All about bundling vs à la carte, content selection, and fees.

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After a couple month absence, with the ports reopened and another production run under their belts, TiVo Stream ($130) is back in stock. And, along with it, comes a TiVo Stream software update that enables “premium sideloading” for iPad and iPhone as first referenced at CES. However, it’s not actually the act of sideloading or downloading that’s “premium” — rather, it’s the ability to get at content that’s been flagged as ‘copy once’ via the CCI Byte. When appropriately applied and for most providers, we’re talking premium cable content like HBO… versus, say, the misguided Time Warner Cable approach that flags just about everything other than the locals. Whereas these recordinings were previously inaccessible from iOS, they can now be transferred for offline viewing… assuming you’re OK in deleting it from the source DVR. Presumably, this functionality has or will also make its way to Roamio devices. Indeed, it seems like an incremental post-OnePass update is already rolling. With Android downloads on the horizon too, it’s all looking pretty rosy for TiVo owners with a penchant for mobile.

(Thanks John R and JWhites!)

SagetvLogo170SageTV is dead; long live SageTV.

As the story goes, Google acquired the DVR software company SageTV back in 2011 … with the engineers and software getting to work on Google Fiber. Fast forward a few years, and the beloved-though-abandoned consumer software may be getting a new lease on life. From the amazingly-still-operational SageTV forums:

Google has agreed to open source the SageTV platform! This isn’t happening today…but will be happening in the near future (i.e. months, not years).

Beyond timing the other logical question is why? And I’m surely not the only one wondering if this foreshadows Google’s consolidation onto the thricely reimagined Google TV Android TV for operational efficiency and given the growing number of cord cutters who could benefit from over-the-top apps. Beyond Fiber, it’ll be interesting to see if there’s enough talent in the Sage community to move the open-sourced software forward… or if there might be some commerical products out there, like an Amazon Fire TV or Roku, looking to integrate DVR capabilities that might leverage this upcoming treasure trove.

Aereo Just Can’t Let Go

Dave Zatz —  March 11, 2015 — 7 Comments

aereo-fork

Poor Aereo. Despite the clear risks in their business followed by a resounding Supreme Court defeat, the corporate remnants and creditors aren’t prepared to simply cut their losses and move on. Has this new litigation precluded TiVo from acquiring certain assets… or will it merely tarnish them? From NASDAQ:

The already contentious bankruptcy of defunct TV-streaming service Aereo Inc. turned even more so this week with the filing of a lawsuit accusing major broadcasters of chilling the bidding in an asset sale intended to raise money for Aereo’s creditors. The suit, filed Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, says the broadcasters “have aggressively pursued litigation strategies that are objectively baseless” and served no purpose other than to hurt Aereo.

verzion-weather

Verizon has begun alerting customers that an agreement with the Weather Channel could not be reached… and, thus, the channel has been dropped from my FiOS TV lineup. Not only can’t I remember the last time I tuned the Weather Channel, I view its ongoing presence as something of an anachronism in this day an age. Although, apparently there are a number of people who do appreciate their on-air personalities and turning routine weather events into mass hysteria highly marketable content. Should you still turn to cable for atmospheric updates, in its stead, AccuWeather is now available (on channel 619) — as photographed by Parker below. Continue Reading…

internals_layer_end_large

Let me preface this post in saying that for the majority of the last decade, despite the occasional Chromebook or Windows aberration, a MacBook of one flavor or another has been my primary computing device. (Some examples: MBP, MB, MBA) So I clearly have both appreciated and invested in Apple’s take on portable computing. But the newly introduced “Macbook” ($1300 and up) appears to be something of a compromised curiosity (which, incidentally, is how I responded to the original MacBook Air).

buystrip_macbook_largeIn whittling away a laptop to a mere two pounds, the MacBook is an engineering marvel. Stunning, really. I mean, just look at the pic above – the brains of the computer reside on that small board, with the rest of the space dominated by the laptop’s structure and molded battery. Beyond the guts, the laptop is a beaut. Which probably means more to me than it should – guess I’m shallow like that. However, as a laptop’s primary interface remains keyboard and touchpad, these redesigned elements concern me. Like most, I haven’t actually touched the new MacBook yet… but, based on the visuals and early reports, I certainly won’t be pre-ordering. Further, it seems the MacBook’s processing power will be equivalanent to my 2012 MacBook Air. For most of what I do, most of the time, that wouldn’t really be a problem. But it does seem a step backwards to save a marginal amount of size and power consumption. Lastly, we’re provided just a single USB-C port to cover both charging and any peripherals (beyond headphones) for a fee … that runs more than Apple TV. Continue Reading…

HBO GO | NOW | Later

Dave Zatz —  March 10, 2015 — 17 Comments

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While the Apple Watch was announced for a second time this week, one of the more fascinating aspects of the 90 minute press event was Apple TV-centric. And the three-year old streaming hardware sees an immediate price drop from $99 to $69, undercutting both the Roku 3 and Amazon Fire TV. Despite the discount, I’d still recommend the Roku 3 to most given a much larger app catalog and their unbeatable universal search. Yet, the dynamics may shift … for a bit, anyway.

Beyond the highly compelling Airplay and iTunes integration, for those deep into Apple, HBO NOW will be an exclusive Apple TV offering when it launches in April for $15/month. Unlike HBO GO, the streaming service bundled with many cable and satellite providers, HBO NOW will be available to anyone with an Apple product and an Internet connection. I’d strongly suspected the foreshadowed service would launch exclusively with ISPs to largely preserve the status quo. But HBO is moving forward with a clearly agnostic, tho still strategic, approach… that may yet involve our Internet providers: Continue Reading…