Dish Network adds Sci Fi HD, USA HD, CNN HD – Finally

April 18, 2008

Battlestar Galactica

Too bad they didn’t have it for the start of the Battlestar Galactica season, but Dish has finally added HD channels for Sci Fi, USA Network and CNN.

I just double checked, and Sci Fi HD at least is on my receiver. Unfortunately, no guide information yet — I may just have to manually start recording Battlestar Galactica tonight. It’s also great news for those tuning in for the season launch of Doctor Who, also.

Along with USA, this finishes out most of my HD must-haves — what are you still waiting to see in HD?

HDTV – How To Connect Multiple Devices

January 4, 2006

video inputsIf you read the article on Basic HDTV Cabling, you may have noticed that I didn’t answer part of the original question there — namely, “how do you hook up multiple program sources (cable boxes, DVD players, etc.) to the same HDTV?”

To have multiple sources, you’re going to need to have a way of switching between them. Fortunately, for most HDTV sets, there are multiple sources of inputs, and you can switch between them via the TV’s own remote.
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Basic HDTV Cabling – How To

January 4, 2006

RCA JackEverybody’s probably had the experience of hooking up an antenna or cable coax to a TV, and a lot of people are familiar with the old “yellow-red-white” RCA jack hookups for VCRs and DVD players.

But the first time you start wiring up an HDTV can be a little daunting.

A friend of mine who got a 42″ Plasma for Christmas just e-mailed me and asked me about cabling:

“I have been using my regular video cables to watch my TV (only with Directv, no DVD). Last night I bought component cables and tried to hook the DVD up with my Directv. One problem, no audio. Could you give me a brief explanation of the order in which they should be connected and what cables I need to use?”

Since this is a fairly common place to get stuck, I thought this might be a good opportunity to do a basic introduction to HDTV cabling.
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Maxent 42X3 42″ HDTV Plasma Monitor Review

December 31, 2005

Maxent MX-42X3I really, really tried to like the Philips 32″ LCD, but when all was said and done, the black levels (or more precisely, the lack thereof) did me in.

So I bit the bullet, and went to a 42″ Plasma.

Wow, am I ever glad I did.

LCDs have a lot going for them, and I have no doubt that over time they’re going to be a better bet in most applications than plasma is today, but for this application, and this time, the difference between the plasma and the LCD are like night and day for me.
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VBox Cat’s Eye USB 3560 HDTV Receiver Review

December 13, 2005

VBox Cats Eye USB 3560 HDTV ReceiverI recently got an opportunity to play with the VBox “Cat’s Eye” USB 3560 HDTV (ATSC) Receiver.

The unit itself is very small — about 50% bigger overall than a deck of playing cards — and couldn’t really be simpler. It has a coax connector for attatching your antenna to, a USB connector that attaches to the PC, and a little stand to hold it vertical (should you so desire). In fact, outside of the USB cable and the driver/documentation CD, there’s not anything else in the box, even.

The good news is that you don’t need much else.

Throwing caution to the wind, I tossed the CD in the drive, attached the coax from my roof antenna, and plugged it in.
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5 things not to look for in HDTV – Plus or Minus 4

December 5, 2005

Over at The F-Stop Blues, Tim Coyle has listed his “Top 5 Things NOT to Look For in a New HTDV“, and it’s a well-thought-out list.

Or it would be a couple of years from now.

Unless your real-world situation is a lot different than mine, you might want to think a little more about a couple of these.
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DigitalLife HDTV Special

November 28, 2005

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about HDTV, but were afraid to ask — over on Digital Life this week, Tech TV alums Robert Heron and Patrick Norton spend about an hour doing what Tech TV always did best — explaining technology in an excellent and accessable manner.

This week they’re covering pretty much all of the ins and outs of HDTV — here’s their rundown:

  • Wondering what HDTV is? Robert Heron says it’s two things: an HDTV screen and HDTV content.
  • Big glass tubes, front projectors, rear projectors, plasmas, LCD, OLED… they all have their strong points.
  • Plasma vs. LCD: why there’s no such thing as the ‘perfect’ thin HDTV.
  • Going HDTV shopping this holiday? Loyd Case tells Patrick how to find the perfect HDTV.
  • Your HDTV checklist: Loyd’s got a list you should check twice before dropping the big bucks on your.
  • Get the hook-up on HDTV connectors, and what you’ll need to get your PC, DVD, cable or sat TV hooked up!
  • Wondering where to find the best HDTV content? Jim Louderback walks us thru his favorite sources, from TiVo to over the air
  • Trust us, that old UHF antenna is far from dead!

If you’re considering buying HD, you need to go download this and watch it today.

(via HDBeat)

monoPrice – cables without the ripoff

November 22, 2005

After bitching about retail cable ripoffs recently, here’s a free, non-affiliate plug for a great source of cables — monoPrice.

Someone mentioned them on AVSForum, and since I needed about 50 feet of TOSLINK optical cable and a couple of various adapters and connectors, I gave them a try.

Their prices are unbelievably low — a 50 foot TOSLINK cable runs $8 and some change. They don’t jack you up on shipping (regular USPS rates), and the products arrived in a timely manner, and were good, quality built parts.

You can’t ask for much better than that. They do video/audio/home theater cabling, as well as PC cabling (USB, Firewire, Cat-5, etc.). They even take Paypal for payment (along with the usual credit cards).

It’s nice to see an honest vendor with a quality product at a great price — I can guarantee I’ll be buying from them again.

Lack of HD & multiple tuners killing Tivo?

November 15, 2005

Reuters reports on a new study that claims Tivo is rapidly losing mindshare…

Brandimensions, the research firm that conducted the study, said that TiVo’s standalone set-top box is failing in two areas: its inability to record two shows simultaneously and to play back shows in high-definition TV quality.

“This may not sound like a big deal,” wrote one TiVo user about the latter, “but after watching ‘Lost’ or ‘The Sopranos’ on HD, there is no going back.”

Can we have an “amen” from the congregation?
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New Options – SageTV 4, Beyond TV 4

November 10, 2005

Just as I start to get my MCE box back stabilized, there are starting to be a lot of tempting new options. SageTV has released version 4 of their PVR system, and SnapStream is now shipping Beyond TV 4.

Both now support HDTV, although each has (as always) a bit of their own spin, and like MCE, both are still limited to recording OTA (over-the-air) HD.

Hopefully someone will soon give us some detailed comparisons of them in use; I’m tempted to do it myself, but I won’t have time to even start such a thing for another couple of weeks.
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