RCN TiVo Update On The Way

Dave Zatz —  April 12, 2014 — 10 Comments

rcn-tivo

RCN TiVo rentals are poised to receive an iteration of the (glitchy) TiVo Spring Update. Whereas us retail owners have been receiving version 20.4, RCN TiVo hardware in DC and PA will be pushed 20.8 beginning next week – with their entire footprint expected to upgrade within a month. Both updates focus on under-the-hood improvements and more TiVo “back office” network fault tolerance, resolving open issues and setting the stage for follow-on enhancements expected later this year. Beyond the unseen, RCN customers will soon be able to simultaneously beam VOD content from a hub TiVo DVR to multiple satellite extenders (with a 6-tuner TiVo eventually being made available). Additional visible changes include a more detailed What To Watch Now discovery screen and slightly quicker TiVo Mini tuning. Of course, I still believe the best way to get TiVo is directly thru a cable company like RCN — they’re far more motivated to make sure the install goes smoothly and customers have far more flexibility to return, replace, or upgrade as needed.

A Tale Of Three Remotes

Dave Zatz —  April 12, 2014 — 8 Comments

While we rarely have the inclination to tackle a full-on review (like Adam), the $99 Amazon Fire TV streamer that we tracked so closely ahead of launch is worthy of a few posts. Overall, it’s a solid debut… but not quite ready to displace the similarly priced Roku 3 or Apple TV, for those that have already outfitted their televisions.

I’m always fascinated by the decisions companies make in regards to the remote control, which is the primary interface to their TV-based experience. Take the now defunct Sezmi for example – they originally promoted a unique and beautiful remote… only to launch with an off-the-shelf skinned variant to save a few bucks. While that alone didn’t sink the product, a clunky clicker earns no fans. By comparison, TiVo is quite well known for their iconic and practical peanut… still going strong well over a decade now.

In the small streamer category, and without the need for channel number buttons, all entrants have gone for similarly small remotes. None more minimalistic than Apple’s metal sliver of a thing. 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…

TiVo Seeks to Prove Why It Still Matters

Apr 6

titanfall-stats

After recording my first flawless victory, in terms of K/D ratio, and frequently landing the top spot in Hardpoint gameplay, it’s time to retire my Titanfall mech. As you probably know, Titanfall launched a month ago as the first, big exclusive Xbox One title and the game is also notable by forgoing a single player campaign, offering only online combat. In fact, its release finally compelled me to pick up the Xbone One via Titanfall bundle on day one.

In terms of gameplay, the Titanfall controls are mostly spot on – I’d say pretty close to flawless when playing as a human and generally very good when strapped into your mech. Available weaponry is well balanced, although as with most shooters, snipers will be frustrated when they’re taken down at range by a mere assault rifle. And satchel charges do supersize damage – including usage as a more effective grenade. Continue Reading…

The TiVo spring update has been released to TiVo Roamio, Premiere, and Mini owners who registered their boxes via the priority list. Sadly, there doesn’t appear to be a lack of network intel as 20.4.1 primarily addresses open issues versus deploying dramatic new customer facing features (that I often learn of prior to release). Some highlights from VP Margret Schmidt’s release notes:

  • addressed issues where customers were seeing V112 errors when trying to stream between boxes
  • improved interaction with HDMI, and fixed cases where TiVo Mini was rebooting due to HDMI issues
  • improvements to Netflix stability
  • improvements to Roamio WiFi connectivity
  • created a new V311 error message when an app requires 720p support, and the box has that resolution disabled
  • improved handling and messaging of C133 errors
  • VOD and apps can now be launched in C133 mode

In conjunction with those dastardly C133 errors, which have been seen with far more frequency in the last year, TiVo has also Continue Reading…