Tag Archives: media-center

How to Turn Your TV Into a Media Center

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You have content scattered all over your network, I’m sure. The problem is when you want to watch your media on your HDTV. That’s where the FreeAgent Theater + from Seagate comes in handy! It allows you to not only access files from across your network, it also accepts input devices, such as memory cards. It has a variety of inputs, including full 1080p video and Dolby audio! It’s also compatible with the FreeAgent Go portable hard drive. I have to thank Seagate for sending me these products to review. It’s been fun to navigate my way through all of my content.

It’s a good system, and it works. However, it’s not all that easy to use. There are a ton of options. However, the user interface is kind of sluggish at times, and confusing for some people. This can be used with either a Mac or a Windows computer, which is something that I love.

Use the included sync software to copy all of your media to the FreeAgent Go drive. Or, just drag-and-drop your files directly onto the drive. Then, dock the drive into the FreeAgent Theater + HD media player. When connected to your television, it puts your entire media library at your fingertips!

Video quality is excellent. It has HDMI and allows resolutions up to 1080p. h264 video playback is smooth, as well. It supports multiple audio tracks, so you can encode the commentary into the same file as the main audio. It’s also quite responsive, quickly moving into play, fast-forward and other modes.

Get your media onto your tv with a great deal of ease. At only about $120.00, this is definitely an excellent option!

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Do You Hulu?

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Who doesn’t love Hulu? No doubt you’ve heard about it. It’s a place where you can watch all of your favorite television programs. Hulu is not going away. If you have a broadband connection, you’re crazy if you’re not on the site. Today, Hulu announced Hulu Desktop – for both Windows and OS X! The software is easy to navigate, and looks great!

Hulu Desktop is a great-looking and easy-to-use viewing experience for your computer. It has a sleek look that is optimized for use with standard Windows Media Center remote controls – or Apple remotes! This lets you surf your way through Hulu’s library with just six buttons. For people who don’t have a remote, you can use your keyboard and mouse.

I’m not kidding… if you aren’t already using Hulu, you’re an insane person. How else can you easily catch up with your favorite shows – at your own pace and time? I use it to watch things I enjoy but am not able to catch during normal “air time”. It’s easy, and it’s fun!

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How Do You Remote Control Your Media Center?

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There’s one App I’ve had installed on my iPhone since the beginning that I never used until tonight. My friend Andy was fawning over the Remote App. I hadn’t used it, and he was incredulous. He kept telling me how awesome it was, so I had to check it out.

Be a mobile DJ. With Remote, you can control the music on your computer or Apple TV from your iPod touch or iPhone. Play, pause, skip, shuffle. See your songs, playlists, and album art. Update to iTunes 8 and you can create a Genius playlist or edit an existing playlist. And do it all on your iPod touch or iPhone as if you were right in front of your computer. Remote works with your Wi-Fi network, so you can control playback from anywhere in and around your home.

Setting up Remote is simple and safe. A unique passcode pairs your iPod touch or iPhone with your computer and Apple TV. You already know how to work Remote. It uses the same music playback controls you’re familiar with on iPod touch or iPhone. Tap the Genius icon to create a Genius playlist in your iTunes. Tap Refresh for a different result. Or tap New and get a completely different playlist. With Remote, you can search your entire iTunes music library. Just tap out the name, select the song, and begin playing the music. Now you can edit existing playlists in your iTunes library right from your iPod touch or iPhone. Change the song order with the drag of a finger or delete a song with a tap. It’s your music mixed the way you want it.

Remote lets you control the music on your Apple TV from anywhere in your home. Pause a song from the bedroom. Resume play from the kitchen. And enjoy total remote control. There’s no better complement to AirTunes than Remote. You can see all your AirPort Express and Apple TV AirTunes speakers on your iPod touch or iPhone. Turn all of them on or turn a few of them off, and rock the house.

So I set it up on my iPhone, and paired it with my computer that already had iTunes. I typed in the code it gave me, and bang. I was able to access all of the media on my computer, using my iPhone. It even pulls in the cover art! I am now remote-controlling with my iPhone. You can pause, change songs, adjust the volume, and do anything you could with any other type of remote.

Is this really free? You bet it is! And it’s pretty dang awesome, too. Thanks, Andy!


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What Free Media Center Software Do You Use?

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Have you ever tried to view your media on your computer through your television? You could either connect your computer to your TV, or use software designed to collect this media for you. Where can you get this software? Giovanni sent me the following email:

I have just published a study comparing 10 of the most prominent FLOSS Media Center projects, under a Creative Commons License. This might be useful for a lot of people to get state of the art information in this area, and know more about the beautiful Media centers in the free software community. It is available for download in English, Portugese, and Italian.

