Archives For Remotes

TiVo Channel Change

Mari Silbey —  July 14, 2007

uverse-tivo.jpgThere aren’t that many U-verse users and (relatively speaking) there aren’t that many TiVo owners either. But for the small number of folks that fall into both categories, there’s been an annoying little issue in trying to get TiVo to work with AT&T’s service: no way to change channels.

Luckily, the problem now appears to be solved. With new IR codes, TiVo users can change channels and avoid having to choose between IPTV and their TiVo crack, er, I mean box. A writer on the U-verse Users site details the fix here.

If you’re not a U-verse user, but you’ve been having trouble with Tivo and your air conditioner, see the comments on this post. Or just wait until winter.

When most people think about TiVo, they only think about being able to record TV. They might be aware of some of TiVo’s extra features, but unless they’ve actually tried the service, it’s hard to understand the little things, that make TiVo so great.

It’s easy for consumers to understand the appeal of features like suggestions, wishlists or internet scheduling, but it’s the more subtle differences, that actually makes TiVo such a luxury product. Things like being able to clip out that extra minute of programming the networks schedule, just to punish DVR viewers or being able to skip forward 15 minutes at a time, so that you can get back to the middle of a ballgame, in case you happened to pass out fall asleep before the end. When I had my generic DVR, I was forced to navigate several menus, just to get to my recorded content, but with TiVo, all I need is to hit the TiVo button twice and I’m right at my now playing list. It’s a very small detail, but one that makes their user interface, so much more enjoyable to interact with.

Of all the subtle differences that make up the TiVo experience, the remote control probably has the greatest impact. The cable companies remote might get the signal to your set top box, but the TiVo remote looks better and gets you where you need to be faster.

From the very start, TiVo got the remote down right. It’s peanut shape fits perfectly in the palm of your hand and the buttons were placed in areas, where you would optimize them most. When the remote first came out, it was recognized by the Consumer Electronics Association for it excellence. I used my first remote so much, that I wore off the fast forward icon on my button.

I was always happy with the original remote, but when TiVo released the series 3, I was excited to see an upgraded remote, included with it. While the series 3 remote doesn’t offer any functionality that you can’t live without, some of the the new features are still worth checking out. Continue Reading…

apple-remote.jpgAccording to an USB analyst, by way of AppleInsider

We also expect new touchscreen video iPods, more phones and possibly even TVs in the future,” he added. “With regard to the iPhone, we expect Apple to have a full line of phones from $150 to $600 available for purchase at multiple retailers in several geographies within three years, just like it did for iPods.

I don’t know about you, but the idea of getting off the couch to control the television (how retro!) doesn’t appeal to me. Having played with a variety of touch screen remotes, I can also say they don’t appeal either — I prefer tactile feedback and the ability to control the set without looking at the remote.

However, I do see a general need for an improved touchscreen interface/experience and look forward to checking out Multi-touch on the iPhone, plus any (rumored) video iPod or Mac tablet that hit the market.

Hands On With Harmony 550

Dave Zatz —  February 1, 2007
harmony-550.jpg

I ordered the Logitech Harmony 550 while Amazon was running a recent rebate, so I’ve only had it on hand for a day… However I already feel like it’s $75 (after rebate) well spent.

Compared to the 520, the 550 seems to have a better build quality. It’s more solid, the buttons respond better, and the back has a nice rubberized coating. I thought the 520 looked pretty sharp, and the 550 looks even better. The 550 adds a few more buttons than the 520. As with the 520, Logitech kindly packaged 8 Duracell batteries — four for now, four for later.
Continue Reading…

Amazon has the Harmony 880 on sale for $155.49 plus a $30 rebate good through 1/29. The 880 retails for $250. Instead of macros, Harmony remotes group related functions into activities. For example: Hit ‘Play DVD’ and Harmony will turn on the TV, set it to the proper input, and power up the DVD player. The 880 has a color screen and internal rechargeable battery with docking cradle. As with all Harmony remotes, the 880 has access to a huge database of devices — before we moved, we had 6xx models controlling our Lutron lights and projector, in addition to the standard stuff. I currently use the 880 in the den to operate my TiVo Series3 and Xbox 360. Download network icons at Squareworld to setup soft keys for your favorite channels.

Continue Reading…

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  December 7, 2006

A periodic roundup of relevant news…

loop-remote.jpg
  • Hands on with the Loop motion controlled remote : Gizmodo
  • Orb adds mobile YouTube search: PVRWire
  • Mods to quiet your (my) Xbox 360: Extreme Tech
  • Portable Audiovox XM receiver discovered: Orbitcast
  • Sony PSP GPS accessory hits the market: Engadget

tivo-glo-remote.gifTiVo.com has begun selling the Series3 remote as a $49.99 accessory. Not only does the remote control the S3, most Series2 units are supported as well. One slight difference over the bundled S3 unit: instead of a silver perimeter, this sports a chrome rim.

TiVo’s remote control designer points out enhancements versus the standard Series2 model:

  • Fully backlit keys.
  • Learning capability.
  • Metal domed keys provide crisp, tactile feedback.
  • Improved ergonomics and feel.
  • Bigger navigation pad with the Select key in the center.
  • Glossy, high-end look.

Who You Gonna Call?

Mari Silbey —  October 27, 2006

Need a little help with your gadgets? You don’t have to call tech support anymore. I’ve run across two applications recently taking different approaches to solving your gadget woes.

retrevo.jpg

retrevo-results.jpgThe first is Retrevo. Launched at DEMOfall last month, Retrevo is a vertical search engine that lets you look up your devices to find product documentation, reviews and articles, manufacturer info and coverage from “forums and blogs.” Michael Calore at Wired asks, “Why not just use Google?” Aside from the user interface, which gives you category filters on one side and a preview pane on the other, Retrevo gives you instant access to useful little items like product manuals. I searched for my Sony Cybershot DSC-P10, and a PDF version of the user guide came up first on the list. On the other hand, I searched Google for “Sony Cybershot DSC-P10 manual” and the guide didn’t even make the first page. I love the idea of not having to save a zillion product manuals anymore. I can never remember which drawer I put them in…

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The second application is su.pport.us which I discovered through David Berlind’s blog on ZDNet. The idea is great. su.pport.us is a wiki that anyone can contribute to. Know something useful about your cell phone’s features? Got tips on how to get a certain networked printer up and running? su.pport.us is the place to post it. Like I said, the idea is great. Unfortunately, there’s very little content so far. Consider this a rallying cry. Go put your knowledge to work! There are people out there who need it.