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The New MyHTN Home Theater Network Community

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Mar 15 2012 06:34 pm

Welcome to the new My Home Theater Network (HTN) community at myhtn.com. We have revamped the older yourhtn.com site to focus on connecting our visitors to HTN installers, and to help our visitors with any HTN questions. If you have any home automation, home theater, or home network installation needs, then our new HTN Installers list is a great place to find professional installers. Also, our HTN Forum can help answer any home automation, home theater, or home network questions you may have.

New social features make sharing posts easier. Additionally, a new cleaner look makes it easier to find a solution to your HTN questions or service needs.

Enjoy the new site!

Aereo Provides Cloud TV Service, but Faces Challenges

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Feb 16 2012 08:43 am

Aereo is launching in early March with a solution to the “cable company” problem. Customers are understandably frustrated with the high prices and the poor customer service cable companies provide. Paying for over 1000 channels when customers only want to watch a few shows gives an opportunity for a startup like Aereo to convert cable subscribers to cloud subscribers.

Aereo has an interesting approach to the legal mess that has kept cable companies in control of what people watch. Broadcast TV stations such as ABC, NBC, and FOX provide free Over-The-Air (OTA) HD quality TV signals that anyone within range can pickup with an antenna. Yes, … an antenna similar to the old bunny ears used on older TVs. However, Aereo has new modern day antennas which are the size of a dime. They built a huge array of these miniature antennas and assign one to each of their customers.

Each Aereo customer can then stream the OTA TV shows captured by Aereo through the cloud and to their iPads, tablets or phones. Customers get 40 hours of storage in a virtual DVR for $12/month. Services will only be available in NYC to start, but their plans are to expand.

Besides the legal battles Aereo will eventually be engulfed in, Aereo faces other challenges. Here are just a few:

  1. Hulu Plus with seasons worth of TV shows which include broadcast networks and some cable networks seem like a better value at $7.99/month.
  2. Aereo lacks content from cable channels like ESPN, Nickelodeon, or Comedy Central.
  3. Installing a TV card for $40 in a computer and then using free software to stream does require some technical skill, but it might be worth it to save $12/month.
  4. Time Warner, U-verse, Cablevision and others already offer streaming video services to tablets and phones.
  5. App capable TVs with built-in OTA antennas will be available to offer the same service for free through apps.
  6. Did I mention the legal challenges?

Any disruption to the cable provider market is welcome and it will be interesting to watch Aereo try to overcome these challenges.

 

Google Buys Motorola Mobility for its Patents

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Aug 16 2011 10:59 pm

androidGoogle knew it had to respond to Apple, Microsoft, RIM, and their partners winning a $4.5 billion bid on Nortell’s patents. Respond they did with a $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility and its 14,600 patents. Google likely did not want to get into the hardware business, but the risks to Android were too great. If Google did not buy Motorola, they would:

  • have overpaid and spent billions on InterDigital’s patents.
  • have been one court case away from HTC legally being blocked from selling Android phones in America.
  • risk Microsoft or Apple buying Motorola and losing a major Android manufacture.
  • continue to have Android embattled in lawsuits from Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, and others without a solid patent portfolio.

So what is next for Google and Motorola?  The assumption is HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony, and other manufactures will be forced to focus on other mobile operating systems. However, there isn’t a mobile operating system available today with an established app market other than Android and Apple’s iOS. Sales for Samsung and HTC’s Windows Mobile based phones has been lackluster partially due to the lack of apps. Developers already have to create an Apple and Android version of their app. They will have to be significantly motivated in order for them to create a third and fourth version of the same app.

Here are some predictions for a combined Google and Motorola:

  • Google will keep Motorola as a separate division.
  • HTC, Samsung, Sony, and other manufacturers will continue to focus on Android based phones for the next year.
  • Manufacturers will try to diversify to Windows Mobile and possibly webOS, but the lack of apps will hamper sales.
  • Nokia based Window phones will also have lackluster sales.
  • Motorola Blur will go away.
  • Manufactures will put more focus on differentiating themselves by modifying their Android skin such as HTC Sense or Samsung’s TouchWiz.

Small Connection Diagrams

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Aug 09 2011 09:36 pm

Due to popular demand, we created some smaller connection diagrams on our home page. The new smaller diagrams are:

The ultimate connection diagram still shows how to connect all the above systems into one, but the smaller ones are designed to be easier to read. The smaller connection diagrams also show typical connections for popular home theater network components.

Feel free to ask any questions in our HTN Connections and Setup Forum.

home_theater_sm

Top Media Boxes

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Jul 17 2011 12:56 am
Boxee Box
Boxee Box
  • Uses popular Boxee software with social apps and TV showes through the internet. Has a “Watch Later” feature for internet videos.
  • Can access video, music, pictures from a computer on the network. Comaptable with most video formats.
  • Double sided remote control with a full QWERTY keypad on the back.
  • 1080p video output
  • 802.11n Wireless capable
Apple TV
Apple TV
  • Apple app store capable
  • Use and iPhone ot iPad to control
  • Small three inch footprint.
  • Stream movies and music to an iPad or iPhone
  • 720p video output.
  • 802.11n Wireless capable.
Logitech Revue
Logitech Revue
  • Uses Google TV which supports Android apps
  • Full sized keyboard included.
  • HDMI in and HDMI out allows interaction with cable or satellite TV.
  • 1080p video output
  • 802.11n Wireless capable.
Roku 2 HD
Roku
  • Supports Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video, and other apps
  • Low price.
  • Small three inch footprint.
  • 720p video output.
  • 802.11n Wireless capable.

Announcing the Beta Release of AutoHTN

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Aug 18 2010 12:43 am

Thank you everyone for all the interest in AutoHTN. We’re pleased to announce that we are opening up the private beta release of AutoHTN to the public. The Vera edition of AutoHTN is now available in the Android market. AutoHTN can control a Vera home system’s lights, sensors, scenes, switched power, thermostat, and window blinds. AutoHTN can also be used as a remote for Boxee or XBMC media software as well as web enabled receivers.

