Monday - August 18, 2008

The day the TV died

Yesterday the lamp (bulb) died on my TV. It lasted about 6.5 years so I'm not complaining too much, but I had to order a new one on the internet. Apparently there aren't any stores locally that carry the replacements.

Grrrr, no TV for the next couple days.

Posted by jcraven at 3:33 PM

Friday - April 18, 2008

Free Voltron

Xbox Live Video Marketplace has the first episode of Voltron available for free download. It's one of my favorites from childhood, but I'm not sure how well it holds up after 20 years.

Space Explorers Captured 9/10/1984 23 minutes SD Format: 0
Travel to Planet Arus and uncover the secret of a weapon from ancient times — Voltron! Keith, Lance, Sven, Hunk and Pidge arrive too late, the planet has already been completely devastated by the evil forces of King Zarkon. They engage in battle with Zarkon's general, Yurak, only to be captured and thrown into the dungeons on Planet Doom.

Posted by jcraven at 11:27 AM

Tuesday - February 19, 2008

It's over

Toshiba finally announced that HD DVD is dead. The official announcement is here. /cry

Posted by jcraven at 9:58 AM

Thursday - February 14, 2008

NBC new episodes

Today, NBC announced their plans for new episodes. The good news is that The Office will return in April. The bad news is that Heroes won't be back until the Fall. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Posted by jcraven at 11:24 AM

Wednesday - February 13, 2008


It looks like the WGA strike is over. You can find more details here. So we could see some scripted shows return over the next month or two.

Posted by jcraven at 11:26 AM

Tuesday - January 8, 2008

Death of HD-DVD

Last week, Warner Brothers announced they're moving exclusively to Blu-Ray. Today, it looks like Paramount may be following suit according to the Financial Times. If that happens, Universal will be the sole major studio cranking out HD-DVD movies. Unfortunately, it sounds like it's only a matter of time......

Now, will Microsoft suck it up and make an external Blu-Ray drive for the 360? Time will tell......

UPDATE: Paramount says they're sticking with HD-DVD for the time being.

Posted by jcraven at 10:44 AM | Comments (1)

Thursday - December 27, 2007

Sony kills their RPTV line

According to Reuters, Sony is shutting down their RPTV plants in February.

Personally I think this is a bad move. Sony's RP SXRD sets are some of the best looking TVs on the market and they have a great price compared to the flat panels. Maybe it's time to head to Best Buy and pickup that KDS-R70XBR2. (Or at least keep an eye out for a sweet closeout deal) Just for comparison, the 70" RPTV is about $6K, and the 70" flat panel is a whopping $33K. Sigh......

Posted by jcraven at 10:52 AM

Monday - November 26, 2007

TiVo offers solution for switched digital cable

Press release here.

If you don't know what they're talking about, don't worry. Basically it just keeps your very expensive TiVo Series 3 from becoming obsolete. It doesn't affect me at the moment, but it does leave the door open to me switching to cable if they don't make a TiVo that works with the new MPEG4 satellites.

Posted by jcraven at 4:45 PM

Thursday - November 1, 2007

HD-DVD player for $99

Tomorrow Walmart is offering the Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player for a measly $99. Best Buy has listed the same player for the same price also. This could make the format debate a little interesting. Details here. Overall I'm happy with my HD-DVD 360 add-on, so I have no need for this, but if a Blu-Ray player hits a similar pricepoint I may have to pick it up too. Sadly, the cheapest Blu-Ray player at the moment is still the $399 PS3 (although you can get $100 off if you sign up for a Sony card.)

UPDATE: According to Slickdeals BestBuy for Business has it in stock online.

Posted by jcraven at 7:56 PM

Wednesday - September 26, 2007

DirecTV's new HD channels are live today

Today, DirecTV turned up 21 new national HD channels. They've promised another 79 before years end. Unfortunately, you need an MPEG4 receiver, which excludes my HDTiVo (HR10-250). I'm waiting for some truly compelling stations to hit before I jump over to their current DVR. Either way, it's still a good start.

