TiVo Lands On Woot

Dave Zatz —  February 21, 2015

tivo-woot

Ahead of any potential CableCARD successor, while they aren’t prepared to advertise with Sonos money, TiVo maintains their retail ambitions in bringing the entire lineup of set-tops to Woot today.

  • Roamio Pro (Refurbished) – $380
  • Roamio Plus (NOT Refurbished) – $250
  • Roamio (Refurbished) – $100
  • Mini (Refurbished) – $100

Assuming you’re in the market for a TiVo Roamio DVR and that you don’t qualify for the apparently ongoing 10 year customer appreciation bundle, the $250 Roamio Plus is a good deal – 6 cable tuners, mobile streaming, and a terabyte of DVR storage goodness. And you can very simply turn that Plus into a Pro at any time down the road with a 3tb drive for less than the $130 cost differential illustrated above. The Plus also stands out as the only new, versus “factory reconditioned,” piece of hardware in the listing. Of course, a TiVo DVR will also require service – either monthly, as low as $12.50, or Lifetime, up to $500. Also worth considering are the refurb first gen TiVo Minis for $100 a pop … but Amazon has them brand new, shipped free, and shipped faster than Woot for $115 as second gen models, with RF and a small performance boost, hit the shelves for $150 MSRP.

(Thanks Rob!)

DVR Love Is In The Air

Dave Zatz —  February 13, 2015

In honor of Valentine’s Day, both TiVo and DISH have taken to social media to promote their respective remote control finder alerts. Sadly DISH “can’t help you find love with the push of a button” … whereas TiVo proclaims “even our remote finder is a turn on” that “heightens the mood” (while retrieving it from your partner’s blouse). Food for thought when choosing your next provider and set-top box. Continue Reading…

Samsung’s New DVRs

Dave Zatz —  February 10, 2015

samsung-smart-dvr

Via regulatory filings, Steve Donohue has turned up a new Samsung DVR. Given its specs, including Zigbee and MoCA 2.0, this set-top is presumably destined for a MSO partner like Time Warner Cable. However, possibly more interesting is the box turned up by tipster Alex D on Flickr.

Pictured above, the Samsung “Smart Cable DVR” looks to be a retail product and the successor or up-sell to the Smart Media Player introduced in 2013. Whereas the Player tuned a single cable channel, this newer product is a 4-tuner DVR. Further, as an app platform, Samsung touts universal search capabilities, à la TiVo, and by leveraging their broader consumer electronics product line, the Smart DVR also optionally integrates Samsung’s wireless audio system.

Continue Reading…

The OTA Flatenna Showdown

Dave Zatz —  February 7, 2015

hdtv-antennas

As many contemplate cutting the cord for basic, yet high-definition television viewing, or to perhaps augment cable with advanced over-the-air capabilities, as we’ve done with Tablo, finding a great antenna is paramount. Most are probably best served by roof-top or attic placement, yet it’s the least practical for a variety of reasons. While Mohu may have pioneered the “flatenna” several others have joined the fray. And I reached out to a few players in this space that have kindly provided their least obtrusive indoor antenna offerings for an OTA receptivity showdown. Which will wear the crown of best indoor antenna?

Comparing antennas is an exceedingly difficult task, as our individual locations in relation to the broadcast towers obviously vary in terms of distance and interference (either within the home or the environment). Not to mention, different stations around the country broadcast with differing strengths and frequencies. To make matters even more complex, not all tuners are not created equal — meaning the televisions, over-the-air DVRs, and other devices we each possess will have varying degrees of reception. So your mileage will absolutely vary from mine. Most small, indoor antennas are rated for receptivity in the 25-35 mile range, but those that are offered with amplification can be extended to 50ish.

Continue Reading…

tivo-mini-v2

As we’ve reported for several months, TiVo has been poised to release a slightly refreshed Mini … with an RF remote. And, while sources had indicated the folks in Alviso were tracking for a March delivery, the TiVo Store has just been updated with the new DVR extender model. While there could be under-the-hood changes in regards to manufacturing cost savings or performance improvements, we know for sure the remote has been updated (in addition to the centering of “TiVo Mini” lettering):

tivo-mini-rf

The addition of RF allows you to mount the Mini behind a TV or stick it in a cabinet without worrying about remote control line-of-site as you would with the former IR TiVo peanut. Even better, the TiVo Mini’s recent price reduction remains in play (at least thru May) making it an even greater value to both Roamio and 4-tuner Premiere owners — $150 up front gets you both the hardware and Lifetime Service.

nationwide-died

While not quite the annual tradition it should be, we do periodically round up the millions upon millions invested in Super Bowl advertising. And, for me, beyond the string of not-quite-inspirational, downright depressing, and/or dad-centric commercials, the most memorable 2015 spots were Chevy encouraging folks to watch television behind the wheel and seeing Liam Neeson reprise his Taken character … to pimp an iPhone app. Speaking of recycled fictional characters, Walter White and The Dude also made appearances to further offset the overarching negativity. Continue Reading…

roku-tv-home

By way of USA Today and Rob Pegoraro, we’re reminded that while Roku TV provides a whole lot of good, the over-the-top experience remains compromised due to deep-seated fear and loathing amongst some content providers. Specifically, Disney has prohibited access to the WatchESPN app and a raft of Disney-branded channels available … on traditional Roku boxes. And, of course, Roku is clearly complicit as they cozy up to these guys while segregating their hardware offerings. The sad irony is that anti-consumer policies like these leave a number of folks wondering why they bother paying for cable when they may not be able to watch their programming how or where they want it. Perhaps the successor to CableCARD will provide a more sensible path forward. Or maybe all that excluded Disney content will simply find its way to Roku via Bittorrent and Plex.