Vera ControllerThe initial beta version of AutoHTN is free and works with Mi Casa Verde’s Vera controller. Future support for other home automation controllers is planned, but for now, we found Vera to be the most user-friendly. Vera is relatively inexpensive, works with common home automation protocols such as Z-wave, provides free and secure remote server access, and is easy to setup.

AutoHTN setup is easy as AutoHTN pulls all the device information from Vera. For example, if Vera is on the local network and Wi-Fi is on, then no setup is required as AutoHTN will automatically find Vera on the local network and pull all the device information from it. A username and password is all the setup information needed for access away from home.

AutoHTN has been in private beta for the past couple months and our users have found it very useful. We know you’ll find it useful too as we’re now opening it up to public for free as a beta version. More information on AutoHTN can be found at HomeTheaterNetwork.com. Please let us know what you think including any suggestions, comments, or questions. We’ll be checking our AutoHTN forum and the Vera Forum.

Enjoy!

AutoHTN Home ScreenAutoHTN Lights Screen

Ultimate Connection Diagram in Spanish

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Jul 22 2010 09:59 pm

Our ultimate connection diagram was translated to Spanish by Tecnomania. Take a look here:

http://www.tecnomania.mx/2010/07/como-conectar-tu-casa-con-un-ht.html

Why Tiered Data Plans Are Bad For Customers

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Jul 06 2010 01:17 am

screwed Enjoying the new FaceTime feature on your iPhone? You might not be soon when you realize how much bandwidth it uses. Tiered plans are going to force us to limit how we use our smartphones. I just checked my data usage, and I have downloaded over 1 GB of data in the last two weeks. Granted, my increased usage is due to steaming World Cup video along with  the new Android Sirius app, but why should I be forced to watch my data usage? As a customer, I enjoy the freedom in using my smartphone anyway I like.

AT&T started the unfortunate trend of service providers forcing tiered plans. AT&T’s new tiered plan offer 200MB per month for $15 and 2GB for $25. Verizon is rumored to be next. AT&T’s argument is that their new data plans offer choices for customers. I would buy that argument if they offered cheaper plans along with the unlimited data plan. However, AT&T took the unlimited option away from customers. If AT&T wanted to give users more Options, then why did they take away the unlimited option?

The timing for tiered plans is also odd with new 4G networks already in use. Sprint had its 4G network available and Verizon’s LTE network will be available at the end of the year. The new 4G networks offer up to 12 mbps data rates, which are faster than my cable modem. Offering faster speeds finally allows quality video streaming, but video eats up data. Restricting data usage while at the same time offering faster data rates is simply a ploy for service providers to make more money.

Innovation will also suffer as customers watch their wallets and how much they downloaded. Hulu just announced an app for iPhone and  iPad. The increased costs of the tiered data plans will stop people from using Hulu along with other steaming intensive apps. Slingbox, FaceTime, Skype, MobiTV, Ustream, Qik, YouTube, and audio steaming apps such as Pandora and Sirius will see less usage.

As tiered plans take over, expect your browsing and steaming freedoms to go away. Expect to start asking if you really want to use this app because you’re close to your data cap. Here’s hoping Sprint, T-mobile, and other service providers don’t follow AT&T’s path.

Blockbuster Keeps Sending Me Movies The Day They Come Out

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Jun 23 2010 11:56 pm

green_zoneI know Netflix gets all the praise on the internet, but I have to give Blockbuster some credit too. This week, Blockbuster is sending me the blu-ray version of Green Zone and She’s Out of My League. When I was a Netflix subscriber, I never got a blu-ray movie the day it came out. In fact, I would be happy if I got a movie within a month of it coming out.

Blockbuster regularly ships me blu-ray movies the day they come out. Last week, I got Alice and Wonderland the day  it came out along with Shutter Island. Meanwhile, Netflix subscribers are still waiting the mandatory month Netflix agreed with the movie studios. On top of that, they will likely wait weeks until the movies are available while paying extra for blu-rays too.

I do miss the internet streaming Netflix provides, but I  rather watch movies I want to see. Also, there are enough shows and movies on my DVR along with Hulu to keep me busy for weeks. Internet steaming will take over one day, but that day is not now. Right now, I want blu-ray movies the day they come out, and only Blockbuster provides that.

HTPCs and Google TV

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
May 23 2010 12:41 pm

google-tvTaking a look at our 25 ways to use a HTPC, we counted at least 10 ways Google TV could be used as an HTPC. However, use as a DVD, Blu-ray or HD DVD player is probably a no-go. File management wasn’t mentioned at the demo so it’s unclear if we could store all of our music, pictures, or data on a Google TV equipped box. Attaching cameras and other portable electronics is also probably not going to happen anytime soon as Android drivers would have to be developed.

Google TV is going to excel with internet video streaming and its apps. YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and hopefully Hulu are easy-to-use with Google’s search bar. Home automation apps (AutoHTN included!) will be developed and will make controlling your home user-friendly. New games could also give the Wii a run for its money.

Google TV Initial Impressions and Questions

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
May 21 2010 05:23 pm

google_tv_adThe initial demos shown of Google TV looked impressive. We’re big fans of Android so merging Android with our HDTV could finally bring a form of HTPCs to the mass market. Using voice recognition on a Smartphone to search the DVR, guide, or web will be useful along with the 50,000-plus apps available in the Android market.

However, we do have questions such as will non-Dish subscribers find Google TV useful? The integration with the Dish Network guide looked easy-to-use, but what about cable or Direct TV subscribers? As the demo presenter mentioned, users shouldn’t have to hit the input button on the remote control or they will lose 80% of the customers. If my cable box’s guide isn’t integrated, then I’m going to have to hit the input button and the seamless integration is lost.

