Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

There is no “Blu-ray industry”

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

So I ran across this article on AmandTech by Ganesh T S that was one of the best I’ve seen in regards to a technical explanation of the DRM used on Blu-ray — especially around the new Cinavia audio watermark. But it’s also a perfect example of a highly technical geek writing an article without understanding the business driving the technology. He speaks of the “Blu-ray industry” which just doesn’t exist. Blu-ray is part of the Home Media business, which also includes Vudu, Netflix and every other video on demand service. The players in the Home Media industry couldn’t care less about any one particular part of their business, instead worrying about the bottom line. There goal is to get consumers to spend more money this year then they did last year on enjoying content at home, and at the same time drive costs down in order to generate more profit. It’s no different from most’s personal goals, which is to get a raise every year. How long would you stay at a job that decreased your salary year after year?

The total revenue number in Home Media has been going down year over year as long as I’ve been watching it (according to the Digital Entertainment Group), and Blu-ray was just one of many attempts to stop the bleeding (down 2% in 2011 compared to 2010). The reality is  the total spending on digital in 2011 was about a third of that spent on buying discs. The bottom line is that Hollywood doesn’t care if you prefer Blu-ray or anything else, just so long as you spend more money (which means it prefers you buy a movie for $20 vs. rent one for $1) watching movies at home.

Multi-Room Viewing vs a Multi-Room DVR

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Don’t be confused by the title, a Multi-Room DVR is not the same as Multi-Room viewing. The ability to view a recording in any room of the house is just one of many features of a Multi-Room DVR. If you can’t schedule recordings, check on your Todo list and manage seasons passes in more than one room, you can not honestly call your system a Multi-Room DVR — multiple DVRs are not a Multi-room DVR either. Of course the meaning of words never stopped marketing people from using them, but don’t be fooled, the Dish Network Hopper and Joey are the very first provider Multi-Room DVR ever available widespread. And it’s a big deal.

The DirecTV HR34 is the core of a Multi-Room DVR, but with the C30 RVU clients being MIA and the first gen Samsung RVU HDTVs being so limited, it is hardly ready for prime time — I tried it at CES and the TV’s RVU client made the first build of the TiVo Premiere software feel fast. This is all assuming you can get DirecTV to even enable the feature for you, which seems unlikely given the feedback at Many cable companies, including Verizon, have Multi-Room viewing that they call a Multi-Room DVR, but charging people for a DVR in every room and making them walk between rooms to resolve conflicts can hardly be called a true Multi-Room DVR, in good faith.

I think this is a big deal, because I believe that everyone expects the exact same TV experience in every room of the house, and in the next few years all the providers will provide what Microsoft’s Media Center has been doing for over five years, but in a mainstream way. I can’t wait to try them all out for myself.

VLC 2.0 brings WTV support to Macs

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Use a Windows 7 Media Center to record TV, but you also own a Mac? Then go ahead and download VLC 2.0 as soon as you can. As far as I know, VLC 2.0 is the only Mac app that supports Media Center’s WTV file format. The pervious version definitely supported dvr-ms, but when Microsoft upgraded the default recorded TV format to WTV with Windows 7, it left Mac users with no choice but to convert recordings in order to play them back. VLC 2.0 easily played back my recordings perfectly, but one thing that was missing is the metadata (show name is displayed as ‘en-us’) and the closed captions didn’t seem to work either. Regardless, this is a great way to catch up on your favorite shows while you travel, if you happen to travel with a Mac.

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.

ESPN’s new iPhone site is great

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Not sure how new this is, but with the first NFL pre-season game kicking off this weekend, I wanted to quickly check who was playing, and to my surprise the useful — but ugly — was replaced with a down right cool website. I wasn’t sure if this was iPhone specific, so I checked on a co-worker’s Blackberry and it didn’t look the same. This might work out better for checking scores than SportsTap, either way I’m happy to have another option.

How to make an auditable electronic voting machine

Monday, December 17th, 2007

It really amazes me that companies who manufacturer almost all the banking equipment in the US can’t design a auditable electronic voting machine. It almost makes me thing they don’t want to make one, which is going to lead to states going back to scanned ballots.

Here is a free solution, I take no credit and anyone can use it without any compensation.

Take the same machines you have now and add reciept printer to it — you know, like the ones attached to ATMs and every teller’s computer in the US — when I cast my vote, print out a receipt which will state who I voted for and have a bar code that is encoded with the same information. As I walk out of the poll, have me drop this receipt into a box — you know, like the old ballot boxes that are probably still in storage. Then we can have quick access to the results, thanks to the electroic systems and if someone demands a recount, it can be done manually or by just scanning all the bar codes.

Not real hard is it? Maybe Diebold and others will get a clue.

Apple TV notice

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

I received my email from Apple today letting me know about the delay, I guess they have to send these out for people who live under rocks, or don’t read Engadget– so yeah live under rocks.

Thanks Apple for the notice, but how about a discount of some kind to make up for the delay.

Finally FIOS

Monday, January 29th, 2007

I am one of those people that feels like I have to have the fastest Internet access I can get and I have to have the every HD channel I can get my hand on. So last week I was very happy to see that Verizon was laying fiber optic cables in my neighborhood. While they have been laying fiber all over Tampa for the past 2 or 3 years, I didn’t expect them to come to my neighborhood so soon. You see I live in what some might call a “up and coming neighborhood”, others might call it the ghetto, you know the type and since my hood is 100 years old, I didn’t expect Verizon to pick it so soon. Sure they eventually would get around to us per an agreement with the City, so I guess they are through cherry picking the “nice” hoods.

Either way, I can’t wait to upgrade from 15Mbps to 30Mbps and pay $2 a CableCARD instead of $4, not to mention the extra HD channels. The guy laying the conduit said they would be done in a month or so, so I guess all I can do now is wait.

Where are the fast and big Laptop Hard drives?

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

I never feel like I have enough hard drive space. My Mac Mini has a 100GB, my MCE has 160GB, (used to have another 250gb but it died) and my Mac Book Pro has 120GB. I also have a few external drives I am moving data around too.

The problem with my laptop hard drives is that they are too slow, man 5400rpm really feels like it is holding me back. Maybe it’s just in my head, but everytime there is a delay I can blame on my disc access speed, I do. I would love to buy a bigger/faster hard  drive for my MBP, but they don’t really make one. Every few months I look for say a 160gb 7200rpm 2.5 drive and no dice. Why is this? What does speed have to do with size, why can’t they make a 160gb 7200rpm laptop drive? You almost never see this in desktop drives, when the latest large capacity drive comes out it is almost always available in a 7200rpm variety. I guess the same can’t be said for 15000rpm, but still, I don’t get it.