Mohu Channels TV adapter

For all of the ink spent on Aereo (and I’m responsible for my fair share), the relatively quiet efforts of Mohu could end up being just as disruptive to the TV service market. Mohu has already had a successful run with its line of over-the-air TV antennas, but the company is ready to take its technology a step further. As Janko points out over at GigaOM, Mohu has just completed a Kickstarter campaign to help with the development of a new product called the Channels TV adapter. The adapter will combine OTA channels fed through an HD antenna (bought separately) with web video apps like Netflix and Hulu, and it will offer a personalized program guide including any channels and apps a user wants to highlight.

If Mohu can deliver a clean experience with the new Channels TV adapter – and that’s certainly a big if, particularly when it comes to switching between OTA and web content – the company will have a very compelling product offering. For the contingent of TV viewers who want broadcast TV and their $8 Netflix subscription, the Mohu device will put all of that content in one place on the living-room flat screen. Mohu isn’t offering DVR or multiscreen services (at least not yet), but it will appeal to the same audience with the Channels TV adapter as Aereo has with its monthly service. And with Mohu, there’s no additional monthly fee, and no cloud of legal drama.  Continue Reading…

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