking out a handful of articles about iOS4, I found a great one with screenshots at  I’m most interested in the limited multi-tasking, folders (thank goodness – finally!) and the long awaited unified email which I needed in a bad way.  I won’t bore you with the details, but check out the walk-through if interested – it’s a good one.

    iOS 4 Walk Through

    Note: their server is getting hit pretty hard today so here’s the cached link if you can’t get through

    Amazon Kindle Price Drops to $189

    Well that didn’t take long after all.  After the new Nook pricing and Wi-Fi only version, Amazon today dropped the price of the Amazon 6” Kindle by $70 to $189 with free shipping!  It was just this morning I was comparing prices of the 2 Nook versions with the Kindle and concluded this:

    Take that along with the competition from the iPad and Amazon should see its Kindle sales drop quickly without a significant move on their part.

    Amazon, it’s your move.  If you don’t hurry I see the Nook taking the e-reader niche away while Apple gets the rest.


    And just a few hours later Amazon did the best thing they could to stay in the competition – they lowered the price of the Kindle to $189 – just $10 less than the 3G + Wi-Fi version of the Nook.  Still $40 more than the Wi-Fi only version of the Nook though so I see them losing the overall price battle until they add a Wi-Fi only version and add Wi-Fi to the 3G Kindle.  But at least they are paying attention.  Now lets see what new hardware Amazon can give us – I personally think a Wi-Fi only version is the next obvious step.

    HTPCentric Podcast – the Hardware Show

    This month’s episode of HTPCentric covers what I consider the difficult part of Home Theater PCs – the hardware.  Video Cards, CPUs, storage and more – oh my!  Another must-listen podcast in my book so don’t miss it if you’re a HTPC enthusiast.

    HTPCentric Podcast – The Hardware Show

    New Wi-Fi Nook And Price Drop

    This past March I mentioned that I expected Amazon to drop the price of its popular Kindle eBook reader soon after the Apple iPad arrived and I even had a suspicion that Amazon would release a cheaper Wi-Fi only version of the Kindle.  Both would be great moves to keep Amazons eBook store ahead of the competition.  But to my surprise, Barnes & Noble has moved ahead of the pack with those exact moves and made it official today.  I first heard about the B&N moves from Len Edgerly on Twitter which were then confirmed by Dave Zatz.

    Nook Wi-Fi

    A new Wi-Fi only nook is now available for $149 and the 3G/Wi-Fi Nook costs $199 versus the 3G-only Kindle which is still selling for $259.  As much as the GeekTonic family loves their 2 Kindles, it’s going to be pretty difficult for Amazon to justify that $60 price premium over a more, fully-featured Nook let alone the $149 wi-fi Nook.  Take that along with the competition from the iPad and Amazon should see its Kindle sales drop quickly without a significant move on their part.

    Amazon, it’s your move.  If you don’t hurry I see the Nook taking the e-reader niche away while Apple gets the rest.


    Amazon responds a few hours later by dropping the Kindle price by $70 to $189 (free shipping)

    TV Premieres, Finales & Specials This Week 06/20/2010

    Each week GeekTonic covers the TV scene with a complete listing of premieres, finales and specials for the week.  Several season premieres and even a few new shows appear this week.  Check out the complete list of new premieres and finales this week below.

    Don’t miss the Ultimate Guide to the Summer 2010 TV Season with free PDF downloads!

    And the TV Status – Guide to which shows are canceled and renewed for next season

    Memphis Beat

              A new crime drama, Memphis Beat premieres on TNT Tuesday

    NOTE: All Times are Listed for EST – TV schedules subject to change

    Sunday, June 20

    ‘Til Death (7pm on Fox – Available in HD) – Series finale

    Jonas L.A. (8:30pm on Disney) – Season premiere with the Jonas brothers

    Leverage (9pm on TNT – Available in HD) – Season premiere

    Scoundrels (9pm on ABC – Available in HD) – A new comedy/drama based on a New Zealand series “Outrageous Fortune”.  Basic premise is a family of small-time crooks try to repair their bad habits.

