Results tagged “pvr” from kwc blog

Death to TiVo


tivoThe Netflix disc for my Playstation 3 arrived this week, so, for the first time in over eight years, my TiVo has gone silent. When I got the Apple TV, it was clear that my love for the TiVo was waning. Almost a decade ago the TiVo was a symbol of all that was good with consumer design in products. I even went to a talk by their UE director to try and soak up all the wisdom that went into the product.

Fast forward to the present, and the TiVo Series 3 doesn't seem that much better than the Series 1 I first used. Sure, I was excited when the Series 3 arrived, but it really was about HD and nothing more. Anything else they added to the TiVo was done half-assed, like the Amazon and Netflix video on demand, as well as TiVoToGo.

Although the Apple TV has a laughably bad remote that requires an iPhone app to rectify it, I at least enjoy using it, whereas the Amazon store on TiVo filled me with rage, so much so that I had trouble spending $10 free credit on it. Similarly, TiVoToGo was such a chore that I gave up on ever watching my TV shows on my iPhone. The Netflix integration with TiVo seemed passable until I used the Netflix disc on the PS3 -- sure it sucks to have to stick a Blu-ray disc into the PS3 to use it, but at least I feel like I'm using a modern system. Add in Hulu, and we've got plenty of TV to keep us busy M-F.

No one has solved live sports, yet, and for that I'll be sad. Cycling is moving more and more online and I hope to see the day in which all sports are streamed and can easily be viewed on a TV -- that will be worth the next upgrade.

Silver lining


Time Warner Cable in Raleigh is apparently refusing in install CableCards in Series 3 TiVos. Their argument is that they offer their own DVR service, so they shouldn't be forced to support their competition. By similar argument, they could sell their own TVs, and refuse to offer cable on yours.

The silver lining? I don't live in Raleigh, nor do I have Time Warner, so I'm not affected, but more importantly, Time Warner has provided another real world example of why DRM and DRM-like technologies aren't about protecting copyright, they are about protecting business models and technologically barring competition.

Update: Time Warner has changed their policy and will support the Series 3 TiVo.

TiVo Desktop 2.3


TiVo Desktop 2.3 is out with the long promised features of being able to transfer video to your PSP and iPod. This is a cool upgrade to have, but for me, the coolest thing has been the ability to auto-transfer and auto-convert videos in general. It's nice that I can then stick the converted videos on an iPod, but one of the major features of TiVo Desktop that has been missing for me is the ability to reasonably archive footage that I am interested in. I would like to keep around videos of cycling races that I know will never be put on DVD or available via BitTorrent, but with previous versions of TiVo Desktop the size of the .tivo files are often over 2GB. With TiVo Desktop 2.3, I've been able to autotransfer all my favorite cycling races and have them compressed down to about 400MB/hour. Even better: the conversion removes the .tivo DRM, so you can actually play the video in something other than Windows Media Player, like QuickTime on a Mac. Before anyone cries, "Piracy!" let me note that pirates already offer much higher quality video at the same file size than TiVo Desktop produces. TiVo Desktop 2.3 is a tool that lets you watch your video on your devices much more than ever before.

The iPod integration is a bit better than the PSP integration, which is more the fault of Sony than the fault of TiVo. I've converted many videos, but transfer very few of them to my PSP because I don't want to spend the time plugging in my PSP, navigating to the MP_ROOT directory, and then copying in videos manually -- which includes having to manually rename the files to MPxxxxx.mp4 (unless something has changed). iTunes made me realize that I've become far too lazy for that. The PSP has no iTunes equivalent to make it easy for third-parties to deliver content, unless you count the software that Sony expects you to shell out an extra $20 for, and why would any company ever spend money to support that? The fact is, no one can save the PSP from Sony.

TiVo Desktop still lacks the polish of TV TiVo, but TiVo is relinquishing a bit of control over your video and that's a very good thing. Is it worth $24.95? I would say a qualified yes: $24.95 is cheap for video, but I expect more polish out of something I pay for.

TiVo Desktop 2.3



TiVo has announced the launch of TiVoCast, which is the same thing as vodcasts (video podcasts), except that TiVo has signed deals with specific content providers such as the NBA, New York Times, CNET, and iVillage. I've been subscribing to RocketBoom on my TiVo for six months now in the hopes that a launch like this would come about, though I am of mixed impressions on the specifics. TiVo seems to be taking the approach where they select the vodcasts that you get to view and those get added to the TiVo Showcase. What the announcement leaves out, though, is any mention of the thousands of other vodcasts on the Internet. I want my Strongbad E-mails and my NOVA!

And now it's here


tivobeta.jpgThe TiVo beta features I posted about yesterday are now being released to the general public. Either I'm getting slow or TiVo is getting fast, but as davextreme points out we're all still waiting for our high-def TiVos (their online FAQ still claims early 2006). You can signup at the Online Services Priority Request Form to try and jump ahead in line to get your TiVo updated with the new software.

TiVo beta stuff


I'm excited to see some of the TiVo Beta photos out on the Web. It looks like TiVo is partnering with Yahoo to link in weather, traffic, and photos into your TiVo. There is also podcast, Live365 radio, and Fandango support.

I see a lot of exciting potential here. Why watch the weather channel for your forecast when your local weather could be streamed to your TiVo and accessible on demand? How about watching trailers for movies to help you decide which movie to buy tickets for? To be clear, I don't think the first generation of these TiVo apps will do this, but they are a start towards erasing the divide between Internet content and TV content, combining instant access with easy viewing.

