Capture any streamed media with the help of Hauppauge

Subject: Systems | January 5, 2012 - 11:23 AM |
Tagged: htpc, Hauppauge, colossus, streaming, capture

Missing Remote have assembled an impressive guide on how to use a Hauppauge Colossus to capture any media you can stream to your HTPC.  Hulu, YouTube, Netflix or anything else, this guide will show you how to capture streaming media so you can watch it again at your leisure.  Apart from the hardware you will need Arcsoft ShowBiz and likely an RDP hack which they provide for you to use.  Read on to see the trick as well as their recommended audio and video capture settings as well as tips on playback.

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"So we've all probably experienced the case where, for some reason, our DVR misses an episode and we have to find it via another mechanism. Sure, you can watch it on Hulu or Amazon VOD, but you want to add it to your collection without the DRM (exactly how the DVR would have done), and it came over the air/cable for free (or you paid your cable bill) - so why should you have to pay for it again?! Maybe you've had one too many nasty-grams from Comcast about your bit-torrent downloads so you don't want to go that route."

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One remote to rule them all

Subject: General Tech | December 19, 2011 - 10:59 AM |
Tagged: smart control, remote control, htpc

It is far too common for your coffee table to have several so called universal remotes on it, to control the variety of electronic equipment which makes up your entertainment center.  Each one will have a device that it works best with, either because of the presence of certain buttons or even simply not having a working control code.  Tech Reviews has a possible solution for you and one that doesn't even cost all that much. The One For All Smart Control is designed to work with TV, STB, DVD, AMP, MP3 and Media devices and the best part about it is that some commands can be given using motions.  Soon screaming and waving your remote at your TV will actually accomplish something.

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"We’ve all seen universal remote controls for TVs, but the One For All Smart Control takes things to a completely different level. The Smart Control provides the ability to control your devices with just a simple flick, or tap, of the remote control. Retailing at only £17.50, the One For All Smart Control is an absolute bargain considering you’re receiving quite a few features. Let’s take a closer look…"

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Source: Tech Reviews

Hard drive shortage or not, the Christmas PC builds are here

Subject: Systems | December 13, 2011 - 12:20 PM |
Tagged: htpc, econobox, sweet spot

The Tech Report has risen to the challenge of building systems for Christmas in the wake of the HDD shortages.  This tends to either bring up the price of the system or to shrink the available amount of storage space in the systems.  Regardless a refresh of their system build is timely as many of us dream of a new PC or parts awaiting us under a tree.  Their Double Stuff workstation features the same i7-3930k recommended on the Hardware Leaderboard here, but they also have some different styles of system recommendation like their i3-2100T powered Couch Potato build for use as an HTPC.  You can also see a few recommended laptops and other peripherals, all you have to do is click the link.

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"With our latest system guide, we've attempted to weather the surge in hard-drive prices while taking advantage of some of the latest hardware releases. To spice things up, we've also concocted a home-theater PC build."

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The firmware is a little soft but Patriot's Javelin S4 serves up media quite nicely

Subject: Systems | December 7, 2011 - 02:12 PM |
Tagged: squeezebox, Patriot Javelin S4 Media Server, patriot, itunes, htpc, DLNA

Media servers are becoming a hot item on the market, offering nearly all of the flexibility of a full HTPC with nearly none of the required setup.  The Patriot Javelin S4 Media Server is no exception, with the ability to interface with iTunes and Squeezebox as well as being compatible with DNLA and UPnP.  With a possible 12TB of storage possible, the actual product ships empty which does keep the entry price down.  Powered by a PowerPC based AMCC 800MHz 431EXr and with the proprietary OS installed on 128MB of flash memory it can accept up to four HDDs formatted as FAT32, EXT2, EXT3 or NTFS, in a variety of RAID flavours.  Check out X-bit Labs for the full breakdown of this devices capabilities.

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"If you have a lot of digital media, such as music, videos and photos, then Patriot claims they have a perfect solution for you. With room to accommodate four 3.5-inch hard drives and additional external expansion via USB 2.0 and eSATA ports, the Javelin S4 can pack up to 12TB of storage capacity into a small form factor chassis. Integrated DLNA-compatible streaming, Apple iTunes server, Squeezebox Server and UPnP capabilities allow seamless connection to PC, Mac and home electronics devices."

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Source: X-Bit Labs

Sub-compact HD media streamer from Sitecom

Subject: Systems | November 22, 2011 - 10:54 AM |
Tagged: htpc, sitecom media player 2TB MD-272

The second generation of Sitecom's Media Player sports improved software and upgraded hardware, in addition to the 2TB of storage for your multimedia.  In addition it is certified by the Digital Living Network Alliance, which means that not only is it uPnP compatible it is capable of interfacing with other uPnP devices as well as your PC.  Head to Guru3D to see the long list of audio and video formats that the device is compatible with as well as the variety of outputs which are provided.  For around $100 without a drive this device offers a very easy, if a little limited, way to stream all your HD content to your TV.

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"The new Sitecom Media Player comes standard with a new improved GUI, but also hardware wise harbor the latest Realtek 1185 chipset, and that changes a thing or two as pretty much any of the performance issues we had noticed in 1080P content playback (with very high bit-rate) on the previous chipset now are a thing of the past.

That Realtek 1185 chipset has an increased clock frequency, 500 MHz coming from 400 MHz on the original version. And as little as it sounds, it makes a serious difference. The HDD TV Media Player 2TB allows you to play digital films, music and photos directly on your TV with High Definition quality (1080p)."

