If you subscribe to Cable television and own a Revo or other HTPC that needs a USB tuner well the time is now to pick up a Ceton InfiniTV 4 USB. It is now available on Amazon.com for just $299.99. This will allow you to plug in a cable card and record 4 shows at 1 time!
I had already reviewed, raved, and given away a Hillcrest Labs Loop Pointer, but today Hillcrest Labs has introduced a brand new Scoop Pointer. This looks like a great update to the Loop Pointer. Here is their official description:
"The Scoop Pointer is a third generation, in-air mouse and six-axis motion controller that interfaces wirelessly to any PC, Mac, or USB HID compatible device through a USB antenna. This OEM product is a reference design that includes numerous enhancements such as: a smaller and lighter form factor; new chipset and firmware for lower costs and better performance; nine programmable buttons and a scroll wheel; and full six-axis control to enable better gesture or game play. There are two versions of the Scoop Pointer, one optimized for TV viewing and one with a red laser pointer designed for business and educational presenters."
This think looks extremely stylish and could be a great add on for your HTPC. Hillcrest "MotionEngine" technology is now used in many devices including the Roku 2, LG TVs, and their remotes are designed for their HTPC web browser: Kylo. Additionally today Hillcrest has announced a OEM version of their Kylo browser which can be completely customized by manufacturers. While Hillcrest does not plan on selling the Scoop pointer directly to consumers, we can always keep our fingers crossed. Perhaps Acer will catch on and include one of these in the next version of the Revo.
Source: Hillcrest Labs
Let's get down to it, Netflix HD on the Revo has not been very great at all since it was introduced on PC and inside of Windows media center. For a while now Netflix has allowed you to manually adjust the quality of video that receive. If you are using Netflix 100% on your Revo then there is a simple work around which is to manually adjust the bandwidth on your netflix account to the "Better" setting. This will allow all netflix to stream silky smooth onto your Revo. Now be warned though that this effects all of your netflix devices. Which means that if you do use an Xbox 360, PC, or any other device it will also limit your bandwidth on these devices. Here are the simple steps.
1.) Goto http://www.netflix.com
And there you have it, you should now be able to stream netflix just fine on your Atom powered machine.
Source: The Digital Media Zone
No more release candidates, Adobe has released the official version of Flash 10.1!
Here is the link:
Another week goes buy and yet again Adobe has released another Release Candidate for Flash 10.1. They are already up to Release Candidate 4 I have not tested it yet but plan to do so tomorrow. Give it a shot and if you aren't happy in the Add-ons section I have Beta 1 and RC1 available for download. Head over to the official Flash 10.1 page for the download.
Issues that have been fixed in this release:
*Flash player crashes after network cable is unplugged.
*Seeking through a video via a progress slider doesn’t show enough frames.
*Certain videos play with no sound and then stop playing.
*In Firefox, streaming videos will halt on some occasions after a few minutes.
*Flash movies with a transparent mode don't play in applications.
*insertion point not visible for input text field when using embedded fonts.
*General stability and performance improvements
*Many issues involving video playback have been fixed in this release, and users may need to get updated video drivers ATI, NVidia, Broadcom, or Intel.
*Corrupt swfs on a page can cause the entire page to render improperly (http://it.eurosport.yahoo.com/)
*In some cases, XML declarations lose the trailing brace.
*ShaderJob.start now produces an ArgumentError with previously (10.0.x) functioning code
*TouchEvent only fires after first touch in MultitouchInputMode.TOUCH_POINT
Also on May 5th Nvidia released new Drivers for the ION. This is a beta driver so test it at will: Nvidia drivers 197.57 beta
Last week Adobe updated Flash 10.1 RC to RC2. On the forums people seem to have good success with the latest release, however I have a different story to tell. People have been reporting Boxee working somewhat properly with RC2, however still for me all flash video content from NBC, Hulu, Fox, and others seems to still be completely broken. Some of the applications such as MLB.tv seem to work just fine according to users in the forums. This part doesn't bother me too much since Boxee has never really worked. I decided to test InternetTV inside of Windows Media Center. I started up the latest Undercover Boss and to my surprise it was extremely choppy including the advertisements. I waited about 10 minutes to see if this was a buffer issue and then restarted the video and it was still completely choppy and unwatchable. At this point I uninstalled RC2 and installed the first RC, and attempted to watch the same episode again. Just like my last review the video was completely watchable. While not perfect, it was pretty smooth and not choppy at all. At this point I decided not to go back to RC2 and my recommendation is to stick with Beta 1, Beta 3 or RC 1. Let me know what you guys think.
*One note is that during the review I did have 1 recording going on. During the second half when I was watching InternetTV with the first RC a second recording started and the video became choppy, however with 1 recording it was just fine.
Flash 10.betas have been the saving grace when it comes to lower power machines like the Acer Aspire Revo. I have tried out every beta that has come out and given my opinion before. Adobe has just released their release candidate for Flash 10.1 which means that it is almost ready to go into a real release. I have been a pretty impressed with the past betas and my only real issue has been with Internet TV inside of Windows Media Center and any flash videos inside of Boxee. I have addressed some issues with how Boxee processes flash video which almost makes it impossible for even the 10.1 betas for fix it, but I will give you a full rundown of how the new RC performs.
