Blogs

Dec 13 2010

Blog - Contest #12 - Patriot Box Office

THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED, THANKS FOR PARTICIPATING!

 

Another week, another awesome set of prizes coming your way!

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!

Dec 13 2010

Blog - Got a Rechargable Harmony - Check the Battery

I love my Harmony One, so when the battery wouldn't hold a charge for more than a couple days it was an easy decision to order a replacement.  When the new battery arrived, I was shocked to find that that the original had swollen so much that the plastic was starting to crack and needle-nose pliers were required to pry it from remote.  Fortunately the remote wasn't damaged at all and it could be anecdotal, but I imagine that bad things would have happened to the battery hadn't been replaced when it was. 

So if you have a Harmony with a rechargeable battery it's worth taking a peek every so often to make sure that it's not about to explode.

Dec 12 2010

Blog - Ceton InfiniTV 4 Installation Tip and Experience

Yesterday was a big day in my household as I installed the long-awaited Ceton InfiniTV 4 CableCARD tuner into my HTPC (see mikinho's review here). My cable provider, Cox Cable, still requires a technician to come out and install the CableCARD, though, this will be optional by summer of 2011 thanks to the new FCC rules mandated in October.

Prior to my appointment, I installed the InfiniTV with the latest driver and decided to wipe my Windows Media Center (WMC) database of old tuner and guide information. Unfortunately, after wiping the database, WMC was not finding my InfiniTV tuner. With the technician showing up right at this point, I was a bit worried that I would need to reschedule the installation if I didn't get the CableCARD paired.

Fortunately, I found that Ceton provides an excellent utility to pair and troubleshoot the InfiniTV outside of WMC. After inserting the CableCARD into the InfiniTV, I brought up the following screen:

 

Clicking "More Info" brings up a browser-based diagnostic page:

 

The Cox Cable technician asked me to click the "Cisco CableCARD Host ID Screen" which brought up this tab:

 

The technician called in the information so that the pairing could be performed. I then brought up this "CableCARD" tab in the Ceton diagnostic tool:

Dec 10 2010

Blog - Contest #11 - Amulet Devices Voice Remote Control

THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED! THANKS TO ALL!

Congratulations to sturner151 who was selected as the winner of the Arcsoft Total Media Theatre Platinum!

Amulet Devices Remote

The prizes will keep coming and continue to get better believe it or not. For our 11th giveaway, we have courtesy of the fine folks at Amulet Devices, their Voice Enabled Remote Control for Windows Media Center!

With an MSRP of $199 (formerly $249) 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.

Dec 08 2010

Blog - Top 10 Home Theater Things We're Thankful For in 2010

Tis the season to be jolly right? Well, we here at MissingRemote are quite jolly about this past year and all the great things it brought to our beloved home theater market. So, we decided to comprise a list of our top 10 most influential things we're grateful for (from a home theater perspective):

  1. Bit streaming HD Audio FormatsBit Streaming HD Formats via HDMI
    Finally is supported from all major hardware vendors (AMD, then Intel, and finally Nvidia) giving consumers the option as to how (and how much to spend) to enjoy the latest in HD audio formats--up to 7.1 surround Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio.

    Next year's wish: 3D Support on-board all these same devices
Dec 08 2010

Blog - Re-Launch Giveaway #10 - Windows 7 Home Premium Family Pack

THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED, THANKS EVERYONE!

Congratulations to holidayjay who was selected as the winner of the Phantom Lapboard! Please check your e-mail and respond within 48 hours to claim your prize!!

Moving onwards, more free prizes! We have a very special gift from our friends at Blue Monkey Communications, a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium Family Pack!

Windows 7 Home Premium

I can't imagine there is much explanation necessary here, but this version of course includes Windows 7 Media Center for you to enjoy all the wonderful plugins and experiences that it has to offer.

Dec 06 2010

Blog - More Giveaway Winners Announced

Just wanted to announce and congratulate our next two winners of our prizes!!

jrandeck was the lucky winner of the GlideTV Navigator, and lfoust won last week's copy of Arcsoft TMT3 Platinum.

As a reminder, there is NO LIMIT to how many prizes you can win!! So continue to enter, and remember some contests you can have up to 3 entries to improve your chances to win. Read each individual contest rules for complete details.

Good luck everyone!

Dec 06 2010

Blog - MissingRemote.com Giveaway #9 - Arcsoft Total Media Theatre 3 Platinum

THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED!!! THANKS FOR PARTICIPATING!

