DishWith the proliferation of satellite TV and DVR services, tracking viewing trends has become more difficult and less precise. To collect more comprehensive data Nielsen announced a partnership with Dish Network today, in addition to their preexisting DirecTV/Tivo trial.

Dish says: EchoStar Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) and its DISH Network satellite TV service today announced that it has signed an agreement with Nielsen Media Research for national TV ratings service. Nielsen, the leading provider of television and audience measurement services, measures the viewing habits of TV homes including DISH Network’s estimated 11.4 million customers. The deal will allow DISH Network to use Nielsen Media Research data for marketing, programming and sales research purposes. DISH Network can use the data from Nielsen to guarantee advertisers a specific number of viewers for their advertisements.

Play-YanNintendo has rebranded their Play-Yan multimedia device for the Gameboy Micro with updated software. The Gameboy Micro’s 2″ screen pales in comparison to the luscious PSP display, but support for MP3’s and MPEG4 video in such a compact device is very cool indeed. The unit works by reading data off of an SD card, which you provide, and streaming it through the Gameboy.

The Play-Yan is bundled with Media Stage 4.2, PC software for converting and organizing your content. However, you are not required to use it if you don’t happen to read Japanese. In fact you can use the same PSP software and methods for converting Tivo files to ASF MPEG4 — be sure to specify 240×160.

WinBook MCETom’s Hardware has documented their “master plan” of building the ultimate home theater PC (HTPC). While they weren’t trying to accomplish anything extraordinary, they were trying to squeeze the components in a set-top sized case with minimal fan noise. Using a proprietary small form factor case limited their choices of components and, combined with quirky software, led to great frustration.

I do feel their pain having been down this path several times. Heck, they didn’t even run the device long enough to truly experience the driver update rollercoaster. What Tom’s didn’t seem to realize is that companies have started releasing preconfigured living room-friendly HTPC’s, such as the WinBook model pictured here. You might encounter some of the same software frustrations, but at least someone else has taken care of the hardware integration.

Tom’s Hardware says: Hype aside, is it really possible to build a PC that is quiet and does everything that a high-end remote-controlled set-top box can do? And don’t forget it’s got to look good in your living room, too. To avoid jumping in and randomly throwing together a system, we first compiled all the functions and properties of our HTPC. The list was not very long, because the main features were TV capability and playback of various video and audio formats. We are still not satisfied with the results of our Home Theater PC, and are temporarily giving up handcrafting our own hardware. But it looks as though a better solution is within reach.

Galleon PodcastingI like to think of Galleon as the Tivo Swiss Army knife – it pretty much does everything. You want email, weather forecasts, or RSS feeds displayed on your Tivo? No problem. You want to schedule downloads of podcasts for streaming to your Tivo? No problem. You want better music, image, and video management than Tivo offers you? No problem. The list goes on! But don’t just take my word for it… Tivo honored Galleon as the “Most Creative Application” in their Developer Challenge.

Leon Nicholls, a Java programmer by profession, and I chatted about his work on Galleon. The software originally began life as JavaHMO – a program improving upon and, for many, replacing Tivo’s own desktop software for stand-alone Series 2 units. With the release of HME, JavaHMO was rebranded and rewritten as Galleon to enhance and simplify a variety of multimedia functions while serving even more Internet content to your Tivo. Despite spending numerous hours a week coding, testing, and responding to issues, he assures me Galleon will always remain free.

Leon had more to say about his motivation and where he sees the project going:
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Optoma H10Being city-based apartment dwellers, we don’t have the space for a dedicated home theater. Therefore, projector/DVD combo units are appealing as a way to host an occasional big screen experience. Robert Heron reviewed three contenders in the 10/18/05 issue of PC Magazine. Optoma’s MoveTime DV10 was his Editors’ Choice due to accurate colors, native 16:9 resolution, and a quiet fan. HP’s ep9010 was a close second, and while it had great sound from the built-in 20 watt subwoofer the unit’s excessive weight and noisy fan kept it out of the winner’s circle.
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Tivo Job Openings Offer Clues

Dave Zatz —  October 2, 2005

TiVo LogoAs with recent Tivo job openings confirming support for CableCard and next generation DVD specifications, these new listings offer glimpses of what 2006 might bring us. Listing 156 confirms, despite the defection of Consumer Unit head Brodie Keast, progress continues on S3 stand-alone units with Tivo developing new housings. Listing 151 describes the expansion and enhancement of advertising technologies, perhaps via Tivo’s web page or possibly as an HME application which feeds the DVR.

Requsition 156 says: Responsible for driving TiVo’s Materials engineering strategy to improve component quality while working to identify new component sources and selection processes. Review component selection on new designs. Provide component selection input from a life expectance, multiple sourcing and cost perspectives. Determine, evaluate and recommend preferred technical specifications (ie. Package type, surface finish). Provide multiple sourcing recommendations for components.

Requisition 151 says: Provide technical skills to design and develop TiVo’s interactive advertising portal. This is a unique opportunity to be involved in the early stage of the product life cycle that will enable you to leverage your engineering expertise to make major system design decisions. This web-based software will enable the creation, delivery, presentation, and management of compelling user experiences in interactive television advertising applications.

TiVo LogoIs it just me, or is this not so exciting? I dig the idea of downloadable content via broadband, but not this particular content. It’s an interesting marketing strategy though… I don’t get CSTV, so after watching the clips and missing the game theoretically I’ll feel compelled to call Comcast and request the channel.

Tivo newsletter says: Running from October 1st-8th, look for a new menu item on TiVo Central called “Exclusive Navy Football with CSTV!” The Showcase makes it easy for you to schedule a recording of the upcoming Navy-Air Force football game to air on CSTV**, but there’s more:

  • You’ll have the option to download an additional hour’s worth of exclusive bonus content, including interviews with coaches and players, season highlights, a documentary on Navy football, and a documentary on the 1963 season with Roger Staubach!
  • Plus, you’ll even get game highlights and post-game materials a few days after the whistle’s blown.
  • ** You must receive CSTV from your cable or satellite provider in order to record the game on CSTV.