Apr 11 2011

Blog - Birth of an A/V Snob - Part II

Rethinking the DVR

Continued from part 1...
While living with TiVo DVRs for a few years, I considered building a Home Theater PC (HTPC) to solve some of the issues my TiVo setup had. I had been following the development of MythTV and was impressed with what you could do with what basically amounts to off the shelf commodity hardware. While some like to measure twice, cut once I am more the measure a dozen times, cut once... maybe. While I found the Linux-based MythTV interesting, it just seemed a little too daunting as I was looking for something a little more “plug-n-play.”
Eventually I decided to play around with this new high definition television development and with my future wife we decided that our new home would get a plasma display panel television, the time seemed right. Again, I took a look at MythTV and while it would do what I wanted, I was still a little apprehensive about making my first HTPC a Linux-based one. I had also been following the developments of Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) and by this time OEM/System Builder versions were readily available. XP MCE Service Pack 2 enabled the reception and recording of ATSC HD Over the Area Broadcasts so this looked like a great option to me as I was much more comfortable with a Windows-based solution.
I wanted my first HTPC to be a special build so I went all out and got a premium case for it--an Origen AE X15e with an internal 7” touch screen LCD.


Apr 06 2011

Blog - Contest - Amulet Devices Voice Remote Control

Thanks for participating, this contest has ENDED!!


We once again have a great prize to give away. Please note, we've modified the entries a little bit, so please read carefully how to enter below!

This time up, courtesy of the fine folks at Amulet Devices, their Voice Enabled Remote Control for Windows Media Center!

With an MSRP of $149 and continuing to have their software improved, Amulet Devices have developed the best way to control your Windows Media Center HTPC--simply pick up the remote, speak the command and voila!

We took an in-depth look at the Amulet Devices Remote Control and really loved how easy it was to use.

In exchange of extreme universal devices functionality and a touch screen Amulet provide you instead with voice controls to help you navigate--basically what touch screen buttons would do anyways. The big key here is whether the programmable buttons on the Amulet device are sufficient for your needs. In my case my setup was simple--a TV, AVR, HTPC and Xbox360...the Amulet will more than satisfy the universal needs while also providing me the ever crowd pleasing voice commands. Honestly, I could even see music aficionado opting to own both a universal remote like the Harmony and purchasing the Amulet if only for its dominance with managing music libraries. 


Apr 05 2011

Blog - Birth of an AV Snob - Part 1

Mike has graciously invited me to write a blog for MissingRemote and while I do intend to tackle some technical aspects of home theater in general and HTPCs in particular, I thought it might be useful to explain at least how I think I got into home theater.  After all, HTPCs, plasma display panels, and digital television are just a means to an end. 

In the Beginning… 

My first experience with what would become home theater was when my parents subscribed to ON-TV.  In suburban Detroit, where I grew up, an independent television station WXON carried ON-TV.   For the princely sum of $22.50 per month (back when $22.50 was “real” money) my family and I enjoyed uninterrupted and uncut movies and local sports for a few hours of each broadcast day.  ON-TV was delivered by a little UHF antenna installed on the roof, a cable that ran down the side of the house, and to a small converter box that sat on our 19” TV in the living room.  The box was not remote controlled and the box had a small speaker on it to provide the sound--no stereo, just beautiful monaural audio. 

Mar 23 2011

Blog - Arcsoft Total Media Theatre 3 Giveaway at Facebook

ArcsoftI was just relaxing in my hotel in Dallas and remembered I had one final copy of Arcsoft's Total Media Theatre 3 left at my house, so I wanted to try something a little different. So we're going to be giving away the copy with entries only through Facebook! So head on over to and enter. (Sorry to our non-facebook users, but don't worry we have some big prizes still to come here for you!)

Mar 14 2011

Blog - Road Map to a Tech Household

My given name is Kyle Button, but for years I’ve been known as TechButton to my peers in the technology world.  I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to my family and how I’ve integrated technology into every aspect of our home life.  My oldest son is 3 years old and already shows an affinity for all things tech; he is a whiz with the iPad.  I also have an 8 month old son whom I will be introducing to technology as his developmental stages allow.  My wife is a techno-phobe, often describing our house as a technology prison.  I’d like to think I’m really the warden at her self-imposed prison, trying to set her free by introducing her to all the wonders of technology that are actually applicable to her life.

