Archives For Satellite TV

New DirecTV TiVo Delayed Into 2011

Dave Zatz —  September 25, 2010

It’s official… The new DirecTV TiVo, announced in 2008, won’t be available until 2011. Which probably isn’t so surprising as CEO Tom Rogers left the door open for another delay at TiVo’s last quarterly call and the recently revealed beta testing is scheduled to run through January. And now PC Mag has the official word from SVP Joe Miller, who confirms the Technicolor-built DirecTV TiVo unit will ship “early next year.” Additionally:

Some of it’s timing, some of it’s development, their platform architecture continues to change and develop, and we’re trying to stream into that, and it’s been that as much as anything. Anytime it’s a new development on a fluid platform, it’s going to take time.

I did feel TiVo’s original 2009 target was aggressive and perhaps unrealistic, given their track record with Comcast and Cox integration and deployment. However, I was hopeful of seeing a a new DirecTiVo in 2010. Good for consumers, good for TiVo, Inc. But I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

(via Megazone)

New DirecTV TiVo Beta Underway?

Dave Zatz —  September 23, 2010

In case you didn’t believe a new DirecTV TiVo is really under development, check out these purported beta invitation and rejection email messages:

Thank you for your interest in TiVo’s beta programs. We’d like to invite you to join the Field Trials Team in beta testing hardware provided to you by TiVo. To participate you should be:

  • Available to test between now and January, 2011.
  • Willing to endure potential bugs, even with existing functionality – and report them in a timely manner.
  • Willing to complete weekly homework assignments.
  • Willing to share your experiences with others in our beta forums.

Thank you for taking the time to sign-up for our DirecTV/TiVo beta program.  The response to this beta invitation was much greater than what we had expected. We’ve now completed our recruitment for this trial and you have not been selected to participate at this time due to the limited amount of space available in this trial.

While we know Technicolor/Thompson hardware has been selected for DirecTV’s new TiVo offering, the image above is merely my artistic rendering. But what we we still don’t know is when the elusive new DVR will hit. And, for comparison purposes, it seems that the retail Premiere was in broad beta testing for maybe 6 months prior to release. The renewed DirecTV TiVo relationship, established in 2008, was intended to bare fruit in 2009… yet we’ve obviously eclipsed that target. Their current goal is late 2010, but I’d say we’re more likely looking at 2011. What’s your wager?

I’m not sure either of the recent TiVo (pre)announcements warrant an independent post, given the company’s typical long lead between partnership revelations and tangible products. However, given the pings and forum chatter, they’re probably worth touching on briefly as part of a larger ‘week in TiVo’ post.

First, at IBC TiVo and Samsung announced that they’ll be working together on an “advanced PVR solution” — the initial implementation intended to port the TiVo experience to European Samsung DVB DVR hardware. And presumably leveraging Samsung’s existing cable and satellite relationships overseas. Assuming all goes well, the companies “may add non-PVR devices and additional platforms worldwide.” As you’ll recall, TiVo has previously indicated a foray into non-DVR television solutions with an upcoming Internet-connected Best Buy Insignia HDTV.

In the other bit of news, TiVo has joined the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA). Which comes as no surprise to me, given their previous allusions to a modernized whole home solution for partners and DirecTV’s current multiroom MoCA solution. MoCA networking is an elegant solution that’s generally transparent to the end-user, requiring no new wired or wireless networks as data is transmitted over existing coaxial cable. But don’t take it from me, here’s TiVo’s justification: “Integrating MoCA into our products will enable service providers to offer a simple home networking solution that offers unrivalled Quality of Service.” However, I doubt we’ll see MoCA embedded into retail TiVo hardware anytime soon. Fortunately, with the Premiere’s seriously beefed up network throughput, MRV could still be re-worked into a streaming versus downloading solution.

Catching Up With TiVo v DISH

Dave Zatz —  September 9, 2010

We’ve been covering TiVo’s patent dispute with DISH/EchoStar for, literally, years. Heck, I even trekked down to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in 2007 to catch some argument/testimony.

However, I’ve grown bored of the topic. And, as neither an investor in TiVo nor DISH/Echo, I’ve got no skin in the game. Having said that, the eventual outcome could have a significant impact on the DVR landscape and US patent system (or DISH’s livelihood). So, if you’re in need of a refresher of how we got here and where we may be going, check out IPWatchdog’s summary – pointed out to me by TiVo owner and shareholder Davis Freeberg.

