Home Media Makeover Part One: DVD Library

Technology abounds in every aspect of our lives. Computers are usually the center of a great many media types that we experience throughout the day. You can buy a computer pretty much anywhere these days for really reasonable prices. So the question on my mind has been, why are most people still using the old components of yore for their home theaters? Why not leverage some of this wonderful computer technology and versatility for the home theater experience?

Yes, I know there are HTPC options out there. Most of them run well over $1500 for the base model. I also know you can roll your own HTPC/DVR for about the same price. What I’m talking about is using a more distributed model, preferably leveraging systems you already have in place…just extending them to the HDTV in the living room. For my personal project, I have a 20″ iMac on my desk and a Vista laptop that usually sits on the coffee table. There’s a 50″ Samsung plasma TV in the living room that I really want to use to watch my media such as streaming video from the web with an XBox360 under it.

Ideally, I want to get rid of the DVD player and replace the set-top box from Comcast with my media system so I can drop the cable television service and thus save myself over $1000 a year. Now I realize that for my particular desires, I will not need a PVR/DVR setup and can thus skimp on some hardware. Actually, for step one of my media center makeover, I just want to stream ripped copies of my DVD library so my 360 will play the part of extender. For this setup, storage will be the biggest concern with network bandwidth running a close second. With today’s prices for hardware, neither of those should be a challenge to satisfy on a budget.

Continue reading “Home Media Makeover Part One: DVD Library”

Comcast Episode Three: Revenge of the Box

Another week and still the high signal issues persist. I figured that since the tech that came out Saturday was one that had been there before and managed to get me fixed back then, I would see some satisfaction. I was wrong. While attempting to watch Good Eats last night I got frozen frames, pixelated video, trilling sound…the full Max Headroom treatment…that culminated in a nice box in the middle of the screen once again informing me that I needed to subscribe if I wanted to watch Food Network. Come on guys, it can’t be that hard to fix a signal problem. Continue reading “Comcast Episode Three: Revenge of the Box”

Comcast Episode Two: Attack of the Fuzz

There I was, minding my own business. It had been a long day at work but the week was now over. I had made it to Friday night. Supper was eaten and the dishes put away. All I had to do was relax on the couch with Doctor Who. The episode teaser was intriguing. The Doctor has a daughter?

The show started and I was instantly mesmerized by the images on the 50″ plasma. Say what you will, but I like the way Doctor Who stories are presented. I like the writing. I like the acting. It’s probably my favorite show next to Good Eats (and nobody can top that one). But there was a problem. Max Headroom syndrome was starting again. It was a little spastic, but it was there…probably nothing to worry about. Continue reading “Comcast Episode Two: Attack of the Fuzz”

Comcast Episode One: The Signal Menace

Yep, it’s another Comcast post. The saga continues. I had a tech out Wednesday to diagnose my Max Headroom Syndrome and random HD DVR reboots. Of course, he had to call for some help back at the office because the box reported my cable service had been disconnected. Funny…I recall having paid my bill in full well before the due date and by that point I had not yet received the next bill. Turns out something freaked out but it was a quick fix. Continue reading “Comcast Episode One: The Signal Menace”

Right here on Hippie TV!

I normally reserve my eco/green posts (read “hippie ideas”) for The Energy Farm site. The only problem is that I have to put more of a journalist-like feel to the article. Now I don’t consider myself a journalist. I’m more of a hobby blogger because I like to share my ideas with anyone that will listen. Yes, sometimes I talk a lot. Anyway, the point is I ran across a neat little article about a new cable channel launching next month and I wanted to share some thoughts. I just didn’t feel I could really express myself well in the more sanitized environment of the other site.

Let’s get to it. Apparently Discovery is launching Planet Green next month. It will be focused on eco-friendly lifestyle programming. The resurgance of the “hippie movement” seems to be in full swing. I’m okay with that. I’ve always thought people were, in general, far too wasteful. In the 80’s it seemed like the “in” thing to get as much as you could and do as little with it as possible. Heck, I remember a truck customizing magazine I used to read that had a special on a souped up Chevrolet 4×4 that got….1 mile to the gallon. You read that right…it had a 1:1 ratio of gas to distance. This was the centerfold truck of that issue. For years now that memory has stood out in my mind as the true representation of our wastefulness. Continue reading “Right here on Hippie TV!”

I Think We Should See Other Providers

It already appears that my new HD-DVR is a much more stable than Tom Cruise, unlike my last one. But I am still dealing with HD channels suffering from what I call “Max Headroom Syndrome”. This is where…oh if you don’t know who Max Headroom is, hit Google and Youtube for a little much needed education. Between that and the screen and sound just blanking out every minute or so during Poker After Dark, I’m less and less pleased with my new Comcast deal. Continue reading “I Think We Should See Other Providers”

Welcome to Comcast, this is Guido. (Part 2)

So if you read the previous post, then you know that roughly four hours after I hit the “Publish” button…I got a response from someone at Comcast in the form of a comment on the post. The comment solicited and email on my part going further in depth on the sources of my frustration with cable television. I have decided since the experience was as nice as it was…I would share most of the email conversation I had with “Melissa M”. Continue reading “Welcome to Comcast, this is Guido. (Part 2)”