Archives For Reviews

Logitech-Ultrathin-Keyboard-Cover-iPad-Air

As a writer, I’ve never found a keyboardless tablet to be very useful as I have a hard time separating work and play. And the original Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover turned me into iPad owner (for a time). So it was with high expectations that I picked up the redesigned Ultrathin Keyboard Cover ($100) for the new iPad Air. With many past Apple product releases and revisions, accessory makers were in the dark. Yet these days, it appears product dimensions are getting fed to them in a timely fashion as we’ve seen quite a few covers, cases, and keyboards hit within just a week or so of the iPad Air’s launch (with many sporting “iPad 5″ branding). However, I wonder if Logitech would have been better served by having waited a bit for retail hardware to arrive, as I have a few concerns with their new keyboard. But let’s start on a positive note… Continue Reading…

tivo-roamio-box

So the plan had been wait until the new year, supposedly when Android streaming and Opera apps arrive, before considering a TiVo Roamio upgrade. Yet a highly compelling discount came my way via an industry pal and, as you can see above, I was motivated to take action.

My initial Roamio Pro experience is quite positive, starting with the lovely packaging which is in a very different league than my Premiere Elite’s nondescript cardboard marketing. Set-top box build quality feel goods and, while it won’t matter to most, the connections around back are better positioned for installation into my very tight, minimalist TV stand. Unfortunately, I’m not (yet?) digging the new RF/IR remote Continue Reading…

The Slingbox 500 Review

Joel Ward —  September 16, 2013 — 8 Comments

Fellow tech enthusiast and DC neighbor Joel Ward continues his role as a Features contributor here at Zatz Not Funny. Beyond ZNF, Joel can be found at Joel Explains It All and @joelsef on Twitter.

slingbox-500

We’ve been evaluating the Slingbox 500 ($300) at the Ward household these last few months. And the timing was good: We went on a week-long vacation, giving us the perfect chance to try out the truly remote access features of the Slingbox. We also played with it while traveling around town, which was fun—including watching Bill Maher at the pool and catching a preseason Washington Capitals game while at a Nationals game.

However, the best use case is travel. This thing is made for travelers. I’d say we probably aren’t the key demographic for a Slingbox as we don’t travel too much. Yet it’s still very nice to have this option available when we are on the road, or even just traveling around town and finding ourselves—or our kids—bored out of our minds. Continue Reading…

tivo-roamio-hero

Models
After nearly four years, TiVo has retired the tainted “Premiere” hardware and moniker in lieu of the new TiVo Series 5 platform that goes by Roamio – given the DVR’s current and expected mobile capabilities.The TiVo Roamio line consists of two hardware models, three configurations:

roamio-lineup

  • TiVo Roamio (TCD846500) $200
    4 Tuner, Digital Cable & OTA
    500GB HD, WiFi, IR/RF Remote
    Smaller Form Factor STB
    (Broadcom 7429)
  • TiVo Roamio Plus (TCD848000) $400
    6 Tuner, Digital Cable
    1TB HD, WiFi, IR/RF Remote w/ Audible Alert
    Traditional Size STB
    Stream capabilities
    (Broadcom 7425)
  • TiVo Roamio Pro (TCD840300) $600
    6 Tuner, Digital Cable
    3TB HD, WiFi, IR/RF Remote w/ Audible Alert
    Traditional Size STB
    Stream capabilities
    (Broadcom 7425)

backview-roamio

The 4-tuner model (picture up top and above) may feature a unique restriction in that it can be configured for digital cable, via CableCARD, OR for OTA, via antenna – but not both simultaneously.

Of course, all TiVo hardware requires a service fee — either $15 on a monthly basis or via a one time $500 lump sum payment. Although, there are discounts available to households with multiple units.

Software & Apps

tivo-roamio-ui

Somewhat unexpectedly, TiVo has undertaken a fairly significant overhaul of their software platform. Along with that, we’re treated to improved performance over the Premiere line given a hardware platform that finally exceeds Adobe Air’s minimum requirements. Beyond Adobe, TiVo is also implementing DIAL, HTML5 and ultimately Opera’s TV app store. We’re hopeful this will spur third party development, including a potential refresh of the dated Amazon Instant experience, and Roamio units launched with refreshed YouTube and Netflix apps – featuring more sophisticated screen elements and menuing than present on Premiere hardware. Further, the “What to Watch NowiPad recommendation engine makes its way to big screen via TiVo Central (as pictured above) and WishLists are finally rendered in HD. Sadly, the settings screens remain SD. Duke Nukem’ Forever!

Beyond launch capabilities, rumor has it TiVo’s Roamio roadmap suggests some sort of personal media cloud or wireless access and playback – possibly to include updated TiVo Desktop software.
Continue Reading…

vizio-soundbar-tivo

Since dismantling our projector-based home theater in 2005 and embracing something of a nomadic lifestyle, we’ve been sadly lacking in the surround sound department. But, having recently purchased a new home (and new television), we’re finally ready to get a bit more serious with our audio. Yet, I wasn’t motivated to recreate the elaborate config we once sported and have been fixated on soundbar-esque solutions — improved acoustics over the TV’s speakers, yet minimal clutter without fishing wires through the walls.

Of CNET’s top 2013 pics, I went with the (horribly named) Vizio S4251w-B4 for several reasons. Continue Reading…