ted (Television Episode Downloader)

Posted by Ub3rG33k on May 8, 2010 in Apple, Microsoft, Tech

If you are anything like me (and god help you if you are :)), and use the internet as a PVR, then this software will be a god send to you.

I’ve just recently ordered a Mac Mini to replace my last remaining Windows machine, and thought I’d better check if I could still do what I do now.

Currently my Dell machine, sits in the corner, and is used as my media server, my iTunes server and my torrent machine. Currently I have uTorrent installed, which downloads each episode using the RSS Feed option. Each of the RSS feeds points to a particular RSS feed for my favourite TV program from eztv, and once a new episode is detected, it’s downloaded.

Once the episodes are downloaded, these get copied to a shared location on my NAS Box, which I can then stream to my PS3’s or Xbox using PS3 Media Server.

I did a little googling last night, and even though there is a Mac version of uTorrent, it’s still in beta, and missing a lot of the functions that the Windows version has, eg the RSS downloader.

After a little more googling, I found a tidy little piece of freeware software called ted (Television Episode Downloader). Essentially it has a list of all the TV episodes that you can select from, and when a new episode appears, it will download the torrent file, and open this with your default torrent client.

Ok, this that fixes the missing functionality of uTorrent, however the software is a lot smarter that the RSS Downloader function in uTorrent, as once you’ve added your favourite shows, you can choose to start from the next available episode, the previous episode, or even download every episode. You then have the option to select “HD Only”, which will only download episodes with the tag of HD or 720.

The interface will also show you the name of the next episode, and when it’s going to be aired.

The good thing about this software is that is available free of charge on Mac, Windows and Linux, and only requires that you have a torrent client installed (I highly recommend uTorrent, Mac and Windows clients available).

Now some people may have a problem with downloading episodes from the internet, I however don’t mind, as I tend to buy the boxsets once they are available. Also this is little different to using BBC iPlayer, or Sky Anytime.

Anyway, let me know your thoughts, and enjoy

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Harmony remotes FTW

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Dec 15, 2009 in Tech
logitech-logoAs time goes on, and I buy myself more and more gadgets, these obviously come with more and more remotes. Over the last couple of years I’ve tried various “All in One” remote controls, from the cheap “enter the device ID, and hope for the best”, to a Cambridge Audio MI+ “Smart Remote”

I’ve been more than happy with the Cambridge MI+ however I made the mistake of leaving another remote on top of it, which drained the batteries….

As I couldn’t really be bothered reprogramming it all (which took me ages to get everything how I wanted, also all the macros I had set up), I decided to give the Harmony remotes a try.

Logitech_Harmony_515I found a good deal on Amazon, and got one of the basic Harmony 515 remotes just to give them a try. The major selling point to me, was that it backed up the remote to an online database.

A couple of days later, the remote arrived, very simple PC/Mac GUI interface, pick your devices and bobs your uncle !
One of the limitations of the 515 remote, was the fact that it will only run up to 5 devices, however this is where the limitations end.

The major thing that makes the Harmony remote series stand out from all the rest, are the way they work. On the “All in One” remotes, you basically switch on device a, then device b, then device c, then switch device a to channel d, etc etc. The Cambridge remote did attempt to combat this, by giving you the option of macro, which meant with 1 button press, you could macro “switch on device a, then device b, then device c, then switch device a to channel d, etc etc”.
The setup of the Harmony creates Activities. Once you have set up your devices, it will give you a list of suggested activities based on your devices. An example of this would be “Watch TV”. The setup runs through, and asks the following question.

Assume you want the TV on (and what channel, AV, etc), the PVR on, do you want the amp on, if so what channel, when the activity is complete, do you want the volume controls to control the amp or the TV, etc. Once done, you plug your remote into your PC/Mac and download the information to it, and your done. When you then click the “Watch TV” activity, it turns on the TV, switches to my HDMI channel, turns on the Sky HD, turns on the amp, and switches to CBL/TV, sets the control to emulate the Sky+ remote, and the volume control to control the amp.
This setup works for DVD, PS3, Xbox, and anything else I throw into the mix !

logitech_harmony_oneWith being so impressed with the 515 remote, I treated myself to the Harmony One remote, and moved the 515 up into the bedroom. This gave me chance to use the “Replace Remote” function within the Harmony software, plugged in the Harmony One, clicked Replace Remote, and within a few minutes it had configured the new remote with my configuration, all the devices worked as before ! Brilliant !

The advantage of the Harmony One, is that it can control up to 15 devices, has a colour touch screen and comes with dock/charger, and to be honest looks the business.

If you are looking for a smart, all in one remote, look no further than the Harmony series !

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