# A&E (Channel 265)
# Animal Planet (Channel 282)
# Big Ten Network (Channel 220)
# CNN (Channel 202)
# The Discovery Channel (Channel 278)
# The History Channel (Channel 269)
# The Movie Channel East (Channel 544)
# NFL Network (Channel 212)
# Showtime West (Channel 540)
# Showtime too (Channel 538)
# The Smithsonian Channel (Channel 267)
# The Science Channel (Channel 284)
# Starz Comedy (Channel 519)
# Starz East (Channel 522)
# Starz West (Channel 540)
# Starz Edge (Channel 520)
# Starz Kids and Family (Channel 518)
# TBS (Channel 247)
# TLC (Channel 280)
# Versus / The Golf Channel (Channel 604)
# The Weather Channel (Channel 362)

Posted by jcraven at 2:57 PM | Comments (1)

Wednesday - August 1, 2007

DirecTV TiVo owners to get update in early '08


If this is a possible sign of an MPEG4 version of the HD-TiVo coming out for DirecTV, that would be fantastic. Otherwise, this won't really matter much to the TiVo faithful....... If it's just a handful of new features it's a nice thing to have, but won't hold my business for that long.

Posted by jcraven at 3:47 PM

Tuesday - July 24, 2007

He's no Bob

Interesting.....Drew Carey will be the new Price is Right host. Full Story. Seems like a bit of an odd choice, but at least they didn't go with Rosie O'Donnell. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now. I'm also curious if they'll update the set, or leave it the way it's been for 35 years.

Posted by jcraven at 8:39 PM

Wednesday - June 13, 2007

Goodbye Mr. Wizard

Before Bill Nye, there was Mr. Wizard. I remember watching him all the time when I was a kid....

'Mr. Wizard's' Don Herbert Dies

Posted by jcraven at 12:06 PM

Tuesday - May 22, 2007

Heroes season 1

The season finale of Heroes aired last night. I thought it was almost perfectly done. I won't give anything away in case you have it saved on your TiVo, but it does a great job of concluding certain storylines while opening up new ones. Looks like others agree....

Also if you have an Xbox 360, you can pick up some new Heroes gamerpics and a dashboard theme. I changed my picture to the exploding man, which you can see on my gamercard on the main page, or here. If you want to see a preview of the Heroes theme, featuring Isaac's artwork, here you go.

If you didn't catch the series, you can preorder the Season 1 DVD or HD DVD on Amazon. (ships Aug 28th.)

Posted by jcraven at 12:00 PM

Wednesday - April 18, 2007

Planet Earth

If you haven't heard about it, you need to check out the Discovery Channel's Planet Earth mini-series. If you have an HDTV and DiscoveryHD, you'll be absolutely amazed. I'd even watch it in non-HD though. The series is narrated by Sigourney Weaver, and has some of the most breathtaking nature shots I've ever seen. It's amazing that some of the wildlife have never been captured on film before this series. If you don't have DiscoveryHD, you can also get the HD DVD from Amazon (BD and regular DVD also available).

Go watch it now, I promise you won't be disappointed. These 11 parts took over 5 years to film, I just hope we don't have to wait another 5 years for a follow-up.

Posted by jcraven at 10:49 AM

Tuesday - January 16, 2007

Amazing Race All-Stars cast revealed

The full roster of the upcoming Amazing Race All-Stars (aka Season 11) has been released. Highlights include Rob & Amber, and the Beauty Queens, Dustin and Kandice from Season 10. Zap2it has the full list.

Posted by jcraven at 12:18 PM

Monday - September 4, 2006

Crikey - Stingray kills 'Crocodile Hunter' - Sep 4, 2006

Posted by jcraven at 9:29 AM

Thursday - July 20, 2006

Sideshow Bob Wins Emmy

Kelsey Grammer has won his fifth Primetime Emmy Award, and he didn't even have to appear on camera to get it.
Full story.

