My great gadget weekend

So, I had a great gadget weekend:

  1. I ended up getting a brand new Samsung 50′ inch TV to replace the one I bought in August.
  2. I bartered for a new Jabra BT 250 Headset
  3. I finally got my Tivo Home Control Cable hooked up.

Now, the strange thing is that the gadget I was the happiest to get ( aside from the working TV ) was the cable. For those of you who don’t know, if you have an external box ( cable, sat, etc.. ) of some sort for your video, you need to allow tivo to control it so that tivo can change the channels and such. This is because you actually hook your sat|cable box up to the tivo, and then the tivo to your tv. Makes sense since tivo will be the one that needs to record the content.

Well, to control the channels on your box, you have two options:

  1. Funky IR emitters that stick out like claws and relay IR signals to your box. These suck for many reasons, least of which is that some times things can get screwed up from the tivo to the box, and suddenly tivo thinks it’s on one channel, and your box is on another. Bye bye programming.
  2. Serial connection that goes from your tivo to a serial port on some cable boxes. This is nice because you don’t have to worry about interferring with the IR signal. It’s still no ideal because you get a small delay between the when you change the channel on your tivo and when tivo changes the channel on your box. Annoying. Plus, only some cable boxes have serial connections, so it’s far from the common situation.

Well, this weekend I finally figured out the third option that is available. Tivo offers a Home Control Cable, which basically looks like a phone jack on one end and stereo plug on the other. The phone jack end plugs into what is called the ‘Low Speed Data Port’ on most directv boxes and the other end plus into the ‘serial’ jack on the back of the Tivo. The same serial jack that #2 above plugs into.

Well, this is one great cable. Not only does it do away with the crappy IR emitters, but it eliminates the crappy delay in when changing channels. Also eliminated are the funky screw ups when changing channels. My box and tivo no longer get confused or out of sync.

The most joy I ever got from a $6.99 cable.