Question for guys who upgraded to Directv’s HD package

March 12th, 2009

Question: I just got a new HDTV and was planning on calling Directv to upgrade my standard programming to their HD one.

I know there have been guys post here in the past about the deals they got from upgrading to Directv’s HD package. So I was just curious if you guys can share what they offered you to swith to their HD programming. Plus what number did you guys call, Directv’s customer service line?

Finally, does anyone know what’s the model number of their latest HD-DVR system. Just wanted to make sure when I place the order, they don’t give me one of their older models. Thanks

Answer: I took the latest flyer they had and called the number on the back and asked for the deal with HD Plus for $49.99 a month, no fee per month for HD access ($9.99) and free DVR instead of the one-time $199 setup charge.

They told me it was for new subscribers only and I said that it was terrible to offer new subscribers better deals then ones for 12 year subscribers. We negotiated and I got HD access for one year free. A DVR unit for free. I didn’t get the $49.99 package cost – but kept the same cost I have now. I only had to pay $19.99 for installation.

Be nice and ask for what you can. You’ll have to push back a couple of times.

46 inch Sony bravia or 52 inch Olevia LCD?

March 8th, 2009

Question: I have a chance to get a 46 sony bravia or 52 olivia LCD.. same price approx: $1100 … any good/bad reviews?

Answer 1: I have a 37 in. Olivia LCD and have no complaints. I’m not an electronics expert, but the picture and sound seem great to us. My wife often turns the volume as high as it will go and there are no pops or crackles or anything like that.

Only negative is we’ve never been able to get it to work with a universal remote (ie: comcast remote, one4All remote). Apparently they are secretive with their remote codes.

Answer 2: The remote thing is a huge pain in the ass, otherwise, I love ours.

Answer 3: Love my Olevia and did a lot of research on them before I bought it a cpl yrs ago. There was an interesting piece in the TIMES where they explained that Olevia and LG for example had their chassis and other parts built by Synatx Brillan etc. Consumer Reports rated Olevia the best for the $ at the time as well. Of course like most HD the sound basically sucks so you need to get a cpl external speakers and a woofer for the floor. I use the JBL creature speakers made for computers and NOT as $ as these $$$ systems they push in the Audio stores. The sound is great.

Answer 4: I have a 37″ LCD. Love it. Has a better picture than most of my family friends’ higher priced, more name brand TV’s. They all say it when they come over for games etc. I have had it for 2 years and really can’t recommend it enough.

Answer 5: Are you comparing a low end Sony to a high end Olevia? Comparing brands is useless, without knowing which models. Every brand has their ‘entry level, good, better, and best”. So those with an Olevia who say there’s blows away their neighbors brand name TV, there could be your explanation.

Food for thought though, I believe Olevia went bankrupt a while ago? If so, understand your warranty may be worth the paper it is written on.

HDTV and XBox360 HDMI cables & adapter?

February 22nd, 2009

Question: Today, I am the happy owner of a Sony 40″ LCD HDTV. 1080p and 120htz. I’m just waiting for it to be delivered. Yea!!!

Anyway, I intend on purchasing some HDMI cable to hook up my cable box and Blue-ray player. I was hoping to do the same for my XBox360, but it seems my Xbox doesn’t have an HDMI output. Has anyone run into this issue, and what did they do to remedy it? I’m trying to figure out if I need to buy some kind of adapter, do I need to replace my XBox console or just live with the component cables I’ve got?

Any input would be much appreciated.

Answer: I think they sell an adapter. I have seen it in the Xbox section in Best Buy but I’m not sure who makes it.

Answer 2: I have the 40″ Sony Bravia and it’s fantastic. I play the XBox360 without HDMI cables. I use the red, yellow and white adaptor cables. It looks great but I hear with an HDMI it will be even better.

Answer 3: There is an xbox360 hdmi conversion kit. They sell a conversion kit for it.

Buy your Kuro or Kuro Elite soon!

February 14th, 2009

Pioneer is getting out of the flat-panel display business by 2010 despite the excellent quality of their Kuro plasma TVs. Sales in HDTV have gone way down – Pioneer reported a net loss of 26.15 billion yen ($290.52 million), down from 1.69 billion yen ($18.76 million) the previous year.

How do I turn songs on my computer into ringtones for my blackberry?

September 19th, 2008

Question: How do I turn songs on my computer into ringtones for my blackberry?

Answer 1: It’s actually very easy. Once you create the small files for ringtones – you simply use the BB desktop software to move them to the ringtone folder.

Answer 2: My brother in law pointed me to – Go there, click ringtones, not ringtone settings, just ringtones. browse through them. They are great funny excellent, and of course crappy at turns. play one, click save and save as a ring tone. Once you have it click it again in your ringtone list and select at ringtone for the phone.

Answer 3: Download audacity – a free sound editing program. Open a song file you might have. You can use audacity to select a loop and crop it. About 10 seconds long. Save that as an MP3.

