Tag Archives: mkv

VLC Player in approval phase for iPad…Finger crossed for MKV and DIVX/XVID support

That is true, folks. VLC Player for iPad development was completed and the application is heading toward your beloved iPad (that is if Apple will approve it). VLC Player is famous for its extended CODEC support in a stark contrast with iOS which is (in)famous for their lack of…According with Appadvice VLC Player does a pretty good job at playing DIVX / XVID files, but since the decoding is performed in software, HiDef files don’t play very smooth…Oh well, maybe the next version will get some hardware acceleration love, if Apple feels like it.

Boxee Box Media Streamer will ship in November 2010 for $200

In a response to Apple TV announcement, Boxee’s Avner Ronen tried to make a case of why we need to send our money to him instead of Steve, and also let it slip that the box will ship in November for $200. Among the arguments, the strongest one seems to be the openness of the Boxee Box, presumably everybody will have access to the source code and be able to write applications. If this is true remains to be seen, but I was using Boxee (the software version) for quite a while and it is gorgeous, simple and usable. It has way more applications available than Apple TV and very important for some, it plays everything available on your home network. At least for me, having Pandora, Digg, Revision 3, Last.fm and MKV/DIVX support over the network more than makes up for the price difference. And let’s not forget the keyboard remote and 1080p support (Apple TV is limited at 720p)

Netgear unleashes NeoTV 550 and NeoTV 350 in the crowded media streamers market

In a move that places them in direct competition with Western Digital’s WD TV Live Plus and Viewsonic VMP75 (both reviewed by ReviewHorizon), Netgear unveils their latest media players/media streamers NeoTV 550 (NTV 550) and NeoTV 350 (NTV350). Both models have similar functionality, the only difference is the lack of an eSATA port and a cheaper remote for the 350 model. Both models are able to play Blu-ray discs from an external USB or eSata player and have an above average media sorting capability. Unfortunately neither model implements Netflix clients which makes you wonder what the Netgear designers were thinking. We know what happened with the Popbox media streamer launch…Check after the break for the technical specs, supported codec list and photo gallery.

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Western Digital WD TV Live Plus 1080p Media Player/Streamer Review

1. Introduction

I am using a Windows Media Center HTPC in living-room, where my main home theater system resides, but I wanted to be able to access Netflix/home network content in the bedroom as well, and, due to obvious reasons a full featured PC didn’t quite cut it (noise, form factor, etc). I just wanted something simple, low power and fast to boot, something that my wife will also enjoy. I was familiar with Western Digital’s line of media streamers, but they only supported Netflix via DLNA, when combined with something like PlayOn. Not user friendly enough. Then, the big day has come and WD released their WD TV Live Plus media streamer finally including  Netflix. (Netflix is now what mp3 used to be a while ago, a must have for everything that connects to the TV – Blu-ray players, media streamers, etc) Read More…

Top connected DVD/Blu-ray players of 2010 – a buyer’s guide

In case you haven’t heard, Blu-ray won the format war and the prices are finally at the level where everybody should be able to afford them. Streaming movies becomes increasingly popular and the mighty NETFLIX appears on more and more connected devices. Today, we will take a look at the latest and greatest mainstream connected Blu-ray players from major manufacturers as LG, Samsung, Panasonic and Sony.

Before going into details, we’ll talk a little bit more about what a connected device is and what you need to take full advantage of its full functionality.

As more and more entertainment Internet services started to get popular, and I am talking about movie/music streaming and pictures, a lot of people figured it out that it makes a lot of sense if they somehow can be integrated in the home theater systems. At the beginning, the most technologically gifted consumers used HTPC (and they still do) but having a PC in the living room is not for everybody. A lot of media streaming doesn’t require a lot of tinkering and configurations so the big electronics manufacturers  looked to embed various clients into their connected Blu-ray players or TV lines. The first big company to push for such clients was, you guessed, NETFLIX. The first NETFLIX set-top-box was provided by Roku, and made history, but Read More…

How to watch and organize your movies – Media Browser, the best 7MC plug-in


I promised an in-depth look of the mediabrowser plug-in for Windows Media Center and I am ready to deliver. My experience with mediabrowser started more than a year ago after I built my first Home Theater PC (HTPC). I used for a while the Movie Library provided as default, but something was lacking. After a while, I installed My Movies but it just wasn’t reliable enough for my configuration. I store all my movies on a central server and , My Movies client just didn’t work properly. So I looked around some more and found mediabrowser, a plug-in which at the time wasn’t as mature as My Movies but worked better for my configuration.

I will start describing mediabrowser by using it’s authors own words:

Formerly known as Video Browser, Media Browser is a personal media aggregator that takes your recorded, digital, or ripped media and presents it in a simple, easy to use interface. Media Browser prides itself on delivering a fast, intuitive, media rich experience for the whole family.


My Home Theater PC Story – The software – Windows Media Center

I promised to blog about my HTPC software configuration, so here it is:

As we all know, nothing works anymore without software, as buggy and inefficient some of it it.  But I am here now, to talk a little bit about that software used specifically for entertainment. I was always a fan of Windows Media Center, starting with its earliest incarnations inside Windows XP, but we have come a long way since then…not necessarily in terms of what is offered out of the box (although Netflix and Internet TV integration are something to write home about), but especially in terms of plug-ins.

Talking about plug-ins, as a personal opinion, we would see way more if Microsoft would move their corporate might and create a Marketplace for Media Center, but it may be that WMC did not penetrate in terms of usage as much as an iPhone would do, and probably never will. It is just us, the technology aficionados…

OK, enough ranting. I will start by saying that I don’t use WMC for watching TV, so no TV tuners are involved. For TV, I have a VIP 722 Dish Network DVR that serves me well. And, when VIP 922 will come, I will get that as well. My current software configuration is oriented around consuming the media I already have (my legal purchased DVDs stored on a server for convenience), my music, family movies and pictures and access to any media available online (HULU, YouTube and Netflix mostly). Lately, I found WMC plug-ins to access Facebook pictures as well, so life is pretty good.

Here is a brief description:

Operating System – Windows 7 Home Premium, 32bit. The reason for choosing 32bit instead of 64bit is due to compatibility issues many of the plug-ins still have with 32bit. Because I don’t have that much time to tinker around, I choose the safe path.

Windows 7 Codecs – Windows 7 codec pack offered by Shark007. Nothing else! Shark007 covers everything I need in terms of codecs, from DIVX to MKV containers with H264 and DTS, including the dreaded MOV format from some of the current digital cameras. I never found any format that this plug-in pack won’t play. Alternative hardware accelerated (DXVA) H264 codecs are also provided to be used by all players.


Media aggregatormediabrowser is by far the best (in my opinion) plugin for WMC. It takes your recorded, digital or ripped media and presents it in several absolutely Read More…

My Home Theater PC Story – The hardware


I like to have everything at a finger’s touch so I started to build a home theater system more than a year ago. Since then the system went through several upgrades, both hardware and software but functionality is the same: To provide me with easy access to my movie library and also with TV access to continuously growing offer of digital media available online.

My main goals for a Home Theater PC were the following:


1. Good looking case that would integrate easily with my other components

2. Able to play everything there is (and that includes 1080p stuff). As simple as that.

3. Low noise level

4.Reasonable price (under $1000)

5.Fast boot time

6.Remote control capability


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My Home Theater System

I built myself a really nice Home Theater System around my LG 60PS80 Plasma TV, VSX82-TXS Pioneer Receiver and a custom build HTPC. I will add more details in the following days, when I’ll begin a new series related to Windows 7 Media Center (7MC) and various available plug-ins. Stay tuned. Meantime, enjoy these pictures.