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October 4, 2015


Gizmodo visited by the ghosts of TiVo remote past, future

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 20th 2008 2:29PM
TiVo remote timeline
Gizmodo has an intriguing article looking at the ins and outs of the TiVo remote control. Not from a technical standpoint, but from a historic one. Back in 1998, for example, TiVo wanted to develop a remote that looked like no other. But before settling on the "peanut" style design, the company considered remotes that looked more like spatulas, breadsticks, or toads.

The post has dozens of pictures showing early TiVo prototypes, remote controls designed by third parties for boxes like the DirecTiVo, and even a bunch of prototype shots showing early designs for the backlit TiVo Series3 remote.

Probably the most interesting bit is head of consumer engineering Paul Newby's look ahead at the future of the TiVo remote. Future models could have a QWERTY keyboard, a touchscreen or both.

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Dads secretly love Dancing with the Stars, apparently

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 11th 2008 6:02PM

Dancing logoFather's Day is this Sunday, June 15, and in celebration TiVo conducted a poll to find out which TV shows that dads say they hate but they secretly love. This is like looking into the secret diaries (you know, the ones with those flimsy little locks on them?) of dads around the country, but here are the results:

1. Dancing with the Stars
2. Grey's Anatomy
3. Desperate Housewives
4. Access Hollywood
5. TMZ

I think this poll has revealed one thing: most dads in the United States are...women?

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Automatic TiVo deployment coming soon to cable companies

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 2nd 2008 3:36PM
Comcast TiVoComcast, Cox, and TiVo have been working on deploying TiVo software on cable company hardware for well over a year now. But while the original goal was to let cable operators flip a switch and automatically send the TiVo software to a customer's box, the reality has been a bit trickier. For the most part, if you've been one of the lucky few people who even had access to Comcast's TiVo service, you probably had to wait for a guy in a truck to roll up to your house and work some magic.

But now TiVo CEO Tom Rogers says the days of auto-flip activation are nearly upon us. This feature will make it much less expensive for cable operators to deploy the TiVo service, which means it's likely we'll see the service expand beyond its current test markets in New England.

[via Gizmo Lovers]

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DISH files preemptive lawsuit against TiVo to defend new PVR

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 1st 2008 9:01AM
DISH PVRYou didn't think the legal battles between DISH and TiVo were actually over, did you? TiVo may have won the last round, which means that the PVR technology DISH had been offering customers infringed on TiVo patents. But TiVo officials have also apparently been going around making claims that DISH's new software also infringes on TiVo patents.

Rather than wait for TiVo to file another suit, DISH has taken its own legal action by asking a court to rule that the company's new software does not violate TiVo's patent. On the one hand, this obviously shows that the company is confident its new software will stand up against any challenges. On the other hand, DISH PVR users won't have peace of mind until this whole court battle is finally worked out. Any day now, a court could order DISH to just shut off the PVR functions of DISH set top boxes. So it'd be nice if the whole thing were just over with.

[via EngadgetHD]

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TiVo to offer Disney movie rentals

by Brad Linder, posted May 28th 2008 9:32AM

TiVo and DisneyTiVo has announced plans to offer customers the option of renting Disney movies directly from their set top box. The company has already partnered with Amazon to offer Unbox video downloads. But Disney titles aren't available through Amazon Unbox, so TiVo is instead partnering with CinemaNow.

Some movies will be available in standard definition only, while some titles will be available in high definition. Rentals will be viewable for up to 24 hours.

There's no word on pricing, but CinemaNow typically charges $3.99 to rent a new release, and $1.99 for an older video. I suspect Disney movies will be offered for a similar price when the service is launched. According to the press release, the service will go live "soon," but it's not clear whether that means today, next week, or sometime before the end of the year.

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DirecTiVo owners receive long-awaited software update

by Brad Linder, posted May 27th 2008 9:28AM


Almost a year after announcing plans to release a software update for DirecTV TiVo customers, TiVo is finally rolling out an update that provides:

  • A recently deleted folder
  • Overlap protection that makes it easier to record two concurrent shows on separate channels
  • Remote booking (online scheduling)

All of these features have been available to TiVo Series2 customers for years. But since DirecTV no longer offers TiVo service to new customers, any updates at all are kind of impressive.

