I love tracking Amazon’s FCC filing patterns almost as much as I love their technology. Whereas most companies file under their own corporate entity, with the requisite confidentiality requests, or time filings with press or consumer announcements to prevent inadvertent discoveries, Amazon tends to create interestingly named and staffed LLCs around the country with VOIP numbers (that are never answered). So while I can’t say for certain this is the next gizmo out of Amazon’s Lab126, I can tell you it fits their pattern. With that in mind, let me introduce you to Scituate LLC, housed at a Regus office rental facility in Arizona, staffed by a Raven Brady, with a Google Voice number. And what they’ve filed is the mysterious single band JK76PL 802.11 b/g/n “Wireless Device” — let your imagination go crazy. Could this be Amazon’s next Echo or Fire TV product? A home automation hub or Fire tablet dock? Something for their warehouses? Or someone else’s product all together?
While I generally only trawl the FCC for new, original filings, Janko Roettgers
of GigaOm recently turned up a pair of revised Roku boxes. And those models have just popped up on Zones and Best Buy Canada.
I imagine the prices are off, given prerelease timing and exchange rates, and I wouldn’t recommend pre-ordering from these guys given our limited information. But expected availability of April 13th or so, according to Best Buy, seems quite possible. As to the hardware itself, we’re looking at a refreshed Roku 2 (4210) and Roku 3 (4230)… Unfortunately, very little can be gleaned from the “permissive change” FCC filings beyond the guts of the new 2 will much more closely resemble a 3. Fortunately, the premature Best Buy listings provide greater detail…
As promised from CES, TiVo has released a brand new Android app. While it looks similar to the app it replaces, it’s been “redesigned from the ground up” — which surely accounts for the much faster interaction. OnePass integration and What To Watch also make appearances, closing the platform parity gap with iPhone and iPad. As with the prior TiVo Android app, it’s still streaming-only from Roamio Plus, Roamio Pro, and Stream units… with downloads expected later this year. Most exciting for a number of customers, at least for the time being, is a newfound compatibility with rooted devices.
Attention people with rooted Android phones & TiVo streaming: TiVo app completely redesigned and streams with no issues!
— Rob Nance (@RobTheIc0n) March 25, 2015
Well, as a follow-on, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. Ha, just kidding, it’s all bad news… as those who accepted the prompt to download the latest desktop Slingplayer client in time for March Madness are now treated to an interface overrun with ads, as shown above. Going full screen or shrinking the window does reduce the chrome and ads; However, it’s still a startling spammy intrusion. If that wasn’t disappointing enough, Sling has seriously overstepped when it comes to their Slingbox 500 owners who shelled out $300 for the benefit of video pass-thru and television output now sullied by banner advertisement overlays. Initially, Sling is promoting new features. But we can guess where this is going. And not only do they drop the ad unit on top of your video, their implementation is flawed in that both sound and video are briefly interrupted as it clears. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the mobile apps – at some point will they too receive ads and, if so, would that result in dropping the $15 iPhone and Android fee?
(Update: Sling Media PR informs me that the Slingbox 500 overlay will not be used for third party ads and paid mobile apps will not receive ads. Further, they’d like to direct folks to this Multichannel article which covers their web and desktop player ad-serving position.)
Why thank you, Evolution Digital for spilling the beans. We’d previously wondered if Plex might hit TiVo … given its recent Opera TV integration. And, now, we have part of the answer. What’s not yet known if this would be a native app, like Vudu, or an app-within-an-app via Opera. What’s also not known is box support and timing. However, I can’t imagine it’ll be a long wait given Evolution’s Amazon download cessation outreach and, at the very least, we can expect Roamio to be covered. Hopefully Premiere too. Properly integrated, Plex would go a long way to shoring up TiVo’s poor support of local media and opens doors on all sorts of interesting scenarios. Continue Reading…