Archives For CableCARD

Comcast Unlocks The Box

Dave Zatz —  May 21, 2016 — 18 Comments

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While the FCC’s flawed Unlock the Box proposal will be subject to various challenges and any potential implementation is years away, Comcast’s fortunately moving forward with their own solutions. And, from the cable industry’s annual trade event this week, they unveiled Xfinity apps for Roku, Nvidia Shield, and Samsung televisions. It’s early days yet and these “alpha” experiences are likely months from deployment… as not only will they provide live and on-demand cable television, but they’ll also link into an upcoming cloud DVR service. Cool, right? Continue Reading…

Unlock The Box?

Dave Zatz —  March 22, 2016 — 21 Comments

After years of fits and starts, we finally find ourselves on the cusp of a CableCARD successor as the FCC has proposed the pay television industry “unlock the box”– providing customers broader access to programming via hardware and experiences of their choosing.

As a long-time industry observer, I’ve found much of the press coverage unsatisfying – marred by a lack of situational awareness and heavily influenced by lobbying groups on all sides. Sadly, as a blog hobbyist (with a new baby), I can’t give you the polished 4000 words this topic demands. But I can provide one man’s rough yet somewhat educated and largely unbiased opinion, both textually below and via the new LPX Show podcast embedded right here – along with my pals Brad Linder and Mari Silbey.

A Very Brief Primer Continue Reading…

ZNF regulars know HBOGo is headed to TiVo’s platform, although management has yet to say anything publicly… until last week.

The new partnership will enable Buckeye’s customers to enjoy a consistent TV experience combining TiVo’s feature-rich User Interface with a market leading content experience — the best of traditional cable content combined with diverse broadband-delivered OTT content, such as Hulu, YouTube, HBOGo, and more.

While this (surprisingly detailed) press release is specific to a new cable provider partnership, I can’t imagine HBOGo would not make it’s way to retail TiVo boxes as well. The only real question is: Will HBO Now also make an appearance for the cord cutters amongst us?

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Until recently, my 4th generation app-ified Apple TV hasn’t really been any more or less useful than my Roku 3 and Fire TV. And, for some, its launch without Apple’s rumored television service has been a significant disappointment.

However, I was recently turned on to Channels ($15) – a new app which streams live television from any HDHomeRun network tuner, So you can pipe both linear television and streaming services all through the same input and interface (although, as of yet, without universal Siri search). While this will naturally appeal to cord cutters with an antenna, those very same HDHomeRun OTA models now map clearQAM (for those with providers that still deliver, like FiOS) and, of course, there’s the HDHomeRun Prime for digital cable via CableCARD.

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Jury punishes Cox for tying premium cable services to set-top rentals

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The TiVo Bolt Hits & Misses

Dave Zatz —  September 30, 2015

TiVo clearly had a choice to make. Deliver an unfinished product now or miss the all-important holiday shopping season. And, despite some compromises, they did what I would have done and released early. For example, only two of three TiVo Bolt models have made an appearance… without a Hulu app, currently being redesigned in HTML 5, and without out-of-home streaming. After all, how could they possibly launch the TiVo Bolt “Aereo” Edition without remote access capabilities (that are expected in 2016)? While I didn’t anticipate them this fall, there’s also no sign of a corresponding Series 6 “Pro” model nor a 4K-capable Mini. TiVo doesn’t seem to have the numbers or efficiency to juggle it all.

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The first thing everyone will notice is the new design. It’s fresh and funky. Many of you will hate it. On a more practical level, this smaller form factor means heat is more of a challenge and the Bolt maxes out with 4 tuners while transitioning to a 2.5″ drive. So existing Roamio Pro/Plus owners with 6-tuners and potentially more storage will have a real hard time justifying an upgrade. But, for those new to the fold, there’s a lot to like from this OTA/Cable DVR. Continue Reading…

TiVo Lands Cox On Demand

Dave Zatz —  September 4, 2015

While much is gained in “going TiVo” most lose access to their cable providers large library of On Demand content. Despite the cableco often crippling transport controls in such a way that we’re forced to view commercials, On Demand provides all sorts of good stuff we may not have known to DVR. Not to mention, many with children seem to swear by this catalog.

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So it’s pretty significant when a large cable provider strikes a deal with TiVo to bring On Demand to a retail-purchased DVR. Comcast led the way and now Cox has similarly implemented a back channel method of serving up video on demand … as we had foretold and to the tune of 18,000 titles. Initial Cox markets to receive On Demand via TiVo are located in southern California and Las Vegas, with all of Cox expected to be covered by the end of the year — a current list of cities and zip codes can be found here.

TiVo Bolt Clears The FCC

Dave Zatz —  August 16, 2015

As TiVo Bolt nears release, the clues continue to trickle out. Most recent is an FCC filing that identifies three models. As two of those very same three DVR units appeared in a CableLabs certification report, it seems safe to speculate that we may be looking at two CableCARD models and one over-the-air “Aereo Edition” Bolt. By comparison, there are currently four Roamio SKUs… two of which don’t actually “roam.” Beyond standard DVR capabilities, might this TiVo shortcoming to be resolved with all Bolt models optionally streaming video to smartphones, tablets, and perhaps other end-points down the road?

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tivo-boltFrom the little we’ve seen thus far, TiVo appears to have done away with the traditional set-top box enclosure (as they did away with their in-house industrial design team). And not only may the Bolt be white and curved (?!), thanks to the FCC filing we also learn the Roamio replacement clocks in substantially smaller than existing hardware — to the tune of 40% less volume (according to one forum member’s math).

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