HULU: After uninstalling the old 10.1 beta 3 I went and installed the latest RC which was extremely fast and easy. I went directly to Hulu to see if there was any difference from past betas. I through the latest episode of The Office into 480p and full screen mode and just like in past releases it performed great. Video overall was smooth with only a few tears from time to time, but overall I was pleased. I also watched a few smaller clips from SNL to see if the results were the same, and I am pleased to say they were.
Online videos: One of my favorite websites to review when I am testing flash is SouthParkStudios.com which has every single episode of South Park ever. With beta 3 just about every single flash video online worked great and i can say that with RC not much has changed. I started up the latest episode of South Park in HD and in full screen mode, and it was great. Video was extremely smooth and picture quality was amazing.
Internet TV: A big issue that was almost resolved in past betas was Internet TV inside of WMC. I am not the biggest fan of Internet TV mostly because I think Hulu does a much better job, but it has improved vastly since it started. I started up a few episodes through CBS and clips from the CW and to be honest I was really impressed with the performance. I watched a full 45 minutes episode of Undercover Boss (not a great show, but interesting) and from time to time there was an occasional spot of slow down, however it seemed great. It wasn't like watching television or even shows through Hulu, but I enjoyed the experience. Video playback was a pretty smooth experience and I might actually use Internet TV now.
Hulu Desktop: I booted up expecting great things from Hulu Desktop with the latest 10.1 and I was got just that. The Office started up right away with High quality selected and playback was very smooth. It took about 2 or 3 seconds for the buffer to catch up but after that there were no issues at all. I tested a few other videos and the results were the same.
Boxee: I decided to test Boxee just for fun. I attempted to watch content from various sources such as NBC, FOX, and Hulu, but just like past attempts video playback resulted in black screens, broken videos, choppy videos, or just nothing happening at all. Like I mentioned earlier I think this is more an issue of Boxee than flash since you can watch these videos through a browser or Hulu Desktop just fine.
Some things to note are that I fully uninstalled beta 3 before installing the RC. I am also running older Nvidia drivers which are version 196.21. I did not go through the trouble of upgrading to the latest version to see if there were any differences, however I have had no issues with the current drivers so I just kept them.
Overall I was extremely impressed with the latest Flash 10.1 RC. I don't think it is a large jump over beta 3, but bug fixes are always nice to have in there, and I am looking forward to the final release. As always your results may vary so if the RC isn't working great for you feel free to go back to beta 1 or beta 3.
Adobe has just released the latest Flash 10.1, which is no longer a beta and now a Release Candidate. This means it is almost ready to go official. I will be testing it out very soon to see if there is any difference from beta 3. If you want to download it go to the link below:
Boxee and Hulu are very popular, however there was no way to access them from within Windows Media Center 7. A bit back I tweeted about the Hulu & Boxee Integrators from Tekno Webworks. I decided to give them a test drive to see how they performed.
The integrators are very simple, they add a Hulu and Boxee button into the WMC start menu. When one of them is pressed it will close down WMC and open Boxee of Hulu Desktop. When you close Boxee or Hulu Desktop it will relaunch WMC. This is extremely convenient on a HTPC so you don't have to grab a mouse and you can just use your WMC remote. These integrators obviously don't work on extenders since they actually close WMC.
They look just fine inside of WMC, however I would have liked it if they weren't their own separate items and were grouped together like other items on the start menu. It would have been nice to have them under Extras or have them in their own category incase there might be any other integrators that come out. Here is what they look like:
I spent some time going back and forth between both of the applications and it seemed to work almost perfect. There were a few times that the Boxee switch left the Windows Taskbar as the focus so you would have to get up and click the mouse on Boxee to gain control. This didn't happen very often though and overall it was just fine. After closing Hulu or Boxee you are returned to your Desktop for about 5 to 10 seconds and you can see a command prompt which has been watching for those applications to close. After those few seconds Windows Media Center is relaunched and you are good to go again.
One other nice thing is that the integrators also put the applications into the Extras Library. This means if you want to hide them from the start menu you can. I chose to do this since I don't want to clutter up my WMC start menu. I did however find a bug inside of the Boxee Integrator that wasn't automatically adding the application to the Extras Library. I added a Registry Key to fix this. If you start up "regedit" from windows search and go to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE->Software->Microsoft->Windows->Current Version->Media Center->Extensibility->Categories->More Programs" and add the following Key as shown in this screen shot (click for full size):
After you do this and restart WMC you will now see it inside of the Extras Library:
Overall these applications work great and if you are using WMC and have Hulu Desktop or Boxee installed on your computer I would recommend you install these integrators for easy access.
Adobe has just released Flash 10.1 Beta 3. I will be trying this out on the Revo and writing up a review soon. I didn't have much success with beta 2 and rolled back to beta 1 which seemed to play Flash great on the Revo.