Archives For News

TiVo Delivers Domino’s

Dave Zatz —  November 17, 2008

TiVo subscribers have tapped into Domino’s online ordering system – requesting pizza from the comfort of their couch.

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Xohm WiMax Invades DC

Dave Zatz —  November 3, 2008

Although Sprint’s Xohm WiMax 4G service hasn’t officially launched in the DC metro area, the antennas are up and open for business.

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Netflix Lands on TiVo!

Dave Zatz —  October 30, 2008

Over 4 years in the making, Netflix digital video has finally found its way to TiVo.

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The folks over at CNET caught New York’s two-minute analog-shut-off test on video yesterday. Side by side it shows one digital television broadcast behaving as normal, while an analog source displays color bars and a text crawl advising viewers of the upcoming DTV transition.

I strongly support reminders of our impending D-Day, but I’m not feeling optimistic about what these two-minute drills can do to help people with their digital converter box woes. To recap, the government has been issuing coupons for a good long while now so that over-the-air analog citizens can purchase digital converter boxes at a discount to keep their TV sets working beyond February 17th. Unfortunately, as of last week, less than half of the 32 million coupons requested have been used, and apparently 9.8 million have expired. (No, you can’t reapply once you’ve passed the expiration date.)

More to the point, who the heck is helping people set up their converter boxes when they do get around to buying them? I helped my neighbors out last month, Dave is scheduling a conference call with his mom to get her box working with the kitchen TV, and apparently in Wilmington they had volunteer firemen making house calls. Even when people do get the boxes working, there are quirks that folks aren’t prepared for. My neighbors, for example, couldn’t access any digital PBS stations. I did a little bit of research and here’s what I found:

WHYY-DT is not operating at full power level at this time. The lower power level is creating the difficulty in reception that you described. We are currently in transition to a much greater power level that will be equal to the other digital broadcast stations. This work will be completed when analog TV broadcasting ends at midnight on February 17, 2009. We apologize for the inconvenience during this transition period. Since reception is possible (although not stable) at your location, optimizing antenna positioning and perhaps the addition of an antenna pre-amplifier may improve your reception.

Not only is there no way we could have known about WHYY’s low power transmissions ahead of time, but the fact that it’s causing problems means my neighbors won’t put a converter box on their main TV set until absolutely necessary. How many other people are delaying for similar reception reasons? And what happens when new problems pop up on February 17th? Who takes that service call?

The inclusion of select HD streaming is quite promising, especially in conjunction with the new Starz lineup and as long as Netflix continues to freely bundle online video with unlimited disc rental plans.

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The new, free Sonos iPhone Controller can supplement or replace the existing Sonos Controller ($400) – effectively lowering the cost of whole-home audio for many.

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The first Tru2way cable services and retail devices are now available, allowing consumers to dump their cable boxes.

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DivX takes on Apple and Microsoft by offering protected Warner Bros movie content.

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