State of the Heroes

Anyone out there actually watch the State of the Union? Really, what’s the point in listening to a lame duck president trying to sell his policies to a hostile opposition-controlled Congress? So no, I didn’t watch a minute of the speech.
Instead, I watched “Heroes” on my PC in HDTV. As I mentioned before, I bought a cheap HDTV tuner card, added the Philips Silver Sensor antenna, and I was able to tune in all the major networks with no problems. The only remaining issue was the software. The NVidia PureVideo decoder was the only one that allowed smooth playback of the HDTV. I tried a bunch of different PVR software packages (the one drawback of the cheap HD tuner card is that it did not come with any bundled software, which might have made this step easier), before settling on GB-PVR. It could stand to be prettier (downloading a different “skin” may help in this regard), but it does have a decent interface, and was the only one that I was able to use to download a program guide in order to schedule recordings. So I scheduled Heroes to record a “season pass,” and waited for it to start airing again.
On Monday night, my PC recorded Heroes without a hitch. Last night, I watched the episode during the State of the Union address. At two points during playback, there were some glitches which I attributed to the fact that I was doing other things on the computer while it was recording. But these were very minor blips, all things considered. The other drawback is that the 1 hour episode of Heroes took up about 8 GB of space on my hard drive. Until I’m able to get a second, bigger hard drive, I will really only have space for about 5 hours of HD recordings at a time. That’s not too bad, as I could probably record Prison Break, Heroes, and Lost in HD and watch them each before the next episode airs. It would also be nice to have a real HDTV to watch them on, but I realize that’s a long ways off.
Part of the point of this exercise was to see if it would eventually be possible to wean myself off of basic cable/satellite TV: Sci-Fi, cooking/home shows for Lisa, Ellie’s kid shows and ESPN (noooooooo!). With cable TV shows being released on DVD not long after their seasons are over, I could definitely see myself catching up on Battlestar Galactica in the summer. The other ones are a tough sell, but it might be possible to get a different tuner card that has QAM (unencrypted cable) tuning capability and stick with the most basic cable possible. Or just read more books!

1 thought on “State of the Heroes”

  1. Also, Battlestar is on iTunes. Get a season pass, no need to wait. I forget what resolution they are putting them in these days.

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