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May 2013 Issue 372

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - MAY 11th
VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE, ROOM 110
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UPCOMING MEETING

MYTHTV, A DIGITAL VIDEO RECORDING SYSTEM

It's been years since we last had a MythTV presentation. Some of us may vaguely remember it. And if we do, we should remember that MythTV is first and foremost a Digital Video Recording (DVR) system. DVR's are the modern equivalent of the old analog VHS recorders. Some of us are familier with commercial DVR systems in the form of TiVo's and recording boxes available from our cable or satellite TV provider.

A few months ago one of our members, Ed C, expressed renewed interest in MythTV as a DVR. Since Ed is a "snow bird" and is returning from Florida in time for our May meeting, we put the MythTV presentation on a back burner until May. So Ed, this main meeting presentation is for you. Please be sure to attend this meeting.

MythTV does most if not all of what the commercial DVR's do, but with additional features and advantages. If there is a significant downside to MythTV over commercial DVR's, it might be that you have to put more skin in the game in the form of time and effort.

Peter W will refresh our knowledge about setting up and using MythTV. For some of us this will be a first time introduction to MythTV. Hopefully he will tell us why this Linux based system has advantages over lesser systems based on Mac or Windows as well as the commercial DVR's. I expect that he will tell us what it takes to create a MythTV system as well as showing us how to use it. So come to the meeting to ask questions and see what MythTV can do for you.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & REMINDERS

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LAST MONTH'S MEETING

Attendance:
12 people in all attended the meeting on Saturday, April 13th. Four of the 12 attendees were virtual attendees via Google+ Hangout video chat.

Main Meeting Q&A:
We began last month's meeting with our normal round of questions and announcements. Among the questions and announcements:

John D -

Nelson S -

Tom J -

Don W -

Layton F -

John M -

Rich T -

Bill D -

Main Meeting Program:
The main meeting presentation topic was "Google Hangouts" and was presented by John D.

The show notes can be found at: http://mlcug.org/MLCUG-GoogleHangouts.pdf. These notes cover why you might find Google Hangouts useful for conferencing, 3 alternative competitors to Google Hangouts, setting up a Google Hangout account, Hangout privacy issues, and some troubleshooting links and info.

Not in the show notes is a discussion of John's demonstration of the Google Plus Hangouts apps and features. The following apps and features were demonstrated:

Some of these features could not be readily viewed in screen share mode by those members in the Hangout audience.

Not discussed was the use of Hangout Youtube video feed and capture for your Youtube account use.

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MEETING RELATED SIDEBAR

This section contains web links & other info related to the club or some of the subjects we discussed during our round table discussions and main presentation.

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STREAMING PLAYON OVER INTERNET

For those of you who own or are considering owning PlayOn...

By design your home PlayOn media server has the capability to stream to portable iOS and Android devices when away from home when the Mobile Access feature is enabled on your server. There are PlayOn apps for these devices.

By design your home PlayOn media server has the capability to stream to a browser on a computer over your LAN by pointing your browser at http://m.playon.tv when the Mobile Access feature is enabled on your server. In my testing, only my Chrome and Safari browsers worked properly. Firefox and IE did not.

When I use my Chrome browser to connect to http://m.playon.tv the URL address changes to http://192.168.1.204:54479/?udn=... (I've truncated the full address). Notice the ":54479/" immediately after the IP address. 54479 is the port address for the PlayOn server on my LAN at IP address 192.168.1.204. By manually enabling my router to forward port 54479 to IP 192.168.1.204 and knowing my ISP assigned WAN IP address, I can connect to my home PlayOn media server with the browser on my laptop when away from home. Say my home WAN IP address is 108.16.200.100, all I have to do to establish a remote connection to my PlayOn media server is point the browser on my laptop to http://108.16.200.100:54479.

Because the LAN IP address of the computer running the PlayOn server is prone to change under DHCP, I've configured my router so DHCP assigns the same IP address all the time. In addition, because my router's WAN IP is subject to change by my ISP, I pay $14 per year for a Dynamic Domain Name Service (DDNS). I find the DDNS service worthwhile since I also have other Internet services running on my home network that I want to be able to access reliably when I'm away from home.

NOTE: There's a possible security problem with setting up port forwarding to the PlayOn server as it is not secured in any way. There is no password protection. Anyone who discovers the open router port can access the PlayOn server and stream content acress the Internet. Worse, they could try hacking the PlayOn server to break into your network and computer. For this reason I do not leave this port forwarded on my router very often or for very long periods.

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NETFLIX INSTANT VS. HULU PLUS VS. AMAZON INSTANT VIDEO
By Mike Flacy — March 9, 2013
http://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/netflix-hulu-plus-amazon-instant-video/

Cord Cutters 101If you are unwrapping a brand new Roku 3 this week to upgrade your cord cutting lifestyle or simply trying to figure out what to watch on your smart television, the variety and volume of content on streaming video subscription services has never been greater than it is now. Services like Netflix Instant, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video offer a massive amount of content to watch at a low monthly cost. It’s really a fantastic way to provide extensive entertainment options to an entire family.

