Saturday, August 20, 2011

TV Premieres, Finales & Specials This Week 8/21/2011

This week we find another pile of finales and at best a few reality premiers.  I have the listings through the end of August which to me marks the end of the summer TV season.

That means the GeekTonic 2011 Fall TV Season premieres guide series is coming this week.  I’ll highlight all the new shows and provide a detailed listing of all TV premieres for the Fall and early-winter TV season.  For now read on for the GeekTonic weekly TV update highlighting all the new premieres, finales and specials coming up this week.

Quirky premieres on the Sundance Channel next week


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

Sunday, August 21

The Glee Project (9pm on Oxygen) Season 1 finale

Big Easy Brides (10pm on WE) New reality series

My Collection Obsession (10pm on TLC) A reality “special” that follows four of the U.S.’s most obsessed collectors


Monday, August 22

La La’s Full Court Life (9pm on VH1) New reality series with La La Vazquez and Carmelo Anthony

The T.O. Show (9:30pm on VH1) Season 3 premiere

Bear Swamp Recovery (10pm on TruTV) New reality series


Tuesday, August 23

American Ninja Warrior ( 9pm on G4) Season 3 finale


Wednesday, August 24

Buried Treasure (8pm on Fox) a new reality/collectibles series like “Antique Roadshows” but it turns the scenario around and the team visits peoples homes to see the real value of their “treasures”

The Challenge: Rivals (10pm on MTV) Season 21 finale

Top Chef: Just Desserts (10pm on Bravo) Season 2 premiere

Confessions: Animal Hoarding (10pm on Animal Planet) Season 3 premiere


Thursday, August 25

Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero (8pm on Discovery) Part 1 of a documentary centered on the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site

Expedition Impossible (9pm on ABC) Season 1 finale

Killer Food (10pm on Food) New food series


Saturday, August 27

Pit Boss (10pm on Animal Planet) Season 3 finale


Sunday, August 28

Tough Cookies (6:30pm on Food) Season 1 finale


Monday, August 29

Basketball Wives LA (8pm on VH1) New reality spinoff series

Crave (8:30pm on Food) New cooking/food series hosted by San Diego food critic Troy Johnson

American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior (9pm on Discovery) Season 3 premiere

Ridiculousness (10pm on MTV) New reality series

Death Valley (10:30pm on MTV) New horror/comedy series

Cuff’d (11pm on MTV) New reality/crime series


Tuesday, August 30

Pretty Little Liars (8pm on ABC Family) Season 2 finale

Chopped Champions (10pm on Food) Season premiere

Big Sexy (10pm on TLC) New reality/fashion show

Quirky (10pm on Sundance) New technology/reality series that follows the team as they work on designing and fabricating a single product idea in each episode suggested by their online community.  I’ve purchased a few of the products created through this site and look forward to this one.


Wednesday, August 31

Royal Pains (9pm on ABC) Season 3 finale

Dark Matters (10pm on Science) New science series


If you follow GeekTonic for the TV Premieres and news, you’ll want to click here if you would like to get a regular e-mail for GeekTonic TV Premieres & News

Friday, August 19, 2011

Microsoft – The Future of the Living Room is NOT Windows

Signs of Media Center not being a windows product continue to appear and today’s article by Microsoft “The Future of the Living Room” pretty much says what everyone has been assuming – the connected living room will have nothing to do with Windows.

image image

The article doesn’t say there will be no MediaCenter, but they might as well.  The focus for the future of TV, entertainment and the living room in Microsoft’s eyes are Xbox, Kinect and Bing!  You read that right, Bing.  Here’s a quote from the article:

As you can see, integration of products and services like Xbox, Kinect and Bing is at the heart of our strategy.

What do you think?  Is Microsoft abandoning Media Center for Windows and instead focusing on embedding some of those features in Xbox only?  Definitely a must-read for MediaCenter fans – The Future of the Living Room

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stuff I Want - Wristband Remote Control Concept

There aren’t many remote controls that I put in the cool category, but today I discovered a concept design (read: not available to purchase) that I find beautiful and something that just might appeal to the masses.  It’s the Baand Remote by Kristian Ulrich Larsen!


