March Madness: SportsLine v. Slingbox

Ah, March Madness… definitely amongst the top sporting events. The first two days are especially exciting, each consisting of about 12 hours of competition and, if we’re lucky, some amazing upsets. I have no idea who Northwestern State is, but they sure were dramatic in sending Iowa home.

As I mentioned last week, CBS is webcasting games for free via March Madness on Demand. So I decided to check it out and compare the service to Slingbox.

My CBS SportLine experience didn’t get off to a good start with a 10 minute wait (see image below) followed by a Marriott commercial before I could access the feeds. Once in, I had several games to choose from — though one was blacked out due to regional restrictions. I’m not certain if that was determined by my IP address and/or the information in my profile. The CBS SportsLine site had banner ads as promised, but what I hadn’t realized is that they’d also be serving commercials during time outs. Though, they must not have sold all their ad space as static “Stay Tuned” graphics often replaced commercials.

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TiVo KidZone: The Experience

If you’ve been following along, you know TiVo was in Washington, DC this week to announce two new KidZone developments — the addition of Parents’ Choice Foundation for content suggestions and the ability of KZ to identify and record E/I programming. I got in touch with TiVo last week and reminded them I live in the area (and clean up pretty well). They were very cool in giving me the green light to attend what turned out to be an exclusive gathering of only a few dozen people including CEO Tom Rogers and Congressman Fred Upton. On behalf of the blogosphere, I thank you TiVo (and Thomas Hawk)!

When I originally learned of KidZone I was underwhelmed. After all, what do I care about parental controls — I don’t have children and I don’t have any immediate reproductive plans. Why aren’t these guys working on my VOD and Series 3? Having learned more and allowing this initiative to percolate for awhile, I’ve changed my tune… perhaps this is bigger than we thought. KidZone now strikes me a positive and powerful strategic move by TiVo of furthering Rogers’ goal of differentiating themselves from generic DVR offerings. With both public and political scrutiny of television programming recently, TiVo is using this functionality to command attention and align themselves with powerful allies (as in Congress). This kind of exposure will surely help in marketing themselves as a software solution to cable companies and in limiting customer defections. I’m not sure how many boxes KidZone will move on its own, but TiVo has picked up a new set of vocal evangelists by partnering with these various watchdog groups.

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HD-DVD Launch Whimper

Looks like the next generation of DVDs will be getting off to a slow start. Netflix may have added a HD rental page, but they won’t have any discs to rent to the few consumers who manage to get their hands on a player. Generally speaking, I’m an early adopter of new technology. I was … Read more

MovieBeam Reviewed (Not Very Good)

Ben over at HD Beat got his hands on a MovieBeam and doesn’t come away impressed. The bottom line seems to be a limited selection of content with poor picture quality. Granted, both these faults could be improved without requiring a software or hardware upgrade — sign more partners and use less compression. But it’s … Read more

TiVo KidZone: The Product

TiVo’s KidZone Road Show hit DC yesterday… An intimate group of about three dozen people, half of whom seemed affiliated with one presenter or another, witnessed two new KidZone announcements. First, Parents’ Choice Foundation has signed on as the fourth provider of children’s programming recommendations. Second, KidZone will identify congress-mandated Educational and Informational (E/I) television programming for recording.

At the moment I’m thinking this will be a three-part story. The first two portions will cover the people and the product in photos. I’ll offer my opinion of KidZone and describe how the technology works with the third entry.

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TiVo KidZone: The People

TiVo’s KidZone Road Show hit DC today… An intimate group of about three dozen people, half of whom seemed affiliated with one presenter or another, witnessed two new KidZone announcements. First, Parents’ Choice Foundation has signed on as the fourth provider of children’s programming recommendations. Second, KidZone will identify congress-mandated Educational and Informational (E/I) television programming for recording.

At the moment I’m thinking this will be a three-part story. The first two portions will cover the people and the product in photos. I’ll offer my opinion of KidZone and describe how the technology works with the third entry.


Tom Rogers, CEO
TiVo, Inc.

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TiVo’s New Pricing Summarized

There’s still quite a bit of confusion regarding TiVo’s new pricing, so here’s a brief summary… Lifetime Service New and existing TiVo units are eligible for Lifetime Service at $299 if activated by April 15. Lifetime Service will not be offered for sale after 4/15. Lifetime gift cards will be honored when redeemed as will … Read more

TiVo Series 3 HD Pricing and Timing

TiVo is running an American Idol contest over the next 11 weeks — each week you vote who’s going home. That’s all well and good… but the real interesting news is that in 11 weeks they’ll be giving away a Series 3. Though TiVo officially has up to four months beyond the sweepstakes to deliver.

So speaking of worshipping that false idol, we now have a little more info to base our speculation on. I’ll go first… Series 3 HD will be available 9/1 @ $800 a pop. What’s your guess?

Update: This is now a contest! Predict the Series 3 release date and cost to win a TiVo-branded wireless adapter. Details are in the comments.

Grand Prize: 1 Special Limited Edition TiVo Series3 HD Digital Media Recorder w/Product Lifetime Service
Average Retail Value: $1,500.00

Selected entrants will receive the the weekly prize by mail within thirty (30) days of the Weekly Sweepstakes end date and the Grand Prize by mail within four (4) months of the end of the Sweepstakes Period (exact timing subject to change based upon availability of Grand Prize, which is scheduled to be released for public sale in the second half of 2006).

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