Downloading, streaming, or encoding music and movies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chuck has transferred all his videos to DVD. Now he wants to put them all on a hard drive for his kids, with pictures, and more. Leo says that for 30 DVDs, a 250GB hard drive would be sufficient. He could even put a DVD player on it like VLC Media Player, which is free, and would allow him to make a playlist of all the DVDs. Chuck would also have to convert all the VOB files. The easiest thing would be to have a folder for each DVD and copy it over. Put the VLC player on the top level and have it play each folder.