Archives For HDTV

As Verizon declares its FiOS Quantum TV rollout complete, fellow Northern Virginian Ananth Sarathy shares his initial experience with the new whole-home DVR. He’s also kindly agreed to take questions in the comments — perhaps he’ll even be able to explain Verizon’s obtuse pricing.

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I’ve had the new Quantum DVR for about a week now. The interface is the familiar FiOS interface that we’re used to, for better or worse. It doesn’t seem to have yet received the recent UI upgrade and is missing a few elements, such as the autotune to HD feature. The boxes do use the same FiOS remotes as before, so I’ve stuck with my existing ones, and didn’t need to program them, which is nice. But I kind of wish they had upgraded to a remote that could control AV system volume as well. Continue Reading…

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As Samsung continues to hedge against Google/Android reliance and standardize across disparate product lines, while perhaps avoiding Microsoft royalties, the company has expanding the Tizen OS initiative beyond smart watches and to connected televisions. Via Liliputing:

Samsung’s Tizen-based TV SDK Beta will be available early July following the Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco from June 2–4th. The Tizen-based Samsung TV SDK Beta supports the HTML5 standard through its framework called Caph and enables developers to write apps that run on a Tizen OS –based TVs.

For maximum impact, we expect Samsung will have to provide an efficient mechanism for developers to port Android apps to the similarly Linux-powered Tizen. But what of the Boxee team? The video startup was acquired by Samsung about a year ago… and, since then, it’s been radio silence. I have it on good authority that “Boxee” is dead and personnel form a product innovation team within Sammy’s “visual display” business unit. As to what the NYC-based group is currently working on, we can only guess. But, given their skillset, fleshing out a new television OS and UI certainly wouldn’t be out of the question.

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The FiOS TV guide has grown stale these last few years as Verizon turned its attention to all things wireless. However, while I await the next-gen version of FiOS service, I’m happy to report that Verizon has made a few short-term tweaks to improve the existing interface.

My favorite in the IMG 1.9.6 update (just five months after the 1.9.5 update) is the change to the search screen. Instead of having to scroll to every letter I want to type in, Verizon now lets me use the number buttons on my remote as alphabet keys just like old-style texting. (Or current-style if you haven’t given in to touch screens yet.) Example: you press the “2” button once for “A”, twice for “B”, and three times for “C”. This may not sound like a big deal, but searching for anything was terrifically painful before, and the new interface definitely speeds up the process. Continue Reading…

Mohu Channels TV adapter

For all of the ink spent on Aereo (and I’m responsible for my fair share), the relatively quiet efforts of Mohu could end up being just as disruptive to the TV service market. Mohu has already had a successful run with its line of over-the-air TV antennas, but the company is ready to take its technology a step further. As Janko points out over at GigaOM, Mohu has just completed a Kickstarter campaign to help with the development of a new product called the Channels TV adapter. The adapter will combine OTA channels fed through an HD antenna (bought separately) with web video apps like Netflix and Hulu, and it will offer a personalized program guide including any channels and apps a user wants to highlight.

If Mohu can deliver a clean experience with the new Channels TV adapter – and that’s certainly a big if, particularly when it comes to switching between OTA and web content – the company will have a very compelling product offering. For the contingent of TV viewers who want broadcast TV and their $8 Netflix subscription, the Mohu device will put all of that content in one place on the living-room flat screen. Mohu isn’t offering DVR or multiscreen services (at least not yet), but it will appeal to the same audience with the Channels TV adapter as Aereo has with its monthly service. And with Mohu, there’s no additional monthly fee, and no cloud of legal drama.  Continue Reading…

Steve Jobs Told Top Executives That Apple Would Not Make A TV

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You know Mohu, the Leaf antenna guys. Well, like Channel Master, they’re looking beyond the aerial and have cooked up an Android streamer paired with an OTA tuner. “Mohu Channels” may have launched as a Kickstarter campaign, but we suspect this is more marketing than fundraising. So those of us awaiting a Roku-esque device with over-the-air capabilities will have something to evaluate come summer.

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The small, oblong device, with both Ethernet and 802.11a/b/g/n, runs Android with a custom guide skin, unifying television listings with our preferred web shortcuts and apps from the Goole Play store – similar to what Channel Master has done with DVR+ in listing Vudu as “channel” 200. There’s no mention of an EPG subscription fee and early bird pricing runs a modest $79 — pretty good when you consider that included universal RF/IR QWERTY remote with “air mouse” functionality. Unfortunately, we’re only talking a single tuner here and there’s no mention of potential DVR capabilities… although there is an unaccounted for USB port.