It’s a wearable, touch-screen device that shows the “menu” on the remote itself.  As described by the designer:

“The remote is basically one big scrollwheel, so the way you navigate around is by scrolling. This gives a much more quick, fluid and direct feeling, so instead of going arrow up, arrow down, one step at the time, you glide through the interface in a fluid motion.”

Watch the concept video to get a better picture of how it might work:

Baand Remote UI example from Kristian Ulrich Larsen on Vimeo.





The unfortunate thing is that you can’t buy this today as it’s only a design concept.  It sure looks like a perfect companion to a HTPC-type home media setup to me though.  Would you use it?

Read more about this concept design at the designer’s web page

Found via  Yanko Design

Monday, August 15, 2011

SageTV Poll–Who uses SageTV?

I’m preparing some articles about SageTV and looking for some input to help me decide how much work I should put towards SageTV articles and what my focus should be given the fact that SageTV is no longer available to new users.

So if you’re using SageTV for your Home Theater PC give me a shout in the comments and answer the following questions in your comment:

1. What HTPC software do you use for DVR functions?  SageTV or something else?

2. What HTPC software do you use for Movie playback – non-TV movies?

3. What do you use for music in your home?

4. If you use SageTV do you use the default menu or something else?  Phoenix, Diamond or something else?


Thanks in advance for your response!

Why Cable Companies Should Embrace the Home Theatre/HTPC Enthusiast

By: Clift

I recently dropped Cable and went with Satellite. The following post will highlight how easy it was to do so, why the cable company lost yet another customer and why they should embrace the HT/HTPC enthusiast. I will be speaking from my specific experience and also my situation, so assume that these arguments may not be valid for everyone.

First of all, there were two main reasons behind my decision to leave cable behind: the prices have been steadily increasing every year with very little value added, and my wife and I are football fans. In the three since we had our previous cable provider our price has increased by $30, with a planned proposal to go up by another $9 this year. That’s roughly $10 per year. In that time they have added a number of channels that mean nothing to me (and I assume a majority of the people). Granted, in that time frame they took SPEED to SPEED HD and increased their HD offerings, but, to be honest, so did everyone else. What they haven’t added in that time frame is NFL Network or the Red Zone Channel. This brings me to my second reason for dropping cable. As I mentioned, we are big football fans. Where we live we get very little Miami Dolphins games – our favorite team. We also do not get Thursday Night Football games. If our cable provider added the NFL Network and the Red Zone Channel we might have thought about staying.

Anyway, this blog is about how they didn’t do the other things to ensure we would stay either, had we not been compelled or willing to go elsewhere for our programming needs (this should mean everyone else who has other reasons besides Sunday Ticket to leave Cable). Let me go over what I believe are the things our cable company could have done to keep us and why.

  • Lock In – This first one is counter-intuitive to my argument. The cable company will no doubt try to lock you in with their Bundles and the fact that, in many places, they are the only Broadband Internet provider. Add in the fact that without the Bundle, the price of internet and home phone (if that’s your thing), are outrageous. The second way they try to lock you in is by offering the DVR service that if you leave, you lose all your recordings since there is no way to take them with you. However, from an Enthusiast standpoint, we know that fact as not being the case. So how does a cable company keep someone like us? Well for one, CableCARD. I know, that makes no sense right? But look at it this way: Back in 2003 or when MCE first came out I lusted after one of those systems, but they were OEM only and very expensive. No thanks! Then you could build your own, but the cable company made sure you did not have access to HD programming. This was, in essence, trying to lock you out in order to lock you in. But that won’t work for the reason that the HTPC enthusiast has no reason or desire to compromise by downgrading to a cable company DVR. In any case, then CableCARD PCs came out and, yet again, they were OEM only. The PCs were pricey, as were the ATI OCUR Tuners. And then Windows 7 came out and the option to roll your own was added. Unfortunately, the truck roll, lack of cable company knowledge and support were not options. And then, of course, there is the limitation of Windows Media Center only if you want all the channels. And that barely scratches the surface of DRM – lock you in by locking the data. While some cable companies properly enforce the CCI flag, others (Time Warner) lock everything down. So, for my own situation, had there been an accessible way to access the HD that I pay for starting as early as 2005, I would have had so much invested in the infrastructure that a move to satellite may not have made sense at all, nor would I have wanted to. And by that I mean, a CableCARD system that has reasonable DRM (such as multiroom viewing, approved portable devices, x number of DVD copies, etc.)

