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Slingbox officially out

SlingtopEngadget is reporting that the Slingbox is out and available from CompUSA and BestBuy for $249. The Slingbox is a device that lets you view recorded content on your network from anywhere in the world, what they call "placeshifting". They made a big splash at CES earlier this year when I got to check it out. It's a cool concept, but I can't think of many uses beyond watching stuff recorded on your home TiVo while sitting at work, which is a killer app for those slacking away at jobs they hate, but not exactly worth $249.

June 30, 2005 in News | Permalink | Comments (35) | TrackBack

TiVo Announces Developer Challenge Winners

TiVo announced the winners for its HME Developer Challenge contest today. The grand prize winner is AudioFaucet (nee iSee iTunes) and its author Kyle Copeland, who will be receiving a Segway for his work. AudioFaucet provides control over iTunes for people streaming music using an Airport Express (or a really long audio cable) using TiVo's Home Media Engine platform.

The other winners are:

Best Music Application
Music Monkey, which plays music from your library and makes you guess the title.
Best Photo Application
Flickr/TiVo, a way to browse Flickr from your TiVo (previously discussed on PVRblog)
Best Game Application
NBC Trivia, a game using trivia from Seinfeld and Friends
Best Information Application
Digital Home, an application allows home automation enthusiasts to control lights, security cameras and more.
Most Creative Application
Galleon, a collection of apps that just hit version 1.0.0 and does all sorts of things like read email and RSS feeds, play podcasts, show webcams and a ton more.

Congratulations to all the winners and we hope to soon see the ones we can't find online yet!

June 29, 2005 in News, TiVo | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Thomas S. Rogers, Tivo CEO

Bloomberg News is reporting that Thomas S. Rogers, former chief executive of Primedia, and current board member of Tivo, has been named CEO.

Any thoughts on what this means for Tivo?

Chief Named at TiVo - New York Times [nytimes.com]

June 28, 2005 in TiVo | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Google To Launch Online Video Playback Monday

While Google announced their video program and allowed uploading weeks ago, they left all the submissions pending, with no set plans for offering playback. John Battelle is reporting that tomorrow (Monday), Google is launching online video playback.

I just logged into my account at Google Video and got the following status on my videos:

Googlevideolive

So I'd say Battelle is likely right on this one. Can't wait to see what kind of service this turns into, and what unknown stars are lurking online waiting for an outlet like this. Perhaps this will give video blogging (vlogging) the popularity and push that podcasting has been enjoying for the past few months. Also cool is that Google will be promoting their own version of the excellent VLC open source video player.

June 26, 2005 in News | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

PVRs won't hit the mainstream for years

Ed Bott: PVRs won't hit the mainstream for years:

If you own a TiVo, or a Media Center PC, or a PVR from your cable company, you're part of an elite. A new research report from Accenture says that the percentage of U.S. homes with personal video recorders will increase by 500% in the next four years, but even in 2009 more than half of U.S. homes still won't have the equipment to record, pause, or time-shift TV.

Interesting summation of an Accenture study showing PVR adoption is probably slower than we think. I'm not entirely surprised as I never really thought about PVRs taking over the majority of homes for quite a while. Most people I talk to have heard of and want a TiVo or TiVo-like device, but most are wary of adding more complexity to their previously simple TV watching lifestyle. I really think the key to PVR adoption is making it nearly free and making the interface as easy as possible to use. Right now we don't have that: easy to use TiVo is costly, and free cable company PVRs have dreadful interfaces.

The results of this study also shouldn't detract advertisers from going after PVR owners -- right now that small elite group is a marketer's dream. Highly educated, highly paid, and ready to plunk money down on things like fancy TVs and PVRs.

June 23, 2005 in News | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

How to watch Beyond TV recordings on a Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP)

The Snapstream blog has a great, detailed tutorial on How to watch Beyond TV recordings on a Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP). They cover every last detail. Even if you don't have Beyond TV, this is a great tutorial on how to get video onto your PSP.

June 18, 2005 in How-To | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

20 million DVRs for DirecTV

Edward Jay Epstein covers Rupert Murdoch's drive to kill off the movie rental business by adding DVRs to the DirecTV network to create video-on-demand.  The main challenge is that Wal-Mart has forced the movie companies to give physical retailers (Wal-Mart) a 45-day window of time where movies cannot be distributed electronically.