    The Tudors (9pm on Showtime – Available in HD) – The series finale is here.

    Treme (10pm on HBO – Available in HD) – Season finale

    The Gates (10pm on ABC – Available in HD) – A new action/suspense/drama that follows a cop hired as a police chief of a “planned community” that seems pretty harmless on the outside, but the cop soon discovers there is more going on then he first thinks.



    Monday, June 21

    Money Rocks (5pm on Fox Business News) – Billionaire Richard Branson is the first guest of this new series.

    BrainSurge (6pm on Nikelodeon) – Season premiere of the kids gameshow.

    Ultimate Car Build-Off (9pm on Discovery – Available in HD) – New reality series.  The first episode starts off with Hollywood Hot Rods and Pure Vision given 4 days to turn a mini-van into a supercar to be raced at Willow Springs Raceway.

    History Detectives (9pm on PBS) – Season premiere

    Unforgettable: The Korean War (10pm on PBS) – A special where U.S. veterans recall their part in the Cold War-era conflict

    Heartland Thunder (10pm on Discovery – Available in HD) – New reality series where 4 Dirt Modified racers battle it out at 120 miles per hour.

    Inedible to Incredible (10pm on TLC) – New reality/cooking series that is sort of a “What Not to Wear” for food.  In the first episode they make bizarre dishes inspired by a childhood in the arctic region of Canada.

    Unusual Suspects (10pm on Investigation Discovery) – New documentary/mystery series where they focus on some of the more challenging mystery cases in modern-day America.  First episode is “A Mother’s Conviction” where a mother of a young boy is convicted of murdering her son and years later is set free by a confession from an unexpected source.


    Tuesday, June 22

    Wipeout (8pm on ABC – Available in HD) – Season premiere

    HawthoRNe (9pm on TNT – Available in HD) – Season premiere

    Downfall (9:01pm on ABC – Available in HD) – New game show series where players answer questions in hope of winning prizes up to $1 million.  This first episode is played on the roof of a downtown LA high-rise while contestants attempt to answer questions beofre time is up.  Faxes of prizes on a conveyor belt with cash ($5,000 - $1M) at the end of the belt go by as players try to answer before the prize goes over the edge of the building.  Hmm.

    Memphis Beat (10pm on TNT – Available in HD) – New crime drama series on TNT by George Clooney’s Smokehouse Pictures studio.  Memphis Beat focuses on a Memphis police detective played by Jason Lee.

    P.O.V. (10pm on PBS) – Season premiere

    Primetime (10:01pm on ABC – Available in HD) – Season premiere


    Wednesday, June 23

    Harp Dreams (9:30pm on PBS) – A new documentary focused on the triennial USA Intl. Harp competition.  Lots of harp music if you’re into that sort of thing.


    Thursday, June 24

    Rookie Blue (9pm on ABC in U.S. & Global in Canada – Available in HD) – New crime drama series on ABC.  A group of young, rookie police officers must learn to adapt to their jobs and meet the expectations of their friends, families and co-workers.

    Futurama (10pm on Comedy – Available in HD) – Season premiere

    Boston Med (10pm on ABC – Available in HD) – New documentary/health series on ABC filmed at Massachusetts General, Brigham & Women's, and Children’s Hospital Boston.  The focus is on the lives of the doctors, nurses and patients at these hospitals.

    Raising Sextuplets (10pm on WE) – Season premiere


    Friday, June 25

    Saturday, June 26

    You Lucky Dog (8pm on Hallmark – Available in HD) – A made-for-TV hallmark movie starring Natasha Henstridge and Harry Hamlin.


    Sunday, June 27

    Masterclass (6:30pm on HBO – Available in HD) – Season finale

    Out of Control Drivers (9pm on TLC – Available in HD) – New documentary series that focuses on…. you guessed it, out of control drivers.

    Hung (10pm on HBO – Available in HD) – Season premiere

    Entourage (10:30pm on HBO – Available in HD) – Season premiere

    Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole (11:30pm on Cartoon) – New animated series on Toon.  A mad scientist performs experiments on famous people through history using time portals.


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