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Comment: Vote with your wallet (Score 2) 170

by SpiceWare (#47222803) Attached to: Cable Companies Duped Community Groups Into Fighting Net Neutrality

it's the only thing the cable & satellite companies will understand - basically cut the cord and buy your content à la cart on DVD, blu-ray, or a streaming service.

I set up a Mac mini DVR at the end of 2012 for off-the-air content - based on my last scan there's 115 channels available via antenna here in Houston. Once I got everything working (my HDTV predates HDMI so I had to get a solution to convert HDMI to Component Video) I then cancelled DirecTV in January of 2013. I buy cable series on blu-ray and iTunes, as well as watch some series on Amazon via my PS3. I've saved over $2000 since then (what I used to pay DirecTV less content purchases).

I'm using the prior generation of these networked HDTV tuners. Since they're networked I can watch live TV on my MacBook Pro as well as on my iPhone and iPad.

more info in my DVR Project blog entries.

Comment: Re:113 OTA channels?!?!?!? (Score 1) 261

by SpiceWare (#45707413) Attached to: Streaming and Cord-Cutting Take a Toll On the Pay-TV Industry

Yep, 113. There are quite a few religious channels that I never watch. Likewise there's channels in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Farsi that I'd never watch.

Thankfully EyeTV 3 lets me filter the channel listing, so when I call up the Guide it only shows info for the 33 channels I'm likely to watch.

Comment: HD Home Run (Score 1) 261

by SpiceWare (#45707179) Attached to: Streaming and Cord-Cutting Take a Toll On the Pay-TV Industry

I second the recommendation for the HD Home Run Dual tuners, I got a couple of them a year ago and have been documenting about my Mac mini DVR Project in my blog over at AtariAge. I've saved $1300 so far since canceling DirecTV in January 2013.

Looks like they're about to come out with the next generation HD Home Run Dual, they've added support for DLNA.

Comment: Re:record concurrent shows (Score 1) 261

by SpiceWare (#45707083) Attached to: Streaming and Cord-Cutting Take a Toll On the Pay-TV Industry

Depends on which part of Houston you're in as 34's one of the low power stations. They're owned Mako Communications, a company in Corpus Christi that my sister works for.

I'm in Fresno, about 4 miles SE of the broadcast towers in Missouri City - I can see them from my backyard. Reception for 34 was marginal when I was first testing out my setup. After I moved the antenna into the attic it came in just fine. A couple months later I switched to a rooftop antenna as I was having problems with Fox 26 breaking up all the time. Neither antenna is powered.

TVfool has some online tools that might help. I also follow this Houston DTV Blog, though they've not posted anything since May.

Comment: record concurrent shows (Score 3, Interesting) 261

by SpiceWare (#45704449) Attached to: Streaming and Cord-Cutting Take a Toll On the Pay-TV Industry

I get 113 channels OTA here in Houston. With that many channels it's not uncommon to have 4 shows being recorded at the same time (especially older series that are broadcast just before/after midnight). I've been recording older shows like That '70s Show and watching them in order. Have seen a number of episodes I missed back in the day. Also recording cable series I'd missed in the past, like Burn Notice and Psych, that are now being broadcast OTA.

I purchase other cable series, like Dexter and The Walking Dead, à la cart from iTunes or on physical media. I've saved $1300 since dropping DirecTV in January (savings = old DirecTV bill - à la cart series).

I went a little overboard on the Mac mini setup (Drobo raid system, extra RAM, CPU upgrade, etc) so it'll probably be another year before the savings pay off the hardware investment.

If anybody's interested, I've been documenting my DVR Project in my blog.

Comment: Re:Definitely buy an antenna (Score 1) 328

by SpiceWare (#43109091) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Flagged Channels For XBMC PVR?

QVC recently showed up OTA here in Houston, on channels 10.4 and 34.3. Not sure why they're broadcasting on 2 channels, perhaps they're low-power stations that cover different parts of the city (though I get them both where I live). Quality's pretty bad though, they're sending it letterboxed on a 4:3 480i signal so when you watch it on an HDTV you get black bars on ALL FOUR SIDES of the picture.

Here's the The Houston DTV blog entry about it and other recent channel changes.

Comment: You might be surprised at the # of local channels (Score 1, Insightful) 328

by SpiceWare (#43108997) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Flagged Channels For XBMC PVR?

Due to subchannels each station can broadcast multiple shows at the same time. Because of that there's 100+ OTA channels here in Houston. Sure I don't watch them all (as I don't speak Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese or Farsi) but I didn't watch all the channels available on DirecTV either.

I cut the cord a couple months ago and for shows I can't get over the air I just buy them streaming via Amazon, iTunes, etc. or on blu-ray compilations. I've saved $162 in the past 2 months over what I had been paying DirecTV.

If you're interested, these are my blog entries about my DVR project.

Comment: Re:Faster notebook drives. (Score 2) 261

by SpiceWare (#43058425) Attached to: Seagate To Stop Making 7200rpm Laptop HDDs

That's one of the benefits of switching to digital later than the US did - the specs for ATSC were published in 1995, a few years before the late 1998 release of MPEG4.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATSC_standards
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPEG-4

ATSC was updated in 2008 to support H.264.
http://www.engadget.com/2008/09/22/atsc-2-0-includes-support-for-h-264/

I've recently cut the cord and implemented a Mac mini + a couple of HD HomeRun tuners and discovered that there are H.264 broadcasts in Houston. However, they're an encrypted as it's for a pay service with a handful of channels targeting the Hispanic community.
https://www.airbox.com

Comment: Re:Not at all (Score 1) 181

by SpiceWare (#40861045) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are The Days of Homebrew Gaming Over?

Not at all. Co-processers inside of game cartridges have been around for a long time. David Crane of Activision created the DPC, which was used in the 2600 game Pitfall II. It allowed for enhanced graphics as well as 3-voice music. They had planned to use it in other games, but the market collapsed. http://www.gooddealgames.com/interviews/int_David_Crane.html

My prior games were stock 2600 games though - Medieval Mayhem, a remake of Warlords: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hR_B857oJo4

and Stay Frosty, one of the mini games in the holiday cartridge Stella's Stocking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vy2mO29wCU

Most NES games also used a coprocessor. The "mappers" added various abilities such as smooth scrolling, extra sound channels, improved graphics and so on. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_Management_Controller

Comment: Not at all (Score 1) 181

by SpiceWare (#40821761) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are The Days of Homebrew Gaming Over?

from the Days of the Dreamcast the first breakthrough homebrew console

Say what? The Atari 2600's first homebrew came out in 95, a few years before the Dreamcast was even released.

I've got a few 2600 projects underway. One's Space Rocks, an updated version of Asteroids: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi2r8hnH9B8

another is Frantic, an updated version of Berzerk/Frenzy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRxdl2T8nlQ

ROMs for both can be found at my AtariAge blog. They can be played in Stella (cross-platform 2600 emulator) or on the real thing using a Harmony Cartridge. http://www.atariage.com/forums/blog/148-spicewares-blog/

The third (and possible fourth) project will be announced later this year.

You can observe a lot just by watching. -- Yogi Berra

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