NetflixNetflix has run into the studio brick wall. At this point the studios have very little incentive to move their media via third-party download: DVD sales are a huge cash cow and they own existing services Movielink and CinemaNow. I imagine both Netflix’s rumored player and their partnership with TiVo are indefinitely on hold. At least Netflix is in good company – based on the missing movie downloads, we can assume Apple is experiencing similar frustrations.

Reuters says: Netflix Inc. will postpone a test launch of its online movie download service indefinitely because of problems obtaining licensing agreements from Hollywood studios, Chief Executive Reed Hastings told analysts on a conference call on Wednesday. Hastings said the company would continue enhancing its infrastructure and developing technology to deliver online movies so the service “will be ready to launch when the content climate begins to thaw.”

Update: You can find the conference call audio here. Be sure to listen in about 1:22:15 – when asked about TiVo they respond, “no work going on,” “no content,” and “no point.” Ouch! Well it’s safe to say this deal is dead. Once the studios join us in the digital revolution, they’ll beef up their own services and partner with large stable companies that have a proven track record (sounds like Apple).

Hauppauge Releases Mac DVR

Dave Zatz —  October 19, 2005

myTV.PVREyeTV picks up some competition today, with Hauppauge’s release of myTV.PVR. The name grates, but the $149 price is attractive. As with all DVRs, success boils down to the software – we’ll find out soon enough if Eskape Labs got it right. I’m still waiting for a homebrew solution like this that throws in an IR blaster for controlling external devices.

Hauppauge says: As an external unit connected via USB 2.0, myTV.PVR is flexible and convenient enough to instantly turn any Mac into a full-fledged Personal Video Recorder. Users can watch life TV in a window or full screen, pause live TV with instant replay and schedule TV recordings on a daily, weekly or once-only schedule. myTV.PVR includes a built-in hardware MPEG encoder, so the Mac does not slow down while watching, recording, or pausing TV. myTV.PVR also includes composite/S-Video and stereo audio inputs so users can connect to cable or satellite TV boxes, VCRs, camcorders, or DVD players. Users can also record home video tapes to disk in an MPEG-2 format.

DirecTV and LG Embrace MPEG-4

Dave Zatz —  October 19, 2005

DTVDirecTV and LG have announced a partnership to produce set-top boxes capable of decoding MPEG-4 HD broadcasts. As with the phasing out of analog TV, the conversion to MPEG-4 will most likely take some time – your current DTV hardware is safe… for now. Additionally, these new Linux-based LG boxes will support pre-existing MPEG-2 and standard definition broadcasts.

LG says: LG Electronics, Inc. has begun production of set-top boxes for use in DIRECTV’s MPEG-4 HD satellite broadcasts. “Consumer demand for HD is exploding, and DIRECTV is ushering in a new era in satellite delivery of HD content using a powerful new broadcasting technology, MPEG-4,” said Romulo Pontual, executive vice president and chief technology officer, DIRECTV, Inc. “This will enable us to greatly enhance our customers’ viewing experience by offering the widest array of HD programming available.”

TiVo Pimps Fandango

Dave Zatz —  October 18, 2005

Another day, another HME application. Movie downloads? Nah, just movie ticket downloads.

If you were paying attention about 10PM EST last night, you would have caught a glimpse of Fandango‘s ticket ordering service. You know, for the one or two movies a year that might sell out. Put in your zip, buy some virtual tickets, show up at the theater to wait in line for real tickets. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work… a “Can’t Run” error spared me from the $1.25 ticket surcharge.

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TiVo Apps.TV Launched

Dave Zatz —  October 17, 2005

While the website isn’t officially owned or operated by TiVo, is live and offers third-party Home Media Engine (HME) applications directly via broadband to Series 2 TiVo’s running 7.2x – no PC or Mac required. The current selection is small; However, a central clearinghouse of apps is a convenience that should encourage development and adoption of HME.



Iomega ScreenplayIomega‘s latest external hard drive, the 60GB ScreenPlay, picks up a few new tricks. It comes bundled with a remote to control the integrated photo, music, and video playback software. By hooking this puppy up to your TV using S-Video or composite cables, you can browse and enjoy a limited assortment of content.

The ScreenPlay should be available within a few weeks for under $200, though wouldn’t you rather have a video-capable iPod?

(via Popular Science, print edition)

DigitalLife Wrap-up

Dave Zatz —  October 16, 2005

TiVo Software
TiVo server-based HME apps, show overlap recording intelligence, and bug fixes expected next month with the release of system software 7.2.1 for Series 2 units.

TiVo Hardware
TiVo-branded wireless adapter with secretive X factor processing is on the way.

Netgear DAVE 700
2nd generation media streamer worth a closer look when released.

Creative Zen Vision
Every feature you would want in a PMC, except a practical screen.

By integrating VOD programming into Microsoft’s MCE, they have a fighting chance at survival.
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