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DIgital Video Recorder.

Written By: Gary on July 6, 2009 No Comment

Torchwood: Children of Earth BBC WarnerDon’t forget Torchwood is on the the next five days starting today on BBC one. That’s it, the whole season three is only these next five days (more info on Torchwood here).

The mini-series only starts today in the UK, Austrailia and maybe a few others. Each episode is 75 minutes, be sure to pad your VCR DVR in case it runs late. I think most of the rest of the world has to wait until July 20th, 2009 (that’s when it starts on BBC America).

Watch the Torchwood (HQ) trailer here.

And if you didn’t listen to the three radio plays last week, you have a few more hours to download those free Torchwood plays. I think this download is good for anywhere in the world.

P.S. You can order Torchwood: Children of Earth now (available in HD too.

Written By: Gary on September 27, 2007 No Comment

SupermandoomsdaySo Amazon Unbox is having their usual 99 cent sale again this weekend (six different movies). Usually the movies don’t show up cheap until Friday, but it seems to be working today (and there are a few reruns from last week).

This weekend they’ve got Superman: Doomsday, interesting movie it’s based on the whole Death of Superman story-line from 10+ years ago but it was an entertaining movie (I watched it last week on a day I was home sick). Voices by Adam Baldwin, Anne Heche respectively as Superman/Clark and Lois. It was odd though with the amount of death and violence in it, this isn’t a kid’s movie at all. Note the bloody Superman logo, it’s representative of the movie. Lex Luthor is ruthless and totally evil! At least Doomsday was an evil mutant from space!

So if you’re interested it’s worth the 99 cents (at least it entertained me while I was sick). You can download it to your TiVo (which rocks) or your Windows PC (which PC say is an okay process). I think you can even buy them straight from your TiVo menu now, but I haven’t tried that.

This weekend they also have:

  • Lonely Hearts
  • I Think I Love My Wife
  • Lucky You
  • Zodiac
  • The Contract
    The movies change weekly so be sure to check back often; you have 30 days to start to watch them (but only 24 hours after you start watching to finish).

    I just think this service to push movies down to your TiVo is totally cool. It’s NetFlix but without the mailing of the DVDs back and forth. If you use TiVo you need to try this.

    (Later – I noticed this DVD at a store with a sticker on it: “The first Superman cartoon to be rated PG-13!!!”, like it was a bonus and not a warning)

  • Written By: Gary on September 15, 2007 One Comment

    BigbangtheoryThe first episode of Big Bang Theory is now available as a free┬ádownload from Amazon Unbox. You can put it on your TiVo(!) or on your PC. Supposedly there are other CBS show for free but I can’t find them…

    This is an awesome show. It’s about a few geeks (science dorks) and the cute (but ditzy) girl next door. If you know any geeks you’ll love this show. It’s by the guy who did Two and a Half Men (and I think Dharma and Greg).

    I’m sure this is only free for a limited time….

    Written By: Gary on September 10, 2007 3 Comments

    ChuckjourneymanYou can see Journeyman, Chuck, Life and Bionic Woman for Free with Amazon UnBox. This means you can download them straight to your TiVo and watch them on the big screen (or you can download them to a PC, but I’ve never done that) for a limited time. I haven’t seen Life yet, but I’ve seen the other three: Chuck is awesome, Journeyman is excellent, Bionic Woman is luke-warm but I’ll give it a chance (and you can see for yourself!).

    On a side note, this ties to NBC cutting ties or getting pissed at the iTunes music store (I can’t remember why) and are now partnering with Amazon. I have no idea how long this offer might last or if the link will last but this is a permanent (I think) link to Amazon Unbox.Lifebionic

    Amazon Unbox is an interesting service, more so for your TiVo than your PC (IMHO). You can rent high-quality movies for about $3.99 each, but each weekend they offer a half-dozen 99 cent ones (some are new and some are old), so keep your eyes open for those. Rentals are on your machine for 30 days but once you start to watch you only have 24 hours to finish (or re-watch it). Personally, I think 24 hours is too short, it needs to be about 36 hours; if I start to watch a movie Sunday afternoon at 4 and don’t finish it, I’m probably not going to be home from work in time the next day to finish it. I really think they need to extend the 24 hours (which is starting to be an industry standard) to about 36 hours (48?) or figure out some way to get another $1 out of me so that I can keep it for another day). It’s just more consumer friendly, it’s not like I’ve got the media and they need it to rent to another person.So back to the free previews. It’s a very cool marketing idea. But here’s my question – why aren’t there any ads?!? They could be making money off of this (or at least advertising their fall line-up). They need to explore this so that they can explore this delivery medium and realize that free to the consumer is good. That’s the whole model of television, free with commercials. If they gave it away free they could probably even rig it to force you to watch the commercials (or just the first few seconds) so they know they are getting their money’s worth. But as always, I hope they figure out a way to target the commercials to me (I don’t need tampons or Cialis, I need Apple products and movie previews). Just a thought…

