Echostar DTVPal DVR (review)

The thing we missed the most when I cut the cable was our DVR.  We did not record a lot of shows, but we did pause, rewind, fast forward, and slow down programming a lot.  I immediately set out to remedy this.  After toying with a Home Theater Personal Computer (HTPC), we decided to go with a dedicated DVR.  Once we decided on a DVR, there were only really two choices — Tivo or DTVPal.  While the Tivo has some compelling features, the monthly fee was not consistent with my cord cutting goals, so we took a chance on the DTVPal. Continue reading

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By Len Mullen Posted in Review

Playon Media Server (review)

Playon is a commercial server that aggregates content from web sites using ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ plugins and scripts.  A free version streams your media.  See the full list of channels here.  Playon channels are, for the most part, aggregators of files posted to internet servers.  The Food Network, for instance, is a bunch of episodes or programs that are on the Food Network rather than a continuous stream of programming. Continue reading

Roku Streaming Media Players (review)

Roku Streaming Media Players are the most popular streaming media players and the darlings of the press.  The Roku is a standalone streaming solution that requires very little technical knowledge, does not rely on media purchases or rentals, and is perfect for your mom and dad who have cut the cable but still want to see what Fox and Friends or Jon Stewart have to say.  Plug it in, establish a network connection, associate with your Roku account (the only time you will need a computer), and watch TV. Continue reading

By Len Mullen Posted in Review

Sony’s SMP-N200 (review)

To date, the SMP-N200 is my favorite media player.  When I purchased my first SMP, it was the only media player that supported both Amazon Prime and Netflix.  It is still the least expensive device to support both popular streaming services.  The SMP also streams CinemaNow, Crackle, Flixster, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Vudu, and other, less interesting (to me) channels.  It is DLNA compliant and can stream files off Windows computers.  The SMP-N200 has unsurpassed connectivity.  It supports wired and wireless connections; hdmi, compoment, and composite video; optical audio; resolutions to 1080p.  Best of all, it has a usb port that can host media files on a usb disk.  This is what the SMP does best. Continue reading

By Len Mullen Posted in Review