Whose Reality Is This?

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There are hundreds of reality television shows on today and it seems like everyone is tuning in to watch. Ordinary people, just like you and me, are elevated to celebrity status. The secret thrill of thinking next time, this could be me. We could be lucky enough to receive the next makeover, be the next celebrity, or instantly become a millionaire.

Many of us are inexplicably drawn to these shows. Have you ever considered the reason we might be attracted to watching reality TV? Or examined the type of reality television we watch on a weekly basis?

Why Do We Watch Reality Television?

It may be illuminating to look at what kinds of reality TV shows we’re drawn to.

A few reasons we watch the different types of reality television could include:

· To Educate

Many shows depict weight loss methods like The Biggest Loser, or cooking demonstrations and competitions like Master Chef. Although at times the information presented can be unhealthy and promote unrealistic expectations, causing us to become disheartened when we can’t replicate the results.

· To Entertain

Reality television can provide a voice to the normal, everyday person. Someone we might be able to relate to or easily identify with. We are provided with the opportunity to cheer for the Average Joe on shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo or Duck Dynasty. Although the voice of the “normal” everyday person portrayed on reality television don’t always represent ordinary well.

· To Inspire

Shows like Extreme Home Makeover or Three Wishes can provide a vehicle to fantasize about something we might want for ourselves. We can dream that all of our problems could be eliminated in one televised hour.

· To Escape

Tuning out everyday life and immersing ourselves in the life of a celebrity, or a spirited competition like Survivor, or The Apprentice can provide an escape from focusing on issues in our own lives. A little escape might be beneficial for stress relief, but too much could prevent us from facing our own issues and feelings.

How Much is too Much?

If we notice we are watching a variety of reality shows on an ongoing basis, that these shows make up a significant proportion of the types of shows found appealing, then we may want to consider some self reflection around this activity.

Watching a few shows doesn’t mean you have a problem. “Being hardworking and self-disciplined in my own live, I enjoy the escape into fantasy and melodrama at the end of the day as well as the rags to riches stories, over the top diva antics, glamorous lifestyles and mean girls (and boys) shenanigans.”~ Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D, Clinical Psychologist, Author, Speaker

There is a difference between a person who watches one or two shows occasionally and just enjoys the show for entertainment, versus someone who really is drawn to, or attracted to-some people go as far to claim they are addicted to-reality TV.

My wish for you today is that you may find enough joy and happiness in your own reality everyday that you never need an escape.

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Smart TVs – Do I Need a Smart HDTV?

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The clear picture quality of an HDTV can offer numerous functionalities that are never before conceived in a regular TV. You can connect your devices in order to get a larger picture of the videos you are watching. Some models can even allow you to directly plug a flash drive to access music, pictures and compatible video files, using the remote controller to navigate through the directories.

But as functional HDTV might already seem, it might be interesting to know that you can even achieve better functionality with it. You won’t be using an ordinary HDTV though, but a special version that is capable of mixing display options with wireless technologies well.

Why is it Called Smart HDTV?

A Smart TV is technically a TV that is integrated with features that you would normally see on computers. For example, an HDTV that is installed with a custom web browser can be roughly considered as a Smart HDTV. In addition to computer functionalities however, Smart HDTV’s might also feature automatic and suggestive options and interfaces that can be used to simplify access and menu navigation. The development of Smart HDTV’s was highly influenced by the current trend of integrating most of our electronics technologies to modern computers. If you see an HDTV that is slightly more geared towards internet or network based media (having access to streaming and online interactive audio and video files), then it is most likely a Smart TV. Another general term that is used to refer to these appliances is “Hybrid TV”.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Smart HDTV’s

Added media functionality of course is the primary advantage of a Smart HDTV, but this advantage can be subdivided further into these separate positive points:

  • Direct internet access. You no longer need to connect an HTPC, a laptop, or a desktop computer to the HDTV before you can use it for web browsing.
  • It has perfect compatibility with Internet TV services. Supporting the first point, having access to internet means having access to streaming media. For instance, you can watch YouTube videos as if they were “channels” from a satellite TV service.
  • It can be used as a simple computer. Smart HDTV’s might have crude (and sometimes clunky) operating systems, but it should be sufficient to navigate through a home network or to access media files from external devices when needed.

