dish-hopper-binge

While TiVo focuses their resources on serving smaller and international television providers, as retail customers defect, the larger US cable and satellite companies continue to crank away on their own compelling in-house DVR services.

Although DISH may have given up some ground in the Hopper’s ability to, you know, actually hop (over commercials) they just completed a nationwide software update that brings one-button access to Closed Captioning and the ability to watch an in-progress “live” show from the beginning should you have gotten a late start and the programming is resident within the On Demand catalog. But way more interesting, given our collective shift in scripted television viewing patterns, is the new Binge Bar (as shown above). Once you’ve finished watching an episode, any remaining episodes on your DVR or in the VOD catalog are presented – as pioneered by Netflix and similar to Comcast’s X1 “Next Episode Suggestion.”

tivo-twitter-x1

Speaking of Comcast, TiVo has felt free to publicly bash their so-called partner… despite upcoming improvements to that Xfinity X1 HTML5 platform — including deeper Pandora and other “web site integration,” along with a few other features TiVo doesn’t possess. From the Donohue Report:

Its Share2TV app will allow X1 subscribers to stream personal videos recorded on mobile devices with any X1 subscriber in the country. Comcast is also developing an app called Family Point which will allow subscribers to view the locations of family members on TV by tracking smartphones that are connected to X1, and family members will also be able to leave messages through “sticky notes” that will be displayed when a television is turned on.

Surge on the wrist

Intro

Late in October, Fitbit announced three new activity trackers: Charge ($130), Charge HR ($150), and Surge ($250). Each offers different features depending upon your need. At the base, the Charge provides step activity, floors climbed, calories burned, automatic sleep tracking, call notifications, and silent alarms. Moving up to the Charge HR, Fitbit includes an optical heart rate monitor (PurePulse) that uses light to track your pulse throughout the day and during workouts. The idea being that included heart rate data will provide a better measure of calories burned (more on that in a bit). The top of the line Surge includes everything from the Charge HR, but also adds a larger screen and GPS to the mix. This means you are able to log walks/runs even when you don’t have your phone on you.

Last week, Fitbit sent out a special limited release email to those who showed interest in the new Charge HR and Surge products. As these products were not supposed to be released until early 2015, it was a nice surprise. Fitbit provided a one time code to purchase the new trackers and I was lucky enough to receive an email for the Surge. Order was placed Thursday night, and on Monday the Surge was delivered. Continue Reading…

fios-bonus

As the story goes, I renewed Verizon FiOS services in August after several years of stellar performance (at two addresses) and in light of the potential disruption an Xfinity install might bring along with Comcast’s ongoing HBO GO Roku blockade. After Tech of the Hub received a pretty fantabulous FiOS renewal offer that effectively comps two years of premium channels, including HBO and Showtime, I popped into my account to see if renewing our two-year contract just 4 months in might yield similar goodness. And, indeed, I had the option to re-up my exact same bundle… for even less money. At only $75/mo for 50/50Mbps Internet, plus a healthy selection of cable television content and the all locals (without an aerial antenna), it’s extremely hard to consider cutting the cord.

Supposedly a small subset of long-term TiVo customers have been offered quite the amazing deal:

  • Base Roamio w/lifetime service $200 for the unit and $200 for the lifetime service
  • Plus – $400 for the unit and $100 for lifetime service
  • Pro – $600 for the unit and $100 for lifetime service

The catch is that it’s not quite clear who is eligible, with some believing ten years of TiVo service may meet the threshold. I’m fairly certain I’ve got more than ten consecutive years in the can, but I’ve cycled through a number of devices… including a brief stint with Roamio, which might explain why I didn’t receive any outreach. But, if you’re ready for an upgrade, it’s at least worth making a call into TiVo (877-494-4567) to determine if you qualify. Especially since TiVo’s “holiday deals” haven’t (yet?) been very compelling – not even coming close to “summer sale” pricing.

(Thanks Bob, Dean!)

roamio-6tb

While the TiVo Roamio line may officially max out at 3TB of recording capacity, licensed reseller WeaKnees has offered 4TB drives nearly since launch. And, should that 637 hours of HD content not be enough, WeaKnees has just unveiled 6TB drives – a TiVo upgrade good for a whopping 960 hours of high def content. The WeaKnees 6TB DIY kits clock in at $450 while preconfigured 6TB Roamios start at $700… which is a far more practical solution for most than the ridiculous $5000 TiVo Mega.

mobitv-connect

Next up in the streaming stick space is the MobiTV Connect… that just passed thru the FCC. The company originally known for streaming amazingly low resolution television content to Sprint phones clearly continues to pivot. And, back in September, MobiTV told The Donohue Report their HDMI hardware would launch via two US wireless carriers in early 2015. More akin to Chromecast than Amazon Fire TV Stick, the microUSB-powered dongle is designed to be controlled via smartphone. Indeed, the FCC-published manual includes Android screenshots used for wireless pairing – with both Bluetooth LE and WiFi making appearances. Of course, much more interesting than the stick hardware itself, are the over-the-top video services that may be made available … and at what cost.

The Tablo OTA DVR Giveaway

Dave Zatz —  November 24, 2014

tablo

Here at ZNF, we’re big fans of Tablo and find it to be the best post-Aereo solution for technologically savvy cord cutters (and their families). You can check out our complete review here but, in a nutshell, Tablo is both a headless over-the-air TiVo and Slingbox in one — beaming live and recorded television to a variety of endpoints (Roku, iPhone, etc) in the home … and beyond. So we jumped at the opportunity to partner with Tablo to give away a two-tuner unit. Continue Reading…