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Time Warner finally cleans up the channel lineup

Time Warner Cable in the Charlotte, NC area is finally addressing one of my biggest pet peeves with their service:  the organization of their channel lineup. 

If you live in the area then you probably received a letter in the mail with a flyer showing the new lineup that starts on March 30, 2010.  Click the image below for a PDF copy of the new lineup.

new time warner lineup

This annoyed me so much that I could not wait for Time Warner and used the features within Media Center to organize the channels in a way that made sense for me.  Click the image below to see what my custom line-up looks like:

lineup

The ironic part of it is that Time Warner’s new lineup looks a lot like mine.  Almost as if they sneaked a copy of my lineup.  For example, let’s look at my “Family” group versus the new “Kids & Family”:

Family Kids & Family
50 ABC Family HD 200 Disney Channel East (HD – 1200)
51 Disney Channel HD 201 Disney Channel West
52 Disney Chanel West 202 Disney XD
53 Disney XD 205 Nickelodeon
54 Cartoon Network HD 206 Nick Jr
55 Boomerang 207 Nicktoons
56 Nickelodeon 208 TeenNick
57 Nicktoons 210 PBS Kids Sprout
58 Nick Jr 211 Discovery Kids
59 UNC Kids 213 Cartoon Network (HD – 1213)
60 PBS Kids Sprout 214 Boomerang
61 Discovery Kids 215 ABC Family (HD – 1215)
62 TeenNick 216 TV Land
63 TV Land 218 Hallmark Channel
64 Hallmark Channel 221 Family Network
65 FamilyNet 222 American Life TV

As you can see the channel lineups are almost the same except they have more gaps in their numbering.  Also they still have channels in the guide multiple times such as Disney Channel which stays in the non digital tier at 54 and is also at 200 in standard definition grouped with the other Family channels and is also at 1200 in HD.  On my customized lineup Disney Channel shows up once at 51 and in the best quality available.  The channel shows up on all my TV’s regardless of if they are HD or not (I still have on SD set left in the house).

Based on the new grouping I will definitely have less work to do to get my lineup the way I want but I still cannot use their lineup by default.  At the very least I need to remove the duplicates and replace all the SD version of channels with the HD counterpart but that’s pretty much it.  I really do not need to reorder or renumber the channels.

The only thing I am worried about now is that Zap2It updates my guide data correctly and on time so that I do not miss any recordings.  We will see what happens.

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Ceton tuner can run over the network!

HDHomerun stole some of the Ceton thunder at CES last month when they announced a dual tuner cable card product that would work over the network. Media Center enthusiasts where extremely excited at the possibility of setups this introduced including ditching Media Center extenders and using a full PC only setup.

Well it looks like more options are here as Jeremy Hammer has announced via the Green Button that the Ceton 4 stream tuner will work over the network too. Jeremy writes:

Computer A: Install Ceton MOCUR; Select “Ethernet Network” and “Ceton MOCUR Network”; Right click, bridge networks.

Computer B (Note: No tuners installed): Open MC; Go through setup. 4 tuners found.

Note: This was blocked behavior with the ATI OCUR driver. It is not blocked with our driver.

Here is the whole thread: Post at 4:23pm

Things just got a lot more interesting. I think that HDHomerun just lost a few customers. With the Ceton tuner having 2 more streams and an actual release date this seems like the tuner to get.

Mediaroom 2.0 Announced at CES

From Microsoft:

Today at CES, Microsoft announced Mediaroom 2.0, the new version of their award-winning IPTV middleware platform. The update enables service providers to more subscribers than ever before, delivering more content to more screens — both inside and outside the home.

Mediaroom 2.0 allows service providers to:

  • Deploy Mediaroom as the cloud that powers their service
  • Bring live, recorded and on-demand content to Windows 7 PCs via Windows Media Center with no additional hardware
  • Expand their service footprint beyond the reach of their IPTV network by offering existing on-demand TV service to their entire broadband customer base
  • Use Microsoft Silverlight and Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) Smooth Streaming for the access and delivery of on-demand content.
  • In the near future, enable playback on compatible smartphones

Ceton Quad Tuner for $399!!!

The CES rumor mill is in full swing.  Zatz Not Funny is reporting that the Ceton Quad Cable Card tuner will be announced by Steve Ballmer during the Microsoft keynote on Wednesday night and that the quad tuner will ship during the first quarter for a price of $399.

If this turns out to be true these things will fly off the shelf.  I know I want want.  The ATI Cable card tuners were $300 for a single stream and it was a bulky box that connected via USB.  Looks like Microsoft may be getting behind this card in a big way.  Hopefully that support is what allows them to sell the quad tuner for $400.  This is great news if true.  Stay tuned.

Update on CableCard HDHomeRun

GeekTonic is all over the breaking news on the CableCard HDHomeRun.  Looks like the tuner is definitely real and it will work over the network like the current HDHomeRun.  This is huge if you want to create a tuner pool and just have mini form factor PC’s around the house instead of extenders.  The possibilities are really opening up.

CES cannot get here fast enough!

Read the full article here

Silicon Dust to annouce Cable Card product at CES

My Network Project reader Dana (thanks!) has sent in a link to breaking news over at GeekTonic.com (full story). Looks like Silicon Dust will be getting into the Cable Card business and will make the announcement this week at CES.

This news is exciting for HTPC enthusiasts for two reasons. The first is that all of the hopes for new Cable Card tuners no longer rests on the shoulders of Ceton. I still have faith that Ceton will deliver a great product but now we have choices and competition which at the end of the day will be good for HTPC consumers and also help broaden the market for HTPC’s.

The second reason to get excited is because it’s Silicon Dust producing it. Most enthusiast HTPC setups (mine included) have an HD Homerun as part of their TV tuner pool. It is a quality product that just works and it has great support via the forums and constant software/firmware updates. We can only expect that the Cable Card tuners will get the same respect from Silicon Dust.

CES officially starts on Thursday but kicks off with a keynote from Microsoft Wednesday night. Unfortunately I will not be in Vegas in person for CES this year but I will be grabbing as much news as possible and posting here as it comes across the wire.

Time Warner Adds 10 HD Channels

Time Warner just added 10 HD channels yesterday.  You will need cable card and an SDV tuning adapter to get the new channels.  Zap2It has only updated their guide with the new HBO HD channels so you have to wait until they add they other ones before they start showing up in your guide.  I have verified that the channels are working under the TV diagnostics.

From Time Warner:

New HD Channels!

Time Warner Cable is adding 10 more HD channels to the lineup on November 23rd – just in time for the holidays!

  • HBO Signature HD
  • HBO Family HD
  • HBO Comedy HD
  • HBO Zone HD
  • HBO Latino HD
  • ActionMax HD
  • Showtime Too HD
  • Cartoon Network HD
  • We HD
  • IFC HD