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!!

 

HOW TO ENTER

The easiest and ONLY ONE REQUIREMENT TO ENTER is to respond to this post with an answer to: What's a movie you want that is still not available on Blu-ray?

That's it, just responding with the answer above will enter you in the contest!!


For this prize, we'll also allow 2 more entries (not mandatory but only if you want a better chance to win) via Facebook and Twitter.

Dec 03 2010

Blog - MissingRemote.com Giveaway #8 - Phantom Lapboard

THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED! THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING!!

First off, special thanks again to everyone for participating in our ongoing contest! Wanted to announce the last few winners in case you missed the blogs: Anjani (GT 430), PAPutzback (BigScreenGlobal) & NUKraze (Vidabox CubeCase)!

Next up, courtesy of the fine folks at Phantom Entertainment is their very cool Phantom Lapboard. Our very own Mikinho reviewed this bad boy back in July and he has admitted to me that it's his favorite keyboard/mouse device he's ever used.

"So what is a Lapboard and what makes it unique?  The Phantom Lapboard is a combination 2.4 GHz radio frequency (RF) wireless keyboard and separate wireless laser mouse.  What makes it truly special is an integrated mousing surface beneath the keyboard keys allowing you to use both keyboard and mouse from your lap, hence the aptly named Lapboard." 

Phantom Lapboard

HOW TO ENTER

The easiest and ONLY ONE REQUIREMENT TO ENTER is to respond to this post with an answer to: Do you play games through your HTPC? If so, what's your favorite?

That's it, just responding with the answer above will enter you in the contest!!


For this prize, we'll also allow 2 more entries (not mandatory but only if you want a better chance to win) via Facebook and Twitter.

Dec 01 2010

Blog - MissingRemote.com Re-Launch Giveaway #7 - GlideTV Navigator

THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED!! THANKS FOR PARTICIPATING!

GlideTV NavigatorWelcome to prize number slevin...errr....I mean Seven!! I wish that movie had been more popular, then you would all be laughing right now.

But I digress...you all want free stuff in celebration of this beautiful new website yes?? Well ask and we shall deliver!

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. 

Nov 29 2010

Blog - Target.com does not honor their advertised price

Target does not honor price on Lord of the Rings boxsetI was determined last week to hold off on any Black Friday purchases but thanks to Aaron (swoon) I ended up buying The Lord of the Rings Blu-ray box set from Target.com.  Or so I thought...

It was an incredible deal at $7.99 + S\H + tax, especially as it was not advertised as a Black Friday deal.  There were no disclaimers of limited quantity available or any other signs of a bait-and-switch style promotion.  I purchased the box set and within minutes received my confirmation e-mail.  

Nov 29 2010

Blog - Re-Launch Giveaway #6 - Arcsoft Total Media Theatre Platinum

THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED!! THANKS!

Hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend and that everyone has enjoyed our contest so far. Just a reminder, we still have many more prizes to give away so keep the faith if you haven't won yet. The prizes will only get bigger as we continue!

 

If you missed out or didn't win from our first day, 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!!

HOW TO ENTER
To enter to win, the easiest and required way is to simply respond to this post with the title of your favorite movie on Blu-ray.

That's it, just responding with the answer above will enter you in the contest!!

For this prize, we'll also allow additional entries (not mandatory but only if you want a better chance to win) via Facebook and Twitter.

Nov 24 2010

Blog - AO Install Same Trip? Don't trust Comcast billing with CableCARDs

AO Install Same Trip

Just a friendly reminder to not trust Comcast billing when performing CableCARD self-installs.

I've had my InfiniTV4 setup since day 1 of release (well a couple days before) and two ATI DCTs before that.  Each time my wife went to the local Comcast office and picked up a CableCARD for a self-install.  She even did the initial pairing with Comcast over the phone.  My Comcast bill would increase by $1.50 for each additional CableCARD past the initial one (here in Houston you get one “free” Digital Cable box and one “free” CableCARD per account.)

Nov 24 2010

Blog - Overwhelmed lately but getting back on track...1st up is Yammm v2

It probably comes as no surprise to many that I am long overdue for updates on many of my Media Center add-ins.  It has been a hectic year trying to juggle everything that life has thrown at me, but things are finally starting to settle and I am ready to get back to my partially complete projects.

Nov 24 2010

Blog - WHS Drive Extender Alternatives?

