Fast Broadband in Ireland

I was fairly happy with my broadband speeds of 18mb/s download and 1mb/s upload but my provider (Vodafone Ireland) had such a good deal I had to go for it. Efibre (fibre to the cabinet) for 20 Euro a month less than I was originally paying. A result. So the engineer came yesterday and fitted a new phone line face plate and plugged in the new router.

I got home, fired up my laptop and ran speedtest. The result is :


Not the max of 70mb/s down and 20mb/s up but good enough (especially the big jump in the upload department).

Will break out my slingbox again and see how that big upload improvement affects the picture quality.

Have a lot of new stuff recently so time to add some more reviews to my blog. Watch this space.

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Another tablet.

Well I already had an Ipad 2 and to be honest liked it very much.  My gadget fund recently received an injection of cash so it was time for another purchase. 

I now have a Nexus 7 tablet (16GB).  As this is for my use only I have added all my online accounts to this one device (email addresses, twitter, facebook etc), and this has worked out really well. One place for all my stuff.  I also added the usual apps (evernote, laspass etc,)  I even got it working with SABNZB and Sickbeard (more on that in a later post).

Overall I am really liking it.  Since the latest software update the home screen also works in landscape mode.  The only issue I have is that the wifi in my TV room is not great. Fixed that using an old Belkin pre-n router setup as an access point, so now have great wifi in all the places I need it.

I will post a detailed review of the Nexus & and the apps I have downloaded over the next days.

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HTC ONE X update

Well I have had the phone a while now and am starting to like it less and less.  The two main issues are: Terrible battery life (12-14 hours max) and GPS issues (GPS position moves around even when I am stationary – others have also reported this).

The phone’s screen is great, however I mainly use the IPAD 2 at home for quick internet fixes so lugging a large screen phone around all day might not be making sense any more.  I use the phone mainly for work email,  SM , and calendar so my next phone will be a smaller smart phone with a better battery life (if such a thing exists).

To be honest, I got the HTC one X for free so am happy enough with it. If I have used my once every 2 year upgrade to get the phone I don’t think I would be so happy.

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A new phone.

Well my HTC desire was playing up (random reboots) so got myself a nice new phone. HTC one x.

First week with the phone and I have to say I really like it. It is a little on the large size but sometimes that is a good thing. Bring able to write this post on the phone is one of the advantages.

Video on this phone is absolutely fantastic.

I will post more on the phone after I have used it for a while longer.

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Current media playback setup

Well here goes. A list of tech that is currently in use in my house right now and some of the functions it provides.

ASROCK 330HT, Windows 7 Pro, 4GB Ram, 500GB HDD
WinTV HVR-900 (DVB-T Mpeg-4)
PCTV 460e (DVB-S2)

HP Microserver, WHS 2011, 4GB Ram, 2x2TB HDD, 350GB HDD (O/S)

WDTV Live (With Network) x2
WDTV (no network)
Apple TV v2
Xbox 360
Squeezebox Radio

Netgear 500MB/s home plugs x2

LG 32″ LCD (no HDMI) – Bedroom
Samsung 27″ LCD – Front Room
Samsung 42″ LCD – TV Room
Samsung 20″ LCD – Playroom

Emprex 3009ARF wireless remote
Bluetooth HTPC remote (with track pad)

All of the above allow me to stream music or video to any room in the house (from the server).

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Oh no. More gadgets

Well I am not long back from my yearly trip to the U.S. And what did I come back with? Well I bought back a kindle 4 (the one without the keyboard) and an apple TV.  I liked the borrowed  apple tv so much I bought one. The kindle is light, cheap and great. We also now have an IPAD.. So many gadgets, not enough time to play with them.. I will post a quick review of the IPAD (once I have got it all set up) and a post on my current setup re: TV, Audio streaming etc.

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Apple TV 2 and XBMC

No. I did not buy an Apple TV v2 (ATV-2).  I borrowed one from a colleague. I have to say that it looks great and the remote is a thing of beauty, but it is an Apple product so we expect that.  The interface is slick enough but the whole “itunes only” thing was a pain. I don’t want or use itunes and so this would be a big deal for me. However I was lent the box so I could jailbreak it and install XBMC. 20 minutes later I had XBMC running on the ATV-2. It looks great, but I already knew that as I use XBMC on my Asrock 330HT all the time. The ATV-2 only supports 720p which is fine for the TV screen sizes I own, however the picture was definitely not as good as that of my PC based XBMC. Not sure why, maybe some tweaks needed.  My 1080p Avatar mkv file (all 8GB of it) played fine although the fast forward and rewind were not very happy (worked kind of).  The TV and Movie scrappers (the things that get the cover/fan art for TV and Movies) did not work although that should be fixed if I downloaded one of the latest nightly builds of XBMC. 

Overall I really liked this silent and sleek box.  The only question is. Is it worth the extra 40 Euro versus the cheaper WD TV Live. The WD box has a UI from 1970’s when compared with the XBMC experience, however I know for sure that the WD TV Live box plays everything I have and with great picture quality (as I already have one). Is the ATV-2 a case of form over function.. Maybe, but I think I still want one.


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