Technologizer posts about DVRs

Four Times the TiVo

By  |  Posted at 10:49 am on Wednesday, September 7, 2011

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At the CEDIA home electronics show in Indianapolis, TiVo announced a new TiVo: the Premiere Elite. It’s a high-end upgrade to the company’s current DVR with four (!) tuners, 2TB of storage, THX certification, and compatibility with the MoCA standard for networking over coaxial cable. It’s $499.99 plus TiVo’s $19.99 monthly fee, and clearly aimed at the customers of the audio/visual installation pros who attend CEDIA. TiVo says it expects to ship it later this year.

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TiVo Prepping Four-Tuner HD DVR?

By  |  Posted at 4:07 am on Friday, April 15, 2011

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The new TiVo Advisors survey is far more interesting than most, spelling out a number of “potential products and features.” On the hardware front, two very specific devices are described:

  • A companion device for your DVR. It allows a second TV (in another room) to watch live TV (in HD) and also watch the recordings from your DVR.
  • A 4-tuner high-definition DVR that allows you to record up to 4 shows at one time (and watch a 5th show that is previously recorded).

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What’s Next for TiVo: Hulu, Streaming, Extenders

By  |  Posted at 8:31 pm on Monday, March 21, 2011

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While we generally shy away from rumor and speculation, TiVo’s been pretty quiet as they approach the one year anniversary of Premiere retail availability. Given our site heritage and interests, the lack of news out of Alviso can be frustrating. So we’ve whipped up a post based purely on hearsay, but one that hopefully gives some indication what TiVo is quietly working on.

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A Few FiOS TV DVR Notes (vs. TiVo)

By  |  Posted at 10:20 pm on Monday, January 24, 2011

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As regulars know, we recently left the cable hegemony behind in favor of Verizon’s FiOS TV…. to overcome switched digital video (SDV) tuning adapter flakiness and a CCI Byte content lockdown that essentially neutered our TiVo ecosystem. And, on the technological front, we couldn’t be happier. (But I may follow up with a less glowing billing and support post, as many of you cautioned.)

We’re a three TV/DVR household, although currently only possess two televisions — one powered by a TiVo Premiere and the other powered by the Verizon FiOS DVR shown above. So the question is, what DVR will power TV #3 when the time comes?

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TiVo’s iPad App Now Available

By  |  Posted at 8:17 am on Tuesday, January 18, 2011

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TiVo’s iPad app, announced in November, is now available via the the App Store.

I’ve had app on hand for several weeks now, and I quite like it. Whereas TiVo has been lagging the competition in providing this sort of functionality, they may have just leap frogged nearly all contenders in producing both a beautiful and functional television companion. Of course, it’s only a companion for TiVo Premiere owners. But perhaps there are a few more this week given that amazing $65 Woot deal.

The app itself is quite comprehensive. Who needs picture-in-guide when you can manage just about every meaningful element of your TiVo from an iPad without interrupting the television viewing experience. Remote control? Check. Guide? Check. Season Passes, To Do List, Now Playing? Check, check, check. Plus, you know no app is complete these days without the ability to share on Twitter and Facebook. So they’ve checked that off, too. Bonus — portrait and landscape views for any/every screen.

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TiVo’s New Pricing: Both Cheaper and Pricier–and Definitely More Confusing

By  |  Posted at 6:04 pm on Monday, November 15, 2010

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TiVo, the original personal TV box, is facing new competition from Apple TV, Roku, the Boxee Box, Logitech’s Google-based Revue, and other Johhnie-come-lately gizmos. Most of them cost less than TiVo, and none of them require a monthly fee. And the company is responding with a holiday offer–good through December 31st–that brings the price of a TiVo box from $299.99 down to $99.99, the same amount you’d pay for an Apple TV or Roku’s midrange version. It’s calling this an “instant savings” of $200. And there’s even an option to pay nothing up-front at all.

Except…it’s nowhere as simple as that. Actually, figuring out how much TiVo costs, and which version to buy, just got more confusing.

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IBM Storage Tech: DVRs in the Cloud, SSD Replacements

By  |  Posted at 7:56 am on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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An IBM data center in North Carolina

How is IBM funneling its vast resources into research around future products and services? At a press and analyst day last week in New York City, the company talked up projects around replacing today’s flash-based SSDs (solid state drives) with new PCM (phase change memory) technology and dropping DVRs (digital video recorders) in favor of video storage clouds.

IBM is about to start field tests with cable TV companies around new cloud-based video storage services for consumers, said Steve Canepa, general manager for IBM’s Global Media & Entertainment Industry Division.

