Wednesday, December 27, 2006

TiVo Series 3 HD DVR

My friend Jaideep & Manna (who works at TiVo) just got a nice looking TiVo Series 3 DVR. It has 2 CableCARDs that allow it to record HDTV programming simultaneously. Comcast is now obligated to provide CableCARDs to customers at no cost instead of the the set-top box, so you don't waste all the valuable space in the entertainment center. Unfortunately, these CableCARDs don't allow you to record Comcast OnDemand programming that is possible from the HD Comcast DVRs. The TiVo boxes however have THX digital sound capability to enhance the home theater experience. These boxes allow you to stream iTunes music from playlists on a computer on the same network but unlike a MCE you can not search for songs/albums/artists and small user interface issue that stops music playback once you go to another menu.

  • Sleek Device with front-panel displays showing the shows being currently viewed/recorded
  • Good display of HD programming
  • No OnDemand Recording (Got to wait for CableCARD 2.0 cards)
  • Expensive (~$800, lower if you are know a TiVo employee)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

New Wishlist

My HTPC has been working great for almost 2 years now, and my foresight has enabled its longevity. However, some new technologies and products have caused me to think about some hardware and software upgrades.
  • I need a bigger hard-drive to accomodate my growing recorded shows, downloaded music and videos that I wish to keep. I have been eyeing deals on 500 GB Seagate drives on Frys and Newegg for a while now. I also need a quieter drive.
  • My surround-sound system doesnt have an optical/digital input (SP/DIF). I am using the headphones-out from my HTPC into the sound-system thus killing the dolby/thx effect.
  • I need a way to record HD programming
  • Lightscribe DVD-RW Recording Drives - To etch labels on the disks directly.
  • Blu-Ray/HD-DVD Combo Player Drives

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Advanced Universal Remote

I bought a Logitech Harmony 880 Advanced Universal Remote so I could get rid of all the remotes that I use individually to control the Television, Cable Box, Sound System and the HTPC.

  • Can program 'Activities' like 'Watch My TV', or 'Listen Digital Music' that can control the settings on Television, Stereo, Cable and the HTPC together. For example, can change the input of the TV to DVI, turn on the HTPC, switch stereo to the AUX input.
  • Sweet to use just one remote
  • The Remote toggles the on/off state of the device when activated. Consequently if the TV was already on when you select 'Watch My TV', it will be turned off.
  • Charging the remote is a pain.

Cost: $141 from Comp-U-Plus

I have not added this to the total cost of the HTPC as I use it to control other devices as well.