Tivo

Oct 16 2012

News - TiVo Launches Developer Channel and SDK for Third-Party Apps

TiVo Developer Channel It can be difficult to spend time on the Internet these days without running into the phrases "Post-PC Era" and "app economy", usually in the same sentence. TiVo may not necessarily be "Post-PC", but the company has long understood the potential for apps to differentiate a platform. Unfortunately, though TiVo started adding apps to its platfom for thrid-party services relatively early on, the company has never been partiularly prolific. Presumably to help fill the gap, the company has opened the TiVo Developer Channel and released the TiVo Client SDK for AS3 to spur thrid-party develpers to create apps for the TiVo platform. TiVo isn't just looking for apps to run on their boxes either. The company is also encouraging the development of apps that center on web services that talk to the TiVo device and companion apps for mobile devices. The Developer Channel forums are quiet, to be generous, so it is difficult to guage how much interest developers have shown in building for TiVo at this point, but there are few mainstream environments so heavily dependent on Adobe Air, so there might be an opportunity to garner interest from Adobe-centric developers who may be feeling a bit left out these days.

Other than what feels like a very slow pace of updates, one of our gripes with TiVo's Premiere DVR platform has been a relative lack of new apps being released. Hopefully that could change soon, now that the company has opened up its Developer Channel to allow interested parties access to its SDK and tools to build their own apps. 

EngadgetHD

Sep 29 2012

News - Verizon to Pay TiVo $250.4M in Patent Dispute

TiVo Cash

TiVo has established a brand that is virtually synonymous with DVRs, but has always struggled to capitalize on that brand recognition with consumers. Fortunately, the company has not only built up brand cachet, but also a sizable patent portfolio, and that patent portfolio has been quite useful. In the last couple of years TiVo has forced some big companies to settle patent infringement lawsuits. Last year it was $500M from DISH/Echostar and then another $215M from AT&T. This week, TiVo forced Verizon to cough up some cash. Verizon settled with TiVo for $250.4M. As with the AT&T and DISH/Echostar settlements, there is also a whole lot of patent cross-licensing and marketing agreements bundled in with the settlement, so the possiblity of some Verizon-Redbox love coming to TiVo at some point definitely should not be too surprising. At the same time, be on the lookout for further settlement news as TiVo's continued success has got to be making companies still facing lawsuits from TiVo such as Motorola and Cisco nervous.

TiVo announced today that Verizon will pay it a total of $250.4 million in compensation through July 2018 in order to settle an ongoing patent dispute between the two companies. The companies will also be looking at future combined distribution of streaming video services through Redbox, of which Verizon has a key stake, and TiVo’s DVRs.

Sep 17 2012

News - Nintendo TVii Brings Live TV, DVR, Streaming Media and Second Screen Control to the Wii U

 Nintendo TVii

At E3 this year, Nintendo was beginning to open up a bit about what to expect from the Wii U other than playing video games. At the time, the company was assuring gamers that the Wii U would have access to Netflix, Hulu Plus, and all of the other streaming media services that game consoles are now expected to offer, and that the Wii U GamePad would offer some sort of TV control funtionality. In their official launch press conference this week, Nintendo took the wraps off of Nintendo TVii, a service that allows Wii U users to watch TV via the Wii U and to control their viewing experience with the Wii U GamePad.

As part of its Wii U conference, Nintendo has revealed Nintendo TVii. Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime introduced the service, which will allow users to watch movies, sports and television via the Wii U. The service includes social features, allowing viewers to connect with other Wii U users via Twitter, Facebook and other services.

Joystiq

Although announced and official, complete with upbeat promo video, there are still alot of details to be fleshed out. We do know that the Wii U GamePad serves as the control point for all of this functionality with a user profile customized program guide that pulls from TV listings, services like the aforementioned Netflix and Hulu, and from recordings on your TiVo. The GamePad also offers full QWERTY text input or a radial keyboard that comes up out of the lower right hand corner of the screen, which should come in handy for utilizing the universal, cross-platform browsing and search. We also know that Nintendo TVii is powered by technology from i.TV, a company that focuses on developing second screen control apps for mobile devices.

Brad Pelo is suddenly in charge of a major Nintendo initiative for the Japanese company's next big console, the Wii U, despite not being an employee at Nintendo. Instead, Pelo is CEO of i.TV -- a "social television and second screen technology company" that's worked with everyone from Entertainment Weekly to Engadget parent company AOL -- and he's the man responsible for Nintendo TVii.

