The New TiVonomics

Dave Zatz —  October 2, 2015 — 34 Comments

Along with the introduction of the TiVo Bolt comes a slew of pricing and policy changes. They’re probably good for TiVo, Inc. But the adjustments are largely unfavorable for TiVo customers (and potential customers).


The devaluation of Lifetime service is the most painful for longtime TiVo fans. Under the “All-In” rebrand, the fee has been raised to $600… without the traditional $100 off for existing customers and without it being offered at time of purchase. Which means you could be rolling the dice. Who knows what the scenario will be a year from now when a year of bundled Bolt and Roamio Pro service expires. Also impacting existing customers is the end of multi-service discount (MSD), in which folks get a few dollar break for each additional DVR on a monthly plan. Fortunately, those who currently possess discounts will retain them… as long as they make no adjustments to their account.

But here’s where it gets weird. And this is going to mess up uninformed people who pick up used TiVos on ebay, craigslist, and the like. Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3/HD TiVo units without Lifetime service will no longer be activated. Based on the support note, it also seems like folks with effected hardware on an annual plan could end up with a brick when their term expires. Fun times. Of course, with MPEG4 killing a number of TiVos in Comcast’s footprint and the loss of Amazon and YouTube apps, those S3/HD models are less compelling these days. But, as they’re continuing to support Lifetimes units (for now?), why not also keep the lights on for units in the basement someone may want to reactivate?

Can’t wait until October 5th for your 4k Fire TV fix? Best Buy has already started lining shelves with Amazon’s new model, clocking in at the same $99 (and potentially cheaper than the incoming Roku 4). And while I didn’t partake (today), I’m far more interested in Amazon’s streamer knowing TiVo support is just around the corner.


I assume many of us would prefer the HDMI dongle form factor in many situations. However, my experience with the Fire TV Stick wasn’t the greatest. Plus, beyond my Amazon-specific quirks, there’s really only so much you can cram into these sorts of gadgets before they melt and wireless reception will always be a concern. So, box it is — more power, more ports, and more clutter (unless you get tricky). Continue Reading…

The TiVo Bolt Hits & Misses

Dave Zatz —  September 30, 2015 — 172 Comments

TiVo clearly had a choice to make. Deliver an unfinished product now or miss the all-important holiday shopping season. And, despite some compromises, they did what I would have done and released early. For example, only two of three TiVo Bolt models have made an appearance… without a Hulu app, currently being redesigned in HTML 5, and without out-of-home streaming. After all, how could they possibly launch the TiVo Bolt “Aereo” Edition without remote access capabilities (that are expected in 2016)? While I didn’t anticipate them this fall, there’s also no sign of a corresponding Series 6 “Pro” model nor a 4K-capable Mini. TiVo doesn’t seem to have the numbers or efficiency to juggle it all.


The first thing everyone will notice is the new design. It’s fresh and funky. Many of you will hate it. On a more practical level, this smaller form factor means heat is more of a challenge and the Bolt maxes out with 4 tuners while transitioning to a 2.5″ drive. So existing Roamio Pro/Plus owners with 6-tuners and potentially more storage will have a real hard time justifying an upgrade. But, for those new to the fold, there’s a lot to like from this OTA/Cable DVR. Continue Reading…

Amidst the TiVo Bolt hits and misses, an Amazon Fire TV app has been confirmed. As first demonstrated in July of 2014, as an overseas MSO cloud offering and in relation to TiVo’s Haxe transition, Digital Trends suggests the app should be available to retail customers real soon.

TiVo would probably prefer you invest in one of its TiVo Mini boxes to share stored content with other televisions in the house, but with support for Apple Airplay and a new TiVo Android app available for Fire TV, you can use the streamers you might already have to access all of your recordings.

Continue Reading…


TiVo Bolt – What We Know

Dave Zatz —  September 29, 2015 — 87 Comments

We first caught wind of the TiVo Bolt via USPTOCableLabs, and FCC regulatory filings. Info gleaned from premature website publication and industry sources suggest this Series 6 lineup will ultimately replace the four-unit Roamio family with a streamlined trio of 4k-capable models – that all include mobile “Stream” capabilities for unified functionality and marketing. The Bolt line also looks to retain spinning platters for local storage, although DVR hard drive capacity and physical size remain open questions.


Given that web graphic, it’s safe to assume at least two models will feature a stunning new enclosure that will surely elicit strong opinions. Based on the render, I originally had my doubts. But, now having seen it, I quite like and would have no problem displaying the all-white (OTA/Cable) or black & white (OTA) variant on my TV stand. Beyond aesthetics, I assume that asymmetrical arch also helps with heat dissipation. Continue Reading…

Philips Keeps Hue Going

Joel Ward —  September 29, 2015 — 22 Comments

I have been a fan of the Philips Hue wireless bulb system for a while now, including how to extend it using other brands of ZigBee bulbs and home automation hubs. So much so that I even did a presentation at my company’s Ideas Festival about how devices like Hue have enabled my son to break out of his shell and interact with his environment.

Philips Hue Go and Hue Disco

Over the summer, the Philips Hue Go portable lamp was added to the Hue lineup. I have to be honest: I didn’t even notice it at first. Which is odd because I love this stuff. A few weeks ago I had some Amazon gift card money burning a hole in my pocket so I was browsing for something interesting to buy when I came across the Hue Go lamp. It seemed totally frivolous so I had to order one! Continue Reading…

All the new goodies!

Dave Zatz —  September 28, 2015 — 5 Comments

‘Tis the season…