Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall TV Season – Any TV Series Worth Checking Out?

So now that the Fall TV Season is well underway I thought I’d check in with the real experts of TV – the readers of GeekTonic.

What new & returning shows are you watching?  Are there any gems among the new shows this season?

I’d give you my picks based on watching these new shows but I’ve been so busy I haven’t watched anything beyond some clips.  I recorded the following new shows this week:

  • The Event  I had planned to record this series and wait to see how it goes this season.  I don’t want to get screwed by the TV Network if they decide to cancel, but ’m very tempted to just go ahead and watch it from the good things I’ve heard
  • Lone Star – I really liked the clips I saw of this one, but the rumblings I’m hearing from people who watched the entire first episode were very mixed.
  • Hawaii Five-0 – I chose to not record this one but everyone who watched the premiere loved it.
  • Detroit 1-8-8 – Another one I chose not to record.  It sounds like those that watched it like it.  A grittier Law & Order type of show I think.

I did watch the Chuck premiere and loved it.  A great start to the new season – unfortunately it lost audience while Dancing with the Stars picked up audience.

There’s more new shows to come and I’ll run through all of them Sunday morning here on GeekTonic.  Let us know what you watched and your opinions of shows to check out or throw out.

SageTV Beta 7.0.17 Update – Final Version 3 Weeks Away

SageTV Logo

Now that the new extenders are in the hands of many happy SageTV users, SageTV today offers up another beta version – 7.0.17.  This is the first of the release-candidate betas which means we’re getting close to a final, non-beta version of SageTV 7.  The SageTV team is estimating that we are about 3 weeks away from a final SageTV 7 release.

New Features in 7.0.17

  • Default language selection for audio tracks and subtitles
  • UserRecord API for plugin developers to allow generic data storage in the SageTV Database

Those will likely be the last new features of this version before release.  Of course the next version of SageTV 7.1 can’t be too awful far away so don’t worry if you have a favorite feature from your wishlist that hasn’t made it out yet.

Other notable changes in this update include:

  • Added Detailed Setup -> Video/Audio -> HD Audio Output option for Windows systems. The option controls whether to output DolbyTrueHD or DTS-HD/MA streams when present (enabled) or to output AC3 or DTS streams (disabled/default).
  • Fixed format detection issues with MPEG-2Video R5000 recordings and some HDPVR recordings when watching live TV.
  • Added potential fix for a bug where SageTV crashes when starting a new recording after resuming from standby. (we can't reproduce this, so we can't verify the fix)
  • Added support for WVC1 decoders
  • Added support for LPCM audio in the stream demux
  • Added once-per-day check for new installer & firmware version upgrades after jumping to the Main Menu. If an upgrade is available, a System Message is generated.

If you’re participating in the SageTV Beta, head over to the SageTV Forums for more information and the downloads.

There have also been quite a few beta firmware updates for the new SageTV HD300 and SageTV HD200 so be sure and update your firmware.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sonos Adds Wireless iPhone & iPod Dock to Lineup

Sonos announced a new addition to their hardware lineup today – this time a new wireless dock. 

If you have a Sonos system you probably already know that your iPhone and iPod touch can be used as a free remote control on your Sonos.  And you’ve been able to plug your iPod into a Sonos S5 via the audio input to play back music on your Sonos speakers.  Now with the Sonos Wireless Dock (WD100) you can dock your iDevice (iPod touch [1st, 2nd and 3rd generation], iPod classic, iPod nano [3rd, 4th and 5th generation], iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G and iPhone) to control and stream the music from that device over your wireless Sonos system.

Sonos Wireless Dock

The Sonos Wireless Dock (WD100) looks very much like a basic iPhone/iPod dock with the Sonos logo on the front.  But inside is an extension of the Sonos wireless mesh system that links your iPhone or iPod to the setup wirelessly.  It takes the audio from your iDevice, converts it to analog and streams it across your house via the Sonos ZonePlayers.

Sonos Wireless Dock with iPhone

The Sonos wireless dock is expected by the end of October and will retail at $119.

To learn more about Sonos check out the GeekTonic review and head to the Sonos website.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Deal of the Day – 2TB Internal Hard Drive $95

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 2TB 3.5

A nice hard drive deal showed up at Newegg today. 

