Media

Downloading, streaming, or encoding music and movies.

Can I get my old programs off my DVR?

Episode 1514

Eric from Orange County, CA
TiVo BOLT VOX

Eric cut the cable and wants to know if he can get programs off his old TiVo. Leo says in the first generation TiVos, he would be able to. But copy protection has locked down and encrypted that data. TIVO to Go was an option, but it was a very poor solution. There is one way to do it still, and that's the analog hole. Eric can connect his TIVO using the analog component jacks (red, white and yellow), but it will be standard definition.

How can I get rid of duplicates in iTunes?

Episode 1514

Charles from Colleyville, TX
Media Monkey

Charles has a thousand MP3s and he has multiple copies of all the songs, which is annoying. Leo says that in the iTunes settings, he can tell it to manage his music. But since he already has an iTunes folder with duplicates, Leo recommends taking it off his hard drive (to a thumb drive) and then restart iTunes and select the option to let iTunes manage his music. Then he won't have to deal with duplicates. iTunes is a terrible program for syncing music, especially in Windows.

How can I capture my old VHS tapes?

Episode 1505

Lynn from Covina, CA
Elgato video capture

Lynn has a bunch of old VHS home movies. How can she convert them so she can watch them? Leo says that the best way these days is to go to a service, like Scan Cafe. They have professional equipment and can color correct. When factoring in the equipment she would need to do it herself; the VCR, the cables, the analog to digital converter to get it into the computer, and the time, she may as well just pay Scan Cafe to do it.

How can I rip my DVDs?

Episode 1504

Darwin from Broken Arrow, OK
Apple iPhone X

Darwin wonders what the FBI used to crack open the iPhone of a terrorist. Leo says that the FBI won't say. Leo suspects they went to an Israeli firm called Celebrite, which can unlock older iPhones with four digit codes. Which is why Apple changed the code to a six digit code and patched vulnerabilities that would allow them to bypass it. If Darwin can prove that he owns his personal iPhone, Apple can open it for him. But if it's his sister's, there's no guarantee that Apple will. But if he can prove ownership or relational link, it's possible.

Why do ads use the 'Alexa' trigger word?

Episode 1502

Mark from Myrtle Beach, SC
Amazon Echo

Mark wants to know why broadcast ads will use the 'Alexa' trigger word that could hijack his Echo device. Leo says that in Amazon's commercials, they actually use an inaudible sound behind the trigger word that prevents the device from taking action on it, but it may be that other advertisers don't know about this. Leo says it may even be against Amazon's rules to use trigger words in flash briefings.

What's the difference between a TV converter box and a cable internet box?

Episode 1490

Paul from La Jolla, CA
Cable

A TV converter box is the set top box that comes with a cable subscription, and it takes the signal coming in through the copper cable and turns it into something the TV can understand. He would use the converter box to switch channels. The internet box is a bit different, and would give him the cable internet access. Often times companies will combine the two and offer a converter box and a cable modem. He would get more channels on the hybrid cable TV and internet box, but he'd have to pay for the internet access to use that.

How can I rip my CDs and put them on a media server?

Episode 1488

Walt from Irvine, CA
Synology NAS

Walt has a few hundred CDs and he'd like to rip them, put them on a music server, and then donate them. Leo recommends ripping in a lossless version called FLAC. FLAC is a great because if one needs to re-burn to a CD, they can. If using iTunes, he should use Apple's own lossless codec. Using a Mac that stays on all the time would work, but Leo recommends using a Network Attached Storage device and have that run as the music server. It can also do double duty backing up the network. Leo recommends the Synology brand.