With yesterday's announcement that MS is killing off DE in the next version of WHS (Vail), I'm on a quest to find a replacement.  What I'd like to get from everyone is what they would replace DE with.

Obviously, the first option is RAID.  Personally, I'd go with RAID6 for the added safety net.  I have considered this many times in the past and I just can't bring myself to go back to it, due to the possible migration issues if the RAID card fails.

The second option would be unRAID, but I have two issues with it.  First off, it's built on Linux and I'm no expert with Linux, so I'd prefer not to have to struggle with a lack of OS understanding when I'm troubleshooting something.  Second, I would need the PRO version (due to my 13 hard drives) which costs $119 and that seems a bit steep to me.

I just stumbled onto Greyhole today, which is billing itself as a free, open source, Linux alternative to DE.  So far, the issues with it are, once again, Linux, and the fact that it's not in a stable state yet (according to the author).

My last known option is a return to FlexRAID, which I had been considering, anyhow, even before MS made this announcement.  Previously, FlexRAID showed issues under WHS and the system load, which does seem to speak to the issues MS was having with DE.  Currently, this is my first choice, but it will require some investigating on it's current state.

Any others?

Nov 24 2010

Blog - Just been one of those weeks

As the title says it has been one of those weeks. Between having a sick daughter all weekend, getting into a small accident in my car due to an ice storm we had Saturday night into Sunday and then my HTPC decided to die on me Sunday night in the middle of a football game.So needless to say I've been a little on edge all week. Monday night I was finally able to settle down, collect my composure and actually spend some time diagnosing my HTPC issues.

Nov 24 2010

Blog - Re-Launch Giveaway #5- Nvidia Geforce GT 430

THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED, THANKS TO ALL FOR PARTICIPATING!

Is everyone still enjoying the contest?? I surely hope so, because we still have a TON of prizes! Given the upcoming holiday weekend upon us, we decided to have a special prize and make it last longer than the rest.

Thanks to our friends at NVIDIA, we have up for grabs a brand new EVGA GT 430 Video Card with 3D & HDMI 1.4a support!!!! While it's not exactly the same, you can get an idea about the bit streaming support of these new awesome 4-series graphics cards from Andrew Van Til's Review of the GTS 450 card.

The EVGA GT 430 has arrived. Tap into the horsepower of the GPU for a visually-charged boost on your favorite applications. Edit your photos & HD videos and push the limits of your Web experience with a new generation of GPU-accelerated browsers like Internet Explorer 9. Boost your gaming performance with the next generation gaming architecture built from the ground up for DirectX 11 and take 3D home with the latest Blu-ray 3D movies.

EVGA Geforce GT 430

Nov 23 2010

Blog - 24p: What You Should Know

Background

Long ago, filmmakers decided to standardize shooting film at 24 frames per second (FPS) primarily due to the high cost of film and state of the technology at the time.  Film became popular worldwide and every piece of production and distribution equipment was made to support this frame rate.

When television came into existence, the cathode ray tube (CRT) display technology was used.  CRT design at the time used a multiple of the power line frequency which is 60Hz in North America and 50Hz in Europe. The National Television System Committee (NTSC) standard developed in the United States in the 40’s and 50’s actually ended up slowing down the CRT refresh rate by 0.1% to 59.94Hz to compensate for some distortion that occurred due to the nature of the way NTSC transmits information.  Later, the Phase Alternate Line (PAL) standard was developed in Europe and had no such anomaly.

It should be noted that the refresh rates of PAL and NTSC are field rates because PAL and NTSC transmit frames using interlacing which is essentially a means of compression.  In other words, it allows more lines of resolution in a given amount of bandwidth, albeit at a slower frame rate.  When a frame is interlaced, it is divided into two fields with each field representing half the frame.  The fields are then transmitted in alternating fashion such that the frame rate is equal to half the field rate.  Thus, the frame rates of PAL and NTSC are 25fps and 29.97fps, respectively.

Naturally, people wanted a way to take film content shown in cinemas and display it on their televisions.  However, this presents a problem because film and video frame rates are different.  To compensate, “telecine” was created which is the general term used for “pulling down” film frames into video.

Nov 22 2010

Blog - MissingRemote Re-Launch Contest Giveaway #4- BigScreenGlobal

THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED! Thanks to everyone who participated.

We hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and that you’re enjoying the contest giveaway as much as we are! Even if you haven’t won yet, remember we have a LOT more prizes coming so you still have plenty of time!

