Archives For TiVo

Play-YanNintendo has rebranded their Play-Yan multimedia device for the Gameboy Micro with updated software. The Gameboy Micro’s 2″ screen pales in comparison to the luscious PSP display, but support for MP3’s and MPEG4 video in such a compact device is very cool indeed. The unit works by reading data off of an SD card, which you provide, and streaming it through the Gameboy.

The Play-Yan is bundled with Media Stage 4.2, PC software for converting and organizing your content. However, you are not required to use it if you don’t happen to read Japanese. In fact you can use the same PSP software and methods for converting Tivo files to ASF MPEG4 — be sure to specify 240×160.

Galleon PodcastingI like to think of Galleon as the Tivo Swiss Army knife – it pretty much does everything. You want email, weather forecasts, or RSS feeds displayed on your Tivo? No problem. You want to schedule downloads of podcasts for streaming to your Tivo? No problem. You want better music, image, and video management than Tivo offers you? No problem. The list goes on! But don’t just take my word for it… Tivo honored Galleon as the “Most Creative Application” in their Developer Challenge.

Leon Nicholls, a Java programmer by profession, and I chatted about his work on Galleon. The software originally began life as JavaHMO – a program improving upon and, for many, replacing Tivo’s own desktop software for stand-alone Series 2 units. With the release of HME, JavaHMO was rebranded and rewritten as Galleon to enhance and simplify a variety of multimedia functions while serving even more Internet content to your Tivo. Despite spending numerous hours a week coding, testing, and responding to issues, he assures me Galleon will always remain free.

Leon had more to say about his motivation and where he sees the project going:
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Tivo Job Openings Offer Clues

Dave Zatz —  October 2, 2005

TiVo LogoAs with recent Tivo job openings confirming support for CableCard and next generation DVD specifications, these new listings offer glimpses of what 2006 might bring us. Listing 156 confirms, despite the defection of Consumer Unit head Brodie Keast, progress continues on S3 stand-alone units with Tivo developing new housings. Listing 151 describes the expansion and enhancement of advertising technologies, perhaps via Tivo’s web page or possibly as an HME application which feeds the DVR.

Requsition 156 says: Responsible for driving TiVo’s Materials engineering strategy to improve component quality while working to identify new component sources and selection processes. Review component selection on new designs. Provide component selection input from a life expectance, multiple sourcing and cost perspectives. Determine, evaluate and recommend preferred technical specifications (ie. Package type, surface finish). Provide multiple sourcing recommendations for components.

Requisition 151 says: Provide technical skills to design and develop TiVo’s interactive advertising portal. This is a unique opportunity to be involved in the early stage of the product life cycle that will enable you to leverage your engineering expertise to make major system design decisions. This web-based software will enable the creation, delivery, presentation, and management of compelling user experiences in interactive television advertising applications.

TiVo LogoIs it just me, or is this not so exciting? I dig the idea of downloadable content via broadband, but not this particular content. It’s an interesting marketing strategy though… I don’t get CSTV, so after watching the clips and missing the game theoretically I’ll feel compelled to call Comcast and request the channel.

Tivo newsletter says: Running from October 1st-8th, look for a new menu item on TiVo Central called “Exclusive Navy Football with CSTV!” The Showcase makes it easy for you to schedule a recording of the upcoming Navy-Air Force football game to air on CSTV**, but there’s more:

  • You’ll have the option to download an additional hour’s worth of exclusive bonus content, including interviews with coaches and players, season highlights, a documentary on Navy football, and a documentary on the 1963 season with Roger Staubach!
  • Plus, you’ll even get game highlights and post-game materials a few days after the whistle’s blown.
  • ** You must receive CSTV from your cable or satellite provider in order to record the game on CSTV.

    Tivo Makes You Lazy and Stupid

    Dave Zatz —  September 27, 2005

    PC Magazine’s John C. Dvorak blames societal problems on large hard drives and TiVo. After all, it couldn’t have anything to do with ranting and raving columnists… right?

    DvorakPC Mag says: With the TiVo, you don’t have to pay close attention to your TV anymore. If something happens, you can simply go back to watch it in detail, and then fall back into the zombie-like state abetted by this convenient tool. […] These devices are perfect for putting the public in a stupor. […] It’s difficult to prove that hard-drive technology in both the computer and TiVo is directly responsible for this. Yet laziness and global stupidity are not driving these developments. Rather, these developments are driving laziness and global stupidity.

    Misquoted On Boing Boing

    Dave Zatz —  September 24, 2005

    Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow and I exchanged a few emails regarding Tivo’s ability to honor Macrovision copy protection as a service update in light of Tivo’s new early termination fee. Unfortunately, something was lost in translation and I wanted to set the record straight:

    Hi Cory,

    I definitely think the new $150 termination fee is worth mentioning and appreciate the link back. But I wanted to clear some things up… I didn’t just buy Tivo, in fact I’ve had boxes for many years. Also I didn’t call to cancel, but I have noticed the modified service agreement indicating a cancellation penalty.

    The scenario you describe is entirely conceivable (someone could buy a Tivo this month, receive a system update which adds the Macrovision copy protection restrictions, try to cancel, and get hit with a cancellation fee) but it didn’t happen to me and I’m not aware of anyone documenting it.

    I hope you can make the necessary modifications to your article.

    Dave Zatz

    MeedioPC Magazine (10/04/05 issue) reviewed five DVR software packages as alternatives to MicrosoftÂ’s Windows Media Center Edition (MCE). All were deemed good values and worthy competitors of Tivo… assuming you have an extra computer with decent specs. Meedio Pro earned an Editors’ Choice award and was followed closely by Snapstream’s BeyondTV bundle. Bill Howard preferred Meedio’s level of customization and sound effects over the competitors, while he appreciated SnapStream’s inclusion of the Firefly remote.

    PC Mag says: If you’ve been longing for a media-centric PC for the living room but haven’t wanted to buy a new Media Center PC to get it, you’re in luck. Media-player software packages you can load on an existing PC have gotten much better, giving you a TV-friendly interface to access your music, photos, DVDs, videos, and (with the right hardware) even live and recorded TV. Some tasks are demanding of Windows resources, so don’t expect to run one of these MCE workalikes on your three- or four-year-old PC without a hiccup. But if your PC is up to it, the DVR functions of all the products here are just about on par with TiVo – only without the monthly subscription fee.

    PC Mag also handed out an Editors’ Choice stamp to the HP z555 running Windows MCE, proclaiming it “nears perfection.” I find the praise a bit high considering they complained of regular reboots due to sluggishness and average system speed.

    HP z555

    Marketing With Tivo, Dockers?

    Dave Zatz —  September 24, 2005

    The positive buzz surrounding Tivo is leading to some strange marketing synergies. The recent iRiver PMC deal makes sense as an option for watching Tivo To Go, but the JCPenny Dockers promotion is way out in left field.

    Dockers says: Buy $100 of Dockers Men’s Qualifying Apparel and/or Accessories Between September 25th and September 28th, 2005 and Receive a Free TiVo Series2 40-Hour DVR and 3 Months of Free Service.