Archives For Satellite TV

New DirecTV HD UI Nearly Ready

Dave Zatz —  October 23, 2011

Rumor has it DirecTV’s high definition interface will land on their satellite set-top boxes (HR20 or H21 and up) beginning November 1 (Get it here: As you can see from the video above, the new design is at once both modernized and simplified with what appears to be quite sprightly interaction. DirecTV breaks it down:

  • A sleek new look and feel
  • Lightning fast scrolling
  • 1080p HD resolution
  • Visual browsing experience
  • One place for all DIRECTV CINEMA and On Demand movies
  • Recommendations based on your past viewing preferences

Between this new guide and DirecTV’s whole home DVR capabilities, I wonder how many takers they’ll find for the upcoming DirecTV TiVo? Given two years of delays, DirecTiVo is expected to feature older DirecTV hardware running TiVo’s original standard definition UI.

DirecTV Nomad

While Roku is getting the big headlines this morning with its HBO Go support and a sub-$50 streamer, DirecTV has a newsworthy launch going on as well. As Jeff Baumgartner points out, the product page is now live for the company’s Nomad ($149) product that lets subscribers transfer DVR recordings to a PC, iPhone or iPod Touch. (Macs, iPads and Android devices coming soon)

This is reminiscent of a Motorola gadget Dave and I wrote about years ago, but that product never made it to market. Instead, I believe the Motorola Mover was absorbed by Motorola’s Televation platform, which is reportedly coming to Comcast soon. That service will include live, linear streaming to mobile devices in your home. In contrast, the Nomad lets your store recorded video so you can take it with you on the go.

The guys at DBSTalk got their hands on a Nomad box late last month, and they note that transcoding and copying video from your DirecTV DVR requires about the same amount of time it would take to watch the content in the first place. However, you can set series to “autodownload” so that video is ready for transfer shortly after recording. Here are some of the other critical specs per the DirecTV product page.

  • Sync with up to 5 mobile devices over your in-home Wi-Fi connection
  • Record “up to 20 hours” of programming for viewing on a mobile device
  • Content reportedly transcoded to 720×480
  • One Ethernet and 2 USB ports included
  • 7.2″(w), 1.3″(h), 4.7″(d), 0.5 lbs

Looks like the new DirecTV TiVo HD DVR is (finally) nearing launch! Perhaps as soon as next month. But is it all we hoped for?

If you recall, TiVo and DirecTV once had a fruitful partnership… that petered out. However, the companies rekindled the flames nearly 3 years ago and announced collaboration on an updated HD DVR  – set to launch in 2009. While we’re a few years off schedule, today at TiVo’s quarterly call CEO Tom Rogers indicated that new DirecTV TiVo DVR units are “now being manufactured and we expect DirecTV to publicly share specific launch details in the relatively near future.” Further, a few unconfirmed reports suggest DirecTV distributors should be receiving product on or about September 25th. If that wasn’t evidence enough, folks over on DBSTalk have been discussing DirecTV’s August training video (embedded above, thanks Engadget!) which reintroduces their salesforce to TiVo.


Unfortunately, what we pieced together back in February appears to be accurate: Older DirecTV hardware (HR22-100) running the older TiVo interface. Yesterday’s technology, today! Even worse, multi-room viewing will not be supported between DirecTV TiVo units and/or other DirecTV HD DVRs. Ouch. But, on the bright side, the unit will ship with the latest TiVo peanut remote.

If DirecTV and TiVo had launched as planned two years ago, this product probably would have worked. As it stands, I doubt there will be much of a market for their “new” solution — irrespective of the yet-to-be-revealed hardware pricing and service fees. Unless this is merely a stop-gap… as at least two people on DBSTalk indicate they’re aware of additional hardware. Stay tuned?

