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I’m back…finally. :-)

Intro

For the past few months, I’ve been on a mission to find the best home WiFi. The “best” does not necessarily mean the fastest. It means the most reliable as we move around the house from room to room. It also means The Mrs. will not curse our stupid and slow home internet. This year, we have seen the rise of consumer wireless mesh networks that has typically been only available to corporate environments. Products from eero (that Dave endorses), Ubiquiti, Securifi, and Netgear are vying for you to upgrade your current router with the promise of whole home WiFi goodness!

Our residence is a newer-built detached single family home with two floors and a basement. Over the years, I’ve silently replaced our main router as newer technology has been released. I say silently, as my test for this was basically to see if The Mrs. would notice or comment on our home wireless network. Would she just look at me and ask why I was staring at her while she used her tablet…or would she throw that tablet to the ground screaming to the WiFi gods. In the past, I’ve tried multiple scenarios for our home network. The ONE ROUTER TO RULE THEM ALL approach. The Router + Powerline + Access Point approach. The Router + Extend Me approach.

While all of these might have worked initially, each scenario failed at some point whether it was clients being too far away from the router, or clients not being able to hand off properly to the different access points. Each scenario failed at our house. That’s why the wireless mesh network intrigued me so much. And with the big names finally getting into the ballgame, I thought it was time to try the Netgear Orbi.

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roku-ultra-remote

As revealed just a few weeks back, Roku’s finally moving on from their repetitive numerical naming conventions with all-new models… possibly corresponding to a significant software refresh (which seems to suffer from early compatibility issues). While not all details have yet been revealed, we know HDR is on the docket and a treasure trove of product photography recently landed in my mailbox to whet our appetites until the official announcement drops.

Roku Express

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Replacing the existing entry-level Roku 1 in the streaming company’s lineup are the diminutive Roku Express (3700) and Express Plus (3710)… that visually represents half a streamer. As to what’s new and the differentiation between models, I’m not entirely certain. However, it’s reasonable to assume the 2016 Roku 1 would feature a more capable processor and, if the distinction between the Premiere and Premiere Plus models (below) is any indication, perhaps the Roku Express Plus model features additional ports or that desirable headphone+voice control remote. I’m hopeful that at least one model will retain RCA composite outputs to support older televisions.

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Via Cord Cutters News

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From TiVo CMO Ira Bahr, 10/2015:

We probably could’ve delivered a BOLT with two more tuners and a larger HDD and called it a family, but we knew that the market–and especially our loyalists–deserved much more. Look for something new next year, right on our normal three year cycle.

From TiVo press release, 9/2016:

TiVo Announces 4K TiVo BOLT+ at CEDIA 2016 | Latest Addition to the TiVo BOLT® Family Creates the Ultimate Multi-Room Video Experience with Six Tuners, 3TB of Recording Capacity, and New Black Chassis

I’d sure love to know what had been in the pipeline. Alas, TiVo is a for-profit entity and the retail (CableCARD) market has remained challenging for a whole host of factors ZNF regulars are well aware of. At least we can take comfort in TiVo providing something more substantial than the Bolt. And the $500 Plus should meet the needs of many looking to expand or upgrade without TiVo, Inc investing or risking much – especially with the limited, but appropriately targeted, distribution channels.

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From a European tradeshow, TiVo has dropped a brand-spanking-new user interface. And personalization features prominently in this dramatic, dual-axis, re-envisioning of the TiVo experience. From a user-customizable quick menu in the upper left to an expanded Discovery Bar that surfaces relevant content, TiVo “designed this UX so the viewer spends less time searching channel guides and opening apps and more time enjoying their favorite shows.”

Some highlights:

  • Predictions – Beyond traditional recommendations, TiVo’s innovative new Prediction technology takes a user’s actual viewing habits and predicts the shows they most likely want to watch at that moment.
  • Customizable shortcuts – Users now have more control over their viewing experience with customizable shortcuts on the Home screen and the ability to favorite the apps they most frequently visit, giving them quick access to their content across platforms and providers.

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TiVo 3.0 Arrives

Dave Zatz —  September 8, 2016 — 19 Comments

With Rovi’s acquisition, TiVo 3.0 has arrived. In the short term, we know there will be hundreds of (unfortunate) layoffs in the name of “corporate synergy” and shareholder value. Yet, while the current iteration of TiVo begins today, we won’t entirely know what this newly merged company is all about for another 12-18 months. Sadly, for ZNF regulars, there are indications that retail hardware will once again be deemphasized given stagnant sales and an uncertain (cable) landscape.

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While TiVo has seemingly given up on Aereo branding and an OTA-only Bolt, they’ve clearly still got eyes on the cord cutting contingent… as a TiVo Mantis has just passed thru the FCC:

TThe TiVO Inc. model TCD84A000 (Mantis) is a network DVR that is designed to receive OTA broadcast video and transcodes and send it out as a network stream either wired or wireless. The EUT incorporates an 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac transceiver.

Based on the description and limited ports (of Ethernet and USB) in its 5″ x 5″ x 1.5″ enclosure, the Mantis is more a headless Tablo or HDHomeRun-esque solution than a traditional DVR… as it lacks video output. Given the “transcode” I’ll go ahead and assume TiVo is working on Roku, Apple TV, and Fire TV clients vs forcing folks into a TiVo Mini. Whether or not DVR storage is integrated, vs the competition’s bring-your-own-drive, remains to be seen. As does tuner count (I’d guess dual) along with pricing and associated fees.

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roku-premiere

By correlating the recent Roku FCC leak against information obtained from two Canadian channels (1, 2), we now have a pretty good idea what Roku intends to do this fall with five new models… including potentially moving away from a tired, repetitive numerical naming convention and the introduction of HDR capabilities.

Roku Express

Replacing the Roku 1 in the streaming company’s lineup is the Roku Express (3700) and Express Plus (3710). As to what’s new and the differentiation between models, I’m not entirely certain. However, it’s reasonable to assume the 2016 Roku 1 would feature a more capable processor and if the distinction between the Premiere and Premiere Plus models (below) is any indication, perhaps the Roku Express Plus model features additional ports or that desirable headphone+voice control remote. I’m hopeful that at least one model will retain RCA composite outputs to support older televisions.

Continue Reading…