Creative Zen Vision, The Rumors Are True

Which rumors you ask… support for every codec ever invented, well organized interface, pocketable form factor, FM, compact flash? No that other rumor, the one about the screen. Having played with the Zen Vision(s) over the last few days, I am sad to report the display rumors are true – the viewing angle is crap. … Read more

TiVo 7.3 is 7.2.1 And Other News

VCR HeadstoneI managed to corner some more TiVo folks here at DigitalLife and take some interesting photos.

What I conveniently called system software 7.3 yesterday turns out to be 7.2.1, for those of you keeping score. I looked closer at the “Overlap Protection” feature and while it may be overdue, it’s a very welcome enhancement. Basically if the network schedules a show to end at 9:01, your 9:00 show isn’t recorded. With “Overlap Protection,” on by default, both shows will be recorded with the higher priority show gaining the extra time. As seen in the picture below, you can manually change which show gets priority.

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Netgear Likes Me, Introduces DAVE 700

Dear Netgear, You like me, you really like me! Your marketing department had a stroke of genius in naming the upcoming streaming media center DAVE 700. I’m fairly pleased that the Digital Audio Video Entertainer (DAVE) is living room-friendly, assuming a traditional set-top form factor in favor of the current MP101’s compact case. And I … Read more

TiVo Software 7.3 and Hardware Dongle

TiVo LogoTiVo still has a few (minor) tricks up their sleeve this year…

Within the next month or so we can expect a Series 2 software update, which I’ll conveniently call 7.3. It enhances HME functionality, adds show overlap prioritization, and contains the requisite under-the-hood tweaks and bug fixes. In hardware news, a TiVo branded wireless adaptor will be available for sale.

As previously reported Tivo-hosted server-based HME applications will go live. Many of the initial TiVo-produced HME apps will provide similar functionality as Galleon, but without the need for running Java programs on your PC. I got to see a few in action… While I can’t say I was impressed with the little games (TiVo is no XBox), the Podcasting feature is useful and well executed for a first generation widget. TiVo has identified, categorized, and linked to quite a few Podcasts, but you have the ability to manually enter the location of any others you might fancy. The audio content is streamed via your broadband connection through the television.

In order to programmatically compensate for the networks’ strategy of staggered start and end show times (9:01 for example), TiVo will be introducing a configurable “Overlap” function in 7.3.

First spotted this summer in Vegas, I can now provide a few more details on the mysterious dongle of 2005 (not to be confused with the presumably abandoned 2004 TivoToGo dongle shown at CES). TiVo will begin selling a branded wireless G adapter which should result in fewer networking hassles, such as hardware compatibility. Nice enough, but not so exciting… The much bigger news is this dongle “offloads” some of the “heavy lifting” currently performed by Series 2 hardware – meaning both Multi-room Viewing (MRV) and TiVoToGo (TTG) will be noticeably quicker.

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Live From DigitalLife

Both TiVo and I are here at the Javits Center in NYC! Bob Poniatowsky, of Tivo Product Marketing, graciously answered some of my intrusive questions – stay tuned for the details. Additionally, Netgear has a new media device on the horizon which I’ll be reporting on. Akimbo, Orb Networks, and some of the Slingbox folks are also here – so we’ll see what else I can dig up.

And yes, I did see TiVo’s VCR coffin. The mortuary music is definitely over the top, though it hasn’t discouraged the decent sized crowd from picking up free boxes.

TiVo

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Sony Updates PSP, VOD & TV

Sony made good on their promise to provide LocationFree TV with today’s PSP 2.5 software upgrade. Streaming live television through the house to a PSP is mildly impressive… However, being able to use the Internet to provide a remote television feed (see Slingbox) is quite cool, indeed. What Sony neglected to mention is the cheapest … Read more

Front Row, Mac as HTPC

Apple introduced Front Row, a media management application, and minimalist iPod Shuffle-esque six button remote to be bundled with new iMac’s – allowing you to control music, photos, and videos from the couch. While it’s no DVR (see Eye TV) and you’re limited to the iMac monitor as a display device (for now), it’s definitely … Read more

BeyondTV4 Exclusive Preview

BeyondTV4Soham Mehta, Director of Product Development at SnapStream, and I spoke about the forthcoming BeyondTV4. As with BeyondTV3, BTV4 is a PC-based DVR application.

SnapStream’s biggest news is the ability to record over-the-air (OTA) HD broadcasts with BTV4, including support for an unlimited amount of tuners. Also important is what’s not included: DRM. SnapStream is monitoring digital rights management within the industry, but is committed to empowering their customers. Having said that, BTV4 provides unencrypted DivX output resulting in high-quality video with smaller file sizes. Additionally, many set-top DVD players support the DivX format providing another means of archiving content. Based on customer requests, SnapStream has integrated FM time shifting into BTV4.

The new software has been under active beta testing since early summer, with hundreds of participants helping SnapStream polish this release. In regards to future development, Soham emphasized they are “reactive to hardware” and thus seek “synergy” with manufacturers to add features based on customer feedback. Soham indicates BTV4 will be released this year, “before the holidays.” The current pricing model will remain the same, with discounts offered to those upgrading.

Primary New Features:

  • HD tuner support
  • DivX output
  • FM time shifting

Additional Features:

  • Enchanced show search options
  • Revised interface
  • Support for unlimited tuners at no additional cost
  • Live TV buffer for back-recording

Read moreBeyondTV4 Exclusive Preview