Goodnight Oyster, Amazon Preps “Kindle Unlimited” Subscription

The Slingbox M1 has arrived and, as expected, Echostar’s smallest, lowest priced placeshifter packs WiFi… along with a variety of software enhancements across the board. As General Manager Michael Hawkey tells me, they intend to significantly grow their footprint with the $150 M1 and associated marketing: “Go big or go home.” While I can’t say for sure what the “M” stands for, amidst increased competition from all corners, their goal is to move beyond road warriors and sports fanatics (often one in the same) to target mainstream, millennials, and mobility.

Like all Slingboxen, the M1 is designed to relay one’s home television content to other parts of the house or beyond… without pesky studio agreements and provider restrictions limiting us. Also, unlike TiVo’s half-assed approach, Sling’s agnostic – operating on both WiFi and cellular networks via a wide array of platforms, including Apple, Android, and computer operating systems. Further, mobile app-powered Apple TV and Roku Slingbox video endpoints are newly improved. Continue Reading…

After a several year hiatus, Apple once again brings supplemental movie content to Apple TV in the form of iTunes Extras. It’s the sort of DVD and Blu-ray goodies you’d expect in cut scenes, featurettes, and the like. Whereas initial Apple TV models sported hard drives, over the last few years this downloadable content was only available to desktop iTunes clients given Apple TV’s small form factor. But the new implementation is cloud-based (and high def) – so content can now be streamed down to aTV, you’re not eating up local storage, in the case of computers, and studios are able to update their offerings. Come this fall, Extras will also be streamed to iOS 8 devices.

While I ebayed my Apple TV, in favor of Amazon’s Fire and assuming an upcoming hardware refresh, our pal Tim loves his… and buys lots of movies from Apple (and the UltraViolet consortium). He shot the brief video above to demo iTunes Extra and show some funky launch bugs, in relation to previously purchased content (which, fortunately, cleared overnight without intervention).

tivo-firetv

In relation to TiVo’s summer update, the DVR pioneer has disclosed that they’ve moved large swaths of their code base from Adobe Air/Flash to Haxe - resulting in significant performance improvements. Based on the stellar document and YouTube video dug up by BigJimOutlaw, the two year project clearly benefits them (and us) on a number of levels, including less reliance on the resource-intensive Adobe, who has waffled in both the mobile and set-top space.

Beyond shedding light on what TiVo developers have been sidetracked with, the slide of hypotethical video endpoints displaying Amazon Fire TV, Xbox One, and Smart televisions surely intrigues… along with the related Haxe Fire TV demo (below) and TiVo Roku renders shown earlier this year, TiVo seems intent upon extending their experience to non-TiVo hardware. Make it so! Continue Reading…

tivo-ondemand-remote

By way of the TiVo Community, I learned that, despite cessation of service, Charter-branded TiVo remotes live on.

And why this might matter to you is the handy On Demand button, in relation to Comcast’s completion of the TiVo Xfinity On Demand rollout to retail DVRs. Yeah, TiVo’s On Demand interface is still old school and you may not care for that Charter logo, but I’m betting one will be corrected and the other you’ll tune out. Which I why I reached out to my pals at TiVo retailer Weaknees to learn more.

The back story isn’t so interesting, but the team kindly offered up the pair of remotes we’re giving away. Entering is as easy as it gets — simply leave a comment if you want in. We’ll choose two winners at random in a few days. Should you fail to win, Weaknees has additional ebay inventory of new On Demand TiVo remotes for only $15 a pop. Good luck!

Mirror Your Android Screen to the TV with Chromecast

Channel Master has just updated their DVR+ line with a $400 model that houses a roomy 1TB internal drive - versus the original’s bring-your-own USB storage approach that requires more clutter, more complexity. We quite like the DVR+ and believe it’s a solid option for those seeking an over-the-air recorder and coming from VCR or new to DVR (whereas we suggest Tablo to our more geeky peers). The dual tuning DVR+ is super slim and super quiet, without a fan, and comes in cheaper than the competition. While the $200 TiVo Roamio may do more, with more polish, it also clocks in several hundred dollars more when considering the service fees. And, beyond Vudu, the fee-free Channel Master DVR+ intends to close the gap with several well-known audio and video apps in the pipeline “along with some other surprises for later this year.”