Meanwhile, for businesses, Big Blue is eyeing the release in another four years of new storage servers based on PCM, according to other speakers at the press event on Thursday in midtown Manhattan.

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TiVo Gets QWERTY

By  |  Posted at 1:16 am on Tuesday, August 24, 2010

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TiVo has begun selling the $89.99 slider remote with a hidden QWERTY keyboard which it first showed off back in March when it launched its new Premiere boxes. Our friend Dave Zatz has tried one and mostly likes it. It has the signature TiVo “peanut” design, but is 25% shorter–presumably to allow for a keyboard with a width that lends itself well to thumbtyping.

The TiVo Slide uses Bluetooth to talk to all recent Tivos (the Premiere, HD, and Series 3), which means you don’t need to worry about pointing it at the DVR or whether there’s any furniture, pets, or children in the way; it comes with a USB Bluetooth adapter, which presumably helps to explain the pricetag. (The Slide costs almost a third as much as a Tivo Premiere itself–it would be nice if TiVo offered a Tivo-plus-Slide bundle at at least a modest discount.)

For as long as people have been entering alphanumeric text on TVs–which would be since home video games got high-score features, I guess–they’ve mostly been doing it via arrow keys and cumbersome on-screen keyboards. TiVo’s standard text-entry system isn’t bad, relatively speaking, but I’m always in favor of physical plastic QWERTY keys when available…



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DirecTV’s Whole Home DVR Now Available ($3)

By  |  Posted at 1:12 pm on Friday, May 14, 2010

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After several months of private testing, followed by an open beta, DirecTV has formally introduced their whole-home DVR service. As a fan of the ‘hub and spoke’ digital distribution model, the MoCA-based solution looks quiet compelling. Of course, DirecTV subscribers would need at least one HD DVR. But each additional room (up to 15!) can be outfitted with a less pricey HD receiver to schedule or view recordings from the primary DVR. Free would be nice, but you really can’t go wrong a low $3 monthly surcharge.

Thanks, Jon!

(This post republished from Zatz Not Funny.)



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5Words: Snapstream’s DVR Records Fifty Shows

By  |  Posted at 7:33 am on Thursday, April 8, 2010

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Snapstream’s 50-tuner DVR demo.

HP: the future is memristors.

I’m no longer a PC?

Best Buy to get Nook?

Windows 7 SP1 has leaked.

AT&T: We’re ready for iPad.

Edit Go0gle Docs on iPad.

Gmail’s spam filter: too aggressive?

_______________________

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Digging Deeper Within the New TiVo Premiere

By  |  Posted at 11:37 am on Friday, March 26, 2010

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While many have fixated on TiVo’s new sluggish, incomplete HD UI and possibly limited feature set, TiVo Community über contributor bkdtv (aka K. Fowler) has more quantitatively analyzed the TiVo Premiere’s beefy new hardware. In addition to running through the chips and specs, he’s also conducted a number of speed benchmarks under the “classic” UI.

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The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg, Gizmodo’s Mark Wilson, and Engadget’s Nilay Patel have reviewed Tivo’s next-generation DVR, the Premiere. They’re all pretty darn lukewarm, which is disappointing–but at least I can continue to use my current TiVo without it feeling like too much of a hardship.

Posted by Harry at 8:13 pm

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TiVo Series 5: What Should Be

By  |  Posted at 9:40 am on Wednesday, March 3, 2010

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When TiVo announced its next-generation Series 4 Premiere boxes yesterday, I read about the news with a combination of intrigue and relief. The changes–including a spiffed-up HD interface, better integration of disparate video sources, easy access to more information about shows and movies, a slimmer case, and an optional QWERTY remote–sound nice. But the Premieres are evolutionary advances on the TiVo HD that sits in my entertainment center–and whose hard drive I just replaced after the original one conked out. There’s nothing in the new models that makes the old ones feel like instant dinosaurs.

Here’s Dave Zatz’s extensive look at the new TiVos, which ship next month. As Dave says, TiVo is clearly trying to reposition its box from a DVR into a TV box that does a bunch of things. That makes sense. But my mind is already racing forward to think about all the things a next-next-generation TiVo might do. Here’s my wish list for the TiVo Series 5–and since it’s just a wish list and the Premieres’ replacements are years off, I’m going to ask for some things that may be technically or logistically impossible at the moment.

