Using NTSV TV with PAL STBs in India

25 08 2008

After moving the TV from US to India, I faced the obvious question … how to connect it to the cable box? The TV supports only NTSC and the cable set to box (STB) gives out only PAL. After searching thru several blogs, electronic shops in Bangalore and talking to friends, these seem my likely choices.

  1. Use an STB that gives NTSC. To my knowledege no cable or satellite TV operator has such a box.
  2. Use a signal convertor that converts PAL to NTSC. These come in different prices and quality. They come in different connectors aswell. One popular choice is to take coaxial input and composite or componet video output. Based on most of the reviews, the signal quality seem to suffer on these boxes.
  3. Use a signal convertor that gives SVGA. This is similar to option (1), except that the output is SVGA, meat for flat panel monitors. These boxes come in different output resolutions. I eventually picked one that claims to support 1600×1200. It does the job, quite poorly. Since the output is SVGA, I need to run seperate audio cable.
  4. Use a PC as a convertor. Ofcourse you will need a TV Tuner card that takes PAL input and an external video out from the PC. In my case, the TV tuner card is NTCS only. Someday I will get a PAL TV Tuner card and try this.
  5. Use an STB that gives SVGA. DishTV seem to have such STB. This seem like an acceptable solution. I have n’t tried this yet, since I have already invested quite heavily on the STBs and the convertors.




MediaMonkey tricks

9 11 2007

If you have not heard of , its a little media player/organized based on WinAmp I like and use. Here are some plugins that can make it more useful.

MagicNodes:

  • Download MagicNodes from here
  • Rename it to MagicNodes.1.3b.vbs and move it to Program Files\Media Monkey\Scripts\Auto (create Auto if required)
  • You will need Mswinsck.ocx. Download from here if you want to get it without having to validate your Windows from Microsoft.
    • Copy msscript.ocx to Windows\system or WinNT\system32.
    • Register msscript.ocx using RegSvr32.exe. Example:
    • Regsvr32.exe c:\windows\system\msscript.ocx
  • Add a Node with Edit->Create New Magic Node. Enter Ragam\<Ragam>\<Artist>\<Album> to create a node grouped by Ragam, Artist, Album (I had Custom1 and Custom2 renamed as Ragam and Talam in Options->Apperance). This (Ragam) node should appear under Magic Nodes
  • Refer this tutorial for advanced usage.

Remote Control and Web Interface:

  • Download the plugin from here.
  • This will install the plugin under WinAmp. While installing select Program Files\MediaMonkey\Pugin instead to copy them to MediaMonkey.
  • Once installed, restart MediaMonkey and configure plugin under OPtions->GPlayer->General Plug-ins-> WinAmp Web Interface
  • In particular, change the port from default 80 to something else, Remove user anon and add another user with password.
  • Access the media collection and WinAmp/MM control at http://localhost:port




Media sharing and streaming in Windows

28 10 2007

audioShoutCast NAS Server : streaming server. (icecast equivalent) Download and install this. Edit cfg file (with Edit Config button). Change Port and Password at the minimum. Restart server and make sure the server is up. (check the logs shown on the window / try telnet localhost <port> from command line)

WinAmp: Download and install the latest (5.5 at this time). This is the media source for Shoutcast server (ices equivalent, less customozible though.  This also works as UPnP server (Cool!) and access your media over http at WinAmp Remote via orb. Now thats feature rich! Wow!

WinAmp DSP Pluggin: After installing, rerun WinAmp. Under Options->Preferences->DSP/Effects, select “Nullsoft SHOUTcast Source DSP v1.9.0” and Configure.

  • Select WinAMP for Input Device under Input tab (last tab)
  • Choose MP3 Encoder for Encoder Type and a resonable Encoder settings (64 Kbps, 22 kHz, Stereo in my case) under Encode Tag (last but one)
  • Undr Output tab (2nd tab), select Connection button. Enter IP, port and password info of the Shoutcast server. Under YelloPages button, disable “Make server public” if you want this a private station.
  • Under output tab, click Connect button. Check Status to make sure this is up.
  • From another mp3 stream aware player (like windows media player) try connecting to the URL (http://localhost:port).

TVersity: This is essentially an UPnP server. Any UPnP client (like SMC EZ-Stream) can connect to the server over the network to access and play your music). This has a neat web interface (that gmediaserver lacks) that doubles as media access over http.





Media sharing and streaming in Linux

28 10 2007

audioWith Linux, this is a breeze :
GNUMP3d : provides http listing of music. Very versatile.

Icecast: streaming server

Ices: scriptable client (source) for icecast. Use ices 0.4 to stream mp3s (deprecated for Ogg vorbis in latest). Or XMMS can be used too, but I like the silent servers like ices. (xmms like given here for reference, any decent distro worth its name should pre install xmms, or at least provide a package). Ices, with its script hook, provides infinite possibilities.

GMediaServer: UPnP server





Useful Windows Applications

26 10 2007

windowsList of apps I find useful in Windows.

Security

Network

Internet

Audio, Video, DVD, Podcast, streaming

  • Audacity: versatile audio editor
  • WinAmp: the simple and complete player, can work as source for ShoutCast server, can also (5.5 and above) work as GnuMP3d equivalent.
  • Media Monkey: more intelligent and versatile player, on the fly reencoding while syncing with devices (slow though)
  • Ashampoo: CD and DVD burning (commercial)
  • PowerDVD: DVD Codec and player (commercial)
  • ImgBurn: Rip it
  • DVD Shrink: shrink it
  • VCdContolTool: mount iso as virtual drive (DaemonTools is a shareware now, but I was able to skip the installation of the SearchBar.)
  • PodNova Desktop client: for desktop and web podcasting
  • TVersity: UPnP server (works great with SMC Ez-Stream)
  • ShoutCast NAS: setup streaming server so local (and remote) clients can access your music. WinAmp can be used as source.
  • Windows Movie Maker: For a change, a clean looking, no bull free s/w from Microsoft

Photo, graphics

  • Picasa: the defacto photo management s/w
  • GIMP: for everything else

Office

  • OpenOffice: The complete and competent office suite
  • FoxIt: light weight PDF reader
  • Vim: The Editor. PERIOD. If vim.org does not have the file, try download.com

Tools





Private: Local services

17 10 2007
  • Router (Linksys WRT54G)
URL: http://192.168.1.1
Router External URL: http://68.192.71.253:8888
admin/wrt54G
   
  • Tversity
URL: http://192.168.1.100:8952
  • Network printer (Brother HL 2070N)
http:://192/168.0.107/
admin/hl2070N 




Useful thunderbird extensions

28 09 2007