new-tivo-thumbs

By way of the Trademark office, we see that TiVo’s brand makeover continues. Whereas the earlier 2015 visual tweaks were logo-centric, and perhaps merely a test, TiVo recently passed 6 applications thru the USPTO showcasing significantly modernized rendition of their classic thumbs up/down iconography as an update to prior art filed way back in 1999. Use of these buttons, in regards to fine tuning TiVo Suggestions, has likely declined and in dramatic fashion as folks move away from TiVo Suggestions into What To Watch Now, OnePass, and recommendation engines built into services like Netflix. However, TiVo has dabbled in real-time thumb-initiated ratings, perhaps as an upcoming advertising feature, and I’m sure there are additional ways to leverage these buttons… including the possibility of improving Suggestions integration itself, as content remains king. I also wonder what these “flatter” graphics might mean in terms of the broader TiVo set-top and mobile app interface.

Via trusted sources, we’ve learned that TiVo is poised to launch Cox On Demand services… nearly five years after an announced partnership that many have assumed to be dead. So while the various players dicker over the capabilities and implementation of a CableCARD successor, TiVo once again strikes a deal to build a custom solution. I’m not sure what’s in it for Cox, other than avoiding the remaining couple years of TiVo’s Time Warp patent teeth. But we clearly know the value to TiVo — the DVR pioneer has previously indicated that retail sales and retention were higher within the Comcast footprint as Xfinity On Demand rolled out. (Granted, those regions had been bolstered by additional marketing.) Giving up “free” on demand content provided by one’s cable provider is often a sticking point before “going TiVo” – and Cox represents a sizable portion of TiVo’s addressable audience as the 5th largest compatible cable operator. Trust me, a large percent of my peers with children rely on On Demand, making a TiVo a non-starter in many cases. It’s yet to be seen if the new TiVo Cox On Demand implementation retains the dated Xfinity approach or goes with a more modern HTML5 front-end. Regardless, given Cox’s continued reliance on Switched Digital Video and over aggressive copy protection, Verizon FiOS is still probably the better choice… assuming you have one.

Plex Hits TiVo Next Week

Dave Zatz —  May 24, 2015

tivo-plex

By way of a TiVo media blast and discussions I’ve had with Plex representatives, we now know the rumors are true. Plex lands on TiVo Roamio, Premiere, and Mini hardware next week! And, fortunately, the Plex experience is not buried within the Opera TV Store, residing alongside Spotify and an also soon-to-be released iHeartRadio under Music & Photos. Although, in actuality, most folks will probably utilize the multi-talented Plex as a video player – reinforcing TiVo’s need to rethink how they present and we access apps.

Plex on TiVo is a custom built affair, similar in presentation to their other Smart TV apps and utilizing the Opera SDK. At launch, streaming will max out at 720p – but 1080p is on the roadmap. However, unlike most Plex “Smart TV” implementations and given their partnership with TiVo, a PlexPass subscription will not be required. Unsurprisingly, our Plex libraries will not commingle with TiVo’s unified search and OnePass that encompass both linear television and streaming apps like Netflix. All that remains to be seen is how well Plex performs. No, it probably won’t be as sprightly as Roku or Amazon Fire TV, but it could be good enough for Input 1. And a big boon as TiVo now courts cord cutters.

FCC Grants TiVo 2-Year Set-Top Waiver

While I agree that tweets are largely ephemeral in nature, I appreciate my Twitter archive as a historical record and have no desire to join the ranks of the tweet-deleters. Yeah, I’ll delete the sporadic nonsensical, knee jerk, repetitive, or unfunny contribution. But I generally enjoy keeping my old stuff around. Exponentially so, as a blogger and since Twitter introduced native photos and video. However, Favorites, I just don’t get. I often star other’s tweets as an acknowledgement that I’ve read their 140 character note or as an ‘atta boy’ of sorts, if something is especially compelling — in which case, maybe I should have solely retweeted it to benefit my followers. Having these Favorite emoticon acknowledgements preserved for posterity seems like an exercise in noise, clutter, and perhaps misrepresentation. So I set out to delete the 8148 “likes” that I’ve anointed over the years.

No surprise: Twitter provides no mechanism to get this done. Fortunately, I stumbled upon Unfavinator which is the first and most important step in clearing the cruft. Continue Reading…

sonos-play-bundle

If you’ve been looking to expand your Sonos speaker collection or are just getting ready to ease into the addiction of top flight, whole-home audio, Sonos has got a deal for you. The smallest of the Sonos speakers, the Play:1, normally runs $199 a pop. However, as part of a limited time offer, Sonos is offering a “2-Room Starter Set” of two black or two white Play:1 wireless speakers for $349, shipped free. The Play:1 may be the least powerful entry in the Sonos lineup, but it’s the most aesthetically pleasing and subtly fits into more locales – including “high humidity” environments, like your steamy bathroom. In fact, once I finish unloading my sonically-challenged Amazon Echo novelty speakers, I intend to add a few Play:1s for streaming more online music to more locations around the home.

marriott-netflix-youtube

As promised back in January, Marriott has started deploying a suite of streaming applications to their Enseo set-tops and televisions… and Cord Cutters News has gone hands-on. Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Hulu Plus and Crackle are available at select higher-end Marriot properties and it’s believed the plan is to expand to more and more diverse properties. At the moment, there aren’t any television-specific fees but you’ll be required to use your own subscription with Netflix and Hulu Plus. Even should the lineups shift over time, this is a great option and sure beats trying to get a Roku or Amazon Fire TV Stick working in the hotel (via WiFi Marriott once blocked). Or sadly “watching TV” via phone or tablet in bed, as I have on too many occasions. Two more interesting tidbits: Marriott’s Enseo TV remote has a dedicated Netflix button and supposedly the hotel will clear your credentials upon checkout.

By way of DISH Team Summit, Facebook, and a pair of low resolution videos we learn that not only is Channel Master getting real close to launching those “Linear Channels” of Internet content on DVR+, they’re also landing a SlingTV app. I’ve taken the liberty of concatenating the two grainy show-floor quick-takes (above) but intend to ping Channel Master to see how they feel if I shoot my own video (as I did for DVR+ upon release).

As the story goes, DVR+ is a fee-free, dual-tuning, over-the-air DVR (1TB, $400). That briefly lost its luster given TiVo Roamio OTA pricing that turned out to be a limited time offer (or another marketing mistake). However, TiVo’s return to unfavorable pricing makes DVR+, with the option of Sling TV, a highly compelling solution for a number of cord cutters. Continue Reading…