Media

Downloading, streaming, or encoding music and movies.

Why does my streaming video buffer?

John from Kendrick, WA

Episode 1050

John says that when he watches video online, it buffers and the quality devolves a lot. Leo says it's amazing how we expect streaming video to have the quality of television now. And often it is. But data doesn't arrive in order and on time like a broadcast signal is. It's transmitted in packets and sometimes those packets arrive out of order, and has to wait for the missing packets to be received in order to play them back. If it doesn't arrive, then it stutters to the next available packet. The computer John is using may not be fast enough, though.

Is there any single service for all of my entertainment content?

Mike from Detroit, MI

Episode 1050

Mike wants to know if there is any one service that can offer all his entertainment needs: music, movies, tv shows, eBooks, audio books, etc. Leo says that Apple and Amazon would probably be the closest, but the entertainment world is pretty fragmented between Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Audible, and others. Leo says that people are basically used to the idea of paying several smaller fees a month instead of one large cable bill. The irony is, people aren't really saving anything, which was the main force driving cord cutting.

How can I record TV with an antenna?

Episode 1048

Robin from North Hills, CA
TIVO

Robin is looking to cut the cable and wants to use an over-the-air antenna to get live TV. Leo says that if she can get reception, then an antenna can take over for the satellite and she'll end up with a very nice, and more uncompressed HD broadcast. Leo advises going to AntennaWeb.org and see what she can get in her area based on her address. It'll also recommend the best antenna for her area.

How can I use a satellite dish with my RV?

Georgeanne from Pomona, CA

Episode 1044

Georgeanna has an RV and a satellite dish. She's thinking about using Slingbox and a Hotspot with her cellphone, but that'll impact her data plan. Leo says that will definitely hurt the data plan, and the quality won't be all that great even over 4G. Slingbox is a good option though if she can get Wi-Fi connected to it. There are self aiming satellite antennas, but they aren't cheap.

Winamp Will Live On Through Spotify Tribute App

Episode 1042

After Winamp had announced it was shutting down, Spotify created an app called "Spotiamp" as a tribute to the popular Windows jukebox app. Spotify's version will allow you to stream tunes through Spotify using the classic Winamp interface.

It's not clear whether or not Winamp will be purchased by another company. There are rumors indicating a deal could be in the works for Microsoft to buy the app from AOL, but there haven't been any further details on it.

Retailers Refuse to Carry Beyonce's Latest Album After Exclusive Deal with iTunes

Episode 1041

Beyonce released a surprise album with great success on social media sites. Each song has an accompanying video, and there were tons of photos shared on Instagram as well. But since the album was sold exclusively on iTunes the first week, other retailers including Amazon, Target, and other retailers are now saying they won't carry it. Walmart will be carrying it, however, because Beyonce was shopping there for Blue Ivy. She also was giving 750 $50 gift cards to people at Walmart. The album sold 600,000 units in the US first 3 days and 820,000 worldwide.

Why won't my video files play?

John from California

Episode 1041

John bought a 60GB hard drive to rip VHS tapes and digitize them, but they won't play on most of the computers he's tried. Leo says that file size could be an issue. There's a 2GB and 4GB barrier and he'll need the most recent version of Windows 7. The other problem could be the codec John used to encode the videos. Leo recommend VLC VideoLan Client. Leo also suggests reformatting the drive to NTFS so he can play the larger file sizes.

Are SD cards reliable?

Rolf from Barstow, CA

Episode 1037

Rolf likes that Windows tablets have SD card slots to access more memory. Leo says that is a bonus, but it's important to understand that flash memory has a limited number of writes and can fail. So he should be sure to make a backup of the data he puts on them. He'll be able to get a few years out of them, though.

How can I stream old videos online?

Justin from Burney, CA

Episode 1036

Justin bought a Roku Box and has a bunch of movies and TV shows he bought on iTunes and wanted to stream them via Plex. Leo says that copy protection won't allow that, though. Justin says that's why he's buying discs again. He's wondering if he can rip them and stream them online? Leo says that once they're ripped, he could, but he'd have to have a media server and then log into it remotely. It's doable, as long as it's just for private use.

How can I route audio back to guests in Skype?

Michael from Florence, AL

Episode 1036

Michael is a podcaster and wants to be able to provide audio back to his callers. Leo says this is called a "Mix minus," which would let the caller hear everything but themselves. He'll need a mixing board to route the audio back through Skype. There is a software solution for Mac called Audio Hijack Pro by Rogue Amoeba, but it's not that easy to set up. SoundFlower is another way to route audio.