Archives For CableCARD

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.

Fellow tech enthusiast and DC neighbor Joel Ward continues his role as a Features contributor here at Zatz Not Funny. Beyond ZNF, Joel can be found at Joel Explains It All and @joelsef on Twitter.

In our crowd, just a few years back watching OTA and cable on your computer was all the rage. Platforms like Windows Media Center, SageTV, and SnapStream BeyondTV allowed you to attach a tuner to your PC, watch and pause live TV and record shows. I was all about Windows Media Center, and with the advent of Windows 7 it was available in every edition of the OS (well, except Home Basic). Instead of needing to buy a “Digital Cable Ready PC” like with Windows Vista, Windows 7 allowed WMC to view encrypted cable via a CableCard with the right tuner attached to any PC. Who needed a cable box anymore?

Continue Reading…

Comcast-Labs

While Comcast dicks around with TiVo, to presumably avoid costly Time Warp licensing and FCC scrutiny, the cable giant continues to crank away on their preferred platform – the X1, which has been deployed across 100% of their footprint and sees 20,000 new installs every day. And now, in possibly a first for a cableco, they’re ‘going Google’ by making pre-release features available to subscribers via “Comcast Labs”

Comcast engineers have added a subsection under “Settings / Preferences” called “Comcast Labs,” designed as a sandbox to beta test new features before they go live. Comcast Labs […] serves as a playground where customers can test innovation before it receives the final stamp of approval. […] beta features will be given a thorough test-drive to aggregate user data in order to determine whether they get the green light to officially launch on X1.

Continue Reading…

Arris Sling gateway MS4000 Front AngleX

The Sling-powered Arris MS4000 media streamer has found its first home(s). Regional cable providers Comporium and Service Electric are now offering up these transcoding boxes to their customers for both in-home and mobile streaming. Ideally, this sort of service is resident within one’s DVR, à la TiVo Roamio or DISH Hopper, but this accessory provides an efficient way to retrofit existing Moxi Whole Home DVR hardware. And, unlike an agnostic retail Slingbox, given tighter MS4000 integration with the source tuners, up to 4 concurrent streams can be broadcast.

I’d assumed all operators would go with a monthly rental, as RCN does with the TiVo Stream, yet Service Electric has decided to provide streaming services via a single flat fee: Continue Reading…

verizon-symmetry

As my two year subscription comes to an end, Verizon is courting me with free HBO and an upcoming boost in FiOS upload speeds to match download numbers:

Dear Customer: Thank You! The free speed upgrade is part of Verizon’s continuing commitment to recognize customers for their loyalty. Customer upgrades to equalized download and upload speeds will continue throughout the fall, starting with customers enrolled in My Rewards+ or who join the program now. When completed, more than 95 percent of existing FiOS customers will enjoy the upgrade equalizing their Internet download and upload speeds.

comcastic

Both Comcast and Verizon are good homes for TiVo owners. Yet, my FiOS Internet remains cap-free (compared to Comcast’s indecision on the matter) and I’m permitted to stream HBO GO via Roku – factors that led me to Verizon in the first place. Of course, Comcast isn’t ready to give up on my business having enabled TiVo Xfinity On Demand across their footprint, with a slightly better channel lineup, and weekly mailers offering attractive promotional rates (including a $200 gift card). But do I really want to go to the hassle of making a change … in light of Verizon’s Slingbox-loving upload increase? Hm.

tivo-cablecard

As TiVo turns the software corner, not only have they banished the poorly performing and ill-supported Adobe framework in favor of Haxe, but they’re leading the charge (as proposed by RCN and given the FCC’s apparent indifference) to replace unwieldy, antiquated cable hardware with a more sensible digital approach… with a little help from their cable allies. How TiVo hopes to evolve beyond the dastardly CableCARD and SDV tuning adapter:

Comcast, TiVo Working On Non-CableCARD Approach
TiVo and Comcast have agreed to collaborate on a two-way, non-CableCARD security platform that would enable TiVo boxes bought at retail to access Comcast’s full lineup of linear programming as well as the MSO’s video-on-demand service.

TiVo Crafts ‘Embedded’ Switched Digital Video Tech
the embedded SDV implementation uses a proxy in the network, enabling the TiVo box outfitted with the updated software client to communicate through an IP channel and access channels in the switched tier […] is initially in place to support TiVo devices deployed by the company’s MSO partners