Archives For DVR

x1voice

Following in the footsteps of DirecTV, Comcast is the latest provider to bring voice navigation to the television:

The X1 Remote app first launched in mid-2012, giving X1 customers the ability to control the TV, navigate Xfinity On Demand choices, search for programs and tune to TV shows and movies directly from their iPhones. In addition to uniting the TV screen with customers’ mobile devices, the latest version adds the ability to issue voice commands for guide navigation and content discovery. For example, users can say “When is the next Phillies game?” or “Show me all action movies on HBO.”

Continue Reading…

DISH Hopper Gets Social

Dave Zatz —  May 29, 2013 — 1 Comment

dish-hopper-social

DISH ups the ante on “social” television today with the introduction of Hopper functionality that wraps video within Twitter stats and social feeds:

The new Social app is accessible via DISH’s “quick launch” bar (to access, press the blue button on remote control) on the Hopper. Customers can link up to four Twitter and four Facebook accounts to the app. Viewers have three options for the type of content displayed in the status bar, which is located on the right side of the TV screen when the app is open:

  • Now Watching: shows the Twitter feed relevant to the show or channel the user is currently watching.
  • My Twitter: displays the user’s personal Twitter feed (if logged-in) and gives them full Twitter functionality, including the ability to “Favorite” a tweet, reply to a tweet, retweet a post and create a new Tweet.
  • My Facebook: displays the user’s personal Facebook feed (also requires log-in) and gives users the ability to post a status update, with the option of selecting one of several pre-drafted, easy-to-use updates.

While I still find myself somewhat lukewarm on in the idea of polluting populating my screen with Facebook or Twitter updates, DISH’s approach appears far more customizable and sophisticated then the competition. Not to mention the stats from The Collective are fascinating – especially should the app extend beyond live television and into DVR recordings.

VMS

Back at CES, we admired Verizon’s upcoming six-tuner IPTV Media Server (VMS) and thin clients. And while it appears “soon” is off the table, the company has put a stake in the ground at NAB for a September launch. FiOS TV has long offered a whole-home DVR experience, but this evolved solution takes on more of a true hub-and-spoke approach with a central server (and FiOS router) feeding extenders sprinkled about the home. Also revealed at NAB is a VMS recording capacity of 100 hours, equating to perhaps a 750GB or 1TB drive. Along with the new hardware, we expect Verizon to continue layering on OTT content as they’ve done with Twitter and Pandora. Of course, TiVo offers FiOS customers a compelling whole home solution with their Premiere and Mini platform (that I run)… but it requires a certain amount of upfront cash along with a willingness to understand and overcome retail CableCARD shenanigans – representing an ever-shrinking number of customers.

Fellow tech enthusiast and DC neighbor Joel Ward joins ZNF as a Features contributor. Beyond ZNF, Joel can be found at Joel Explains It All and @joelsef on Twitter.

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.

Boxee Cloud DVR hardware

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…

directv-voice-search

According to Variety, DirecTV has been working on a Nuance-powered iPhone app update to bring speech recognition to HR24 and newer set-top boxes. My initial reaction was that it’s nothing more than a clever, but not very practical, application of Siri-like skills. Yet, upon reflection, being able to change channel via station name, rather than researching a corresponding number I probably don’t know, seems quite compelling. Natural language interactivity might even come in handy when attempting to determine when a given show airs. However, I don’t imagine voice control would be the most precise or efficient way to schedule and manage DVR recordings and I’m not particularly interested in finding “a Tom Cruise movie this weekend.”