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Dave Zatz —  May 12, 2015

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slingbox-sale

Who knows if this is an extra special promotion, merely a pricing mistake, or the end of the line for the Slingbox 500. Irrespective of reason, Sears is offering up the device once known as Sling TV for more than half off at $140. New, not refurb, and shipped free. At $300, the Slingbox 500 makes no sense. But with this fire sale pricing, you benefit from the same wireless connectivity found in the lower-end Slingbox M1 along with (sometimes frustrating) HDMI pass-thru and a few TV-based perks your Roku or Fire TV probably does much better. Despite the now ad-compromised experience, Slingbox remains the most versatile solution to stream your video within or beyond the home. Should this deal appeal, you better act fast… as I suspect it’ll be gone as quickly as that $300 TiVo OTA with Lifetime Service.

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Microsoft’s been in the DVR business for eons… and in all sorts of forms, like this long-forgotten LG set-top. They’ve also excelled at ignoring and exiting the DVR business. Which is why it should come as no surprise that Windows 10 will not feature any sort of Media Center experience. In fact, I wouldn’t have even thought to ask the question. Well, amidst release of the currently limited function Xbox One TV tuner comes word that television recording may return (via a more suitable platform in my estimation). Continue Reading…

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  May 8, 2015

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Amongst a slew of compelling INTX show announcements, Comcast’s further foray into home automation is particularly notable. Whereas Comcast Home started as the typical white-labeled home automation and security solution, featuring a variety of mostly generic components, Xfinity Home will shortly expand to incorporate higher profile retail accessories. For example, my beloved Kevo smartlock and Netgear Arlo cameras will be accessible from both the X1 DVR and Xfinity app this summer, with other leaders this space like Lutron, August, and Nest also onboard. And more can be expected as Comcast introduces an Xfinity Home SDK and partner program.

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I imagine many would appreciate another unified interface to their home automation and security gadgetry. I know I would (especially in regards to Arlo, which is currently silo-ed). Not to mention there’s a huge segment of the population who knows nothing of this, yet could benefit from it. But the question remains: Will folks have interest and confidence in their cable provider, specifically Comcast, as a partner for this sort of service? And what would they be willing to pay? Continue Reading…

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  May 6, 2015

xfinity-voice-remote

Comcast Announces new Xfinity remote with voice control
You don’t have to learn a new language or speak like a robot. Just press the blue button, say what you want to watch and it appears on screen. It’s easy, just like watching TV should be.

JetBlue to Offer Amazon Prime Members Free Wi-Fi to Stream Video
Amazon is taking to the skies in its battle with Netflix: The e-commerce giant announced a deal with JetBlue, under which Prime members will have free, unlimited access to in-flight Wi-Fi — fast enough to stream video right to their seats.

TiVo Survey Indicates Majority of OTA Cord Cutters Come From Satellite
TiVo Inc., a leader in monetizing over the air signals for operators, today released the findings of an in-depth survey of Over The Air (OTA) TV consumers revealing that a materially higher percentage of cord cutters are coming from former satellite TV service subscribers.

Cable companies want you to pay twice for On Demand with Hulu Plus deal
In another sign that operators are increasingly willing to bring over-the-top streaming services directly to their subscribers, Hulu has announced that it has reached agreements with five multichannel operators to offer Hulu’s subscription streaming service to their customers.

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  May 5, 2015

smartthings-watch

SmartThings iOS app adds Apple Watch capabilities
The fact that this update is coming to the iOS app for Apple Watch “further highlights SmartThings and Samsung’s commitment to an open platform,” The team behind SmartThings have released the SmartThings iOS app version 1.7.3 with Apple Watch integration.

Cable Cozies Up to TiVo & OTT
What a difference a few years makes. Former upstart TiVo was shunned by the cable industry for the better part of a decade, and Netflix has often ranked as enemy number one both for producing scads of Internet traffic, and for offering a competitive service to cable’s video-on-demand (VoD). Fast forward to today, however, and the cable industry has decided to mend fences all around.

Apple TV Remote Expected to Add Touch Pad in Redesign
The touch pad can be used for scrolling around and there will also be two physical buttons, the person said. The remote’s thicker size is comparable to the remote control for Amazon’s wireless speaker, the Echo, the person added.

Comast unveils Xfinity Share
Through Comcast’s new Xfinity Share app, X1 customers can live stream or send photos and recorded videos to their TV, or to the TV of another X1 customer, as well as live stream and share content to mobile phones.

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  May 4, 2015

firefox-tv

This is what Firefox OS looks like on TVs
Firefox OS is an operating system designed around the technologies used in the Firefox web browser. The first commercial devices with Firefox OS software were smartphones. But it can also run on tablets, TV sticks, and TVs. Now the developers of Firefox OS at Mozilla are giving us a closer look at how the operating system works on TVs.

Comcast Spent $336 Million On Failed Merger
The uncertainty of the now dead Time Warner Cable merger certainly didn’t hurt Comcast’s broadband growth. According to the company’s latest earnings report, Comcast continued to slowly bleed video subscribers (8,000 lost on the quarter) but added 407,000 high-speed Internet subscribers.

Summer TV Preview 2015: 15 New Shows You Need to Know About
Kids are leaving school. The weather is getting warmer. Superhero movies are about to take over our theaters. Basically, everything is getting worse — except your upcoming slate of new TV shows.

Alternatives to Windows Media Center (Make your own Home Theater PC)
For more than a decade Microsoft has made that by offering Windows Media Center. But when Windows 10 ships in the summer of 2015 it won’t include Media Center. The good news is that there are still some solid options available for Home Theater PC (HTPC) enthusiasts.