Engadget

What we don't know is exactly how all of these pieces work together. The streaming media components are fairly straightforward, but the details about the TV and DVR control are still a bit vague. For the TV side, Nintendo has already talked about using the IR-blaster in the GamePad to control a TV, but Nintendo still has not shared any details about how this universal remote control functionality will be programmed or how exensive it will be. As for the DVR functionality, Nintendo has clarified since the press conference that the Wii U does not have any TiVo hardware built-in, so one would need to own a TiVo, but there are still no details about how the Wii U connects to the TiVo or whether intermediary hardware such as the TiVo Stream will be necessary. There has also been some debate about whether the DVR interactions are exclusive to TiVo. The TiVo logo is in the press materials, but Nintendo has also been fairly specific to use the more generic term, "DVR", rather than TiVo when talking about the ability to playback recorded TV. If Nintendo can make TVii flexible and exensible enough, the company may just have a chance to upend Sony, Microsoft, and Google in offering consumers the one living room device to rule them all, but only time will tell how all of the peices will come together.

Still, there's plenty of reason for skepticism over how well Nintendo will be able to integrate with cable and satellite DVRs. While Nintendo touted TVii's TiVo integration, other TV providers weren't mentioned, although Nintendo says it will work with all major cable and satellite providers, plus over-the-air broadcasts. 

CNET

Sep 06 2012

News - TiVo Stream Reviewed

 TiVo Stream

We've seen the new TiVo Stream previewed, so it was only matter of time before someone would put together a full-on review. The TiVo Stream is TiVo's new IP trancoder, a small box that sits on one's network and provides mobile devices with streaming access to recordings and live TV from a TiVo Premire DVR. The Stream can also convert and transfer recorded shows to mobile devices for watching later on the go. It sounds like the TiVo Stream works better with recordings then with live TV streams, but with support for up to four iOS devices, it would still be a solid solution for the Apple/TiVo devotee household. I woudn't be surprised to see the Stream's functionality integrated into a future version of the TiVo Premiere, but hopefully TiVo will find a  long-term spot in their product line-up for the Stream to accomodate legacy Premiere owners and to serve as an upgrade option with a less expensive Premiere.

User interface elements aside, the TiVo Stream does just what it sets out to, but with a few quirks. The first is that it only streams recordings, so selecting "Watch on iPad" while browsing the guide is tantamount to starting a recording on the fly. That means it takes about eight seconds to start streaming, whereas it would take less time to begin streaming something that was already recorded. That isn't a big deal, but it is a bit odd when a show ends and the next one doesn't begin. 

Engadget

Aug 30 2012

News - TiVo Stream Previewed

TiVo seems intent to do everything in its power to ensure that its customers never need to own more than one TiVo DVR at a time. First came word that TiVo's extender-style box for multi-room DVR capabilties had been dubbed the TiVo Mini and would be due out by the end of the year. Now TiVo is drumming up interest in their TiVo Stream transcoder device and Dave Zatz has already taken it for a spin and shared his thoughts. The TiVo Stream is akin to a Slingbox, streaming content from a TiVo Premiere DVR to up to four mobile devices simultaneously. Of course, your mobile device has to be iOS-based for the time being, but an Android app is reportedly in the works. The TiVo Stream ups the ante by not only providing Slingbox-style streaming, but by also transferring recordings to your mobile device for offline mobile viewing. The TiVo Stream is due out September 6 for $130, and pre-orders are already underway. Assuming you don't subscribe to a TV provider that makes heavy use of the Copy No More tag, it sounds like the Stream will be mighty tempting to TiVo afficionados.

TiVo Stream

The TiVo Stream ($130) is essentially a small network-connected companion box that relays video from a wired TiVo Premiere DVR to an iPad or iPhone. An (upcoming) update to the already highly functional and attractive TiVo iOS app enables Stream connectivity and playback — making for some seemless integration via new “Watch on iDevice” and “Download” buttons.

Zatz not Funny

 

Aug 24 2012

News - TiVo Mini to Bring Multi-Room TiVo to Life

Extenders are back in vogue. There have been a number of intriguing extender-based, multi-room streaming systems to talk about this year. DISH has their Hopper and Joey combo, and of course, many of us around here are eagerly anticipating the Ceton Q and Echo, but before the year is out we should also have TiVo's version. TiVo first signaled their interest in moving in this DVR-less extender direction with the release of an Insignia TV that offered built-in TiVo streaming, but the stand-alone TiVo extender is coming soon and it now has a name. 

