audio/video content


Don’t sail over the edge!

Back in March 2017, I presented an in-depth report on the risks/rewards of streaming “free” TV shows and movies using a “Kodi box”:

Kodi 3rd-party piracy addons: Here be dragons!

The currents have changed since then, and not in favor of the pirates.

Here is a marine weather report from How To Geek:

Why Your Kodi Box Isn’t Working, and What to Use Instead

If the thought of losing MSNBC and/or Fox News is stopping you from cutting the cable, here is one way to watch for free.

This way involves running free Plex Server software on your PC, and manually adding Plex channel plugin software for cCloud.

cCloud TV is a free cloud-based social IPTV service.  All IPTV links are submitted by users.

If you set it up right, you can watch these two news channels and more on your phone, tablet, PC, or Roku box.


cCloud has no control over the streams listed there, so there are no guarantees they will work indefinitely, but they are updated periodically. You might occasionally need to look for new links to the streams you like in cCloud.

This is only a high-level set of instructions, so you need to be pretty comfortable with Windows and fooling around with software, but if you succeed, it’s a nice feature to have.

First, sign up at Download and install the free Plex server software on your PC.

Plex offers a number of free “channels”. Check them out, however, note that they are not streams but collections of videos. Well worth trying if you have a yen for some HGTV or Food Network, like my wife does on Saturdays.

However, the Plex channel you want is called cCloud, and it is not available in the Plex repository.

Download cCloud Plex plugin software here:

Extract the zip file downloaded from github to the Plex Media Server plugins folder on your PC;

On Windows 7, 8, and 10, the folder is located here:

C:\Users\[Your Username]\AppData\Local\Plex Media Server\Plug-ins

Then restart the Plex server, or reboot.

More about cCloud for Plex here:…/rel-ccloudtv-channel-iptv/p1

cCloud has MSNBC and Fox News streaming links among others (many of them require high bandwidth, but these two do not).

Save bookmarks to them within cCloud.

You can watch them on Plex via your browser.

Or, get the free Plex app on your phone and watch there.

If you have a Roku, add the free Plex channel and click your way to your cCloud bookmarks.

“Slow TV” on Pluto.TV. Good viewing while waiting for my system to achieve sentience.

I found a free internet TV service which is like an alternate cable/satellite TV universe.

It’s called Pluto.TV, available as a Roku channel, as a Chromecast-able Android app, as well as on AppleTV, PlayStation and others. You get lots of channel and program listings on a grid, just like cable.

TechHive described Pluto TV as “the best cord-cutting app you’re not using“.

For the cord-cutter, Pluto.TV gives you an amazing cable channel-surfing experience at no cost.

There are some channels you will recognize (CNBC, CBSN) and many you may or may not (The Feed, RiffTrax, Hive). But I have been surprised at how many interesting shows I have stumbled across so far. The spectrum of interests mimics that of pay TV.

One unusual Pluto.TV channel is called Slow TV. My favorite episode so far is a 7-hour real-time train journey from Bergen to Oslo. Very relaxing and immersive if you get right up to the screen like I did.

NRK, Norway’s public broadcasting company, has made nearly two dozen slow TV videos. including other train trips and coastal cruises.

But that is not typical of Pluto.TV’s fare.

I watch on a Roku 3, and it is slick and user-friendly. I found that the 2nd generation Roku LT was sluggish with the CPU-intensive Pluto.TV app. Using my Android phone by itself or with Chromecast also seems to work well.

Other personal favorites:

“The Norm MacDonald Show” on the THC Channel; I became an instant fan of his after laughing my head off at his Kojak joke on his episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. My review of CiCGC in 2014.

Over on The Feed is an all-time favorite British comedy series, “The IT Crowd”. I would be slightly abashed to go directly to my Plex or Emby channels and re-watch one of these from my own complete library, but when it turns up here, no guilt. Such is the difference between active and passive viewing.

“TableTop” on Geek & Sundry: Wil Wheaton (‘Wesley Crusher’ from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”) plays a board game with three guests. Very entertaining even if you don’t follow all the details of these complex games.

Check out the Pluto.TV website.