    Written By: Gary on July 23, 2007 One Comment

    So the future of television is certainly changing. The networks haven’t completely caught on yet, but they will. In a day when users can download higher quality video than they currently receive, get shows from parts of the world that aren’t available and have the advantage of having no ads and are free (please note this means stolen). We can also buy many of these videos from the iTunes store or Amazon UnBox for $1.99 an episode (iTunes has some at 99 cents for an episode and sometimes get that cheap if you subscribe for season). I know “legal” is not what people think when they hear the word BitTorrent, but BitTorrent.com even sells shows legally these days.

    If I could subscribe to a lot of the shows I enjoy for 99 cents an episode and have them automatically download to my AppleTV, TiVo, iPod or other device I’d never have anything more than basic cable. I’m sure this goes for a lot of people. Everything needed (except the mentality) to do this currently exists. The networks and producers of these shows need to somehow start embracing this model before it gets even easier for people to get (steal) these shows for free.

    Or charge me significantly less and let me trade the produces some statistical information about myself and let them insert in advertising relevant to me. Give me geeky ads, movie and TV show previews that I like, music that I like. Advertise events and concerts that are taking place where I live. I don’t need diaper ads, tampons, bad credit information, refinancing, ads for cars that cost $50,000+, ways to give up smoking. With the right information instead of advertising a new bed which I may have just purchased, they can advertise new pillows or new sheets (and mark in their files to start giving me new bed advertisements in another 5 years) that I might actually purchase.

    Even better, let me give “them” lots of information about me, which I’ll update a few times a month with information about what I’ve purchased or I’m shopping for (who in my life has a birthday coming up) or where I’m traveling to. And they can actually pay me to watch television! I’m not looking for a lot of money but just something to make it worth giving them info (besides, think of how much you’d save on cable if it was free!). Maybe some hotel discount coupons when I mention a vacation, or a coupon for Best Buy when they know I’m looking for a new video camera.

    Written By: Gary on April 28, 2006 No Comment

    With Yahoo’s new Yahoo! Go service you can watch previews, flickr feeds, yahoo photos, download music and burn it to a cd. Of course it’ll play any of those files from the hard drive (or CD/DVD) and with a supported video card you can record television in a TiVo like fashion.

    Unfortunately, Yahoo! generally chokes with a good idea before they get it done, but this is a great one so let’s see how they do. Especially since they are doing this just after TiVo has canceled their lifetime subscription and is now charging monthly rates only….

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    Written By: Gary on November 15, 2005 One Comment

    TiVo is giving away a free movie called Red Trousers. It’s only for Series 2 DVRs with broadband (but not the DirectTivo). This is just to test the new “TiVo Video Download” service. Here’s the thing, it’s downloading the movie via your high speed internet! It’ll be interesting to see.

    I’ve always thought there would be a market for showing the first 15 minutes of a movie (or even 30 minutes). Let me pick some movies I’m interested in from a list, it downloads the first fifteen minutes, in exchange I answer a few (5-8) multiple choice questions for them. (If you don’t answer all the questions, you can’t delete it, which means you can’t download another).


    They’re calling it an advanced screening, but it’s out on DVD (click the image), I think it’s more of an advanced preview of the new system.

    In this dazzling combination of documentary and short film directed by and starring Robin Shou, star of MORTAL KOMBAT, and which Los Angeles City Beat called “a must-see for Hong Kong action fans” and the LA Times called “pure delight,” the death-defying feats performed by the world’s greatest stuntmen (nicknamed “red trousers” for the pants they wear during their training at Chinese opera schools) are profiled through interviews and clips that showcase their work. Intercutting with the documentary footage is the short film LOST TIME, a futuristic martial arts adventure in the style of Alex Proyas’ DARK CITY, where one can appreciate the stuntmen’s extraordinary achievement in their final cinematic form.

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    Written By: Gary on November 10, 2005 One Comment

    TiVo added a new enhancement this week (or at least it showed up on my TiVo, it might not be on yours yet but it should download it soon) called “Overlap Protection”. Now it can help with goofy network show times, ome shows are scheduled from 9:00 to 10:01 or something similarly goofy, so now the 10 o’clock show previously wouldn’t record it due to the overlap (or depending on your “priority” settings, it might not record the other one). The enhancement is now it won’t skip the second show, it’ll just give priority to the hight priority show and chop the few minutes from the lower priority show! Yeah!