Trying to figure out which subscription service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our 2013 breakdown of the three most popular streaming video services by browsing the link above.

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RASPBERRY PI COMPUTER HARDWARE RESOURCES & INFO

Birds eye view from the Rpi bèta board(model B)

RPi Hardware
http://elinux.org/RPi_Hardware

Introduction

The product is the size of a credit card, and is designed to plug into a TV or HDMI monitor. It comes in two variants, model A and B, with B having more features. The expected price is $25 for model A and $35 for model B. The GPIO pins on each board allow the use of optional expansion boards.

Those who are looking to set up a Raspberry Pi for the first time, see RPi Hardware Basic Setup.

Several different Hardware versions/revisions of RaspberryPi Boards have been found probably from different assembly lines. Try to identify your board for better troubleshooting and update it if you have one which is not mentioned.

Specifications

Model A Model B
Target price: US$25 Ext tax (GBP £16 Exc VAT) US$35 Ext tax (GBP £22 Exc VAT)
System-on-a-chip (SoC): Broadcom BCM2835 (CPU + GPU. SDRAM is a separate chip stacked on top)
CPU: 700 MHz ARM11 ARM1176JZF-S core
GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV,OpenGL ES 2.0,OpenVG 1080p30 H.264 high-profile encode/decode
Memory (SDRAM)iB 256 MiB (planned with 128 MiB, upgraded to 256 MiB on 29 Feb 2012) 256 MiB (until 15 Oct 2012); 512 MiB (since 15 Oct 2012)
USB 2.0 ports: 1 (provided by the BCM2835) 2 (via integrated USB hub)
Video outputs: Composite video | Composite RCA, HDMI (not at the same time)
Audio outputs: TRS connector | 3.5 mm jack, HDMI
Audio inputs: none, but a USB mic or sound-card could be added
Onboard Storage: Secure Digital|SD / MMC / SDIO card slot
Onboard Network: None 10/100 wired Ethernet RJ45
Low-level peripherals: General Purpose Input/Output (GPIO) pins, Serial Peripheral Interface Bus (SPI), I²C, I²S, Universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter (UART)
Real-time clock: None
Power ratings (provisional, from alpha board): 500 mA, (2.5 W) 700 mA, (3.5 W)
Power source: 5 V (DC) via Micro USB type B or GPIO header
Size: 85.0 x 56.0 mm (two different boards, measured with callipers)

RPi Verified Peripherals
http://elinux.org/RPi_VerifiedPeripherals

Contents

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SOFTWARE WORTH A LOOK

MAKEMKV
(FREE, Linux, Mac, Windows)
http://www.makemkv.com/

MakeMKV is your one-click solution to convert video that you own into free and patents-unencumbered format that can be played everywhere. MakeMKV is a format converter, otherwise called "transcoder". It converts the video clips from proprietary (and usually encrypted) DVD into a set of MKV files, preserving most information but not changing it in any way. The MKV format can store multiple video/audio tracks with all meta-information and preserve chapters. There are many players (like VLC) that can play MKV files nearly on all platforms, and there are tools (like Handbrake) to convert MKV files to many formats, including DVD and Blu-ray discs.

Additionally MakeMKV can instantly stream decrypted video without intermediate conversion to wide range of players, so you may watch Blu-ray and DVD discs with your favorite player on your favorite OS or on your favorite device.

  • Reads DVD and Blu-ray discs
  • Reads Blu-ray discs protected with latest versions of AACS and BD+
  • Preserves all video and audio tracks, including HD audio
  • Preserves chapters information
  • Preserves all meta-information (track language, audio type)
  • Fast conversion - converts as fast as your drive can read data.
  • No additional software is required for conversion or decryption.
  • Available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux
  • Functionality to open DVD discs is free and will always stay free.
  • All features (including Blu-ray decryption and processing) are FREE during BETA.

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DIRECTIONS TO MEETING ROOM

Meetings are in the St. Augustine Center (SAC) at Villanova University. The regular monthly sessions meet in Room 110.

VU Map

Enter from the ITHAN AVENUE main gate, then proceed to the upper level of the 2-level parking building adjacent to the St. Augustine Center on the Ithan Avenue side of the building. (Click for link to Google Map)

NOTE: additional map & direction links on our website home page - http://mlcug.org/

MLCUG Meetings Schedule Steering Committee Meetings
May 11 May 15
June 8 June 12
July 13 July 17

CLUB STAFF

Editor: John W. Deker, Jr. 2210 Lantern Lane, Lafayette Hill, PA 19444-2211
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MLCUG STEERING COMMITTEE:

President John Deker 610-828-7897
V.President Al Gottlieb 215-793-9725
Treasurer / Sec John Deker 610-828-7897
Webmaster Peter_Whinnery 610-284-5234
At Large Layton Fireng 610-688-2080
At Large Tom Johnson 610-896-2434
At Large Wendy Emery 215-765-3328
At Large Nelson_Schrock 610-834-0117
Audio Scribe John Murphy 610-935-4398