Archive for November, 2008

Netflix’s motive for its download model

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Recently I wrote a letter to the editor in response to an editorial in Home Media Magazine. To my delight they decided to publish it, so click through to the digital edition.

The TV Pack has made my Media Center enviroment very unstable

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

I know, I know, it isn’t meant for consumer consumption, but I’d content that it isn’t ready for any consumption. I’ve been told by many beta testers that it is so buggy none of them use it, and now after about 90 days of it being in the wild, it seems that just about everyone at the The Green Button has also given up. Evidently I’m the only idiot still using it, but a day doesn’t go by when I don’t think about going back. Honestly if I didn’t love the hetero’ tuners feature so much I’d have gone back a long time ago. At this point I’m thinking Windows 7 pre-beta is more stable, so maybe I’ll try that. Either way, here is the list of problems I’m having.

  1. It crashes all the time! How much you ask? Well, luckily Vista makes it easy to go and see how often an app crashes. All in all, in the past 60 days, I’ve experienced about 58 crashes. Of that, Media Center (ehshell.exe) has crashed 20 times, the host module 9 times, store update 27 times, and finally the receiver service twice.
  2. I’ve have to unplug my extender in my one room about every other week because it is locked up.
  3. My Extenders report network issues, but I have the same network as I did before I installed the TV Pack, yet it never had problems before. Not to mention the network test always says I have 100% of what I need to do HD.
  4. I’ve missed a few recordings, to which the Media Center says were “canceled by another component.”
  5. I’ve had to reconfigure the EPG four times, which takes over an hour to re-enter my 70+ series recordings, not to mention remap all my channels.
  6. Experienced the mysterious blue bar, about 4 times.

And this doesn’t even take into account the weird bugs like the info and mini guide bug, the scrub bar and worst of all the Media center has to change the channel to record even though there is another tuner that is idle. There are more documented at The Green Button, but I personally havent’ seen them.

At this point I’m convinced that I’m the only one left using the TV Pack and that the Nievies and S1 Digitals of the world are smart enough to skip it until Windows 7.

10 reasons for a geek to be optimistic about the new president

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Sure Obama might make Iraq and the economy worse — assuming it’s even possible — but there are plenty of reasons why a geek should be optimistic about his presidency.

  1. Joe Biden won’t be able to vote for the DMCA again — unless there’s a tie in the Senate.
  2. There could be presidential addresses via Twitter.
  3. We may not ever have to fill out another form at a doctor’s office.
  4. He wants a playoff system in College Football, like any football geek would.
  5. Our pipes should stay free thanks to his support for Net Neutrality.
  6. Our kids might be saved thanks to Stem Cell research.
  7. The broadband speeds should increase thanks to his communications infrastructure plans.
  8. His plan to reform the patent system could lead to more innovation.
  9. He may save our life — or the life of a loved one — by modernizing the Public Safety Network.
  10. He’s sure to use the web to run the country, the way he did for his campaign.

So if my new president will stick to this and at the same time leave my guns alone, leave my money in my pocket — yeah I know, fat chance — then we’ll get along just fine.

Why Netflix is such a great deal for the movie watcher.

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

On a recent podcast, a guest made a very interesting point. Jon said that Vudu is a better deal for him because some months he doesn’t have time to watch movies. So in other words, the pay as you go plan works best for him. I started to wonder about my own usage, as I’ve been known to go a month without watching a movie. So I decided to take a look at my usage history on the Netflix’s site.

To my surprise I’d watched 76 movies in the past 12 month. Now don’t ask me where I found the time to watch that many movies in 12 months, because I just don’t know. It feels like I watch one a month, but the numbers don’t lie and although I rent the occasional movie for my wife and daughter, not very many. But just to put it into perspective, that is over 6 movies a month or 1.5 movies a week.

Now the reason I say that Netflix is such a great deal for me is because even with the new $1 Blu-ray tax, I’m still only spending $252 a year. If I was using Vudu or Apple TV, I’d be spending almost twice that at $455 a year.

But if I really want to get into rip-offs, then I’ll look at my FiOS TV bill. Sure it offers some great quality and at about 100 HD channels, a great selection of HD, but my bill is about $800 a year. So if I don’t count all the time I spend watching OTA HD programming for free, the amount of time I actually spend watching FiOS TV is way less than the 3 hours a week I spend watching Netflix Movies. So yeah, I’m wasting my money.

The bottom line is as soon as football season is over — gotta have ESPN and the NFL Network for the games after all — I’m dropping FiOS TV, but not to do the trendy downloads thing, I’m going strickly OTA HD and Blu-ray via Netflix.