Mar 10 2011

Blog - Starz Live for Media Center

Similar to the NASA TV for Media Center I released earlier today, Starz Live for Media Center builds upon the discovery of others.

Earlier in the year TheGreenButton forum member geetarzan posted an easy method to watch Starz Live in Media Center.  After my release of NASA TV for Media Center I received a request from mcewinter asking if I could do the same thing for Starz Live.  Ask and thou shall receive...well for easy stuff that is Smile

Starz Live

Mar 10 2011

Blog - NASA TV for Media Center

NASA TV for Media Center

UPDATE NASA TV has been updated here.

A few weeks ago space shuttle Discovery embarked on its final flight.  In honor of the event Pete Brown from Extreme Windows Blog and The Green Button posted, or as it were reposted, how to watch the NASA TV stream within Windows Media Center.


As you can see from Pete's post, the ability to add NASA TV to Media Center via the ASX stream was initially shared with the community by buellpilot back in 2006!  This add-in, NASA TV for Media Center, is a natural evolution to that same basic idea.  

Mar 02 2011

Blog - Giveaway #24 - Arcsoft TotalMedia Theatre 3 Blu-ray Software



If you missed out on our previous giveaways fear not, we have another from Arcsoft, giving away ONE copy of their awesome Blu-ray playback software for Windows, Total Media Theater 3 Platinum!

This fantastic Blu-ray playback software allows you to play high definition movies from Blu-ray disc and even stored on your hard drive. We haven't done a review of this latest software, but our editor Matt did a thorough job on a previous version if you want to get a refresher course. This has a suggested retail price of $90. If you've been waiting to jump aboard the Blu-ray bandwagon, maybe this can be your chance to do so for free!!



Feb 25 2011

Blog - Congratulations to DennisHalling and DavidStein!

Congratulations to our last two winners of the Patriot PBO Core Media Player and the GlideTV!

  • User DennisHalling won the PBO Core
  • DavidStein won the GlideTV Navigator

You should both be receiving an e-mail from me shortly requesting information.

Congratuations to both of you, and worry not everyone else, we STILL have more prizes upcoming!

Feb 23 2011

Blog - LiveTV in Media Center over Remote Desktop via RemoteFX

Just a quick screenshot to show "proof" of Live TV using a Ceton InfiniTV over Remote Desktop via RemoteFX.

What is interesting about the screenshot, at least to me, is that I took it of a RemoteFX Remote Desktop Protocol (rdp) session from another RDP session that was connected via VPN over the WAN.

LiveTV in Media Center over Remote Desktop via RemoteFX

I'll be following up with a full overview of RemoteFX.  If you listened to today's podcast you we talked about it a little bit.  I do not believe it is a valid architecture for HTPC usage, at least not yet, but it is extremely cool technology.  It is just too expensive, both in hardware and software, to be used.  It most cases it makes more sense to get a low power Intel Core i3-2100T or AMD Zacate (if it proves a valid HTPC choice), you'll save money and energy consumption.

If you have any questions feel free to ask, I'll try to answer each in my RemoteFX follow up.  I'll go over what hardware I am using and what I am using it for.

Feb 14 2011

Blog - A Quick Look at Boxee Box Netflix

Since it's Valentines Day I have to make this quick so just the highlights.

  • Boxee's Netflix uses the new HTML5 Netflix application
  • HD is available
  • Multi-channel audio tracks are listed (Dolby Digital Plus!), but don't play - see the screenshot gallery for the error.
  • Subtitles are listed and work
  • DVD titles are listed in the results (but I wish they weren't)

Let me know if you have any questions, I'll try to answer them as best I can.

Feb 14 2011

Blog - Contest #23 - Patriot Box Office (PBO Core) Giveaway






We had a short break after a non-stop string of prizes, but fear not as we still have lots more to come!

