Category: Home Theater PC

Anything doing with home theater pcs


Are You Paying Too Much For Technology Services?

I visited this morning with a customer of mine.  She is wanting some new TV’s – one for the living room and one for the bedroom.  She is still using old tube-type TV’s, along with VHS tapes.  Do you remember what those are?

In our conversation I discovered that she is paying almost $175 per month for cable, phone and internet.  This doesn’t include her cell phone.  When I asked her what channels she likes to watch, she listed five; two of which were local ones that can be watched for free with an antenna.  Her cable bill is $90 per month for 4-5 channels that she actually watches.  She knows this is too much but she is unsure what to do.  I am helping her find a much better deal that will easily cut that bill in half with current offers from either AT&T or SureWest.

One of the VHS tapes she has is of Scott Hamilton the ice skater.  I pulled up YouTube and showed her a video of Scott Hamilton, and she was so excited, she was ready to keep my tablet!  So with a few equipment changes I think I can really expand her entertainment horizons and help her get rid of a lot of VHS tapes.

If this sounds like you or someone you know contact me and I’ll help you with new possibilities.

First Computer Upgraded to Windows 8

I upgraded one of my Home Theater PC’s on Saturday to Windows 8.  This is my initial report after just a few hours of use.  The upgrade went well, no problems to report.  All my programs seem to be available just like before.  The new start pane is hugely different from all previous versions of Windows.  I can say that since I have been using Windows since version 3.0 on my 386sx Gateway computer I purchased during college.

I installed this update on my home theater PC that connected to our primary TV.  I control the computer via a miniature Air keyboard/mouse combo.  The new start screen actually works pretty well for launching programs.  The large blocks are easy to hit with the air mouse.  I had to set up another live account so that I could access the windows store.  This is not unlike having to have a Google account in order to use the android app market.  Once I logged into the store I was able to easily install new programs, games just like you would on an iPad or any android device and It felt weird doing that on Windows.  I haven’t had a lot of time to browse the store but enough to install a few games my girls were very excited about.

The start screen grows in width as more programs are added.  There is a slider bar at the bottom of the screen for scrolling left and right, at least some of the time.  Using the air mouse is not a very precise affair but I can bump into the side of the screen with my mouse and the screen will scroll.  It’s not very smooth and I wish I could just click and drag the screen but that’s not an option.  The charms slide out on the right side of the screen pops out frequently when bumped by the mouse but when needed it can take a few tries. The active programs slide out on the left side of the screen seems very smooth and very useful for switching between running programs.

I have seen a review that stated windows media center remote controls do not play well with the new interface.  I think the new interface is going to work well for HTPCs as long as you have a mouse and keyboard.  It gives a more Roku look to the main interface but since it’s actually a full version of windows you can do much more than any simple set-top device.

I’ll add more after I have used the new Windows for a little longer.