Archives For Cord Cutting

tivo-bolt-cloud-dvr

Due to a number of fortuitous leaks, we know TiVo is pursuing cloud recording capabilities for retail devices. However, whereas the functionality seemed specific to upcoming Tablo-fighting Mavrik hardware, a Bolt owner inadvertently received the notification above — suggesting testing is underway. It remains to be seen how much such a service might run and if offloading cable television programming will be permissible, versus over-the-air content. However, with Bolt presumably now on the docket, it’s safe to assume Roamio would be entitled to similar capabilities… whenever TiVo gets around to deployment.

chromecast

Google Chromecast ($25, three months of HBO NOW)
Chromecast isn’t my thing. But I’m old and require a physical remote. However, this is a good deal on a generally practical solution to get app content onto a television, controlled by smartphone. Considering HBO NOW runs $15 a month and you get three free, this is a pretty stellar deal.

cons-hkl12-sonos-play1

Sonos Play:1 ($150, includes 3-months of Apple Music)
Sonos is my preferred whole-home music system and the Play:1 both looks great and sounds great. At $150, it’s priced similar to many well regarded Bluetooth speakers but its WiFi connectivity is infinitely more practical (assuming you run a supported service, which you probably do). Apple’s sweetening the deal with three months of Apple Music.

 

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tivo-roamio-ota-black-friday

TiVo’s out with their annual Thanksgiving / Black Friday deals… and they’re way more compelling than what we’ve seen in recent years, despite TiVo’s usual poor presentation. For example, their refurbished $200 TiVo Roamio OTA represents a stellar value. Although you might not realize it because they don’t clearly communicate it includes Lifetime All-In service. We’re Tablo homers here for antenna television, but if you don’t require streaming to smart phones, tablets, or 3rd party boxes like Roku or Apple TV, two hundred bucks for a 4-tuner, 500GB OTA DVR is pretty much an unbeatable value. Heck, it’ll even beam your programming to TiVo Mini set-tops and you can swap out that hard drive for something more spacious any time you like.

mavrik

Along with the TiVo Mavrik leaks comes word that a new Android app is also en route… and, with it, the refreshed interface and confirmation of cloud storage for your local antenna television recordings! From the Amazon app description:

This is a TiVo App that works as user interface for OTA Streaming, Diskless Cloud DVR TiVo Device Mantis

  • TV Program Guide
  • OTA Live Streaming
  • Streaming Content Search, allowing users to deep link into their Amazon Prime Video account
  • Cloud DVR access

Cloud DVR is a compelling but risky venture (that didn’t work out so good for Boxee) due to bandwidth availability and broadband usage caps, along with TiVo’s spotty record in this space. However, it’s certainly an intriguing option compared to Tablo’s bring-your-own USB storage for equivalent functionality. And, suddenly, those Mantis/Mavrik “tiers” of service make sense as TiVo would likely offer varying recording capacities a la Aereo.

tivo-mavrik

By way of TVPredictions we learn that TiVo recently passed a “Mavrik” trademark filing through the USPTO. Fortunately, a quick Google search turns up all sorts of goodies… including the photo above and the Mavrik configurator. Based on these supporting materials, including the smoking gun URL, it’s fairly clear that the unannounced, unreleased TiVo Mantis has gone through something of a rebrand. Perhaps they had an easier time picking up mavrik.tv (not yet live) or they just didn’t want us praying for a better solution. In any event, Sarah Palin’s sure-to-be favorite streamer looks to be something of a Tablo TV clone.

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Is Roku Prepping DVR?

Dave Zatz —  November 3, 2016 — 12 Comments

roku-pause-live-tv

Roku’s announced a seriously impressive update… assuming you’re running recent, supported hardware. And, surely, the highlight of OS 7.5 is the ability to pause live OTA television on Roku Televisions. While Roku’s CEO declared the “DVR is dead” way back in 2011, the company seemingly recognizes the ongoing draw of linear programming in 2016 – but intends to “get rid of the five commercial block.” As such, pairing a Roku TV with 16GB USB thumb drive will enable a 90 minute buffer to pause television while hitting the head or intending to crash through a 60 block with 40 minutes of ad-free programming. Hopefully it’ll also allow us to scrub through the buffer to catch a bit of missed dialog or replay some dramatic event. But I’m left to wonder if they’ve invested the engineering resources to go this far might full-fledged DVR functionality also be on the roadmap? CES is just around the corner…

Other Roku OS 7.5 goodies: HDMI-CEC volume control (!) and “private listening” via smartphone. Continue Reading…

tivo-mantis-ota

While TiVo has seemingly given up on Aereo branding and an OTA-only Bolt, they’ve clearly still got eyes on the cord cutting contingent… as a TiVo Mantis has just passed thru the FCC:

TThe TiVO Inc. model TCD84A000 (Mantis) is a network DVR that is designed to receive OTA broadcast video and transcodes and send it out as a network stream either wired or wireless. The EUT incorporates an 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac transceiver.

Based on the description and limited ports (of Ethernet and USB) in its 5″ x 5″ x 1.5″ enclosure, the Mantis is more a headless Tablo or HDHomeRun-esque solution than a traditional DVR… as it lacks video output. Given the “transcode” I’ll go ahead and assume TiVo is working on Roku, Apple TV, and Fire TV clients vs forcing folks into a TiVo Mini. Whether or not DVR storage is integrated, vs the competition’s bring-your-own-drive, remains to be seen. As does tuner count (I’d guess dual) along with pricing and associated fees.

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CM-7002-3

One of the primary drawbacks of most streamers is a lack of live over-the-air television integration. Sure, you can switch inputs away from your television’s tuner. But wouldn’t a unified interface and guide be cool? Bonus if it comes with universal search. Roku and Terk once went down this path but failed to deliver and Amazon may be working on something. Into the current vacuum, enter: Channel Master’s new Digital TV Hub.This small, single tuner box’s secret is HDMI pass-thru, similar to Xbox One and original Google TV implementations … but with hopefully more interest and appreciation.

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