TiVo Bolt to Feature 4k

Dave Zatz —  September 3, 2015 — 53 Comments

As we continue to track the unannounced TiVo Bolt, we can now confirm the Roamio-replacement will feature 4k support. What my industry source couldn’t tell me is if this applies to all models and what it might do to hardware cost. But it’ll be quite impressive if TiVo beats both Apple TV and Roku to 4k. Of course, the real world value (in 2015) is debatable with only a subset of potential customers possessing a UHD set and a very limited amount of 4k content from the likes to Netflix and Amazon. Not to mention, many of those aforementioned 4k sets possess their very own Netflix and Amazon apps… although there are those who swear by TiVo OnePass.



The Kevo smart lock, which we heartily endorse, breaks free from the phone today with the announcement of Moto360 support. Soon you can lock or unlock your doors in the presence of your Bluetooth LE Android Wear. For folks like me, who frequently stroll around the neighborhood without my smartphone, and those more exercise-oriented this seems like a pretty big win. We assume other Android Wear devices will be supported as well. Now, as to that missing Kevo WiFi link


Commercial-Free Hulu Is Here*

Dave Zatz —  September 2, 2015 — 37 Comments

Hulu just overcame one of its two biggest shortcomings in launching an ad-free tier. Whereas the Hulu we know and rarely love runs $8/month, the new offering clocks in at $12/month. I’m certainly willing to pay more for video streaming without commercial interruption, but I wonder if Hulu is 30% better than Netflix – which runs $9/mo for new customers. Sure Netflix has lost EPIX to Hulu, but they’re firing on all cylinders in regards to producing compelling original content and exclusively licensing some hidden gems. Beyond advertising, Hulu’s second significant shortcoming has been a large number of incomplete series/seasons. Not sure how the catalog looks these days but, given this new subscription option, I’m finally willing to take a look. Just as soon as the incoming TiVo app update hits…


The Google OnHub announcement led to a cacophony of polarizing views regarding this new, unexpected router. And now, after having deployed it within the Miarka house the past 24 hours, my thoughts fluctuate — I love the ease of setup and administration, but find myself perplexed by some of the performance I see throughout the house. Read on for more impressions of Google’s first router as it exists today.


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By way the FCC, I have a sneaking suspicion that Amazon is set to unveil a new Fire tablet. And, unlike prior models, this mystery device (SG98EG, 2ADU6-8274) lists microSD support. Whether or not the storage expansion slot can only be accessed during engineering testing and if this is really an Amazon product remain to be seen. But please enjoy this bit of gibberish (aka Jib Wresh LLC) while we await unveiling of the “Tablet PC” … and hopefully another Fire TV or two.



Sony is set to correct a massive PS4 shortcoming with a full-featured universal remote. Not only does it utilize Bluetooth for console control, but IR is included to operate your TV and soundbar – or whatever else, given its four device capabilities. I’ll go ahead and make a few assumptions that core apps, such as Netflix and Playstation Vue, will be natively supported and that those unlabeled multicolored buttons are programmable (to create shortcuts to, say, launch that aforementioned Netflix). Of course, the comparatively svelte PS4 will now need a tuner accessory and DVR capabilities like Xbox One. ;) Whereas I’d expect something like this to run something like $50, Best Buy has it up for pre-order at $30 with an anticipated October 12th delivery (while Amazon has it shipping October 27th).

By way of the FCC, we see August is primed to shortly expand their lineup with a Smart Keypad. Whatever that is. While we loved the aesthetics of their original Yves Behar-designed smart lock, we ultimately preferred Kevo to August — choosing functionality over form. Yet, August appears well-funded with a stellar team… so we do expect good things from them. As to what exactly this is, it seems likely it could be another door opening solution — and it seems several in the home automation space are reaching beyond individual consumers to hotel chains and the like. It’s also possible that this could be some sort of home control panel, as I imagine August has aspirations beyond the front door.


In other Amazon Echo news, the companion iPhone app has been rechristened. Where “Amazon Echo” once lived, I now find “Amazon Alexa” — curious, no? CNET’s John Falcone reasonably wonders if this signals additional Alexa-capable hardware in the pipeline. Indeed, Amazon has opened the voice-powered platform up to third parties and this might be a nice, centralized place to interact with those devices. Further, with indications of new Fire TV models and Fire OS 5 headed to existing devices, I could see the streamer’s generic voice search rebranded and unified under Alexa with an additional interface via this app. Not to mention, Amazon clearly has all sorts of crazy gadgets under development.