The SatanVision LED TV is a project put together by David Forbes for Burning Man. The idea behind the 3-month, $1000 project? What would a TV look like "if it was designed by The Horned One?" The answer to that question is an LED-based TV with a red and black picture that's so dim it can't even be watched during the day. The set displays regular NTSC video content in 128 x 96 resolution and was designed for Burning Man, according to Forbes, because "nowhere else could anyone ever find a reason to watch such a crummy TV set."
It's astonishing that a huge number of HDTV owners clean their flat panels with commercial cleaning products like Windex. Why is it astonishing? Because such products can do irreparable harm to your expensive investment. Worse yet, if something does go wrong, it's very likely the user manual that came with the HDTV tells you not to do what you just did do to cause the damage. And there goes your warranty.
You'll also see cleaning kits at big-box stores like Best Buy that charge you an arm and leg for a microfiber cloth (like the one's used to clean glasses) and a tiny bottle of cleaning solution. Don't fork out the cash here either. Okay, then how are you supposed to clean your LCD or plasma?
It's really simple and cheap. Go to an office supply store and buy a microfiber cloth, dampen it with water, and wipe down your display. Just don't press too hard. That's it.
If you're the owner of the much-talked-about Popcorn Hour A-100 media streamer and have the finger mobility to use a small screwdriver, you might be interested in this handy mod put together by Jeremy Jones. Apparently the tiny circuit board you see in the video above leaves enough space within the device to install a standard PATA hard drive. Install it (Jones chooses an 80GB HDD), the Popcorn Hour can be used as a BitTorrent client that can save files locally. Look cool to you? Then grab that screwdriver and check out the video above.
Anyone who's ever bought an HDTV knows that once you bring it home, the picture tends to look a little different in your living room than it did on the store's shelves. That's because manufacturer's adjust the blue, green and red color settings, emphasizing the blue, in order to produce a super bright, pop-out-at-you image calibrated for shelf display. Your living room environment is different though, typically a lot brighter, making a super-bright image less than optimal for high-def TV viewing.
It can be fixed though. Big-box retailers such as Best Buy offer home calibration services, but charge you $300 arm-and-leg. Yeah, they do a great job and will have your picture about as optimized as it can get for the environment it's in and the expectations you have, but there are cheaper, do-it-yourself ways that do a comparable job.
Low tech and relatively low cost solutions include buying ultrasuede curtains to keep out some of the outdoor light, painting the walls a dark color, or even something as simple as putting the TV 3 times its diagonal screen measurement away from you and at eye level.
Higher tech and more effective solutions include using the THX Optimizer feature found on many DVD titles, which allow you to calibrate your set specifically for the movie you're watching with the help of a pair of blue-lensed Optimizer glasses. Calibration DVD's such as Monster's HDTV Calibration Wizard ($30), Digital Video Essentials' High Definition ($35), and the Avia II are also extremely effective and easy on the pocketbook.
If you're willing to spend a little more money, Datacolor's SpyderTV, priced at $173, uses suction cups attached to your HDTV screen and attached to your computer by USB cable to transmit information that tells you how to adjust your color, tint, and contrast levels. In the end, just know that your screen needs to be calibrated once it's set up in your home, and you don't have to spend a ton of cash, or have a ton of technical knowledge to do it.
If you have young kids running around your home theater setup all day long, then you know all about the knot that forms in your stomach when the thought of thousands of dollars going down the drain at one wrong step by the young ones overwhelms you. Oh, and of course we know you're concerned about the safety of your kids too.
No worries. You can protect your home theater from flying 50-pound rugrats. Wired's How-To Wiki has a whole load of tips and tricks for childproofing your home theater.
Saturday's a great day to tinker around with some TV-related projects. Anything you don't get done today, you can finish tomorrow and any damage you do today, you can fix tomorrow too. Here's some ideas for you:
Remember the day of TV sign-offs where the day's programming culminated in vertical color bars and an annoying high-pitched hum. Spent some time checking out different TV sign-offs from years back. We don't recommend this one unless you're really bored.
Interested in learning how to build your own television receiver? We should warn you, these how-to's come from 70-80 years ago so don't expect them to work after next year's digital TV transition.
Advertisers continue to look for ways to effectively monetize web video, a focus that will be key to integrating television and the web. One of the most exciting revelations this week came from Google who has opened Adsense for video in beta. While right now, only video publishers who meet some pretty impressive traffic standard can participate, eventually video Adsense will be available to everyone. And get this: rumors are rolling around the blogosphere that estimate that Google will pay $15 for every 1000 impressions. But how do you attract the traffic necessary to actually make money from video advertisers?
