Thursday, July 01, 2010

Kindle DX Graphite Version – Improved Display

Amazon just announced a refresh of it’s Kindle DX, the larger eBook reader in their eReader lineup.

Kindle DX Graphite

The pricing is the same as it’s last Kindle DX at $379 (less than the original DX price of $489 of course) and the form factor is pretty much the same eReader.  Matter of fact it’s very close in specs from what I can tell with a few differences:

  • 50% better contrast screen according to Amazon although the resolution (1200x824 @150ppi, 16-level gray scale) is exactly the same.  The improvement is the new 10:1 contrast ratio
  • Device color is now Graphite (read gray/black) instead of white

That’s the only difference as far as I can tell from the specs that Amazon has on their site.  It includes free 3G for life and of course is actually readable in the sunlight unlike LCD screens (yes I’m talking to you iPad.)  You can preorder now although shipping won’t begin until July 7th.

I still favor the Kindle 6” for reading books.  And I like my iPad for reading everything although I’ll be the first to admit the Kindle is a superior book reading machine.

Look this device over closely – I expect it to give us a clue or two about the next flagship (6”) Kindle we’ll see.  If nothing else I expect the next Kindle to have the same color and improved contrast.

Head over to Amazon for the complete details

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Media Center TV Marathon Plugin

Media Center Marathon Icon

As I was browsing the GreenButton forums today I notice a nice, new add-in for MediaCenter – MediaCenter TV Marathon.

The Media Center TV Marathon add-in lets you play multiple series recordings automatically.  Basically, it’s a way to play a TV playlist with a series of TV recordings playing back-to-back without intervention by the user.  Possible uses include:

  • Time shift the 4th of July marathon and play it when you're home.

  • Play the kid's favorite series or movies over and over again.

  • Catch up on a series by watching multiple recordings consecutively.

  • Watch 2-part episodes as a single unit.

Media Center Marathon

Check out the $1.99 add-in with more information and the free download at Drasch Computer Software

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hulu Plus – Premium Subscription Service Official Today

Hulu Plus Logo

Hulu just added a Hulu Plus page to their website announcing their new, premium service that has been rumored for months now.  The new service will be $10 per month and features full TV show seasons accessible only for limited episodes on the “free” version of Hulu.

Hulu Plus

Mobile Support Included

iPod and iPad apps will be available as well as some internet connected TVs and Blu-ray players.  Plans for additional TVs, Blu-ray players, PS3 and XBox360 (with XBox Live) all are in the works.

Invitation Only Initially

Sign up for the “Invitation” with this link.  It looks like the initial invitations will be limited so get in quick if you’re interested.

Below is a short walkthrough video by Hulu:


I’m not sold on internet as the delivery method of TV yet.  My reasons include:

  • Lower quality
  • Internet bandwidth limits
  • Selection (don’t count on every CableTV channel show to be included)
  • You’re still getting commercials – and for you HTPC enthusiasts, you can’t even skip these ads which is a step in the wrong direction…
  • Finally, and this one is important in my house – There’s no live sports content on Hulu.  What do you think?  Is this the future?  Will you be signing up?

More at Hulu Plus Website and the Hulu Blog

Deal of the Day - Antec Black Fusion Remote HTPC Case $125 Free Shipping

Antec Black Fusion Remote Black Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case

Newegg (affiliate) has a nice HTPC case on sale with an instant-off coupon.  The Antec Black Fusion Remote HTPC Case is a good one and doesn’t go on sale all that much so a good deal if you’re looking for a HTPC case.

Antec Black Fusion Remote Black Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case $125 ($139.95 less $15 with coupon code CASE62515 (expires 6/30) with free shipping.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Advanced HTPC – Guide to Bitstreaming HDMI HD Audio


Mike Garcen at MissingRemote has an excellent article/tutorial on Bitstreaming HDMI HD Audio Formats from your HTPC.  From the article:

“The holy grail of getting Blu-ray from your HTPC to your home theater was always being able to bit stream HD audio formats, such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio. When HDMI devices first started appearing for computers, they were extremely crippled--often times they could not pass any audio natively, requiring an internal S/PDIF cable from the motherboard to the graphics card to get any audio to the audio video receiver (AVR).”

He covers most of the things you’ll need to know if you want to get HD Audio like Dolby True HD and DTS-MA from your Home Theater PC.  Give this one a read and don’t miss the comments to the article as there’s some great information in there also.

I personally am hoping for a HD Audio-capable extender from SageTV so I can do this with multiple TVs in the house without spending the extra cash the HTPC-route requires…

Read the full, MissingRemote Article:

Guide: Bitstreaming HDMI HD Audio Formats from your HTPC

Microsoft Windows 8 Preview – Moving Away from TV Tuners?

