TiVo To Serve Yahoo! Content

Dave Zatz —  November 7, 2005


Though TiVo’s partnership with Netflix may have fallen apart, it hasn’t deterred them from pressing forward with their Internet strategy. Several news sources have revealed TiVo will begin serving up Yahoo! content using server-based HME technology, similar to the Fandango collaboration. The first apps slated for delivery are weather, traffic, and personal Yahoo! photo collections. As with all cool TiVo features, this functionality is limited to Series 2 stand-alone models.

NYTimes says: The deal will allow TiVo, which has been struggling to differentiate its service from generic video recorders offered by cable and satellite companies, to offer a range of content and services linked to the Internet. In coming months, TiVo users will be able to view on their televisions pictures that have been stored on the Yahoo Photos site, as well as local weather and traffic information from Yahoo. Notably absent from the deal is a way for TiVo users to watch video via Yahoo.

TiVo has partnered with Yahoo! to provide online scheduling via Yahoo! TV. One must link a Yahoo! account with a TiVo web account to utilize the service. While this new scheduling functionality is redundant, Yahoo! provides an easily browsed grid guide which is conspicuously absent from TiVo’s site. Previously, TiVo and AOL had a similar online scheduling relationship.

Yahoo! says: How do I schedule recordings on my TiVo® Series2™ DVR?

  • Yahoo! and TiVo have partnered to give you the ultimate remote control: the Web!
  • Now you can schedule recordings on your TiVo® box from any internet connection.
  • From any Yahoo! TV episode page, just click “Record to my TiVo box”.

Your request will be automatically sent to your home the next time your TiVo box connects. Please allow one hour if your TiVo is connected to broadband through your home network, 36 hours if your TiVo uses dialup.


SageTV Adds HD, Expands Guide

Dave Zatz —  November 2, 2005

SageTVWith the release of Media Center V4, SageTV has added over-the-air (OTA) HD support. QAM is not supported, though BeyondTV also lacks that functionality in their upcoming v4 offering. Fully integrated European and Canadian guide data has been added to the upgrade, along with additional media and playlist support.

SageTV says: With the addition of HDTV recording and programming guide support, SageTV Media Center now enables Windows users to record a single show or whole season of their favorite standard and/or high-definition television programs on PCs equipped with the appropriate tuner cards. Users can also pause, rewind and fast-forward live or recorded cable, satellite or antenna TV shows, and record multiple shows simultaneously because of the application’s multiple tuner support. HD and standard definition programs can also be streamed to any PC on the network using SageTV Client, and to any TV in the house with the SageTV Media Extender scheduled for release by the end of the year.

Quadruple Play, Cell-based PVR

Dave Zatz —  November 2, 2005

ConvergenceMarketing fluff, profit sharing, or really the ultimate in convergence? Sprint, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox Communications have just signed a 20 year agreement to integrate all your media and data in a “quadruple play” of services. Sprint, the linchpin of the arrangement, is dropping a cool $100 million to provide a variety of functionality through your “third screen” using their new high-speed EV-DO network.

The companies say: The next generation wireless phone will be designed to connect customers of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox and Advance/Newhouse Communications to Sprint through Sprint’s nationwide high-speed Power Vision(TM) EV-DO (Evolution Data Optimized) network and integrate products from each cable company. Customers using the converged services will be able to seamlessly interface between email, home and mobile voicemail, Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) and photo programs. The parties plan to implement and sell Power Vision(TM) EV-DO-enabled handsets and service packages that will enable customers to:

  • Use interactive features like remotely programming their home DVRs
  • Have a single voice mailbox that serves both the home and the wireless phone
  • Access innovative new calling plans which allow for unlimited calls between the home and the wireless device
  • Surf the Internet using their cable Internet portal
  • Send and receive e-mail from their cable high-speed Internet account
  • Access unique content like streaming television programming, music, video clips, games and pre-recorded DVR programs

Video iPodWe’re all familiar with the iPod – sleek design and a well-executed user interface, combined with simple sync and purchase options via iTunes. In those respects, the new video iPod performs as expected. If you have a large audio collection, the slimmer form and black option of the 5th generation iPod could be appealing. Some might even consider it a bargain – the 30BG model is only $50 more than the 4GB Nano.

Apple made a point of specifying this iPod just so happens to have video capabilities. After playing with it awhile I can tell you they’re not being modest, it’s not much of a video device… yet. While the screen is sufficiently bright and detailed, 2.5″ is on the small side for extended viewing. I also find support for only MPEG-4 and QuickTime limiting. Initially I figured I’d be able to overcome both those deficiencies, after all Steve Jobs touted all the movie trailers I’d have at my disposal. Well it turns out that the dozens of previews viewable through iTunes are not available for download to my video iPod. Why should they give me free content when they’re pimping TV shows at $1.99 a pop?
Continue Reading…

TiVo 7.2.1 Dissected, With Pics

Dave Zatz —  October 29, 2005

TiVo 7-2-1Here’s a little more info and picture pr0n covering TiVo’s last Series 2 software release of 2005.

New Feature
The year concludes with a long overdue capability…

  • Overlap Protection

Notable Bug Fix
This doesn’t impact a whole lot of TiVo owners, though it’s a welcome correction.

  • Restored serial control of DirecTV HD receivers

Minor Enhancements
These are subtle changes which may or may not be apparent… they keyword is minor.

  • Wireless Stability & Performance
  • User Interface Performance

I assume there are the typical bug fixes and tweaks under the hood, and perhaps some unrevealed enhancements preparing for future TiVo services and HME-style applications as well. One can also hope that, despite the death of the Netflix deal, the technology has been put in place to provide VOD services via new partners.

Continue Reading…

TiVo Overlap Clip

It looks like TiVo system software 7.2.1 has begun rolling out for Series 2 models. As I previously reported, the highlight of this release is Overlap Protection – a method to deal with the networks staggering the traditional beginning and ending times of shows without missing a recording. Everything else appears to be under the hood tweaks. TiVo hasn’t established an upgrade priority list at this time – and they may not, as I’ve been told this is a “minor” release.

It turns out TiVo-hosted HME applications are not tied to 7.2.1 and can be enabled with 7.2 once TiVo flips the switch on their end (see Fandango). Based on conversations with Tivo representatives at DigitalLife, I expect we’ll start seeing these widgets as early as next month.

Tivo says: Overlap Protection gives you additional options for dealing with recording conflicts. Normally, when two programs overlap by a few minutes, the lower priority recording is cancelled. (For example, one program ends at 8:33, while the next program begins at 8:30) When you turn Overlap Protection on, the DVR automatically clips the lover priority recording by just enough minutes to allow both programs to record. When scheduling new recordings, the DVR notifies you of any recording conflict and gives you options for resolving it. If the Overlap Protection feature is on, your options include clipping the lower priority program.