It’s a SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 2TB Internal Hard Drive for $95 with free shipping!  Deals like this make justifying that SSD I’ve been eyeing even more difficult.

Canada Finally Gets Netflix Streaming

Netflix finally launched their streaming service in Canada Wednesday. They have it priced at CDN$7.99/month.  From the first reports the selection is even less than it is in the U.S.

Netflix Canada

For the best look at the Canada Netflix Streaming Service from a Canadian’s perspective, check out Dale Dietrich’s review via ZatzNotFunny.

Official Netflix Press Release

SSD Drive for HTPC – Is it Worth It?

OCZ Agility 2 OCZSSD3-2AGT240G 3.5

I put this question up on Twitter today and thought I’d expand on it.

Twitter SSD Question

I’m considering switching out my OS hard drive on my Home Theater PC with a new Solid State Drive (SSD).  In response to my twitter question I received several responses saying things like:

Andy from MissingRemote said: Using an SSD for the OS drive. Good way to reduce heat/noise while increasing UI performance

Mikinho from MissingRemote said: Same here. Low noise, heat and power usage. Faster UI, cache retrievable damn near instant and very fast resume from sleep.

Vinylfreak said: Im using two 30gb OCZ Vertex drives striped for my HTPC OS. Its very snappy. Ive been Very happy with the performance so far. =)

There were several other positive responses as I expected.  My guess is that most if not all of these HTPC enthusiasts have a SSD drive on their HTPC – used for playback.  My HTPC that I would put the SSD in is a powerhouse HTPC server.  In other words it does ALL of the recording, commercial detecting, transcoding, Blu-ray ripping etc.  But not a lot of media playback since my nice, new SageTV HD300 extenders handle that so well.

So is it still worth it to put an expensive SSD drive as the operating system drive of the HTPC server that doesn’t get used a lot for playback?  That is the question.  Thanks for your input!

To the Point – Roku Updates Media Streaming Boxes

New Roku Lineup

Roku tipped their hand that a new media streamer hardware lineup was on the way with their price drops and a choice FCC leak recently.  Today Roku officially announced the new, slightly updated lineup for all to see.

Roku’s new Hardware includes:

  • Roku HD at $60 with 720p, Wi-Fi + Ethernet connectivity and HDMI
  • Roku XD at $80 that adds 1080p full HD video playback, instant replay button and Wireless N to the feature-set
  • Roku XD/S for $100 that adds dual-band wireless, component video & optical outputs and a USB port.

If it were me and I was simply looking for a good UI for my Netflix streaming, that Roku HD would fit the bill honestly.  Neither the XD or XD/S look like they will be competitive in the realm of streaming from your home collection like the WDTV Live Plus and SageTV HD300 are.  And seriously, how many 1080p online streaming videos have you seen lately?  Yeah, me neither.  Anyway, here’s a few interesting articles on the web from today that cover these new Roku’s:

ZatzNotFunny! covers the new hardware and I mostly agree with his buying advice:

“Anyone who currently owns a Roku, other than the SD model, really has no reason to upgrade at this time.”

“However if you’re primarily interested in economical and diverse local media playback (USB or LAN) that also happens to have some online streaming capabilities, the WDTV Live Plus is a better solution.”

Engadget has a good review of the Roku XD/S.  They generally like Roku as a whole and have some guarded praise of the more expensive XD/S:

“There's still some work to be done and more content partnerships to strike -- add in Hulu support and it's game over, guys -- but the Roku XDS is definitely worth a look if you need a streamer, and the oh-so-cheap Roku HD is probably worth a look even if you don't.”

Finally, NewTeeVee has a video showing the new hardware off along with a run-through of the changes from the now-older hardware.  They also go on with another video claiming that 12 percent of Roku customers cut the cord.  I guess that’s possible, but if you care at all about picture quality, content selection and LiveTV events such as sporting events or “gasp” realityTV you’ll still need at least over the air – and probably cable if you want the sports.  I say the same thing when talking about the AppleTV…

What do you think?  Is the Roku for you?  Or are you looking for something with more of a multiple personality like a Blu-ray Player, TV or more powerful media player/extender to handle your online media content streaming?

