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August 30, 2014

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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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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

DirecTiVo

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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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

TiVo SDV

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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TiVoRemote: Control your TiVo with an iPhone

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

TiVoRemote

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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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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SuperSync iTunes file sync client adds TiVo support

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 23rd 2008 1:57PM
SuperSync
SuperSync is an application for keeping your iTunes libraries synchronized between multiple computers. The software works with Macs and PCs, and now with TiVo as well. SuperSync 2.3 adds support for synchronizing MP3 files with a TiVo.

TiVo users can use the software to access MP3s stored in their iTunes directories on computers connected to the home network. You can then use a TiVo remote to browse your music library by artist, genre, album, or playlist.

The latest version of SuperSync also has a new help system, improved transfer stats, and support for several other digital audio players. A SuperSync license for 2 machines runs $29, with discounted options available for 5 and 10 machine licenses.

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TiVo v. DISH fallout: Some DISH boxes can no longer be sold

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 21st 2008 8:27PM
DISH VIP 942Remember how DISH Network quickly responded to the latest (and possibly final) twist in the TiVo v. Echostar patent dispute by saying that customers would not be affected since all DISH set top boxes had received software upgrades? Yeah, that wasn't entirely true.

Now DISH is letting us know that there are actually a few boxes that not received the upgrade treatment. The four boxes in question are all on the older side and odds are you weren't going to get one installed when you signed up for DISH service anyway. But the company is letting installers know that the VIP 721, 921, 942 and Homezone 1022 models are to be pretty much taken out of service. If you've already got one of these in your house and service has already been activated, it sounds like you shouldn't be affected.

[via Engadget and CNet]

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TiVo website gets a long overdue facelift

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 18th 2008 5:55PM
TiVo.com
The basic TiVo software interface has maintained the same look and feel for the last few years, and that's fine because it works remarkably well and is easier to use than the interfaces most cable companies slap on their set top boxes. But the TiVo web site design has also looked the same for years, and to be honest, its age was starting to show.

Today TiVo pulled the blanket off a brand new web site filled with Flashy new features. You can watch a product demo, or see a few of the day's top TV shows from the main page without refreshing the page or loading a new one. And the sub-paged for the TiVo Shop, product descriptions, and other services sport a clean new look.

There are some parts of the web site that still sport the old look, including the TiVo Rewards page, which will be phased out in just over a month anyway. And the TiVo Central page for scheduling recordings hasn't really changed. So overall while the new site looks prettier, it's not much more functional than the old page.

[via Gizmo Lovers]

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TiVo releases My TV Facebook application

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 18th 2008 9:01AM
My TV Facebook app
TiVo has released a Facebook application called My TV that lets you find and rate your favorite shows, and share your favorites with your friends. You can also scheduled recordings, but only through a connection with the TiVo Central website. So if your primary goal is to schedule recordings online you should probably just go right to the TiVo Central page. But the Facebook app is pretty interesting as a standalone package.

When you sign up, My TV will automatically find any of your Facebook contacts who are already users and show you their shows. When you click on a TV program you can leave comments, rate the show, or post a message to the "Show Chat" box to start a discussion with other fans.

It would be nice if you could do a few more TiVo-related things with the Facebook application, like automatically import your season passes rather than picking them by hand. But whether you use TiVo or not, My TV is a pretty nifty Facebook app for TV lovers. I

[via Gizmo Lovers]

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