Sony PS3 Lands NFL Streaming

Dave Zatz —  August 18, 2011

Will you look at that. Not only is DirecTV taking NFL over-the-top for DirecTV subscribers and non-subscribers alike (as they did last year), they’re expanding their reach beyond mobile devices like the the iPad and will stream live football direct to the Sony PS3 in 2011. This is a massive deal given the NFL’s status in the US as not only the premiere sports league but also as one of the most lucrative entertainment properties of any stripe. And this marks the first time the NFL will all be available to a television-based device over the Internet. Minus those in market games, of course.

Engadget reports non-DirecTV subscribers will be able to order the streaming-only version of Sunday Ticket for $350 as of September 1st. As I said last year, “it doesn’t come cheap. But they don’t call it Super Fan for nothing.” Then again, I’m sure I spend more than that at my local wing joint in any given season. Bonus? The PS3 price drop – now only $250. Is it too early to declare Sony’s more-than-gaming platform as box of the year? Although there’s still time for additional lean back partners to be announced…


DISH Network’s next generation whole-home DVR passed through the FCC today – with minimal confidentiality requested, suggesting launch may approach sooner than expected. If you recall, the XiP 813 DVR was unveiled a few months back and features 3 satellite tuners writing to 1 terabyte of storage. The EchoStar-produced product is also quite svelte by DISH standards… perhaps by doing away with integrated “SlingLoaded” placeshifting functionality, as offered in the current gen ViP 922. What makes the XiP813 notable is that it not only serves as a highly capable DVR, but it also acts as a hub – streaming recorded shows around the house to upcoming XiP 110 extender units (that also handle live TV). Hit our DISH Team Summit post for photographs of the new hardware, thanks to SatelliteGuys.

Originally announced in 2008 and expected to launch in 2009, the new DirecTV TiVo unit remains a no show. Back in February, we read the tea leaves to determine that the forthcoming DVR does indeed exist and has been undergoing testing. Unfortunately, given the delays, it features the old TiVo interface running on vintage DirecTV hardware (HR22-100). And, given the whispers, the product may not be greater than the sum of its parts. Regardless, at that time, we also heard launch had been delayed to and scheduled for July. Well, here we are.

There are signs we’re finally nearing the big reveal. Due to a webmaster slipup, the DirecTV TiVo was briefly available for order in May — with hardware running $99 and accompanied by a $5/month surcharge. As you’d expect, nothing actually shipped and the prices could merely be placeholders. But a promising sign nonetheless. Additionally, one source tells me testing has been winding down. Which seemingly suggests launch approaches. Then again, at one point, DirecTV’s Twitter rep suggested the new offering would be available “maybe” in “late” 2011. While we know the DirecTV is indubitably late, is July late within the year?


DISH Network recently held their annual Team Summit for partners and retailers. Scott Greczkowski of Satellite Guys was in attendance… and came back with a treasure trove of info and photos. The most compelling story for us gadget loving consumers was the unveiling of Echostar’s new whole-home DVR solution, which will be composed of at least one XiP813 triple tuning DVR hub and multiple XiP110 extenders that communicate via MoCA. Also notable, and somewhat different from the last couple years, is the de-emphasis of integrated Slingbox/SlingLoaded functionality as seen from the ViP922.

DISH Network XiP 813


The DISH XiP 813 appears much more svelte than prior oversized EchoStar DVR hardware… despite sporting 3 satellite tuners, 1 terabyte of recording storage, and acting as a central hub – much like Arris’ new Moxi Gateway.

DISH Network XiP 110


The DISH XiP110 extender units are even more compact than the 813, tuning live satellite television and providing access to all recorded content from that aforementioned hub. They communicate using the high bandwidth and reliable MoCA connectivity.

For those who need more than 3 tuners, additional XiP 813 units can be added to the mix along with however many XiP 110 extenders are desired. Scott says this DISH/EchoStar initiative appears “a lot more advanced than DIRECTV’s MultiRoom Viewing in all ways.” EchoStar is expected to deliver a completed product to DISH Network this fall, but it’s probably a safe bet that customers won’t actually be able to purchase new XiP hardware until 2012.

(Many thanks to Scott and Satellite Guys for the extensive briefing and pics!)