fios-quantum-router

Back in March, we learned Verizon was prepping a home automation-centric router. And, based on their FCC confidentiality request, it appeared they’d been targeting a summer release. While we’re not quite there, the unannounced Greenwave G1100 has popped up in one pal’s online account as the FiOS Quantum Gateway. Based on its presentation, we assume like an Actiontec router, the G1100 handles both television and Internet… in addition to at least the Zigbee home automation communication protocol, as indicated by the emblazoned label previously submitted to the FCC. Of course, we don’t know if this is a simple expansion of Verizon’s existing home suite… or some sort of new collaboration. Given home automation’s current retail struggles, acquiring this functionality via a provider like Verizon could very well remain the preferred sales channel.

tivo-roamio-ota-vudu

It’s shaping up to be a splendid fall for TiVo (and us subscribers). As if a TiVo Mini fee adjustment, mega rack mountable DVR with hard drive RAID, and Android streaming weren’t enough, two highly desirable apps will be joining the party… perhaps as early as next month. Sources indicate, and seemingly corroborated by forum chatter, that Amazon Instant and Vudu are on the docket.

Amazon will finally be a “real” TiVo app with Prime access and extend beyond Premiere and Roamio units to also include Mini streaming. Of course, if the technical details play out as anticipated, what we gain in convenience we may lose in quality when migrating from the download to stream model. Then again, anyone who purchased a TiVo Roamio manufactured after January 1st, 2014 has had NO Amazon at all - just a box logo covered by a sticker. So the benefit will be even greater for a subset of subscribers, irrespective of video bitrate.

Further, TiVo will finally get into the Ultraviolet game with Vudu who’s been known for high quality movie streaming along with that UV digital locker. Not only do both of these apps generally add value to the TiVo platform, it ups the ante for those contemplating the new Roamio OTA targeted at cord cutters. Further, should Best Buy’s 500 store experiment pan out, we could envision a scenario where this model ends up at TiVo retailer Walmart… who happens to be the company behind Vudu (and exclusive distributor of the dead OTA Boxee Cloud DVR).

Catching up with Simple.TV

Adam Miarka —  August 29, 2014 — 5 Comments

simpletv-home

Although our initial impressions of the dual tuner Simple.TV was less than stellar, the company has been hard at work not only updating the little cord cutting, place shifting black box, but also launching new features. Recently, I had the chance to talk to Simple.TV CEO Mark Ely to discuss some of these changes.

First, from a software perspective, Simple.TV will be moving away from Silverlight as the default player outside of Safari on Mac. Currently, if you’re using IE, Chrome, or Firefox on a Windows computer, you are required to install Silverlight for video playback of your shows or live TV. Chromebooks are not supported at the moment. A move away from Silverlight and to a more compliant HTML5 video player will allow Simple.TV to expand their device playback on Windows, but also for Chromebooks. Continue Reading…

wink-relay-controller

While Home Depot’s sell date may be 9/1, wireless Wink LED bulbs have started popping up on store shelves. And, along with them, is some very interesting box art… including the yet-to-be announced Wink Relay Controller. By way of Amazon and a Google cache, we learn the incoming device features:

  • 4.3″ multi-touch screen allows access to all your smart products via the Wink app
  • 2x smart light switches can be customized to turn lights, scenes, or other smart products on/off
  • Temperature, humidity, and proximity sensors put even more data at your fingertips
  • Microphone and speaker for intercom functionality (coming soon)
  • Replaces most single or double light switches

Continue Reading…

2014-08-28 13.10.51

After noticing that a few of my local Home Depot stores had the $15 Wink compatible GE Link LEDs in stock (60w variety), I decided to stop by during lunch to see if they were actually there. Lo and behold, I was able to find some for sale and brought them home!

The GE Links come in a simple box that gives the normal specs for an LED light bulb. A nice little graphic indicates that the bulb is compatible with the Wink Hub. On the back of the box are additional features of the bulb which include

  • Remote operation
  • Sync with other Wink products
  • Automated lighting / Scheduled lighting
  • Dimming ability
  • Usage of up to 22.8 years

Continue Reading…

By way of a new TiVo support note, we learn that TiVo has indeed been preparing for the inevitable MPEG4 transition as cable operators look to reclaim bandwidth (beyond dastardly SDV).

In October 2014, Comcast will transition its system in Augusta, Georgia, from MPEG2 format to MPEG4. This transition means that cable channels in this region will not be viewable on older equipment that is incompatible with the new format.

Roamio and Premiere units are ready to tune – having already cut their teeth on smaller scale channel conversions on Cox and FiOS. Unfortunately, TiVo Stream and Roamio Pro/Plus transcoding won’t be ready until 2015.

Streaming functionality will return in early 2015, when a software update that provides compatibility with MPEG4 will be released.

Sadly, due to innate hardware limitations, TiVo Series 1, 2, and 3/HD owners are mostly out of luck. And those in markets with MPEG4 cable programming are advised to upgrade to a newer TiVo or cable company-provided set-top.

sonos-boost

As Sonos consolidates amidst IPO speculation, by discontinuing the matte Black Sub and shortly dropping the wireless Bridge requirement, we’ve latched onto two new products.

From a source comes the screengrab above, which is the first reference I’ve seen to a Sonos Boost. While it could be an entirely new device, I wonder if might simply be a rebrand of the Connect products (used to network existing speakers) or even the Bridge itself given its Settings positioning. The only reference we’ve been able to dig up is this 2013 trademark filing. Which in turn…

…revealed the Sonos Playbase. Like the Boost, I can only guess what it might be (or when it will hit). Could this be an all-in-one speaker TV stand like the Bose Solo or Zvox line? Or some sort of dock for the portable, rechargeable Sonos speaker I want so badly?

Meanwhile, I’ve seen a few existing Sonos models take a second trip through the FCC - suggesting upcoming inline upgrades to bring beefed up wireless capabilities.