Check out the official Roku info at their website

Sunday, September 19, 2010

TV Premieres, Finales & Specials This Week 09/19/2010

Get those DVRs and HTPCs ready – it’s here.

Each week GeekTonic covers the TV scene with a complete listing of premieres, finales and specials for the week.  This week is pretty much the busiest premiere week of all.  There is a LOT of TV beginning which means this is basically the official start of the Fall 2010 TV Season.

Don’t miss these other GeekTonic Fall 2010 TV Season Features:

Check out the complete list of finales, premieres & specials below.

 The Event on NBC

The Event premieres on ABC Monday hoping to pick up “Lost” & “Flash Forward” Fans


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

Sunday, September 19

Boardwalk Empire (9pm on HBO – Available in HD) – New series on HBO that almost makes me want to re-subscribe to HBO.  I watched an extended clip from the pilot episode and consider this one of the best bets of the season.  The story is of prohibition-era Atlantic City with the first episode written by Martin Scorsese.  If you have HBO do not miss this series.  And if you don’t have HBO you may consider subscribing or save this one in your Netflix queue.

I Survived (9pm on Biography– Available in HD) – Season 4 finale

Real and Chance: The Legend Hunters (9pm on VH1) – A new reality series

Fantasia For Real (10pm on VH1) – Season 2 premiere

The Gates (10pm on ABC – Available in HD) – Season 1 finale

La La’s Full Court Wedding (10:30pm on 10:30pm on VH1) – A new reality series with La La & Carmelo Anthony


Monday, September 20

Don’t Forget The Lyrics (7pm on VH1) – Season 3 premieres with Sugar Ray singer mark McGrath hosting

How I Met Your Mother (8pm on CBS – Available in HD) – Season 6 premiere brings back one of my favorite comedies.  I admit I’m slowly growing tired of this one so I hope they bring the big laughs fast to keep me watching

Chuck (8pm on NBC – Available in HD) Season 4 premiere begins with Chuck searching for his mom (Linda Hamilton) without cluing in Ellie.  This episode brings us a new bad guy played by Dolph Lundgren

Dancing with the Stars (8pm on ABC – Available in HD) Season 11 starts off with a two-hour premiere.  Bristol Palin is on this season.  Yes, no matter what your politics this is a sure sign that the world is coming to an end.

House (8pm on Fox – Available in HD) Season 7 premiere

Rules of Engagement (8:30pm on CBS – Available in HD) Season 5 premiere

The Event (9pm on NBC – Available in HD) New series for NBC with a familiar theme – A conspiracy thriller where a regular guy investigates the mysterious disappearance of his fiancĂ©e and unwittingly begins to expose the biggest cover-up in U.S. history.  I personally will be recording this one with a wait-and-see attitude.  I like what I’ve seen so far about the show & the lead actor Jason Ritter should be good in this one.  But I’ve been burned too much with shows like this and would prefer to make sure it will continue before investing in it..  You know like Flash Forward for instance.

Lone Star (9pm on Fox – Available in HD) This is another new series to check out in my opinion.  I had the opportunity to watch an extended clip from the season 1 premiere of Lone Star and it was definitely something that caught my eye.  The story of this show involves a smooth-talking con man and his dad both of which have been running scams for years.  The son lives a triple life (two of them fake) and wants to build a new, less dubious life.  David Keith portrays the father in this show which has a premium cable feel to it.  I definitely recommend you check this one out.

Two and a Half Men (9pm on CBS – Available in HD) Season 8 premiere

Mike & Molly (9:31pm on CBS – Available in HD) A new comedy series for CBS.  I watched an extended clip of the season premiere from this show and came away pleasantly surprised.  I expected very little from this one, but found it to be quite funny.  It’s about an overweight cop and a fourth grade teacher who meet at an overeaters anonymous meeting in Chicago and fall in love.  Yeah, that plot didn’t appeal to me either, but after watching much of the premiere I gotta say it actually looks pretty good.

Castle (10pm on ABC – Available in HD) Season 3 premiere

Chase (10pm on NBC – Available in HD) New series by Jerry Bruckheimer where a team of U.S. marshals hunt down America’s most dangerous fugitives.  I haven’t heard good things about this one.