Now onto this week’s worth of prizes! Today we’re giving away a prize bundle from BigScreenGlobal. Fellow MVP and owner Niall Ginsbourg has put together a package and the winner will be able to select their choice of TWO licenses from the following products: BigScreenWeather 2, BigScreenHeadlines 2, BigScreenContacts 2 or BigScreenPhotos 2.

Nov 19 2010

Blog - The geezer is back! Now get off my lawn!

I have been flogging HTPC websites in one form another for several years now. I guess it is not in my blood to give up this damn hobby. Mike, in all his stubborness, keeps chipping away at me until I finally folded like a cheep card table.

What inspired me to come back at least on a part time basis?

20% of this decision was based solely on the fact that the website design has a nice new blockquote feature. It could use a little more orange, but hey I am not complaining.

Look at this shiznit. Back in my day, we had use three pages of code and we were lucky if it didn't bork the whole wesbite.

An additional 5 or so percent is related to the site redesign itself. Looks damn good.
Another 25% of this decision can be attributed to the talent Mike has recruited to replace the old cows that were running the place before.
Though mainly, I decided to get back into this game because more home entertainment system is in an awful state since my most recent move. It has been that way for quite sometime and I aim to do something about. I hope getting back into the game would inspired me to make this work Smile.
What does this meaningless ramble mean? Mostly I will be helping Mike on the occasional news post. Don't fret though. My posts will still contain typos and I will likely blockquote everyday thing on the site at least twice a week.
So what do you guys want to see from your old news guy?
Congrats to the site for a great relaunch and here is to another great chapter in MissingRemote's life.
Nov 19 2010

Blog - MissingRemote Re-Launch Contest Giveaway #3- Vidabox CubeCase

THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED! THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED!

Hope everyone has been enjoying this week as much as we have, with our grand unveiling of the new MissingRemote layout and community. Please be patient with us as we work out all the kinks--we figured if we bribed you with prizes you would be more lenient!
 
The weekend is fast approaching, so for the following prize entries will be accepted until Monday at noon, to make sure everyone that might have missed out on the previous day prizes has plenty of time to enter.

Nov 17 2010

Blog - MissingRemote Re-Launch Contest Giveaway #2 - Patriot Box Office (PBO Core)

This contest has Ended! Thanks everyone for participating!!!

Hopefully everyone is enjoying the new site design as much as we are, as well as our first prize yesterday of Arcsoft’s Total Media Theatre. That contest has ended, but worry not we have LOTS of PRIZES still available!!

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!

 

And in case you missed it, Patriot has continued to innovate since our review! The product has been renamed to the PBO Core and it includes a wealth of new features via their new firmware.

Patriot Memory, a global pioneer in high-performance memory, NAND flash, storage and enthusiast computer products, today announced a refresh of their High-Definition media player product line. The Patriot Box Office has undergone a series of changes adding improved functionality, an enhanced user interface, new product packaging and a new product name. Box Office is now named PBO Core: a name inspired by the legions of devoted fans and active forum participants who often discuss the product under the name “PBO”, short for Patriot Box Office.

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.

HOW TO ENTER
To be eligible to win the Patriot Box Office HD (PBO Core) simply respond to this post with an answer to the following: What video format do you store your movies?.

For this prize, we'll once again allow additional entries via Facebook and Twitter (if your twitter/Facebook name doesn't match your MissingRemote username, make sure you mention your it in each submission below).

  • For Twitter:
  • For Facebook:
    • Visit our Facebook Fan Page and click the Like button
    • And reply to the Patriot Box Office contest status with the video format you store your movies in.

Good luck everyone Smile

RULES/TERMS

As mentioned above, each user is eligible for up to 3 entries into this contest. Every prize will have its own prize definitions, so make sure to check the rules!

Entries will be accepted from 12:01AM PDT on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 through 11:59PM PDT on Thursday, November 18, 2010. Winner will be selected by November 21, 2010.

