Tag Archives: HDTV

The Death of Windows Media Center

Windows Media CenterThere were rumors this past month that Windows Media Center would not be included in Windows 10. Sadly, this was confirmed this week via a tweet by Gabriel Aul (General Manager of OSG Data and Fundamentals team at Microsoft).

We can confirm that due to decreased usage, Windows Media Center will not be part of Windows 10.

And with that sad news, I can now move on to the planning of my next media management solution for my family. But before that happens, I’ll continue to enjoy the benefits of my WMC until Windows 7 becomes outdated.

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Cutting the Cord – Part 1

We’ve always been cable cheapskates and have had only the low-end package. Due to a recent increase in our rate, we’ve decided to cut that out as well. It’s not all about the money. I also like the idea that we aren’t going to be subsidizing things that we really dislike. You could say that I’m voting with my dollars. So the process begins to map out a way to get the content we want in a way that can be easily distributed around the house.

Step One – Verify that I can receive local DTV over the air.

The first thing I needed to determine was the location of the location of the local stations relative to our house. I wanted to be able to at least pick up the 4 major networks and the public broadcaster (LPB in this case). That would cover a lot of the event related content as well as several kids series that we like. AntennaWeb and TVFool are just two of several sites that provide information about TV broadcasters in your area as well as recommendations for antenna types needed to receive signals from them. You can see the attached graphic that shows the directions. Without a compass on my phone, this information helped me get it close. For fine tuning a particular station (since the reception of another might suffer), most TV have a built in tool for that.

Went by Best Buy yesterday and picked up a Clearstream 2 Long-Range HDTV Outdoor Antenna which came highly recommended by a lot of sites. My task last night was to actually verify the reception of the channels I wanted. At floor level, I could pick up all the stations with the exception of the CBS and ABC affiliate. I then mounted the antenna in the attic and used an existing cable run to test it on the same TV. Not only could I now receive HDTV from all local stations, I could also get the stations from two neighboring cities. What a difference that 15 feet can make.

Coming soon … Step Two – Verify that we can access purchased media from different locations around the house.

HDTV Buyer’s Quick Guide

I was asked some questions about HDTVs by a friend of mine recently. After a little over a year with our HDTV, I’ve been able to get some feedback on the things that I originally thought would be important. Since I went through the thought process, I felt I should go ahead and post them here as well. First off, there are no perfect choices… just the choices that work best for you.

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Digital Transition Starts

simpleantennaThe not quite so big day has arrived. What was suppose to be the day of the transition from analog to digital TV transmission is now the start of the transition. Thanks to Congress, the hard date has been moved to June 12th. Still there might be a few people disconnected from the national media and day time television and that is something to celebrate.

An event bigger shift is waiting in the wings. This is the shift from 4:3 aspect media (fullscreen) to 16:9 aspect media (widescreen). More and more TV shows will transition to the new size so that everyone’s nice new LCD (or plasma) will be without the black bars on the side. Of course this will not change movies which many times use an even wider format and create the black bars on the top and bottom of the LCDs. Oh well, you can’t win them all.

We should also start seeing anouncements from cable providers about the path that they will take transitioning from analog packages to digital packages.  For them it will be necessary to make the move to provide more HD on the coax cable. It’s not a question of it, it’s when so get ready for that. Unpleasant as all of this transition is, the end result will be worth it.

Digital TV Transition Delayed

Updated Again: Looks it will be June 12th after all.  Worthless folks in Congress.

Update: Not so fast! The House of Representatives failed to pass the delay bill. Feb 17th is still on…. for now.

It looks like the drop dead date for the transition to Digital TV has been postponed to June 12th. There were an estimated 6.5 million sets that would have gone dark, which is really a reason not to delay it. How many Saved By The Bell re-runs can you stand anyway? All joking aside, this is going to cost broadcasters a lot of money as they now have to scramble to change hardware installation and continue to provide upkeep and power to two different systems. I had hoped this wouldn’t be the case as I’m looking forward to the complete transition to widescreen programming. Mark my work, on June 12th there will be an estimated 6.2 million TVs that will go dark.