Monday, December 12, 2011

HTPC Deal of the Day–Ceton CableCard & Hauppauge HD-PVR

Newegg has a good deal on the Ceton InfiniTV 4 USB Tuner for $228.99 after a $30 instant discount and a $40 OFF w/ coupon codeEMCYTZT964 w/ FREE shipping. Get it now for a limited time.


Ceton InfiniTV 4 USB: CableCard Tuner

And if you need a non-cablecard device Newegg also has a good deal on the Hauppauge HD-PVR for $159.99 after a $40 instant discount w/ FREE shipping.


The Hauppauge HD Personal Video Recorder has a built-in hardware H.264 high definition encoder for high performance, high quality TV recordings.

Hauppauge HD PVR - High Definition Video Recorder $159.99

Buy This-Kodak Pulse Digital Photo Frame

We continue our journey through one of the biggest gift-buying times around the world with the “Buy This” series.  A countless number of “bad” gifts will be purchased and gifted only to be tossed aside to join the museum of bad gifts.  Unfortunately well-meaning tech-centric gifts often end this way.  I’m here to change all of that with yet another useful gadget gift idea, a touch-screen, wi-fi Digital Photo Frame.

Kodak Pulse

A little over a year ago I began a search for an inexpensive, but easy-to-use internet-connected digital photo frame.  What I found out is there is really only one product that fits that bill – the Kodak Pulse Digital Photo Frame.

I purchased the 10” version of this digital photo frame for my parents.  The frame is fairly easy to set up and use and allows you to send photos over a wi-fi internet connection through a web interface on your computer or via e-mail.  It also as a touch-screen user interface that allows you to manually run through the photos, change the viewing settings (collage, single photo, speed that it switches through the photos etc) and delete photos.  You can of course add photos with the card reader as well.  Check out the complete review of the Kodak Pulse Digital Photo Frame I posted last year.

Kodak Pulse

It’s available on Amazon in two sizes:

10-inch Kodak Pulse Digital Photo Frame $169

7-inch Kodak Pulse Digital Photo Frame $100


Both are great gift ideas for family and friends (or yourself).  And if you’re buying for a less-technically savvy person you can help them set it all up fairly easily without worrying about tech-support phone calls in the future.

Convert Your SageTV Extender Into Squeezbox Music Player

Have you given up on the abandoned (thanks to Google’s purchase of SageTV) SageTV HTPC system?  Still have a SageTV Extender laying around waiting to be sold on EBay?  We'll here’s another use for it, convert it into a Squeezebox networked music player for free!


A SageTV enthusiast has created a download package to make the process fairly easy so you’ll be streaming music across your network to your SageTV HD200 or HD300 in no time.

Here’s his initial announcement from the SageTV Forums:

I'm very proud to announce that after weeks of painful research, coding, cross compiling and testing, I finally managed to "transform" (not in the physical sense of the term of course) an HD200 and an HD300 to a fully working headless squeezebox client connected to a squeeze server...
Well, the inspiration came after trying the excellent "SageTV Slimplayer" plugin. Despite the plugin did work very well, my requirements were a little bit different, for instance I didn't like the idea of switching my TV on to listen music, also the limitation of one extender at time was a big no-no for me. I currently have 5 extenders in my household and all of them are connected to a separate sound processor and in one instance the extender is hooked up to a Yamaha sound projector which in turns is connected to a video projector, so if I want to listen music in the lounge with the fireplace on, the last thing I want is to turn on the video projector as well. The ideal solution for me would be a Logitech Duet with one Squeeze Remote or some other software solution (Smartphone/iPad/Android), but that would mean buying five of them for a job that an extender is perfectly capable of (wireless connection included).”

If you’re interested head over to the SageTV Forums for more

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Buy This–eBook Reader with e-Ink

We continue our journey through one of the biggest gift-buying times around the world with the “Buy This” series.  A countless number of “bad” gifts will be purchased and gifted only to be tossed aside to join the museum of bad gifts.  Unfortunately well-meaning tech-centric gifts often end this way.  I’m here to change all of that with yet another inexpensive, but useful gift idea, an e-ink e-book reader.

I remember when I thought e-book readers were a silly idea.  Then I tried a Kindle 2 (and then a Kindle 3 and now a Kindle touch) and realized these were great little devices – especially if you read books very often.  Here’s why:

  1. They are fairly inexpensive
  2. You can obtain nearly any book in e-book format
  3. Great battery life (not just days, but weeks of battery life on e-ink readers compared to tablets
  4. It’s light and compact – I find the Kindle & Nook form factor much better than a hardcover or even most paperbacks for reading.  And if you carry your book/s along with you the e-reader format is even better for lighter travelling.  I can carry multiple books with my tiny Kindle without adding weight or bulk.
  5. You can check out e-books from the library

So what to buy?  I personally prefer the Kindle over Barnes & Noble’s Nook although feature and review wise they are very, very close.  I just see Amazon surviving longer than B&N and once you’re in the Amazon (or B&N) ecosystem, it’s just easier and better to stick with that bookstore ecosystem.  I put Sony, Kobo & other e-readers well below the Kindle & Nook.

