First Look: Amazon Unbox on TivoHD

As I’ve mentioned before we have a TivoHD PVR unit and we LOVE it. It’s one of the few things that we give an unqualified recommendation. It’s great. Best in class. You won’t regret the purchase.

However, one thing that TivoHD can’t accommodate is pay-per-view movies. It’s not so much that Tivo can’t handle it as much as the cable companies don’t currently have the infrastructure to do pay-per-view for any cable card device. It requires two way interactive cable cards that aren’t yet rolled out. This is a bit of a drag since my wife used to use pay-per-view enough to make me wince every time I saw the cable bill.

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We Like Our HDTV. But Is HD-DVD Finally On The Ropes?

About a year ago we finally moved into HD with the purchase of a 42″ Sharp Aquos LCD-TV and a Toshiba HD-XA1 HD-DVD player. The HD-DVD player was actually acquired using Continental Airlines frequent flier miles in a program that they offer to very frequent fliers late each year. Of course, we got the HD PVR from Time-Warner as well. Given the fact that my employer manufactures HD graphics equipment it was truly a matter of putting my-money-where-my-mouth-has-been.

Sharp Aquos 42 Inch LCDTV

Sharp Aquos 42″ HD LCD. The first real 1080 set in its size class.

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Streaming Audio + Video With Skype + Slingbox

Tom Keating over at TMC has an interesting How-To about combining Slingbox with Skype to stream audio and video to a remote location bypassing the Slingbox client software and remote access mechanism. Potentially interesting stuff. His approach combines that NAT traversal and high quality video conferencing capability of Skype with the Slingbox as a video source.

Pixel Power purchased a Slingbox Pro last month. The intent was to be able to stream the output of one of our Clarity systems to a remote viewer to be able to conduct ad hoc live remote demos. We’ve done some initial testing and the video quality looks ok as long as there is sufficient bandwidth available. With 768kbps available from a Comcast cable model it seems pretty good.

The NAT traversal mechanism built into the Slingbox system leaves me a bit cold. It requires a consumer grade UPnP router to works its magic automatically. It does provides some guidance about manually establishing port forwarding but remote viewing has thus far been a problem.

To overcome this I’ve just established a VPN login to the router handling the cable modem. Anyone needing to see the Slingbox output just logs into my LAN via the VPN, making them effectively a local IP address on the LAN. This works perfectly as long as the remote party is somewhere that allows VPN connectivity.