Hawaii Five-O (10pm on CBS – Available in HD) New series that is a re-make of the popular show that aired from 1968 to 1980 (wow).  It’s being re-cast with an elite unit/task force set up to fight crime in Hawaii.  I saw a short clip of the premiere episode and it was okay.  Might be worth checking out as it’s following the formula of the quite successful show that preceded it.


Tuesday, September 21

The Biggest Loser (8pm on NBC – Available in HD) Season 10

Glee (8pm on Fox – Available in HD) Season 2 premieres with some new Glee members

NCIS (8pm on CBS – Available in HD) Season 8 premiere

30 for 30: The House of Steinbrenner (8pm on ESPN – Available in HD) – A look at the late 37-year Yankees owner George Steinbrenner

Warehouse 13 (9pm on SyFy– Available in HD) – Season 2 finale.  And we received news that there will in fact be a season 3!

NCIS: Los Angeles (9pm on CBS – Available in HD) Season 2 starts off with a two-hour premiere

Raising Hope (9pm on Fox – Available in HD) A completely unprepared young man is left with a baby girl and decides to raise her despite his equally screwed up support system of a family

Running Wilde (9:30pm on Fox – Available in HD) A new series where A spoiled rich boy tries to buy the love of his childhood sweetheart, an idealistic do-gooder.  The show was created by “Arrested Development’s” Mitch Hurwitz and stars that same shows Will Arnett.  The previews didn’t look too good and the reviews have been very lackluster.

Detroit 1-8-8 (10pm on ABC – Available in HD) A new show set in Detroit, which has the highest murder rate in the country, so it makes sense as the setting for a show about homicide detectives.  The number one thing this show has going for it is Michael Imperioli who starred in “Sopranos” and “Life on Mars.”

The Rachel Zoe Project (10pm on Bravo) – Season 3 finale


Wednesday, September 22

Hell’s Kitchen (8pm on Fox) Season 8 begins with 16 new chefs in waiting.  Chef Morimoto makes an appearance

The Middle (8pm on ABC – Available in HD) Season 2 begins with a little “Everybody Loves Raymond” reunion of sorts.

Undercovers (8pm on NBC – Available in HD) A new series with a retired husband-and-wife spy team who now run a catering business are suddenly thrust back into their former CIA agent lives.

Better With You (8:30pm on ABC – Available in HD) A new series with two sisters (Jennifer Finnigan, Joanna Garcia) have very different relationships with their significant others.

Criminal Minds (9pm on CBS – Available in HD) Season 6 premiere

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (9pm on NBC – Available in HD) Season 12 begins with Lost’s Henry Ian Cusick guest starring.

Modern Family (9pm on ABC – Available in HD) Season 2 brings back the comedy.  After getting a comedy win at this years Emmys they start this episode with Phil finally agreeing to sell that station wagon.  My pick for best comedy on the air.

Cougar Town (9:30pm on ABC – Available in HD) Season 2 begins and I’m told it isn’t about “cougars” all that much any more for what its worth.  This first episode brings a “Friends” reunion of sorts as Jennifer Aniston guests stars along with lead Courtney Cox.

The Defenders (10pm on CBS – Available in HD) New series starring Jerry O’Connel and Jim Belushi.  The plot goes like this: Criminal defense lawyers, navigate the often blurry line between right and wrong with an impressive repertoire of witty insults and slapstick moments

The Whole Truth (10pm on ABC – Available in HD) A new legal drama that chronicles how a case is built from the perspectives of both the defense and the prosecution.


Thursday, September 23

Community (8pm on NBC – Available in HD) Season 2 begins with Betty White guest starring.

My Generation (8pm on ABC – Available in HD) A new series that’s sort of a mockumentary.  Plot is like this: A documentary crew followed high school students as they prepared for graduation in 2000. Ten years later, the filmmakers revisit the former classmates.

The Big Bang Theory (8pm on CBS – Available in HD) Season 4 premiere  begins with Sheldon going on his first date ever – with Amy Fowler.

