tivo-roamio-drive

Given periodic tuner conflicts with my Premiere XL4/Elite, due to recording duties and Mini streaming, and a desire to periodically offload DVR-ed shows, something the devalued Slingbox cannot offer,  I’ve been quite pleased since taking TiVo up on their 10 year customer deal last month for a 6-tuner Roamio. Indeed, while TiVo’s “Stream” functionality isn’t currently as robust or reliable as Sling’s, I downloaded several episodes of Arrow onto an iPad for two recent flights. Even with the more frequent drops or need to restart a stream as the 5PM news flips to 6PM, given TiVo’s need to initiate a recording prior to streaming, it’s still far more efficient and pleasant than Sling for “watching TV” at the dinner table. My only real issue since upgrading TiVo has been storage capacity…

My Lifetimed Premiere XL4 provided 3TB for recordings. And while we’re probably watching less “cable” television these days, we’re hoarding much more content as we accumulate seasons and half-seasons for binge viewing, sans commercial interruption. TiVo had offered me the Roamio Plus (1TB) for $500 or the Roamio Pro (3TB) for $700, both with Lifetime service. I figured I’d give the smaller drive a shot to potentially save a few bucks… and knowing I could upgrade on my own down the road, for less than TiVo charges for the drive delta, should 1TB prove insufficient.

Fast forward a few weeks… Continue Reading…

Tablo Android TV grid guide

It’s no secret that we are big fans of the Tablo TV system. Since the launch almost one year ago, Tablo has continually pushed the little placeshifting over-the-air DVR forward via software updates to bring functionality up to speed with most major competitors.One of the later enhancements has been thumbnail previews while FF/RW a recorded show. That alone seems to have pushed the Wife Acceptance Factor to 11 as it was one of her biggest complaints while trying to use Tablo!

Back in January at 2015 CES, Tablo announced a major overhaul to their Roku app, and also announced the addition of Fire TV and Nexus Player apps. Today, Tablo looks to make good on that promise by releasing these apps. For the past few days, I’ve been using the both the new Roku “preview” and the new Fire TV app. Visually, these apps are a major upgrade more akin to today’s standard DVR interface. My current setup for Tablo is that the device is wired directly into my router.   From there, I am using a pair of Netgear 1200 Powerline adapters so my connections is wired straight to the Roku 3. For the Fire TV stick, it’s currently running on my 5ghz band of my wireless router to minimize congestion.

Roku Preview

For the updated Roku preview app, Tablo had to completely rewrite the entire code base. This involved getting special privileges from Roku to break away from their standard app template. And although the old Tablo Roku app was fully functional, the number one feature was to have a more conventional UI that included a guide screen. With this “preview”, Tablo has transformed the interface to provide this functionality. Continue Reading…

Whoa, Amazon Echo just got way more interesting.Thus far, it’s made for a relatively decent voice-controlled alarm clock and connected speaker. But we’ve found it more novelty than necessity. That may change today. As Amazon just sent a note indicating they’ve enabled linkages to my Philips Hue bulbs and Belkin’s WeMo products for the smart home. Looking forward to checking this out real soon (and, sadly, it seems I may have prematurely unloaded our second unit). Continue Reading…

tivo-2047

Plex, now triply confirmed for the platform, is just weeks away as TiVo begins rolling out software version 20.4.7 to Premiere and Roamio units. Its ultimate usefulness and quality will likely be governed by launching as a native app, like Amazon Instant, or living within the Opera TV app store. Neither Plex and TiVo have yet to respond to my inquiries, so your guess is as good as mine. Regardless, I’ll go ahead and assume the Amazon Fire TV will retain the crown of top Plex client… but there is something to be said for Input 1 access to the important stuff. 20.4.7 also sets the stage for iHeartRadio and Vudu (finally on Premiere). You can see the release notes above, copied from TiVo’s revamped support site, and sign up for the Priority List here.

(Thanks Sam!)

Along with the introduction of the 2015 Roku 2 & 3 comes the new “Roku Feed” feature. At launch, it’s pinned to the Roku home screen as My Feed and provides an interface to “follow” new movies – easily keeping tabs on when a title moves from the big screen to a digital rental or purchase, along with sale updates. The area is a bit spartan at the moment and sadly Roku’s fantabulous universal search doesn’t yet integrate with upcoming releases – so new movies must be manually browsed. But we imagine this functionality will ultimately integrate tighter with Roku Search, including voice, and perhaps content-beyond-movies will be included. Heck, there’s still room for agnostic video playlists. Continue Reading…

Hands On Roku Voice Search

Dave Zatz —  April 5, 2015 — 7 Comments

The 2015 Roku 3 ships with a new “Enhanced Remote” that includes a new magnifying glass button and microphone to power voice search, à la Amazon Fire TV and even Comcast Xfinity. When the magnifier is pressed, the lower third of the Roku screen indicates the remote is listening for movie, TV show, actor, or director – tying into Roku’s top-notch universal search across disparate video content providers.

In very brief testing, the voice recognition has been accurate – moreso than my Fire TV even. But this may depend on your personal enunciation and search patterns. Speaking of search, the results leave a little to be desired as new release movies featured in Roku Feed are not currently indexed. I’d think these two new services should work together… and perhaps it’s just a matter of time. Regardless, this is a nice-to-have that surely beats “typing” via a virtual keyboard or even iPhone app. And we expect it’ll be a requisite feature given Siri’s presumed inclusion via an Apple TV update. Related, we can imagine Roku making voice search available to more models and customers via update to their iPhone and Android remote control apps. Until then, expect to see this remote also sold as an optional accessory for the 2015 Roku 2 and 2013/2014 Roku 3 models. Continue Reading…

new-rokus

The new 2015 Roku 2 (4210) and Roku 3 (4230) streamers we unveiled last week have begun arriving at retailers. Indeed, my local best Best Buy has both on the shelf. For the timing being, these units retain their existing US pricing – clocking in at $70 and $100, respectively. However, with the recent Apple TV price reduction and presumed summer updates, it’s safe to assume we’ll see periodic sales if not an outright drop in the coming months.

For 2015, we see power parity between the Roku 2 and Roku 3… as both feature the same hardware, including a slightly revised enclosure that pretty much maintains the same footprint as the prior editions. Beyond that exterior though, we believe the guts are identical same this time around. Whereas the 2013 Roku 3 was significantly faster and featured newer, better apps than the Roku 2, it looks like we’re on even footing this year. Which brings up the difference in the two models… Continue Reading…