Moving onto its negative points, some of the disadvantages of Smart HDTV are as follows:

  • It can ironically be more confusing to use. With all of the added options, some people who are not used to highly functional HDTV’s might not be able to navigate efficiently through a considerable number of buttons and links.
  • Has a significantly larger price tag. Since it is installed with other technical hardware to have computer-like functionality, it would definitely be a lot more expensive. A lot of Smart HDTV’s are usually near to twice the original price of an HDTV of the same size and screen technology.
  • It holds a higher energy consumption rate. This supports the second negative point, and is also quite easy to notice (due to added hardware), though usage rates are not comparatively as high as its price difference.

Assessing Your Need for Smart HDTV’s

Before getting excited over a Smart HDTV, it would be wise to first assess you actual need for the electronic appliance. First and foremost, if you don’t exactly have plans on using it to surf the net, or would much rather just connect it to your current computer then the Smart HDTV would most likely be just a wasted investment. We have to remember that HDTV’s are quite expensive, and you would not want to waste a huge amount of money on something that would just be used like any other normal TV.

However, if there would be a direct need for its versatile connectivity options (Having multiple subscriptions to different streaming media services for example), then a Smart HDTV could then be your ultimate entertainment investment, allowing you access to almost any kind of media file from any device, interface, network, or website on the planet.

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Alternatives To Cable TV: Apple TV

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Overview

Starting with the Apple II, continuing on to the iPod, and progressing to the iPhone Apple has been the leader in creating revolutionary technology for decades. Now they are continuing this trend with the Apple   TV  streaming  media  player. This device brings the same features we have come to expect from Apple for decades. The Apple TV provides access to most of the top media apps available like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. Combine that with the way Apple TV seamlessly integrates with iTunes allowing you play all of your downloaded music and video through your television, as well as integrate it with all of the other Apple devices in your Apple ecosystem. These features make one of the alternatives to cable TV: Apple TV worth considering for anyone that has decided to get rid of cable.

The Good

The selection of channels on Apple TV is pretty decent hitting most of the major ones like Netflix, Hulu+, HBO Go, and others. Additionally you can download and watch or listen to anything available on the iTunes store as well as your personal iTunes library. The interface is extremely easy to read and navigate so it won’t be difficult to find what you are looking for.

Apple TV can also quickly use home sharing in order to connect to your MAC/iPhone/iPod Touch and playback the video with AirPlay technology. The software also includes reliable iCloud support, which can allow you to look into all of your photos through the Photo Stream. You can also stream music from the iCloud with your iTunes subscription, and apersonalization feature can allow you to use one of your photographs as the screensaver for the device.

The Bad

Apple TV provides you with the quality you have come to expect from Apple products but it is not without its flaws. The Apple TV misses a few channels and services that some people may want. Channels like Amazon Prime and Pandora Radio are pretty glaring omissions that are motivated by business rather than user experience. Furthermore, unlike Roku 3 you can’t add any channels other than those Apple provides the device making its customization options virtually non-existent; essentially it is Apple’s way or the highway.

Some people like the slim remote control but I found that it is so small and thin that it is difficult to manipulate and easy to lose. It also doesn’t have a clear home button so for a long time I thought you had to press the menu button several times in order to get back to the main menu; it was only by accident that I ended up discovering that holding down the menu button would end up taking you back to the home screen. This was probably in the instruction manual, but who reads those?

