Front Row, Mac as HTPC

Apple introduced Front Row, a media management application, and minimalist iPod Shuffle-esque six button remote to be bundled with new iMac’s – allowing you to control music, photos, and videos from the couch. While it’s no DVR (see Eye TV) and you’re limited to the iMac monitor as a display device (for now), it’s definitely … Read more

BeyondTV4 Exclusive Preview

BeyondTV4Soham Mehta, Director of Product Development at SnapStream, and I spoke about the forthcoming BeyondTV4. As with BeyondTV3, BTV4 is a PC-based DVR application.

SnapStream’s biggest news is the ability to record over-the-air (OTA) HD broadcasts with BTV4, including support for an unlimited amount of tuners. Also important is what’s not included: DRM. SnapStream is monitoring digital rights management within the industry, but is committed to empowering their customers. Having said that, BTV4 provides unencrypted DivX output resulting in high-quality video with smaller file sizes. Additionally, many set-top DVD players support the DivX format providing another means of archiving content. Based on customer requests, SnapStream has integrated FM time shifting into BTV4.

The new software has been under active beta testing since early summer, with hundreds of participants helping SnapStream polish this release. In regards to future development, Soham emphasized they are “reactive to hardware” and thus seek “synergy” with manufacturers to add features based on customer feedback. Soham indicates BTV4 will be released this year, “before the holidays.” The current pricing model will remain the same, with discounts offered to those upgrading.

Primary New Features:

  • HD tuner support
  • DivX output
  • FM time shifting

Additional Features:

  • Enchanced show search options
  • Revised interface
  • Support for unlimited tuners at no additional cost
  • Live TV buffer for back-recording

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PocketDISH(es) Released

Dish Network has just released their custom branded Archos portable media devices. They come in three flavors, corresponding to various LCD and hard drive sizes at different price points: $329, $499, $599. Dish, part owner of Archos, includes support for high-speed Dish DVR downloads. Dish Network says: With the choice of a crystal-clear 2.2-inch, 4-inch … Read more

TiVo Goes To War

DirecTV starts peddling their new DVR this week, but in the long run will it be competition or commission for TiVo? If TiVo is able to prevail in defending their “time warp” patent versus Dish Network, with court proceedings beginning this week, they should be able to work out royalty arrangements with other DVR providers… … Read more

DVR Advertising Gets Rolling

Business Week’s 10/17/05 article “Hey, Advertisers, TiVo Is Your Friend” obviously caught my eye. David Kiley spotlights “ad guru” Rishad Tobaccowala and the inevitability of advertisers finding us in the “new-media” era. I can only hope, as we move forward, that the Comcasts and TiVos of the world will advocate for consumers and strike a … Read more

DirecTV’s $30 Million Ad Campaign, No Tivo

DirecTV R15As Michael Buffer once said, “Let’s get ready to rumble!” DirecTV will begin pushing their own DVR next week with no guarantees, though certainly more leverage, of extending their contract with Tivo past 2007. Features of the forthcoming R15 DVR were previously disclosed on TV Predictions.

New York Times says: DIRECTV, the satellite television operator, is introducing a $30 million advertising campaign on Monday to promote its highly anticipated digital video recorder.

The campaign, created by the New York office of BBDO Worldwide, is DirecTV’s first widespread public effort to distance itself from TiVo. Of DirecTV’s 14.7 million customers, 2.3 million now subscribe to TiVo. DirecTV, which pays TiVo a monthly fee of $1.13 per TiVo subscriber, hopes those users will switch to its own service.

DirecTV’s standard DVR, originally set to be released this past June, will be introduced in late October, and another model featuring high-definition service will be introduced in mid-2006. The standard DVR will feature up to 100 hours of recordable space, compared with TiVo’s 70 hours.

DirecTV will continue to support the TiVo service without marketing it, and both services will be priced at $5.99 a month. The company’s current contract with TiVo is set to expire in early 2007. DirecTV has not said if it will continue the contract after that.

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Tivo’s New Beta, Hosted Apps

Tivo is beginning to test hosted Home Media Engine (HME) applications as described in this recent email correspondence. FYI I did not receive the email and I am not part of the Beta group. Hi there! Thanks for filling out the beta application at, we appreciate your interest in TiVo’s Beta Programs! When you … Read more

Dump A Video Tape, Get a Free Tivo

Tivo continues their trend of interesting promotions. Next week they’re hosting a long-overdue funeral for the VCR in New York City. By contributing a video cassette to the casket, you’ll be rewarded with a free Tivo (and a one year service commitment). Tivo says: As the curtain rises on one of the country’s ultimate consumer … Read more