Media

Downloading, streaming, or encoding music and movies.

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.

How can I convert miniDV tapes?

Episode 1485

Matt from Rochester, NY
MiniDV Tape

Mike has an old collection of miniDV tapes and a camcorder that works over FireWire. How can he transfer them to his computer? Leo says that FireWire was a great format back then, but nobody really supports it anymore. So he'll have to get a box that will convert it to USB 3. The good news is that because the miniDV tapes are digital, he won't be degrading the image any. If he has a tower computer, he can buy a FireWire card for about $15. But if he only has a laptop, then he'll have to think outside the box. He'll also have to play the video tapes in real time to transfer the data.

How can I rip all my DVDs and play them on a network?

Episode 1483

James from Las Vegas, NV
Synology DiskStation

James has 300 DVDs that he'd like to put on a media server and watch using Amazon Alexa to launch them. Rich says that the first thing James would need to do is "rip" them to a hard drive. He can use a combination of HandBrake and VLC Media Client to get them into digital files. Then he can put them on a network attached storage device.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1477

Scott Wilkinson

Bad news in home theater as OPPO has announced they are closing their doors, gradually ceasing operations. So the question is, do you buy an existing OPPO player or not? Scott says that they will be honoring their 2-year warranties on existing purchases. But after that, it's all over for what many considered to be one of the best manufacturers of DVD players in the world. Leo says that's because streaming has albeit taken over physical media and most people aren't buying DVDs anymore.

Why is my data disappearing in Windows 10?

Episode 1472

Kevin from Malibu, CA
Windows 10

Kevin is having issues with his files and folders disappearing in Windows 10. Leo says that obviously that's not supposed to happen. It's easy to accidentally drag a file or folder somewhere without knowing it. He should use the search feature to try and find it again. He should also look in the trash can. If he can't find it there, then it could be a failing hard drive or malware. Some malware will do this. He can run a scan on his computer by pressing Windows Key + CMD and type "MRT" for the malicious software removal tool. Then he should run a full scan.

Can I get recorded TV programs off my TIVO?

Episode 1470

Michael from Kansas City, MO
TiVo BOLT VOX

Michael wants to know if he can get the programs off his TIVO. Leo says it was possible with the Series 1 TIVO. But now the data is encrypted, so it's almost impossible to decrypt it and copy it off. TiVo does have a feature called TIVO to Go, but the only way he could really do it is to exploit the analog hole. That will lower the quality a bit, but he can use the analog connections that would go to his TV and connect them to a recorder. Then he could play the content back and record it in real time. It can be complicated though, because of HDCP.