Feedback, October 2008


Dear editor:

Your “Recycling” column in the September issue really hit home. I've been having some hardware issues, and I wanted to do just what that guy in the cartoon was doing.

Anyway, there are quite a few e-waste collectors that will pick up large hardware (computers, monitors, VCRs, hard drives, etc.) for free, if you have enough to make it worth their while. It doesn't take that much because, with clever scheduling, they make several stops in your area to fill their truck. Some places will even pay you for your trashed electronics.

I use eWaste Center in Commerce, CA ( I have three SGI monitors that I am giving them, only because the cable interface is obsolete. What I've found is that it's nice to get rid of the stuff, and it actually makes me feel better knowing the e-waste collectors will use a lot of the components as opposed to just chucking them all into a landfill.
Richard Malzahn
Perpetual Motion Pictures

TiVo, are you listening?

Dear editor:

Television networks complain they're losing viewers to cable. Advertisers complain people aren't watching their spots. Yet both of them are promoting and/or using a technological “time bomb” designed to make both situations worse.

The “bomb?” Broadcast flags that stop DVR recordings. Although a court decision prohibits flag use in television programs (an appeal's on the way, no doubt), perhaps a small loophole exists that allows flag use in commercial messages. However, when one uses a programmed timer, the outcome is the same; when the DVR receives the flag signal, recording stops, and the desired program is lost.

On the morning of Oct. 1, I discovered an ad for a septic tank chemical was one of the “culprits” that's been disrupting my recordings of CBS' “The Late Late Show.” Copyright protected? Is the firm worried it will be lampooned on YouTube? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought advertisers wanted viewers to watch their ads, and networks wanted people to watch their shows. Had I not been sitting in front of the machine and restarted it, I would again have lost between 25 percent and 90 percent of “The Late Late Show.”

During the eight-minute break of Fox's Sept. 29 broadcast of “The Terminator,” another such flagged ad aborted that show's recording. (As I wasn't watching through the DVR, I didn't see the error message. So, the commercial culprit remains at large.)

Folks, please rethink this position. If viewers cannot timeshift your programs, they won't watch them. Or, we'll use our trusty, flag-oblivious VCRs for several more years. (TiVo, are you listening?)
Janis Keating

TP and TS files

Dear editor:

I was reading your “Understanding muxing” article in the August issue, and your explanation of the difference between Program Stream (PS) and Transport Stream (TS) was good. I have a question: Is there any difference between TP and TS files? Many software programs seem to use them interchangeably.
Rick Schwamb
IT manager
Flanner's Home Entertainment

Aldo Cugnini responds:

Unfortunately, there is no real standard for file suffix naming. In general, there is no difference between TP and TS files. They also show up as M2TS and even MPG files. What really matters is the file header, which should be the same for all of these. To be exact, none of these is a stream either, which only exists as the file is being played out, or is being encoded and output in real time.

Test Your Knowledge!

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