While the cord-cutter-centric TiVo Bolt Aereo Edition was scrapped, prior to release, TiVo’s re-evaluated market conditions and unveiled the Bolt OTA DVR. And it represents a pretty significant upgrade over its Roamio OTA predecessor, including native streaming to mobile apps and  a bundled voice-control remote. Timing of the $250 device may appear challenging given Amazon’s Fire TV Recast announcement and marketing weight — the similarly specced 4-tuner, 1TB Recast runs $280, but free of fees. However, increased situational awareness, given Amazon’s marketing muscle, should benefit TiVo, Tablo, and HDHomeRun… with TiVo providing a somewhat more accessible approach, given traditional television output versus overcoming network tuner conceptual issues. Beyond core DVR capabilities, TiVo also bundles a number of native apps, like Netflix and YouTube. Plus, TiVo has sweetened the pot for potentially price sensitive cord cutters by reducing service fees to $6.99/mo or $70/yr, which seems entirely reasonable.

Having said that, some of those competitors stream to all sorts of inexpensive boxes… vs having to pick up a TiVo Mini for each television. Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. TiVo’s service provider IPTV endpoints are being reworked, expanded and, in talking to TiVo VP Ted Malone, they hope to release these Roku, Fire TV, and Apple TiVo “soft Mini” clients to retail TiVo owners in the first half of 2019. No fees.

Amongst the 70 devices (!) Amazon announced was… a clock. An old, school analog clock. Or so it appears upon casual inspection. But, in actuality, the $30 Echo Wall Clock is a smart home accessory, that communicates to a linked Echo over Bluetooth. As such, your time will always be set, including adjustments for DST. Further, up to three Alexa timers can be set (by speaking to that aforementioned linked Echo) with lighted tick marks providing various visual status indicators. Watch CNET’s event video below, it’ll make more sense. Or maybe not. :)  Continue Reading…

Sep 25

The Roku speakers you don’t want have been delayed and the voice-controlled Roku soundbar you did want has been cancelled.

Roku Brings 4K To All

Dave Zatz —  September 25, 2018 — 5 Comments

Roku’s naming conventions continue to be clear as mud. However, they’re sensibly streamlining their line-up … and, for the upcoming holiday shopping season, intend to bring 4K streaming to the masses with the inexpensive Roku Premiere, running all of $40 – seriously undercutting the Apple and Amazon competition. However, for an additional ten bucks, I’d recommended the Walmart-exclusive Premiere+ that bundles a voice remote with (priceless) television volume control buttons. Of course, mating a 4K streamer to a 4k television doesn’t suggest all streaming content will be in 4K. In fact, the vast majority of video will not reach that resolution. However, a decent amount of YouTube and Amazon Prime streams in 4k and on the house, whereas Netflix 4K does require a plan upgrade.

As Amazon puts its final touches on the Fire TV Recast DVR (!!), TiVo is prepping a rather significant fall software update… that actually extends to hardware. As in: we’ll finally receive HDMI-CEC capabilities. Well, at least Roamio and Bolt DVRs running this upcoming version of the Hydra user experience. While volume control isn’t included or required due to programmable remote capabilities, hitting a TiVo button will switch inputs and/or power on the television — as we’ve long seen from others, including Fire TV and Apple TV. Bonus: CEC extends to Alexa voice control! Sadly, and this is a big one, Minis aren’t included in this round.

Another notable move, based on user feedback and usability testing, is a partial retreat on the dual axis interface across Roamio, Bolt, and Mini platforms. A strategy I’m totally good with. The first cut of the My Shows revamp swaps the Series level strip view from for a more practical vertical listing. And, in a number of areas, the browsing strip will be replaced by a traditional grid of title tiles.

Perhaps the biggest improvement for those who had upgraded to Hydra a year ago, and proceeded to lose features, is the restoration of folder Play All functionality for uninterrupted binge viewing. You’re welcome.

Well this certainly came out of left field.

Silicon Dust just launched a television streaming service that commingles online, pay television programming with local, over-the-air broadcasts via their HDHomeRun network tuner hardware. And, yes, this includes DVR (!) using their native software or the superior 3rd party Channels software. It’s somewhat similar to Sling’s AirTV solution but pretty fully baked at launch and perhaps, more accessible – both conceptually and in terms of playback. The HDHomeRun Premium TV channel lineup includes 45 channels, such as ESPN, CNN, and HGTV, for $35/mo – and, like the others, no long-term contract is required. Early reports have raised 720p quality concerns and hard-coded timezones may become a viewing consideration, but one might assume these will be improved over time and that the convenience of everything in one place may outweigh these cons.

HDHomeRun Premium TV complements our existing LIVE OTA Cord Cutting TV solution with a package of premium must-watch shows and channels that you’d find on cable but at a fraction of the cost and without the commitment of an annual contract.

It’s the ultimate Cord Cutting Solution that offers the best of both worlds – great LIVE OTA and the best of premium cable channels without the Cable Subscription or set-top box rental!

Don’t look for Expensive and segmented a la Carte’ services trying to fill that programming void for different devices in different rooms after you Cut the Cord, enjoy HDHomeRun Premium TV on multiple devices at the same time around your home. Watch on your computer, tablet, phone and media devices, and watch live TV and premium content in every room of your house through one convenient interface.

Continue Reading…