« May 2006 | Main | July 2006 »

TiVo doesn't really get podcasting

I've been meaning to link to my friend Jason's rant that TiVo doesn't really get podcasting for a couple weeks now. Everything he says is spot-on.

I played with the dual tuner TiVo a couple months ago and it was the first time I got to play with the podcast tools. Like Jason, I was very disappointed to see the TiVo client seemed to rely on the network for everything. I couldn't get most podcasts to play due to slow downloads and I couldn't believe the pause/fwd controls were disabled.

After using it, I would guess that adding podcasting to the TiVo OS was something tacked on, maybe pushed through by marketing, and the engineers that worked on it didn't take the time or care to do it right. It's really surprising, since with the large hard drives in TiVos these days, caching and saving a few megabytes of audio and allowing basic operations on those files should be trivial, not to mention the dozens of open source podcast libraries that demonstrate how to do it right.

Hopefully future versions of the TiVo OS will remedy this -- it definitely feels like a disconnect when TiVo handles large video files so well, but is nearly useless and buggy when it comes to simple, smaller audio files.

June 23, 2006 in Op-Ed | Permalink | Comments (18)

TiVo VP Jim Denney talks Desktop 2.3

Engadget has a good interview with TiVo VP Jim Denney talking about TiVo Desktop 2.3. Sounds like TiVo is really walking the tightrope between what customers want (easily dump last night's shows to my iPod/PSP so I can watch it on the subway in the morning) and what the networks want (no chance of TV shows easily moving from a TiVo to a computer and then online for sharing).

When TiVo first announced the plans to export content to iPods and PSPs, NBC came back immediately with lawsuit threats. It sounds like the threats subsided but that TiVo crippled their desktop app enough by introducing watermarks and down scaling video to make the networks happy. I suspect in the future TiVo will always have to walk this thin line.

The new software has an upgrade price for the first time ever, and the interview explains why. Hopefully TiVo can continue to release useful software without crippling their products too much or getting into further legal hot water (also, release a client for OS X already!)

June 23, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (12)

World Cup & PVRs

I've been a huge fan of World Cup Soccer ever since the early 90s and in 2002, when I had to travel the first week of the event, I knew my 30 hour TiVo wouldn't be able to save the matches until I got back. In June of 2002, I cracked the seal on my first TiVo and plopped in a Hinsdale upgrade drive. A few months later I backed both drives up to a single larger drive that I prepared myself, and about six months later I decided to start this blog talking about all the research I had to do and help stay up on the latest news from the TiVo community.

You can kind of say that World Cup is really what got me here today with PVRblog, and I'm happy to say the 2006 cup starts tomorrow. For American readers, this is the full list of channels and start times for every televised game.

It's kind of funny to realize in 2006 I have HD for most games, but I can only record about 14 hours of HD content on my proprietary, leased box from Comcast. Luckily I'm not traveling this month so I'll be able to stay on top of the games, but I must admit four years ago I had more options for storage on the more open TiVo platform.

Hopefully by 2010's Cup ample storage, open platforms, and 1080p will be the norm.

June 8, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (2)

Beyond TV 4.3 Released, new social features

SnapStream announced the release of Beyond TV 4.3 which adds DivX 6.1 and support for new ATI video cards, but the coolest new feature is Buzz, featuring lists of aggregated stats from their users.

Buzz lets you see most popular recordings in the last week, much like TiVo reports weekly and for major events, but even cooler is most scheduled programs in the next week (called Top Upcoming Recordings). This is great feature because it is much more granular than season passes, showing everyone the specific popular shows and events coming up they might otherwise miss. It's a look forward rather than back, which means that if you wanted to, you could set those recordings as well so you don't miss them.

June 8, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0)

TiVo launches TiVoCasting

TiVo announced 'TiVoCasting' today which looks just like their existing Video Podcasting efforts but with a few content partners and a shiny new name. I guess the word "podcast" was too much of an homage to Apple so TiVo decided to try and make up a new word with their own branding.

It's cool to hear they have Cnet, NYT, and Rocketboom video downloads lined up -- I watch a lot of those small grainy videos and I'd much rather see them on the living room couch instead of a laptop or home office monitor. It'll really get interesting when TiVo eventually broadcasts content exclusively to customers. I'd love to see independent movies, unaired niche sporting events, or even popular lists from YouTube show up on a TiVo.

June 7, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (8)

Comcast to begin testing HD TIVO service

iBloggedThis has the scoop on Comcast to begin testing HD TIVO service this summer. The deal was announced over a year ago and it sounds like some form of the TiVo OS will download automatically and power the Comcast 6412 unit.

The AVS forum set up a space specifically for this so first reports from the wild will likely show up there. No one is sure what the extent of TiVo functionality will show up on Comcast hardware, but everyone seems to be aware that the upcoming Series 3 TiVo will compete with it, which puts TiVo in the odd position of competing against themselves.

I'm going to get a Series 3 box as soon as humanly possible, both for the Over-The-Air (OTA) HD recording and the full functionality, but it'll be interesting to see if the 6412 experience improves with TiVo software added. I imagine without the tightly integrated remote control, it won't be the same as a real TiVo, but if it can solve the screen lag and software lockup problems Comcast boxes currently suffer from, it'll still be a huge improvement.

June 5, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (5)