Posted by jcraven at 1:41 PM

Thursday - April 27, 2006

Beep! Beep!

Ok, I'm sure you've seen the annoying Ford Mustang commercial featuring the song "Beep! Beep!". Well in case you were wondering, the band in the commercial is 13 Stories, and you can listen and view the lyrics to the entire song on their website. For those of you too lazy to click through, here's the excerpt from the commercial:

Do you wanna get in first? Let me know,
Come on and punch it, Beep! Beep! Beep!
Peel out in second, oh no! You love to go Beep! Beep!
Beep! Beep!

I'll sadly admit that the commercial has grown on me, but I still wish they didn't have to show it at every commercial break while watching the hockey games. Either way, I guess Ford's ad agency has succeeded in their evil plan......

Posted by jcraven at 10:50 AM

Wednesday - April 12, 2006

DirecTiVo lives!

According to ExtremeTech, DirecTV and TiVo have extended their contract for another 3 years. I'm hoping this means new TiVo integrated units, not just 3 additional years of 'support'. I'd also like to see a software update for my aging HR10-250, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

Posted by jcraven at 3:39 PM

Monday - March 27, 2006

Black. White. Crap.

Over the weekend, I watched an episode of FX's new show Black. White. I actually had high hopes for this show, but it's amazingly bad. I don't even have the words to describe how bad it sucks. The biggest problem is the Wurgel (white) family. I can't stomach watching them for another minute. The Sparks family is somewhat better though, but the episode I watched only showed them briefly. If you want to watch something that opens your eyes to racism, you would be better off renting Crash.

Posted by jcraven at 10:40 AM

Tuesday - March 21, 2006

Homer Goes Longer!

Yahoo has news that Fox has ordered two more seasons of The Simpsons. Woo-hoo!

Posted by jcraven at 9:55 AM

Thursday - March 2, 2006

Amazing Race 9

Last night, we watched the season premiere of The Amazing Race 9 on CBS. So far, it seems much better than the last installment, where they never left the US. I have a feeling that BJ and Tyler will be the ones to capture all the media attention.

Posted by jcraven at 3:05 PM

Tuesday - January 24, 2006

Merger Mania

In case you missed it, Disney announced it will be buying Pixar for $7.4 billion. Full story here. Ah, this just makes Stevie J that much richer.

Also, UPN and the WB are joining forces to create a single network called CW. Full story here. They're going to keep the popular shows from both networks.

Posted by jcraven at 8:22 PM

Thursday - December 8, 2005

Interview with Michael Cronan, designer and creator of the name "TiVo"

PVRblog has an interview with Michael Cronan. It has some interesting points. I personally think the TiVo name and mascot are nearly perfect. I couldn't imagine calling it a "Bongo" or "Lasso".....

Posted by jcraven at 4:14 PM

Wednesday - November 30, 2005

I love my peanut remote

I'll pay anyone that can figure out a way to program new devices into a standard TiVo peanut remote. I don't care if it's using a 'learning' capability, or even a JP1 interface....just find something. :) Unfortunately there are no codes for one of the TVs in my house, and I love the peanut too much to give it up for any universal remote.

Posted by jcraven at 5:10 PM

TiVo Beta photos

Zatz Not Funny has some interesting pictures of the new TiVo OS that features integration with Yahoo. Get the full story here.

UPDATE: That was quick, these features are now available. Details here.

Posted by jcraven at 10:43 AM

Thursday - November 17, 2005


I guess it's officially the beginning of Winter. With the cold front that moved in last night, they started making snow around 3AM at Appalachian Ski Mountain.

Posted by jcraven at 2:36 PM

Friday - November 11, 2005

Review of the R15 DirecTV DVR

ebonovic has posted a fantastic review of the new R15 'tivo replacement' over at TCF. Includes lots of yummy pictures. Check it out.