In our office: my old 1969 Sony AM/FM ST-80F stereo tuner & 1977 Kenwood KA 3500 amp, Select-A-Tenna & 1 of 2 white Realistic Minimus-7 speakers up top.

Here’s a nice way to spend a Memorial Day weekend afternoon.

KGGF-AM 690 is still a very old-fashioned radio station out of Coffeyville, Kansas. No online presence.

Tulsa is within its coverage area, but inside the house, I need a little help pulling it in.

This Select-A-Tenna connects directly by wire to the tuner. I bought this now-discontinued model from C. Crane Radio in the early 2000s.

Select-A-Tenna w/1964 Zenith Royal 40

It is also capable of working by induction without direct wired connection (see right), but this isn’t physically convenient with my tuner placement.

I simply dial 690 on the tuner, then fine tune the Select-A-Tenna. There is a big bump in the signal at a sweet spot on its dial.

KGGF carries Kansas City Royals baseball games, which is what I am now listening to.

Monday-Friday at 8:35-11 am, OpenLine (“the 4-state regions’ most popular and enduring radio program”) features news and sports plus a call-in show for people to sell stuff. This will really take you back.

You could imagine Herb Jepko and the Nightcaps coming on late in the evening. KVOO-AM in Tulsa carried this easy-going show for insomniacs 1969-71. (Link is to TTM comments and resources about Jepko)

Feels like the 1960s!

Later note:

I had to go out in the afternoon, so I tuned KGGF in the car.

On my radio, it sounded like an ionic storm howling in the background of the baseball game. Thinking of the 1960s, I noticed how many more wires and poles we have in the city today vs. yesterday.

My impression was that “the future” (today) was actively assaulting this remaining trace of a bygone era.

I may listen to a little OpenLine at home tomorrow morning. The prosaicness of the show is somehow comforting.

(Hmm, maybe that’s where the drug name Prozac came from.)

On Facebook, my brother Alan just posted a YouTube of violinist Stephane Grappelli and guitarist Diz Disley with the comment, “Maybe the ultimate Sunday ‘morning’ music for me.” This sent me on a quest yesterday.

Still have it.

One evening in 1979, on or after April Fool’s Day, I tuned in KWGS on my “new” 1969 Sony ST-80F AM/FM stereo tuner and happened onto some great acoustic jazz.

I fired up my reel-to-reel tape deck to capture it.

It turned out to be Grappelli and Disley, plus David Grisman doing the music he wrote for “King of the Gypsies” (1978) with Grappelli and Tony Rice. All but Grappelli were unknown to me at the time.

By June 2, 1984, I had transferred what I had recorded to cassette, editing out the between-song patter.

After seeing my bro’s Facebook post, I listened to my tape again and wondered if that radio show might be available anywhere. No luck commercially, then I found this blog post:

An entire show was there for download, archived as two .rar files. The description sounded like what I taped:

This is a real nice recording with David Grisman and Tony Rice on the last five tracks.

Stephane Grappelli Group
Great American Music Hall
San Francisco, CA
Soundboard > NPR radio

John Etheridge – guitar
Brian Toff – bass
Diz Disley – guitar
Stephane Grappelli – violin

Comparing it with my partial recording, the songs, arrangements, and ambience are the same, but the solos are different. Amazing to find an entire show from the same tour.

(By the way, according to Gary Chew, then Station Manager, KWGS’ first broadcast programming from NPR was in early December 1977.)

I used free 7-Zip to extract the 320 kbps .mp3 files from the .rar files.

I retitled each .mp3 with the song name. With free Mp3tag, I gave all the tracks the same Album Artist and Album name (these are key tags for Plex). I added track number tags and brief comments about content.

Mp3tag view after I finished. (Click  to enlarge)

Next I moved all the .mp3s into an “album” folder under a Stephane Grappelli folder for my Plex system, conforming to its naming and organizational conventions. Added art to Plex from the internet.

Live Stephane Grappelli 1978 NPR radio show now on my Plex system. (Click  to enlarge)

Now I can stream it to browser, smartphone, Roku or the Raspberry Pi.

Maybe my frequent playing of the tape in 1979 stuck in my brother’s mind, the sound having seeped through his bedroom wall. I like the result of this 38-year boomerang.

Detail of the “album”. (Click  to enlarge)