Archives For DVR

A few weeks back, the USPTO published TiVo’s latest patent: Program Shortcuts, which is effectively an update to their 2009 filing. As a non-patent attorney industry observer, I’ve seen substantial resources wasted litigating a variety of obvious, generic functionality that perhaps should be free of protection. Indeed, generally speaking, “bookmarking” isn’t new or unique … across a variety of platforms, including a long history of favoriting set-top channels, setting upcoming show reminders, and tagging On Demand video content for future viewing.

With the soap box behind us, TiVo’s Program Shortcuts patent does indeed provide some interesting clues as to their upcoming direction. And, given the refiling, beyond reassigning the patent from TiVo employees to TiVo itself, one can assume the company is both serious about the described functionality and presumably closer to implementation. From the abstract: Continue Reading…

Final Location

Lets try this again, shall we?

If you caught my first look at the dual tuner Simple TV, you’ll know that the product fell short of my expectations. A combination of fan issues and software instability led me to question if the dual tuner was actually ready for release. The idea for a networked DVR is sound, but the execution simply failed. In the end, I returned the Simple.TV hoping future updates might resolve the open issues.

Last week, a startup out of Canada entered the same playing field. Tablo TV has made similar promises as Simple TV, an easy way to record Over-The-Air (OTA) TV signals with playback to multiple devices. And the setup is essentially the same for Tablo TV: One part Slingbox, one part DVR. Like rolling your own Aereo with a better UI and higher video quality, without those pesky regional restrictions.

You connect an antenna and hard drive (or two) to the Tablo TV box, scan for OTA channels, and then start watching TV. There is no HDMI connection from the Tablo to your TV. Everything is done over a network connection and within the apps Tablo provides. Why no HDMI? Continue Reading…

verizon-vms1

First unveiled at CES 2013, the Verizon Media Server (VMS) has finally started shipping under “Quantum TV” via a “phased roll-out” in select markets . The IPTV DVR hub maintains the original 6-tuners and 1 terabyte or storage as originally pitched. Yet, by bundling two units for a reasonable $32/mo, the networked solution seamlessly expands to 12 tuners housing 2 terabytes of recording storage. Unfortunately, unlike existing FiOS DVRs the new VMS doesn’t currently support additional USB or eSATA storage. Each VMS supports up to five extenders (think TiVo Mini or DISH Joey), running $10 a pop. While the product line doesn’t currently feature Xbox/Roku app clients or remote placeshifting, à la DISH Hopper or TiVo Roamio, we know Verizon has been evaluating this sort of functionality via a router sidecar … and Verizon’s hardware partner Arriola has licensed Slingbox technology. Continue Reading…

There goes the Hopper: Dish agrees to limit ad skipping in Disney deal