TiVo Revises Roamio Remote

Dave Zatz —  October 18, 2014 — 9 Comments

tivo-slide-pro

By way of the FCC, we learn that TiVo intends to refresh their Roamio remote. And, as this is a “permissive change” filing specific to the original TGN-RC30 hardware, the in-place upgrade is likely driven by component availability and cost, perhaps with some performance improvement.

  • Change of PCB pattern size
  • Change of Component size, shift of component.
  • Add component, delete component.
  • Antenna location shift
  • Antenna Chip size change and location shift

Meanwhile, as previously revealed, an RF remote will likely be bundled with the next iteration of the TiVo Mini and, coincidentally, I just received a new TiVo Slide Pro remote (pictured above)… because my Mini has had trouble receiving IR commands deep inside the TV stand. Fortunately, the Slide Pro does include learning capabilities and I’ve programmed the power button to simultaneously control both TV and 5.1 Vizio soundbar. And, once Amazon Instant and Vudu hit in the next couple weeks, I’ll surely put that QWERTY keyboard to work.

chromecast-v2

More than a year after release, Google appears poised to refresh Chromecast (in addition to cranking away on the new Android TV platform). As to what’s improved, FCC filing details are scarce due to the typical 180 confidentiality request. Having said that, we anticipate this is a minor hardware revision given the incoming device sports the same model number as my original streaming+mirroring stick (tho the FCC ID increments from -42 to -2A) – perhaps representing a swapping of internal components for cost savings and/or performance gains. Continue Reading…

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  October 16, 2014 — 5 Comments

A periodic roundup of relevant news…

nexus-player

Google and Asus release first Android TV device for $99
The Nexus Player, which was announced in conjunction with the Nexus 6 phone, the Nexus 9 tablet and Android Lollipop on Wednesday, is being manufactured by Asus and will be available for pre-order starting October 17 and go on sale on November 3.

HBO’s Over-the-Top Service: Here’s What We Know
HBO has shaken up the media biz with its plan to launch a standalone over-the-top service next year, making the pay-TV titan the first major cable programmer to be marketed to consumers who do not pay for a traditional MVPD subscription.

PlayStation TV Launches, Sans Netflix
While Sony’s new paperback-sized device is primarily a gaming machine, it also serves as a media streamer with initial support for apps, including Sony’s Crackle video-on-demand service, anime app Crunchyroll and the music concert and documentary service, Quello.

Introducing InstaWatch from VUDU and Walmart
Exclusively from VUDU and Walmart, InstaWatch gives you a digital copy of every eligible DVD or Blu-ray that you buy at Walmart stores or on Walmart.com—automatically.

Plex app coming to select 2013/14 Vizio HDTVs
we’re happy to say that we can lend at least some of you a hand. We’re thrilled to announce our brand new Plex app for VIZIO Smart TVs, available today for Plex Pass subscribers! Once the Plex Pass preview period ends, the app will be available to purchase for a one-time fee

sonos-light

For several hours this weekend, the Sonos website featured an unexpected “Light-1″ menu option. Combing through the FCC and USPTO, along with the requisite, tho cursory, Googling, has turned up squat. Is this nothing more than a textual error? Or is Sonos getting into the lightspeaker game? Another possibility, assuming this is something more than a coding mistake, could be programmatic light+music synchronization as seen from the likes of SyFy and Philips Hue. We love a good mystery almost as much as we love Sonos whole home audio.

Meanwhile, the Sonos Boost streaming enhancer must near release given a large number of live support documents and updated product imagery, while the Sonos Playbase remains shrouded in mystery.

(Thanks Mike!)

slingplayer-headrest

While the kludgey Roku antenna has failed to materialize, Voxx is moving forward with a possibly outlandish plan to stream your Slingbox into the car. From their earnings call:

The VOXX Hirschmann team has signed a Letter of Intent creating a strategic partner with EchoStar Sling Media, where we will be integrating a Sling player directly into our rear seat entertainment products to bring the T.V. content you enjoy in your home directly into the vehicle. Consumers want the content they have at home on the road and our product will deliver the richest content of any rear-seat entertainment system on the market.

Of course, there are cheaper and simpler ways to solve this particular problem (say an iPad strapped to a headrest). But an integrated Sling TV does indeed sound like an elegant solution, even if app services require latching onto your smartphone for network connectivity (TBD). Other than the brief blurb above, nothing further has been revealed, including which Voxx subsidiary this initiative might fall under. However, we’d guess Audiovox given their vertical and prior automotive Android experimentation — more details are expected “soon

Sprint Shutters WiMAX Network

It’s an inglorious end for the first 4G mobile broadband service to debut in the US. Sprint has announced that it will officially discontinue operation of its WiMAX network “on or about November 6, 2015.” Sprint completed its acquisition of WiMAX operator Clearwire in the summer of 2013 and has plans to re-farm the Clearwire spectrum for the growing Sprint LTE network.

WiMAX was always the underdog in the 4G mobile broadband race, but Sprint/Clearwire still drew in millions of customers for WiMAX service (including yours truly), and Clearwire used the technology to pioneer a no-contract 4G data plan.

In one interesting deployment, Clearwire partnered with an organization called Mobile Citizen to offer low-cost mobile Internet service exclusively to education and non-profit groups. Today, Mobile Citizen continues to market WiMAX service for the incredibly low price of $120 per year plus the cost of a hotspot, USB, or desktop modem. Sprint will maintain the partnership despite shutting down its WiMAX network, and Mobile Citizen says it is working with the carrier to “determine the timing and pricing of future LTE service plans and devices.”

echostar-sage

After a several years of TV-centric home automation tech demos at CES, Echostar got serious and recently unveiled “Sage” – their “secure” take on the space and presumably targeted to siblings partners like DISH and overseas providers, versus selling direct to consumers à la Staples Connect or Smarthings.

From the Rethink Technology Research newsletter:

EchoStar is planning on expanding its set top range firmly into the smart home with the new Sage home controller and device ecosystem. [...] The box itself contains ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth Low Energy and WiFi radios. [...] With a single push the UI would pop up onto the screen and shrink the TV picture into the top right quarter. [...] The back end architecture is all based on the existing Sling infrastructure that EchoStar already has in place, and there are plans to add the Sage tag to other Dish products.

Beyond their HDMI-out hub and third party device support, Echostar just passed their own wireless doorbell, light switch module and home automation dongle through the FCC. Continue Reading…