TiVo, Inc held their quarterly earnings call yesterday. As expected, it was mostly more of the same – revenue down with a net loss (~$15m), subscriber count down (~2.4m), but plenty of cash in the bank ($240m). However, TiVo did answer a long standing question I’ve had regarding the upcoming but delayed DirecTV TiVo. Who’s building the new box? And, as it turns out, the latest incarnation of the DirecTiVo will run on Technicolor/Thomson hardware.

Additionally, as previously disclosed, TiVo reinforced that international Virgin and ONO implementations will run on Cisco hardware. On the US MSO front, RCN is obviously deploying actual Premiere hardware but it appears TiVo hasn’t given up on a tru2way solution to offer providers. From CEO Tom Rogers:

two-way that we continue to build toward

Lastly, back to that DirecTV TiVo… While the official line is still a scheduled 2010 deployment, Rogers gave themselves some wiggle room should it slip into 2011:

As to the DIRECTV box that we are developing, it’s something that we hope to be able to push out late this year.

directv-sunday-ticket-to-go

Looks like DirecTV has enhanced their NFL mobile offering with more than just higher resolution streaming and iPad support this season. Sunday Ticket subscribers can optionally add the To-Go tier for $50, but DirecTV has also decoupled television service from online access — allowing anyone to subscribe to NFL streaming. At $350 for the season, it doesn’t come cheap. But they don’t call it Super Fan for nothing.

We can probably and safely assume that iPhone and iPad video out will be disabled, but connecting a computer to the television for a 720p football stream could perform well… when you’re not actually mobile. However, I’m still holding out hope that Cox launches the RedZone channel (via the new NCTC/NFL agreement) to meet my short attention span and fantasy football needs. Whereas one pal just ordered a Slingbox to locate at his brother’s home, ~500 miles away, to get his football fix.

Thanks, skiswm!

Football season is most definitely upon us, as I’ve hit training camp and received my first fantasy league invite.

Outside of the satellites themselves, DirecTV’s most costly investment has got to be their NFL broadcast rights ($700m – $1b/yr!). But it must be paying dividends, as every DTV subscriber I know sticks around for one exactly reason: Sunday Ticket. So, whereas we spend our Sunday afternoons parked at the wing place, many of my friends enjoy every game from the comfort of their own homes.

If memory serves, last year basic mobile streaming access was provided as part of the DirecTV SuperFan package. However, they’re rolling with a new mobile tier dubbed Sunday Ticket To-Go as a $50 add-on in 2010. The service streams live game video to Mac, PC, and various mobile devices – the most notable addition being Apple’s iPad. I can’t imagine catching an entire game on a 3.5″ iPhone screen, but the 10″ iPad makes for a mighty fine mobile television. Also new this year is higher definition streaming, although I haven’t been able to dig up the exact resolution (or bitrate). Additionally, DirecTV is advertising picture-in-picture and being able to display a grid of 4 live streams simultaneously, but I suspect these new features might be limited to computer clients.

As for me, I’m sticking with the wing joint. At least until Cox Communications picks up the RedZone Channel – that’s probably all my short-attention span requires (but yet one more way in which Cox has failed me).

world-cup-mobile

It’s that time of decade… FIFA’s World Cup competition is in full effect. And it’ll be one of the most watched events in human history – given the seemingly universal love of soccer (er, futbol), national pride, and widespread viewing technologies.

Here in the US, ESPN seems to have the broadcast rights locked down. Yet, they’ve got a number of partners to share the love. Above left is the HTC-designed, Qualcomm-powered FLO TV Personal Television ($200) on loan from the fine folks at TSS Radio. (review to come) Above right is a coworker’s Sprint EVO (also HTC-designed), streaming SprintTV, which comes bundled with new data plans. And it turns out that SprintTV is actually powered by MobiTV… who now offer the iPhone app seen below. Subscribe for one month ($10) to catch all the action.

The ESPN 3 site/channel is also streaming games online, for those who have partnered broadband service (Cox, Comcast, FiOS, etc). Odds are high that you have access, yet don’t even realize it. More interesting, Orb has figured out how to scrape those streams from a home PC and relay them to an Android handset or iPhone with their updated server software and app ($10).

worldcup-mobitv-iphone

Beyond the live video, of course, there are all sorts of other World Cup-specific apps with scores, news, and clips designed for multiple platforms – such as Goal.com and ESPN. Plus, Sirius XM is broadcasting audio of all 64 matches.