Dec 29 2006

News - The HDTV Dilemma:Pay for TiVo's Recorder

Wall Street Journal goes into a little analysis regarding whether one should pay for TiVo or use the cable company's DVR boxes. Kinda common sense really, TiVo better be better for $600 box & $13/mo compared to the Cable Co's $10/mo fee. And it is, but is it *that* much better to balance out the cost? Hopefully it at least pushes the Cable Co's to improve their product.

The worst problem is that the Comcast box flubs the basic functions of a DVR. It is maddeningly slow at responding to commands sent by the remote control to pause, play, fast-forward and rewind. You press pause and nothing happens. So you press it again. You try to return to normal speed after fast-forwarding through commercials and the unit takes so long to obey your command that you badly overshoot the resumption of the program. 

Read the rest here

Dec 29 2006

News - Pay for TiVo's Recorder or Settle for Cable's?

This question was posed by The Wall Street Journal today. It is an interesting dilemma no doubt. On one hand, you have a cheap 10 dollar a month DVR from the cable company that is not even on the same playing field as TiVo. However, TiVo demands a pretty serious price tag for its Series 3 HD DVR. I guess in the end, if you have the money to pay for the WAF of the TiVo, its a pretty easy decision to make.

From the article:

This latency problem didn't affect just one dud of a Motorola box. In our home, we have four of these units, and three have the problem. All, of course, share the capacity limitations and user-interface problems.

In the program grid, even on a 50-inch, high-definition screen with acres of room, the Comcast box displays just four rows of stations at a time. Until recently, there was a fifth row, but now that has been replaced by an ad. The ad not only sucks up space, but also is aggravating because it gets selected each time you reach the bottom of the grid screen.

Advertising is fine, but in this case, sacrificing 20% of an already paltry information screen for an ad just shows contempt for users.

By contrast, the basic TiVo grid shows eight rows of stations at a time, and offers an alternate view that packs in even more information using two vertical columns: one displaying stations and the other showing a list of shows scheduled in the coming hours.



Dec 27 2006

News - Time-Shifted Viewing Figures Offer Dramatic Reality Check

Some interesting stats here based on DVR viewing. Not surprisingly, the reality TV shows & best dramas don't have high DVR numbers, as people don't want to wait to watch it. I don't know, saving your TiVO'd American Idol Auditions & going through them in marathon fashion is pretty amusing.

Some numbers: In the third quarter of 2006, the show with most brands in it was CBS' Rock Star Supernova, with 1,609 prop-shots. But the show with the largest portion of DVR viewers in the fall season was The O.C., with 2.9 million viewers in total, 14.5% of whom are watching later on DVR.

Read the rest here

Dec 14 2006

News - TiVo recording delete screen adverts are live

I'm still not sure how to feel about this. I understand what PVR Wire are saying in that users already pay a fee, they shouldn't have to endure extra ads. BUT, that being said, the ads are pretty non-intrusive, and have you looked at TiVo's latest numbers? They're not making money, so assuming you don't want to see the lifetime membership worth nothing, I wouldn't mind it (then again....I use software PVR so if Microsoft ever tried this, off to SageTV or Beyond Wink)

TiVo is continuing to roll out new advertising methods on its PVRs and the latest advert appears on the "Delete this recording?" option. This has now gone live as we can see pictured right





Dec 11 2006

News - DVRs could cost networks $600 million in 2007, but failing to understand them will cost more

Nice article from the folks at Ars. I think it's preposterous as they don't take into account that there's a lot of shows people wouldn't even watch if not for their DVRs--Damn you real world! :-)

There are myriad conveniences wrought by the DVR, but few are those who say that they don't love the ability to zip past annoying commercials or—more generally—control their viewing experience. The rift between the TV networks and advertisers is in some ways surprising, because the two are fighting over how to count the slice of DVR users who don't use DVRs in this manner. It basically boils down to an argument over whether or not DVR users who don't appear to skip commercials are eyeballs worth paying for, but the argument fails to consider the larger issue of why these usage patterns are arising in the first place.

