Welcome to Home Automoton

Want in on the ground floor? This is probably the article you should start with.

Monday, May 30, 2011

We've Moved!

For a long time we got by with a basic 1.5Mb DSL connection and were almost as happy as could be. I could play a game online while my wife watched Hulu and be totally fine. Occasionally we would run into a few hiccups with Netflix being a bit of a bandwidth hog, but it was tolerable. We couldn't stream HD, but we also didn't really feel like we needed to.

However, we were never able to really experiment with any of the 'alternative' media collection options--our connection simply couldn't handle it. We were already putting the poor thing through the wringer.

At our old location our ISP choices were simple, AT&T DSL, or Comcast. AT&T DSL got expensive enough quickly that it didn't make a whole lot of sense of go with anything beyond the simple 1.5Mb "Dry Loop" (meaning we were not paying for a phone line), especially with the 1.5Mb was performing so admirably. As far as Comcast goes, let's just say they don't have much of a positive reputation with me. They were never really considered.

However, with our move we were presented with alternative choices. Now while we still had AT&T DSL, in addition we now could also chose from SureWest, and TimeWarner. AT&T could provide the same 1.5Mb package we had, while TimeWarner was able to offer an 8Mb down connection for barely more than what we'd be paying for AT&T's 1.5Mb, so that was the option we went with.

It's a DOCSIS 2.0 cable modem, so the performance still isn't stellar, but it's certainly better than we're used to. It has also opened up the wide world of NewsGroups to us, and I've had some fun playing with SickBeard as a result. I'll talk about about that in a future post.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Return! But what's this?!

Lets get caught up. A lot of things have changed since my last update:

  • We've moved (Which lead to a drastically faster Internet connection)
  • Our HTPC is in an official case
  • The internals of our HTPC have almost entirely changed
  • While our HTPC is still running Windows 7, it is now running XBMC along side WMC as sort of a proof-of-concept.
  • Hulu is on the chopping block
I'll be preparing a post describing each of these and how they have affected our viewing in more detail, but suffice to say a lot has changed. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cheap Acer HTPC solution?

Almost as if they read my blog, Engadget has a preview of a new Acer Revo product that is in very early development stages, but runs Windows Media Center Embedded complete with TV Tuner. Given the price history of Acer's Revo products ($200 to $400), this could very well stand to be the "Sub $500 Box Solution" I explained just yesterday, with a few hard to reproduce bonuses. That touchpad mouse controller is interesting, but my gut tells me navigating WMC with a touchpad would feel clunky after experiencing the native remote support. The keyboard ability is a great feature, though.

Be sure to check out the video below. Clearly, the navigation isn't quite as slick as you'll see on the average Windows Media Center set up, but given that this is still at least six months from store shelves it's possible we'll see some improvements and/or optimizations to make it quite a bit slicker.