Posted by jcraven at 12:26 PM

Thursday - October 20, 2005

Just wrong

The Wall Street Journal has a story here about The Simpsons translation for Arabic TV. The name of the show is "Al Shamshoon", staring Homer (Omar Shamshoon), Bart (Badr Shamshoon), and the rest of the family. Omar no longer eats donuts, bacon, or drinks beer. Although it's a good sign that some Western culture is being spread into non-traditional areas, I'd be curious to hear the general reactions to the show from new viewers, and those familiar with original version.

Posted by jcraven at 6:23 PM

Saturday - September 24, 2005

You can't take the sky from me

Since Lara is out of town, I spent most of today finishing up the Firefly box set. I, like most people, blinked and missed this series when it was originally on Fox. (They did give it a mention in the 2005 season premiere of the Family Guy). If you want to get the full story of the show, and the politics behind it at Fox, check out the Firefly Wiki here. I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi, but this was a great box set, and I'd recommend it to just about anyone. Now, you may or may not have heard, but there's also a movie coming out next weekend called Serenity that is a continuation of the show. Trailer 1 and trailer 2 are available for download. I know there is a strong fanbase of geeks for the series, and I hope that translates into hefty box office receipts so the series can continue in either movie or television form. Finally, you can listen to the catchy theme song here (hopefully it will make it into the movie). Also, a big thanks to Scott for loaning the set to me for several months.

Posted by jcraven at 11:09 PM

Thursday - August 25, 2005

DirecTV's new non-TiVo DVR

Phillip Swann got his hands on one of the new R15 DIRECTV Plus DVR. This is the first non-TiVo DirecTV DVR that will come out in October. It's sad to see TiVo go, but I'm curious to see some of the new features.

Posted by jcraven at 12:23 PM

Tuesday - August 23, 2005

Rescue Me picked up for a 3rd season

I always like to see my favorite shows get renewals. This time, it's Resue Me. Full story. If you haven't checked it out, go rent the Season 1 DVD. I think it's one of the best dramas on TV right now.

Posted by jcraven at 5:11 PM | Comments (1)

Friday - August 19, 2005

Power Ranger faces murder charge


Orange County Superior Court Judge John Conley ordered 26-year-old Skylar Deleon, who once starred in the "Power Rangers" TV series, and his wife, 24-year-old Jennifer Henderson Deleon, to stand trial for the murders after a two-day preliminary hearing in Santa Ana, south of Los Angeles. Full story.

Posted by jcraven at 3:11 PM

Thursday - August 18, 2005

Mystery solved

OK, if you are under 30, you have probably been wondering who that old guy is in the Chrysler commercials. Turns out it's Lee Iacocca. Now on paper, this might have seemed like a good idea, but I think there's a huge population of viewers that have no idea who he is. Apparently, others agree here and here.

Posted by jcraven at 8:35 AM

Friday - August 12, 2005

The votes are in

Big Brother (SPOILER WARNING) revealed the voting results from last week. Kaysar won an amazing 83% of the vote, so he's back in the house. I'm glad the rest of America finds Eric annoying too. Hopefully someone on that side of the house wins HOH, so they can put up Maggie and Ivette.....

Posted by jcraven at 9:28 AM

Thursday - August 11, 2005

TiVo download service

engadget has screenshots of the beta version of TiVo download service here. Yet another feature I'll never see using my DirecTV unit, but still cool.....

Posted by jcraven at 4:01 PM

Friday - August 5, 2005

Vote now

OK, I admit it, I watch Big Brother on CBS. I feel dirty. Regardless, everybody needs to go out to the poll here, and vote for Kaysar so he can return to the show.

Posted by jcraven at 4:33 PM | Comments (1)

NBC finally did something right

According to PVRBlog, NBC will resume airing shows for exactly 30 or 60 minutes. In the past year, they have had shows that start (or end) a couple minutes early (or late). This caused many headaches for the TiVo crowd, including myself. I'm glad they're finally listening to their viewers.

