TiVo Premiere Elites released

The TiVo community has started to dissect the latest DVR from TiVo and finds intriguing new features, along with more than 300 hours of HD recording capacity.  Another interesting find, the unit is more energy efficient, drawing about 20 Watts.

They’ve even started opening up their brand new boxes and taking photos of the guts. And a couple of new screens. The Premiere-to-Premiere streaming is working, and it even works for copy protected content that doesn’t work with Multi-Room Viewing. 

The TiVo Premiere Elite is in Customer Hands, TiVo Community Starts Analysis | Gizmo Lovers Blog

The State of Boxee, Roku and Tivo

I’ve been satisfied, and complacent, with my Tivo (i think its a series3), but I’ve kept my eye on both Roku and Boxee as alternatives. It definitely seems that the pace of innovation at Tivo, measued in years not months, may turn into a liability for them. Once I can get MLS Live, FSC, and ESPN over the internet and into a single box, I’d seriously consider dropping my TV Subscription. 

Here’s what I got from the Boxee CEO, along with Roku CEO Anthony Wood, and TiVo exec Tara Maitra. For more, check out Light Reading’s own coverage including interviews on Light Reading TV.

The State of Boxee, Roku and Tivo

TiVo Reduces Price On TiVo HD And TiVo HD XL DVRs | TiVo Blog

Just in time for the holidays, TiVo is dropping their prices. Not only do you get an HD DVR, but you can also stream Netflix movies or purchase on-demand from Amazon Unbox.

Thanks to the following discounts, you can now pickup a TiVo HD for $249.99 ($50 discount) or a TiVo HD XL for $499.99 ($100 discount).

TiVo Reduces Price On TiVo HD And TiVo HD XL DVRs | TiVo Blog

TiVo cheaper per month

I had suspected as much, but tivoblog crunches the numbers to compare the cost of TiVo versus a Cable company DVR. The monthly costs come out slightly in TiVo’s favor, but does it justify the initial hardware investment? This is where TiVo could really make the case that it offers more services, like Amazon and Netflix streaming.

The Cost Of Operating A TiVo DVR – Are Cable Company DVRs Really A Good Deal? | TiVo Blog

Being the geek that I am, I decided to call my local Time Warner Cable in order to figure out whether or not a cable company DVR is in fact a better deal. Here’s what I found out…

Some good news for TiVo stockholders

TiVo and EchoStar, of Dish Network fame, have been embroiled in patent litigation for a number of years, regarding a number of patents that TiVo uses to implement some of its DVR features (AFAIK, these are not trivial patents but IANAL so don’t quote me on that). TiVo got some good news today, as the Supreme Court refused to hear EchoStar’s appeal and letting the preevious judegement stand. The stock, unlike most of the rest of the market, was up 1.8 percent, a meager 11 cents, on the news, while EchoStar stock droped 74 cents, a 3.9 percent drop.

Out of options, DISH finally pays TiVo $104 million judgment

As expected, the decision sparked a number of appeals from DISH, but TiVo won every appeal, with court after court deciding in favor of TiVo, and the US Patent and Trademark Office ruling that the patent was valid and enforceable. Throughout the process, DISH remained adamant that its DVR software didn’t infringe on any TiVo IP, and even attempted to sue TiVo after it came up with a workaround so that it could be declared valid and noninfringing.

I’d blogged about the lawsuit two years ago, and more recently about my switch from Dish to Verizon FiOS + TiVo HD,

Verizon FIOS TV DVR

I sure am glad I went with the TivoHD instead of going with Verizon’s DVR. What TiVo Could Teach My Verizon FiOS TV DVR « NewTeeVee

I recently swapped my old Series 2 TiVo for an HD-capable DVR from Verizon FiOS. While I love the fact that I can record high-def programming, I miss my trusty, user-friendly TiVo. Here are a few things that Verizon — and all of the cable companies that also rent DVRs to their customers — could learn from TiVo.

Washington DC to get FIOS?

My city peeps might soon have the option of getting Internet + TV through Verizon’s fiber optic service. I recently wrote about my switch to FiOS. Here’s a mini followup.

Things I like – the cost

I Received our first full month’s bill for Fios service, total was $115 dollars for phone, internet, and TV service. This includes a $10 bundle discount, and about $14 dollars in taxes, fees, and other charges not usually disclosed. My last DSL+Phone service bill from Verizon was $98 alone. Coupled with a Dish bill that used to run close to $89, I’ll now be saving $72 per month for the next 2 years.

The savings will pay for my TivoHD (Hardware + Lifetime service) in just over 8.3 months, not taking into account the time-value of money which won’t make a huge difference when we’re talking about less than a year time-frame. For comparison, I could put the $72 monthly savings into an account bearing a paltry 3.5% and at the end of 12 months, I’ll have accrued $880.

