Tuesday, January 24, 2012
TiVo is finally pushing out a software release that people seem to like. Tivo Community forum members generally have given the update a thumbs-up and that is a tough group to please. The 20.2 update to the Premiere boxes goes a long way in finally updating the HD menus and supports Multi-room Viewing (MRV). MRV allows you to record a show on one box and stream to another, and apparently streaming works while the recording is in progress. (Prior to MRV - and with the older TivoHD's - the original recording had to be complete before it could be "transferred" to another Tivo but the show could be viewed while the transfer is in progress. Transferring is also prohibited with DRM'd content.) The 20.2 update should reach all Premieres subscribed directly with Tivo within the next week but it's my understanding that Suddenlink Tivo subscribers won't see it for a few months.
Tivo also showed a new piece of hardware at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) which allows Tivo users to stream content to, and/or watch recorded content on, iOS devices through their home network. The device looks to be about the size of the Apple TV box. Tivo users have wished for the ability to stream to portable devices but the transcoding to do so apparently requires more processing power than available on current Tivo boxes. Slingbox-like-devices do already provide a workaround of sorts and Tivo Director of Marketing Jason Wong hinted in a recent interview that future Tivos will probably have transcoding built-in so the add-on box may be just a temporary thing. Of course, temporary could be a few years...
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
I was disappointed in the BCS title game between Alabama and LSU. The almost-complete lack of participation by LSU made it hard to get real interested and I can only assume the feed to/from Grande became bored to death. I lost the signal (and most other channels) for most of the second quarter.
The most excitement for me came when the signal returned at half-time and a graphic showed the score Alabama 0, LSU 9. Since Alabama lead 3-0 before I lost the signal I spent 3 or 4 seconds trying to decide if, due to some weird BCS rule, points were taken away from Alabama for some infraction, or if my memory was getting worse than I previously thought.
At least it was better than watching a Dallas Cowboy game.
Sunday, January 01, 2012
Our New Year's Eve movie was Avatar 3D. The Blu-ray disc was a promotional bonus with a recently purchased Panasonic player and I was eager to watch a 3D movie on our new Samsung TV. Although we had watched a few shorts/cartoons using the Samsung's built-in internet application, this was our first full length 3D movie.
Avatar is one long, weird movie but I was very impressed with the 3D version. The visual effects are pretty amazing and some scenes, such as those showing the characters using holographic computer displays, really benefited from 3D. I'm not sure that a regular movie, say True Grit, would benefit from 3D but Avatar seemed pretty well-suited for it. We paused the movie a couple of times for short breaks (we were also doing a couple loads of laundry) but I don't think it would have been a problem had we watched straight through - at least no problem for my eyes - my rear end probably benefited from the breaks more than my eyes. I did, however, have some really weird dreams last night.
Although I originally thought the Blu-ray disc included only the 3D version, the 2D version is on there, too. But, I'm guessing I won't ever watch the movie again or any sequel. It might seem odd that as an amateur astronomer I'm not much of a sci-fi fan but that's the case and Avatar was just a bit too weird for me. I would still recommend the 3D Avatar movie for a 3D experience, though. It was compelling, to me, that the production of the film (according to Wikipedia) made use of 4,000 HP servers and 35,000 processor cores and each minute of final footage occupies 17.28 gigabytes of storage. I might not be a fan of sci-fi but I am a geek.
I saw 3D Toy Story at the local movie theater and have seen a couple of 3D IMAX films (International Space Station was great). In comparison, I found the Samsung 3D glasses (model SSG3100GB) at least as comfortable/non-distracting as the movie glasses and we experienced no problems whatsoever with them - no flickering, loss of sync or such.