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AVR #187: The Next Level

Welcome to an AVRant episode that’s a bit like one other. With Dina away for the summer and Tom fighting sharks off the coast of Australia, podcast fans, Leif Hurst and Rob H. do their best to fill our awesome regular hosts’ seats!

We get to know Leif before diving in to his very impressive DIY home theater. Leif discusses some do’s and don’ts of turning an existing room into a dedicated theater and describes some of the problems he faced in his own room. If you want to see an equipment rack and wiring done right, you will definitely want to check out Leif’s photos posted at his blog: stuffthatplugsin.com!

So what does it mean to take home theater to “the next level”? We say it’s all about the user experience. And there is no better demonstration than Leif’s description of progressing from a regular remote to a Harmony to a Crestron system!
Do manufacturers rush products to market? Requiring mandatory updates makes us say, “yes”. But could that mean the alternative is product delays? Rob weighs in on why delays are so common.

Is the new Mac Mini really a HTPC? And are Leif and Rob just anal retentive, or do we just have the proper level of respect for movies? You decide! E3 took place last week and Leif and Rob weigh in on the biggest news from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.

Thanks so much once again to Tom, Dina and Clint for letting the inmates run the asylum for another week!

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  1. July 3rd, 2010 at 06:45 | #1

    Just goes to tell you how quickly things change in the world of AV… from the time this was recorded to the time that it posted Hulu+ was announced.

    http://blog.hulu.com/2010/06/29/introducing-hulu-plus-more-wherever-more-whenever-than-ever/

    Here’s to hoping my beta request gets approved!

  2. MourningShow
    July 6th, 2010 at 21:46 | #2

    Frequent BD player updates implement new copy protection schemes.

    Internet connection has handed the copy protection crowd carte blanche to implement new and more tortuous copy protection, on a daily basis.

    Classic example—Avatar played without incident on my original and no longer supported Sharp BD 1.0 player, but a 3 years newer Samsung player required a firmware update for the disc to even LOAD ! Naturally this was an hour process (failed downloads, maybe everyone had bought Avatar that week) and frankly, we watched cable and came back to it later that night. With a very sour taste from the experience, FOX !!!!!!

    There seems to be no end to the inconvenience “rights holders” will put their paying customers through!! Remember, these customers go out of their way to pay you! The content is freely available ELSEWHERE.

    Maybe Steve Jobs was right. Blu-ray is a bag of hurt!

  3. Sugarbear
    July 6th, 2010 at 23:14 | #3

    Excellent podcast, gents! Both of you sounded extremely comfortable. Good info as well.

  4. Rob
    July 7th, 2010 at 00:16 | #4

    Thanks, Sugarbear!

    This was a bit of an odd episode experience for a few reasons:

    1) Leif and I had to record the entire podcast twice due to an audio glitch that made the first go ’round unusable!

    2) scheduling was a touch tricky and we didn’t know that Clint and Dina were recording last week. So that’s why this episode is a week behind with the dates that we mention and whatnot :p

    3) with the July 4th weekend and Tom away, posting this episode got a little mixed up, so that’s why it is later than usual 🙂

    If all goes well, Clint and Dina will hopefully be back again this week, but I believe that Dina will be away for a while after that with her annual summer super happy fun time :p

    So I’m still planning to record a couple more episodes at least. I know Leif is up for it and possibly Ted as well! But I want to make sure that every listener who would like to record knows that he or she can send their recording(s) to Tom and Clint (send it to both of them please) @avrant.com!

    And if anyone would like for me to play co-host with them, I’m more than happy to do so! As I said in the podcast, my handle is FirstReflect at gmail, Twitter and Skype. And I’m free any time on Tues. Wed. or Thurs. Unfortunately, with my current work schedule, those are about my only times though 😉

  5. July 7th, 2010 at 12:29 | #5

    Thanks for the positive comments… I cringed listening to it with so many useless parenthetical expressions like “you know” but I guess that was just nerves talking… you know? 😉 The first 15 minutes where a tough listen for me personally.

    We also learned that when recording A) make sure your laptop is plugged in so your CPU is running at full power for capture (did some very odd things to the audio) and B) do not run beta code of Audicity while podcasting.

    I just wanted to thank the AVrant crew and Rob for letting me do this… a very enjoyable experience and very easy to talk “shop” with a fellow AV nut. I think we could have gone another few hours without running out of content.

  6. July 7th, 2010 at 12:37 | #6

    @MourningShow I experienced the very same thing with that disc… my old 1.0 Denon BD2500 played the disc fine without updating it (in fact I’ve never updated that player and have never experienced a playback issue) but failed to play in my Samsung as well as two internal BD players in my HTPC and my work PC without updating.

    If we’re going to give them carte blanche (which I agree with you, we have) there needs to be a concrete, finalized standard of “this is how it’s done… updates shouldn’t take longer than XX seconds, updates can only be rolled out quarterly, etc” but I don’t see the BD association biting at the hand that feeds them content.

    As far as copyright and piracy protection… I really like what Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails (I think you can appreciate this even if you don’t care for their music) said about the subject, “they weren’t customers, they might never be customers, so spending money to try to stop them serves no purpose.” I think the same thing holds true for these updated encryption schemes… they’re usually cracked within days of release if not sooner than the disc hits the shelves… but that’s another podcast. 😀

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