Mark has an old Windows 7 / XP machine with Windows Media Center and is looking to repurpose it. Mark is wondering if he should pull the hard drive and install Linux onto the drive and use MythTV DVR application on it? Leo says that it should be fine, but warns Mark of using the machine for more than just a DVR machine. Leo says that there are risks using an XP machine since there haven't been new updates for XP machines in some time, it could be infected with viruses passively when going online.
Joe wants to know why his car radio doesn't have a capability like TIVO, where it can record what he's listening to and allow him to rewind it. Leo says that CCrane's CC Witness is a portable radio recorder that does that. It's $149.
Leo recommends downloading and listening to podcasts of most radio programs for free as a better alternative to this.
Mitch is mad that after updating to Windows 10, Windows Media Center is no longer there. Leo says that he's furious with Microsoft about that, killing off the XBMC without giving anyone a choice. But Leo says there's more to it -- likely copy protection issues.
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Scott joins us to talk about cables. This week's - Scott's guest is Noel Lee, the founder of Monster Cable. Scott wants to talk about what factors that contribute to better performance for cables, and what the price to performance ratio is for cables in the digital age.
Leo says that is a reasonable thing to want to do, but Hollywood doesn't want anyone to have access to that pure digital signal. DirecTV and DISH scramble and encode the signal which leaves users with only one choice - the analog hole.
Chris will have to connect the DVR to a video capture card on his computer. Then he can play back the shows and record them into the computer. This is called the "analog hole".
Magnavox has a gadget called the MDR515 is a DVR with a DVD Burner. Leo says it’s designed to be convenient, or for someone who doesn’t have a computer, but it uses the analog hole and doesn’t copy digital quality. But hey, it’s about as good as it can be considering.
Leo says that DVRs are heavily encrypted. He could use something like TIVO to GO, but there are higher fees and limitations that go along with that. There’s always the analog hole, where he could plug his DVR into a PC via a video capture card and an RCA composite cable that would normally go into a TV. It won’t be digital, but it’s better than nothing.
Often times it's not possible to do this because cable or satellite providers such as DISH are worried that people will pirate their content. DISH has a new "hopper" HD DVR that may have an option for getting the content off of the DVR. Jeff may want to inquire about that. He can also simply plug in a VCR or computer into the DVR and record while the DVR plays back the video in real time. This is called the "analog hole", and is one way to get around the digital restrictions.