The Telematics Freedom Foundation was set up to bring in the age of telematics, Internet, mobile phones and the web, all those freedoms and rights that the Free Software Movement has already brought to PC users worldwide.
To achieve this purpose, we promote the consolidation and widespread adoption of models for development and deployment of telematic services which are under the full control of their users. We are also developing software for remote democratic organization, which will constitute a touchstone for the model of production, sharing and full control outlined by the idea of Telematics Freedom we are defending.

I didn’t even know all of these existed. And best of all, they’re all open-source. The differences between the programs is simply that they may access the media in a different way. Try them all out.

I am SO impressed with this. I would love to see this .PDF reside on the Internet on its own website one day in the future. Everything you can think of in the media-sphere resides on computers around the World. How else are you going to access your stuff?


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Windows Media Center Problem

Paging Charlie Owen… Charlie Owen, to the operating room…

Hi, my name is Ken and I’ve been having some trouble with windows media center on my HP media center computer. Whenever I open windows media center it comes up with an error message that says messenger failure. I know messenger is installed but it comes up anyway. I then tried to uninstall and reinstall rollup 2 because that’s what some help forum said to do but it won’t reinstall. I just hooked up the cable to my computer so I could watch TV with media center, my PC has a built-in tuner, and now is says tuner not available: the tuner is currently in use by another application or is not working.

On the Messenger front, I don’t know if it’s the Windows Messenger, the Messenger service, or MSN Messenger. Are you logging into your Passport account, Ken? Is the Internet connected to the machine when you get the error? On the tuner front, I wonder if there’s another video app that’s open in the background (for whatever reason)? I realize it’s a bit extreme, but consider clearing out many – if not all – of your Startup items via MSCONFIG.EXE.

And then, there’s a Windows Movie Maker Problem…

When I open movie maker an error message pops up saying “The collections file is not valid or is corrupt. A new empty collections file has been created.” When I try to open a movie maker file it says “class not registered”. When I try to capture video it doesn’t work. I tried to uninstall it from add/remove programs and it isn’t in the list. So as you can see I’m in a bit of a mess, which brings me to my solution if I can’t find any other way to fix these problems.

Hrm. Sounds like you may need to register a few files (to the operating system). Try entering: regsvr32 quartz.dll (from the Run command field in your Start Menu). If that doesn’t work, we’ll have to kick ‘er up a notch.

My Solution, unless you have a better idea…

At first I was going to restore my computer to an earlier restore point, sometime in May, but I tried that but it didn’t work twice. So I’m going to try to use the system restore discs, but once again I have a problem, I am missing CD 1, is there a way to restore your computer to factory order by some other mean other than the CDs the computer came with, if not I’ll have to see if I can order CD 1 from HP or something.

P.S. To top it all off I can’t double click on most icons, it just won’t open, I have to right click and open that way. Not sure if you know how I could fix that. I’ll probably end up buying a Mac in the future.

So, Ken lost one of his system restore CDs (why wasn’t MCE put on a DVD?) and he’s having issues with the Explorer shell. It’s a sad state of affairs when he’s ready to trade it all in for a completely separate set of frustrations: OS X. It’s not that Windows is bad, but… people are just sick of putting up with half of these problems. Can’t say I blame ’em, either.

Users are impatient – and rightfully so.

Media Center TV Tuner

When I first read Dmitry Shulga’s question, I thought it wouldn’t be too much of an issue – but for safe measure, I asked Jake for his most expert opinion:

I have been watching your videos on youtube and you’ve got me hooked. You really know your stuff I am sure you could somehow handle my question, if not, I understand that you aer a busy man. Well, here goes, I am looking into investing into a desktop computer which comes with a built in TV Tuner and Vista/Media Center pre-installed. There is a possibility that once I get this desktop my outdated wireless adapter will not work with since it works fine on Vista (the whole driver issue may have something to do with it). My question is, if I want to re-install the OS, I would install the XP SP2 which I own, would that still give me access to use the TV Tuner even though my XP version is not Media Center? The TV Tuner with the desktop comes with no additional software so it uses the Media Center.

Jake responded: “Assuming it’s a name brand tuner, there’s likely software available from the manufacturer. Probably the biggest challenge would be in getting a compatible MPEG-2 decoder for the tuner, which may or may not be provided in the online support section of the manufacturer’s website. There’s always Sage TV or Beyond TV as alternatives which should be compatible all the way back to Windows 98.”