Well, what do you know… CableCARD ain’t dead yet. And, at CES, network tuner manufacturer Silicon Dust is showing an updated HDHomeRun Prime. This incoming model doubles the existing unit’s capabilities by simultaneously tuning six cable channels, in a smaller form factor that SIliconDust has been noodling on for several years. It sounds like the $200 HDHomeRun Prime 6 will effectively replace the $130 Prime when it’s scheduled to launch mid-year, within a more premium enclosure than the prototype shown above. Of course, hardware is only half the picture and some sort of software client is required to present content – current options include Silicon Dust’s own HDHomeRun apps and DVR service, Channels for Apple TV, and Plex on multiple devices including Roku. In that vein, Silicon Dust indicates changes are coming to permit access to CCI Byte-restricted channels like HBO (and something I assume is as much certification as it is software engineering).
Archives For CableCARD
Fellow tech enthusiast and DC neighbor Joel Ward jumps back into his role as a Features contributor here at Zatz Not Funny. Beyond ZNF, Joel can be found at Joelsef Explains It All and @joelsef on Twitter.
I recently picked up a new Sony TV with Android TV for our living room. This television replaced a Sony LCD HDTV from the late 2000s. That set hails from an era when the majority of TVs were dumb — no built-in apps that today’s smart TVs feature. But I increased its intelligence by first adding a Windows Media Center PC back in 2009, then experimenting with Google TV, Boxee, Chromecast, and ultimately settling on Roku 3 as our over-the-top streamer.
We arrive in 2016 and it’s nearly impossible to find a decent television over 30″ without some sort of “smart” designation and apps aplenty. That’s why I decided to go with a Sony this time around. The last time we refreshed a TV (for a different room, back in 2013) we went with a Samsung and its Samsung Smart Hub. In the three years we’ve had that TV, Samsung has pared down the 2013 TV’s UI to the very basics and removed many of the original features. It still has apps, including Netflix and HBO, but it’s nothing like what Roku offers.
Our new Sony X800D series runs Android TV and Sony has Android TV across most of its television line now. Besides the Nvidia Shield and now defunct Google Nexus Player, Sony is the biggest player in Android TV at the moment, although Sharp and Philips have options as well.
From TiVo CMO Ira Bahr, 10/2015:
We probably could’ve delivered a BOLT with two more tuners and a larger HDD and called it a family, but we knew that the market–and especially our loyalists–deserved much more. Look for something new next year, right on our normal three year cycle.
From TiVo press release, 9/2016:
TiVo Announces 4K TiVo BOLT+ at CEDIA 2016 | Latest Addition to the TiVo BOLT® Family Creates the Ultimate Multi-Room Video Experience with Six Tuners, 3TB of Recording Capacity, and New Black Chassis
I’d sure love to know what had been in the pipeline. Alas, TiVo is a for-profit entity and the retail (CableCARD) market has remained challenging for a whole host of factors ZNF regulars are well aware of. At least we can take comfort in TiVo providing something more substantial than the Bolt. And the $500 Plus should meet the needs of many looking to expand or upgrade without TiVo, Inc investing or risking much – especially with the limited, but appropriately targeted, distribution channels.
While the FCC’s flawed Unlock the Box proposal will be subject to various challenges and any potential implementation is years away, Comcast’s fortunately moving forward with their own solutions. And, from the cable industry’s annual trade event this week, they unveiled Xfinity apps for Roku, Nvidia Shield, and Samsung televisions. It’s early days yet and these “alpha” experiences are likely months from deployment… as not only will they provide live and on-demand cable television, but they’ll also link into an upcoming cloud DVR service. Cool, right? Continue Reading…
After years of fits and starts, we finally find ourselves on the cusp of a CableCARD successor as the FCC has proposed the pay television industry “unlock the box”– providing customers broader access to programming via hardware and experiences of their choosing.
As a long-time industry observer, I’ve found much of the press coverage unsatisfying – marred by a lack of situational awareness and heavily influenced by lobbying groups on all sides. Sadly, as a blog hobbyist (with a new baby), I can’t give you the polished 4000 words this topic demands. But I can provide one man’s rough yet somewhat educated and largely unbiased opinion, both textually below and via the new LPX Show podcast embedded right here – along with my pals Brad Linder and Mari Silbey.
A Very Brief Primer Continue Reading…
The new partnership will enable Buckeye’s customers to enjoy a consistent TV experience combining TiVo’s feature-rich User Interface with a market leading content experience — the best of traditional cable content combined with diverse broadband-delivered OTT content, such as Hulu, YouTube, HBOGo, and more.
While this (surprisingly detailed) press release is specific to a new cable provider partnership, I can’t imagine HBOGo would not make it’s way to retail TiVo boxes as well. The only real question is: Will HBO Now also make an appearance for the cord cutters amongst us?
Until recently, my 4th generation app-ified Apple TV hasn’t really been any more or less useful than my Roku 3 and Fire TV. And, for some, its launch without Apple’s rumored television service has been a significant disappointment.
However, I was recently turned on to Channels ($15) – a new app which streams live television from any HDHomeRun network tuner, So you can pipe both linear television and streaming services all through the same input and interface (although, as of yet, without universal Siri search). While this will naturally appeal to cord cutters with an antenna, those very same HDHomeRun OTA models now map clearQAM (for those with providers that still deliver, like FiOS) and, of course, there’s the HDHomeRun Prime for digital cable via CableCARD.