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Source: Guru3D
Author:
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: Puget Systems

Looking at the Exterior

Introduction

We have had some really good experiences with Puget Systems pre-built PCs in the past and a little while ago, the company sent us a modestly priced HTPC based on the Serenity line of systems.  Based on the Intel Core i5 Sandy Bridge platform, the Serenity has a lot of customizations that help keep the computer quiet that are unique. 

With a cost hovering around $1800 though, does the Serenity offer enough to consumers?

The Serenity Home Theater PC

The Puget Systems Serenity line actually spans small form factor chassis, HTPC designs and even standard desktop ATX designs, one of which we have previously reviewed.  Today we are going to be showing you the HTPC form factor that could fit in your home theater furniture (if you have some hefty space available).  Let's look quickly at the specifications before we dive into the design.

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Click to Enlarge

  • Intel Core i5-2500K
  • ASUS H67 Motherboard
  • 4GB DDR3-1333 Memory
  • 120GB Intel 320 SSD
  • 1.5TB Western Digital Caviar Green HDD
  • ASUS 12x Blu-Ray Burner
  • Windows 7 Home Premium x64

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Continue reading our review of the Puget Systems Serenity HTPC!!

Cryo PC proves there is still a market for pre-built HTPC systems

Subject: Systems | October 31, 2011 - 09:13 AM |
Tagged: htpc, cryo pc

Cryo PC offers a nice alternative for those who want a multi-functional HTPC system without having to build it themselves.  The Alto offers some nice features, a Core-i3 2100T on a GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 with 4GB of DDR3-1600 and a GT430 give a fairly typical base for an HTPC; it is the 40GB Corsair F40 SSD which makes things a little more interesting.  You get a full terabyte of storage from the platter drive, so the dual TV tuners will have plenty of space to write to.  In part 1 of their review XSReviews examines the physical system and several benchmarks while in part 2 they see what gaming performance you can expect.

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"Media PCs and media centres are becoming more and more common, especially with people losing a little faith in their stalwart desktop system. Today I’m looking at a rig from Cryo PC that looks to bridge the gap between traditional desktop and media centre, offering decent performance in a lounge setting, with some media features thrown in for good measure. I give you the Alto.

Because testing a system can take quite a while, this review is being split into two parts. This first one will focus on raw performance and synthetic testing, while Part 2 will be more gaming and subjective in nature. Shame about the price though."

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Source: XSReviews

Western Digital has gone far beyond external drives; WD TV Live: The Next Generation

Subject: Systems | October 14, 2011 - 09:07 AM |
Tagged: western digital, WD TV Live, htpc

The HTPC market has grown from a niche filled mostly by custom built machines running Windows Media Centre Edition to a wide variety of devices that can only manage simple tasks like streaming media to multifunctional SFF PCs.  Western Digital has has their WD TV Live on the market for a while now, capable of streaming online content to a TV as well as local HD content.  They've introduced a second generation of the WD TV Live, with expanded streaming options as well as a sleeker body and wireless connectivity.  Head over to Legit Reviews to see how well Western Digital's new generation of stream machine.

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"Today, Western Digital is launching their new WD TV Live Streaming Media Player. The first thing you notice with this new generation is that Western Digital has changed the form factor rather dramatically making the new player more sleek than the original WD TV. Along with the form factor chance, Western Digital has integrated Wi-Fi directly into the box. With the built in wireless-N, you no longer have to worry about getting a compatible dongle or placing the player near access to an Ethernet cable..."

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The ASUS WAVI means you can wave goodbye to wires

Subject: Systems | September 27, 2011 - 02:17 PM |
Tagged: htpc, wireless hdmi, wireless video

The ASUS WAVI is wireless HDMI extender kit that will allow you to stream audio and video from the transmitter to receiver as though there was an HDMI cord between the two devices.   Legit Reviews had fun testing it out, the latency when you are within range is low enough that you can game over this device.  However they could not get their USB mouse and keyboard to work though the device which does limit the usefulness in some cases.  If you get too far away you will lose some fidelity, but as long as you are in range this is a great way to avoid wires running all over your living room.

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"ASUS has launched and released what they are calling the world’s first wireless HDMI extender kit. What this is designed to do is take an existing audio video signal from your PC computer, and play on your HDMI-powered big-screen TV… Wirelessly. The Wireless Audio Video Interaction system – or WAVI – is designed not only to play your audio video content remotely, but via a two-way wireless USB, the WAVI will allow you to sit in your living room and control your PC as you pick the best video to show the family..."

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Have you met the CableCARD yet?

Subject: Systems | September 9, 2011 - 10:54 AM |
Tagged: htpc, cablecard

One of the HTPC builders best friends is the CableCARD, something that was supposed to be available a long time ago and is finally hitting the market.  It is a replacement or addition to the set top box or cable box that subscribers to cable TV are familiar with and once you install it and register a CableCARD with your cable provider it will receive the proper signal from them and allow you to view your cable channels.  Some CARDSs now support multiple streams, allowing you to record a program while watching a different one or recording multiple streams simultaneously.  Missing Remote breaks down the current market, describing the features and limitations of the various models available today as well as offering guidance on setting up your CableCARD.

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"At a higher level, the technology was developed to protect consumers from being forced into having to rent set top boxes (STB) at increasing fees from cable companies (or MSOs) without an alternative. From a home theater PC (HTPC) perspective, it meant the ability to natively tune high definition programming from a cable provider (previously the options were only analog cable, or digital over the air broadcasts)."

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