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One thing was immediately clear as soon as I was able get Netgear Arlo up and running: 1) it was very easy to add cameras, and 2) all I wanted was to buy more cameras! But let’s back up a second and explain exactly what Arlo is, and is not. Arlo, the spiritual successor to Vue, is the newest camera security system from Netgear — it consists of a central wireless hub hooks into your home router along with a number of wireless cameras. Arlo also incorporates heat-based camera sensors to record video as motion is detected and stores those clips in the cloud. But Arlo is NOT designed for continuous 24/7 video recording like a Dropcam. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s walk through how to setup the system, and explain the usage at our home. Continue Reading…

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About the same time TiVo rolled out Vudu last fall, Verizon similarly deployed Ultraiviolet to their FiOS TV set-tops. Whereas TiVo went with a 3rd party app, Verizon has natively integrated the UV content locker within On Demand. And my pal Tim took it for a quick spin yesterday.

Within the FiOS On Demand UI, you’ll see a variety of titles featuring the UV logo. Yet account linkage is handled via webpage. Once synced up, your licensed UV titles show up under On Demand > My Library > Purchases. But, in a few minutes of streaming a couple of movies, Tim was not impressed by the artifacts seen in darker scenes… and pretty quickly concluded Vudu, via Xbox One, provides a superior experience. Beyond picture quality, I’ve also found the FiOS TV UI requires too many clicks – especially in the On Demand area. It’s generally far more efficient to rent or buy content from other sources. But this two-way FiOS TV UV integration still seems pretty cool and is worth keeping an eye on. Assuming Verizon sticks with FiOS.

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Aereo, the innovative yet ultimately criminal television provider buried by the establishment, had an extremely poor showing in bankruptcy liquidation this week — netting a mere $2m. And, without TiVo’s participation, the numbers would have been halved. It appears the same, single source of unknown allegiance notified a number of outlets the details of TiVo’s haul includes both the Aereo name and customer list (which may not be all that impressive). As a TiVo spokesperson said yesterday, “We have OTA products and see some value in these assets.”

Indeed, since last summer, TiVo’s attempted to capitalize on Aereo’s buzz …and their demise. However, while we do believe there is a growing market of cord cutters interested in advanced television solutions, TiVo still isn’t Aereo – which had unmatched pricing and convenience with their decentralized and hardware-agnostic approach. Having said, that we can certainly envision a scenario where the TiVo Roamio OTA DVR ($50, $15/mo) becomes “Aereo by TiVo” … especially should they repackage it in something other than the reused base Roamio enclosure, which I assume is planned. But to more closely replicate Aereo’s Slingbox-esque functionality, they’ll need to directly integrate stream functionality to this hardware… or resume manufacturing the no-longer-available TiVo Stream accessory. And a Roku or Chromecast client wouldn’t hurt.

TiVo Coming To FiOS*

Dave Zatz —  February 26, 2015 — 21 Comments

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TiVo has announced a “strategic relationship” with Frontier. And their first phase is quite unique. Whereas TiVo’s prior provider partnerships have exclusively powered cable television solutions, Frontier will be marketing the Roamio OTA to their Internet customers mid-year:

The new partnership will enable Frontier’s high-speed Internet customers to enjoy a consistent TV experience spanning major broadcast channels and over the top (OTT) content via TiVo’s unified cloud-based service, a whole-home gateway DVR, TiVo Mini, TiVo Stream. Multi-screen and remote scheduling functionality will be available through TiVo Web, iOS and Android mobile applications. Frontier customers with high-speed Internet service will enjoy an all-in-one DVR, a broad line-up of over-the-top applications, and a variety of top-tier streaming video services via a high-quality streaming solution.

While Frontier isn’t the first telco/cableco to hedge go after cord cutters and cord nevers with video services (see Cox, Cablevision), they will be the first to offer an over-the-air DVR for subscribers to record broadcast programming, like NBC and CBS, in conjunction with online services like Netflix. With an established customer base, TiVo presumably expects fewer marketing challenges than moving DVRs thru retail along with Frontier obviously anticipating a new revenue stream. Pricing details haven’t yet been released, so we can’t provide a comparison to a retail-acquired Roamio that currently runs $50 for hardware, along with an ongoing $15 monthly fee. Irrespective of cost, install assistance, etc it’s a forward thinking approach… that may not move the needle much for either company – at least not in 2015. Enter the more compelling second phase of this relationship. Continue Reading…

TiVo Lands On Woot

Dave Zatz —  February 21, 2015 — 11 Comments

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Ahead of any potential CableCARD successor, while they aren’t prepared to advertise with Sonos money, TiVo maintains their retail ambitions in bringing the entire lineup of set-tops to Woot today.

  • Roamio Pro (Refurbished) – $380
  • Roamio Plus (NOT Refurbished) – $250
  • Roamio (Refurbished) – $100
  • Mini (Refurbished) – $100

Assuming you’re in the market for a TiVo Roamio DVR and that you don’t qualify for the apparently ongoing 10 year customer appreciation bundle, the $250 Roamio Plus is a good deal – 6 cable tuners, mobile streaming, and a terabyte of DVR storage goodness. And you can very simply turn that Plus into a Pro at any time down the road with a 3tb drive for less than the $130 cost differential illustrated above. The Plus also stands out as the only new, versus “factory reconditioned,” piece of hardware in the listing. Of course, a TiVo DVR will also require service – either monthly, as low as $12.50, or Lifetime, up to $500. Also worth considering are the refurb first gen TiVo Minis for $100 a pop … but Amazon has them brand new, shipped free, and shipped faster than Woot for $115 as second gen models, with RF and a small performance boost, hit the shelves for $150 MSRP.

(Thanks Rob!)

DVR Love Is In The Air

Dave Zatz —  February 13, 2015 — 4 Comments

In honor of Valentine’s Day, both TiVo and DISH have taken to social media to promote their respective remote control finder alerts. Sadly DISH “can’t help you find love with the push of a button” … whereas TiVo proclaims “even our remote finder is a turn on” that “heightens the mood” (while retrieving it from your partner’s blouse). Food for thought when choosing your next provider and set-top box. Continue Reading…

Samsung’s New DVRs

Dave Zatz —  February 10, 2015 — 38 Comments

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Via regulatory filings, Steve Donohue has turned up a new Samsung DVR. Given its specs, including Zigbee and MoCA 2.0, this set-top is presumably destined for a MSO partner like Time Warner Cable. However, possibly more interesting is the box turned up by tipster Alex D on Flickr.

Pictured above, the Samsung “Smart Cable DVR” looks to be a retail product and the successor or up-sell to the Smart Media Player introduced in 2013. Whereas the Player tuned a single cable channel, this newer product is a 4-tuner DVR. Further, as an app platform, Samsung touts universal search capabilities, à la TiVo, and by leveraging their broader consumer electronics product line, the Smart DVR also optionally integrates Samsung’s wireless audio system.

Continue Reading…