Archives For CableCARD

As with Pebble, Silicon Dust has leveraged Kickstarter as a marketing tool and storefront, versus a startup fundraiser. And they’re now accepting preorders for their upcoming HDHomeRun DVR software and service. Basically, the new DVR experience will leverage existing HDHomeRun networked tuning hardware and a QNAP NAS, Western Digital MyCloud NAS, or computer for storage. The headless approach is not new (in fact, they pioneered it) and similar in concept to Tablo, yet instead of requiring USB-attached storage, your hard drive can live elsewhere on the network. Also, unlike Tablo, HDHomeRun offers both over-the-air (OTA) and CableCARD tuners… making this a whole lot more versitile for those of us unwilling to cut the cord. Given the sunsetting of Windows Media Center and the hot mess that is Simple.TV (powered by SiliconDust), it’s not so surprising they would venture into software and services to round out their offerings.

hdhomerun-dvr-bundleEarly adopters who already sport the requisite hardware can access HDHomeRun DVR software and a year service for $30, one month before the general populace – perhaps as early as June. However, Silicondust is also offering quite a few bundles should you require tuners and/or network storage. Beyond the tuner and NAS/computer software required to power the DVR experience, Silicon Dust will also make Windows, Mac, and Android (set-top or mobile) viewing clients available at launch. iOS and Kodi/XBMC integration are also possibilities down the line with a graphic indicating smart TVs and gaming consoles might also act as end-points one day (via DLNA?). Sadly, it doesn’t appear Silicon Dust will have any sort of transcoding from MPEG-2 as they’ve indicated no Roku channel given it doesn’t support “video formats used for broadcast television” (and we should expect this to impact remote streaming bandwidth requirements, if supported). Continue Reading…

verizon-bundles

I’m failry certain we’ll never get to à la carte cable. Certainly not in the next several years… given the current content hegemony that requires channels on certain tiers and/or bundling of multiple properties. Having said that, industry has taken notice as consumers look to exert more control over their content choices and seek more value from their entertainment expenditures. And Verizon announced a new permutation of FiOS… that, interestingly, most closely resembles Sling TV.

Double play plans start at $55/month with both existing or new Verizon FiOS customers choosing the data speeds they want, including the base 34 Custom HD channel lineup, with the possibility to add “channel packs” for $10/pop. Triple play, for voice, is also an option. The new plans do not require a 2-year agreement, as so many other FiOS packages do, but the most interesting aspect is, of course, the ability to more finely tune the stations you receive. Continue Reading…

CableCARD Successor Functionality & Implementation Battle Rages

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.

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