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Comcast DVR Remote Scheduling is Here! (For Some)

By  |  Posted at 4:50 am on Friday, January 15, 2010

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Dave broke the news back in August that Comcast would be coming out with a new remote DVR scheduling feature in the near future. Since then, I’ve kept an eye on the myDVR page in hopes I’d get a heads-up on regional availability. Today, after reading about guide updates over on the Comcast blog, I revisited the bookmarked URL and hit the jackpot. I can now manage all of my DVR recordings online. It appears that I’m in one of the early market rollouts, but the rest of Comcast’s digital subscribers with a Motorola set-top should get the upgrade over the next several months.

In addition to letting me manage recordings, the new myDVR Manager site includes decent search functionality with content filters (HD, sports, movies, etc.) and keyword results that incorporate both live broadcasts and on-demand offerings. The UI is easy to use and even anticipates what I might need next. A search on Duke, for example, let me quickly isolate just the Duke college basketball games.

The series recording options are also much easier to manage than they are on the traditional guide. See further pics after the jump for a look at menus and options.

(This post is republished from Zatz Not Funny.)

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Comcast to Take TiVo National By Year End?

By  |  Posted at 12:07 am on Monday, September 14, 2009

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My eagle-eyed blogging partner Davis Freeberg caught this juicy nugget yesterday from a member of the ComcastCares Twitter support team:

@ComcastMelissa

@knolaust we are working on a more Tivo-esk experience. This is already being tested in the Boston area. hope to roll out na’l by end of yr

As TiVo (TIVO) investors are aware, TiVo linked up with Comcast(CMCSA) to deliver their DVR experience onto third party cable company hardware (Motorola). And while the initial fruits of their labor began deployment as a Comcast offering in New England in late 2007, we’ve yet to see a broader release to other markets. Making ComcastMelissa’s tweet, a response to a customer request for an improved DVR interface, notable.

However, I suspect she will be proven wrong. I seriously doubt Comcast intends a nationwide TiVo roll-out in the few remaining months of 2009 and doubt their ability to execute on such a plan, should it exist. Most likely, “ComcastMelissa” is good intentioned but misinformed of the Comcast TiVo deployment strategy. Anyone who’s followed Comcast and TiVo statements on the matter would probably agree that the parties have a more conservative market-by-market deployment plan in place. Some supporting evidence from TiVo CEO Tom Rogers at their recent earnings call, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha:

They continue to work through in Boston the infrastructure issues that particularly relate to the installation in individual homes. And I can’t say they are where they want to be yet; there are clearly things that Comcast needs to solve for both TiVo and for themselves so the product can be more smoothly installed. They are totally committed to solving those issues and we believe they will be solved in the near future. Obviously, there’s frustration on both their part and ours that it’s not quite solved yet. But I think, as Mark Hess’s quote indicated, the commitment to continue to roll TiVo beyond the two named markets that we’ve mentioned, they indicated in last quarter earnings that they were focused on a market rollout where TiVo would be the primary DVR and then again today have announced yet another yet to be soon-named market.

[This post republished from Zatz Not Funny.]



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TiVo Loses More Customers, Sues AT&T and Verizon

By  |  Posted at 8:57 am on Thursday, August 27, 2009

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TiVo SignTiVo’s quarterly call was a bit more dramatic than usual. While they continue to lose customers and innovate “at a very unhurried pace,” TiVo seeks a repeat DISH Network performance in going after AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) for infringement. Basically, TiVo’s current business model appears to be ad sales and patent trolling.

Unlike TiVo’s successful David v Goliath battle with DISH/EchoStar (SATS), things may play out a bit differently this time. First, there’s likely no smoking gun. Based on the evidence presented, it sounds like DISH may have helped themselves to an early TiVo prototype which was subsequently reverse engineered. Second, digital video recording technology may not be as patentable as TiVo would like. (Not to mention, it’s possible Judge Folsom and the Eastern District Court could run out of patience with TiVo’s community stunts and their own nationwide reputation. Then again, maybe not – these cases keep them in the spotlight and are good for the local economy.) Lastly, given the language in yesterday’s call, TiVo may just be looking to force AT&T and Verizon into some sort of licensing deal.

Another difference this time around, is that the defendants are relying heavily on third party tech. Verizon has constructed their own FiOS TV DVR software, but currently runs on Motorola hardware. AT&T’s set-top box platform is also Motorola, but the U-Verse software is largely Microsoft (MSFT). So it’ll be interesting to see how Moto and Mister Softee, plus others such as Broadcom, could be pulled into the fray. As an observer, and given TiVo’s pressure to license, I hope their contracts with DirecTV (DTV) and Comcast (CMCSA) are called into evidence.

My blogging partner Davis Freeberg has tracked down and purchased the PACER court filings so you don’t have to. Verizon here. AT&T here and below:

(Photo by Zandir; this post republished from Zatz Not Funny.)




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