Online video viewing growing exponentially … duh

1video-footage_id1907591_size450According to this article from US Telecom, online video viewing is growing leaps and bounds. With 74% of broadband users downloading or watching videos online.  The article is based upon two studies from Pew and the American Life Project.
What’s amazing about the numbers is that 15% more adults are watching online videos than using social networking sites. Another number that’s amazing is the “near-universal” use by 18-29 year olds (old media beware).
I work with a lot of communities who still think that “broadband” is just high-speed internet and nothing more (which granted, all this online video viewing is occurring over today’s broadband). I often coach them on the fact that broadband will deliver all of your telecom services in the future including services we don’t even know about yet as well as those we do (like cable TV, telephone, etc.).  As more and more folks experience video online, they will pressure their local community leaders to become active in promoting broadband availability and broadband adoption so that they can experience the same services that those of us who live in more urban or suburban areas do.
Personally, I watch videos on my TV over Netflix from my Tivo, but also have a MythTV computer acting as a video server where I have ripped most of my DVDs and downloaded (mostly legal) videos.  I also watch plenty of youtube, google video and plenty of old media sites (like comedy central).
If you don’t have broadband, why not?  Is it too expensive or is it not available?  If it’s not available, contact your local elected officials and ask what they are doing to bring broadband to your area. It’s not just for browsing the web anymore and has serious economic development impacts on your locality.

A weekend of upgrades…

ubuntu_logo_iconwordpress_logoSo the weather sucked and I didn’t feel like playing any online games today.  I decided to do some updates, upgrades, and play around for a bit.
The first order of business was to update my Mac and iPhone and they were pretty easy and benign (and the latest iPhone upgrade rocks).  I applied all the updates to several Windoze computers or Virtual Machines, and performed all the updates for the various flavors of Linux running around the house.  No problems with the basic updates.  Everything went as planned.
Continue reading “A weekend of upgrades…”

MythTV easy … Comcast HD over Basic Cable not so.


So, I’ve been configuring my Mythbox as I have time.  Some of my hardware arrived late, but I put together the basic PC the first weekend, installed Ubuntu and did a burn-in (I am very happy with how quiet it runs).  My HDHomerun arrived a few days later and decided to interrupt my burn-in. I installed Mythbuntu and attempted to configure it. I hooked up my coax cable to the HDHomerun and ran a Cat5 to my switch and I was able to see it immediately in the MythTV configuration utility. I did a channel scan and was surprised to have 80 unencrypted hits. My jaw dropped, I had 80 HD channels over basic (analog) cable?
I need to backup here a bit and explain what I had learned through the internet and from a flier that I picked up at the local Comcast office, but even with the flier in my hand, I could not get a Comcast salesperson to give me a straight answer. It clearly states in the brochure that:

HDTV broadcast signals are included with subscription to Limited Basic Service. To receive other HDTV signals provided by the Company, an HDTV capable television set (not provided by the Company), Standard Service and an HDTV digital converter and remote are required. In addition to receive Expanded Service, Digital Starter, Digital Classic, Digital Preferred, Sports Enterntainment, Package or premium (i.e., HBO, Showtime) HDTV signals, a subscritpion to that service is required. (sic)

Continue reading “MythTV easy … Comcast HD over Basic Cable not so.”

Mythical TV … can Open Source tinkering be any cooler?


My DVD player, which is a Sony and only about 5 years old, is on the fritz.  My Tivo, likewise 5 years old, is showing heavy pixilation which I’m going to assume is related to it’s hard drive being 5 years old and having run 24×365 and starting to go (over 43,000 hours).  My (current) TV is standard definition, but I plan on upgrading to HDTV this Christmas (or sooner if my plans pan out). I wasn’t looking forward to the price of a set-top Blu-Ray player nor an HD Tivo, both of which would be limited to playing content only on the TV they were attached to, so I decided to go it alone and build a media center computer.
I poked around a lot and have setteled on an Ubuntu implmentation of MythTV called Mythbuntu. I seriously considered adding some stuff (a video capture card, larger hard drive, HDMI output, etc) to an older PC which I had just decomissioned and was planning on donating (wiped the hard drive and installed Ubuntu Hardy). However, after doing some research I decided to build a decently powered frontend/backend combination which will later be the hub of my content.  I’m going to be assembling the system this weekend and plan on tinkering a few days with it before moving it into the living room. I did my research and setteled on the following hardware:
Continue reading “Mythical TV … can Open Source tinkering be any cooler?”