  • Alternatives – So the previous argument brings me to the second one. HTPC enthusiasts are good at finding alternatives and work-arounds. When HD was not available, we turned to QAM tuners. And when those really started to be locked out of good programming we turned to the HD PVR. And really, that is the key to what has allowed me to more or less seamlessly transition from cable to satellite. The corollary to that argument is also that the cable companies have not provided alternatives to enthusiasts. Think of how many not-that-techy people you know who also hate their DVR. Maybe not that many, but think of some of those people who just accept their DVR for what it is, and how much happier they would be with say, a cable company provided TiVo. Or those people who flock to Netflix and cut the cord. Would those people (and the cable companies) not be better served if the cable company had an internet device only viewing plan at a fraction of the cost? Or an a-la-cart plan? Or, for that matter, an internet device only a-la-cart plan? Instead, the cable companies and the studios go out of their way to lock out Netflix, increase costs, set up caps, etc… anything they can do to lock in and not provide alternatives. Reminds me of the RIAA. That did not turn out as well for them.

  • Bleeding Edge Technologists – HTPC enthusiasts are definitely ones to embrace bleeding or leading edge technology. The cable companies are trying to get better at this, but their whole scheme still revolves around lock in. Granted this isn’t their entire fault, as they have licensing deals, etc. But they are also probably not trying that hard either. Think of the iPad apps hat have come out from Time Warner and Comcast/Xfinity. Those apps have a lot of potential, but still, hampered by unfair DRM requirements. When you take a portable device and make the programming accessible to it but then lock it down to viewing only within the home or on the same Broadband network the cable company provides, it really isn’t that much of an option. At that point why not just use the Netflix App or the Hulu Plus App? The cable company did not provide the right incentives for me to stay. If my cable company provided DVR (assuming it weren’t a stinking pile) was capable of streaming my recordings to any device that I could authenticate with credentials, then I may not necessarily want to cut the cord. Because, let’s face it, in the end Cable has more programming choices. The HTPC enthusiast demands this, and is willing to forego some things or deal with some less than ideal steps in order to get it-which brings me to my next argument.

  • Other Sources – Short and sweet: if you don’t provide the means to get the programming I want when I want it and where I want it, I will find someone else who can.

So in our case it came down to two things. But to be honest my whole SageTV/HTPC endeavors have been around one thing: control. I want to control how much space I allocate to my DVR. I want to control how much I spend on tangible hardware, versus service. I want to control how flexible my system is. I was willing to forego HD channels for a time to get it. I was willing to pay more upfront to get it. And I was willing to deal with the frustrations of setting the system up as well as the plug and play nature of a cable company DVR. But really, things would have been much easier if the options were there and readily available and supported. The value may have been worth the monthly rate they were charging me. I may have grown to like my system and how it was set up with the cable company because of the way everything would come together. But instead, I began to see it as a battle between me and cable. With having to implement work-arounds along the way, another thing that I learned was that I didn’t need cable. And once people realize that, then it’s only a short leap away from moving away.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

TV Premieres, Finales & Specials This Week 8/14/2011

This week brings a bunch of finales and a few reality premiers.  The GeekTonic 2011 Fall TV Season premieres guide is just about complete – I’ll be sharing it with everyone soon.  For now read on for the GeekTonic weekly TV update highlighting all the new premieres, finales and specials coming up this week.


