Archives For davez

TiVo Returns To Canada (10/30)

Dave Zatz —  October 22, 2014 — 5 Comments

cogeco-tivo

It’s been a long while since TiVo has been offered in Canada. However, by way of the Investor Discussion Board and Twitter it appears that Cogeco will formally introduce their TiVo solution to Ontario cable customers at 11AM on 10/30. Whereas prior distribution was handled via retail, possibly including a drive across the border, this is obviously a provider offering… and presumably supports Cogeco’s full digital cable lineup without customers having to front a substantial chunk of change. Not to mention this is clearly the DVR from space.

tivo-winter-update

TiVo’s Winter Update nears release. And, as you can see from the pic above, it’s headlined by mobile streaming enhancements along with the previously disclosed Amazon and Vudu apps. While Vudu and its Ultraviolet library tie-in an entirely new (and welcome) TiVo offering, Amazon Instant is a long overdue update that brings the full fledged streaming app experience… and finally includes access to oodles of “free” Prime content.

Beyond the new and improved over-the-top video content, TiVo also promises “improved video quality and performance while streaming shows to mobile devices.” As to the specifics, one can only guess. But I’m hopeful this refers to a more dynamic and broader range of bitrates… to finally also bring cellular streaming to iOS devices and perhaps the retirement of the TiVo proxy, requiring extra hops for all video to flow through.

The Winter update is expected to hit TiVo Roamio, Premiere, and Mini extenders by late November (but hopefully sooner).

TiVo Revises Roamio Remote

Dave Zatz —  October 18, 2014 — 18 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