Today’s prize is a fantastic media streamer courtesy of Patriot Memory, the Patriot Box Office HD player. We reviewed this little guy earlier this year and found it to be a very solid and capable player with an MSRP of $99--read below for instructions on how to win

PBO Core has an enhanced User Interface which is more visually pleasing, while also proving to be easier to use and navigate. Functionality has been enhanced with the addition of Internet Media Services (IMS), greater compatibility with HDTV’s, ability to play data from external optical USB devices and album artwork during audio playback. The addition of IMS provides a variety of streaming and internet enabled services such as video RSS feeds, streaming podcasts, online photo albums, live stock info, weather, news and more! The latest firmware which provides these features and improved user interface is available now and is backwards compatible with all Patriot Box Office media players on the market.

Feb 05 2011

Blog - SageDCT - Public Release

Two weeks ago I teased SageTV users with a screenshot of a Copy-Freely CableCARD content recording.  As tough as it might have been to wait; it's now over and I think SageDCT is stable enough to share with everyone.

For those who don't have the hardware, but are interested in seeing SageDCT in action.  I made a short video demonstrating how quickly channel changes are executed.

Enjoy Smile

Feb 03 2011

Blog - Congratulations LEHIGHBRI, Winner of the Ceton InfiniTV4!!

After tabulating the awesome amount of entries we had for the CETON InfiniTV4 CableCARD tuner, the winner is...LehighBri!!!

LehighBri, you will be receiving an e-mail from me asking for your information. As stated in the rules, you have 48 hours to reply or we'll have to *gulp*, re-draw (you can also PM, tweet, facebook me).

Congratulations and thanks again everyone for participating! If you didn't win, feel free to enter our current giveaway of the GlideTV Navigator!

Feb 03 2011

Blog - Giveaway #22 - GlideTV Navigator







GlideTV Navigator

 Up next in our contest giveaways we have, courtesy of the generous folks at GlideTV, the GlideTV Navigator. If this sounds familiar, well it should be for you loyal readers! We reviewed this awesome little guy a while ago yet it still stands quite alone in its class. 

Per our review:

Finally, you can actually use the device right away without having to install a single thing. The remote works off of universal control device shortcuts for a lot of the tasks which makes using it a snap. I found myself switching between my laptop and my HTPC during some of my testing as I had a variety of online content on the laptop but didn't feel like holding it.

GlideTV Navigator

Feb 01 2011

Blog - Behind the Broadcast of Super Bowl XLV

If you didn't know already, Super Bowl XLV is just a few more days away and FOX will be handling the broadcast honors this year. It's not every day that I get to peek behind the scenes of the biggest broadcast event of the year so I jumped at the opportunity to meet Jeff Rozak of Calhoun Satellite Communications, Inc. and take a look inside his mobile uplink truck.

Jeff and his truck are going to be playing a critical role in bringing this Sunday’s Super Bowl XLV broadcast to your home by linking up Cowboys Stadium to FOX production facilities. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the uplink truck and get an overview of how the broadcast will make its way to your TV.

Jan 28 2011

Blog - LG Optimus V Android Smart Phone

I realize this is only loosely related to home theater, but I picked up the just released LG Optimus V smart phone for Virgin Mobile. This isn't the best spec'd or sexiest phone out there, but it packs a lot of value for $149.

Jan 27 2011

Blog - Hauppauge Colossus Q&A

Update 4/1/2011: Hi Everyone, Michael has some other priorities right now so I am going to take over his efforts with the Colossus. I should be getting the card next week and will try to get a working setup in the next couple weeks to continue on with this thread.

I currently have a prototype Hauppauge Colossus HD PVR in my development HTPC and wanted to start a Q\A thread here at Missing Remote.

Hauppauge Colossus HD PVR

Jan 24 2011

Blog - SageDCT - Teaser

Those waiting for SageTV to get Copy Freely Digital Cable Tuner (aka CableCARD) support will just need to wait a litle bit longer.  I sent out a few copies of SageDCT to a private beta group earlier this evening Smile

Jan 20 2011

Blog - Congratulations WKTAYLOR, Winner of the WHS!

