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Archive | January 7, 2011

Dish Network ends ABSOLUTE HD plan, customers will move by month’s end to America’s Top 200 and throws Platinum HD free for 12 months

I was one of the earlier HD Dish Network subscribers and as a result I got a nice package – Dish HD Absolute for a very low price ($29.99 including locals and HD). As some point in the past Dish Network decided Dish HD Absolute includes too many HD channels at a too low price and decided to cancel it for the new subscribers. However, the existing customers were able to keep it.

No anymore! I just got a letter from Dish Network stating that beginning next month Dish HD Absolute will no longer be available even for existing customers and I should call customer service in order to discuss possible other plans.

If I do not call until end of the month, my plan will be converted automatically to America’s Top 200 with HD Platinum  package thrown for free for the next 12 month.

I did call customer service and the closest I could come programming wise to my current lineup is with America’s Top 200 for $54.99 plus HD Platinum (free for 12 months, $10/mo after that) which is quite a big jump. Add to this the VIP 922 fee of $17 / month and it is more than I care to pay for the TV.

Too bad, I loved my Dish HD Absolute plan while it lasted and by the end of the month I’ll cancel my 10 years old Dish network subscription and I’ll switch to online streaming ( I looked for a reason to do that anyway, this change convinced me to do it). Not sure yet what venue I’ll choose but it will probably be a combination of Netflix / VUDU / Hulu Plus or something similar. I own a bunch of media streaming boxes including XBOX 360, Sony PS3, Boxee Box, WD TV Live Plus, Samsung connected Blu-ray player, LG connected TV, HTPC, etc. When I will start switching, I’ll create a blog entry describing my experiences, advantages and shortcomings.

Hauppauge announces an internal 1080i PCI-E HD PVR card with HDMI and component inputs

If you are using a HTPC instead of a dedicated DVR and you never liked the previous external video capture sollution from Hauppauge, you’ll have a nice surprise. The company just released the internal version of their famous HD PVR capture card. The new card named Colossus High Definition H.264 is similar with the external version in functionality recording video in 720p and 1080i formats, natively compatible with Windows Media Center and SageTV 7.x and also adds the capability to capture unencrypted HDMI outputs also up to 1080i.

The board will start shipping by the end of the month and it will cost $159.

This is what is known in terms of technical specs:

Chips:
ViXS XCode-3111, Analog Device ADV7441A and 512MB DDR2 Hynix memory

Supported Video Codec: AVC H.264 up to 1080i
Supported Audio Codecs: AAC, AC3 Read More…

Orb TV converts your old Blu-ray player into a media streamer with Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon VOD, YouTube

From the manufacturers of Orb TV comes a new way to transform your old Blu-ray player into a media player / streamer just by buying a disc and also at a much lower cost. For $19.99 which is pretty much the price of a movie, your connected Blu-ray player transforms into a quite capable media streamer with access to Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video on Demand, Comedy Central, YouTube, etc. You’ll also be able to control the applications using software available on Android smartphones and iPhones.

The shipping date is set to February and you bet we’ll have one for review as soon as possible. Oh, and by the way: Per manufacturer, the software is also compatible with PS3 which is a very capable media streamer device in itself.

Check after the break for the full press release. Read More…

Dish Network Remote Access app for Android gets optimized for tablets, works on Nook Color

More people using tablets, more applications get optimized for them, its that simple. The latest to follow this trend is the free and useful Dish network Remote Access app which, if you have a Sling enabled DVR (I got the VIP 922) allows you to access the guide, DVR recordings and live TV everywhere you are in the world. You can also schedule recordings and use it as a remote control to change channels via Internet and screw up with your family while abroad 😉

The new version of Dish Network Remote Access app also improves the video quality over the previous one and brings a bunch of stability fixes as well. Best of all, it is perfectly compatible with my new rooted Nook COlor (see our full review here, and our how to root tutorial here) and it works rather nice on the train while tethering through iPhone 4 and MyWi.

The application is free and available in Android Market.

Jump after the break for Dish Network’s press release. Read More…