Vudu XL – Unboxing and First Impressions

vudu_xlI just unboxed and installed my Vudu XL evaluation unit, connected it to the flat panel TV in my family room, and started played around with it.  Here are my initial thoughts: This is a very nice looking set top box; possibly the most attractive design I’ve seen, with lots of glossy, high-quality plastic. The […]

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Windows 7 – Not Ready for Daily Home Theater Use Yet

I installed the Windows 7 beta (32-bit) on my wife’s MSI Wind netbook with great success.  In fact, it was flawless.  So I decided to give it a try on the second Media Center computer (HTPC) that I just finished building using the 64-bit version.  My results were as positive this time.  Here a summary […]

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The State of 24p Playback on a Home Theater Computer

To get the best video quality playback possible for movies in a home theater, it’s necessary for the refresh rate of the source component to match the refresh rate of the display. One of the most common problems stems from the fact that most movies are 24 frames per second while most televisions are 60 […]

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Written by in: Home Theater | Tags: , , , |

The State of Blu-ray Lossless HD Audio in Home Theater Computers

Note to readers: this information was current as of early 2010. Since then, ATI, Intel, and Nvidia have all released video/audio solutions to allow bitstreaming of the original Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio streams with the use of playback software such as Arcsoft TotalMedia Theatre. The below content, from early 2010, is for historical […]

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Some Facts about HD Video Compression Codecs used in Blu-ray

I just finished reading an interesting article by Amir Majidimehr (former Microsoft VP, video compression) in Oct 2008 issue of Widescreen Review.  I was surprised that there are 4 different, incompatible versions of MPEG-4! Here are some facts from the article; I recommending picking up a copy of the magazine for all of the details […]

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Skipping Advertisments on Blu-ray Movies

I’m very annoyed by the fact that I spend $30+ to purchase a Blu-ray movie and yet still forced to watched advertisements, trailers, and FBI warnings. Several years ago, SlySoft released a version of AnyDVD that allowed users to overcome these User Prohibited Actions for regular DVDs. Today they announced version 6.4.3.2 of AnyDVD HD […]

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Automatic Cover Art and Movie Details for Ripped DVDs in Windows Media Center

Windows Media Center DVD LibraryWindows Media Center can automatically download the metadata (cover art, movie name, cast, plot summary, etc.) for DVDs. If you place a DVD in your drive, this occurs automatically. However, if you backup your DVDs to a server and access the moive via Windows Media Center, this data is not available. But there is a […]

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Above and Beyond Customer Care – Best Buy, Circuit City, Netflix

customer-service.jpgI’m used to companies offering less than stellar customer care in this age of low-cost, low-margin business. So when a company goes above and beyond to take care of their customers, it gets my attention. Most early-adopters suspected that the High Definition Disc Format war would end and either HD-DVD or Blu-ray would one day […]

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Written by in: Home Theater |

AnyDVD HD 6.4 allows backup of BD+ Blu-Ray discs

AnyDVD HD-DVD Blu-RayI firmly believe in paying for the movies you own. By doing so, I believe you should be able to move them to your media server and play them back however you please. BD+ protection (DRM) prevented this with recent Blu-Ray titles, but latest version of Slysoft’s AnyDVD HD overcomes this limitation. Here is the […]

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Editing the Start Menu in Windows Vista Media Center

Windows Vista Media Center Start MenuUpdate 8-Apr-2008: Chris Lanier just posted about the program MC Menu Customizer, which automates editing of the start menu. A great alternative to what is posted below! I recently posted about automatically launching plugins within Vista Media Center. I just came across another improvement that allows editing the order and contents of the Vista Media […]

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