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SiliconDust HDHomeRun PRIME - Three Digital Tuners, Anywhere on Your Network HDHR3-CC Ethernet Interface
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Lets you watch cable shows on your computer with its high resolution monitor. Supports as many computers as you like, so long as you don't need to tune more than three live shows at once. Customizing your list of channels is relatively easy. Lets you record shows without them being chained to a cable box. Easy to fast forward and to skip commercials while viewing. You can have a DVR with as much storage as you want, use a RAID setup for data security, and back up your recordings. No monthly fees for DVR capability, though the cable company probably WILL charge you for an additional receiver if you add this to your existing equipment rather than replacing it.

Cons: Getting your cable company to provide and activate a CableCard can be challenging. (They are legally required to offer them, so be persistent.) On some Windows 7 computers, one of the setup steps will be missing from Windows Media Center, requiring an extra download and running a command line program to fix. (The directions are on the Silicon Dust web site.) No access to on-demand programming. The armchair interface of DVR software for computers doesn't measure up to the best settop boxes. Unless you have made special efforts to build a low power PC, the standby power draw of your PC will be higher than a TiVo or a cable company DVR.

Other Thoughts: My experiences are with Comcast, and with using the HD HomeRun with Windows 7 Media Center. YMMV if you are dealing with another cable company or other software.

This isn't as plug and play as getting a DVR from the cable guy or buying a TiVo. Be prepared to do a bit of work to get things going. But it's easy to use once you do, and you will have unchained video recordings that you can watch on any computer, back up for safe keeping, and convert to other formats for mobile viewing.

Windows Media Center has a limit of four tuners out of the box. If you are thinking of buying more than one of these you may need the patch that allows more tuners.

If you have over the air channels available that your cable company doesn't carry, you can add an ATSC tuner to your setup (including another model of HD HomeRun) to enable your computers to watch both OTA and cable.

You can use this with an HTPC (home theater PC), but the user interface of most available software (including Windows Media Center) works much better with a keyboard and mouse than with a TV remote.

Some cable companies offer viewing of on-demand programming through their web sites. So you can't watch on-demand on your computer through the HD HomeRun but you may have another way to get to it.

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Sony BDP-S185
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

5 out of 5 eggs Backward compatibility for the win 11/09/2013

This review is from: Sony BDP-S185

Pros: Loads Blu-Ray discs quickly. Useful internet features. Menus are responsive and mostly easy to understand. Composite video output for older TVs.

Cons: No WiFi. Can't change between letterbox and full-screen view mid-film.

Other Thoughts: I needed a Blu-Ray player to connect to an old CRT TV so my growing Blu-Ray collection could be viewed in that room. 2013 and later players have no analog video outputs (the Blu-Ray consortium has decreed their absence) so I had to track down an older model. This sleek little unit replaced an old, clunky DVD carousel changer and does everything I want it to do.

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12000 mAh High Capacity Dual USB Power Bank Charger
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

5 out of 5 eggs Works perfectly 11/03/2013

This review is from: 12000 mAh High Capacity Dual USB Power Bank Charger

Pros: High capacity. Useful indicator lights. Comes with adapters that will charge nearly anything - mini USB, micro USB, Apple 30 pin, and more.

Cons: A bit heavy for carrying every day.

Charging takes a long time. The 5 hour figure in the product description substantially understates the amount of time for a full charge, which is unsurprising given the math of battery charging. The battery has a 12Ah capacity and the charge rate is 1A, so a full charge from ground zero has to take at least 12 hours. Battery charging is not 100% efficient so it will take longer than that.

Other Thoughts: I ended up with a white one because the seller had run out of black and there would have been a shipping delay. (They asked me first.)

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Mark D.'s Profile

Display Name: Mark D.

Date Joined: 12/16/04

  • Reviews: 12
  • Helpfulness: 4
  • First Review: 06/20/08
  • Last Review: 12/11/13
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