Connect your blackberry to your computer, open Blackberry desktop software and open the media manager. You can use that to copy the new MP3 ringtone you created to your blackberry’s ‘ringtones’ folder. Now you should be able to use it on blackberry as a ringtone.

Cablevision HD screen width setup

September 16th, 2008

Question: I just moved in an apartment with my fiance and I got cable installed Saturday for a Phillips 42in 1080p. The channels work fine but for some reason for the hd channels I have to manually change the width of the screen for me to have the whole screen HD. I had to do that with all the football games on Sunday. Isn’t it supposed to be automatic? This is my first Flat screen so I’m not sure…Do I need to buy another wire?

I set the settings for the actual tv for automatic but for the hd football games it came up widescreen and i had to manually expand the screen.

Answer 1: Yeah you can change the settings to automatic. You can call cablevision and they will talk you through it.

Answer 2: When setup is right, your digital cable box should read (left to right) 1080i, hdtv, auto. Time and channel should appear in a larger font below the info.

Answer 3: HDMI cables really help. What you need to do is adjust the box settings. Go into the box menu by hitting settings button on remote twice. Go to Video Input and change if from fixed to auto dvi/hdmi.

You also need to run the HD wizard on the box to set it up. To do this you turn the cable box off, and then hit the info and settings button on the box itself. The program will come up on your tv and just follow the on screen instructions.

I work for cable as a tech so this should have been done for you, but sometimes guys dont do shit the right way.

On a side note, it can also be your TV so make sure you have it on wide screen setting if avail. Also make sure you take your cable box of the stretch setting if its turned on by hitting the settings button on remote once and going to it.

Slingbox mobile device

September 9th, 2008

Question: I’m sick of not having Slingbox mobile so I want to switch to get a device that is compatible. Right now, I have the blackberry 50something something, the one that came out before the curve and its great. Any suggestions on what I should get that is similar to my blackberry and slingbox mobile compatible? My service provider is AT& T

Answer 1: Get the blackjack. I have it and it works well, as long as you are in a 3g area. I have ATT also.

Answer 2: They say Slingbox will be available on blackberry by end of the year but I wouldn’t count on it. Sling announced back in January that it would be available for Blackberry by the end of the year but there’s been no update whatsoever since then. Their silence says a lot.

Answer 3: Slingbox Mobile works on any windows media phone or palm. Blackberry has been “coming soon” for more than a year. The Treo 800 just came out and slingbox is adapting to that winmo 6.1 device.

Answer 4: It’s not blackberry – It’s Slingmedia. They are the ones that need to come out with the software that can run on blackberry. And no, it doesn’t work on the iphone either. Unlike with blackberry, Slingmedia hasn’t announced any plans to come out with an application for the iphone, which is unfortunate because it would be amazing to be able to watch on that phone.

Home entertainment systems – HTIB recommendations?

September 7th, 2008

Question: I was at a Bose store last weekend and the systems look awesome, but my gut tells me they’re way overpriced at $2K-plus. My in-laws got one from Sam’s Club for about $550 with front and rear speakers (although not true surround sound), a DVD/CD player and a separate receiver that lets you hear what’s being played in another room or outside. I forget what brand it is.

I’m not a Sam’s Club member but I’m looking for something more along the lines of what my in-laws have. Don’t need top of the line, but something that is good for the money and has a receiver for at least one other room in the house.

Any recommendations welcomed – thanks.

Answer 1: AVS is the place for all such questions. The forum topic Home Theater in a Box is a great source for information on inexpensive Home Theater sets, such as the Bose system (and yes, they are generally considered overpriced).

In particular, check out the thread on HTIB Alternatives. If you can spend up to $1000 you can put together a simple system (receiver, 5 speakers) from separate components that will far surpass what you will get from a HTIB.

Answer 2: I am very happy with my system that is closer to your in-laws. Bose is way over-priced in general. I have an Onkyo home theater in a box system that I spend about $500 on several years ago. It is great for my needs. You can spend a helluva lot more on higher quality components and speakers, but I’m not exactly an audiophile. I think that the sound and experience from my system is pretty amazing.

Answer 3: I would suggest picking up an Onkyo system. You won’t be disappointed. I got a 7.1 system made by Onkyo that I’m really happy with. It has a lot of bang for the buck. HDMI switching and everything. It has a channel for another room as well. Well under a thousand shipped from amazon.

Answer 4: You can do much better than the Home Theater in a Box or HTIB with a little research on the web and a visit to an Audio Store. The Good Lord gave us all two precision intruments to help us recognize good audio….they’re called Ears.

Get an idea of what you want and what price range you are comfortable with. Then visit an Audio Shop with a Listening Room (not Best Buy/Circuit City). They should be able to punch up any receiver in stock with a variety of speakers. You might want to bring in a CD of your favorite type of music. There’s no law that says you have to buy it there, just listen and say thank you very much.

