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One of the primary drawbacks of most streamers is a lack of live over-the-air television integration. Sure, you can switch inputs away from your television’s tuner. But wouldn’t a unified interface and guide be cool? Bonus if it comes with universal search. Roku and Terk once went down this path but failed to deliver and Amazon may be working on something. Into the current vacuum, enter: Channel Master’s new Digital TV Hub.This small, single tuner box’s secret is HDMI pass-thru, similar to Xbox One and original Google TV implementations … but with hopefully more interest and appreciation.

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I’ve long been a proponent of hub and spoke video distribution model and the 2013 TiVo Mini single-handily kept me in the fold. Dropping the TiVo extender’s service fee only sweetened the deal. However, I’ve long pined for a wireless iteration having been blessed with solid coverage – now cranked to 11 with eero.

Yet, it wasn’t meant to be as TiVo CMO Ira Bahr implies consistent performance and support could be an issue: Continue Reading…

TiVo Bolt Plus Arrives 9/15

Dave Zatz —  August 18, 2016

Bolt-plusBy way of TiVo CMO Ira Bahr and CEDIA outreach, we seemingly now have a name and a date for the TiVo big boy box they teased enthusiasts with after a somewhat lukewarm Bolt reception.

I had assumed any higher-end box would feature a more subtle and traditional enclosure, both for heat dissipation purposes and to address audience preference – stylistic and hard drive. Indeed, the precedent had been set with two distinct Roamio enclosures. However, I fear that Bolt moniker reuse and CEDIA imagery implies the non-standard presentation is part of the package. At least it features a black finish?

As to what Bolt+ hardware will bring to the table, well something more than 4 tuners is a lock. Given CableCARD limitations and available hardware, 6 tuners seems like be a safe bet. Additional recording storage is also obvious and, regardless of form factor, 2TB would be the absolute minimum given the current Bolt that maxes out at 1TB. Like the Roamio Pro/Plus, would OTA capabilities be excluded? Might we be treated to other surprises, like additional audio support or an OLED display? (Ha, just kidding. There will never be another OLED display.) As with the original Bolt, this new model will be 4k-capable with HDR likely on the docket.

Anything else on our wish list?

sling-airtv

As I revealed in April, Echostar and DISH Network are collaborating on an audacious plan to pipe the national television networks into Sling TV without the headache and expense of franchine licensing. “AirTV” repurposes Slingbox M1/M2 hardware with over-the-air (OTA) antenna capabilities to stream NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, and other locals into the various Sling TV client applications.

From a draft Amazon listing:

With AirTV and an HD antenna, you can stream live local programming, news and your local sports anywhere in your home using the free Sling TV app and its integrated program guide. No paid contracts-just free local TV on any compatible device. And if you want more channels, you can subscribe to paid Sling TV packages-all from the same app.

  • You can watch AirTV from the Sling TV app on Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV and Roku.
  • Compatible with antennas such as: Mohu Wine Gard RCA …and all others

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Back in 2014, Echostar’s Sling Media began injecting ads into both the Slingbox client interface and into the video stream itself. As you might imagine, many of us were displeased. Also, as you might imagine, some decided to take this to court as a class-action lawsuit. Unfortunately for the plaintiffs, their legal team doesn’t appear to be well-versed in Slingbox technology (which has not been available for “decades”). Nor do they appear to be very thorough. Although I give them credit for coming strong by proposing an outrageous $5,000,000 in damages.

Some highlights from the National Law Review:

there was no allegation that Sling Media actually stated the slinging functions would be “ad free.” Likewise, the court observed that the lead plaintiffs failed to allege whether they bought their devices after Sling Media allegedly formed its intent to insert ads and before Sling Media launched the new feature (thereby disclosing the intent).

The court also found that the consumers failed to allege “injury.” The plaintiffs implied that Sling Media’s “use” of the plaintiffs’ property was itself an injury (like a private version of a “takings” claim).

The impact of the Sling Media decision is tempered by the fact that it was a decision on a motion to dismiss (and allowed plaintiffs to move for leave to amend).

tivo-service-suspension

The venerable TiVo Series 1 that started it all, way back in 1999, heads off into the sunset come September 29th. And, apparently, about 3500 of you still rock the single tuner, standard def DVR-pioneering anvil. While those owners will retain access to their recordings, TiVo’s presumably decided ongoing support is too expensive. As such, they haven’t invested in migrating this generation to Rovi guide data next month and are, instead, pulling the plug.

Certain TiVo products require a TiVo service subscription, and we currently offer three service plan options: monthly, annual, and an All-In Plan. (In prior versions of this user agreement, the All-In Plan was referred to as Product Lifetime service.)

With an All-In Plan subscription, (a) you pay just once (rather than monthly, annually, or in some other frequency) for your TiVo service subscription, (b) your subscription lasts for the lifetime of your TiVo device (not your lifetime), and (c) you cannot transfer your subscription to another TiVo device (except in cases of warranty repair or replacement under applicable warranty terms).

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Remembering Blake

Dave Zatz —  August 11, 2016

While others are better suited to pen a remembrance, I too have fond memories of Blake Krikorian – who most know as the guy behind the Slingbox.

We first connected the summer of 2005 on AVS Forum… which is an unusual place to find a company CEO geeking out (and taking on trolls). I had a bone to pick since Windows XP Slingbox support wasn’t sufficient, given what I assumed (wink wink) was a potential customer base of folks in corporate settings running Windows 2000.

In October of 2005, shortly after this blog got going and well before Sling Media hired me, Blake agreed to hop on a call for a recorded interview. Being the least productive blogger ever and given the poor audio quality, I never ran the conversation. Not to mention his handlers probably wouldn’t have appreciated me airing much of our fun, frank, and wide-ranging 60 minute chat. However, the prescient clip below highlights Blake’s focus on the consumer experience and foreshadows Sling’s ultimate acquisition by Echostar that led to the DISH Hopper with Slingbox — and the industry’s “TV Everywhere” trajectory as a whole.

 

gopro-hero5

Earlier this week the eagerly anticipated, yet somewhat overdue, GoPro Hero 5 made its first prelaunch appearance… packing a new touchscreen. And today, via the FCC, multiple “Hero5 Black” filings have surfaced indicating the presence of WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS capabilities for video location tagging – a first for the line. While you’d think these hardware updates might increase the action cam’s bulk, the GoPro Hero5 is somewhat slimmer the the GoPro Hero 4 Black and about 30 grams lighter. Of course, the downside to the redesign is you’ll be on the hook for new accessories should you upgrade to the incoming flagship GoPro camera later this year.

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