Archives For DVR

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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.

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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.

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dish-hopper-binge

While TiVo focuses their resources on serving smaller and international television providers, as retail customers defect, the larger US cable and satellite companies continue to crank away on their own compelling in-house DVR services.

Although DISH may have given up some ground in the Hopper’s ability to, you know, actually hop (over commercials) they just completed a nationwide software update that brings one-button access to Closed Captioning and the ability to watch an in-progress “live” show from the beginning should you have gotten a late start and the programming is resident within the On Demand catalog. But way more interesting, given our collective shift in scripted television viewing patterns, is the new Binge Bar (as shown above). Once you’ve finished watching an episode, any remaining episodes on your DVR or in the VOD catalog are presented – as pioneered by Netflix and similar to Comcast’s X1 “Next Episode Suggestion.”

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Speaking of Comcast, TiVo has felt free to publicly bash their so-called partner… despite upcoming improvements to that Xfinity X1 HTML5 platform — including deeper Pandora and other “web site integration,” along with a few other features TiVo doesn’t possess. From the Donohue Report:

Its Share2TV app will allow X1 subscribers to stream personal videos recorded on mobile devices with any X1 subscriber in the country. Comcast is also developing an app called Family Point which will allow subscribers to view the locations of family members on TV by tracking smartphones that are connected to X1, and family members will also be able to leave messages through “sticky notes” that will be displayed when a television is turned on.

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…

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By way of retired blogger Brent Evans, we learned that Google Fiber customers have started receiving next generation hardware. An updated Fiber Jack now receives power-over-Ethernet from a new Network+ Box … that combines both broadband router and DVR storage into a single enclosure with this go around while expanding wireless capabilities to 802.11ac/n. Lastly, the updated TV Box (shown above) is smaller, squarer, and now entirely silent. Beyond feeding “cable” to the television, each dual band unit also acts as a WiFi extender. We’re hopeful that Google will ultimately enable more than 4 per home at some point, given the wireless enhancements and as Brent says this is a common complaint. Also, based on a prior FCC pop, we’re still awaiting a refreshed Bluetooth LE remote. Lastly, on the content front, Google picked up HBO GO and Showtime Anytime within the last few weeks. Score!

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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.

IMG 1.9.7 is slated to hit the “legacy” Verizon FiOS set-top hardware (that pre-dates the VMS Quantum DVR) beginning tonight in Buffalo, NY and PA, with the rollout expected to take a month or so… according to a source and imagery posted to DSL Reports. And boy what a massive update it is, headlined by all new “flat” visuals. Some releases notes: Continue Reading…