Posted by jcraven at 8:40 AM

Thursday - May 19, 2005

ER season finale

Tonight's season finale of ER will feature the departure of original cast member Noah Wyle. I'm disappointed to see him go, but I'm sure he'll do well with his career. This may bring about rumors of the demise of the show, but I personally think this season has been one of the strongest in recent memory.

Posted by jcraven at 9:58 AM

Monday - May 16, 2005

Waste of time

We spent all night watching the season finale of The Bachelor on ABC. I have no idea why the damn thing had to last 3 hours. Even fast forwarding through the commercials and some of the fluff didn't help dull the pain. Oh well, I guess I'm glad Sarah B. won. I'm more glad that I don't have to watch it for at least a couple months.

Posted by jcraven at 10:52 PM

Monday - May 2, 2005

Family Guy returns

We watched the season premier of Family Guy last night. Overall, one of their better episodes. The lead-in was great.

"Everybody I've got bad news. We been cancelled."

"Oh no! Peter, how could they do that?"

"Well, unfortunately Lois, there's just no more room on the schedule. We just have to accept the fact that Fox has to make room for terrific shows like Dark Angel, Titus, Undeclared, Action, That 80's Show, Wonderfalls, Fastlane, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Skin, Girl's Club, Cracking Up, The Pits, Firefly, Get Real, Freaky Links, Wanda at Large, Costello, The Lone Gunman, A Minute With Stan Hooper, Normal, Ohio, Pasedena, Harsh Realm, Keen Eddie, The Street, American Embassy, Cedric the Entertainer, The Tick, Louie, and Greg the Bunny."

"Is there no hope?"

"Well, I suppose if all those shows go down the tubes we might have a shot."

Posted by jcraven at 12:40 PM

Tuesday - April 26, 2005

TiVo fun

Since I'm moving to Vonage for my home phone access, I was curious as to what would happen with the daily calls for my TiVo boxes. Some people have had success by simply hooking up the TiVo to Vonage and letting it dial out. I personally didn't even try. I decided to take the more complicated route just for the fun of it. The process involves setting your PC up as a PPP server, and bridging the data over your broadband connection. I already had the serial cable, so I gave it a shot using Otto's instructions found here. The setup went flawless, I had both of my TiVo boxes dialing out in less than 10 minutes. The TiVo upstairs already makes it's calls via broadband, so no need to try there. One caveat, you have to let the TiVo dial out with the regular modem at least once during the initial setup. After that, you can use serial PPP. If you need a serial cable, you can make one with instructions from the internet, or simply buy one from

Posted by jcraven at 7:58 PM

Thursday - April 14, 2005

I smell an Emmy nomination

Last night I watched the Series premiere of Pam Anderson's new comedy Stacked. Not a horrible show, considering this was a pilot, but nothing spectacular (besides the lead characters obvious 'assets'). Stuart DeWitt, Marissa Jaret, and Christopher Lloyd all put in entertaining performances, which gives the show some potential. Zap2it has an outline of the plot here. Overall, it was good enough to get setup on my TiVo as a Season Pass.

On an unrelated note, I'm trying out a new trick with this post..... using a 'floating' image on the left side of the text. Feel free to check out my .css file for the code to make it work for you. Special thanks to Elise's Learning Movable Type website for the idea.

Posted by jcraven at 11:00 AM

Friday - April 8, 2005

Voom finally dead

Not a huge suprise, but it appears Voom is truly on it's way out. Oh well, it was an interesting technology, and I hope DirecTV and Dish start to offer some of the same channels that were previously found on Voom.

Their website states:

Voom will cease to provide service to existing customers on April 30, 2005.
New customer orders are no longer being accepted, and we are unable to complete any scheduled installation or service appointments. You will be contacted regarding any scheduled appointment.

Posted by jcraven at 4:29 PM

Friday - April 1, 2005

TechTV's final stand

According to tonight's show of X-Play, Adam is no longer going to be hosting. He will have his own late night show on G4TV. Morgan is very popular, and maybe she can carry the show on her own......we'll see how it goes.