I have a Denon receiver. It has a feature called 5-channel stereo that can matrix a stereo signal (like FM radio) into a nice 5 channel surround.

Find something that suits your listening tastes and search the web for the best price. Your friendly Audio Store may match the price.

And then don’t look back, because new improved gear is being released every month.

Answer 5: A quick shopping spree to came up with: Onkyo SR606B reciever $379.89 free shipping @

Infinity Primus front/rear/center speakers $398.99 +$34.95 shipping @

Infinity PS10 Subwoofer $169.95 +$44.70 shipping @

Total $1028.48

If you have a higher budget, I suggest some Definitive Technology speakers instead of the Infinity speakers.

Answer 6: Bose Sucks! I have an Onkyo 5.1 reciever for about 6 years now, love it. I have Klipch speakers, with a Velodyne 120 (450 watt) sub. This system still rocks, that sub can shake my entire house! Add the Klipch speakers, which are a very bright speaker, and its a really nice combo. Shop for the Klipch speakers online, or you will pay a high price at the local Best Buy or Circuit City stores. If you want all tyhe information you could ever possibly need or want, go to the Home Theatre – This is a true fanatics dream.

Answer 7: I have an Onkyo 705 and 7 Polk speakers. It sounds great in the media room. Bose is terrible. You can do a lot better. Pick a receiver that sounds good to you (they all sound a little different). Some names are Denon, Onkyo, Yamaha, and Pioneer Elite. Then the same with speakers (again all speakers sound different). THere are many, many brands. For example some people love the Klipsch, but to me they sounded to bright and grated on me. A reciever will give you all the latest features (HDMI, etc), but if you value sound over features then go for separates (a separate amp and preprocessor). A receiver will say its 120W, but in reality it will be a lot less per channel in normal use. A separate amp will be 120W. The sound from separates will be better, but I really needed the additional features so I went with the received, and to me it sounds good enough.

Moving without informing directv about change of address?

August 16th, 2008

Question: Hey guys, my brother who lives in S. Jersey currently has directv. He uses his friend’s address in NY as his service address, so he gets all the NY sports and locals. Problem for him now is that he is moving into a townhouse in Lower Merion, PA(right outside of Philly).

He needs someone to tell him whether or not his deck is in the right position to get a directv signal. If he can get it, he also needs an installer. Obviously, he can’t go through directv since his service address is in NY.

Any suggestions here?

Answer 1: You can probably google that, and I’d bet he can do the installation himself (it’s not a hard job).

Answer 2: Use a compass. If the deck faces south, he cool. You can mount the dish on a tripod on the deck for him, its pretty easy.

Answer 3: I believe google has a tool and from PA, it would be southwest. Essentially you shoot and point for texas. Also if he is moving, he should be able to call direcTV. Another train of thought is to call an install place directly, explain the situation, since it is just a dish install and some cabling they could do it for a fee, as they have all the tools. One of the best places to look for these installers is to look in the sunday paper, they always have ads looking to hire people.

Explain the Slingbox to me

July 31st, 2008

Question: Can anyone explain how Slingbox works? I believe I understand the basic concept. You plug this doohickey into your TV at “home,” and from there, you can somehow access it from a remote location through your Internet-connected PC, and in doing so, can watch your local TV channels on your PC.

So here’s my situation – I live in L.A., and am stuck with Charger, 49er, Raider, Bronco, and the occasional Cardinal game. However, my sister and her family lives in NY, where the Giants games are always local. Could I purchase the Slingbox, have it installed at her house, and use it from my apartment in L.A.? I guess the real question is, does it have any effect on what she and her family can watch, while I’m using it to watch the Giants game? Once it’s installed, can she pretty much forget that it’s there?

Answer 1: ust get Sunday Ticket.

Answer 2: It’s basically an over-the-Internet transmitter of television. To get into specifics, check the website below which has every answer you could want:

Answer 3: I have Slingbox. You have to watch whatever your sister is watching. If she has more than one TV, you can use the other one.

Answer 4: You could use the Slingbox but whatever cable box you hook up the interface to cannot watch a different program. If you add a cable box of your own at her place that would be fine. Having said that Direct TV is the way to go.

Answer 5: You hook it up to the cable coming into your sisters house. Then you connect the cat5 cable to your internet router. When the 2 lights on the box are on you are in business. Your sister will have to load the software on one of her PCs and get the routing info for you. Once you have that you are good to go. You do not have to listen to what they are listening to. Depending on the box you get TUNER (basic cable only) the AV and PRO give you cable box functionality. You control the station from your PC once you connect. The info you will need is what she calls the box and the finder ID which is like a MAC ID and lastly what password she is using. Only setback is only 1 access is available. If you are on nobody else can access unless you have a 2nd slingbox installed.