With my Apple TV I found that it was just generally unreliable. I will be watching a program and it will randomly just go back to the main menu. No error, no warning or freezing just one minute in the middle of an episode of True Blood the next minute the main menu, which is already frustrating but even more so when you realize it has no recollection of where you were and you have to fast forward to pick up where you left off. Playback in general is just not very smooth and it seems like it has a weak WiFi receiver as it will constantly pause to buffer or freeze and say it cannot play the currently selected product. The Roku 3 in the same place, in the same room, playing the same content did not have these issues, and a Google search shows that it is a very common complaint with no solutions other than “Reboot the device” or “Upgrade the firmware”.

Summary

If you are someone that owns numerous Apple devices and are committed to the Apple ecosystem Apple TV will easily integrate with everything else. With Airplay, iTunes, and home sharing you will have more than enough access to all of your Apple device content and if that is what is important to you then you will probably enjoy the Apple TV as an alternative to cable TV. However in my opinion that is the one, and only one place the Apple TV is better than the Roku 3. The Roku 3 gives you a better channel selection, a more functional remote control, and more reliable performance… all for a lower price. If you are looking for alternatives to cable TV: Apple TV can play content from your media servers is the device for you but overall I just can’t recommend it and suggest you spend your money on a second Roku 3 instead.

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How To Pick The Perfect Tv Tuner Card

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Choosing the right TV tuner card is harder than ever. Simplify your life with this easy guide!

A Media Center PC without Live TV capability is just another computer that stores your music, movies and pictures. Bring it to life with the simple addition of one (or more) easy-to-install components!

With a TV tuner card (and the right software), you can:

* Watch and Record Live TV

* Pause and rewind (then Fast Forward) Live TV

* Browse program listings and schedule recordings days in advance

* Store your favorite shows on your computer, then burn them to a CD or DVD

If you have two (or more) cards, you are able to watch one channel and record a different show, or record two shows at the same time! Never miss your favorite program because your spouse (or kids) insist on watching ‘their’ show.

Types of Tuner Cards

Internal TV tuner cards. The most common type available. These cards plug into a slot inside your PC. They do not require any extra cables or connections.

Simply screw your Cable TV feed (or antenna) to the proper port on the back of the card. Many also accept other types of video inputs (S-video, component-video), and some include FM tuners.

For ultimate TV quality, choose a HDTV TV Tuner Card. Similar to regular TV tuner cards, but able to receive and display high-quality HDTV signals. These cards are perfect if your media center pc is attached to a HDTV capable TV (ie. 50-inch Plasma TV) or a computer monitor.

Be aware that some HDTV cards only support OTA (Over-the-Air) broadcasts, which means you will need to attach an external antenna to your card — and live in an area that has HDTV broadcasting stations.

Please note the difference between HDTV and Digital Cable (or Digital Satellite). Some HDTV tuner cards will not handle Digital Cable or Satellite.

An external TV tuner card connects to your Media Center PC through a USB or Firewire cable. These devices generally offer the same features and functions as their internal counterparts, and can be either analog or HDTV capable.

How to Choose the Perfect Card

First off, you need to know your main use for the TV tuner card.

Interested in watching and recording non-digital TV, cable, or satellite shows? Will you view these shows on a non-HDTV TV? If so, then a regular analog TV tuner will be right for you.

Do you have digital cable, satellite, or HDTV? Maybe you’ll be doing most of your viewing on a big-screen HDTV or large PC monitor. Pick a quality HDTV tuner card.

Want to use a laptop as a media center? Perhaps you don’t feel comfortable opening up your computer case to install an internal card. Grab an external USB TV tuner for easy connectivity.

OK…you want the full-blown TV viewing experience. You want to watch one HDTV show while recording another. Simple…get two (or more) TV tuner cards! Add as many as you want (or have slots for). Hey, it’s your life. Watch TV on your terms!

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TV Cabinets

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When you’ve got several options for storage, TV cabinets can often create your perfect solution to storing the mass of cables, boxes and more that make up your home entertainment system. Quite simply put, they are often the best solution between creating a haven from what can be a disorganised clutter versus having a place for everything that is custom designed to work with the needs of a Television display and storage unit.

