Microsoft’s Stand-Alone DVR Drops

LG MS DVRLG’s previously announced and demo-ed Microsoft-powered DVR is now available at your local big box retailer. We can all agree ReplayTV is no longer a threat to TiVo’s stand-alone business, but a major play by Microsoft is interesting. In theory, competition is good for innovation and keeping prices reasonably low.

The DVR has some nice features including a beefy 160GB hard drive, USB ports for external drives, a 90 minute buffer, DVD burning, and the ability to playback PC-based audio and pictures. Additionally, MCE owners have the ability send video, audio, and pictures in either direction. To get folks on board Microsoft is offering $100 off of the one-time subscription option.

LG says: The world’s first dedicated “digital media recorder” with the Microsoft Program Guide service is now available at leading consumer electronics retailers nationwide, LG Electronics announced today. The LG LRM-519 Digital Media Recorder is a combination digital video recorder (DVR) and DVD recorder powered by Windows Media Center Technologies with a 160-gigabyte hard drive for unparalleled recording flexibility. Creating a new industry product category and taking home theater digital convergence to the next level, the LG LRM-519 has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $599.95. The Microsoft Program Guide service is available through three subscription options: a one-month subscription for $9.99, a one-year subscription for $99.99 or a one-time subscription for $249.

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TiVo’s RFID Remote Control Patent

Wow, this sure came out of left field. TiVo has applied for a patent allowing customization of remotes and PVRs based on personalized preferences provided via RFID. They describe a variety of scenarios and hardware such as providing customized hotel television viewing and adopting the technology within mobile multimedia devices. No telling when or if this will ever make it to market.

US Patent Application says: A multimedia mobile personalization system provides a remote control that detects a user’s electronic tag, e.g. an RFID tag. The remote control notifies a multimedia device of the user’s identity. The multimedia devices tailors it operations to the user’s preferences stored locally. Multimedia content such as broadcast or recorded television programs, music play lists, and the like could be sorted, displayed, or restricted, depending on the user identifier.

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TiVo Mac Support Scheduled For 2006

Yes, we’ve heard it before… but we haven’t heard it lately. According to Bob Poniatowski of TiVo Product Marketing, the new PSP and iPod conversion/sync is expected in February. More importantly, he reiterated TiVo’s commitment to the Mac platform and is hopeful we’ll see TiVoToGo support mid-2006.

Verizon’s FiOS TV Heads East

Herdon, VA is the second community to receive Verizon’s TV offering beginning this week. Verizon’s FiOS TV provides television service over fiber optic lines utilizing both traditional broadcast technology and IPTV. They appear to be using the Motorola 6412 as the dual HD tuner hardware platform.

Unlike Verizon’s original deal in Texas, all of Fairfax County, VA has given Verizon the go-ahead to provide video to all residents, regardless of city jurisdiction. Additionally, state law in Texas has been modified which has resulted in Verizon being granted a state-wide license to offer television programming. I sure hope my state and local governments get on the ball – I’m oh-so-ready to dump Comcast.

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XM + Napster Beta Begins

XM + NapsterXM and Naspter have begun beta testing their co-branded service. This new service provides a single interface for listening to over 70 XM stations and linking the currently playing artist to Napster’s artist/album information and downloadable selection of MP3s. New XM/Napster integrated players are also on the way. XM subscribers can find out more and download the software here.

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Official TiVoToGo on iPod, PSP

TiVo has announced software facilitating the transfer of shows from Series 2 units to both the iPod and PSP. While many techniques already exist (VLC, Videora, PSP Video 9), an officially sanctioned method along with tech support is a welcome addition. Unlike the currently supported conversions to Microsoft portable devices, this new method will embed … Read more

First Blu-ray Disc, Charlie’s Angels?

The first high definition Blu-ray feature length film is in the can. Is Sony’s library so poor that they had to go with Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle? Then again, it can’t be any worse than Stealth. Despite their poor taste in content, the disc will be shipped to manufacturers for next-gen player development. Perhaps Netflix … Read more

Cisco Buys Scientific-Atlanta

Networking giant Cisco just picked up Scientific-Atlanta, one of the largest manufacturers of set-top boxes, for nearly 7 BILLION dollars. The deal, and Cisco’s intent, is especially interesting when combined with Cisco’s earlier acquisition of KiSS, maker of networked home entertainment gear. So how long before we see a cable company DVR with built-in cable … Read more