TiVo’s upcoming IP-STB has been been christened as the “TiVo Mini.” This wasn’t entirely unexpected, as I’d learned of it being referenced as such internally and believe it’s popped up at a TiVo investor or industry talk recently.

Zatz Not Funny

Feb 04 2012

News - WeaKnees Offering TiVo THR22 for DirecTV with Expanded Storage

THR22 TiVo for DirecTV

Once upon time there was a cable channel called TechTV devoted to geeks like me, and my favorite show on that ill-fated channel was The ScreenSavers. It was during an episode of The ScreenSavers that I first head of WeaKnees, a company devoted to selling upgrade kits for and upgraded versions of DVRs such as the ReplayTV and TiVo. It's been several years since TechTV The ScreenSavers, and ReplayTV faded away, and not being a big follower of the TiVo scene, I had largely forgotten about WeaKnees so it was a pleasant surprise to learn that the company is not only still around, but that they are applying their storage expanding magic to the recently released TiVo THR22 for DirecTV. According to the WeaKnees blog they don't have many more units than they need to fulfill their backorders, so if you are a DirecTV subscriber interested in getting a 2GB version of the THR22 to call your own and you don't mind the $599 price tag, you had best hurry.

The only thing better than finally receiving the DVR you've waiting five years for is receiving one with four times the capacity as your provider wanted to give you. That is exactly what WeaKnees has done for years and exactly what it's doing now with the latest DirecTiVo, now that the first shipment has been received.

Engadget

Jan 14 2012

News - Ceton - CES 2012

Ceton CorpWhen Ceton brought a four tuner CableCARD to the Windows Media Center community, they breathed new life into a product languishing from neglect. Not content to only do this, or be entirely dependent on the continued presence of Media Center in subsequent releases of Windows; they have created a "turnkey" competitor to TiVo (and hopefully an exit strategy for SageTV refugees) with a new solution called the "Q". In addition to the Q, they also announced an extender device named "Echo"; which besides [finally] providing an alternative to the Xbox 360 to those who prefer TV without fan-based accompaniment for Windows Media Center PCs also enhances the current extender experience with additional media features when used with the Q.

More details and some pictures are in the next section.

Jan 11 2012

News - CES Hands On With Tivo Netflix and YouTube updates

At CES this week Tivo was demoing their updated interfaced for Netflix and YouTube online streaming services running on the Tivo Premier. The new interfaces include updated search functionality, the ability to add movies to your queue, and even included 5.1 audio. 

Tivo was also demoing a new companion box, yet to be named, that when paired with the Tivo Premier enables streaming live and recorded tv to your iOS devices. The setup also included an feature to download to be watched later.

While there is no confirmed dates or prices on the new companion box Tivo did say the updated streaming interfaces would be pushed out some time this spring. Head over to Engadget for a full gallery of the hands on with Tivo.  

Like us, you're probably wondering what's new with TiVo at CES. Typically the company doesn't issue press releases during CES, or even announce new products, but private meetings are held in TiVo's meeting space. In said space, we were able to take in demos of the latest Netflix and YouTube interfaces running on the TiVo Premiere. The refreshed look is greatly appreciated, as in the ability to search and even add movies to your Netflix queue -- there is even support for 5.1 surround sound. Both interfaces should look familiar if you've ever seen the Insignia cTV with TiVo design. The demo was an early version, but we're told the updates should be hitting your Tivo this spring.

Engadget HD

Jan 11 2012

News - TiVo Demonstrating Prototype Transcorder for iPad Streaming

TiVo Transcorder

TiVo is already pretty busy this week rolling out their multiroom streaming update for the TiVo Premier, but it sounds like they still made time to show off their latest gizmo at CES. TiVo has a prototype transcorder device that will stream recordings from a TiVo Premier to the TiVo app on the iPad. In and of itself this would be good news for iPad-toting TiVo users, but there are an awful lot of grander possibilities to contemplate for such a device involving streaming for other devices and live TV streaming, assuming of course that the transcorder device makes its way past the prototype stage. It's also not hard to imagine TiVo releasing the device for current TiVos, and then working to integrate it into future TiVos as an upgraded feature.

Of course, it's easy to imagine expanding the feature set here: we pushed for details on streaming live TV as well as streaming video outside the home (like Slingbox) and were told it's all under evaluation, but nothing is locked in yet. That would be a pretty ideal package, especially combined with the quad-tuner TiVo Premiere Elite: you'd basically have access to your TV from anywhere in the world, and you'd only lose one tuner while watching live TV — leaving the other three to keep recording your shows.

The Verge

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