Paul Thurrott has a short “preview” of sorts for the next version of Windows – Windows 8.  It seems like Windows 7 has barely been around long enough to get acquainted, but there’s no question Microsoft already has it’s teams working on the next version of their flagship OS.  One thing that might surprise or even disturb some Media Center fans is this little tidbit from the article:

“One of the big trends involves PC-based TV tuner support. Microsoft has been steadily evolving TV tuner support in Windows since the initial XP Media Center release in 2002, but the thinking now is that future "TV" experiences on the PC will be web-based. If this works out as believed, future media PCs will not need TV tuners or the complicated software required to make them work. To this end, Windows 8 will likely be the start of the move away from traditional TV tuners in Windows.”

Now anyone paying attention the last year or so probably won’t be that surprised by this conclusion made by Thurrott.  Microsoft’s focus on Media Center going forward has been rumored to be pretty “light” so-to-speak.  And the future of TV might eventually be non-tuner based with the internet taking much of the TV content some day.  Its hard to not be disappointed by this direction though if its true.  Microsoft has a great product in Media Center and has actually taken great strides in the right direction with the improvements in Windows 7 Media Center.  But I’ve heard from multiple persons supposedly “in the know” that Microsoft doesn’t see Media Center as we know it more than a “maintenance” project in the next version which to me means very little changes.

What do you think?  Is Microsoft working behind the scenes with a next generation Media Center or are they pushing it aside like the calculator “app” for Windows?

Read more at Paul Thurott’s Supersite for Windows

Amazon Kindle eBook Reader for Android Released

Kindle for Android


Amazon continues to lead the eBook market in terms of getting their reader as well as their eBook store on as many devices as possible.  Today they released the new Kindle app for Android devices.  The Android Kindle app is similar to the iPhone app that lets you search, browse, purchase, download and of course read eBooks from your Android (1.6 or higher) device.

Features of the Android Kindle App:

  • Get the best reading experience available on your Android phone. No Kindle required
  • Access your Kindle books even if you don't have your Kindle with you
  • Automatically synchronizes your last page read and annotations between devices with “Whispersync”
  • Adjust the text size, add bookmarks, and view the annotations you created on your Kindle, computer, or other Kindle-compatible device
  • Read in portrait or landscape mode
  • Tap on either side of the screen or flick to turn pages
  • That puts Kindle on the Kindle eReaders, the iPod Touch, iPhone, Android mobile, iPad, Windows PC, Mac

    Kindle still leads the pack of eBook readers and eBook stores in most categories and this will help them keep the edge.


    Sunday, June 27, 2010

    TV Premieres, Finales & Specials This Week 06/27/2010

    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


              Entourage returns to HBO Sunday

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

    Sunday, June 27

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

    37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards (9pm on CBS) – Annual Awards Show

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

    George Strait: ACM Artist of the Decade All Star Concert (9pm on GAC) – Tribute to George Strait starring Brooks & Dunn, Jamie Foxx, Faith Hill, Jack Ingram, Alan Jackson, Jamey Johnson, Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Montgomery Gentry, John Rich, LeAnn Rimes, Blake Shelton, Sugarland and Lee Ann Womack.

    Team Coco Presents Conan’s Writers (10pm on TBS – Availble in HD) – A special Conan intro featuring Conan’s return on TBS

    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.



    Monday, June 28

    Huge (9pm on ABC Family – Available in HD) – Series premiere of a new teen drama where a typical teenager girl facing struggles with body images in It’s setting is with 7 teenage girls at a weight-loss camp. Based on the book by the same name.

    James May’s Toy Stories (10pm on BBCA – Available in HD) – Series premiere of a documentary led by Top Gear’s James May.  First episode has May attempting to build and live in the world's first full-size house made out of Legos.

    Obsessed (10pm on A&E) Season 2 premiere of a realityTV series that delves into the lives of individuals who suffer from chronic anxiety disorders.

    Make it or Break it (10pm on ABC Family) Season 2 premiere of the drama series that centers around Olympic hopefuls.


    Wednesday, June 30

    In Plain Sight (10pm on USA – Available in HD) – Season finale

    Rescue Me (10pm on FX – Available in HD) – Season 6 premiere

    Locked Up Abroad (10pm on National Geographic) – Season 4 premiere of a news documentary series.  This episode subject is the 1978 film ``Midnight Express,'' that tells the real story of being sent to the infamous Turkish Sagmalcilar prison.

    Louie (11:01pm on FX – Available in HD) – New comedy series on FX starring Louis C.K. in a comedy about 41 year old divorce trying to navigate through life.


    Thursday, July 1

    100 Questions (8:30pm on NBC – Available in HD) – Season finale

    Wipeout Moments (7:30am on DisneyXD) – New series

    Ace of Cakes (10pm on Food – Available in HD) – Season premiere


    Friday, July 2

    Merlin (10pm on SciFi – Available in HD) – Season finale

    Miami Medical (10pm on CBS – Available in HD) – Series finale


    Saturday, July 3

    Three Rivers (8pm on CBS – Available in HD) – Series finale


    Sunday, July 4

    If you can, head outside and watch the fireworks in the real world – it's much better than on TV no matter what kind of set you have.  But otherwise here’s a specials on TV in the U.S. during the holiday:

    The Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular (9pm on NBC) – Special with fireworks over NY


    Monday, July 5

    Bath Crashers (10:30pm on DIY) – Season premiere


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