Categories
Life

Cutting the Cable

This morning I cut the cable. I called up Charter and disconnected my cable TV. I have researched into all the different ways to get media/TV shows etc online and I have found that it just isn’t worth it to have cable TV anymore. I can watch the shows I really like to watch online, or at worst, buy them for $1.99 an episode, or if I am really desperate, download the torrents.

Basically all you need in your house is a good Internet connection and you can do anything. That coupled with Netflix and you are good to go. I can use Amazon Unbox, Itunes, Xbox Video Marketplace, Bittorrent, Fox.com, Abc.com, NBC.com, CBS.com. Basically there is one show I cannot miss – that is 24. The others, Law and Order’s and 1 or 2 others, I don’t mind if I see or not, it is just background noise usually when I am doing other things.

Do you think you could take the plunge and cut your cable?

 

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Categories
Geeky/Programming Product Reviews

Orb 2.0: Trying it out again

A long time ago, I tried out Orb right when it came out, and it was cool, seemed buggy. Yesterday I installed Orb 2.0, flashy new Ajaxy type site now, and a few more features. Still doesn’t work well over mobile data. I have to turn on Wi-Fi on my phone to get any good speeds/buffering. Even then the videos/movies audio is always ahead of the video. Listening to mp3’s over it is pretty good though.

Just another tool for the media toolbelt.

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Categories
Product Reviews

Amazon Unbox

So last night I decided to try Amazon Unbox Movie downloads. I read about it over at Fransen’s blog, where is using the Tivo feature. I tried “A Scanner Darkly“.

What is cool is, I use my Xbox 360 as a Media Center Extender (I’m running Vista Ultimate). The Unbox video (even though DRM’d) played through the extender. Pretty sweet, exactly what I wanted. The one downer is it won’t play until fully downloaded, whereas if you use the unbox client on the pc, you can start playing it like 2 minutes after it starts downloading. They have a web load feature where you can order a movie or TV show from a remote pc and your PC at home will start downloading it, so it can be ready when you get home. That will probably be the next thing I try.

Still looking for the ultimate combination where I dont have to buy cable service, but still can get all the media I want and watch it on my TV. The quest continues, but for sure Amazon Unbox is another tool added to the belt.

Categories
Product Reviews

Windows Media Player 11 – Video Support

I really like Windows Media Player for the music library features, organizing, rating, etc. In Vista, the Photo Gallery takes care of pictures well, and videos too (tagging) – gotta love it, the photo gallery handles the videos. But the Video organization in Windows Media Player is, lacking.

When you are in music, you can organize by Album, Artist, Genre, etc. Video just has Actor. I have like 250 music videos, and organizing them becomes a pain. One other thing that is just missing in my opinon is, video preview when you are in the library view. With a song, you don’t need this obivously, you just listen. But a video, you can’t see it unless you goto the “Now Playing” tab. So you end up switch back and forth just to organize, quite a headache.

Maybe as I use it more, I will uncover an easier way to organize all my media, photos, music and videos. A “de-duping” feature for music would be great. That is one thing Itunes has that WMP is lacking.
With 80+ gb of music, organizing becomes a part time job 🙂

Categories
Product Reviews

My Own "Geek TV"

Well, I usually watch videos from channel9 or other tech videos online. I usually download them and try to watch them on my machine when I have time. Tonight, I had an idea.

Get the video in my Public/Video folder on Vista Ultimate. Watch it through my TV using Xbox 360 as the extender.

Right now I’m watching, “Steve Teixeira and Bill Dunlap: Visual C++ Today and Tomorrow” on my TV in my living room, and it looks/sounds great. Here is a challenge the the IT guys reading my blog:

Lets set this up on the TV above the fridge.

Set up a share to dump tech vidcasts to, and then have them play non stop in the break room.

With this new setup now, Netflix, and getting shows off the internet, I’m not sure I need cable anymore 🙂

Categories
Product Reviews

Netflix

So, I signed up for Netflix this week. Started off with the 3rd season of 24. I really like the rating and social features of the site.

If you have a Netflix account and want to be my friend, here is the link

http://www.netflix.com/BeMyFriend/PjsorfqHmzu5xXFVQK5I

Categories
Life

24 starts tonight!

Ahh, finally it’s back. 24. Probably the best show on TV. And there are two hours tonight. I usually watch TV as background noise, or I really don’t care if I miss or see a show, but 24 is different. Change the IM’s to away, block out everything else – 24 is on. One hour that I’m focused on that and only that. Basically I can’t wait for tonight 🙂

Categories
Life

Slingbox

Well, I happened upon a slingbox…hooked it up tonight. Pretty cool, I want to see how XM through DirectTV will perfom if I try it from work. The mobile client is choppy, I cant get more than 15 fps. I think for sure I will use it in my office in the basement to watch TV once I get that room configured with my desktop PC. It seems to work better than Orb, but I will have to give it a better test.

Categories
Geeky/Programming

Backing Up DVD's

I have around 70 DVD’s, and I want to just watch them from my computer. I first thought about just ripping to avi/divx, which is good, but you lose metadata. Also, with Media Center Edition 2005, there is the My DVDs area which you dont get to use with avi’s. I decided to use DVDShrik and DVDProfiler to just rip my dvd’s to my hard disk in the raw format. I figured if I wanted to then convert to avi I can. One thing is though, I need more hard drive space. 🙂

Categories
Product Reviews

4Flix – DRMLess Videos

If you dont want to get tied down to DRM with videos with Google/Yahoo/Itunes video (like with music – MSN Music, Napster, Itunes, etc) – check out this site. 4Flix is DRM less video!! I downloaded a free movie just to test it, and it works, I think this is my new allofmp3, but for video 🙂