Archives For Satellite TV

directv-geniego-android

geniegoDirecTV’s placeshifting Nomad has been rebranded as the GenieGo. Further, the satcaster has dropped the price from $150 to a more compelling $99. The device initially only transcoded and transferred DVR recordings, but has since expanded its capabilities by also providing (almost) live television in-home streaming – comparable to the competing TiVo Stream and DISH Sling Hopper. However, unlike the TiVo Stream, DirecTV has just released an Android app (which isn’t receiving the greatest of reviews) to go along with their longstanding iPhone support. However, for pure streaming, the Sling Hopper remains best-in-class as Slingbox functionality is baked directly into STB hardware, without requiring a separate box, and content can be beamed both within the home and beyond. But for those with limited or no bandwidth whilst on the move, both the GenieGo and TiVo Stream conveniently provide video offloading functionality… although preparing and transferring the content can be a bit kludgy.

DISH Hopper Gets Social

Dave Zatz —  May 29, 2013

dish-hopper-social

DISH ups the ante on “social” television today with the introduction of Hopper functionality that wraps video within Twitter stats and social feeds:

The new Social app is accessible via DISH’s “quick launch” bar (to access, press the blue button on remote control) on the Hopper. Customers can link up to four Twitter and four Facebook accounts to the app. Viewers have three options for the type of content displayed in the status bar, which is located on the right side of the TV screen when the app is open:

  • Now Watching: shows the Twitter feed relevant to the show or channel the user is currently watching.
  • My Twitter: displays the user’s personal Twitter feed (if logged-in) and gives them full Twitter functionality, including the ability to “Favorite” a tweet, reply to a tweet, retweet a post and create a new Tweet.
  • My Facebook: displays the user’s personal Facebook feed (also requires log-in) and gives users the ability to post a status update, with the option of selecting one of several pre-drafted, easy-to-use updates.

While I still find myself somewhat lukewarm on in the idea of polluting populating my screen with Facebook or Twitter updates, DISH’s approach appears far more customizable and sophisticated then the competition. Not to mention the stats from The Collective are fascinating – especially should the app extend beyond live television and into DVR recordings.

directv-voice-search

According to Variety, DirecTV has been working on a Nuance-powered iPhone app update to bring speech recognition to HR24 and newer set-top boxes. My initial reaction was that it’s nothing more than a clever, but not very practical, application of Siri-like skills. Yet, upon reflection, being able to change channel via station name, rather than researching a corresponding number I probably don’t know, seems quite compelling. Natural language interactivity might even come in handy when attempting to determine when a given show airs. However, I don’t imagine voice control would be the most precise or efficient way to schedule and manage DVR recordings and I’m not particularly interested in finding “a Tom Cruise movie this weekend.”

directv-genie-c41

The DirecTV C41 next gen “advanced whole home client” made a brief appearance at the FCC. And it really is a limited engagement, as there’s not much to contemplate beyond the label above and reference to the 2.4GHz RF. However, last month Pace fired off a press release announcing DirecTV’s hardware successors:

Pace (LSE: PIC), a leading global developer of advanced technologies for service providers, today announced the recent approval for production of DIRECTV’s next generation HR44 “Genie” Media Server and C41 “mini Genie” device. These innovative new products are developed in compliance with the RVU protocol.

The announcement goes on to say that these boxes are intended to replace the existing DirecTV Genie H34 and C31 whole-home DVR hardware – a solution Engadget declared “the best” (along with DISH’s Hopper). Interestingly, while Pace may be behind the announcement, it’s Technicolor who submitted the new hardware to the FCC for review.

dish-ces-booth

As they do each year, CNET convened to determine the Best of CES. From Editor-in-Chief Lindsey Turrentine:

Last week, about 40 members of the CNET editorial staff met in the CNET trailer in the parking lot of the Las Vegas Convention Center to vote on our official Best of CES winner. […] Ultimately, we chose the Dish Hopper for our Best of CES award because of innovative features that push shows recorded on DVR to iPads.

Of course there’s tons of compelling new technology at CES and whittling it down to a single show representative is quite challenging. Yet, having spent time with the DISH Hopper, we too came away impressed… as it’s quite possibly the most powerful and most versatile DVR ever produced. And it’ll surely end up in more homes than our CES favorite, the Lenovo Table PC.

The new DISH Hopper with Sling builds upon the success of their highly regarded first gen Hopper, retaining consumer-friendly features of automagically recording prime time network programming and then skipping commercials during playback — it’s got the studio’s panties in a wad and may cost DISH dearly when it’s time to renegotiate those carriage contracts. But they seem to relish a good fight. And perhaps that’s why they’re showing no fear in further risking the wrath of content providers by incorporating Slingbox technology… Continue Reading…

dish-explorer-app1

The “second screen” onslaught continues as DISH unveils a brand spanking new Explorer companion app to kick off their CES festivities. Available to Hopper owners tomorrow, the iPad app opens to “What’s Hot” as a launching point to social television discovery and DVR control. Of course, the requisite Twitter and Facebook interactivity is present. Interestingly, DISH has also licensed a variety of real time sports-related data to incorporate into the experience. Continue Reading…

auto-hop

DISH Network has rolled out an update to their well received Hopper DVR that, among other things, seems to respond directly to broadcaster concerns of an unlicensed on demand service that has led to a multitude of lawsuits.

If you recall, the Hopper incorporates a consumer friendly Prime Time Anytime feature to automate the recording of prime time network programming, with shows retained 8 days. Building upon that functionality, DISH then introduced Auto Hop commercial skip functionality… which, of course, the broadcasters did not respond well to.

To possibly head off or limit the pending legal action, DISH has tweaked both these services to require a bit more user interaction and to enable more granular control. Continue Reading…