Revo HTPC
26Mar/110

Jason Null, Revo HTPC User on Entertainment 2.0

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Jason Null, inspired by RevoHTPC.com was recently on the Entertainment 2.0 podcast with Josh Pollard. He talks about his intense mod of his Acer Aspire Revo, including an SSD, 4GB RAM, and Tuners. He also discusses how he uses Windows Media Center throughout his house. It is a great listen. Check it out here: http://thedigitalmediazone.com/2011/03/25/entertainment-2-0-120-jason-null/

27Apr/105

Flash 10.1 RC2… Quick Review

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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.

17Apr/100

[Review] Kylo HTPC Browser

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If you have struggled with browsers on your nice big 1080p television say goodbye to all of your troubles with the brand new Kylo browser made specifically for HTPCs, or so the developers would like you to believe. I will say that overall Kylo is one of the more user friendly and easy to use browsers out on the market today. Developer Hillcrest Labs has put a lot of thought and effort into crafting the Kylo browser around use on a HTPC. They have big buttons, a built in on screen keyboard, and built in zoom feature. In theory all of these thing should make a perfect browser for a HTPC, but after some issues I have a few issues with the browser.

Good Stuff:
So let's first talk about all the good things about the Kylo browser. It is built off of Mozilla, which if Firefox has been any indication is a solid code base to work off of. The best thing about this browser to me is the ease to zoom in and out with ease. I am a big Opera browser user which made it easy to zoom in and out, but in Kylo it is right in your nav bar and allows you to have an extremely large range of zoom. This is a great feature as usually websites are tiny on a nice big television. Some other features that I really enjoyed was the on screen keyboard which is great if you don't have a keyboard sitting around. This allows you to basically use the browser with just a mouse (or Loop Pointer). Lastly the browser is pretty easy on the eyes as it is a nice darker gray which is easy to look at for a long amount of time.

Alright Stuff:
There are some nice things about Kylo but just aren't perfect. One cool feature is their "Kylo Connect" website. It is presented as a big button on the browser but once selected take you to an easy to navigate with large buttons of just about every single site with videos in it. Selecting one will take you directly the the "full episode" shortcut page, or a page that reduces the button clicks to get to the good stuff. However this page isn't built into the browser itself, which means every time you launch it it has to load all the icons and overall is a bit slow on animations. Talking about speed I can definitely say this isn't the fastest browser I have used. Pages load a bit slow compared to Chrome and at times I got a bit upset that it wasn't loading faster. Lastly you get a nice area for bookmarks, but there is no speed dial feature like your standard browser, which is almost an essential for a HTPC browser.

Bad Stuff:
I already mentioned the speed of the browser, which wasn't horrible but wasn't great so I wont get into it again. One thing I really didn't like and isn't really Kylo's fault is that Hulu has completely blocked the browser. I would most likely use Hulu Desktop, but it would be nice to have an in browser option. I also didn't enjoy how tabs worked. Every time you go to a new site via bookmarks, Kylo Connect, or URL entry bar, all of your other pages are simply hidden from you even though you really wanted to open the page in the same window. Kylo requires you to select the current tabs area and manually close any tab you want. This is just confusing for no good reason. There is also no real way to manage plugins at all inside the browser (Flash 10.1 works just fine though).

Conclusion:
I would absolutely recommend giving the Kylo browser a try as I think it is one of the best HTPC browsers out there. There is a lot of room to improve, but the browser just came out and there are enough features here to outweigh the cons. If you can get over some speed issues I think you will enjoy this browser if you are trying to browse the web from the couch.

Kylo is available for free at http://www.kylo.tv

16Apr/103

Fixing Overscan & Underscan on Aspire Revo

I have had a few people email me about overscan and underscan problems when they hooked their Revo up to their television. I would first make sure you screen resolution is set correctly depending on if your television is 720p or 1080p. You can do this simply by right clicking on your desktop and hitting "Screen resolution". If this does not solve your problem then you might want to check your television settings. All televisions are different, but on my Samsung under Picture Options I see the Size setting. I have mine set to Screen Fit, but play around with it to see if this fixes your issues. Lastly we can do some manual over/underscan adjustments via the Nvidia control panel.

First go ahead and right click on your desktop and select "Nvidia Control Panel"

Next under "Display" in the tree control select "Adjust desktop size and position"

Then hit the "Resize Desktop" button which will launch and application. You will see two sliders on your screen which you can adjust to fix any over/under scan issues. The green arrows should be pointing at the corners of your television.