Archives For DVR


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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Comcast Unlocks The Box

Dave Zatz —  May 21, 2016


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…

fios-mobile-voiceVoice interaction has evolved into something much more than a gimmick. And Verizon is up next with a pair of app updates today (iOS, Android) that bring spoken control to FiOS TV. The refreshed FiOS Mobile app allows you to speak fairly naturally when searching for programming, stars, or tuning a channel. While not yet as adept or versatile as say Apple TV or Comcast’s Xfinity implementation, with somewhat limited reach and requiring you tap the magnifying glass followed by the mic icons, Verizon surely beats TiVo’s yet-to-launch voice solution.

Related, as a TiVo owner, I can’t obviously use the FiOS app to change TiVo channels. Which reminds me… I’ve been meaning to check out this Alexa TiVo skill for use with Echo.

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  April 22, 2016

A periodic roundup of relevant news…


I’ve been alerted that Google Cast technology will be hitting existing Google Fiber television hardware in the very near future… making subscriber’s “cable” TV set-top boxes that much more interesting, as tons of over-the-top Internet audio and video apps become available, via smartphone control, in a far more efficient manner than, say, TiVo’s approach of negotiating development of individual apps like HBO GO. Beyond my trusted source, additional evidence can be found in this Chromecast code snippet, referencing the “Google fiber remote,” and from some beta testers who look to have prematurely spilled the beans.

Roku has announced plans to expand their hardware licensing offerings, beyond simply rebranded streamers and streaming televisions, with a “hybrid” box that integrates a television tuner alongside over-the-top apps. Further, new software customization will be made available to pay TV service partners “enabling them to surface content directly on the home screen or give recommendations to their customers.”


UK-based Sky TV has been leasing a pretty standard, but white, Roku box that taps into their NOW IPTV service the last few years. As such, they will be the first to deploy this new hybrid set-top, that looks a lot like the Roku 4 hotplate, with a region-specific over-the-air tuner. Roku suggests other tuner options are on the table dependent upon partners, but it’s not clear if a retail Roku STB might ever ship with a tuner to provide live OTA television. Compare and contrast to TiVo’s more heavy handed deeply integrated provider offerings – which probably says more about partner co technology than technical approach. In any event, with another $45 million in funding, Roku’s definitely working on something to keep Apple and Amazon at bay… and it sure would be ironic if the founder of ReplayTV, aka Roku’s CEO, once again gets into the DVR business.

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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Magnavox and Mediasonic are generally known as manufacturers of rudimentary digital VCRs, while TiVo and Tablo thought of as the providers of more full-featured over-the-air DVR solutions… saddled with a recurring fee. But, from CES, CNET has uncovered some significant updates to Magnavox’s line of digital video recorders, exceeding the similarly fee-free Channel Master DVR+ capabilities on several fronts.

The new trio of DVRs are expected by year-end, supposedly starting at $400 — and, once again, fee-free as the company has underwritten the responsive Rovi guide. Magnavox’s OTA tuner count will range from 1-6, with 500GB – 2TB of integrated storage… that can be expanded via USB drive. As with prior Magnavox models, these also include DVD-burning capabilities (which may also make them subject to Macrovision copy protection, according to CNET). Continue Reading…