My current favorites are these two Kindles:

Kindle Touch – $99.00 with special offers


Kindle 6” – $79.00 with special offers


You’ll also do well with the Barnes & Noble Nook e-ink devices which of course you can check out at your local Barnes & Noble stores.  The Kindle’s can be found in many stores including Target, Best Buy and others.

The tablet – like Apple’s iPad, Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook Color are all good choices too, but they are definitely not e-ink devices and so expect them to be heavier, much less battery life and more difficult to read outside due to glare.  The tablets of course do have their advantages, but for book reading purposes the e-ink reader is supreme.

TV This Week-Premieres & Finales 12/11/2011

The month of Christmas specials and realityTV also-rans continues.  There are a few notables this week however so read on for the GeekTonic weekly TV update highlighting all the new premieres, finales and specials coming up this week.


Stephen King’s Bag of Bones airs Sunday and Monday on A&E


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


Sunday, December 11


12 Dates of Christmas (8pm on ABC Family) New Christmas Movie with Amy Smart

The Amazing Race (8pm on CBS) Season 19 finale

Boardwalk Empire (9pm on HBO) Season 2 finale

A Christmas Kiss (9pm on ION) New Christmas Movie

Stephen King’s Bag of Bones (9pm on A&E) First of two-part terror movie

The Christmas Pageant (10pm on Hallmark) New Christmas Movie starring (and directed by) Melissa Gilbert


Monday, December 12

Fear Factor (8pm on NBC) Season premiere – it’s back

Rolling With Zach (8pm on OWN) Season premiere

Extreme Clutter (9pm on OWN) New reality series

Enlightened (9:30pm on HBO) Season 1 finale


Tuesday, December 13

The Biggest Loser (9pm on NBC) Season 12 finale

Chopped (10pm on Food) Season 9 finale

Cops & Coyotes (10pm on ID) Season premiere

A Stand Up Mother (11pm on WE) New reality series


Wednesday, December 14


Mystery Diners (10pm on Food) New reality series

The Real World (10pm on MTV) Season 26 finale

Funniest Commercials of the Year: 2011 (10pm on TBS) Special


Thursday, December 15


A Charlie Brown Christmas (8pm on ABC) Special

Burn Notice (10pm on USA) Season 5 finale

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (10pm on FX) Season 7 finale

Impractical Jokers (10pm on Tru) New reality series


Friday, December 16

Bama Glama (8pm on Food) New food series

Christmas in Washington 2011 (8pm on TNT) Music Special with Justin Bieber, Cee Lo Green, Jennifer Hudson and the Band Perry.  Hosted by Conan O’Brien

The Life & Times of Tim (9pm on HBO) Season 3 premiere


Sunday, December 18

Survivor: South Pacific (8pm on CBS) Season 23 finale

Allen Gregory (8:30pm on Fox) Season 1 finale

Secret Service Secrets (9pm on Discovery) New series

Geek Love (9pm on TLC) New reality series

Funny or Die’s Billy on the Street (9pm on Fuse) New comedy series

The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs (9pm on Food) Season 4 finale

Dexter (9pm on Showtime) Season 6 finale

IRT Deadliest Roads (10pm on History) Season 2 finale

I Do Over (10pm on We) Season 1 finale

Homeland (10pm on Showtime) Season 1 finale


Monday, December 19

Who’s Still Standing? (8pm on NBC) new game show series

Terra Nova (8pm on Fox) Season 1 finale

Ridiculousness (10pm on MTV) Season 1 finale

Watch What Happens: Live (11pm on Bravo) Season 5 finale

Clean House New York (11pm on Style) Season finale


Tuesday, December 20

Best in the Business (8pm on Discovery) New reality series

Lidia Celebrates America (8pm on PBS) New food/cooking series hosted by Lidia Bastianich

Chopped (10pm on Food) Season 10 premiere

Reed Between the Lines (11pm on BET) Season 1 finale


Wednesday, December 21

The X Factor (8pm on Fox) Season 1 finale part 1

Too Fat for 15: Fighting Back (8pm on Style) Season finale

Food Attack (9pm on Food) New food series

Work of Art: The Next Great Artist (9pm on Bravo) Season 2 finale

American Horror Story (10pm on FX) Season 1 finale


Thursday, December 22

The X Factor (8pm on Fox) Season 1 finale part 2.  Because only a reality series is dumb enough to need two nights to finish.

Project Accessory (10pm on Lifetime) Season 1 finale

The League (10:30pm on FX) Season 3 finale


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