Not content preparing a smattering of sensors and the latest Staples Connect hardware, D-Link is set to unveil their very own “Connected Home Hub” — probably a mere ten days from now at CES. Details on the short cylindrical job that just passed through the FCC:

The DCH-G020 is a Connected Home Z-Wave Gateway used to control a variety of Z-wave home sensors for the application of home automation. It is able to talk to variety of Z-Wave sensors and communicate with other DLink connected Home devices.

Beyond Z-Wave communication and the apparent Ethernet ports, this Connected Home Hub also features 802.11b/g/n. On the software front, D-Link’s associated Dlink app updates will include the requisite scheduling and notifications… along with an interesting QR code scanner to (perhaps) more efficiently add new hardware. Continue Reading…

What’s Next For TiVo (Mini)?

Dave Zatz —  December 22, 2014

Apparantly TiVo Mini promotional pricing has been so successful that the company will be shifting the expiration date from January 6th, 2015 to May 4th, 2015. As a refresher, the TiVo Mini hardware launched at $100 and required either $6/month or $150 for Lifetime Service. Yet, with a new CMO on board tasked with revitalizing retail sales, one of his first maneuvers was more sensible pricing for the DVR extender — bundling hardware and service for a flat $150 (or less). Beyond that, a slightly refreshed TiVo Mini is on deck for a spring launch (with newly released FCC pics). And what I’d hoped might be an exciting Zigbee home automation module appears to be nothing more than RF remote control. It’s a nice-to-have, especially given wall or television-mounting, but not revolutionary nor quite as versitile as the wireless Mini I pine for. Perhaps TiVo will answer the call via other means at CES next month with the Amazon Fire TV support or Roku app that they’ve previously alluded to…

bright-house-tivo

As the story goes, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks have been the most TiVo-hostile… by blocking video streaming via an inappropriately applied copy flag, relying on switched digital tuning hacks, and BH even having the gall to (previously) charge folks for that bit of unreliable hardware. Well, Christmas has come early to Bright House subscribers in Orlando.

Via DSL Reports, we learn that CCI Byte restrictions have been lifted on everything other than premium movie channels, allowing TiVo, Ceton, and Silicon Dust hardware owners to legitimately stream the cable content they pay for beyond Bright House’s formerly walled garden. And, come January, Bright House’s Tampa customers will similarly experience video liberation. Continue Reading…

Staying Connected On The Go

Dave Zatz —  December 18, 2014

Since first adding a Palm V modem to my tech arsenal about 15 years ago to access Mindspring dial-up email on business travel, I’ve remained Internet-connected when mobile (and have even used “mobile” connectivity to power the home). The last few years, I’ve done my best to stay off public WiFi — the level of exposure and ease of interception exceeds my comfort levels. I wouldn’t say I’m paranoid and it’s not like I dabble in state secrets, but I’d rather not make my personal data any more accessible than it probably is. (Remember that time someone tweeted as me via Southwest Air WiFi?) Not to mention, those wireless networks (free or otherwise) often don’t perform so well – either by (poor or upsell) design or due to saturation.

With that in mind, I’ve been a huge fan of mobile phone tethering — which was fully ensconced within my workflow by 2006, when I kept my laptop online via a USB-connected 3G Sprint PPC-6700 while riding Amtrak to a NYC eventContinue Reading…

As I begin a reexamination of Plex, TiVo may suddenly become a whole lot more interesting to folks hosting media repositories.

Since launching about a year ago, the Opera TV Store apps on TiVo are mostly throwaways and rarely worth the time they require to open. But with Plex on deck and the newer ability to pin favorite apps, the math could suddenly, and perhaps dramatically, change. Especially given TiVo’s apparent disinterest in bringing the sort of DLNA access that Xbox and Playstation provide along with an abandonment of TiVo Desktop to pass music and photos to our DVRs.

Right now, only Sony and Swisscom devices are Plex-capable. But it seems quite clear other Opera TV Stores will ultimately receive updates that bring support. Hopefully TiVo will be one of them and more timely than usual.

From the private Plex Pass forums:

You may have heard the news today that Plex is coming to devices running the Opera TV Store! We’re excited that Plex will be available on even more devices for our users. Some things to note:

  • The app is currently in a preview period and does require a Plex Pass subscription to use during that period
  • You can find a list of supported devices on the Opera site. Devices may require an update by the manufacturer before Plex will show up as available.
  • We’re working with Opera to ensure the list remains up-to-date as support becomes available on any more devices

(Thanks Russell!) 

slingbox-fire-tv

Without a hint of marketing muscle, SlingPlayer for Amazon Fire TV was quietly introduced a day or so ago. As you’d expect, the app allows you to pipe Slingbox video to another television in the home or really anywhere in the world. Or so their new TV Everywhere campaign proclaims. While I’m not prepared to pass judgement after only a few minutes of steaming TiVo > Fire TV Stick, it does indeed work as advertised (although only Slingbox 350, M1, and SlingTV/500 models are supported).

Interestingly, unlike recent Chromecast and Roku clients, this particular Slingbox presentation does not require a $15 mobile app in the mix… and harks back to the days of the Logitech Revue and WDTV Slingplayer. However, the fee-free sensation may be short-lived given the recently introduced and persistent banner ads now found in the web player… along with pre-roll video advertisements now being injected into our streams?!

(Via our pal Arne in Munich)

 image9

Back in September, Wink announced the addition of Relay to their ever growing lineup of home automation products. The Relay is a wall mounted touch screen device that connects to your Wink home automation system and is powered by an Android variant. It features Wifi, Zigbee, and Bluetooth communication protocols, but missing are the Z-Wave and Lutron ClearConnect capabilities included in the original Wink Hub. For $300, you might reasonably expect that that the Relay could replace the Wink Hub. Alas, not. Continue Reading…