Bones (8pm on Fox – Available in HD) Season 6 premiere

$#*! My Dad Says (8:30pm on CBS – Available in HD) A new comedy based on that Twitter account so many of us follow.  An adult son moves in with his father (played by William Shatner) who is not afraid to express his not politically correct opinions.  It looks bad to me – really bad.

30 Rock (8:30pm on NBC – Available in HD) Season 5 premiere

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (9pm on CBS – Available in HD) Season 11 premiere and O.M.G.!  Just Bieber guest stars…. (yawn)

Fringe (9pm on Fox – Available in HD) Season 3 brings back some pretty crazy plot action.  My favorite sci-fi series in a while.

Grey’s Anatomy (9pm on ABC – Available in HD) Season 7 begins with a wedding.

The Office (9pm on NBC – Available in HD) Season 7 begins with Kathy Bates returning as company main woman.

Outsourced (9:30pm on NBC – Available in HD) A new comedy with the following plot: The call center for an American novelty company based in the Midwest is relocated to India.  Ben Rappaport stars

The Mentalist (10pm on CBS – Available in HD) Season 3 premiere

Private Practice (10pm on ABC – Available in HD) Season 4 premiere

BBQ Pitmasters (9pm on TLC– Available in HD) – Season 1 finale


Friday, September 24

Medium (8pm on CBS – Available in HD) Season 7 premiere

Smallville (8pm on CW – Available in HD) Season 10 – the final season for Smallville

Body of Proof (9pm on ABC – Available in HD) Season 1

CSI: NY (9pm on CBS – Available in HD) Season 7

Dateline NBC (9pm on NBC – Available in HD) Season 20

The Good Guys (9pm on Fox – Available in HD) Season 1 continues (began airing this past May

Supernatural (9pm on CW – Available in HD) Season 6 premiere

20/20 (10pm on ABC – Available in HD) Season 33

Blue Bloods (10pm on CBS – Available in HD) New series where the police force through the unique perspective of a multi-generational family of dedicated NYPD officers.  Starring Tom Selleck

Meat and Potatoes (10pm on Food – Available in HD) – New Food series


Saturday, September 25

Crimetime Saturday (8pm on CBS – Available in HD)

America’s Most Wanted (9pm on FOX – Available in HD) Season 21

Sharktopus (9pm on SyFy – Available in HD) Made-for-TV movie.  What a title!

48 Hours Mystery (10pm on CBS) Season 24 premiere

Saturday Night Live (11:30pm on NBC – Available in HD) Season 36 begins with a return of Amy Poehler to host


Sunday, September 26

America’s Funniest Home Videos (7pm on ABC – Available in HD) Season 21

60 Minutes (7:30pm on CBS – Available in HD) Season 43

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (8pm on ABC) Season 8 premiere with Katy Perry, Shaquille O’Neal and other notables.

Nature (8pm on PBS – Available in HD) Season 28 begins with a look at “Cuba: The Accidental Eden”

The Simpsons (8pm on Fox – Available in HD) Season 22 premiere

The Amazing Race (8:30pm on CBS) Season 17 begins at 8:30pm and then on 10/3 moves to 8pm.  11 New teams.

The Cleveland Show (8:30pm on Fox – Available in HD) Season 2 begins with Kanye West guest starring.

Desperate Housewives (9pm on ABC – Available in HD) Season 7 begins with a new Housewife – Vanessa Williams who should fit right in.

Dexter (9pm on Showtime – Available in HD) Season 5 premiere

Family Guy (9pm on Fox – Available in HD) Season 9 begins with a one-hour premiere with guest star James Woods

Bored to Death (10pm on HBO – Available in HD) Season 2 premiere

Brothers & Sisters (10pm on ABC – Available in HD) Season 5 premiere

Sister Wives (10pm on TLC – Available in HD) Season 1

Undercover Boss (10pm on CBS – Available in HD) Season 2 premieres at 10 then moves to 9pm on 10/3

Eastbound & Down (10:30pm on HBO – Available in HD) Season 2 premiere


Monday, September 27

The Seven (5pm on MTV) – New reality series

Expedition Wild with Casey Anderson (9pm on National Geographic – Available in HD) Season 2

Top Gear (9pm on BBCA – Available in HD) Season 15


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