Archives For CableCARD

TiVo Coming To FiOS*

Dave Zatz —  February 26, 2015 — 21 Comments

frontier-tivo

TiVo has announced a “strategic relationship” with Frontier. And their first phase is quite unique. Whereas TiVo’s prior provider partnerships have exclusively powered cable television solutions, Frontier will be marketing the Roamio OTA to their Internet customers mid-year:

The new partnership will enable Frontier’s high-speed Internet customers to enjoy a consistent TV experience spanning major broadcast channels and over the top (OTT) content via TiVo’s unified cloud-based service, a whole-home gateway DVR, TiVo Mini, TiVo Stream. Multi-screen and remote scheduling functionality will be available through TiVo Web, iOS and Android mobile applications. Frontier customers with high-speed Internet service will enjoy an all-in-one DVR, a broad line-up of over-the-top applications, and a variety of top-tier streaming video services via a high-quality streaming solution.

While Frontier isn’t the first telco/cableco to hedge go after cord cutters and cord nevers with video services (see Cox, Cablevision), they will be the first to offer an over-the-air DVR for subscribers to record broadcast programming, like NBC and CBS, in conjunction with online services like Netflix. With an established customer base, TiVo presumably expects fewer marketing challenges than moving DVRs thru retail along with Frontier obviously anticipating a new revenue stream. Pricing details haven’t yet been released, so we can’t provide a comparison to a retail-acquired Roamio that currently runs $50 for hardware, along with an ongoing $15 monthly fee. Irrespective of cost, install assistance, etc it’s a forward thinking approach… that may not move the needle much for either company – at least not in 2015. Enter the more compelling second phase of this relationship. Continue Reading…

Samsung’s New DVRs

Dave Zatz —  February 10, 2015 — 38 Comments

samsung-smart-dvr

Via regulatory filings, Steve Donohue has turned up a new Samsung DVR. Given its specs, including Zigbee and MoCA 2.0, this set-top is presumably destined for a MSO partner like Time Warner Cable. However, possibly more interesting is the box turned up by tipster Alex D on Flickr.

Pictured above, the Samsung “Smart Cable DVR” looks to be a retail product and the successor or up-sell to the Smart Media Player introduced in 2013. Whereas the Player tuned a single cable channel, this newer product is a 4-tuner DVR. Further, as an app platform, Samsung touts universal search capabilities, à la TiVo, and by leveraging their broader consumer electronics product line, the Smart DVR also optionally integrates Samsung’s wireless audio system.

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tivo-angelAt one point, it seemed a Series 6 TiVo might be off the table. Yet, given my perception of minimal MSO interest in their network DVR and often anemic specs from hardware set-top partners, TiVo regrouped to begin developing a 4k reference design … that was initially unveiled (behind closed doors) back in September at IBC. Indeed, TiVo’s go-to chip supplier Broadcom announced that they’d selected the high-end, quad-core BCM7445 to power an Ultra HD STB. And, just last week at CES 2015, once again privately demoed at least one 4k solution – where TiVo Vice President Jim Denney provided Fierice Wireless a glimpse into the company’s thought process:

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tivo-hatWhile the official TiVo blog generally engages in trivial (and bizarre) marketing, they’ve taken to WordPress this week to cover something far more significant in CableCARD. And, while cable companies like Time Warner and Charter will soon (12/15) be able to provide set-tops without integrated CableCARDs, TiVo reassures us that these companies remain on the hook to provide CableCARD support for third party solutions… like TiVo. Further, TiVo and Comcast have agreed to something vaguely communicated which the DVR pioneer believes further ensures solid ongoing Xfinity support.

Continue Reading…

bright-house-tivo

As the story goes, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks have been the most TiVo-hostile… by blocking video streaming via an inappropriately applied copy flag, relying on switched digital tuning hacks, and BH even having the gall to (previously) charge folks for that bit of unreliable hardware. Well, Christmas has come early to Bright House subscribers in Orlando.

Via DSL Reports, we learn that CCI Byte restrictions have been lifted on everything other than premium movie channels, allowing TiVo, Ceton, and Silicon Dust hardware owners to legitimately stream the cable content they pay for beyond Bright House’s formerly walled garden. And, come January, Bright House’s Tampa customers will similarly experience video liberation. Continue Reading…

verizon-math

For three of the last four years, I’ve been fortunate to live in markets where there’s choice in Internet and cable. Because where there’s competition, consumers generally see better rates and service. After Cox was unable to effectively support CableCARD in relation to SDV, despite contrary ra-ra reports to the FCC (indicating no complaints), we made our first jump to Verizon FiOS. A year or so later, when we flipped our 1976 house for new construction, we once again had a choice – that time between Comcast and Verizon. And, believe it or not, a deciding factor in choosing Verizon over Comcast was their decision to block HBO GO on Roku.

Fast forward two years, my Verizon agreement is up today. Which both VZ and Comcast must know given the quantity of mailers we’ve received these last couple weeks. 30 days ago, it’d have been a hard decision to make. But Ryan Block’s painful attempt to cancel service and Scott Lewis’ difficulty in getting CableCARD in his TiVo going, in conjunction with Comcast’s continued HBO GO Roku blockade, sealed the deal… despite promises of several hundred-dollar gift cards and the real interesting Xfinity plan (displayed below) of basic cable, Internet, and HBO GO (that I couldn’t actually watch on my preferred streamer). Continue Reading…

The HDHomeRun Prime Giveaway

Dave Zatz —  August 6, 2014

hdhomerun-prime

Hot on the heels of our DLNA streaming piece, and amidst CableCARD uncertainty, we’re offering up our Silicon Dust HDHomeRun Prime review unit.

While humble in appearance, this little box is capable of tuning three simultaneous streams of digital cable, via a single CableCARD, and beaming the content across your home network. Those running Windows Media Center are best positioned to benefit from the Prime, with competent DVR capabilities. Yet, via that aforementioned DLNA support, all manner of devices are capable of receiving a subset of live cable programming – including PS3, Android, and Samsung smart TVs.

Entering is as easy as it gets — simply leave a comment if you want in. We’ll choose one winner at random in a few days.