Tag Archives: television

Convert Windows Media Center DVR-MS to MPG

Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Mool212 records TV shows using the Windows Media Center. He’s confused as to how to convert those files into other formats, and then be able to burn them onto a DVD. Luckily, there are some excellent tools that can help.

My friend Rakesh from Couchville.com is also the CEO of the Beyond TV program. This handy little program features some amazing things:

  • No Subscription Fees. Ever.
  • Skip commercials and other parts of TV shows
  • Search for shows on actor, director, or title
  • Burn DVDs of your TV recordings
  • Automatically sync recordings to iPod, iPhone or Apple TV
  • Intelligent Program Guide resolves conflicts
  • Record HDTV from free, over-the-air or Clear QAM digital TV signals

Another place to get help in converting your Windows Media Center files is thegreenbutton.com. They have an excellent program there to convert DVR-MS to MPEGs.

SC_Thor recommends using FFMPEG. This is an open-source program that will take virtually any audio or video format, and convert it to any other format… for free. You can then put them into your DVD burning program.

As far as my recommendation for putting things onto DVD, it’s Nero. This is probably the best program I’ve used for burning purposes. I’m a Nero MVP, and help provide feedback to them. So if you have any suggestions or comments you would like to get to someone at Nero, be sure and send it to me.

Want to embed this Convert Windows Media Center DVR-MS to MPG video in your blog? Use this code:

Formats Available: MPEG4 Video (.mp4) Flash Video (.flv) MP3 Audio (.mp3)

Internet Video vs. Television

Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

http://live.pirillo.com/ – “Why do you do this?” I get asked this question several times a day. The answer is simple, really. No, it’s not because I like the attention. Video on demand is the wave of the future. We are fresh, we are live, we are dynamic.

With an actual television, a show is produced, you turn it on and watch it from your couch, and then you’re done. With Internet television, you have interaction. I can record a video while watching my live chat feed and incorporating the comments and questions from our chatters into the video. The key to a successful internet broadcast is getting your community involved and incorporating that into your show.

Wiki shows you that “The usage of internet protocols to provide two-way communication will also open the way for interactivity with the video content, for example making it possible to choose between multiple camera angles, vote on an interactive TV show while watching it, or order a product sample.” There is that word again – interactivity. By choosing to use this means of communicating with my audience, I can bring human aspects into my videos. Comments and questions from people during the recording can be incorporated to provide possible new perspectives. My dog jumping into my lap can bring a sense of home and normalcy to lighten the tone and mood a bit. Adding my wife Ponzi to a video provides more feedback, more personality, and definitely more content.

Want to embed this video into your blog? Use this code:

Formats Available: MPEG4 Video (.mp4) Flash Video (.flv) MP3 Audio (.mp3) Microsoft Video (.avi)

Letter from a Disgruntled TechTV/G4 Viewer

The following came to me (BCC) via Jason Matt Kibby. The good news is, the spirit of TechTV lives on in various sites and new communities. Here’s what Jason had to say to G4’s suits:

G4 Media:

I’m a father of four and have spent the last fifteen years as a local radio morning show host (Rock/Top 40) in Tennessee. My background is in computer science, and I used to spend more time on your channel back when it was Tech TV. Today I tuned in just to check it out, and saw your “420 Special” on “Attack of the Show.”

After watching for about 30 minutes, what I believe I was seeing was a half-hearted commercial for pot use.

I have interviewed Tommy Chong and find him fascinating, and can somewhat appreciate your partial attempt to provide reasonably useful information and facts within the program. It was easily understood by anyone with a pulse that such “information” was provided only as necessary cover.

Overall, the 420 Special on “Attack of the Show” was irresponsible promotion and glamorization of marijuana use. Tossing in classic PSA’s was almost as questionable as your various selection of advertisers. You’re so hip and cool. I was embarrassed for Tommy Chong to see him in such ignoble, squalid context.

Purposely, I went to www.tvfreexbox.com to see what hoops were necessary to jump prior to receiving a “free” XBox as advertised. (I knew the answer beforehand, as these scams are all over the place.) All the offer options were automatically selected “yes”, which only begins to hint at how irresponsible the offer really is. Then the “Earn $10,000 per month” ad came on, and I knew I was swimming in BS. This was before the “Best buzz for the buck” segment, my particular least favorite.

G4 is an unfocused mess filled with WB leftovers, suspicious content and dubious advertising. Sadly, I’m in the target demo and so are two of my sons. I don’t shelter my kids, but I can certainly direct them away from a network populated with misinformation and fishy marketing.

I’m neither a religious zealot nor interested in restricting your right to broadcast whatever you want. I’m mostly sad that you took an outstanding product and replaced it with a low grade pop-culture Cuisinart. The “420” episode simply encapsulates your race to the bottom.