Read the rest here

Dec 06 2006

News - TiVoToGo DRM Sidestepped

Great news for all you Mac or Linux users, the DRM for the TiVToGo has been cracked. So that's the good news, and there's even a tool for it. Now, the bad news, it's a command-line interface, so hope you've been practicing. But I wouldn't worry, this seems useful enough that almost certain a programmer will see the need & develop a GUI for ya.

It's a little complicated to explain how this hack works in a brief couple of sentences, but the bottom line is that a new software application for Linux and Mac PCs called TiVoDecode can take a .TiVo file and create an unencrypted MPEG-2 file using your TiVo's Media Access Key

Read the rest at eHomeUpgrade

Nov 20 2006

News - Complaints over Comcast PVRs roll in

Those PVRWire Guys are a great resource for PVR and DVR news, they seem to have the scoop on everything TiVo and PVR:). Their latest scoop is coverage of Comcast's less then stellar PVR. Head on over to the article and find out why Comcast is wishing they owned TiVo.

From the article:

Apparently John Batelle isn't the only person out there who hates his Comcast PVR. Dennis Rockstroh at the San Jose Mercury News wrote a column about problems with Comcast PVRs, and apparently got a flood of letters from readers with similar problems.

Here's a few of the highlights
  • A number of readers complain that the controls are slow to respond
Nov 16 2006

News - TiVo System Software 8.1 Priority List Available

Apparantly only available for Series 2 TiVos so far, but still some nice updates for ya. I don't own a TiVo but could you really not set it to record a certain amount of time extra? Hey, maybe MCE did have some unique features afterall Laughing




Thank you for your interest in the new TiVo Fall 2006 Service Update, featuring enhanced support for recording live events, WPA network security, and improved system performance. This update is for TiVo Series2 Digital Video Recorders only! DIRECTV DVRs with TiVo and TiVo Series1 DVRs are not eligible for this update. Have a TiVo Series3 Digital Media Recorder? This update is not yet available for these units.

Read the rest here

Nov 16 2006

News - Anatomy of the Silent Fan

If you've ever tried building a media center in your living room, (or anywhere else if you have a significant other who always seems to have super-sensitive hearing), then I'm sure you've tried all you could to make sure your HTPC is as silent as possible. SilentPCReview is a great source for info, and they go in-depth as to what makes for a great silent fan & how it works.

 The advantages of ball bearings for general application in computer equipment are clearly spelled out in the NMB comparison. For silent computing, the advantages of ball bearing fans are only relevant if the acoustics at low and very low speed are very good. The advantages of sleeve bearings are certainly relevant for silent computing. The Comair-Rotron article shows why PC silencers might prefer sleeve bearing fans. They are...

Read the rest here

Nov 15 2006

News - Niveus Media Announces Pro Series - N9 Based On Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad Processor

I just realized these guys' office is right down the street from where I live, small world huh! So let me know if they mess with anyone here & I'll go kick down the door for ya!

An award-winning designer and manufacturer of media servers based on the Windows Media Center platform, Niveus Media announces the company’s 2007 Pro Series - n9 media server is now shipping with the new Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme quad core processor QX6700. Continuing to solidify the company’s reputation by incorporating only the most innovative hardware and software in their products, Niveus’ n9 offers a powerful, multi-zone digital entertainment solution; all in a convenient rack-mount form factor.

Achieving unprecedented speed and performance across a wide range of multimedia and multi-zone applications, the quad core processor joins the Pro Series’ already impressive list of features, including Intel® Viiv™ technology, Nvidia’s GeForce Series 7 Graphics, and 3 terabytes of storage. Intel’s new quad core processor provides four independent cores with dedicated threads, to efficiently off-load tasks, thereby freeing the other processor; maximizing the Niveus Media Center’s effectiveness in serving up media to multiple rooms of the house.

Read the full press release here


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