Archives For Cord Cutting

slingtv

Update: As an update to the original story below, I just had a call (or two or three) with Echostar’s Sling Media and their reps. They want to assure us that Slingbox ain’t going anywhere — in fact, they mentioned DISH CEO Joe Clayton stated as much during the press conference that introduced the new Sling TV. What’s happened is that DISH has licensed “Sling” and “Sling TV” from Echostar, who has vacated sling.com, and the Slingbox 500 that became the Sling TV reverts once again to the Slingboox 500. (Although, irrespective of name, I remain concerned with 500/STV sales and continue to recommend their equally capable M1 placeshifter at half the cost for those with a need.)

Possibly the most disruptive product announcement out of CES this week is DISH’s long foreshadowed Internet television service. And, amongst several surprises, is “Sling TV” branding. I guess it’s nice that DISH chose to repurpose the sling.com Echostar asset… as you’d be horrified to learn what we had paid for that URL. Having said that, it certainly clocked in far less than the questionable “Blockbuster” acquisition — a name which would have made a lot of sense in this space. At the very least, we’re glad to see they backed away from DishWorld and an awful “nuTV“.

But, where it gets real weird is that the Slingbox 500 was renamed… Sling TV… less than six months ago. While I was not impressed with that product at its inflated price point, saying goodbye is hard and I suspect this clearly last minute change-up foreshadows the death of at least one Slingbox. If not all of them. Continue Reading…

dvr-plus-streaming-channels

Channel Master’s fee-free, over-the-air DVR+ is set to receive a massive infusion of online content. Company reps emphasize that what we’re looking at are not “apps” that require configuration and interaction, but rather the direct integration of linear streaming content into the guide for channel surfing alongside those HD antenna broadcasts. Available channels can be added and removed from the guide, as your viewing tastes dictate, and are transparently powered via a custom-built local player that relies on a sort of dynamic DNS service hosted by Channel Master — which points to the online feed, in addition to providing the relevant logos and metadata. Beyond streaming, Channel Master also hopes to introduce pause and record features to this online content, but they’re not certain that will be ready at launch in a month or so. Not to mention, I wonder how many content providers would be willing to play ball.

All in all, this will be nice bonus for Internet-connected DVR+ units and compares favorably to the $15/mo TiVo Roamio OTA … but I’m more looking forward to Channel Master’s whole home functionality, expected in Q3 or sooner.

Continue Reading…

We’ve been quite enamored with Tablo, since our first product demo at CES 2014. In fact, our very own Adam Miarka is a highly satisfied customer of this effective bit of clever gadgetry that provides both over-the-air DVR and Slingbox capabilities. Beyond the existing 2- and 4-tuner models, CES 2015 heralds the Tablo Metro… which houses 25-mile range high def OTA antennas within the existing enclosure.

Two very small but incredibly powerful fractal antennas inside Tablo METRO capture OTA TV while intelligent switching technology enables the antennas to operate independently to capture signals originating from broadcast tower locations, even if they are located in opposing directions.

Continue Reading…

dishworld-espn-beta

As expected, DISH is nearly ready to unveil an over-the-top Internet video streaming subscription service in hopes of displacing your current cable provider or appealing to the growing legion of cord cutters. And now, via Reddit, it seems the service will repurpose “DishWorld” branding (versus going with “NuTV“) and beta recruitment has begun.

As one of our most valued DishWorld customers, we want to give you an exclusive opportunity to try the next genertion of DishWorld before anyone else!

Soon, we’ll be announcing a new English language entertainment service, which features the best of live TV, like ESPN, TNT, TBS, Disney Channel, Food Network and so much more.

Before it’s revealed to the public, we want you to try it at no additional cost on your Roku 3 until February 3, 2015! We’ll even remove it from your account afterwards, so you will not get billed for this service.

Continue Reading…

The Tablo OTA DVR Giveaway

Dave Zatz —  November 24, 2014

tablo

Here at ZNF, we’re big fans of Tablo and find it to be the best post-Aereo solution for technologically savvy cord cutters (and their families). You can check out our complete review here but, in a nutshell, Tablo is both a headless over-the-air TiVo and Slingbox in one — beaming live and recorded television to a variety of endpoints (Roku, iPhone, etc) in the home … and beyond. So we jumped at the opportunity to partner with Tablo to give away a two-tuner unit. Continue Reading…

dvr-plus-guide-ott

The fee-free, over-the-air Channel Master DVR+ continues to gain new capabilities. And, next up is YouTube – which will join Pandora and Vudu in the guide (or via direct dial) next month. Beyond newly released over-the-top streaming apps and expanded storage options, the DVR experience is also regularly receiving updates. Also expected next month is a season pass recording filter to capture only “new” episodes.

“We want the experience of DVR+ to be as close as possible to a cable or satellite DVR, and this feature is key.” The feature will work with an Internet-connected DVR+ utilizing the 14-day program guide, and non-connected DVR+ units will retain the name-based series record feature that works with over-the-air content data.

While we quite like their solution, Channel Master has its work cut out for them given strong competition from Tablo and TiVo… assuming cord cutters are even willing to take on the expense of a smarter DVR versus a simplistic digital VCR.

tablo-update

Ever since the original release of Tablo TV, Nuvyyo has been addressing launch bugs by providing incremental updates. Back in July, they added additional features such as manual recordings, Closed Captioning support, and Plex support. Yesterday, Tablo TV released their 2.1.16 update with some new features that makes this little box one of the best OTA DVRs out there:

  • Smart Scheduling – This prevents your Tablo from recording duplicate shows. Previously, if you set Tablo TV to record all shows, it would do just that, even if the show had already been recorded. This is a great feature if you are trying to capture all those Big Bang Theory shows :-)
  • Auto Extend Live Recordings – Recordings that are marked as “live” (think sports and specials) will automatically be extended.  Tablo will add 50% of the total scheduled time, up to 2 hours. No more missing the rest of the Bears game!
  • Auto Delete – Oldest recordings will be automatically deleted, unless they are marked as protected.
  • Resume Playback for RecordingsThis is a big one for cross device usage. Tablo TV will now remember where you stopped watching a show, and then resume on a different device. For example, you start watching a show on your Roku in the Living Room.   You decide to head upstairs for the night and grab your iPad/Android tablet. The show will then resume playing where you stopped on your Roku.  Tablo states that that this works on all platforms that they support!
  • Watched Indicator – You now have the ability to mark shows as watched. Unwatched episodes will be designated by a blue dot, partially watched episodes by a partial blue dot and watched episodes will have no indicator.  Watched indicator will be available on iOS, web and Roku only.

Overall, a very impressive update for a box that has only been on the market less than six months! Tablo has also announced expanded distribution with BestBuy.com and FutureShop.ca.