[via Gizmo Lovers]

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Buy a Samsung TV, get a free TiVo HD

by Brad Linder, posted May 27th 2008 9:06AM

Samsung TiVo dealIf you happen to be shopping for an HDTV and a TiVo HD, Amazon has a deal that could let you kill two birds with stone. Or you know, two digital media products with one credit card payment. Here's how it works. You order both a TiVo HD and a qualifying Samsung HDTV and when you get to checkout, the cost of the TiVo HD should disappear.

The offer's only good through June 9, and the deal is limited to three TiVo HDs per customer. So if you were planning on buying 4 flat screen televisions for $1000+ a pop, it looks like you'll have to pay for the TiVo box to go with that fourth unit.

[via Gizmodo]

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What are the most recorded TV shows?

by Bob Sassone, posted May 21st 2008 3:27PM

TiVo logoI was going to title this post "What are the most DVR'd TV shows?" but wasn't sure if DVR'd is a real word or not. And did I even spell it right?

Anyway, the list of the top 15 recorded shows for the past year has been released, and there are little or no surprises on it. Grey's Anatomy tops this list with 3.78 million viewers, while the Tuesday edition of American Idol comes in a close second with 3.73 million. Full list after the jump!

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TiVo to launch in Australia -- Without subscription fees!

by Brad Linder, posted May 21st 2008 2:07PM

TiVoAfter months of planning, the TiVo and the Seven Media Group are preparing to launch TiVo service in Australia. And in a completely unexpected turn of events, the companies have decided to eliminate the monthly subscription fee for TiVo service.

The service has been held up for a while due to program guide licensing issues in Australia. A personal video recorder isn't much good if you can't access TV listings for all the major networks. Now it looks like most of those wrinkles have been worked out, but TiVo faces competition from Foxtel, another PVR maker in Australia. In order to stay competitive, TiVo will be offering service free of charge.

In order to make up some of the lost subscription revenue, a TiVo box will cost Australian customers $500 AUD, which is about $482 US. That's cheaper than a US box with product lifetime service, but significantly more expensive than a standard TiVo HD unit with monthly service.

[via Zatz Not Funny]

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Motorola and Cisco show off SDV tuning adapters

by Brad Linder, posted May 19th 2008 10:25AM


Motorola and Cisco are showing off Switched Digital Video tuning adapters at the Cable Show. Basically Switched Digital Video is a next generation content delivery system that will allow cable networks to send you more high quality video. But current generation CableCARD equipped boxes like the TiVo HD can't handle SDV. That's where these tuning adapters come in.

EngadgetHD snapped a few photos of a Motorola adapter hanging out with a TiVo HD set top box if the press shot above isn't doing it for you. Cable companies should be able to get their hands on the boxes in July, and at some point down the road your local cable provider might make the box available to you.

TiVo has already modified its software to support the Motorola and Cisco boxes. But I'm assuming that the next generation TiVo set top box will included integrated support for SDV so you won't need an external box at all.

Update: EngadgetHD also has a "hands on" with a non-working prototype of the new Cisco box.

[via EngadgetHD and Zatz Not Funny]

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TiVo lifetime service returns (for good?)

by Brad Linder, posted May 15th 2008 3:04PM

TiVoTiVo's on-again, off-again love affair with lifetime service plans seems to be back on again. Once upon a time, the company let customers pay for service one month at a time, by the year, or shell out a few hundred bucks to get unlimited service for as long as they keep the same set top box.

A while back, the company stopped offering the product lifetime service option, but brought it back as a limited time deal right around the time TiVo launched the Series3 HD recorder. At the time, the company was only allowing customers with existing lifetime service plans transfer their plans to new boxes -- for a fee. But over the past year and a half, the company has occasionally offered new or existing customers a chance to pay for product lifetime services, with the understanding that this was always a special one-time promotion. Act now while the offer's still good!

But now it looks like lifetime service is back for good. Or at least until someone at TiVo changes their mind. But as blogger Dave Zatz has discovered, TiVo has added lifetime subscription pricing to the official payment plan descriptions. That takes the lifetime service plan out of the realm of promotion and into the world of everyday pricing.