We also are unsure about connection issues due to HDMI and its HDCP encryption. I would expect a cable box -> Google TV box -> Receiver -> HDTV video connection for all the people who can’t afford or don’t want to purchase a brand new Google TV equipped Sony HDTV. My cable box still has HDCP issues with my receiver about once a week.

I fully expect Google to answer and resolve some of these questions and issues over time. The answer may simply be that Google TV is not meant for HTPCs. Instead it will have to be integrated into DVRs, receivers, or HDTVs. Hopefully, this is not the case as adoption by manufactures or service providers would likely be slow. Google TV looks too impressive to have to wait years for.

Google TV Announced

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
May 21 2010 01:35 pm

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diTpeYoqAhc&feature=player_embedded

Five Reasons Why the iPad won’t be as Successful as the iPhone

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Jan 27 2010 10:01 pm

ipad1. Money. Starting at $499 and up to $830, the iPad is not cheap and the price doesn’t include a $30/month internet service. Getting people to pay for extra internet service with the iPhone was hard enough, but Apple and ATT&T was smart enough to bundle phone service and internet service into one package. The iPad does not have that luxury. Is Apple really expecting millions of people to pay for a $30/month home broadband service, a $20/ month mobile phone internet service, and now an additional $30/month iPad internet service.

2. No background apps. With a tablet like device, people are going to expect to be able to listen to Pandora, check email, and surf the web at the same time. They will be greatly disappointed with the iPad as it can only run one program at once.

3. Typing on the touch screen sucks. We thought the iPad would innovate here, but its keyboard interface is nothing but a bigger version of the iPhone’s keypad.

4. No front side camera, USB ports, memory card slot, or HDMI output. These are basics on the smart phones and net books, so why are they missing from the iPad? The same backlash the HTC xxx got with the 2.5mm headphone size is about to hit Apple. Apple wants its customers to pay for a $30 adaptor so they can plug in an external hard drive. Talk about milking your customers.

5. AT&T. The bogged down network is about get sloooweeeeer.

Ultimate Connection Diagram Updated with Home Automation

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Jul 23 2009 11:04 pm

What could the Ultimate Connection Diagram be without a smart coffee table? Yes, the ultimate connection diagram now has a networked coffee table along with other updates such as iPhones, media extenders, and a Wii. Most notably, we added home automation devices such as light switches, security sensors, wireless cameras, automated blinds, networked thermostat, and a Micasaverde Vera home automation controller.

I have to ask if the connection diagram has become too big and complicated to be useful? I figure people can go to a specific room such as the master bedroom and use that as a smaller example …but let me know. Should we add smaller connection diagrams?

Hulu is Annoying Users

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Jul 01 2009 09:51 pm

Hulu blocked Boxee a few months ago. Now they are blocking PS3 users and windows Mobile users. Why would Hulu block users at the same time they are showing commercial trying to get new users to try the service? The answer is a single word …money.

Hulu has become too successful and is scaring executives, especially the ones at the cable companies. The cable companies subsidize the cost of shows and don’t want to see their investments go for free on the web. People (a small amount) are starting to drop their cable service and purely use the internet to watch video. The result is pressure on Hulu to reduce the quality of their service with shows staying for shorter periods of time. Additionally, they are blocking support for devices like Boxee and PS3.

I don’t believe it’s the Hulu team who wants to block access. They are just feeling the pressure from executives at top. The executives aren’t smart enough to realize it doesn’t matter if people watch their ads on cable or on the internet. It’s all revenue and the revenue is going to disappear if they keep blocking access and disappointing users.

Brand New Home Theater Network Forum Just Launched

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
May 03 2009 11:23 pm

We’re glad to say our brand new home theater network forum is up at HTNforum.com. We tried the “blog post and comments” approach for asking questions and discussing topics at YourHTN.com, but I think the forum approach will make things easier. YourHTN will still be available to members so they can post their HTNs and HTN related news stories. HTNforum will now be part of YourHTN and where members can talk about HTN hardware, setup, and connection details.

Please let us know what you think about HTNforum and how we can improve it. Thanks and enjoy!

Switch out Warner Brother HD DVDs for Blu-ray

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
May 03 2009 12:31 pm

If your HD DVDs are gathering dust in the corner as your Blu-ray collection grows, you now have an option to switch out the HD DVDs for Blu-ray. Although its limited to Warner Brother HD DVDs only, you can switch out HD DVD movies such as Planet Earth, Matrix, Balde Runner, Harry Potter for equal Blu-ray versions. The cost is $6.99 for shipping and $5 per HD DVD. Not bad if you ask me. It might be even worth hunting down some bargain priced HD DVDs for $3 – $4 and paying the $5 to switch them to Blu-ray.

The details are at this Red2Blu link.

Did anyone notice all the movies on Hulu?

By matto @ Mar 01 2009 10:15 pm

I recently became a fan of Hulu when my DVR forgot to record the season premier of 24. Normally there would be a few curse words thrown at the DVR, but I didn’t fret. I knew Hulu had my back. I turned on my HTPC and went to Hulu.com and started watching the first couple episodes of 24.

The quality of Hulu was real good. The streaming version looked like a normal standard def channel on my 42″ HDTV. I didn’t get any glitches either.

While I was on Hulu.com, I noticed all the movies they offer. Not any A-rated movies, but still some B or C rated movies. Requiem for a dream, Jumanji, Liar Liar, Picture Perfect, Karate Kid, Totally Baked… here is the link to the movies.

Pretty smart of Hulu if you ask me. Why not show these movies and make some advertising money off of them.

