Archive for the 'television' Category

Playing with the TiVoHD and misc.

August 23, 2008

I’ve been playing with my TiVoHD. It has had a big impact on my life as it played a role in reacquainting me with old friends.

I used the TiVo desktop to move an HD recording of the Red Hot Chili Peppers to my server. I was able to watch it on my 30 inch monitor in my basement. Nice. Although my flagship machine manged this with no problem, another machine I have choked. This is very annoying. It is a 1.6 GHz dual core and it chokes on everything. It’s kind of useless. I’m not sure if it is the computer or if it is the fact that it’s running Vista. The flagship machine runs XP.

Anyhow, I like the idea of being able to watch HD shows down there. I’m not sure that it needs to be on my best computer though. I’m thinking that it might be time to build a new computer. As a stopgap, I’m using the quadcore that’s plugged into my HDTV to move the files to the server.

I am also playing with a wireless microphone and I bought a new webcam too. I’ll probably have more to say about that stuff in the future.

I feel like I needed to get some words going here, it’s been more than a little sparse lately.

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New Media Will Eat Itself.

April 26, 2008

Two links pushed to me via Twitter are forming enough rumination to generate a post. This original video is blog worthy in and of it self and this blogger has seized upon it. It is biting but true enough to be funny. I must be a new media DB then. Except that I have a day job. I think that there are some new media people who are big who do it all for fun and have independent means (or are on the dole).

My peer group of new media folks are the ones who are doing other things for a living. Someone in this camp (who is far more successful in new media than I) is Scott Johnson. His Extra Life Radio Show is very, very popular and he has a web comic and other podcasts as well. He also has a full time regular job. He must be a very energetic guy to sustain this kind of output. I’m sure he would like to quit his day job, but the thing is that old school jobs pay a heck of lot better. That’s certainly true for me. I don’t even do advertising on my podcasts. I’m not going to be quiting my day job anytime soon.

The other link that makes me write is an article from The Los Angeles Times re: SXSW. Here we see new media doing self-cannibalizing at it’s finest with someone vlogging themselves while interviewing a blogger. If you want to take the analogy to its furthest, new media regenerates as it self-consumes. It feeds on itself but miraculously continues to grow in the process. If it is a Hydra, it bites off one of its own heads and two more sprout. Everyone is making content about each other which in turn generates new content.

How long can it continue? It will peak in growth like everything else. But new media itself is permanent. There will always be a segment of the population that like to write words and make videos. The gateway to entry has been forever smashed with WordPress and YouTube. There will always be someone to consume this. As a consequence, I think one thing that has died is the old media superstar. New media pulls market share and eyeballs away from old media even though it doesn’t pay the talent very well. Just like in the music industry, where there will never be another Rolling Stones, so will go the rest of old media. You won’t have enough money in old media to create an old school superstar any longer. Although, on the flip side, every element of human interest gets its own micro-celebrity. In certain instances, that micro-celebrity becomes big enough to be a micro-celebrity superstar, like Veronica Belmont, for example.

If the loss of superstars paves the road for participation in media by the masses, I think we’re all better off. Certainly, with our cameras and microphones and lighting kits, we are having more fun.

In Praise of popSiren.

March 23, 2008

You have to hand it to Revision3.  Internet television has never been this good.  There’s several shows that I enjoy, like Techzilla and GigaOm but I want to talk about popSiren.  This show is terrific!  With any luck, it will be around for a long time.

I like shows that don’t hold back.  If something is complicated they don’t dumb it down.  The tendency nowadays is to reach the dumbest member of the audience.  popSiren doesn’t do that.  It’s like the humor of Joss Wheadon.  If you don’t get it it, they don’t care.  It is entertaining and informative.  Many shows tried to reach that level but popSiren achieves it.

The hosts Jessica Corbin and Sara Lane are veterans from The Screen Savers (which was on the old TechTV).  They also have outstanding segment hosts.  Particularly awesome is the extremely erudite Dr. Kiki Sanford.  I had been a fan of hers for a long time as the co-host of the podcast This Week in Science.  Here she takes to video with terrific results.  She made fire that danced to music on the first show.  Outstanding!  You just don’t see this level of material on cable TV.  The other segment host, Heather, looks like she could be Morgan Webb’s cousin.  That’s not a bad thing.  Her archery segment in the first show was entertaining.

This show is fresh because of the level of detail it gives its subject matter.  The smart writing and quick hosts help a lot too.  Not everything is going to appeal to everyone.  (I’m still trying to figure out why I would want to make comic book envelopes).  Generally speaking, though there are a lot more hits than misses.  It is definitely geared to the geek and nerd crowd, but of course, that’s where you’ll always find me.

Plus, it’s a television show on the internet that has terrific production values!  Who could ask for anything more?  They asked at the end of the show what people would like to see them do.  I had to think about that.  Science interviews would be great like Woz or Dean Kamen.  Sending someone out to these parts to cover the Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony would be terrific too.  I’m sure that they have a lot of great material to come and I’m looking forward to more shows.

“We can’t go on together…”

March 7, 2008

People were making fun of Priscilla Presley the other day. They said that her plastic surgery made her look bad. I don’t know. I looked at some pictures online and she looks the same as she always has to me. Then people were picking on her daughter, Lisa Marie. I guess she’s pregnant. People were calling her fat. People can be so cruel.

