I have no doubt we are building a very, very, strong strategic asset and to the extent the best interest of shareholders are served by providing an exit through acquisition from a strategic player who sees the fundamental uniqueness of what we’ve created, obviously that will get all the consideration it deserves.

Tom Rogers, TiVo CEO

youtube-rating

Following in the footsteps of Netflix, YouTube has just launched their Video Quality Report to rate, and possibly shame, broadband providers as the net neutrality and peering debate boils over. In my ‘hood, Verizon performs admirably, with its worst showing 8PM – 11PM with 93% of streams coming thru in high def, whereas the Comcast Xfinity service performs slightly worse across the board, bottoming out at 89% HD 8PM – 10PM. Granted, Comcast offers lower tiers of service than Verizon (as I discovered from my mother’s originally, painfully slow broadband connection… that we upgraded.) Historically, I’ve had YouTube buffering annoyances on FiOS at both my former and current locations, but that seems to have been sorted at some point – and I doubt it was ever about bandwidth, rather it was most likely in how the traffic was being handled. Google must agree as they currently rate Verizon’s regional fiber performance as YouTube HD Verified:

Users on YouTube HD Verified networks should expect smooth playback on YouTube most of the time, even when watching videos in high definition (720p).

NFL Now Amazon Roku

Amazon and Roku are officially on board as distribution partners for the National Football League’s soon-to-be-launched digital network NFL Now. That’s good news if you’re a football fan because it means there will be a lot more ways to watch NFL Now when it debuts in August that don’t include maxing out your mobile data plan.

When NFL Now was first announced, the League highlighted Verizon as a partner (and later Microsoft and Yahoo), and the ability for consumers to download the Verizon NFL Mobile app for video viewing over the company’s LTE network. Verizon plans to stream NFL Now content using multicast technology. However, while multicast streaming should mitigate bandwidth concerns on Verizon’s side, it presumably won’t lessen the impact on subscribers’ data plans. A few hours of mobile TV watching could easily take you right over your data cap.

As a reminder, here’s how NFL Now will work… now on Kindle Fire TV, Kindle Fire, and the Roku platform: Continue Reading…

giik-headphones

Meet giik, a new line of thoughtful mobile accessories by geeky road warriors such as ourselves. While you can find similar products from both well known manufactures and inexpensive imports, the folks behind giik up the ante as each widget features “+1″ capabilities — so that headphone splitter also supports dual mics and the aux car cable brings speakerphone capabilities.

giik, pronounced “geek” not gick, devices ship with a 1-2 year warranty and are currently available via Amazon, Fry’s, and direct from the company.

TiVo continues to execute on their multiscreen strategy, having just cranked out a significant update to their iOS app. In addition to the requisite iPhone and iPad bug fixes, the revised app features:

  • New design for iOS7
  • New Facebook feed in “What To Watch”
  • New YouTube video feeds in “What To Watch”

By linking both my YouTube and (wife’s) Facebook account, new panels of suggested video appear in the sprightlier What To Watch section… with options to playback video on your TiVo-connected television or directly on the phone. Also interesting is the “Shared by Friends” Facebook heading – as it leaves the door open for other means of pulling in social video. As I’m blogging from an airport terminal, I haven’t yet had a chance to fully explore the features… so consider this a community project and let us know what you’ve discovered in the comments below.

Redbox will close over 500 of its movie-rental kiosks this year

hbo-amazon-instant

As announced a few weeks back, Amazon has begun streaming HBO content… without requiring an HBO subscription. The exclusive, multi-year deal has a few caveats, tho. First, we’re mostly talking back catalog content here, with a three year dark period after broadcast. So you’re still going to have to borrow that HBO GO password for Game of Thrones. But what a back catalog it is, with series like The Wire, Deadwood, and the Sopranos to keep you entertained for weeks, if not more. Second, you’ll need an Amazon Prime account — which currently runs $99/year. In addition to two day shipping, it features a variety of multimedia benefits including the Kindle “Lending Library” and all-you-can-eat video streaming… that has largely replaced Netflix in my household  this year given a decent and comparable library, along with the option to fill in the gaps with current season purchases. If only I could get my Fire TV to stop dropping the network connection mid-show.