We've pulled 5 ways to ensure you make money from your online video from a Los Angeles Times article, Behave, the Video Vigilante is watching, an article that discusses the convergence of activism and the web.
1. Keep Your Upfront Costs Low
You don't need thousands of dollars worth of fancy electronics to make money in web video. A half decent camcorder and video editing program on your computer will do the trick. Content is key.
2. People Love Seeing Others Publicly Humiliated
While this may sound like a tip from a heartless bastard, some people should be publicly humiliated. John's that troll the streets looking for underaged prostitutes captured on video and plastered on YouTube attract all kinds of traffic. "If you get caught...you get a life sentence", says the Video Vigilante of Oklahoma City, Brian Bates.
3. Compromising Situations Involving Authorities Such As Cops And Pastors Attract Traffic
People love seeing those of legal and moral high-standing break the very laws and virtues they promote. Traffic cops breaking laws they're supposed to enforce, pastors trolling for hookers, and nightclub violence are guaranteed to attract traffic if you happen to catch them on tape.
4. Shamelessly Self-Promote
Give yourself a nickname, call local news stations and tell them what you're doing, leverage social networks on the web. Don't be shy and get the word out. We're sure that a Los Angeles Times piece will do wonders for Brian Bates.
5. When Looking For A Subject To Focus On, Choose Something A Tad Unethical
While I don't believe that taping john's taking advantaged of the disadvantaged is unethical, some people do. Because it's difficult to use online video to convict criminals, some civil libertarians say that people such as Brian Bates are serving as "as judge, jury, and executioner", all roles meant for the justice system. The key point to remember here is that negative publicity is still publicity and sometimes it's even better for attracting traffic than positive publicity.
Want some numbers to back these tips up? No problem. Brian Bates owns JohnTV, a website where he publicly airs his provocative footage. Videos like that of a Lowe's deliverman having sex with a prostitute on top of a washing machine have attracted many hundred of thousands of views. And with traffic like that, Bates will make $70, 000 this year from his website alone. He also licenses his footage to talk shows for $250 a clip, has been paid to appear on Maury Povich and signed a deal with YouTube to upload his videos to their video-sharing site and split the ad revenues. Convinced?
Does anyone out there actually the cable messes that come as a nasty by-product of that kickass home theater? Probably not, and if you've incorporated your own media server into the mix, the mess can get a whole lot worse. Maybe it even looks like this.
If so, maybe you should embrace cable organization as art. Not only will your cables be beautifully organized, but beautiful to look at as well. Here are some examples of what we'll call "cable organization art".
Do you ever record shows on Windows Media Player, commercials and all? How would you like to get rid of commercials? If you happen to use Windows Vista as your operating system, a free application and Media Center plugin, Lifextender scans your Windows Media video files, re-cuts all of the files, and replaces them with commercial free copies. And it even works with Xbox 360 extenders! Click the link above to download a free copy of the plugin.
Own a Mac? What about a TiVo Series 3? Then you may find this neat little dashboard widget handy if you want to see your TiVo content on your Mac. All's you have to do with the free Showcase widget is enter your TiVo IP and MAK and you'll get your listing on your Mac. Then you can download the shows you want to watch and they'll automatically be decoded so you can watch them on your computer.
The cool thing about the Showcase widget is that it does everything the TiVoToGo does, but for free.
Do ever wonder how to move an embedded flash (FLV) file such as a YouTube video from the internet to your iPod. First of all, the file needs to be converted to MP4 format, but how do you go about doing that?
An excellent beta freeware application called Vixy will convert FLV files to MP4 format and maintain the original video quality. It's also quick and easy. Find the URL of the video file you need to convert, head over to Vixy, enter the URL, choose the format you wish to convert to and there you go. Almost instant conversion. Not only can Vixy convert FLV files to MP4, it can also convert to AVI files for Windows, MOV files for Macs, 3GP files for mobile phones, and even MP3 files if you're only interested in audio.
Constantly missing all of your favorite TV shows because of work or school? Don't have a TiVo or other timeshifting-capable set top box? Don't even have a television, never mind a high-def LCD or plasma? No worries, take a look at the quick 4 minute video above showing you how to use your computer as a TiVo/television.
Do you have a Scientific Atlanta 8300 cable box and use either Comcast or Time Warner as a service provider? Would it make your day to know that you could do a couple of easy things to get more HD out of that box resulting in a better picture on your HDTV? Technology columnist Don Reisinger will show you how to do this in about 5 minutes. It's the weekend so you might as well.