– Living room cabinets are often open plan affairs that allow you to store everything as close to your TV as possible. This combination of practicality and function makes them ideal to ensure that your cabinet is well used. Making sure they are designed for the weight and support needed for a TV of that size can make the difference between a poorly functioning, broken cabinet and a well-designed one. Ensuring too, that the cabinet is either adjustable or has space for all of your bits and pieces can make the difference between it looking overstuffed or comfortably used. Remember that games consoles have controllers and almost every TV or DVD currently comes with a remote control, so storage for them is also a must.

– Bedroom cabinets are designed to hide pieces such as the TV and often have deep doors that swing open or tuck away to reveal the equipment inside. Caring for these is slightly harder than other objects as they can be tricky to keep clean and uncluttered. It’s easy too, to forget to close the doors properly, which can cause damage, or be bumped into at night/early morning. It’s good practice to get up and close these doors, if they don’t tuck away into the cabinet.

– Wall mounted TV cabinets or other items that can be built into otherwise barely used recesses might be a solution to space problems in oddly shaped rooms. Leverage the shape of the recess to create a media storage area, or a place to keep your TV and it’s sundry pieces without creating an issue with other areas of the room.

– In a child’s room, a cabinet can be an effective way of ‘putting away’ the TV for the evening and gives a great opportunity for adults to ensure that the child has access to the TV at appropriate times. When they are small it doesn’t even need to be locked, just close and store for appropriate, cosy play and watching. In a teenager’s room, locks may be used for the teenager to protect their stuff, rather than stopping them from accessing what is inside, and respecting this privacy can create bonds with parents that might otherwise be harder to come by. And it also makes it easier to tidy.

No matter what your choice, TV cabinets are the best choice for both out of sight and open plan storage and can create a great environment to store your   TV  and related  media  materials.

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Direct TV Satellite System

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The Direct TV Satellite System is a latest innovation that involves the application of satellite technology to the television medium. Hughes is a communication satellite major, which started the use of Direct TV satellite system in 1999. Direct TV today offers hundreds of channels both local and international to its subscribers. It created history by starting the DTH or the DTV revolution and brought home entertainment to TV screens.

Direct TV Satellite System’s greatest advantage is its digital configuration. The digital edge over analogue marks its potential to provide DVD-like picture quality, high definition transmission and crystal clear audio output. These are the factors why it has replaced the home theatre system in popularity. A well defined on-screen guide with tons of relevant program information is an innovation that can only be brought about by digital technology and Direct TV satellite systems.

Dish Network is a popular service provider in the US and they currently offer free satellite TV systems. Each package includes up to four free satellite receivers, a free satellite dish, and free installation from a trained professional. The Direct T.V satellite system allows a service provider to offer a number of channels and several state of the art features such Direct TV TIVO & HDTV.

Direct TV Satellite entertainment has evolved successfully after several years of stiff competition with dish networks. Direct TV operates over many satellites, which float in space over the country. They enable continuous feeding of hours and hours of entertainment into small dishes on the rooftops of a consumer’s home. The technology also allows bundling of internet via satellite and radio channels

The rising price of cable TV is one reason for the rising popularity of Direct TV. A growing trend noticed is that many consumers are disconnecting their cable service and opting for a Direct TV dish. Apart from the savings potential, satellite television system also offers access to a larger number of channels and programming options.

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Cable TV Vs Analog TV

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Since the discovery of television, people could not get over their television viewing. Granted, television offers the cheapest entertainment which can be shared with your family and give important information of current happenings in the society. The benefits of television could be ignored in fact; this leads to improving the quality of televisions.

In earlier days, television programs are somewhat extension of rain programs. But as technology advances, educational and informative television programs are aired on most networks. In fact, it is also effectively used in advertising products which experts says that people are influenced by what they always saw in television. The conversion from analog signals to digital opens numerous innovations in the digital world. Gradually, people demand more television programs and channels. To address such demand, cable tv (Kabel tv) was introduced. Let us compare the advantages of cable from analog.