    You’ve been able to “pad” a show for a while now, which means you take a show that’s on from 8-8:30 and you know it always runs a little late so you pad two minutes at the end. Now it records from 8-8:32 (let’s assume it’s a season pass). So I’m assuming it protects and gets most of the show. We’ll have to see.

    I did see that manual individual recordings take priority.

    What’s the limit though? If it’s an hour overlap into a two hour show, does it still tape half of the two hour show? I now see there’s a five minute limit in this overlap. It’s too bad that’s not adjustable (5/10/15/30/60/120), I’d probably set it for ten or fifteen minutes. I’d only use the hour option around the olympics or something like that where it’s okay to miss the an hour of a four or six hour show.

    This is only for the series 2 recorders (the ones with USB ports on the back) but not DirecTiVo. If you don’t have 7.2.1 you can ask to get on the request list and they’ll bump you to the head of the line. It’s not that much of an upgrade but just in case you’re running a much older version (I don’t know what other versions are still out there) you might want to request it.

    [This post has been modified quite a bit from when I posted it earlier today]

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    Written By: Gary on October 16, 2005 6 Comments

    Vcr tivo tombstoneSo everyone everywhere has been saying the VCR is dead. TiVo sent out an e-mail last week, I’m sure you got it (you do have TiVo don’t you?). It said:

    Did you know…?
    • Many manufacturers have halted production on VCRs forever!
    • 2006 will be the last year for VHS movie releases.

    But here’s the thing, so many people still have VHS tapes, they won’t be going anywhere soon. Who has ditched their cassette players if you still have cassettes? CDs were clearly better and more convenient. But the problem was that you couldn’t record CD (way back when, we could only play CDS, not record) and it’s still pretty hard for many people to make mix CDs. And most people can’t record anything to CD for something casual (off the radio, a recital, etc). The same goes for DVDs.

    So they did a mock funeral in New York and if you brought a VHS tape you could trade it for a TiVo (as long as sign up for at least a year’s worth of service).


    There are a lot of CD and DVD recorders but they’re just not that for the normal consumer yet. Actually, it might be easier for most people to make DVDs of home videos than CDs of home audio. The software is out there for that and it’s semi-easy to use, the TiVo recorders (and I’m sure the competitors) will do that quite easily.

    Once TiVo and the other DVR companies get out there with more DVD recorders I think it’ll really end it. People will still have those old 8 track tapes, I mean VHS tapes, and need to play them but I can see them not making any more.

    95% of my VHS recording was generally TV shows that I taped over later or lent to friends who missed the show. Now I can just save a copy to DVD for me or them but it’s slightly pricier and I generally don’t get the DVD back or I can save a copy to watch at friends or on my laptop. I’ve been renting movies on DVD for years so that’s not an issue. I’m not even sure what the other 5% was: Duplicating home movies/parties/weddings? Taping friends/me/family on TV? Both of those were pretty rare.

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    Written By: Gary on October 14, 2005 2 Comments

    Mailblocks, the best e-mail web service out there is now shutting down. I’m very sad at this, they used CAPTCHAs to make sure you weren’t getting spam and they made e-mail managment more than bearable. Mailblocks gave you extra addresses that you could use for when you didn’t want mail filtered and would check your other accounts for you and emulated the outgoing address that you wanted people to see.

    MailBlocks did it right. Think of them as the iPods of MP3 players, or the TiVo of DVRs, they just went the extra miles. I really can’t figure how I’ll manage my mail as well…

    AOL bought them 6-10 months ago and has done nothing with the service. Now they are canceling all accounts (in 30 days). They want you to use AIM Mail which is free but appears to offer none of the main features of MailBlocks!!! I think they might have used the screen interface and that’s it. Yuck!

    I will be asking for my refund. I guess it’s time to check out SpamArrest (here’s an animated demo). I’ve mentioned it before as an alternative to MailBlocks (when AOL stopped accepting accounts)so now it’s time to do it.


    The one nice thing is AIM does is they offer IMAP with the accounts and they are 2GB accounts. But all of the outgoing messages do have an AIM mail footer. So it’s probably a fine account it’s just not MailBlocks.

    Mailblocks offers a pay service ($25 a year I think) and if it works I don’t understand why they con’t keep offering it… So sad…

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