In less than two weeks, we’ve gone from a manual keyboard kludge to a more polished method of TiVo network remote control (Ubuntu above, iPhone below). By using the Crestron hooks TiVo incorporated into the Fall 2007 Update, folks are beginning to design graphical apps. However, I still believe there’s more powerful and practical uses for this “hack”… TiVo could and should assist by documenting and expanding interface options – both via this port (31339) and the existing HTTPS/XML entrance.
Archives For Remotes
Brent and I are giving away a Firefly PC Remote ($50), courtesy of Snapstream. For remote details, check out my brief hands on or Brent’s extensive review. The rules are simple: Leave a comment on this post saying you want in. However, your comment must be accompanied by a Gravatar image/icon – sign up here. (It’s painless, really.) Please be located in the lower 48 (US) and we’ll randomly choose a winner later this week.
The latest TiVo hack doesn’t actually require any hacking. Last fall, TiVo partnered up with Creston to integrate the Series3 into their home automation framework. While I haven’t heard anything since, it turns out the hooks are wide open (via Omikron) to any application or hardware on one’s home network – and possibly well beyond by implementing router port fowarding. Until something more polished is developed, the telnet protocol allows you to manually feed a variety of remote commands to a networked TiVo. For example, in the video above, I’m using a terminal application on my jailbroken iPhone as a rudimentary WiFi remote control. There’s some real interesting potential here…
SnapStream, the folks behind Beyond TV DVR software, offered Team ZNF a look at the Firefly RF media center remote control ($50). While Brent‘s finalizing his review, he shipped the remote back to play with before we give it away on ZNF. The Firefly controls a wide variety of media apps out of the box, including Beyond TV and Vista Media Center (VMC), plus it can be customized to support additional programs. Generally speaking, RF is preferable to IR due to increased range and fewer line-of-sight issues. And the Firefly is certainly superior to my wireless Microsoft keyboard and mouse in controlling VMC from the La-Z-Boy. However, RF’s not going to turn my plasma on… Next!
After a looong time, Logitech is finally updating their Harmony remote line with the One. (The Harmony 1000 slab is a different product category as far as I’m concerned.) Given the extended gestation and $249 price point, I’m not particularly impressed. The remote looks and feels bulky.
I was browsing the show with Kyle Copeland (half the team behind Beginning TiVo Programming and Audio Faucet) when I swung by the Logitech booth. We agree the Harmony One display has been improved over the 880 – both in appearance and the very nice touch screen/control. However, Kyle found the clarity/resolution to be lacking. And when compared to his iPhone, it surely was.
Both the 880 and One share the same MSRP, so those new to Harmony should consider the One with improved finish, display, and charging cradle. (Though the 880 is often discounted by 50%…) However, those who currently own the 880 (as I do) will have a hard time justifying an upgrade.
There 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…