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August 31, 2004

Review of ATI's new ATI HDTV Wonder

ExtremeTech has a review of the new ATI HDTV Wonder capture card and to put it mildly, they said it had some issues.

They nicknamed it the "HDTV Blunder" card. OUCH!

(Hat Tip: BYOPVR)

Posted on August 31, 2004 | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 30, 2004

Lifetime Subscriptions

TivoBlog has a great comparison on the pros and cons of paying the monthly service vs. the lifetime subscription. I think his pros and cons are right on the mark and something that every Tivo owner struggles with when they first set their unit up.

I'll add two more that I've heard others mention.

Lifetime Subscription Pro

  • One additional factor that I've heard mentioned is that the lifetime subscription adds to the resale value so you can always sell it on e-bay so some of the lifetime cost will be recouped.

Lifetime Subscription Con

  • Like all service agreements, it was written to protect Tivo and gives lifetime subscribers little protection. I'm not an attorney, but it appears to allow Tivo to terminate your subscription at any time without cause. For instance, Tivo could stop supporting certain obsolete models and stop providing guide data. I find it unlikely that Tivo would alienate its original diehard users without offering some sort of upgrade discount, but there is a risk.

At the end of the day, a lifetime really isn't a lifetime, but in general, the lifetime subscription can save you some money in the long run.

Posted on August 30, 2004 | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Welcome to

This site is intended to be a discussion of the convergence between computer technology and the home. I've been a technologist and software developer for over 15 years, and while I've always been interested in gadgets and cool electronic gizmos, my interest in this area were piqued about a year ago when my wife bought me a Tivo as a gift, and I soon realized the value of utilizing PC technology in the living room.

I'm an ardent fan of Tivo and after seamlessly connecting it to our family television, it forever changed the way our family watches TV. Since then, we always have something interesting recorded, we aren't wedded to particular times and days when our "must see" shows are on, and we can quickly pick through the list of shows that have been recorded. With two small children, the ability to have a library of Dragon Tales and Sagwa (and the ability to censor Barney) makes it extra useful.

Even though I love Tivo, it became apparent that there were things missing from it that would make the system more useful. It would be great to view those childrens shows in the girls' room and still watch our own programming in the living room. Better yet, it would be great to take them on the road with us for long road trips. It would also be nice to distribute programming from Tivo and other sources to any room in the house without the monthly service charge.

So soon afterwards, I started my quest to build my Holy Grail video system and I've been learning and trying new products ever since. I started out learning Linux and hacking the Tivo, and went on from there building a MythTV box, hacking my Xbox, and trying other products to build a system that fit our needs. While my house is still a work in progress, it's clear that this market is just in its infancy and what little pain I've suffered on the bleeding edge will someday become mainstream.

My hope is that this site will become a collaboration and a way for us to share what works and what doesn't. Feel free to leave comments, send email, or send in your own submissions for posting, which I'll gladly put up on the website.

Thanks for stopping by.

Posted on August 30, 2004 | Comments (0) | TrackBack