Further proof that Netflix is in a format war with Blu-ray: My Queue

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Feb 04 2009 10:41 pm

The more I think about it, the more I realize Netflix has taken over the red side (HD DVD) in the format war with Blu-ray. For example, take my queue pictured below:
netflix_queue
Really? Don’t mess with Zohan, which was released over four months ago is just shipping. I just got the new Incredible Hulk after waiting about 4 months too. I regularly have 20 movies in the “short wait” to “very long wait” column. Not only does Netflix charge me extra for getting Blu-ray, they make me wait 4 months to get a Blu-ray movie.

The fact that Netflix charges more and won’t buy enough Blu-ray movies makes me think Netflix is conspiring against Blu-ray. It makes sense if you think about it. Netflix is paying extra for each Blu-ray disc so their business costs have gone up. Netflix is also pushing their streaming service which they spent a large amount of money setting up.

In the end, why would Netflix want Blu-ray to succeed?

Similar Posts:
The New Blue vs Red Format War and Five Reasons Why Blu-ray Will Survive
Blu-ray information

The New Blue vs Red Format War and Five Reasons Why Blu-ray Will Survive

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Feb 03 2009 12:31 am

The New Blue vs Red Format War - Blu-ray vs Netflix

With Netflix recently launching HD streaming through Xbox and other media boxes; the question keeps being asked whether HD streaming will kill Blu-ray. Obstacles exist, but the clear answer is Blu-ray will do just fine.

What’s hurting Blu-ray right now is the high prices for players and the ridiculous prices for movies. Only videophiles will be spending over $300 for a Blu-ray player and over $30 for a Blu-ray movie. The video/audio benefits from Blu-ray don’t warrant the extra expense when compared to a sub $100 upscaling DVD player and a $15 DVD movie.

However, eventually prices for Blu-ray players and movies will drop to DVD levels. It’s all a matter of time. Blu-ray is already feeling the pressure of a doomed format and consequentially $150 Blu-ray players are appearing on store shelves. It could be a year or three years, but eventually prices of Blu-ray and DVDs will match and people will start picking up Blu-rays instead of DVDs.

The reduced prices of HDTVs has caused more and more people to want HD content. HD streaming can and will help fulfill this desire, but not to the point where it will overtake a physical medium. There are five main reasons why:

  1. Look at the history of CD sales vs. downloads. The iPod has been around since 2001. Yet, CDs still out sell digital downloads by a margin of 3 to 1. People simply like having a physical disc.
  2. Music doesn’t take much bandwidth to download, but a HD video does. The internet backbone and the broadband networks aren’t capable of the bandwidth requirements HD video requires. It will be at least five years before the internet backbone can handle mass HD streaming and it brings up the net neutrality question of who will pay for the upgrades.
  3. Speaking of bandwidth, the 1 MB/s HD streaming video doesn’t compare to the 40 MB/s Blu-ray delivers. The differences between the highly compressed video and Blu-ray are easily noticed on larger HDTVs.
  4. As much as we at HomeTheaterNetwork.com love Home Theater Networks, the fact is most people don’t have a network connection available in their home theater room. The new wireless 802.11n standard can handle the bandwidth of HD streaming, but that means everyone will have to upgrade. Also, how may wireless interruptions during a movie are people (especially the wives) willing to take?
  5. All the movie studios are behind Blu-ray and want it to succeed. HD streaming has a larger pirating risk so movie studios will be pushing Blu-ray if they start to see it failing.

The lower quality SD streaming video could be a strong competitor to Blu-ray, but all the issues raised above sill pertain to SD streaming video. Blu-ray survived the HD DVD format war. It will survive the streaming war too.

Blu-ray Information
CNET’s reasons why Blu-ray will succeed
Crunchgear’s counter to CNET’s article

3lions

By 3lions @ Jan 29 2009 08:56 pm

would black be okay to paint the wall behind my 50 inch plasma, i plan on installing ideal-lume ambient lighting as well

HDTV Information Section Updated

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Dec 21 2008 04:14 pm

It’s been awhile since we updated HomeTheaterNetwork’s HDTV section. Some of the HDTV technologies such as SXRD and HD-ILA have stopped production while a couple new ones came into existence. Sony has a produced an 11? OLED TV and Mitsubishi has made a 65? LaserVue HDTV. We added a “Production Update” to each section to let everyone know if the TVs are even being made. Let us know what you think.

Blu-ray and HTPC Update

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Jul 17 2008 09:57 pm

Blu-ray won the format war so it’s time to update the Blu-ray / HD DVD section at HomeTheaterNetwork.com. The section was renamed to just Blu-ray and the following sections were added:

We also updated the HTPC section with a top 25 ways to use a HTPC section.

Stanley Cup TV ratings are way up. Are HDTVs a cause?

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Jun 07 2008 10:46 am

The ratings for game 5 of the Stanley Cup final were up 79% from last year. HDTV sales were up 60% over last year. Is this a coincidence? Probably the increase in TV ratings is due to a more interesting match up between Crosby’s Penguins and Hockey Town’s Redwings, but I would speculate that a portion of the increased ratings is due to increased amount of HDTV owners.

HDTVs are perfect for watching hockey games as the wide screen format better fits the size of an ice hockey rink. The increased resolution and details makes the small puck visible and easy to find. The increased frame rates in HDTVs also make it easier to follow the 100+ mph slap-shots.Ă‚

New HDTV owners who stumble upon an ice hockey game are seeing the benefit, which is increasing viewership. Along with watching the Discovery HD channel, watching an ice hockey game in HD should be on every new HDTV owner’s to-do list. As more and more people get HDTVs, maybe the puck is too hard to find comments will finally be put to rest.

Home Automated Door Locks and Netflix Streaming Without a HTPC

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
May 20 2008 10:30 pm

Netflix Streaming Without a HTPC
If you don’t have a HTPC and you don’t feel like connecting a laptop to your TV, then Netflix has a new option for you. The Netflix Player is a $99 compact box which allows streaming of Netflix movies and TV shows. Too bad other web streaming services such as Joost, Hulu, and YouTube are not supported.

