Let me get this out the way first… Yes, it’s significantly faster than your typical wireless adapter. How fast, you ask? 60% faster! Now your mileage will vary depending on your current TiVo hardware, network hardware, and network configuration. Having said that I tested TiVoToGo (TTG) using different TiVo models against various adapters and the results were generally about 60% faster.

The adapter itself is solidly constructed. The base is brushed silver metal with enough heft and a non-skid rubber backing to stay put. The design is clever in elevating the antenna for increased reception. That antenna portion of the adapter is dark grey plastic with a TiVo logo and looks nice next to my TiVo units and furniture. Lastly, the adapter is bundled with a light grey USB cable, as it doesn’t hang directly off the back of the unit. At fifty bucks, the price is comparable to most wireless adapters. I can’t image TiVo is making any money off this thing given the smart design, solid construction, and next generation wireless chip. For the moment, TiVo’s online store is the only place to purchase one.
Continue Reading…

Yesterday, as the press coverage of Google Video trickled in, I was psyched to see the big G enter this space. After sleeping on it, I’ve totally lost interest in the first incarnation of Google’s Video Marketplace.

Google is not providing anything new here… Apple broke the seal on this category and has the distinction of seamlessly integrating portable media device playback for watching shows on the go. Until the portable DivX devices with Google-DRM appear, we’re limited to watching content via Google’s (PC only) bare bones video player. Google touts playback via PSP or iPod, but the fine print limits it to unlicensed content. Meaning you’ll have to wade through thousands of clips (for a search company, their organization of video is piss-poor) to find that diamond in the rough, such as the Asian Backstreet Boys.

Speaking of content… Will anyone pay $1.99 per episode of I Love Lucy when you can buy an entire season on DVD for about $1/episode to watch on PC, Mac, TV, or portable player? Furthermore, current shows, such as CSI and Amazing Race, expire after only 24 hours. They’re making Apple’s licensing look downright generous by comparison.

These video download services strike me as novelties or something someone might use if they forget to record a show via DVR, but I just don’t see them getting regular usage. Though Google is a motivated company with deep pockets… this might be their opening salvo. At the very least, I’ll need a Windows Mobile, Palm, or MS PMC “G-player” for the service to me meaningful to me. Neither Apple nor Google are offering me what I really want though… a limitless selection of movies that I can easily watch on my TV — still the primary viewing device in every home. TiVo’s deal with Netflix may have died, but I believe they are still moving in this direction. So is Apple next week at MacWorld, if recent rumors are to be believed.

TiVoToGo For Mac Lives!

Dave Zatz —  January 7, 2006 — 13 Comments

Megazone gets the scoop again… A TiVoToGo Mac application exists and is on display at CES. While it’s an internal, pre-alpha build, it appears to transfer shows. Presumably the Mac decryption module has been built, as MacOSX recognizes the files as MPEG-2. Recently, Bob Poniatowski has stated Mac support drop mid-2006.

(photo from megazone, the only TiVo blogger at CES)

Here’s something to chew on…

Yahoo’s forthcoming Go TV will offer a variety of video, movie, and TV related services. That in itself is not so interesting. What is interesting is Yahoo claiming they will provide “full PVR functionality” and “full TV tuning capabilities” “directly on your TV.” Both the press release and official site lack the kind of technical details we’re looking for… but I find it extremeley interesting that they’re using TiVo’s trademarked phrase “trick play” in the announcement.

We already know Yahoo! and TiVo have buddied up, so it wouldn’t be a huge stretch to expand that partnership. There’s not much concrete here, but plenty to speculate on… use those comments wisely.

Yahoo says:

  • Full Personal Video Recorder (PVR) functionality, including trick play features and access to the PC for storage of content
  • Full TV tuning capabilities to control your TV channels

TiVo Central Online Beta

Dave Zatz —  January 6, 2006 — 10 Comments

TiVo is beta testing the latest version of TiVo Central Online (TCO). The highlight of the website update is the ability to view upcoming television programming within a grid guide specific to your location and cable/satellite provider. Additionally, you can filter content via a personal color coding scheme. As with the current TCO, online scheduling is supported.

Overall, it’s a slick inerface that’s highly usable – a definite improvement over the current TCO and is even superior to Yahoo’s listings. For the geeks in the house, AJAX is powering the dynamic rendering.

The beta webpage can be found here: http://www3-beta.tivo.com/tivo-tco/index.do

You might want to check it out sooner, rather than later… no telling how quickly it will be yanked after this post goes live. ;)

TiVo’s Series 3 HD Lives!

Dave Zatz —  January 5, 2006 — 15 Comments

Megazone’s been quizzing the TiVo folks all day and has tons of details on the forthcoming Series 3. Well, except for a concrete date (mid-late 2006) and price. All in all, exciting news if TiVo delivers.

megazone says: The unit has two CableCARD slots on the back and it will support Multi-Stream (CableCARD 2.0) or Single-Stream (CableCARD 1.0) cards. If you have multi-stream then you only need one card, but as long as only single stream cards are available you can use two of them. Yes, it supports digital and analog cable, digital ATSC OTA, and analog NTSC OTA. The unit has front panel controls clustered on the right, and a nice display in the middle with a very cool feature – it displays the title of the show(s) tuned at the time, so you always know what it is recording at a glance. The remote ls also sleeker – a slick update of the Series2 peanut with minor changes for HDTV (such as an aspect button). But the big change is that the remote is backlit! TiVo will also be selling an external SATA drive for easy storage expansion, and they have that on display here too.

Photos provided by megazone…

Series 3 Front View

Series 3 Front Panel

Series 3 Rear Panel
Continue Reading…

Google’s march towards world domination continues…

Wall Street Journal says: Google Inc. plans to announce Friday that it will begin allowing consumers to buy videos from major content partners through the Google site and will also roll out a new downloadable bundle of software for consumers that could heighten Google’s competition with Microsoft Corp., according to people familiar with the matter.

Under the major upgrade to Google’s video-search service, consumers will be able to pay to download and view videos, such as television shows, on their computers from Google content partners such as TV companies, people familiar with the matter say. Google plans to announce partnerships with some major players tomorrow, including CBS Corp. and the National Basketball Association, these people say. By virtue of Google’s huge presence online, the move could place Google in competition with other emerging powers in Internet distribution of video such as Apple Computer Inc.

(via GigaOm)