G4 is simply a network for cheesy reruns, degenerate thugs and purveyors of snake oil. I know very well there are dollars to be had on the low road, and G4 seems to be taking it with abandon.

n case your programming staff missed a few of the words in my letter, I can summarize by simply stating “G4 sucks wretched ass.” Arrested Development is, however, one of the best shows of the last decade. I’ll end with that positive note, but I can get reruns anywhere.

You traded Chris Pirillo and John Dvorak for this?


Jason Matt Kibby

Again, I didn’t write this letter – but I attained permission from Jason to republish it here (if only because a boatload of ex-TechTV community members still watch what I’m up to). I can pretty much guarantee you’ll never, EVER see another type of TechTV network on traditional television again. Your best bet is to build bonds for the community online – leave the idiot box for the idiots.

On Cable, Public Access, Video Encoding

Mike (from an AOL account) submitted this question: “We got a grant to create consumer programming for the local cable operator. They say they need to have the mini DV run through a Matrox 2500 to use it. Any ideas where a used one might be or who has one? Or what else would do it?”

I asked Keri Stokstad, Executive Director for Puget Sound Access, for her suggestion:

Only Matrox 2500 I’m aware of is the predecessor to the RTX100. Basically, if they’re saying run it through I think they’re asking to encode it to a MPEG file for playback. But saying ‘run through a Matrox 2500’ is like asking someone to open up a file using Word on a Windows 98 machine and save it as a .DOC. It’s older hardware you don’t need to find and there’s plenty of new stuff out there to do the job.

If they want the program as an MPEG1 or 2 file for playback – any encode card or software will do (I’ve used Osprey, Digital Rapids and Hauppauge). Nothing with a bitrate below 8mbps though (6, if it’s just talking heads and no action).

They should probably get more info from the cable provider for the specs they’re requesting. They may have specific demands for file type and/or video quality. If they need help, we can show them how we do it at PSA and provide a training session. It’ll give you an excuse to see the place. Currently we use Premiere Pro 2.5 with the Matrox RTX100 Extreme Pro.

Maybe I should venture down there to see the studio. YouTube is pretty much ‘Public Access’ of the future (today). On a side note, Keri and I once had accounts on ISCABBS. I was known as “The Locker Gnome” and had a user number around 30,000 back in 1992. Matt May used to be on ISCA, too.

Windows Vista TV Commercials


I’m sorry. I’m watching Comedy Central right now, with Windows Vista (apparently) sponsoring the hour of standup (even though Scrubs was scheduled to air). Instead of the regular din of commercials, the network is running nonsensical clips of some “old guy” teasing people to TheIAP.org – where you’re pointed to an even more confusing teaser link (Clearification.com). The “old guy” keeps talking about making life “clutter free” but I’ve never, ever, in my entire life felt more confused about what a commercial was trying to communicate to me. I understand the unspoken meaning behind “that not-so-fresh feeling” a woman has, but I’ll be damned if I can make heads or tails of this Windows Vista campaign.

Dude. Seriously. No. This isn’t happening. Don’t take these links as validation – I’m merely baffled at what a horrible waste of resources this was. Microsoft: you had a TREMENDOUS opportunity to blow people away with what you put in Windows Vista. Instead, you send them to Web sites that don’t make any sense (though Clearification.com sports an RSS feed that will likely die in a month).

My god, even the “PC” in Apple’s Get a Mac commercials does a better job at representing what your product does.

Wow. Seriously. Wow.

An UndoTV Update

In a matter of hours, DNS should be resolving for UndoTV.com. Before you rush the site (as I’m sure you will), please note that we’re only letting vetted talent in at first. Submit your email address to be added to the queue for invitation codes – which will start going out mid-November. You’ll see our temporary “about” page soon enough, but here’s what Leo and I have written:

Today, the idea of a tech-centric TV network has disappeared from the minds of Hollywood’s elite. Par for the course! Passionate communities are often kept an arm’s length away from their favorite broadcasted content in traditional media circles.

It’s time to undo that way of thinking, don’t you think?

TechTV alumni just wanted a place where we could all come together and funnel our independent efforts. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” keeps ringing through my head – not just our existing content, but NEW stuff (and NEW faces) as well. Leo Laporte and I have done our best to set the stage for UndoTV.

The blogger Steve Borsch commented in a previous thread: “So, who decides what gets ‘on’ UndoTV? Who the talent is? What emerges?” The UndoTV talent base is starting with the former ZDTV / TechTV staff, previous show guests, and vetted friends. Without a base of quality content, we’d be nothing more than a video portal clone.

Everybody is welcome here – and everybody retains 100% ownership of their own content.