I finished watching “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” this evening. I really enjoyed this series. Hollywood scuttlebutt indicates that the series will be renewed in the fall. I cannot tell you how much I hope that this is so. There was a show on afterwards advertised during the commercials (that I mostly fast forwarded through). It was a show about a detective who had been alive for 400 years. I guess it’s kind of a Dorian Gray sort of thing. Although in this case there’s no portrait, from the previews it looks like he got his immortality from Mystic Indians. Ah yes, the Mystic Indian plot device. It is not so commonly used as falling down an elevator shaft or amnesia, but it is used.

I don’t really have many memories of Elvis Presley. I remember my neighbors really loved him. I’ve known people throughout my life who collected Elvis memorabilia. Some people truly revere him as the King. We used to joke in college, that in 3000 years people would worship him like a prophet. We really don’t have to wait 3000 years do we?

Review of the Samsung LN-T5265F TFT-LCD Television.

April 30, 2007

Samsung LNT5265F 52-inch 1080p LCD HDTV

Holy freakin’ God, this television rocks! I cannot tell you. If God has a television, this is what he watches. It is bright and gorgeous. It’s completely riveting. I am probably going to die sooner than I should because I’m buying a bean bag chair and I’m going to plant myself in front of the television and watch movies and play games for the rest of my life.

It has 3 HDMI inputs and 2 component inputs. It also does s-video and cable and the rest of the lower res stuff. The money is in the HDMI, computer and component inputs. Right now, I’m using a component input for my cable box and I’m running my Xbox 360 through the PC input. It is with this setup that I’m able to get 1080p output and watch movies in 1080p on the Xbox HD DVD drive.

The brightness of this TV is amazing. It’s sitting in a room facing 4 5 ½ foot windows. The television is bright enough to watch in full daylight. Strangely enough, there is less glare than the CRT television this TV replaces. Also the viewing angles are incredible. I had originally planned on getting a Mitsubishi DLP. The viewing angle on a DLP is nothing like this. You can watch this TV from essentially the same viewing angles as you would with a conventional television.

On my set up, I use the optical audio output to send audio to an Onkyo surround sound system. Honestly, the first time I plugged in this television it brought a tear to my eye. Gaming is in a class by itself. The 360 does not disappoint. I can’t imagine going back to my PS2 after this. In fact, if there is one weakness, I did try running my PS2 on it and it looked terrible. My cable box upconverts so normal channels look ok.

I looked at every LCD Best Buy had to offer in picking this TV. The contenders were from Sharp and Sony. Still, the Samsung stood above them all and I obviously couldn’t be happier. As I’ve said before, it’s reawakened my interest in movies and games. I’m a lucky man indeed.

Extra cables to make Hi Def TV work.

April 15, 2007

Time was that normal television was enough.  I’ve watched television my whole life and the tube hasn’t changed much.  Now I’m spending every free dollar to migrate to HDTV.  It’s crazy how complicated it is.  There are so many different ways to get signal to the television.  My plan has been to use an Xbox 360 with Xbox Live and the HD DVD drive in addition to the cable company’s box to get content into the TV.  It turns out that, right now anyway, the Xbox needs a VGA cable to send 1080p signal to the TV and not all TVs do well with this.  It looks like mine will.  We’ll see.  The cable company provides component cables but also will accept HDMI.  For neatness sake, I’m opting to buy the HDMI cable.

Not only did I have to do intense research just to pick out the right TV, but I had to dig deep into reviews on my planned set up just to get the most out of it.  As it is, the cable box won’t do any better than 1080i.  I have been on an irrational quest for 1080p.  We’ll see if I can tell the difference.  Also, we’ll see if these exotic cables are really better than the component cables I already have.  At worst, I’ve spent an extra $50.

Had I gone the PS3 route, much of this heartache would be unnecessary.  I can add the PS3 later if I want.

Of course, the TV won’t be here right away.  I have nothing else to do except be patient.  Books help.  Arguably, if I just stuck with books, I’d be better off and I wouldn’t need to spend money on silly television paraphernalia.

Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300HD replaces one of my TiVos.

April 14, 2007

I have been a TiVo freak. I modded both my TiVos and actively participated in all things TiVo related for years. I stopped just short of getting a TiVo tattoo. Yesterday, I picked up a new DVR from Cox Cable and now I’m canceling service on one of my TiVo Series 2s.

It’s not TiVo’s fault. It’s my fault for being so cheap. I have a new TV coming (look for a future review on that) and I need the new cable box for the new TV. An HD TiVo is $799.00. The 8300HD is a rental from Cox. Both units require a monthly fee, but I get the 8300HD essentially for free and the service fee is less than the TiVo’s. Both units are 1080i.

I like a lot of hours on my DVR. The current Series 2 that’s taking the bullet has twin 200 GB hard drives for more than 400 hours of storage space. I’m not even sure what the 8300HD has, but I don’t think it’s that much. However, it lets you plug an external SATA drive in the back. I can buy a 1 TB SATA drive and have virtually limitless space. That is awesome. I’m sure the Series 3 will do that too, but there’s that initial investment problem.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not TiVo bashing. I’d rather have the TiVo interface over the 8300HD’s any day. I still don’t have the hang of using the guide. Nothing beats the TiVo interface. I just can’t justify the cost. I’m still keeping one TiVo for my other TV.