  • This contest is unfortunately only available to US residents in one of the 50 states. Sorry to our international readers, but we are looking into expanding our prize packages in the future.
  • You are only allowed to enter using each method once. Multiple entries will disqualify you.
  • Must be a registered user to be eligible to win (remember, if you are entering additional entries when applicable via Twitter/Facebook you must mention your MissingRemote username in that entry)
  • Editors and staff, and associated family of staff are not eligible to win
  • Each prize may have its own rules for eligibility established by Product Sponsors, please read the directions carefully
  • Users may reply to a thread as many times as desired, but only one post will be counted towards the drawing
  • Winners will be notified via e-mail, as well as posted in a news post on the home page of MissingRemote.com; Failure to respond within 72 hours will result in a forfeit of prize and the prize will be re-drawn
  • Most prizes will be shipped to winners via either USPS Priority Mail or Fedex Ground and tracking numbers will be provided. It is the recipient's responsibility to coordinate receipt of item.
  • Some prizes will be shipped to winners directly from Product Sponsor--tracking will still be provided to those as well
  • Prize packages are in excellent condition and have not been used outside of for review purposes and are delivered in AS-IS condition
  • Any attempt to circumvent contest rules will cause ineligibility for user

Nov 15 2010

Blog - MissingRemote Re-Launch Contest Giveaway, Day 1 - Arcsoft Total Media Theatre 3 Platinum

This contest is CLOSED! The winner will be announced shortly. Make sure to check our homepage for the latest contest! Welcome to the MissingRemote.com Re-Launch Giveaway Contest! As you might have noticed by now, we have done a complete makeover to the website and forum community. As you may imagine, we are still making tweaks, changes and fixes to this new layout, but if you see any issues big or small, please make sure to let us know in our Site Issues post.

A bit of history...MissingRemote.com has been around since 2006 providing you the latest news, reviews and forum discussions on the topics of Home Theaters and HTPCs, etc since then, and we feel this new design should make everyone’s time here more enjoyable.

As a thank you to everyone for their continued loyalty and support, we’ve got some awesome reviews and articles lined up. But you all want some free stuff for your home theater, right?

Well, to help kick things off, we have received amazing support from our product sponsors and have some awesome prizes to giveaway....and will be doing so OFTEN!!! We will be giving away a PRIZE almost every 48 hours, literally until we run out of prizes! We have 17 companies that have helped chip in, and with almost $5,000 worth of prizes , there's plenty of chance for everyone to win!!

Nov 02 2010

Blog - HoustonWinMeet: A Windows Entertainment and Connected Home Meet-up

Update: We have a new location in downtown Houston. I apologize for the late notice, if you have registered for the event you will be receiving an e-mail from me shortly.

#houstonwinmeet

Sponsored by Microsoft

With talks from Cannon PC, Fluid Digital, Amulet Devices, Missing Remote’s Michael “Mikinho” Welter and more!

  • Date: Tuesday, November 30, 2010

  • Time: 6:00-9:00 pm

  • PageSoutherlandPage
    Architects Engineers Consultants
    1100 Louisiana Suite One
    Houston, TX 77002

  • Space is limited! Please RSVP via houstonwinmeet.eventbrite.com

What’s going on?

Ever wanted to unleash the power of a PC on your home entertainment experience? Want to create one seamless entertainment solution for your TV that gives you one interface for TV, DVR, Internet-based content, music, pictures and more? Looking for a great ways to make sure all your content is backed up and safe? Ever wanted to build your own Home Theater PC or really take advantage of that sweet HDTV you recently got? Got questions for the experts? Then this is the meet-up for you!

Connect with other digital entertainment and digital living enthusiasts in and around Houston, and have a chance to check out some of the latest products when you join us for a few hours of presentations, demonstrations and hands-on time with the latest Windows features and related hardware that make next-generation entertainment experiences possible today. Plus, have a chance at winning some great prizes and giveaways!

 

Oct 29 2010

Blog - Old School HTPC Gaming

With the advent of my HTPC sitting front and center in the living room, attached to the plasma TV, I quickly realized that I don't feel like going upstairs to use my regular computer.  First off, it's warm up there.  Second, even with 3 screens, it's not the same as a 50" plasma.  Third, my home theater speakers are much better than the Logitechs.  So, I started playing Baldur's Gate from the very beginning (again) a few months ago, on the plasma.  These old games don't look very good on monitors with native resolutions of 1920x1200, but they do look quite nice on my 720p plasma at 1366x768, especially with EasyTutu installed, which allows you to utilize the higher resolution Baldur's Gate 2 engine in BG1.

This leads me to a small dilemma.  My HTPC is using HDMI via an ATI 4650, through my receiver.  Due to this, I'm using onboard audio for gaming.  However, I can't use the EAX features of the game without a compatible sound card.  Also note that I'm using 64-bit Windows 7.  Anyone know how to get EAX working under this scenario?
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