Friday, October 1, 1999

David on WebTV, satellites, and Dreamcast


By David Gewirtz

It's been a while since we talked. Last month, we announced the ZATZ Mobile Network and, in August, Managing Editor Denise Amrich discussed the Internet, legality, and you. But it has been a while since you and I had a nice one-on-one, I-write, you-read sort of conversation. Wait no longer. Today's discussion will cover such diverse topics as WebTV service, Sega's Windows CE-based Dreamcast, and moving.

Personally, I've been a busy little boy. I moved from the apartment I've lived in for almost eight years to a much nicer place. Interestingly, Denise Amrich (our managing editor), Heather McDaniel (our news editor and newly minted editorial coordinator), and I now live in the same town. We still have a twenty minute commute to the office, but it is pretty cool having my key editorial people (and my good friends) nearby.

On the day the area got hit by Hurricane Floyd, none of us could get to work. Our homes were all fine (although we're still boiling our water), but all the routes to the office were completely flooded (Floyded?) out. Because we're all in the same area, we were still able to get together and have a planning meeting. All of us here at ZATZ, who all survived the storm quite easily, send our best wishes to those of you who were less fortunate. Just a few towns away in Bound Brook, the residents were hit hard.

But now, back to my chat...

When I moved, I had to shut down my dedicated ISDN line at the old place. I also had to disconnect my cable service (no great loss there!). In my old apartment, the porch and the windows all faced either north or east. Since DirecTV and Dish Network satellites are in geosynchronous orbit over Texas, and I'm in New Jersey, I was out of luck getting satellite service (because my windows faced northeast and I had to reach a satellite that was southwest). But my new place is pretty well directly in-line with the satellite and I can now get my video via satellite. Of course, being a gadget freak, I went off the deep end. I have three receivers (two on top of my monster TV and one in the bedroom). I'd originally planned to drive additional monitors in my den and in my study with 2.4 gigahertz video extenders from X-10, but there's too much interference. I'll probably go with wires.

Playing with DishPlayer

When faced with the choice of DirecTV or Dish Network satellite service, I geeked out. ZDTV was available on Dish Network (Ok, so ZD's a competitor, ZDTV is still something I wanted bad), so I chose Dish. Interestingly, if you use Dish Network, you can get a DishPlayer. The DishPlayer is a WebTV and a satellite receiver rolled into one.