In the Flow with Affion Crockett premieres Sunday.  This photo is of Executive Producer Jamie Foxx & comedian Affion Crocket


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

Sunday, August 14

The Exorcist Files (9pm on Discovery) New reality series where exorcists share their stories.  *sigh*

In the Flow with Affion Crockett (9pm on Fox) New comedy by executive producer Jamie Foxx.  Hosted (and starring) by Affion Crockett this is a sketch comedy series featuring spoofs of pop culture, movie trailers, commercials, TV shows, music videos and celebrities.  This premiere episode guest stars Snoop Dogg, Russell Simmons, Chris Brown and more.

Food Network Star (9pm on Food) Season 7 finale

The Great Food Truck Race (10pm on Food) Season 2 premiere

High Stakes Sweepers (10pm on TLC) New reality series about people obsessed with entering sweepstakes.

Ryan and Tatum: The O’Neals (10pm on Oprah) Season 1 finale


Monday, August 15

The Lying Game (9pm on ABC Family) new family drama/sitcom series by the author of “Pretty Little Liars”.  This one is about identical twin sisters separated at birth, one wealthy and the other poor.  One finds out she has a twin and….

The Millionaire Matchmaker (9pm on Bravo) Season 5 premiere

Most Eligible Dallas (10pm on Bravo) New reality series

Teen Wolf (10pm on MTV) Season 1 finale

Hair Battle Spectacular (10pm on on Oxygen) Season 2 premiere


Tuesday, August 16

MasterChef (8pm on Fox) Season 2 finale

The Nine Lives of Chloe King (9pm on ABC Family) Season 1 finale

Memphis Beat (9pm on TNT) Season 2 finale

What Not to Wear (9pm on TLC) Season 10 premiere

Downsized (9pm on WE) Season 2 premiere

HawthoRNe (10pm on TNT) Season 3 finale


Wednesday, August 17

Ton of Cash (9pm on VH1) New game show series

Animals Say the Wildest Things (9pm on National Geographic Wild) New animal/entertainment series

Ghost Hunters International (9pm on Syfy) Season 3 finale

You Don’t Know Dixie (9pm on History) Documentary on contributions to society from the old south

State of Georgia (9:30pm on ABC Family) Season 1 finale

Rocco’s Dinner Party (10pm on Bravo) Season 1 finale

Love in the Wild (10pm on NBC) Season 1 finale

Legend Quest (10pm on Syfy) Season finale

Rocco’s Dinner Party (10pm on Bravo) Season 1 finale

Law & Order: UK (9pm on BBC America) Season 5 premiere

CMT Made (10pm on CMT) New reality series.  From the producers of MTV’s “Made” but for adults instead of teens.

Outrageous Kid Parties (10pm on TLC) Season 2 premiere

Happily Divorced (10:30pm on TVLand) Season 1 finale


Friday, August 19

Linemakers (8pm on HD Theater) New reality series

Tanked (9pm on Animal Planet) New documentary series that profiles makers of huge aquariums for expensive homes, hotels and business.


Saturday, August 20

Celebrity Ghost Stories (9pm on Bio) Season 2 finale


Sunday, August 21

The Glee Project (9pm on Oxygen) Season 1 finale

Big Easy Brides (10pm on WE) New reality series


Monday, August 22

La La’s Full Court Life (9pm on VH1) New reality series with La La Vazquez and Carmelo Anthony

The T.O. Show (9:30pm on VH1) Season 3 premiere

Bear Swamp Recovery (10pm on TruTV) New reality series


Wednesday, August 24

Buried Treasure (8pm on Fox) a new reality/collectibles series.

The Challenge: Rivals (10pm on MTV) Season 21 finale

Top Chef: Just Deserts (10pm on Bravo) Season 2 premiere

Confessions: Animal Hoarding (10pm on Animal Planet) Season 3 premiere


If you follow GeekTonic for the TV Premieres and news, you’ll want to click here if you would like to get a regular e-mail for GeekTonic TV Premieres & News