Tag Archives: HDTV

GNC-2010-11-30 #630 Back in Paradise



Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, things have been a little crazy with trying to help the family back in Michigan with the missing kids (see below article). In amidst the chaos put out two pieces of media for you over the weekend. My presentation from Blogword and the Saturday Morning Tech show which has yet to be posted. I hope that you enjoys tonights show, way to serious in the beginning, but I am really glad to be home. As a bonus, my youngest broke his arm at school today, so I spent 8 hours at the ER with him all is well and he is not happy with his cast.

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Listener Links:
Scientist Trick Cells into Switching Identities
Microsoft Messing with WHS.
My Extended Family Tragedy.

Show Links:
Blogworld 2010 Presentation.
Hughes Net to get Upgrade.
Questions on X-37b
Google Shortcode.
Microsoft goes to Supreme Court on Word.
Kinect gets Smart.
New Owner of Sun.
Comcast ignoring Net Neutrality.
Hugh releases a reading collection.
Microsoft to replace your Cable provider?
WHS Bomb Shell.
WHS Ballmer follow up.
Some cool websites and tools.
4 ways to Monitor Flickr.
BitTorrent Streaming Video?
Video Preview coming to Netflix.
Video Ad Click through Study.
Perfect Gift for Dad.
WordPress grows a Million Sites.
Google Earth 6.
Don’t buy that Domain.
Site Seizure Explanation.
Don’t try to help playwrights online or get Sued.
Pirate Bay Crew Guilty Again.
Airplay Hack Coming.
Is Microsoft, Google Apple being Evil?
Paths of Flight.
Calibrate your HDTV.
Do you feel like your walking in Circles?
Bishop Museum going online.
No Google Social in 2010.
Copyright firm Sued.
Nissan Leaf Business Opportunities.
EFF trying to prevent embarrassment.
iPhone Concerns.
Tiffany gets turned away from Supreme Court.
Game Moding trial to go Forward.

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OTT Tsunami



We’ve been hearing quite a lot about Internet-delivered video content lately. Trends sometimes seem to advance slowly over a long period of time but then tumultuous market shifts seem to happen overnight.

Blockbuster just filed for bankruptcy. Blockbuster was unable to reconfigure their business structure to compete effectively with Netflix. It seems that Netflix has won the ongoing war.

Streaming video and video podcasts have been around for several years – these are not new ideas. However, what is new is the proliferation and increasing popularity of set-top boxes.

Back in the 1980’s backyard satellite TV dishes were a hobby among people that were looking for something different and as many choices as possible. That quest for choice ended up going mainstream in the form of commercial cable and satellite providers offering hundreds of channels.

Starting in 2004 people began experimenting with Internet-delivered content in the form of podcasts. I believe that podcasting happened as a direct result of broadband availability getting to a certain critical mass, combining the existing elements of RSS, MP3’s, etc. into a new form of communication. This new form of communication offered something very different along with unprecedented levels of choice.

Internet-delivered content of all kinds is rapidly becoming mainstream.

I believe 2010 is the year of the app. Apps suddenly seemed to have come out of nowhere to seeming to pop up on every device imaginable. Why the sudden popularity of apps? Desktop and laptop computers have been around for a long time, along with full-blown applications. What has really happened is that computers have now shrunk down to the point where they not only are in our pockets in the form of smartphones, but they are also showing up in HDTV sets and plenty of other devices. These devices we are running these apps on are actually quite powerful computers in their own rights.

There is now a wide variety of content that is heading for every computer-enabled screen you own, especially your HDTV.


Ending A Relationship



Our relationship had always been so full of promise and fun. Being gone so much of the time due to my job was certainly a strain. Even so, when I was around, I didn’t make many demands.

Something was coming between us. Lately I’ve been looking elsewhere and slowly began finding satisfaction on the Internet. The thought of divorce has been crossing my mind over the past few months. It was a painful decision, but I knew it had to be made.

Today I decided it was time to sever our ties.

I’ve been a Dish Network customer for about 10 years – until today.

What came between us? I’ve been experimenting with the idea of getting TV content from various sources on the Internet. I’ve tried connecting both Mac with Front Row and Windows Media Center laptops to an LCD HDTV. A full-fledged computer is very flexible in that it can play virtually any file type, but the clunky, complex hands-on Interface is not designed to be operated from an easy chair. I want as much content as possible integrated into one place.

In the meantime I stumbled across some software called Playon TV available at http://www.playon.tv. The software comes with a 30 day trial and works with the DLNA and UpNP network device standards. The software sells for $39.95. Playon TV is designed to be installed either on a computer or a home server on the home network. Playon TV enables streaming of Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Videos, Pandora, etc. to a DNLA/UpNP device like the WD TV Live Plus, X-Box 360, etc. There are also plenty of free third-party plugins for Playon TV that add a mind-boggling and growing variety of content to the Playon TV network share. It works well with my hacked Apple TV with XBMC.

Yesterday I visited my local Best Buy store and bought a Western Digital WD TV Live Plus to connect to the small HDTV in my kitchen. The WD TV Live is a very small set-top box that comes with a small remote control that has an Ethernet port in and an HDMI port out. Straight out of the box it does an excellent job of playing Netflix and is capable of playing back 1080P content. Only the Plus version plays Netflix.