TiVo Download Trial experience


I watched my free TiVo download of Red Trousers last night. TiVo is experimenting with letting users download video over the Internet and this free offering was either a beta test, publicity, or both. Red Trousers wasn't exactly the best video to judge the new technology. It's been awhile since I've last saw it so I don't know if some of the poor video quality was because it is a cheaply shot documentary about Hong Kong stuntmen or because TiVo compressed the heck of it.

The video quality is akin to VCDs -- it doesn't really look like the Best/High/Medium/Basic settings that you might be used to. It doesn't have the big blocky jumbles that you really notice on Medium and Basic, but it is clearly lower resolution than Best. Text is bit harder to read and there were a lot of edge artifacts. There were also spots in the video that seemed jerky and the color levels seemed off (blacks weren't right), but I don't know if that was the compression or the way Red Trousers was shot.

There is a blue recording icon when you are downloading the video. Unlike streaming video from other TiVos, you have to wait until the entire video downloads before you can start watching it, which probably means they don't think they can transfer it enough to show it in real time. I have no idea how long it took, but it doesn't matter too much as you can still record other shows at the same time. It would probably be more annoying if you were trying to have people over to watch the video and you were all sitting around waiting for the blue icon to go away.

It's hard to rate the overall the TiVo download technology as this wasn't the full experience. How much will it cost? Will you get to keep the video? Is this targeted at movies or TV shows? How will I choose what video I am downloading? I'm a bit annoyed at the lower video quality, which is probably enough to make me pass this up for movies, but for the right price the sit-on-your-butt convenience might be worth it.

Yet-Another TiVo


TiVo has a deal for rewards program members where you can get a 140-hour TiVo for free if you pay for a 1-year or lifetime subscription -- naturally, the TiVo-hoor that I am, I was on the phone within minutes ordering one. My little 40-hour was getting strained w/ four people using it, and my other 40-hour unit is still out on loan to a friend. Besides, now I should be able to keep an entire season's worth of MythBusters, no sweat.

There isn't enough room in my TV stand to store two TiVos, so I'm am offering my Series 2 40-hour unit out as a lender to friends with one condition: two weeks only (otherwise, I can't lend it to someone else).

Eventually I plan on using the 40-hour TiVo for testing the experimental Home Media Engine. Last time I played with this feature, my TiVo got extra slow and was more crash-prone, so it will be nice to be able to play with Google Maps and Flickr on my TV without worrying about stability.

Woohoo (I think)


Comcast and TiVo seal the deal | PVRblog

Not sure how this one affects my life -- I do use Comcast and TiVo, but I'm not a fan of digital cable, so my current analog cable + TiVo works fine for me. Perhaps this will mean better HDTV options than the ghastly expensive DirectTV HDTiVo. I'm still wondering where that whole NetFlix + TiVo thing is.

Never learn II


They're never on our side, are they: TiVo Will No Longer Skip Past Advertisers



DirecTV delt a big blow to TiVo by announcing that they are going to use DVR boxes from NDS, starting in 2005 (both NDS and DirecTV are owned by News Corp.). This pretty much explains why DirecTV hasn't updated their TiVo boxes to use Series 2 features (despite having the proper hardware), and perhaps explains why their HD TiVo option is overpriced and un-enticing.

I'm disappointed in the move because it demonstrates how anti-competitive the TV market is. Cable broadcasters have kept TiVo out of the digital cable market, which requires proprietary decoders, and instead have released their own branded decoders, and now both the DirecTV and Dish offerings will be no better.

To me this is akin to having to purchase a VCR from your cable company. I would like to stay with analog cable forever, but it probably isn't long before Comcast eliminates this offering entirely.

TiVo dented by DirecTV move - News - ZDNet

TiVo is now giving the Home Media Option, which allows you to view photos, play music, and schedule your TiVo over the Internet, for free. This should eliminate some of the price/feature disparity that TiVo had with ReplayTV, now that you don't need to pony up $99.

Now I'll have to debate between a new Series 2 TiVo or a DirectTiVo (possibly with High Def). Darn it.


I thought about this a little bit more, and my current theory is that one big reason TiVO is making HMO free is because of the online scheduling feature. When they do launch the movie/program download service, I think it will be an important part of their model to allow people at work to select a couple of movies, and then have those movies downloading into the TiVo and ready for them when they get home.

Of course, with no TiVos currently coming with built-in ethernet, who knows if the combined Home Media Options will encourage people to purchase add-on hardware.

One clarification: the HD DirectTiVo does not have Series 2 capabilities, according to what I have read.

Boo Comcast


For a couple of months I had digital cable with Comcast, but I quit using it because the Motorola digital cable boxes managed to decrease the quality of my TV viewing experience. Comcast had an opportunity to improve this by going with a TiVo DVR, but instead it looks like they are going to try and do their own DVR using an upgraded version of the crappy Motorola platform.
Comcast takes on TiVo | CNET

Time to get ethernet for my TiVo


Found this article link to on PVRBlog: Video Extraction from a Tivo. All you need is a Series 1 TiVo and ethernet hacked in and it looks like you can extract video to mpeg fairly easily. Given that everything is in reruns right now, this would be a good time to get my TiVo upgraded.