Podcast - This Is Only a Test

Episode 31 – Special Guests! – 10/07/2010

This week, Norm, Ana, and Will talk about the Samsung Tab, the new Apple TV, Google TV, and a whole lot more. Plus, visits by two other Whiskey-ites on another fun-filled episode of This is Only a Test!

Comments (17)

17 thoughts on “Episode 31 – Special Guests! – 10/07/2010

  1. My first proper computer (not including the Atari 800) was an ancient (even for it’s time) 286 with sweet Hercules graphics. The first game for it I got was Police Quest 2 & Space Quest 3… I think.
    Good memories there.

  2. Be glad you Americans get awesome things like Netflix…
    Makes me sad that I’m European. What good is a strong Euro if we can’t spend it on awesome stuff!

  3. Cable cards with Comcast are not $5 each.  I got a TIVO HD XL 1TB, I got 1 HD (non dvr) box downstairs for $7.99 per month (includes HD Programming for household), the Tivo HD XL has 1 Multistream card for FREE from Comcast.  According to Comcast, 1 Cablecard is provided for FREE to a household and each additional card would run $2.83 per month.  With the CC in my Tivo, I got HD programming, we are not subscribed to HBO, that would be an additional $15 a month.  Not sure where you get $5 per CC without a FREE option included.

  4. My first computer was the Commodore 64. My favorite game on that platform was Wizball.  
     
    My first PC was a 286 and I think I still have the mobo someplace in my basement.

  5. First computer? If you don’t count using a teletype (paper driven, not CRT) to dial up (rotary phone that is) the modem (300 baud) to the main frame across town, then for me it was the trusty Timex/Sinclair 1000! Oh yeah…..2 K of memory and unlimited storage on cassettes! Hey, I cut my programming teeth on that thing! 
     
    First game? Star Trek on that teletype maybe….. Can’t remember on the Timex Sinclair, but certainly Zork on the first PC!

  6.  it might be different in billing for TX vs. CA but I got 1 multistream card for the TiVo and if I got another TiVo downstairs, I pay (according to Comcast) something like $2.83 for the 2nd card per month, which includes the HD tier bc of the HD box currently on that TV.

  7. Just a quick correction from a digital STB engineer: 
     
    The main reason why digital TV channel changes are often slow is because the video decoder has to wait for an I-frame (compressed full screen image).  Since I-frames are the most bandwidth-expensive, providers want to extend the delay between them, using lots P-frames and B-frames, which merely track the differences between frames.  Add to that a bit of overhead delay from waiting for the conditional access system to request access rights and descrambling keys from the smart card, and you’ve typically got about 2 seconds worth of waiting.  RF tuner acquisition is actually pretty quick, so channel changes that hop between transport streams (different physical channels on seperate frequencies) are not usually much slower than changes within channels on the same stream. 
     
    EDIT: Also, the turtle game was LOGO.

  8. Here’s rescue rover, one of the first three computer games I played on my first home computer.  Must have been about 1991.  I stopped playing because I was upset by the animation that occured when you failed and the dog got killed!

  9. The first game I remember playing was The Oregon trail on the computers that my school had. Oh how green and black the olden days were. I don’t remember what my first computer was , but I’m pretty sure it had Windows 3.11 on it.


  10. Here’s rescue rover, one of the first three computer games I played on my first home computer.  Must have been about 1991.  I stopped playing because I was upset by the animation that occured when you failed and the dog got killed! “

    I looked at some YouTube videos of Rescue Rover. Poor dog. He was kidnapped by Wall-E. Eve would not have approved.

  11.  Wow, I didn’t know that. I had no idea that they spaced i-frames out that much on cable transmissions. Thanks for the info 🙂 “

    It all depends on how much content they want to cram on the line.  Cable is commonly 64 QAM or 256 QAM, which gets you around 27.9 Mbit or 38.8 Mbit, respectively, per 6 MHz transport.  Multiply that by a range of around 52 MHz to 900MHz, and you get a sense of the maximum amount of bandwidth that’s physically possible for them to provide.  Switching to HD is hard for cable providers because they have to put bigger resolution channels through the same pipes as SD, and one of the easiest corners to cut is stretching the i-frame delay out to a few seconds.  Satellite providers have it a bit easier, because QPSK transports are much wider allowing for easier bandwidth sorting, and can be stacked in interesting ways using polarity.

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