The WD TV Live Plus combined with the Playon TV software convinced me it was time for radical measures. This afternoon I cancelled my Dish Network account and will save $97 dollars per month. I also bought a second WD TV Live Plus unit to connect to my main HDTV/surround sound setup.

At $97 dollars per month savings the two WD TV Live Plus units will have paid for themselves within 3 months.

Can I live without access to Dish Network? I think it’s going to be similar to a few years ago when I dropped my wired phone line. There was a bit of an emotional attachment that I had to let go of, but once I cut the cord it was no big deal.


Pursuit Of The Ultimate Media Extender



Hacked Apple TVFor some time now I’ve been experimenting with different ways of getting Internet-based video to my widescreen LCD HD televisions.

Often people think, why not simply hook up a regular desktop computer up to the TV. A desktop computer can be set up to play back virtually any video file type. The problem is, desktop and laptop computers are optimized for use on a desktop, not from a living room chair.

Is the ultimate media extender a set top box of some sort? The trouble with most set top boxes is that they are either walled gardens, or they miss the boat in very important ways.

A media extender should be able to play files stored on a home network, as well as be able to easily stream from services such as Netflix, Hulu, etc. Once set up, everything should be accessible through a simple remote control. Also, for my purposes, I’m willing to pay up to $250 for a box for each television in my house. It should also be able to play ripped DVD collection files that have been ripped to a central home server or network attached storage device.

I’ve hit on an interesting combination that seems to do everything I want it to that involves hacking a standard Apple TV and adding Playon TV server software to another computer on my home network. Playon TV software sells for $39.99.

Recently I purchased a commercial Apple TV hack called ATV Flash, which sells for $49.95. You download either the Windows or Mac version and install it on your computer. When you run the program it will ask you to insert an empty USB memory stick that it will write the installation files to. Then you plug the USB memory stick into your Apple TV and power it up. It will upgrade the Apple TV to be able to play a much wider variety of files, as well as adding Boxee and XMBC playback. It also retains all of the standard Apple TV functionality.

Next, I added the Playon TV software to my HP Windows Home Server. It could have easily been any other computer on my home network that meets the software’s minimum performance requirements. Once Playon TV was installed, I added my credentials for my Netflix account, as well as my Hulu account.

Finally, on my hacked Apple TV I simply start the XBMC application and navigate to UpNP devices on my home network, where Playon TV shows up. I now have access to Hulu and Netflix right on my Apple TV.

The Apple TV itself does not have enough processor horsepower to play back Netflix or Hulu Flash streaming without stuttering and freezing. However, playing it through the Playon TV software causes much of the processing to take place on my Windows Home Server machine, which has plenty of horsepower. Playon TV works by converting the Hulu and Netflix Flash streams into UpNP streams that the hacked Apple TV running XMBC can easily play without stuttering.

So, with this setup I’ve got access to all of my regular iTunes material, including HD and SD video podcasts, as well as a wide variety of streaming material from popular services such as Netflix and Hulu. It would be easy for me to buy additional Apple TV units, apply the ATV Flash hack to them, and attach them to other HDTV’s in my house.


GNC-2010-03-22 #561 Overlooking Central Texas



Had a great meetup in California thanks to all that came out. I’m back in Texas for a few shows and have an absolutely fantastic view. I am contemplating a contest for an iPhone application design for Geek News Central if you are interested in participating let me know.

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Google 1GBPS Challenge Craziness!
Squids like HDTV?
Google last Broadband Salvation?
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P2P to Sink Companies?
Ars Week in Tech!
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New AMD Chip Leaked!
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Cephalopods Enjoy HDTV



It appears that people aren’t the only ones enjoying HDTV.  The BBC reports that cephalopods – that’s octopus, cuttlefish and squid to you and me – rate high definition television over the standard.

The basis is that researchers often use TVs to show animals pictures of things like food or threats to measure their response to the thing.  In this case, the researchers found that when shown images of crabs and other octopus on standard TVs, the octopus didn’t bother responding.  However, when shown HDTV images, the octopus did respond, which was a first for cephalopod research.

Octopus and their kind have very good eyesight and are pretty smart so it’s clear that standard definition TV simply isn’t convincing enough to fool them into believing what was on the screen.  However, at this stage it’s not entirely clear which feature of HDTV (definition, refresh, scan) is the factor which has made the change.

(Initially, the researchers weren’t even studying this effect – they were actually trying to look at “episodic personalities” in gloomy octopus.)

I wonder what they’ll make of 3D – and how are they going keep the glasses on?


GNC-2007-06-08 #274



Monster show with a lot of great articles. Lots of great commentary from the audience as well at the end of the show. Thanks for being part of the Ohana! Missed on key Article Watch blog today

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ASUS Sub 200 Laptop
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HDMI Cable Showdown
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Vector Physics !!!
Book Publisher Google Stunt
Apple TV Cost
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Windows Vista Under the Hood
This is Just Wrong!
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