Home Automated Door Locks
It’s always good to see new home automation product announcements, but this one caught our eye. Schlage introduced Z-Wave door locks which will let people remotely lock and unlock a door. Could be useful if someone forgot a key or to let someone in if no one is home. It’s important to not that Z-Wave does not encrypt their signals so this not a real good way to keep your house secure.

New Home Automation Section at HomeTheaterNetwork.com

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
May 09 2008 07:34 pm

Researching home automation reminded me of how it was when I started researching HDTVs a few years ago. HDTVs have different technologies such as DLP, LCD, Plasma and SXRD just like home automation has different protocols such as Z-Wave, Zigbee, X10, UPB and Insteon. They all have their pluses and minuses so we created a home automation section at HomeTheaterNetwork.com to help out. It could even help out some experts because I heard a lot of false information at the last EHX conference.

AutoHTN Video Demo

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Apr 28 2008 11:27 pm

Below is a video demonstration of AutoHTN:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncdqt-jOux8

AutoHTN – Control Home Automation and Home Theater Network

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Apr 28 2008 03:50 pm

HomeTheaterNetwork.com is our information site, YourHTN.com is our community site, and now we’re adding a way to control a home theater network with AutoHTN. Designed for Google Android mobile phones, AutoHTN can automate and control lighting, security sensors, cameras, electrical outlets, thermostats, streaming video from a HTPC, window blinds, and receivers.

The capability to control a home theater network from an internet capable mobile phone adds a ton of new applications, which could be useful to the average two or three bedroom household. AutoHTN lets a user turn on lights in their house when they get home late, view motion sensor alerts to see if the kids got home from school on time, or view security cameras to make sure the house is safe. These are just a few examples of apps that wouldn’t be convenient if there weren’t on a mobile phone, and could bring home automation to the mainstream.

More information on AutoHTN can be found at our AutoHTN.com site, and more information on how to connect a home automation system can be found at our Home Theater Network site.

AutoHTN Home Screen AutoHTN Lights AutoHTN Security

Ultimate Connection Diagram Update

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Apr 16 2008 09:36 pm

We all know technology changes quickly, which means its time for the ultimate connection diagram to get an update. We would like your suggestions. What are we missing? The obvious missing HTN item to me is the Wii. I don’t know how I missed it since I own one.

We will also be adding home automation devices to the diagram since Home Theater Network is now officially made up of HOME automation, home THEATER and home NETWORK systems.

Electronic Home Expo 2008

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Mar 19 2008 06:12 pm

ehx_2008.jpg

I was lucky enough to attend the Electronic Home Expo (EHX) in Orlando this past weekend. The conference is a dream come true for anyone who is a fan of home theater networks. Home automation and video/audio streaming devices of all price ranges were demonstrated and displayed. Albeit, most of the price ranges were in the high end and something the average middle class person can’t afford.

Here’s a list of my notable highlights from EHX:

  1. ControlWare software from Superna was really easy to use and could control multiple home automation protocols. Not to expensive either.
  2. The Z-wave Alliance demo room showed off different manufacture’s devices all working together. Some of the other protocols, such as Zigbee are having big problems with interoperability.
  3. PMC demo speakers, which cost $120,000 just for the left and right pair. Although a little pricey, the trailer for 300 never sounded so good.
  4. Niveus and other HTPC manufactures were showing off their products. Some included CableCard support.
  5. Window’s MCE plug-ins were everywhere so it was nice to see Pluto-CI demoing LinuxMCE.
  6. Multiple companies showed off their home automation system and how it can be controlled by an HTPC.

HTPC vs PC, Top 10 Differences

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Nov 12 2007 08:54 pm

Our information site, HomeTheaterNetwork.com, has updated its HTPC section to include the top 10 differences between a Home Theater PC (HTPC) and a regular PC. The link above has all the details, but here is a quick list:

  1. Case Design
  2. Loudness Factor
  3. Software
  4. Video Outputs
  5. Audio Outputs
  6. Network Connections
  7. HDTV Capture Cards
  8. CPU
  9. Storage Space
  10. Media Ports

HTN News – No Super 360, HTPC Evolution, Home Server, Android

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Nov 06 2007 10:35 pm

Toshiba denies Xbox 360 with built-in HD DVD Rumors
It was rumored that Toshiba was working with Microsoft on a Super 360 with built-in HD DVD player, HDTV tuners, larger hard drive, and MCE. That was until Toshiba shot the rumor down.

Top 10 Steps in HTPC Evolution
How the HTPC came to be… includes cases, HDTVs, capture cards, and TiVos … yep, TiVos.

Windows Home Server Available
Not sure if it’s worth the extra money, but Home Server is available. It has automatic backup capabilities, Windows Live IP address to access the server remotely, and monitors the health of other computers on the network

Analysis: Google’s Android Phone and the Four Carriers
Analysis on why Verizon and AT&T have yet to join Google’s Open Handset Alliance, and why they will eventually.

HTN News – HTPC building tips, PS3 with a Tuner, and a Retro Interview

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Aug 26 2007 07:22 pm

HomeTheaterBlogs Tips on Building a HTPC
Includes 5 tips on how to build a Media Center PC, a.k.a HTPC. The tips are centered for non-techies, and more how to build a PC orientated than HTPC orientated.Ă‚

PS3 to Launch with TV tuner in Europe
PS3s will be able to record live HDTV with its dual tuners. However, it looks like its going to be broadcast signals only as Cable Cards inputs weren’t mentioned. The new PS3s will be released in 2008.Â

Microsofts Media Center Interview
It’s fun to go retro sometimes and read interviews from the past. This one interviews a few Microsoft guys on the future of Media Center PCs. The interview took place in early 2005.

