Archives For HTPC

Since January from CES, we knew a new SageTV version was coming which would include a new UI. I’ve had the opportunity to preview this significant update and will run through the new features, changes and improvements – which are now available in beta form.

Probably on the most-requested list for SageTV developers is a re-write of the user interface. The default SageTV UI has evolved over the years, but cosmetically it’s looked and worked about the same. With version 7, the SageTV team has made some significant changes with the interface that they hope will please those that liked the old UI the way it was as well as those looking for a more attractive appearance.

While many will focus on the new UI, transitions and effects, the more subtle, under-the-hood SageTV changes make this version a huge leap forward.  For example, the new plugin manager makes installing and updating add-ons incredibly easy – I can’t stress enough how much of an improvement this is to those that use SageTV. Other non-UI items that are on the list of things I’m really appreciating here include the improved HD-PVR performance, improved HD200 performance (it handles navigation very fast), no more “pause” between shows when watching television live.

For a thorough rundown of the new features found in SageTV 7 along with a number of screenshots, continue reading at Geek Tonic.

Click to enlarge:

Plex Alpha Sneak Peek

Dave Zatz —  May 19, 2010

The Mac OS X port (er, fork?) of the XBMC project continues to push forward. Like a Boxee, Plex turns our Macs into media centers — designed to be controlled via a 10′ interface. However, as the team’s sneak peek of recent alpha builds (video above) indicates, there are times when it’s more practical to manage our content libraries at the computer… rather than from the couch. With that in mind as we drive towards v1.0, Media Manager functionality has been removed from the primary, remote-controlled Plex UI and is accessed as a separate app, best worked by mouse. Additionally, Plex looks to embrace the whole home concept and pretty seamlessly links up to additional Plex Mac installs.

Have a Hauppauge TV tuner in your computer? Then odds are you can stream live TV over the internet to your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad over WiFi using the company’s new WinTV v7.2 software.

Hauppauge is charging $9.95 for the upgrade, which also lets you watch and record live television on a computer. It’s not quite as attractive or easy to use as a full fledged media center application like Windows Media Center, BeyondTV, or SageTV. But it features a recording scheduler, support for multiple TV tuners, and a signal strength monitor for digital TV channels.

This latest version of WinTV introduces WinTV Extend, which acts as the server to stream live or recorded TV shows to any device running a supported web browser. That includes the Safari web browser for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, as well as Mac computers. You can also stream TV to a PC using any web browser that supports Adobe Flash.

This post republished from Mobiputing.

EngadgetHD has the latest scoop on SiliconDust’s upcoming networked CableCARD device along with a shot of the prototype. Ben Drawbaugh reports that this HDHomeRun will actually contain three CableCARD tuners  – one more than previously reported. The other interesting news is that SiliconDust hopes to have the device ready for the holidays as long as CableLabs certification happens in a timely fashion. The beta signup period has come and gone, so SiliconDust should be shortly notifying the handful of beta testers they’ve chosen.

Check out more of Brent’s reflections on tech, gadgets, software and media at Brent Evans Geek Tonic.

Microsoft pulled surprises out if its giant hat last week with a couple of significant announcements. The first one was a positive – embedded Windows 7 for CE devices which holds some promise – especially for Media Center fans. The second a total disappointment albeit not an entirely shocking one where they admitted their awesome, Courier Tablet PC concept was just that: a concept that will never see the light of day. Since I’m a bit ticked about the Courier non-announcement, we’ll focus on the positive, embedded PC concept.

Many sites have sort of glossed over the announcement, but don’t for a second discount this one. Microsoft has unleashed an embedded version of their hot-selling Windows 7 operating system to be used by OEMs in consumer electric devices such as TVs, set top boxes, DVD/Blu-ray players etc. If this sounds a little Linux-like to you, you’re not crazy. Embedded W7 is targeting Linux front-on since you can find Linux in many CE devices today – especially those things like set-top-boxes, TV firmware, DVD and Blu-ray players and HTPC extenders. And because Microsoft included Media Center in the embedded W7 mix this is definitely a big deal.

Read the rest of this entry »

The latest version of Microsoft’s Windows Home Server, dubbed “Vail”, was unveiled as a public beta. We Got Served has several nice write-ups going over the new features and providing walkthrough. Feature-wise I’m not shocked, but definitely dissapointed that Microsoft again left out Media Center functionality. Here’s what WeGotServed had to say about this omission:

Let’s get one big elephant out of the way to kick off. Despite a lot of community requests, (and I know there’s been a lot of discussion within Microsoft regarding this) Windows Media Center has not been integrated into Vail. At this point, there is no in-box TV tuner support and TV guide service other than you’d expect to find in the underlying Windows Server 2008 R2 platform.

This continues to be a head-scratcher for me. Read the rest of this entry »

One of the more interesting HTPC solutions, the SilicondDust HDHomeRun CableCard device is now accepting signups for their beta  according to their forums:

The beta is moving ahead as planned… beta signup now online!

As mentioned earlier this year, SiliconDust’s HDHR CableCard device is interesting because it appears to be coming in a USB version AND a networked version. The networked version should work much like the current HDHomeRun QAM tuners — meaning it will require no open “port” on your computer.

Check out more of Brent’s reflections on tech, gadgets, software and media at Brent Evans Geek Tonic.