I already confirmed with him, but wanted to make it public. The winner of our copy of Windows Home Server is WKTAYLOR!! Congratulations and thanks to all who participated.

If you haven't (or even if you have) won a prize yet, don't worry we still have a lot to go. Don't miss our current awesome giveaway, a CETON InfiniTV4 CableCARD Tuner!

Jan 19 2011

Blog - Giveaway #21 - CETON InfiniTV4 CableCARD Tuner






 Ceton InfiniTV4

We have a fantastic prize up for you for the next two weeks, with the ever so coveted CETON INFINITV4 television tuner. Thanks to our friends at CETON, we have up for grabs one of these awesome CableCARD tuners where you can stream up to FOUR high definition cable streams to your Windows 7 Media Center system via 1 actual CableCARD! But don't take my word for how awesome this card is, here's a snippet from our very own Michael Welter's recent review of the card:

I had a few more hours of work before I could get home and finish the setup so I wasn’t too worried. But it seemed like such as waste of a few test hours. I called my wife and asked if she would setup the tuner for me. She was a little reluctant but she also had a show she wanted to watch, and eventually she agreed. I told her to follow the instructions provided on the Quick Installation Guide, skip the CableCARD activation step and give me a call if she ran into any issues.

Jan 16 2011

Blog - Congratulations to PAPutzback, Winner of the HDPlex Chassis!

Congratulations to our latest Giveaway contest winner, PAPutzback who has won the HDPlex silent chassis! As you may remember, PAPutzback was also the winner of one of the BigScreenGlobal prize packages a few weeks ago.

Don't forget our current contest, where you can WIN a copy of Windows Home Server! And don't forget you can get additional entries through Twitter and Facebook to increase your chances of winning just like PAPutzback!

Jan 13 2011

Blog - Giveaway #20 - Windows Home Server





Windows Home Server

Thanks to our friends at Blue Monkey Communications, we have up for grabs the ever so popular Microsoft Windows Home Server with Power Pack 3! This is of course the popular home server solution from Microsoft that provides all sorts of backup and network sharing capabilities in your home. In case you forgot, we had a good ol Battle of the Windows Home Servers a bit ago where we built a couple using this and how it panned out.

Next, let's cover the 2nd Windows Home Server box I built. This time, I was a bit wiser regarding WHS as a software solution, and aimed to focus my purchases on a lower-cost, and more attractive solution than the 50 pound behemoth previously covered. As WHS has grown in popularity (and reliability thanks to Power Pack 1), so too has the availability of WHS-targeted components. Obviously, any type of hardware will work as proven with the Frankenstein WHS, but you saw the biggest disadvantages to going that route -- size and power consumption.


Jan 07 2011

Blog - Congratulations to our last 2 winners - KustomKid and GumiBears

Well, one person's loss is another person's gain. Per our contest rules, the previous winner of the Western Digital AV-GP hard drives did not respond, so we had to re-draw for those...and the winner is KustomKid!

And then, for one of our most popular contests to date, the AMD Phenom 615E...the winner is....GuMiBears!!!

Congratulations to both of you, you will be receiving an e-mail from me shortly.

Btw, it's worth mentioning that both of the above winners also had entries from Facebook and Twitter which obviously helped! So keep that in mind for future contests, having more entries helps your chances Smile

Jan 07 2011

Blog - Mikinho CES 2011 Checklist

While this is not my first time in Vegas, it is my first time attending CES. I really don't know what to expect. What do I bring? How do I act? Do I resist the urge to gamble all day and night? What if I follow in Jeremy's footsteps and lose my wallet? As sad as this may sound to some, this will be my first trip without my beautiful wife (who spoils me rotten) since before our wedding. I'm without my better half--the normal half.

I envision myself in that episode of Malcom in the Middle where the mom leaves Hal alone with the younger boys for a few days for the first time while she takes care of their elder son Francis. Will I digress? Where will I find killer bees? I know I will be among fellow tech geeks but do I let my inner geek run rampant? What the hell does that even mean?

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