Things I don’t like

  1. The Actiontec router – its serviceable enough, but its clearly not meant to be easy to tinker with and it has an annoying way of obfuscating the pasword as you type it in. After being on for just over 2 months, DNS started failing, which was "fixed" by rebooting the router. This is what lead me to switch to OpenDNS below.
  2. Verizon’s habit of routing failed DNS queries to their "helpful" did-you-mean page, which has ads they run. I switched to OpenDNS but they do the same thing.
  3. The on-screen guide on the non-tivo HD STB is a big FAIL. There’s no way to remove channels that you do not receive, the layout is hard to navigate, and the program descriptions are often out of date, or just generic descriptions of the show in question. Tivo’s guide is markedly better and this is the one thing that annoys Staci the most.

The Technology Liberation Front » Archive » FiOS coming soon to DC?

Adding FiOS to the mix will bring the benefits of greater competition to D.C. subscribers. In northern Virginia, a fierce rivalry between Verizon and Comcast has pushed prices downward, even for consumers whose residences have yet to be “lit.”

Maybe a merger would do them some good…

I was a big fan of Satellite TV going back to grad school. Back then, you could get a decent channel package for around $30/month, easily beating the price of cable. Even factoring in buying the Dish and Receiver, the savings at the time paid for themselves in under two years (at least in Blacksburg in the late 90s). I even used to brag how we didn’t lose signal during the last hurricane to rumble through Northern Virginia.

But over the last year, I became greatly disatisfied with Dish Network, my former provider. Although we had the high-def package, the DVR they wanted to rent me would cost an additional 15-20 a month, iirc, which was more than the montly price of a TiVo. The high-def channels were great for ESPN2 MLS telecasts, but we didn’t watch a whole lot if high def channel. Finally, to get Fox Soccer Channel, which invariably has a handful of away DC United games each season, I had to subscribe to the most expensive channel bundle.

Early this spring, Verizon came through our neighborhood and hooked us all up to their Fiber optic Internet service. I already had Verizon DSL (part of that cable company phobia that drove me to Dish Network in the first place), and when I noticed that FSC was on the basic programming tier for Fios TV.

The more I mulled it over, the more sense it made. I haven’t gotten a first full months bill, but while I don’t expect our monthly savings to be huge, maybe on the order of $20-30/month, we’re getting better services than before. We have faster Internet, cheaper TV, and since FiosTV supports CableCARDS, I finagled an upgrade to a TivoHD box. The improvement in picture quality alone over Dish + Tivo, which underwent a painful Digital-Analog-Digital converstion, is worth the pain of switching alone.

The only downside manifested itself last week, when the Actiontec router Verizon supplies started having DNS issues. Rebooting the router “solved” them, which is annoying since I’ll have to remember to reboot it every few weeks.

If Dish Network and DirectTV have to merge to compete, so be it. There are more options today than a decade ago, and that’s not counting Netflix or watching TV Shows on the Internet.

The Technology Liberation Front » Archive » Dish Network ponders merger with DirecTV

Just as the 505-day XM Sirius antitrust saga comes to a bittersweet end, reports have resurfaced that a new satellite merger may be in the works. Dish Network is floating the idea of merging with competitor DirecTV. Dish Network and DirecTV, the two largest satellite television providers in the U.S.

P.S. First person to post about how their life is super-great without TV gets a unicorn.

TivoHD for the rest of you

The long awaited TivoHD has been officially announced.  Its Tivo’s more affordable high-definition tuner, costing $299 compared to the Series3 which retails for almost $800.

While the TiVo HD is really a refined Series 3 under the hood and not a half-breed, the branding and the push make it clear that TiVo is hoping that the TiVo HD sees the successes of which the Series 3 could only dream. Given that the TiVo HD operates more or less just like the Series 3, this is going to be a compelling unit.

While I’d like to be excited about this, since I’ve recently upgraded to HD programming from Dish network.  The fact that Tivo’s HD receivers only work with cable systems, however, means that I can’t use the device without switching to cable tv.  Given Echostar and Tivo’s litigious relationshiop, we’ll probably never have an HD receiver from Tivo that works with satellite receivers.  Its a pity, because last time I checked, the monthly cost of an HD Tivo, was less than the $20/month DishNetwork wants to charge me to lease an HD PVR.  Luckily, the basic dish DH receiver down converts HD so that I can pipe that into my Series2.  Anything we watch in HD has to be live, which is fine since I primarily watch ESPN’s HD broadcast for MLS and other soccer games.

More device details for Dave Zatz.

New Tivo Video and Photo Sharing Service

Tivo has partnered with One True Media to let users share video and photos with other Tivo users.  This announcement from Tivo means we probably won’t view Youtube videos on your Tivo anytime soon (without a lot of hackery),.  Can this work?  How many people have broadband connected Tivos?  While its free for the people who view the videos, who’s going to pay $4/month or $40/year to share videos with someone on her Tivo when they can upload them for free to Youtube or burn them to a DVD?  I’d imagine the potential audience for this service is an order of magnitude smaller than Youtube or even Bittorrent, so what is the carrot for would be online TV show producers?

You can also create your own video channel on One True Media, and TiVo users can subscribe to your channel by using the TiVo’s Season Pass feature, and then with each video or slideshow you upload an edit will end up automatically on that TiVo users Now Playing List just like any other Season Pass recording.