So here's the deal. If you're a new TiVo customer, you can shell out $399 to get unlimited service for as long as you keep your set top box. If you're an existing customer, you can get the same deal on a new box for $299. But keep in mind, if TiVo comes out with a new box in 2 years that you really, really want and doesn't offer to let you transfer your lifetime service, you probably would have been better off paying by the month or year.

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Amazon Unbox to offer HD video... eventually

by Brad Linder, posted May 10th 2008 2:57PM

Amazon Unbox

Amazon Unbox is probably one of the simplest non-Apple services for renting and buying downloaded TV shows and movies on a PC. The service is also compatible with TiVo, but I know a few folks who refuse to pay for any video unless it comes in high definition. And so far, HD video has not been available via Amazon Unbox.

Bu it looks like that could be changing. TiVo Vice President Jim Denney tells TV Week that HD capabilities are coming to Amazon "in the not too distant future." And judging from the source, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that means you'll be able to download and watch HD video using a TiVo HD or TiVo Series. As MegaZone at Gizmo Lovers suggests, it's likely that Amazon will use the H.264 codec, which would let the company distribute high definition videos with relatively small file sizes (relative being the key word here).

[via Zatz Not Funny]

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TiVoRemote: Control your TiVo with an iPhone

by Brad Linder, posted May 9th 2008 2:59PM


It seems like just last week that member of the TiVo community figured out that you can control a TiVo from an iPhone (or pretty much any other internet capable device for that matter), via a simple telnet connection. Oh right, it was. In order to actually flip channels or perform other functions, you had to enter IR codes like "ircode thumbsup" by hand, but now a member of the TiVo hacking community has released a graphical utility for the iPhone that lets you press a series of buttons, just as God intended.

TiVoRemote isn't going to win a beauty pageant anytime soon. The interface looks more like a crossword puzzle than a TiVo remote control. But it gets the job done. Because the utility connects to your TiVo over an internet connection, you'll need to know the IP address of your TiVo. And the program will not be able to control your television set or other A/V equipment. Just your TiVo. In other words, this software is pretty cool and could come in handy if you misplace your remote control. But I wouldn't recommend replacing your TIVo or universal remote control with TiVoRemote just yet.

[via Gizmodo]

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Dvico launches FusionHDTV7 dual HDTV tuner

by Brad Linder, posted May 2nd 2008 1:33PM

Dvico Fusion HDTV7

Dvico has released the FusionHDTV7 PCI express card, which is a dual HD TV tuner. Dvico claims that this is the first PCIe card capable of recording two HDTV channels (either digital or QAM) at the same time, and I can't think of any others off the top of my head, so I'm going to agree that this is at least one of the first. Like most HDTV tuner cards these days, the FusionHDTV7 can tune into either digital ATSC broadcats or analog NTSC signals.

The card allows you to record two shows at once, record one show while watching a live program on anothr channel, or view Picture-in-picture videos. Of course, you can get all of the same features by buying two cards, but at about $140, the FusionHDTV is probably cheaper than picking up two other cards. And it takes up less space in your PC.

[via The Green Button]

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Controlling a TiVo with an iPhone the easy/complicated way

by Brad Linder, posted May 2nd 2008 12:09PM

A little while back, TiVo teamed up with home automation software maker Crestron to allow TiVo users to control their light switches, thermostat, and other information through their Series3 and TiVo HD set top boxes. But it appears that a side effect is that anyone can now connect to their TiVo units via telnet, and blogger Dave Zatz figured out that means you can use simple command line codes to replicate TiVo remote control functions from pretty much any internet connected device. In other words, you can use an iPhone as a TiVo remote control.

The easy part is that all you have to do is figure out your TiVo's IP address, use Port 31339, and you can start entering commands. The complicated part is that you have to type out commands like "ircode pause," and "ircode thumbsup," instead of, you know, using your TiVo remote control and just pressing those buttons.

But now that we know this is possible, it's probably just a matter of time before we see third party developers writing TiVo remote control applications with pretty interfaces for the iPhone, Windows Mobile devices, and other internet connected gizmos.

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