TV/Visual Media Viewing 2011 Project

Project Goals (by priority):
1) Replace (or replace functionality of) aging VCRs
2) Reduce overall Month-to-Month Costs
3) Increase quality of the Experience (content and visuals)

Current (Legacy) Environment:
-All 3 TVs connected to analog cable TV service (no Digital TV box needed) via Time Warner Cable
-Only one of the three TVs have OTA digital TV tuners (the small TV in the office)
-None of the VCRs have OTA digital TV tuners
-No HD viewing capability
-No BlueRay DVD viewing capability
-Internet available in all rooms via Wi-Fi 802.11n
-Internet is available in room “office” via Wi-Fi and wired ethernet
-Netflix Subscription – 1 DVD out at a time and unlimited streaming
-TV “A” (Big old Sony,) is in the “family room” with attached combo VCR/DVD and Roku Box (streams Netflix and some other stuff)
-TV “B” (Small 13#) is in “my office” with an attached combo VCR/DVD next to my Windows-based TV
-The Windows PC in the office can show TV-ish content via YouTube (and like sites), Netflix Watch Instantly, Hulu (non Hulu Plus), or Video/MP4 content in iTunes (currently being replaced by Mac Mini)
-TV “C” (Small old 13″ Panasonic) in “my bedroom” with a a VCR and a combo VCR/DVD attached
-No Laptop, NetBook, or iPad functionality
-I prefer to watch shows most shows in the “family room”
-I prefer to watch TV in bed late at night, as opposed to falling asleep on the family room couch
-If I watch TV on my office, it tends to be usually be just the news
-I rarely watch TV-ish content on my PC
-I will xfer some TV-ish content from the internet to my PC for syncing to my iPod
-Most of my VCR tapes are 8hour…the rest are 9 and 10 hour tapes
-My VCRs are getting old and starting to have issues (HW issues, recording quality issues)
-I do not have a gaming system attached to a TV
-lots of remotes

Project Requirements (by priority):
-access to current big network TV shows for viewing when I want to view them
-access to current cable network TV shows for viewing when I want to view them
-ability to record media on behalf of (and to transfer to) my parents
-access to Red Eye for viewing when I want to view it
-access to old movies for viewing when I want to view them
-access to new-ish movies for viewing when I want to view them
-access to cable news (Fox, CNN) for viewing current and current-ish news/events
-access to C-SPAN for viewing current and current-ish events
-access to C-SPAN’s Book TV for viewing when I want to view them
-access to Internet content like YouTube (and the like) for viewing when I want to view them
-access to Bittorrent content (and the like) for viewing when I want to view them
-access to new-ish Premium Cable TV shows for viewing when I want to view them
-access to older Premium Cable TV shows for viewing when I want to view them
-ability to record media to transfer to my iPod
-ability to play iTunes stuff through my TV

In-Scope:
-Change recording technology options
-Change media source options
-Change viewing technology options
-Change storage options
-Add-to and/or change options for office new Mac Mini (in-process of replacing legacy Windows PC)

Out-Scope:
-Standalone Internet Radio devices
-Purchasing a Laptop, Net Book, Android-based Pad, iPad, or Kindle (different 1Q2011 Proj)
-“3D” TV Technology
-Adding a Gaming system to a TV (e.g. XBox, Playstation)
-Adding a fourth TV Viewing area (e.g. Kitchen, Bathroom)
-Changing to a Residential VOIP service from my Land-line Phone
-Dropping my Land-line phone and just using a cell phone (different 1Q2011 Proj)
-Skyping through my TV
-Increasing my Internet bandwidth (different 1Q2011 Proj)
-Switching Internet Service Providers

Likes:
-I would like to have the High Definition TV Experience
-I would like to be able to watch content of all types, from any of the three TVs
-I prefer simplicity to complexity
-I prefer to not be a home SysAdmin (I prefer to be paid to be a SysAdmin)
-I would like to play Blueray DVDs from Netflix

Hates:
-I hate my monthly (every increasing) Cable TV fee
-I hate the idea of a monthly Tivo/DVR fee
-I hate the idea of additional fees for Digital Cable boxes or Digital Cable cable cards
-I hate the idea of recording directly to a DVD

Neutrals:
-I am okay with building/assembling my own HW/SW solutions if I am going to be the SysAdmin
-I would prefer Unix-based to Windows-based solutions if I am going to be the SysAdmin
-I could care less about Twitter or Facebook via my TVs

Options / Stuff / Considerations / Investigations:
Tivo dual-tuner DVR and Digital Cable Cards
-Tivo dual-tuner DVR
Moxi tri-tuner DVR + Digital Cable Cards + Upgrade to Digital Cable + 2 Moxi Mates
Hulu Plus subscription ($10/month, rolling out soon, will be on many devices)
-Play ON
Beyond TV on my HW (Windows, can support multiple tuners)
Myth TV on my HW (Multi-Tuners, UNIX Based)
FOSS Overview
Freevo
XBMC on my HW
Windows Media Center on my HW
Apple TV ($99, iTunes-to-TV bridge, Streams Netflix
Roku Appliances boxes (stream Netflix, will stream Hulu Plus, HD support)
Channel Master CM-7000PAL Digital Video Recorder (DVR) for OTA TV (dual-tuner, no monthly fees)
Sezmi – Current – OTA local channel Digital TV + dual-tuner DVR with $5/month fee
Sezmi – Future TBD – OTA local channel Digital TV + many “cable” channels via internet streams + dual-tuner DVR with $20/month fee
Boxee on my HW
Boxee Box Appliance ($200 TD, Netflix Streaming, Hulu Plus assumption, other net content
Nuu Player Boxee Appliance Future TBD
Google TV – not shipping yet, early stuff might be rough
Elgato EyeTV HD DVR
-Elgato Eye TV Digital or Dual USB Tuner for Mac OSX
Elgato has lots of products for TV/OSX interaction
-Build my own Media PC aka Home Media PC aka HMPC
-What about Bittorrents?

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