Aug 18

Amidst Roku and Fire TV TiVo app chatter, comes word that changes are headed to TiVo’s original (and only) DVR extender – the TiVo Mini.

I’d been hoping for a hardware refresh of perhaps an even smaller form factor, with a more secure power jack, and WiFi to hit RCN’s wishlist (and my kitchen TV). Alas, the only imminent adjustment is in the pricing department. Details remain light, so I’m left to speculate that the $6 monthly service fee will be reduced… or removed. While I’m fairly confident the fee is set to change, it’s not yet clear what will happen to hardware pricing. In a past era, as Replay TV flipped service fees requirements on and off, hardware pricing scaled (as did consumer confusion). So it TiVo were to totally drop the Mini service fees, I could see the little STB itself moving up from $100 to say $180. Continue Reading…

verizon-math

For three of the last four years, I’ve been fortunate to live in markets where there’s choice in Internet and cable. Because where there’s competition, consumers generally see better rates and service. After Cox was unable to effectively support CableCARD in relation to SDV, despite contrary ra-ra reports to the FCC (indicating no complaints), we made our first jump to Verizon FiOS. A year or so later, when we flipped our 1976 house for new construction, we once again had a choice – that time between Comcast and Verizon. And, believe it or not, a deciding factor in choosing Verizon over Comcast was their decision to block HBO GO on Roku.

Fast forward two years, my Verizon agreement is up today. Which both VZ and Comcast must know given the quantity of mailers we’ve received these last couple weeks. 30 days ago, it’d have been a hard decision to make. But Ryan Block’s painful attempt to cancel service and Scott Lewis’ difficulty in getting CableCARD in his TiVo going, in conjunction with Comcast’s continued HBO GO Roku blockade, sealed the deal… despite promises of several hundred-dollar gift cards and the real interesting Xfinity plan (displayed below) of basic cable, Internet, and HBO GO (that I couldn’t actually watch on my preferred streamer). Continue Reading…

By way of the TiVo Community and whispers on the wind, we learn that TiVo intends to launch a new, higher-end DVR at CEDIA early next month… despite laying off their in-house industrial design hardware team. As to what comes after Roamio Plus and Pro, one can only guess. Assuming TiVo even sticks with the cutesy moniker for the custom install crowd, they’ve previously appended both Elite and XL to higher capacity models. First and foremost, that’s exactly what we expecting here. Whereas the Roamio Pro tops out at 3TB, I have reason to believe this incoming model will provide significantly more recording capacity, although it’s not entirely clear if this is accomplished via a single 4-6TB drive OR multiple drives working in concert for outrageous amounts of storage.

Beyond the hard drive bump, might we see 6 more tuners, powered by a second CableCARD, to take on the ridiculous? Signs point to no, but perhaps there are other surprises in store. I know I still miss that old Series 3 OLED display – it just oozed orange coolness (assuming your DVR wasn’t in a cabinet). Not to mention, maybe TiVo’s top unit should ship with learning Slide remote. And we wonder if it’s still too early for 4k. Guess we’ll find out in a few short weeks… What’s on your hardware wishlist?

Samsung acquires SmartThings for a reported $200M

As if we didn’t have enough smart home hub entrants, Peq appears poised to launched. Pronounced “peek”, we believe this newcomer is Best Buy’s answer to Lowe’s Iris and Staples Connect – a home automation solution we’ve been tracking since January. While sources originally indicated we’d see both a fee-free tier and subscription options, Peq marketing materials refer only to a monthly fee… which immediately puts it at a retail disadvantage compared to Staples, Wink, and SmartThings.

USE PĒQ FOR JUST $9.99 A MONTH. NO CONTRACT.

  • Make your own custom rules to personalize your service
  • Receive alerts via e-mail or text message
  • Add additional devices anytime, no additional monthly fee
  • Get ongoing updates to your apps and devices
  • Stream live video and record & store videos and pictures
  • Access pēq’s dedicated customer care team seven days a week

Unlike Revolv‘s extreme $299 hardware pricing, Peq has bundles starting at $120, that include a Netgear hub housing the requisite radios and likely local logic. And, taking a page from SmartThings book, Peq will offer up a variety of branded sensors… which is what a source indicates Best Buy is banking on. Continue Reading…

amazon-fire-tv-deal

While it’s maybe not quite the deal one can find with Roku or Chromecast, the up-and-coming Amazon Fire TV is momentarily discounted by 15 bucks to an all-time low $84. Featuring well designed hardware and regular updates thus far, Fire TV has replaced my Apple TV in the family room and is now our go-to box for Amazon Instant streaming. Having said that, there remain a number of app deficiencies, despite recent additions and promises of HBO GO this year.