Archives For Video


It may not be the Roku client we’ve been pining for, but as the post-Panasonic JVC continues to flesh out the video side of the Kenwood corporation, they’ve launched a new line of “BlackSapphire” Smart TVs sporting a native Slingbox app. The modestly priced and sized sets, clocking in at only 42″ and 47″, could make for a nice den SlingCatcher. Beyond Sling support, Netflix, Vudu, and Pandora are also present… along with a “flippable” QWERTY remote according to CNET. Of course, while many television manufacturers produce “smart” sets, I’ve yet to meet one with both an efficient and snappy UI. Not to mention, my Vizio has been known to crash/reboot at inopportune times, while my Panasonic is littered with ads. So JVC judgement will await CNET’s review.

Not the Channel Master K77

Boxee may have abandoned the market to secure their survival, but Echostar & Channel Master are teaming up once again to tap the over-the-air television crowd with a new line of retail DVR. According to a FCC filing (embedded below), the two Channel Master K77 models “combine access to broadcast programming with over-the-top and DVR functionalities.” Both units are slated to include 16GB of Flash storage, presumably to house the OS and any potential OTT apps, with DVR storage handled via an integrated 320GB hard drive (in the higher end SKU) or added via USB storage by end users. Previously, the two companies collaborated on the DTVPal DVR – which seemed to enjoy a decent amount of buzz and interest. More recently, Channel Master has been pushing an Entone-powered OTA DVR… but may not be pleased with the results given their rekindled relationship with Echostar. We firmly believe there’s an audience for this sort of product and are looking forward to what Echostar brings to the table. Related, Simple.TV, with a new line of funding, is likely also preparing an updated OTT/OTA DVR. Combined with TiVo’s incoming 4-tuner Series 5 and Aereo’s contested cloud-based approach, options are certainly heating up for cord cutters. Continue Reading…

Bye-bye Boxee: how a startup with great ideas and beautiful design failed to conquer the living room


No Southwest Airlines seat-back displays? No problem. Bring your own device (laptop, tablet, or smartphone) and enjoy free access to 13 channels of live television on board Southwest’s 400 WiFi-enabled aircraft in exchange for sitting through a mere 30 seconds of pre-roll advertising. Beyond mile high video streaming, DISH and Southwest are further collaborating on the marketing front with a nationwide push – new DISH Hopper subscribers will receive 12,500 Rapid Reward points and an iPad 2.

(Sadly, Southwest retired their non-stop IAD-LAS route and we rarely have reason to fly them these days.)

TWC TV on Xbox 360 to Give Time Warner Cable Customers a New Entertainment Experience


After three years of effectively, if not contractually, providing exclusive ESPN360 ESPN3 WatchESPN set-top box access, the Xbox 360 gains a competitor in the Apple TV ($99) today. Further, as revealed to us at the Cable Show, HBO GO has also made an Apple TV app appearance. However, unlike the Xbox 360 or forthcoming media-centric Xbox One, Apple doesn’t require an annual fee to access compelling online content. And Comcast seems to like Apple a whole lot more than Roku, as they’re permitting HBO GO aTV authentication for their subscribers.


ActiveVideo has been on a tear lately, having recently expanded “CloudTV” distribution with Cablevision, Charter, and Roku. The ActiveVideo value prop:

CloudTV’s “write-once deploy-everywhere” content environment eliminates the dependency on consumer device resources that has fragmented user experiences and limited the reach of “TV Everywhere”-type services. Using CloudTV to render the user interface in the cloud, service providers, content providers and content aggregators can offer rich, consistent user experiences and applications across existing and new STBs, as well as consumers’ existing CE hardware.

Where it potentially gets interesting for TiVo followers are a few comments from FierceCable’s Charter coverage:

Charter said it plans to conduct a market trial of CloudTV in an unidentified cable system. […] Charter CEO Tom Rutledge has told analysts in recent months that the MSO is working with TiVo on new user interfaces. ActiveVideo SVP and Chief Marketing Officer Murali Nemani said he couldn’t comment on Charter’s talks with TiVo. But he told FierceCable that ActiveVideo can support the TiVo program guide running on operators’ existing set-tops.

Last year, Charter dropped TiVo Premiere hardware for an unidentified “next-generation platform” that might still leverage the TiVo experience and we wonder who’s helping power TiVo’s upcoming Com Hem IPTV initiative. Surely these upcoming services are bound to be a vast improvement over the discontinued Best Buy TiVo TV and ActiveVideo has indicated that we’ll “be able to see how [they] are supporting TiVo” at the Cable Show next week. Stay tuned. Continue Reading…