Archives For davez

With 1200 employees, as reported last summer, you’d expect a far more expansive product line from Nest – the company that took the smart thermostat mainstream, prior the their Google acquisition in 2014. And they’re about the expand their appeal and market by heading downmarket this fall. As revealed by Evan Blass, what looks to be a more simplistic and less refined thermostat is on the docket. Based the imagery alone and some informed guesswork, I’m expecting more limited compatibility while the bulk of t-stat control will reside solely within mobile apps. Beyond the Nest Lite, a trusted industry source indicates the company is also working on a revised indoor camera and hopeful of hitting a $100 price point this fall, perhaps bolstered by an ADT partnership and monitoring upsell.

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As pointed out in the TiVo forums, the recently updated Arris TiVo product line made available to cable companies includes one model strikingly similar in appearance to our exclusive retail TiVo Mini 4K imagery. And I have reason to believe the hardware is, indeed, likely the same… making good on a TiVo/Rovi pre-transition promise:

That said, being in the hardware business isn’t something that necessarily excites us. When we acquired Fanhattan and the Fan TV platform, they had an OEM relationship and we’re focused on a box solution. And when we acquired them, we said, we’d look to move to be box agnostic and be able to partner with box providers who can do that. There are several box providers out there who have direct-to-retail. We’ll be looking at the possibilities of working with them, having them control the box. And while that would be a partnership and we wouldn’t get all the sales as a result, we think that’s probably a better way to approach the consumer space. But don’t look for us to exit the consumer space.

Retail has been challenging for TiVo in recent years and they’ve previously written off hardware expenditures, so leaning on a partner cable box manufacturer to limit TiVo’s retail outlay and risk, given Arris’ larger scale, superior supply chain, etc is a wise business move.

Assuming the differences are largely cosmetic, here’s what the Arris Mi4 spec sheet has to sayContinue Reading…

While TiVo may be dialing back marketing expenditures in the retail segment, the back half of 2017 is looking pretty promising for us consumers.

First, after many long years, the HDUI has just been completed (with the slightly more modern Bolt-esque presentation coming to Premiere and Roamio). Next, their will indeed be a voice remote control – available as an accessory to existing customers and likely also bundled with new TiVo retail hardware. And, speaking of that new TiVo hardware… I can confirm that, while the Mavrik initiative has been scrapped, the TiVo Mini 4K is a go. Dropping the original trapezoidal TiVo Mini form factor, the updated extender is more Roku Ultra in appearance and subtly carries forward the TiVo Bolt’s design arc. While the headline feature may be 4K and the small number of services that have chosen to provide the higher video resolution to TiVo owners, I anticipate at least Bolt-class processing power — meaning it’ll be a much more snappy and usable app platform than the legacy TiVo hardware provides and something I would absolutely upgrade for to access Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video on Input 1 vs flipping to Roku or Fire TV. I’m expecting both TiVo’s voice remote and the 4K Mini to hit this fall, along with at least one compelling new software trick…

Update: More TiVo Mini 4K details here.

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As revealed a few months back, TiVo is (finally) prepping native voice control. And the retail voice remote is nearing release, given this recent FCC filing and insider chatter. For me, acoustical capabilities cannot arrive soon enough. While I suspect I’ll rarely seek out content suggestions by voice, like “horror movies” or “soccer,” I will absolutely channel surf. For example, it took some time to track down Animal Planet for my daughter (which was a bust) as I have no idea where most channels live (being a long-term DVR owner) and textual search can be somewhat tedious (compared to Mom’s Xfinity remote).

Beyond the new big blue microphone button, it looks like Netflix has successfully strong-armed TiVo into their direct access button requirement (with Apple TV likely being the last and only hold out). Fortunately, that bit ‘o spam is nicely offset by a new, dedicated commercial skip button (that replaces the cable version’s On Demand).

As to timing, I believe we’re looking at a fall release and, supposedly, older TiVo units like Premiere will be able to purchase remotes with a USB dongle to enable the appropriate RF (BLE?) communication.

As far as manufactured marketing holidays go, Amazon Prime Day is a winner given the widely accessible, tangible benefits. Of course, many Amazon house brand products see some deep discounts. But there are also quite a few other smart home and home entertainment deals to be had. And, bonus, any purchase over $20 ordered via Alexa receives a $10 credit. Keep in mind, many items will sell out and new items are always popping up throughout the day. Some sale highlights —

 

Some TiVo Deals To Be Had

Dave Zatz —  June 23, 2017 — 27 Comments

Given TiVo’s apparent deemphasis of retail and degraded Rovi guide data, I might not have branded this promotion a “Meltdown” … but there are certainly some good deals to be had here this summer. First and foremost is the TiVo Roamio OTA 48-hour “flash sale” — at $300, including lifetime service, this is a solid deal for a great cord cutter DVR (even though you may not need one). Plus it’s TiVo’s larger 1TB model. Further down the line are refurbished TiVo Mini extenders at $100. This may not be the best price we’ve ever seen, but it’s a nice discount and supposedly the newer, model with RF remote. Lastly, if you were already in the market for a Bolt or prior generation Roamio Pro, TiVo will spot you a minimum of $200 for a box with lifetime service.

2016 was the year of the mesh network, with WiFi routers finally breaking free of the commoditized hardware doldrums, and eero ruled the roost (although they didn’t actually serve up a true ‘mesh’ from the get-go) despite some fierce competition from Netgear Orbi. Beyond mesh, eero also successfully emphasized ease-of-use — although what some found simple, others found simplistic. While I’ve had to run my trio in bridge mode for the better part of a year, initial configuration was ridiculously simple and it’s largely been set-and-forget, with stellar throughput available from all corners of our home(s)… other than a transitory perfect storm of events that briefly took me down last December. And now, after 30 software updates since launch, the company is back with new hardware and claims of an even better experience…

Founder and CEO Nick Weaver tells me the second generation eero effectively doubles the performance of the original, in terms of bandwidth and range, largely due to re-engineering the antenna array and moving to triband radios. Whereas the original eero featured identical, interchangeable pods, the new eero system consists of the traditional (iconic?) eero base station and new Beacon satellite units, that take a page from Ubiquiti (and countless painful network extenders), going with a compact, wire-free outlet mount. However, if you appreciate Ethernet connectivity throughout the home, to accessorize (as I do) or for a more robust wired backhaul, all eero models of both generations are mix and match.

Other fun facts: The eero Beacon contains an ambient light sensor and dimmable nightlight (that many of us will simply disable) and the traditionally-shaped eero is powered via a USB-C cable. In our chat, Weaver repeatedly mentioned the home as an operating system, emphasized in practice via forward-looking Thread integration for IoT and an upcoming eero Plus service (with application provider framework) that kicks off with a beefed up proxy to protect against malware and provide enhanced parental controls.  Continue Reading…

Voice control is all the rage these days… and TiVo is working on, not one, but two solutions. Beyond this exclusive pic of TiVo’s upcoming voice remote and native natural language processing capabilities, sources also indicate TiVo is dabbling in Alexa. Integration is not “terribly hard to do” given Amazon’s Alexa Skills api and TiVo’s already exposed network remote control and I’m guessing we might see the fruits of their labor this fall. Equally intriguing is a tip indicating TiVo will be bringing an IFTTT app to to the platform. How and where the automation framework links up remains a mystery, but there are certainly some interesting possibilities.