HTN news – Xohm, LCD continued domination over Plasma, WiMax vs. 802.11n

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Aug 16 2007 08:58 pm

Sprints WiMAX called Xohm
Could download speeds of 1.5 to 3.0 Mb/s cause users to drop their DSL and cables modems? Sprints Xohm will launch in Chicago and Baltimore by the end of the year and nationwide in 2008.

HDTV Technology Predictions
Reports are saying LCD will dominate HDTV technology for the next 5 years. Overall projections show HDTVs shipments to grow globally from 68 million units in 2006 to over 144 million by 2011.Ă‚

WiMax vs. 802.11n
Story comparing the benefits of WiMax and how they compare to 802.11n.

HTN news – Time Warner DVR, Dish HD channels, HTPC Aquarium

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Aug 15 2007 10:31 pm

Time Warner to Record Shows For Users with No Cost
Of course there is a catch. Users won’t be able to fast forward through the commercials. However, it is free and users won’t have to remember to record shows anymore. Sound like a good backup system if you missed a show. Also, this will be competition to the video streaming websites that television networks plan on releasing. The service is called Look Back and Time Warner plans on testing it in South Carolina this October. 

Dish Network Launches 6 new HD channels
Discovery HD, TLC HD, Animal Planet HD and The Science Channel HD, MHD, and GolfHD were launched by Dish Network. 

Is it an HTPC or is it an Aquarium?
Steps on how to build a HTPC into an aquarium. High WAF!

Home Theater in a Basement

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Jul 20 2007 05:40 pm

httpv://youtube.com/watch?v=nrzuMOS3IAE

HTNnews – E307, iPhone launch, DirecTVs new satellite, PS3 price drop

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Jul 12 2007 09:49 pm

Now that I’m back from vacation, here is some of the HTN news I missed over the past two weeks:

E307 Kicks Off
See all the new game trailers and console announcements.

Apple sells over 700,000 iPhones in 3 days
Goldman Sachs said shoppers bought as many as 700,000 iPhones in the weekend after the June 29 debut in the U.S.

DirecTV launches new HD satellite
DirecTVs new satellite is expected to add up to 100 new HD channels some time at the end of this year.

Sony drops PS3 price
Feeling pressure, Sony dropped the PS3 price from $600 to $500. Microsoft has announced they will not be dropping Xbox 360′s price.

HTNnews – iPhones release date, ubuntuPS3, and MLB backing off of Sling

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Jun 04 2007 06:36 pm

iPhone gets a launch date
According to the TV commercial on apple.com, the iPhone is set to launch on June 29. The commercials are pretty good, and give examples on how to use the iPhone.

Ubuntu on a PS3
You can now install a PS3 version of Ubuntu.

MLB backs off of Sling
According to EngadgetHD, Major League Baseball is backing off from suing Sling Media. Previously, Michael Mellis, Senior VP and general counsel of MLB Advanced Media’s offices stated “Slingbox allows viewers to circumvent geographical boundaries written into broadcast rights deals,” and was threatening to sue Sling Media.

The Stanley Cup Finals in SD, What is the NHL Thinking?

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
May 30 2007 06:33 pm

Hockey has never been a television friendly sport, and its dismal TV ratings prove the NHL has a long way to go. Most fans will agree that seeing a NHL game live doesn’t even come close to watching a game on TV. However, the increasing amount of HDTVs in people’s homes could increase the NHL’s TV viewership. In fact, high def technology is going to benefit hockey more than any other sport.

Hockey is just to fast a sport for standard def video. For example, I was watching a game on standard def recently where a player took a slap shot and hit the post. Even, when the network replayed the shot in slow motion, I still could not see the puck hit the post. Any casual fan would get frustrated with the quality and change the channel.

Slap shots can reach over 100 mph. A 1080p HD feed will double the frame rate and increase the resolution of the puck four times if interlacing is taken into account. Also, the shape of a rink is perfect for a widescreen TV. The pictures below are a good example of how much clearer and sharper HD video is over SD video.

Watching a hockey game in SD is almost unbearable after watching a game in HD. The Stanley Cup finals are on VS, which are carrying a HD feed on VSGLF HD. The problem is barely anyone gets VSGLF HD, so everyone is stuck watching the game in SD. The NHL should be smart enough to realize the importance of showing the Stanley Cup finals in HD on an easily assessable channel. Until then, the NHL’s TV ratings will continue to suffer.

H
D

HD vs. SD Examples:

Winter Olympics

Speed Skating: Ex1, Ex2, Ex3, Ex4, Ex5
Figure Skating: Ex1, Ex2, Ex3
Downhill: Ex1, Ex2, Ex3, Ex4
Ice Hockey: Ex1, Ex2, Ex3, Ex4


Football

Super Bowl XL: Ex1, Ex2, Ex3, Ex4, Ex5
Monday Night: Ex1, Ex2, Ex3
USC vs. Texas: Ex1, Ex2, Ex3, Ex4


Popular Shows

Lost: Ex1, Ex2, Ex3
American Idol: Ex1, Ex2, Ex3, Ex4, Ex5
Grey’s Anatomy: Ex1, Ex2, Ex3, Ex4, Ex5

S
D

yourHTN on Slashdot Review News

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
May 27 2007 12:37 am

Our 2008 – The Year Internet TV Became Mainstream post was on Slashdot a few days go, and is also the first topic discussed in Slashdot review news.

Link to the podcast
Link to the Slashdot post

HTNnews – FiOS GUI, Vista HTPC with cable card, 80GB PS3, SED news

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
May 22 2007 07:37 pm

Verizon Launches Updated FiOS Interactive Media Guide
Finally a GUI that can rival TiVo. The new GUI is launching in Fort Wayne, IN, and will be rolled to everyone else during the summer.