• Reception quality – most broadcast stations are transmitting digital signals, so with cable television you get excellent reception of signals compared to analog which you frequently experience fuzzy picture.

• Popularity – obviously, analog is already obsolete and cable is highly preferred by many. To subscribe, you just visit the nearest cable provider in your area.

• Programming – in terms of programming, cable provide its subscribers with high quality. It could handle as many as 260 channels and more. Aside from that, they also offer their subscriber with additional local channels free of charge upon its subscription. It is normally given to its subscribers upon subscription.

• Interactive services – in this area, cable have limited services for these. Better ask for your cable provider for this type of services.

• Pricing – it is cost effective to avail of its numerous benefits of wide range of channeling with excellent reception. Aside from that, it is also advantageous for home with more than one television set since they do not ask additional charge with each set.

• Internet services – cable offers fast internet services. Subscribers normally ask for the inclusion of this service because it is somewhat faster compared to standard DSL.

The above features are not available to analog receivers obviously they run on analog signals while cable television maximizes the features of digital technology. Aside from that, broadcast networks are already using digital transmission technology which is not utilized by analog receiver. With cable television connection at home, you get to enjoy television viewing with the highest audio and picture quality. The digital technology annihilates the interference which is the main problem with analog receivers and gives only nothing but best reception. It is truly far better, though you may think the sentimental value of your analog set; you might try using it with converters. Still, it is excellent to have new digital TV with cable connections.

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How 3D TV Technology Works

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3D television technology is becoming increasingly popular with each passing day. Due to the rise of popular 3D feature films (namely Pixar’s Up and James Cameron’s Avatar), major television manufacturers began developing three dimensional home television technology in 2009.

There are several methods that these manufacturers use to create 3D images on an LCD television; some are more expensive than others, and some are more feasible than others. This article will discuss the three primary methods of 3-D home theater technology that will be used in upcoming years.

Lenticular viewing: This technology has been pioneered by Philips, and is available as of today. TV sets that use this technology can be watched without those funny glasses that audiences used in theaters. These televisions use a lens that can send different images to each eye. That is, your left eye will see a completely different image from your right eye, which will emulate your two eyes’ use of stereopsis (the process by which your eyes discern depth). The one weakness of lenticular viewing, however, is that a viewer must sit in a very specific spot in front of the TV. This means that only a couple people would be able to comfortably watch the TV at once due to its small viewing angle.

Passive glass systems: Hyundai is developing this type of LCD monitor which will allow both 2D and 3D images to be viewed. To watch the 3-D images, viewers will need to wear the traditional glasses in order to watch three dinemsional media. This technology is nothing new: the TV has two overlapping images and the glasses have polarized lenses. Each lens is polarized so that it can see only one of the two overlapping images. This technology is very feasible and 40 to 50 inch LCD TVs with this technology are currently available for purchase.

Active glass systems: This system is very similar to the passive glass system, except rather than the TV doing all work, the glasses do. The glasses synchronize with the refresh rate of the TV, then they alternate the polarization of each lens, making the wearers of the glasses see 3-D images. With this technology, people could be watching a 2-D movie comfortably, then at will switch the movie into 3-D. This type of monitor is being developed by Samsung and Mitsubishi, but the downside is that the glasses could be very expensive. Some predict the glasses to be upwards of $100.

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Local Channels Now Available on Satellite TV

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For many people, the choice between cable and satellite TV has been clear except for one small detail, the absence of local channels. While the programming when it comes to catching the ‘big game,’ and top new programs and movies is undeniably better with satellite service, nothing can beat the feeling of community and connectedness one gets when watching a local channel. While the Weather Channel is great at covering worldwide weather, nobody likes having to watch it for 20 minutes before getting a local forecast! The same is true of local news. Those who rely solely on television from an outside source likely are watching news programs from clear across the country. Sometimes, it would be nice for them to just turn on the TV and see what is happening in their very own state, county or neighborhood.

