Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  April 22, 2016

A periodic roundup of relevant news…


I’ve been alerted that Google Cast technology will be hitting existing Google Fiber television hardware in the very near future… making subscriber’s “cable” TV set-top boxes that much more interesting, as tons of over-the-top Internet audio and video apps become available, via smartphone control, in a far more efficient manner than, say, TiVo’s approach of negotiating development of individual apps like HBO GO. Beyond my trusted source, additional evidence can be found in this Chromecast code snippet, referencing the “Google fiber remote,” and from some beta testers who look to have prematurely spilled the beans.


As with TiVo’s last software update, version 20.6.1 will primarily resolve additional open issues as the bulk of development and testing cycles are likely reserved for the upcoming OTA-only Bolt variant. So this isn’t exactly the most dramatic or blog-worthy topic and I didn’t really dig deep into what, specifically, this revision provides for Premiere, Roamio, and Mini owners. However, we’d previously been informed this particular update would finally enable TiVo Bolt out-of-home streaming, like Roamio Pro/Plus, to iPhone, iPad, and Android smartphones or tablets – a feature notably absent from Bolt at launch, given new under-the-hood transcoding hardware. And this incoming functionality is seemingly confirmed by new TiVo marketing materials (above), indicating owners can “watch shows anywhere on your mobile device.” Assuming, of course, the content isn’t flagged and locked down by your hostile and punitive cable company (i.e. TWC).

20.6.1 begins deployment within the next couple weeks and, if you’d like to be amongst the first in line, register your TiVo units via the just-launched Priority Update Request.

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  April 19, 2016

A periodic roundup of relevant news…



By way of the FCC, we learn Philips plans to soon expand their Sonicare line with yet another Bluetooth-enabled toothbrush. The technology had originally been released in a kids brush, as little ones presumably need more coaching as to when and where the cleaning gets done. As it turns out, Philips joins competitor Oral B in determining we adults can also benefit from a smartphone-linked brush:

Follow the Sonicare app’s brushing guidance combined with the BrushPacer and begin brushing. The Philips Sonicare app helps to address any missed spots by guiding you to spend 20 seconds in the areas you missed during brushing.

Does the incoming Sonicare Flexcare Connected solve a problem or merely represent more Internet of Stupid – is my brushing bad enough to justify continual monitoring and remediation (and do I really want my phone next to the sink?) Can I link up with friends, like Fitbit, to see who brushes better (and issue taunts)? Never mind oral hygiene, what happens to one’s stress level should we forgot to compulsively track each session?


Bypassing content licensing, Sling TV may soon cram customer’s local television channels directly into the company’s pay TV service via a small set-top box and antenna.

Last summer, I came across a curious Echostar trademark application for “AirTV” which was later discovered to be a pedestrian new Slingbox out of Echo’s Sling Media subsidiary. However, given a well-timed tip, from a trusted source alerting me to incoming Sling Media hardware, that coincides with a lifting of the FCC’s short-term confidentiality, an audacious game plan has now been revealed.

By and large, the challenge in licensing over-the-top streaming content has not been in securing a gaggle of traditional “cable” channels. Rather, it’s in bundling the national networks (think: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC) due to their legion of regional affiliates – who expect to be compensated in cash and/or broadcast of their local advertising. The cost and logistical challenge in brokering these relationships is immense, as demonstrated by Sony recently scaling back the PlayStation Vue television service and, perhaps, given the M.I.A. Apple TV offering.


Well, DISH Network subsidiary Sling TV and Echostar subsidiary Sling Media have collaborated on what looks to be an effective and novel end-around in “AirTV.”

Continue Reading…


As TiVo marketing continues to struggle, amidst “Patent Trollvi” merger rumors, the company appears poised to shake up Bolt pricing come May 2nd. While retail sales have been on the upswing, I wouldn’t call them stellar and I can’t imagine TiVo would outright raise prices. However, I could envision a scenario where they drop the bundled year of service to lower the cost of entry and potentially further reduce churn as the folks who buy-in come prepared for a recurring monthly fee. Further, with a Bolt OTA model supposedly back in play, after missing its 2015 launch, they’ll want to make pricing as palatable as possible given a high percent of price-sensitive consumers in the cord cutting category.

Apr 7