Just when you thought the FCC and Charter had put the final nail in CableCARD’s coffin, Samsung reveals plans (embedded below) to produce a hybrid cable+OTT set-top box for a fall 2013 launch. Assuming the FCC gets around to granting TiVo’s analog tuner waiver request in a timely fashion.
Smart Media Player, an innovative product with a compelling consumer value proposition based upon seamless integration of desirable services and reduction of monthly cable equipment rental fees. Smart Media Player will access unidirectional (not interactive) linear cable content through a CableCARD, connect to interactive, over-the-top services and Internet content through the consumer’s broadband Internet subscription, provide a free electronic program guide, and offer a seamless, integrated Samsung user interface.
Of course, given CableCARD’s history, most CE companies threw in the towel long ago — with manufacturers like Sony, LG, and Panasonic abandoning the technology (to the presumed delight of cable operators). So it’s refreshing to see Samsung take a flier on this previously poorly supported tech in producing a convergence device that liberates consumers from inferior cable set-tops. And it’s exactly the kind of box I’d like in my clutter-free kitchen. But with the FCC giving Charter a pass on CableCARD support, we wonder if Samsung should even bother at this point. Perhaps they’re counting on logic to prevail, as both the CEA and TiVo have lodged protests against the bungled decision:
The Bureau’s Order, like the Charter Request, deals in assumptions and hopes rather than in facts. The Commission cannot let stand this nullification of law and regulation, without process or public comment.
It’s come to my attention that Bose will soon launch the next entrant into their QuietComfort range of noise cancelling headsets. However, unlike the current QC 15 and QC 3, the incoming QuietComfort 20 moves to an in-ear design. While I’d have preferred an update to the on-ear or around-ear models, I’m told the QC 20 have redesigned tips that are über comfortable and imagine the frequent flier set will eat up these up despite the $300 price point (and battery/controller appendage that sits about 2″ from the plug).
In other unreleased Bose product news, it appears the SoundLink Bluetooth speaker will be revised with two new models — following in the footsteps of Jambox, by releasing both a handheld model ($200) and a larger unit to replace the existing model ($300). And, speaking of Bluetooth, we’re told future iterations of the Bose home theater lines will incorporate streaming capabilities. But the time horizon on those is a bit longer… and probably won’t satisfy my immediate need for enhanced TV sound in our new home.
We at the Ward household like trying new things—or at least my wife and kids tolerate me periodically tinkering with our home computing, entertainment, and networking configurations. Entertainment-wise, we’ve been using Roku for years and enjoy the Verizon FiOS TV DVR system quite a bit. Back in the day, before Verizon and HDTV, we enjoyed our networked ReplayTV DVRs and Netflix DVD subscription. So we’ve appreciated time-shifted TV and renting/streaming video for a long time.
Recently we got the opportunity to test out the Boxee Cloud DVR thanks to Zatz Not Funny’s very own Dave Zatz. I ended up replacing our living room Roku with the Boxee so we could get some real-life experience, including input from the kids who are the primary users of the now-removed Roku. We didn’t replace the FiOS cable box, mainly because we rely on a myriad of cable channels that the Boxee can’t yet support. But that’s a discussion for a little later.
The Boxee Cloud DVR ($99) is a standalone device that has the following features: ATSC over-the-air (OTA) and Clear QAM cable tuner, the “cloud” digital video recorder (DVR) for OTA channels, and a small selection of network and online services.
After using the Boxee for a few weeks, Continue Reading…
Prior to the division’s potential sale, Logitech’s last Harmony remote control models have started arriving at Best Buy. The Harmony Ultimate and (soon) the Harmony Smart Control join the Touch and 650 on a revamped retail display. Both new models ship with a the “Harmony Hub” – which appears to represent the evolution of the Harmony Link, bringing smartphone integration and RF capabilities. At $350, the Ultimate is too rich for my blood. And having spent time with the Touch, it’s hard to justify at even $250. However, the Smart Control at $130 appears quite interesting. It ships with a screenless Harmony remote and that aforementioned Hub. Knowing my smartphone blows away the Ultimate/Touch’s display in presentation and responsiveness, this seems like a fairly clever hybrid solution. One I intend on checking out…