DirecTV Launches DVR-Shifting Nomad

Mari Silbey —  October 11, 2011 — 7 Comments

DirecTV Nomad

While Roku is getting the big headlines this morning with its HBO Go support and a sub-$50 streamer, DirecTV has a newsworthy launch going on as well. As Jeff Baumgartner points out, the product page is now live for the company’s Nomad ($149) product that lets subscribers transfer DVR recordings to a PC, iPhone or iPod Touch. (Macs, iPads and Android devices coming soon)

This is reminiscent of a Motorola gadget Dave and I wrote about years ago, but that product never made it to market. Instead, I believe the Motorola Mover was absorbed by Motorola’s Televation platform, which is reportedly coming to Comcast soon. That service will include live, linear streaming to mobile devices in your home. In contrast, the Nomad lets your store recorded video so you can take it with you on the go.

The guys at DBSTalk got their hands on a Nomad box late last month, and they note that transcoding and copying video from your DirecTV DVR requires about the same amount of time it would take to watch the content in the first place. However, you can set series to “autodownload” so that video is ready for transfer shortly after recording. Here are some of the other critical specs per the DirecTV product page.

  • Sync with up to 5 mobile devices over your in-home Wi-Fi connection
  • Record “up to 20 hours” of programming for viewing on a mobile device
  • Content reportedly transcoded to 720×480
  • One Ethernet and 2 USB ports included
  • 7.2″(w), 1.3″(h), 4.7″(d), 0.5 lbs

7 responses to DirecTV Launches DVR-Shifting Nomad

  1. It doesn’t work on Jailbroken devices, just an FYI.

    However there is a patch for Cablevision and Time Warner’s ios apps to allow it them to bypass the jailbreak checks, so it’s only a matter of time.

    For $150 plus tax, I am not even considering it.

  2. “transcoding and copying video from your DirecTV DVR requires about the same amount of time it would take to watch the content in the first place.”

    So the night before a 6 hour flight you need to dedicate 6 hours to synching your iPad? Yup, next…

  3. I’ve had my nomad for a few days now and it’s worth every penny. What people don’t realize yet is that you’re hardly every at home when something is recording to your DVR. The nomad has a “auto-download series” feature that automatically detects when an episode in a series is on any of your DVRs and automatically prepares them for you.

    All you have to do when you get home is launch the nomad app on your phone/tablet and the shows start downloading (takes approx 4 minutes for a 1 hr show).

    I watched last night’s episode of Castle on my train ride into work this morning and the quality was great! Now I’m looking forward to my train ride back.

  4. It’s an interesting product that sounds more TiVoToGo than Slingbox. It was originally thought only select shows/channels could be pulled and transcoded, so the fact that everything is available is pretty hot. As long as the transfers and transcoding can be automated, the small time to transfer isn’t a huge deal. The resolution isn’t the greatest – on an iPhone it’d be fine, on an iPad or computer… I don’t know. Regardless, if I were a DirecTV customer I’d pick it up. $99 would be better, but $150 isn’t insane. But they will have a hard time marketing it I think.

  5. Too bad there’s no “high speed dubbing” 2X option for the initial transcode though. I guess they had to K.I.S.S. to fit this in a $150 box.

    I would of rather seen them update DirecTV2PC software to add this transcoding functionality. My PC has computational power just sitting there, so why not use that rather then spending another $150 on yet another box to take up space, draw power and tie up an Ethernet port.

  6. I for one think this makes it even harder to remain a TiVo owner especially for those just discovering the power and usefulness of dvrs. Tivotogo is one of the last differentiators out there and my success rate has been 50% with the unsupported Mac versions out there. But since I have sunk costs into Tivo with lifetime on three units and a great cable price package I won’t switch.

  7. With TiVoToGo on my PC I get a few things:

    1) I can transcode things for viewing on my iOS devices.
    2) I can backup shows on my PC for later viewing on my Tivo, essentially extending the disk space on my TiVo.
    3) I can remove the DRM from the transferred copies easily if I want. Hey, its a PC. It’s hard to keep things bottled up.

    Only the first of these is something the Nomad can offer. Of course DirecTV may view this as an advantage since they don’t really want you to be able to do 2 or 3.

    I use TTG all the time, but honestly I no longer physically sync content to my devices very often. I just have TTG put the assets in a folder and then use AirPlay to access it later over WiFi/3G when I find myself wanting to watch something on the road. Requires less pre-planning, and of course no transfer time at all. The only time I actually load things up is when I’m getting on an airplane (for now).

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