Posts tagged: Home Theater

At last – Cheap and Good Cables!!

author | June 8, 2008

In case you haven’t noticed, the price of some cables – especially those for home theater hookups – are just getting downright insane.  You walk into your local ‘big box retailer’ and even their cheapest, shortest HDMI cable is going for over $50.  Ouch!

Come on, you say to yourself, this is just some pieces of copper with some connections on each end.  Well, you’re right.  Back in the day of analog signals, quality cables could actually make a big difference by helping to avoid signal noise and drop-off.  Well, we’re in the digital age now (some of us are, anyway) and now these cables are just expected to carry 1′s and 0′s across the wire to their destination.  Point being, if the digital information gets there, it gets there – plain and simple.

So the days of ‘premium’ cabling needs are behind us, but the cable manufacturers haven’t bothered to let you in on the secret.  Cable makers like Monster Cable are still there to happily take away your money.  I’ve come across an excellent online source for discriminating cable buyers that prefer to keep money in their wallet, instead of wasted…

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DirecTV: HD Tivo vs Plus HD DVR

author | June 6, 2008

Well, I’ve finally given up the HD Tivo integrated DirecTV receiver (HR10-250) to move on to DirecTV’s ‘Plus HD DVR’ receiver (HR21-700) so I can get all those HD channels they’ve been bragging about.  Why did I have to give up the Tivo to get them?  Well, two reasons:

  1. The new HD channels are MPEG4 encoded.  The Tivo-based receiver supports MPEG2 only and it can’t be upgraded to support the MPEG4 compression.
  2. DirecTV and Tivo aren’t really friends anymore.  I wish they were, because I’m a fan of the Tivo interface – and the rest of the family sure likes it too.  But, waiting for them to kiss and make up could take… well, long enough that television technology will most likely change a few more times at least!

So to get the latest technology and the latest HD channels from DirecTV, I have had to say goodbye to Tivo.  Did I want to?  Nope.  But here’s to making the best of the situation.  So now that I’ve switched and been up and running on the new box for a week, how does the DirecTV DVR compare to the Tivo-based service?  Well, here’s my take:

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