By way of the TiVo Community and an FCC filing, we learn that TiVo has petitioned the powers that be for access to customers of a combined AT&T and DirecTV – should the merger be approved (now with NFL in the bag). And they do make a compelling argument… including drawing a clever parallel to Ma Bell (which is entirely unrelated to the current entity in anything other than name).

Any FCC action approving the merger of the leading DBS MVPD and the leading IPTV MVPD must require that the merged company comply meaningfully and effectively with existing law, including Section 629’s obligation to support commercial competitive devices.

If the merger is allowed, the merged company, in addition to being the largest MVPD, will be the only MVPD to supply programming and services via both direct satellite and wired transmissions. With its national scope, the new AT&T will in certain respects resemble the original AT&T system — a system that was required to open its network to device competition under the Commission

Further, TiVo doesn’t pull any punches in regards to DirecTV, leading us to wonder if their current partnership has soured in some way. TiVo has previously indicated discontent in regards to DTV’s decision to develop and deploy the prior TiVo experience…

TiVo’s experience with DIRECTV has shown that technical access to programming has not been a stumbling block to the use of retail devices. Device competition has been constrained, instead, by DIRECTV’s business objective of controlling the relevant device market, in a manner contrary to the intent of Section 629 and Commission regulations.

roku-screen-mirroring-settings

By way of several support notes, perhaps posted a bit early, we learn that Roku is set to unveil mobile device screen mirroring. It’s not clear if these are the Miracast capabilities originally predicted by GigaOm in 2013 or something entirely different, but we do know the feature is currently limited to Roku 3 and Roku Stick (HDMI) hardware and it’s suggested both the Android or Windows Phone streaming device and Roku reside on the same network for best performance. Beyond straight up screen mirroring, Firefox Video Casting is also revealed and is more Chromecast (DIAL) in presentation. Desktop mirroring is referenced too, but a mechanism to pass the content has yet to be described… also, noticeably absent is iOS. I expect we’ll learn more shortly! Continue Reading…

gopro-entry-level

As GoPro introduced their new $400-500 Hero4 action cam, they also unveiled a camera for the rest of us. The new $130 Hero is waterproof, out-of-the-box, shoots 1080p, and is compatible with a wide variety of accessories… and will presumably help fill the vacuum left by Flip. Whereas the advanced feature set coupled with extreme pricing kept me out of prior Heroes, at this price point I can justify a purchase for the occasional vacation adventure. While storage and battery details remain elusive, we do know the GoPro Hero weights in at a mere 3.9 ounces and can be submerged to 40m. Stay tuned, as I’ll be picking one up as soon as it becomes available in October or November.

IMG 1.9.7 is slated to hit the “legacy” Verizon FiOS set-top hardware (that pre-dates the VMS Quantum DVR) beginning tonight in Buffalo, NY and PA, with the rollout expected to take a month or so… according to a source and imagery posted to DSL Reports. And boy what a massive update it is, headlined by all new “flat” visuals. Some releases notes: Continue Reading…

TiVo (Finally) Flips On Android Streaming

By way of The Donohue Report and the FCC, we learn that Comcast is poised to launch a voice-control remote for the Xfinity X1 platform. Whereas Amazon’s Fire TV remote similarly incorporates a microphone, Comcast’s offering extends well beyond search … inheriting functionality from the Xfinity mobile app. While holding down the microphone button, some sample commands from the user manual:

  • WATCH CNBC
  • FIND The Voice
  • SHOW ME all Eagles games
  • SHOW ME all kids movies on HBO
  • RECORD The Biggest Loser
  • LAUNCH Pandora
  • GUIDE
  • WHAT SHOULD I WATCH?
  • WHAT’S ON NOW?

It’s not yet known if all new Xfinity X1 rentals will be bundled with the voice activated remote or if it’s an optional accessory (for a fee). But it’s certainly a welcome addition, even if it doesn’t also possess Roku’s handy headphone jack.

roku-credit-card

While Roku remains our go-to streaming player, gifting still leaves something to be desired. And, as the company eclipses 10 million units and pressures streaming partners, Roku continues to solicit credit card information for the small number of apps that require it and to take a cut of every M-Go video rental or purchase. Of course, this isn’t unusual given Apple and Amazon streaming devices that also have credit cards on file. But, for whatever reason, it seems out of place on Roku and not everyone is comfortable or capable of complying. Whereas the company once suggested folks that object create fake PayPal accounts, they now direct customers to a non-publicized link. Instead of registering new Roku boxes via the standard workflow, by going through the link below, customers are provided a convenient “Skip” button to bypass the payment form.

https://owner.roku.com/signup-nocc