Is this a Wal-Mart vs. DirecTV battle?  I can't imagine it being that simple. However, a future where we don't travel to Blockbuster (or Tsutaya here in Japan) is obvious for those who enjoy NetFlix.  With the 100 and 1000 Gb/sec. retail consumer fiber-optic networks in Asia, VoD for movies is not far away.

Even before Murdoch completed his acquisition of DirecTV, he told financiers at Morgan Stanley's Global Media Conference that he planned to marry the satellites above with TiVo-like home recorders below, explaining that "every subscriber will be getting either a free digital video recorder or one for nominal amounts of money." And, to this end, he placed an order for 20 million digital video recorders for his customers.

Murdoch plans to digitally deliver movies and other programming from his satellites to home digital video recorders that would be the same quality, or higher (HDTV), than a DVD. Since there are not enough transponders on satellites to stream movies to individual subscribers on demand, Murdoch needs DVRs in every home to make his digital-delivery system work. With DVRs, the satellites can upload movies in the middle of the night in encrypted form onto subscribers' hard discs without us having to do anything or even be aware of it. (One idea now under consideration at DirecTV is to provide these DVRs with an enormous 160-gigabyte recording capacity. The subscriber would only be told about 80 gigabytes, with the remaining 80 gigabytes reserved for encrypted movies.) Once the movies are placed on the DVRs, a customer "rents" them by clicking on his remote control.

If you haven't invested in companies in the HDD storage industry, now's your chance :)

Full disclosure- I went to elementary and middle school with James and Lachlan, but that was decades ago and half a world away.

Rupert Murdoch Strikes Back - His bold plan to give away 20 million digital video recorders. [slate.msn.com]

June 16, 2005 in DirecTV | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Tivo beta demo of movie downloading and uploading video to a TiVo

The TiVoCommunity recently gathered in Las Vegas for a huge meetup that included previews of TiVo beta products. Someone that was there took a bunch of shots of a demo. Here's a note that someone wrote in with:

Seems like something was demoed at a Tivo Community Gathering. Looks like Netflix downloads, or some other kind of movie downloads is almost ready.

Also, it looks like home video playback on the Tivo will also soon be available.

Some pics below:

261
looks like buying/downloading movies being demoed (note the "TiVo Downloads" as a source)

268
Appears to be video uploaded to a TiVo being played

This is great to hear and I can't wait to see these features make it into the production OS soon. A lot of people have been asking for both these features for quite a while.

update: Just to be clear, I personally don't believe this is a "netflix downloads" demo as TiVo and Netflix have significant rights issues to work out, but it does appear to be a movie download demo and upload feature being shown.

June 15, 2005 in TiVo | Permalink | Comments (10)

DirecTV update breaks stand-alone PVRs

DirecTVWired is reporting that an update to the DirecTV D10 receiver is causing problems for TiVo and ReplayTV owners. Apparently it's not always accepting commands sent over the serial port, causing some missed shows. The solution listed is to use the IR blaster, which can have the same problem as the one reported.

The conspiratorially minded think that this update is just an effort on DirecTV's part to get them to buy receivers with PVRs built in. A DirecTV representative responds "I can absolutely say this is not a tactic to get people to switch over to another receiver," which is just the sort of thing you'd expect them to say if there were a conspiracy.

June 13, 2005 in DirecTV, ReplayTV, TiVo | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Fan-created Home Media Option package working for OS X Tiger

TivotigerIf you upgraded any of your photo- and music-filled macs with Tiger (OS 10.4) in the past month, you've probably realized like I did that suddenly your TiVo can't see your mac. I was wondering why my setup behaved this way, and to my surprise, I found the answer: the current TiVo Desktop software does not work with Tiger (the installer crashes at the end).

But a cursory glance at the TiVo Community boards reveals that someone has produced a GUI app that enables your TiVo to once again see your upgraded mac. It sounds like it entailed some shell scripts that modified the way TiVo Desktop talked to the rendezvous/bonjour network and updated the XML format used by the software.

I'm kind of surprised that this fan-contributed app has been done and working for a month and TiVo still hasn't incorporated the changes into its own software yet, but this is another great example of the TiVo hacking community stepping in to fill a need. If you've upgraded your mac, this is currently the only way to see your photos and hear your music again.

Link: the .sit installer package

June 13, 2005 in TiVo | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack