Rik's Ramblings

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

SnapStream Rocks!

Well, I wish I’d done this two years ago, before I embarked on the folly that was a MythTV Box!

Last week I put in the order for a copy of BeyondTV from SnapStream. They were doing a special offer at the time so they threw in for free one of their FireFly remotes.

Beyond TV is a PVR application for Windows. Runs on windows 2000, Windows XP and probably more! Kind of an alternative to your Comcast/DirectTV PVR or Windows Media Center edition – plus you don’t have to worry about horrible DRM.

FireFly is a remote control that I thought was going to be just for channel changing, but as a bonus, I found that once installed it came with software to do all the other media things you want. , unbeknown to me, also comes with photo browser software, DVD player and music player controls. So the combination BeyondTV and FireFly is brilliant. Oh, and another thing – the remote is RF not IR, so it can work through walls.

One other thing I bought was the USB-UIRT module (again available on the SnapStream site). I had to get this, as this is the thing that does channel changing on my DirectTV box (the Samsung SIR-S300W).

Only sticking point getting set-up was that I didn’t have enough USB ports on the ‘old’ laptop I’m using, so I went and got a USB hub. This was the only part that went wrong! I bought the first (cheap) hub I could find at Target and that conflicted with something (god knows what). So I took that back and got a Belkin hub from Fry’s. Made sure it had all the USB certification stickers on it. Both the USB 2 and the Hi-Speed logos. This now works fine.

Remember I already bought the Plextor Convert-X box that does hardware MPEG4 (and DivX) encoding, from my earlier folly trying to use MythTV.

Of course, it all could got horribly wrong before too long, so expect me to start complaining by the end of the month.

Oh, and the ironic thing – totally coincidental and not planned, honest: The first program I recorded and watched on the new set-up: MythBusters ‘Escape from Alcatraz’ … MythBusters … get it … as in MythTV … busters … well, I thought it was apt!


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