Now that satellite TV has gone digital, it’s finally possible to get all the local channels you like without having to maintain a local connection elsewhere in the house. Whereas in the past people might have used a combination of the internet and TV to get all their local programming along with a wide range of top home and international entertainment, now it’s possible to get it all just with the TV. Since all television across the US has gone digital, it’s been impossible to get a local rabbit ears connection just for emergencies, but now all that has changed. Before, a person only had the option of choosing cable for a good compromise between the programming he or she wanted and the local coverage he or she needs. Now, it’s possible to get the pay per view, on demand and sports programming only available on satellite and have your local coverage too!

With technology marching forward it’s possible to get up to the minute news right on a device as small as your cell phone. It’s even easier to compute anywhere today too with technologies like laptops and netbooks allowing users to connected to Wi-Fi internet from just about anywhere. While all of that is nice, and extremely convenient, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the average person just wants top quality, all inclusive coverage from the comfort of his or her home. The homeowner is, after all, paying a premium price for such services. This is not to mention that anyone that wants more than just a headline will need a better media source than a cell phone to get all the facts.

In the future, it’s likely the world will see the internet and television merging more and more. With S Video cables and high def connections, it’s easy to download or stream media, music, programs and movies and watch them directly on any big screen TV. The bridge between media found online and found on your TV is growing more connected every day. For many however, the internet revolution is something happening somewhere off in the distance, that cannot be directly applied to everyday life. Enjoy TV and internet more by taking off the pressure of needing either and enjoy entertainment and media more with local channels!

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Make Satellite TV the Centerpiece of Your Home Theater Setup

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Although you may think that your television is the centerpiece of your home entertainment system, is it really? If you don’t provide it with the right media, it won’t matter how advanced it is. You will not be entertained. The key is therefore to make sure that you feed it the right material. If you decide to make satellite TV the centerpiece of your home entertainment system instead, then you will be able to enjoy a much better experience.

With the right subscription-based entertainment solution in place, your TV will be able to do its job properly. Some people think that only Bluray would be good for that purpose, but what they fail to realize is that cost is just as important as effectiveness. It’s true that Bluray will always be able to take full advantage of your TV, but it’s prohibitively expensive to maintain a proper collection of titles. Each movie is going to cost you around $20, so if you were to purchase just 3 per week you’d end up spending almost $250 per month. You would spend just a small fraction of that if you were to switch to satellite TV instead, which would end up costing you only around $50 per month. The best part is that you’d be able to enjoy your entertainment nonstop all month long whereas you’d likely get bored of your Bluray collection pretty fast.

Some people will be quick to point out that Netflix is the way to go nowadays. Since it costs less than $10 per month, no one can argue that it’s inexpensive. It’s about the cheapest home entertainment solution out there, if you don’t factor the additional services you’ll need for it that is. Since Netflix is a movie streaming services that uses the internet, you’re going to need a fast connection in order to take full advantage of it. Unlike satellite TV, it isn’t really a standalone solution. Most people who are signed up for an internet connection are only signed up for the bare minimum, which usually allows for transfer rates of around 3 megabits per second. Unfortunately, that’s not going to be enough to handle the highest resolutions of video streaming Netflix can offer, and thus your streaming will likely be downgraded to a lower resolution. If you decide to purchase a new connection that can handle the demand, expect to pay around $25 more per month than what you’re used to paying, which brings the overall cost of Netflix to what satellite TV would cost. The main advantage Netflix had actually turned out not to be an advantage at all.

Ultimately, nothing is going to match what satellite brings to the table, not even cable. Contrary to how it’s portrayed, cable TV doesn’t actually represent stiff competition. It delivers less channels broadcasting in 1080p, it costs more, it’s available in less areas, and it doesn’t have nearly the same package selection. People only end up signing up for it because they didn’t know that satellite TV was also available to them too. Don’t make that same mistake. Sign up for satellite and make it the centerpiece of your home entertainment system instead.

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