TiVoToGo Header Hack

Dave Zatz —  March 6, 2006

Greg Burns has whipped up a clever little TiVoToGo app called TiVo Attach that reapplies header metadata after editing a show. Though this is just the first phase… over at the TiVo Community Forum we’re trying to understand how TiVo labels shows to ultimately add custom headers to personal .mpegs that are honored by grouping when using TiVoBack.

Greg says: TiVo Attach allows you to detach the metadata information (header) from a .tivo file and reattach it to any .mpg file. A common scenario would be to edit a .tivo file in VideoRedo to remove commercials. The output from VideoRedo is a plain .mpg with the metadata removed. Without the metadata, these edited .mpg files will no longer group in folders when transferred back to your TiVo. TiVo Attach allows you to reattach that metadata, thus preserving the information needed for grouping.

XM Portable Video Player?

Dave Zatz —  March 6, 2006

So is this a fanboy Photoshop job or a leaked prototype? I’m voting Photoshop, though XM has partnered with On2 for video distribution. At the moment it appears they don’t have the bandwidth or content partnerships to beam multiple feeds of video, but what’s to stop them from creating a bring your own video (BYOV) solution until those details are worked out.

(via Orbitcast)

Looks like Slingbox SlingPlayer software version 1.0.5 is pretty close to being finalized. If you can’t wait, go download Friday’s beta. Major enhancements and fixes over 1.0.4 are noted below.

  • Brand, new officially-approved TiVo remote control.
  • The Video Tuning Wizard assists you in selecting the video settings that work best for your system without navigating the video options directly. Works even better now!
  • Better connectivity so that EVDO users and VPN users will see fewer dropped Slingbox connections.
  • Several bug fixes in the Installer for a smoother upgrade from 1.0.4.
  • More complete remote control mappings for popular set-top boxes, including more keyboard shortcuts as well as additional remote control commands.
  • Five new customized remote controls for DirecTV, Comcast Motorola, ReplayTV, UltimateTV, and Echo/DISH Network receivers.
  • Improved remote control functionality for many devices, including but not limited to CyberHome DVD players, Moxi, SA Explorer 8600, and Toshiba DVRs.
  • Easier & more straightforward device selection during the setup process.
  • Updated support documents for this release. Both the User Guide as well as the Windows help file have been updated.
  • Improved SlingPlayer for non-US locations. Now you can select your NTSC country from the menu during setup, and 4-digit channels are also accepted.
  • A plethora of under-the-hood enhancements that fix bugs and concerns reported by our community in both the software and firmware.

Update 3/8: The official 1.0.5 Sling software build has been released.

March Madness Webcast Free

Dave Zatz —  March 5, 2006

Awesome! A network finally gets it. We don’t want to pay for content online — something about that model irks; we’ve grown accustomed to web content being free. CBS will broadcast every game of the first three rounds in the NCAA basketball tourney. March Madness on Demand does require you to register and will blackout your local game, but it’s a fair trade in my book. I’ll be interested to see how their bandwidth holds up that first Thursday and Friday when we’ll access the feeds from work…

Business Week says: Sports events have been shown on the Net in the past, by CBS, ESPN, and others. But the audiences have been limited, since they typically cost viewers money or are niche events. Since the Webcast will be paid for with advertising, it could draw the biggest online viewership ever. The tournament could also showcase how the Internet can provide a better experience than television, in some ways. While TV viewers have to watch whatever game the local CBS affiliate shows, Net viewers get more control and choice. They can follow their favorite team wherever it plays or switch between games when the action flags. They can even pop open three windows and watch a trio of games at once.

Since first-round games go on through the workday on Mar. 16-17, its software is designed to let people view games while keeping bosses from knowing who’s goofing off. Click on the video player’s “boss button” and a spreadsheet pops on-screen. “Not that I recommend watching during work hours, but I understand that people do,” deadpans Sean McManus, president of CBS News & Sports.

Maybe I got it right back in January… In Friday’s 10-K filing, Yahoo listed TiVo as a partner for their Go software initiative which includes PVR functionality. Thomas Hawk had some hand’s on time with an early version of the software at CES and came away impressed.

Hmmm… Yahoo apps on TiVo, TiVo apps on Yahoo… they’re getting quite cozy don’t you think? Is it too early to resume acquisition speculation? ;)

Yahoo’s 10-K says: Yahoo! Go TV will bring the Internet to the PC-connected television screen. Yahoo! Go Mobile allows consumers to take the Internet services they use on their PC onto their mobile device in one simple, fully synchronized application. Yahoo! is working with companies including AT&T, Microsoft, Intel Corporation, Nokia and TiVo to bring these services to market. Yahoo! Go services are expected to be launched and accessible to our users in 2006 and are intended to provide a seamless connected experience for our users.

Yahoo press release says:

  • Full Personal Video Recorder (PVR) functionality, including trick play features and access to the PC for storage of content
  • Full TV tuning capabilities to control your TV channels

While it’s not quite the full length feature films I’m looking for, iTunes has been selling the five Academy Award nominated live-action short films at $1.99 each. Ten bucks for about 100 minutes of entertainment may not be a bargain (especially at only 320×240), but it’s an opportunity to see quality films we might otherwise miss out on.

BBC says: Made by some of the world’s most promising new film-makers, they range from 15 to 27 minutes long. The nominated shorts include Our Time is Up, a US film about a therapist who finds out he has six weeks to live, and UK entry Cashback, about a supermarket night shift worker whose imagination runs wild. The other nominees are from Germany, Ireland and Iceland. Carter Pilcher, chief executive of short film company Shorts International, said: “These are the hottest films on the coolest distribution platform.

Mac Mini, No DVR Ambitions

Dave Zatz —  March 2, 2006

Sounds like we won’t be seeing an Apple DVR any time soon… Though the mini’s digital audio output, FrontRow software, and upgraded Bonjour with video streaming foreshadow feature length movie downloads via iTunes.

USA Today says: “The Mini is small enough that people will consider adding it to their living room consoles,” Van Baker, an analyst at researcher Gartner, says. “The transition of bringing the computer into the living room won’t happen overnight, but this is a good first step.” Adding video recording functionality would have made the Mac Mini too complicated, says Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president. “We’re not trying to replace the TiVo,” he says. “This is about taking the media from your computer and accessing it via the TV.”

(via MacRumors)