Vista Media Center and Cable Card
Video showing the capabilities of a Vista media center HTPC. The HTPC has two cable cards for recording/viewing and can also record over-the-air shows. The video shows how you can watch a previously recorded show as well as record 2 cable card shows and 1 over-the-air show. 

80GB Sony PS3 set to launch in South Korea
The PS3 will launch in South Korea with 20 GB more than the North American, Japanese, and European models. The PS3 will not have the emotion engine, which could cause some backswords compatibility issues. 

Latest SED news
Unfortunaly, the only SED news lately has been focused on legal side instead of the technology side. Nano-Proprietary, Inc. owns SED technology patents and sued Canon for sharing the technology with Toshiba. An American court awarded Nano-Proprietary, Inc. $5.5 million, and the termination of its Canon contract. Nano-Proprietary can now sign an exclusive SED technology royalty contract with other companies like Samsung.

2008 – The Year Internet TV Became Mainstream

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
May 17 2007 10:04 pm
Joost on a HDTV

Will 2008 be the year we can finally drop our expensive cable bills? It’s sure looking like it with Joost constantly adding content, ABC announcing it will stream shows in HD, and media boxes such as the Apple TV becoming popular. Television networks finally seem willing and ready to distribute their shows on the web, and hardware manufactures are finally making easy-to-use media boxes that will bring the web to the living room.

Google’s purchase of YouTube for $1.65 billion made YouTube a household name. The large deal also brought internet video into the mainstream. While YouTube is great for everyday people sharing their videos, its low quality stops it from streaming broadcast quality TV shows. Joost gets around the low quality and low bandwidth issues by using a peer-to-peer (P2P) network structure. Once the user base is large enough, the P2P network should lower Joost’s server costs and allow it to stream HD video.

Now that video content is available online and in broadcast quality, how are people going to bring it to their living room TVs? The answer is found in media boxes such as Apple TV, Netgear’s Digital Entertainer HD, and the Home Theater PC (HTPC). Apple TV and Netgear media boxes make it easy for the average Joe to form a home theater network between their TVs and computers. More tech-savy users can connect a PC to their TVs since new HDTVs come with VGA or component inputs.

The content is there, and the hardware is there. The year 2008 might just be the year people start dropping their expensive cable bills and start watching TV through the internet.

Similar Posts:

Joost on a HDTV With Pictures

HTNnews – 802.11n, PDA phones display on TV, ABC to stream HD

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
May 17 2007 08:07 pm

Next Generation 802.11n routers coming this summer
Even though the 802.11n standard won’t be finalized till 2009, manufactures are releasing their new 802.11n networking device this summer. According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, certified Draft N items from different vendors are guaranteed to work together and to work with older certified Wi-Fi products.

The PDA phone is your next PC
Microsoft is working on a research project that would allow a PDA phone to diplay directly to a TV. Microsoft Research chief Craig Mundie said that Microsoft has a research project called “Fone+” that would allow the phone to work with a TV as a secondary display, and one that could allow video stored on the device to be played back on the television

ABC to stream HD video
ABC network said it will launch a beta-test in early July of a broadband “HD channel” on ABC.com that will provide a limited number of primetime shows such as “Lost” and “Grey’s Anatomy” in the same 720-line progressive HD (1280 x 720 resolution) format

HTNnews – patent trolling by Microsoft, HD broadcast on a HTPC, iTunes Video

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
May 14 2007 04:44 pm

Microsoft says free software (i.e. Linux) violates its patents
According to Microsoft, free software such as Linux violates more than 200 of its patents, and is the reason why the software is such of high quality. Microsoft is asking for compensation with royalties. Is Microsoft turning into a patent troll company?

Patent troll company may force cable providers to stop distributing HDTV signals
Keeping with the patent troll theme, a company called Rembrandt is going after Cox, Time Warner, Comcast, and Cable Vision saying they are infringing on their patents. They claim their patents include reception and transmission of signals based on U.S. digital HDTV standards. The worst case scenario would be a judge requiring cable companies to shut down their HD signals.

Tips on how to receive over-the-air HD broadcasts for a HTPC
Tips include an HDTV antenna recommendation, tuner card purchase, and different software packages.

Home Theater Network launches PDAphoneControl.com
The yourHTN community has added PDAphoneControl.com where users can post their PDA phone experiences. The site will be focused on the all-in-one PDA phone and different ways to use and control it. New and upcoming PDA phone models will be posted here too.

Study predicts iTunes video will peak this year and then fizzle out
A study by Forrester research predicts that free video distribution sites such as Joost and Youtube will reduce iTune’s video customers. Makes sense, why would people pay $2 for an episode of Lost when they can watch it for free.

Home Theater Network Launches PDAphoneControl.com

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
May 13 2007 10:35 pm

PDAs, portable gaming, phones, cameras, iPODs, GPS navigators, portable TVs, video cameras, and even remote controls have all merged into one device called the PDA phone. PDAphoneControl.com focuses on this all-in-one device, and all the ways you can use, modify, and control a PDA phone.

As part of the yourHTN.com community, users can post their PDA phone experiences to PDAphoneControl.com. Whether it’s watching your Slingbox, controlling your home theater, or just listening to music; let us know how you use your PDA phone.

HTNnews – DirecTV satellites, DVD encryption, HTPC reasons, and more

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
May 11 2007 03:38 pm

News of the week:

DirecTV’s newest satellite set to launch
Story on DirecTV’s plan to launch 2 more HD satellites this summer. Satellites should help DirecTV meet its 100 HD channel goal.

DVDs to come with built-in hardware encryption?
A couple companies are making chips smaller than the head of a pin to be placed on DVDs. The chips would make a DVD unplayable until activated at the cashier register. This won’t stop DVD piracy, but could stop theft.

