Media

Downloading, streaming, or encoding music and movies.

Why do ads use the 'Alexa' trigger word?

Amazon Echo

Episode 1502

Mark from Myrtle Beach, SC

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?

Cable

Episode 1490

Paul from La Jolla, CA

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?

Synology NAS

Episode 1488

Walt from Irvine, CA

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?

MiniDV Tape

Episode 1485

Matt from Rochester, NY

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?

Synology DiskStation

Episode 1483

James from Las Vegas, NV

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

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1477

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.