Is it true, or just a clever April Fool's joke? Guess we'll have to wait until next week.

UPDATE: I finished watching the show, and it does appear to just be a hoax. They did go to the trouble of creating a website for the fake show here.

Posted by jcraven at 11:10 PM

Wednesday - March 23, 2005

Rescue Me scheduled to return

This may not be anything new, but I just found out yesterday. F/X Networks has agreed to pick up Rescue Me for a second season. Details here. The 2nd season is set to start in August 2005.

If you haven't had a chance to check it out, look for the reruns of season 1 on Sunday nights at 11:00 PM. Also, there are rumors that the Season 1 DVD will be released a couple weeks before the Season 2 premiere.

Posted by jcraven at 10:41 AM

Friday - March 11, 2005

Frank Caliendo

Last night we went to Charlie Goodnights to see Frank Caliendo perform. Frank is famous for his performances on MadTV and on FOX's NFL coverage. You can download some of his sound clips from his website here.

It was a great show, and I'd recommend checking out the other dates if you are free. The opening acts were good too. Lumpy was the host, and did a funny 10 minute set. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the opening act, and the wrong guy is listed on Charlie Goodnight's site. Sorry.

After the show we talked with Frank for a bit and got him to sign a couple of his CDs. Seems like a nice guy. Overall, definitely worth 35 bucks for the show.

Posted by jcraven at 10:41 AM

Saturday - March 5, 2005

How did I miss that?

The Teutuls were in Clayton yesterday showing off their newest creation, the Caterpillar chopper. I wish I would have known earlier, so I could have gone to check it out. Video from WRAL here (IE only). It looks pretty sweet. The episode airs April 4th on Discovery.

Also, here is some information about the CAT factory in Clayton in case you want to take a tour.

Posted by jcraven at 10:38 AM | Comments (1)

Monday - February 28, 2005

Oscar Fashion

We watched the first half of the Academy Awards last night, and we saved the rest on the TiVo. Since I don't know who won the major categories, I will simply give my picks for the best dressed women on the Red Carpet.

1. Salma Hayek2. Catalina Sandino Moreno
3. Halle Berry4. Natalie Portman
5. Kate Winslet6. Emmy Rossum

Sorry ladies, I didn't rate the men, except I will give my picks for worst dressed:

1. Johnny Depp2. Sean "P. Diddy" Combs

Posted by jcraven at 8:19 AM

Wednesday - January 26, 2005

Comic Book Guy named

The elusive real name of Comic Book Guy will finally be revealed in "Simpsons" episode No. GABF02, Act 1. The blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment airs in the show after the Super Bowl on Feb. 6. In the episode, Homer inadvertently performs a wild, crowd-pleasing dance at a local carnival and is hired by several major sports figures to choreograph their victory dances. He is so successful that he gets tapped to choreograph the Super Bowl halftime show. Comic Book Guy, the snobbish know-it-all, pops up in the episode clad in a "Nerds do it Rarely" T-shirt. Since the series began in 1991, his real name has never been used.

Partial text here.

Posted by jcraven at 12:48 PM

Monday - December 13, 2004


On Saturday night, we decided to watch 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story on ESPN-HD. All in all, a pretty decent 'made for TV' movie. Being from NC, it was interesting to watch and hear them talking about familiar places where we grew up. Since Lara spent part of her childhood in Kannapolis, she was familiar with the mill and the surrounding area. The movie didn't stick solely to his racing career, instead focusing on the relationships with his family. When they did show racing footage, it was a mix of movie filming and old live clips. The real clips stuck out because the quality was so poor though. Watching the movie on 'regular' ESPN or on a small TV, the difference may have been minimal though. I'm sure they'll show it another 50 times on ESPN, so if you're at all interested, take a look. Also, the DVD version comes out tomorrow.


Posted by jcraven at 1:02 PM