Monday night's Colbert Report featured a TiVo in a gag that The Daily Show does often, where they take a recent quote from a politician and juxtapose it against earlier statements that contradict themselves. Colbert says it's time to "clean out the TiVo" and starts randomly playing clips to make the point. It's a fairly close approximation of TiVo, though the menu fonts are wrong on the program listings. Here's the ~2 minute segment:
Today TiVo announced "Program Placement" or ads inserted at the end of a recorded program when you are deleting the program.
Overall, it sounds less annoying than other ideas floated about ad inserts, since it's in a little-used section of a single TiVo menu. I haven't seen it yet, but hopefully the ad instance doesn't interfere with the ability to delete a show, because if "Show Me More Info About $Advertiser was the default highlighted option, I could see it being a big problem. If it's the bottom option to read more about something or just a banner graphic above the choices to delete, it'll probably be easy to ignore.
Anyone got any screenshots of this in action?
Lost Remote has a press release from CBS reporting favorably on their YouTube experiment. CBS uploaded 300 clips that were seen by almost 30 million viewers (mostly clips from Letterman), but they also saw a spike in TV viewership, especially on Letterman.
This is a brilliant move by CBS and it's great that they're embracing the viral nature of online video instead of blocking it like a lot of other networks. I haven't watched a Letterman episode in a couple years but I've seen 3 or 4 clips listed in their top 15 watched YouTube videos.
It's win-win. People that don't follow CBS shows can catch the stuff they missed (that everyone is talking about). CBS gets a bump in ratings because those very best bits of their shows do a terrific job promoting CBS shows.
Hopefully ABC, FOX, Comedy Central, and other networks wise up to the positive aspects of YouTube like CBS did and embrace the service.
Over on the Holiday Gadget Guide, I posted my review of Denon's $799 A/V unit with the iPod adapter. Overall I'm really happy with it, everything sounds great and instead of 8 or 9 cables leading to the back of my TV, there's just one HDMI cable handling output (all video inputs go to the Denon unit). I was impressed by the easy setup and I've currently got six different sources all playing nicely on the unit.
After a bit of struggle, a few failures, and a lot of waiting, I found myself yesterday morning standing in a store with a Wii in my hand. I've been reading about the system and looking forward to the innovate controller for months, so I was happy that I became one of the lucky few to score one. Now, it's not a video recorder by any means, but they are going to end up in a lot of home theater setups this xmas, so I figured I might as well post a review here.
The packaging and setup are top-notch, right up there with buying a new iPod. The instructions are pretty simple and most of the behavior of menus is intuitive. Unfortunately, the device only ships with RCA cables for hookup, with component video cables going to stores in a few weeks. It tops out at 480p, but that's ok because most games aren't photorealistic, where HD could really shine.
I'm a casual gamer in that the only current system I have is the DS lite, and that's mostly for playing tetris on plane flights or before I go to bed. I have an old xbox I use more for movie streaming than games but I used to spend hours on playstation 1 and 2s before I got rid of them years ago. The Wii is obviously light-hearted fun and has games and an aesthetic to match. It isn't aimed at hardcore gamers (the xbox360 and ps3 have you covered), but more towards casual and non-gamers.
I bought a few games for it but so far I've had the most fun with the sports game that came with the system. Playing tennis, boxing, and golfing using a virtual controller is a blast. My wife, who rarely plays games loved boxing. Even though the sports games have an obvious unfinished look (characters don't have legs or arms), the games use the motion-sensing remote in the most interesting ways. I can't wait until proper golf, boxing, and other sports titles come out.
Among the other games, the motion controller isn't used as extensively for play. Excite Truck is a lot of fun, mixing semi-realistic looks with simple gameplay that even kids could control by tilting left and right, forwards and back. The Tony Hawk title is similar, using the controller to steer and go faster, along with a lot of button combos to do tricks. I also bought Zelda, but I've barely scratched the surface of it.
One cool aspect of the Wii is that it ships with built in WiFi. Once on my network it downloaded updates and I could buy old school nintendo games from its online store. I tried it out by picking up Donkey Kong and Mario Brothers (NES) and it worked great, with each game about $5. Games downloaded in just a minute or so and are playable indefinitely.
Another thing I'm looking forward to is the multiplayer aspects of the Wii. Extra controllers are in short supply now, but I'll pick up a few extras when they're easily available. As much fun a Wii game can be, four people in your living room driving cars, hitting tennis rackets, or fighting with swords is infinitely more enjoyable. Nintendo's Gamecube was famous for multiplayer abilities so I suspect once I get more controllers and more games get released, it'll be a fun thing for parties.
Overall, I'm happy with it and can see it being interesting long after the newness wears off. It's fairly cheap ($250) compared with most game systems and is great for kids and casual gamers. That games that shipped on launch day are enough to blow minds and I'm looking forward to all the games that will use the motion controller in the future. While the xbox360 and ps3 have much more realistic games and audio/visual capabilities, the Wii is just plain fun.
Looks like the Snapstream folks have released BeyondTV 4.5, which adds DVD burning as the main new feature.
There's a nice looking screenshot tour of the new app, which looks pretty dang slick. If you've got an extra PC and a basic cable outlet in the wall, this might be just the thing to simply record TV on the cheap without having to pay monthly fees.
After owning a Series 3 TiVo for a couple months, I sat down to write up my thoughts on it, which I've posted over here. There aren't a lot of surprises: it's a great box but really expensive, making it a difficult decision for even fans of TiVo.
The review is part of Federated Media's (they handle ads here for me) new Holiday Gadget Guide featuring posts from a variety of popular tech blogs, running from today through the end of this year. I'll be posting a new review of a Home Theater/PVR product each week until Christmas.
Thanks to a leaked embargo, you read about TiVo's Tuesday announcements include downloading internet video, sending your own video to other TiVo boxes (friends only, I would assume), and the downloading of CBS shows. There's no mention of mac support, so I assume there won't be any when they launch new versions of the TiVo desktop app.
The first feature sounds like a nice transcoder add-on for the desktop software, which is useful and cool if you just want to show people some funny and/or interesting video without everyone having to crowd around your computer monitor. The second feature is the most interesting: being able to send video to other TiVo boxes (which sounds a lot like ReplayTV's feature from eons ago). I'm sure there will be limits on what you can send and who you can send it to, but it'd be really cool if someone setup a sharing community so if you forgot to tape something, another TiVo user could send the episode to you. [via ZatzNotFunny]
The New York Times carries official word that November 22 is the day Microsoft will launch a HD movie download store for the xbox 360. I've heard rumors about this for the last month or so but I thought that the HD-DVD pack for the xbox 360 would derail any downloadable movie store. It's pretty impressive to hear they'll be offering them in high definition, as that's likely to push download times into the several hours instead of the 10-20 min it takes to get a low-res show from the iTunes store. The downside is that movie DRM will require that you watch the movie within 24 hours, but TV shows should last longer.
I'm surprised to see Microsoft beat Apple, Netflix, TiVo, Sony, and Amazon to the TV-integrated movie store. It'll be interesting to see how well it works out for Microsoft.
update: Engadget has screenshots of the Movie service in action.