Tech Bacon

Because everything is better with bacon

My Poor Ears! April 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lfheller @ 8:12 am
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Back problems and painkillers have me pretty much living on the couch these days. Too much TV may rot the brain but frankly it’s the volume fluctuations that have mine scrambled.

The differences in volume from channel to channel. The switching between Bad Boys II (for the 400th time) and The Gilmore Girls. Quite a shock to go from the quiet, witty banter of the latter to the explosions of the former. And don’t even start with the commercials.

These types of volume discrepencies are pretty common complaints, so it was a shock to find just two products on the market that promise a fix. The VR1 TV Volume Regulator and the Automatic TV Sound Regulator. Both have been available for quite a while. In the case of the former (under the Terk or now Audiovox name) years actually. Just hook the box to the TV and signal source and it regulates the modulations in volume, making commercials a little less offensive.

Now if only it muted screaming studio audiences, I might actually watch Oprah.

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Hulu and You February 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lfheller @ 9:59 pm
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Alec Baldwin is a comic genius and paired with Hulu.com as the media Site’s spokesman, I think I’ve fallen under a spell. I can’t stop watching.

For those living under a rock, Hulu streams TV shows and movies with limited commercial content. It’s become a clearinghouse of legitimate, authorized content. Easily accessed and not too laden with promos or glitches. I’m all caught up on Lost, Battle Star Galactica and 30 Rock of course, and am looking forward to Nip/Tuck and old episodes of Arrested Development.

But while it looks pretty good on my 24 inch LCD monitor it would be even better on the bigger TV with the good sound system. That’s why Apple TV will be my next purchase. That way I can watch Alec in “Generaissimo” over and over again.

 

TV or Computer? February 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lfheller @ 12:41 pm
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There’s a great discussion going on over at Apartment Therapy, a thread debating the merits of chucking the TV and simply streaming content to a laptop or monitor.

It’s totally doable and seems to be the favored choice of AT readers, but there are some solid reasons to keep the TV, from a purely technical perspective.

  • Constant use creates a lot of wear and tear on the computer. Spinning hard drives, heat, battery drain. All of these will decrease the life of a computer, especially a notebook computer. Consider the average life of a computer is three years while TVs will last for 10  years or more. Which one is the better value?
  • Screen size matters. Scenes are more richly realized and eye strain dramatically reduced by watching on a larger surface. You don’t have to be old to appreciate the eye strain part, anyone who puts in long hours on a computer knows the burn of focusing too hard.
  • Watching TV is more fun as a shared, social event. Gathering around a computer just doesn’t have the same vibe.
  • And what about sound? Seriously. Doesn’t anyone consider audio to be an integral part of the viewing experience?