the black box

so we have a new member of the group.
Dan Melinger.
met him this week during the shoot at my station.
he is filling in so many blanks for me.

Dan has a black box that hooks up his Tv and his computer.
he uses uses RSS/bit torrent technology to download video feeds all the
then in the morning, he watches ON HIS these shows, movies or whatever video
he subscribes to.
he says the quality is pretty good depending on the original.
a 2 hour hollywood film is about 2GB.
Dan says its no different than TIVO…you watch what you want, when you want
My feeling is that this is awesome…and its important for more people to
start making video to be seen. whatever your flavor may be.
the delivery system is pretty much here.

Dan made his black box himself and uses a PC.
I asked him to write up a brief description.
Im going to hopefully videoblog his set-up soon so we can see it.



here's a good overview of the rss+bittorrent technology:

The application with which I've had the most success is the one mentioned
on the page above, Radio Userland. However, it's built for much more than
just this purpose and seems too clunky for solely the above purpose. There's
also a sample RSS feed that I've tried out (at and here
are some more:

I've also tried an app called Buttress
and a plugin for the Bittorrent client
Azureus (
with mixed results. There are a few more apps for downloading bittorrent
enclosures and launching them listed here:

Then, I'm running SageTV on my Windows XP-based set-top-box. The .torrent
enclosures are automatically downloaded and launched in a bittorrent client.
Then the downloaded video files are placed into a folder on my STB that
SageTV looks at for video files. Using my remote control, I can browse those
downloaded files.

BTW, I just joined your group!

Size and quality varies – depends on the media – for video I've d/l'ed
media from 100K to 5GB, how much time varies too – depends on your bandwidth
and how popular the media is. That's a cool thing about bittorrent. It flips
the rules of downloading large files on their head – the more people are
downloading, the faster the download. For not-so-popular media, the
downloads may crawl or may go fast. For popular media, they can go pretty
fast – like over 100Kbps.

Maintaining drive space has been a bit tough for me. Essentially sageTV
deletes its old recordings that I've watched automatically but I do need to
do housecleaning of bt d/l's from time to time.

The box connects to my tv via an s-video port built into my motherboard,
which is on the back of the box and cable tv gets in via an s-video port on
my capture and mpeg encoder/decoder card.

make some sense?


Jay Dedman
Manhattan Neighborhood Network
537 West 59th
NY NY 10019
212 757 2670 ext.312