Top 5 Reasons to use a HTPC instead of a Cable DVR
Title says it all. Includes five reasons on why to use a HTPC DVR including expandability and having control of the content

Home Theater Network launches yourHTN.com
The site you’re on right now launches. Hopefully, yourHTN will help people connect their home theater networks properly.

Slingbox and EV-DO replace expensive satellite feeds
A San Francisco based news station is using a Slingbox and a cell phone with EV-DO service to transmit video. This could one day make satellite feeds obsolete.

Home Theater Network Officially Launches the yourHTN Community

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
May 08 2007 10:42 pm

It took a while, but yourHTN.com has now officially launched. Part of the Home Theater Network “network” of sites, yourHTN.com is a community site where all posts are published from HTNnews.com, HTNquestions.com, HTPCnetwork.com, and from each user’s HTN page. Users who register will get their own HTN page where they can post pictures and describe their home theater network.

The goal of yourHTN.com is to create a home theater network community and to help people connect their HTN correctly. We think the best way to learn how to connect a home theater network is by seeing other users’ examples. Questions on how to connect a HTN can be asked at HTNquestions.com while news on the latest home theater network equipment will be at HTNnews.com. HomeTheaterNetwork.com provides a connection diagram illustrating how to connect a home theater to a home network, and HTPCnetwork.com provides details on how to connect and use a HTPC.

We plan on growing by adding new sites such as HDprovider.com, Xbox360Vista.com, and PDAphoneControl.com. We hope you enjoy, and find yourHTN.com useful.

More information:

HDTV under a bed

By zztop12 @ May 06 2007 06:36 pm

[video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wGqAPdD_E0[/video]

I’m not sure why you would want to hide a nice HDTV like that under a bed, but what a crazy setup.

Your First Home Theater Network

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Apr 24 2007 07:59 pm

Only a few years ago, home theaters consisted of large tube-based TVs, VCRs, and stereos with two speakers. Today, home theaters consist of flat-panel HDTVs, receivers, surround sound speakers, DVD players, and more. So what components will make up the home theater of tomorrow? Audio, video, and data distribution will be key to any future home theater, which will soon morph into a home theater network.

Today’s home theater is limited to a single room. For example, a show recorded on a DVR can only be viewed on the TV to which the DVR is connected; music heard from the speakers of a home theater can only be heard in the room in which the speakers are placed. However, by establishing a home theater network, owners expand the capabilities of their home theater by creating a system capable of sending a recorded TV show to any bedroom, or playing music on speakers throughout the property.

The equipment needed to change a home theater into a home theater network includes a router, receiver, and a home theater PC (HTPC). The router distributes data and allows Ethernet-capable devices in a home theater to connect to the Internet and a home network. The receiver distributes audio and video from a home theater to multiple rooms. Note, the simple 5.1 surround sound receivers of today are not capable of this function. Newer receivers with multiple-zone outputs will be necessary for a home theater network. Finally, the HTPC functions as a source for audio, video, and data. For example, the HTPC can be used as a central server where an owner can save all of his music, video, pictures, and data. An HTPC also has the ability to serve as a DVR, and record TV shows. Since the HTPC is a computer, its capabilities are essentially endless.

As prices drop, more people are trading in their large, tube-based TVs and stereos for thin, high-definition TVs and multi-zone output receivers. Also, more people are building home networks with their laptops and multiple computers. The merging of the home theater and home network into a home theater network will arrive in the not–to-distant future. Your first home theater network lies just around the corner.

Three Ingredients to a Home Theater Network

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Apr 24 2007 07:45 pm

You’ve added a HDTV, surround sound speakers, and a DVD player to your home theater, but do you still have an empty taste in your mouth? Something missing like whole-house audio/video distribution, or easy access to all of your data? This craving can be satisfied by adding a few extra ingredients to your home theater. A receiver, wireless router, and a home theater PC (HTPC) will turn your home theater into a home theater network.

A home theater network is the idea that all in-house audio, video, and data distribution should be centered around the home theater. Adding a receiver, router, and a HTPC to your home theater system will allow them to work together and distribute movies, pictures, music, documents, and more throughout the house.

The first ingredient of a home theater network is a receiver. A multi-zone receiver has the ability to transfer audio/video from the home theater to another room. Audio/video distribution can be very useful if you are watching a DVR-saved TV show in your home theater, and you decide to finish watching the TV show in your bedroom. A click of a button on the receiver will transfer the TV show to your bedroom where you can finish watching in bed. A click of a button can also take the audio of a football game, or any music, and send it over to the speakers on the porch.

The second ingredient in a home theater network is the wireless router. A router can be placed anywhere in a house, but you might find it convenient to locate it with your home theater system. The multiple Ethernet inputs of a router can be used for game consoles, PCs, or DVRs. Also, the central location of most home theater rooms makes them an ideal location to distribute a router’s wireless signal.

Now that you can distribute audio/video with a receiver and data with a wireless router, you need an audio/video/data source. This is where the HTPC comes along as the final ingredient to your home theater network. Being a computer, the HTPC has an almost unlimited amount of abilities. Besides the basic tasks like surfing the web (with the HDTV as a monitor), the HTPC can store all your videos, music, pictures, documents, and more. This will give all the computers, laptops, and PDA phones in your house easy access to your data. The HTPC also has the processing power to be an upscaling DVD player, or a high-definition gaming console.

All three ingredients of a home theater network will morph your home theater into a audio/video/data distribution center. The central location of a home theater system creates an ideal location to add a receiver, router, and HTPC. Adding these three ingredients to a home theater will help you cook-up a home theater network.

The Future of HDTV???

By mrHTN – HTN Guru from Orlando, FL
Apr 15 2007 10:35 pm

Sony shows off OLED technology. OLED HDTVs should be out later this year.
[video]http://youtube.com/watch?v=1buy3N_Fvsg[/video]

[video]http://youtube.com/watch?v=C-z_Kq_2aiI[/video]

More information on OLED technology