The community (you) will determine the direction of our efforts. Certainly, some former TechTV talent has gone on to do fantastic productions far outside the realm of the tech industry. Everybody is welcome to help us undo the idea of television – helping reinvent the way community can influence the active development of a site, its content, and its superstars.

You are tomorrow’s network. You control the horizontal – and the vertical, too. As such, we only want to see your own creations here. If you want to upload someone else’s content, please do so elsewhere? It’s the community’s job to keep this community clean, cool, and collected. We hope you take that responsibility to heart.

Expect, in short time, new features and functionality, new ways to interact, and new ways to find a passionate audience for your own talents.

TechTV = UndoTV

TechTV was a television network that held within it so much promise, so much talent. We had an army of fanatics stationed all around the globe. The Internet-savvy did everything in their power to empower that very community – but many of those efforts fell victim to a traditional media mindset. We’re now on the cusp of a new media revolution, and I’ve begun to spearhead efforts to ressurect the ideals of TechTV.

When I seeded the idea about letting the community help us centralize, the response was overwhelming – both from TechTV alumni and our ever-present supporters. I’m here to tell you now: it’s going to happen. I don’t know how it’s going to happen, but… that’s what makes it worth doing! The most difficult hurdle has already been overcome, in my opinion: we have an audience that is NOT being served effectively.

ZDTV/TechTV brought us all together, but that brand belongs to somebody else – to a completely different time and management style. It’s not the name that’s most important – it’s what we do with that name which will prove our validity and worth. The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts!

Leo and I have discussed a few core values this impending structure must support, the most revolutionary of which is content producers owning 100% of their contributions. We want to enable former TechTV talent to upload new and existing content, and we want to bring new talent into the fold as well. Sales will also be an important part of this process, so we’d also like to help match sponsorship with these personalities.

The working (and likely final) name for this project is simple, poignant, and genre-neutral: UndoTV. I’ve registered UndoTV.com, Undo.tv, UndoTV.net, and UndoTV.org through GoDaddy. I believe that UndoTV.com will be the primary domain (with Undo.tv being a permanent redirect to it). It’s my hope to turn over UndoTV.net and UndoTV.org to the community, letting vetted leaders craft those sites with tools of their choosing. Perhaps one could hold within it a wiki, another could hold a customized version of MUWP (which I’m developing for Lockergnome.com anyway)? That’s completely up to you, my friends.

Why UndoTV? Several reasons:

  • Some former TechTV talent are no longer producing tech content.
  • We’re undoing TechTV’s untimely and unwarranted demise.
  • The television industry is changing, and we’re all helping “undo” it.
  • There are few preconceived notions with the word “undo.”
  • The CTRL+Z reference is geeky enough, but it doesn’t turn off non-geeks.
  • The appropriate domains were available.
  • Informal reactions to the “UndoTV” name were positive.
  • All TechTV/ZDTV fans will find us, no matter what we call it.

A good name is important, but not as important as what we make of that name. What did “Digg” mean before the community pushed it to a powerhouse? What’s more, we’re really trying to help people who are afraid of technology – and getting a technophobe to pay attention to “tech” anything is nothing short of impossible. Let me put it to you another way: how do normal people discover YouTube videos?

I’m confident that the timing for UndoTV is perfect. Leo and I have identified a potential platform to begin publishing through, but an actual launch date is still in the air. We have every element in line for success: an amazing community, a range of great talent, and a strong desire to push the media industry forward.

Could be the Peet’s talking, but… I’m excited. Next steps?

  • Draft a unique logo
  • Prep the site structure
  • Locate smart sponsors
  • Contact interested talent
  • Solicit community feedback
  • Identify organizational needs
  • Define necessary roles
  • Flesh out legal structure

Here we go. Let’s see if Dvorak likes the idea.

TechTV: Rebuilt by Community?

Looks like Leo may have let loose the flood gates: TechTV Reunion? It’s possible. I think it’s very possible. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that I want to help make it happen. I think we could make a good go of the idea on the ‘Net before taking it to a television studio – unless, of course, there’s a studio out there that understands just how much TechTV helped both technophiles and technophobes. That’s one idea.

I’m thinking we could do something a bit more permanent (at least, online). I believe the community can bring the idea of “TechTV” back to life. What we’ll need, of course, is YOUR HELP.

For starters, I’m looking for a centralized site where TechTV Alumni could log in, post a video via Flash controls, then have their recordings indexed (tagged? syndicated?) and streamed on-demand. There’s probably an open source app I’m not seeing at the moment, but if any of the TechTV faithful can help… we’re all ears. It could be a TechTV Variety video site – but can the community build it for us to use? We could likely do this through a video portal, but… I think a TechTV community-controlled (or directed) solution is the big win.

Until then, I’m going to knock on a few more doors to see if I can generate genuine interest – for sponsors and/or studios.