TiVo may be a life-changer, but there's a dark side for couch potatoes who are also pack rats: the dreaded full hard drive. If you're too cheap to get a new version (that would be us), you're stuck with a disc that seems perennially full: As we all know, the maximum storage capacity is always based on low-resolution recordings, which make Lost reruns look like moving impressionist paintings.
The release of Apple TV is imminent--the first hands-on review has appeared, pre-orders have already begun shipping, and it should be popping up in Apple Stores by the end of the week. It's fair to say that Apple's first living room entertainment device is going to cause some major waves in the industry. At the same time, though, it's neither the first nor only product of its kind. Plenty of others--known as digital media adapters or network media devices--are capable of streaming digital media from networked PCs. And iTunes isn't the only show in town when it comes to digitally delivering premium movies and TV shows. So, as the Apple TV rocket leaves the launchpad, we thought it only fair to present a look at the alternatives.… Read more
It's been so long we almost forgot about it, but Verizon Wireless finally delivered on its year-old promise to bring TiVo services to cell phones. As a refresher, TiVo Mobile will allow Verizon customers to schedule recordings on their Series2 and Series3 DVRs from their phones. That's pretty neat by itself but Verizon also is pushing a selection of "premium content" that will come with a TiVo Mobile subscription. Included will be a customizable channel lineup, the most popular and most recorded shows, and a current list of TiVo recommendations. The service is available for a … Read more
Amazon Unbox on TiVo launched yesterday, which means TiVo subscribers will be able to download selected Amazon Unbox videos straight to their TiVo box. We were pretty excited about the announcement, because at first glance Amazon Unbox on TiVo looks to be a possible replacement for a DVD renting service like Netflix, or Pay-Per-View services available on cable or satellite. The service works on any broadband connected Series2 or Series3 TiVo, and we took it for a spin on our Series2 TiVo.
We had absolutely no trouble linking our TiVo with our Amazon account, and we were selecting movies in just a couple of clicks. The interface to select movies will be familiar to anyone who has used Amazon, which is to say it's pretty painless. The only knock we had is that Amazon doesn't seem 100-percent ready for TiVo fans, as the method of filtering TiVo-transferable files from other Amazon Unbox files is just using the search term "tivo" in the Unbox section. A separate section of Amazon Unbox would be preferable.
We found the initial selection to be a little meager. Not all Amazon Unbox videos are available to be transferred to TiVos, presumably because of the need to convert the files to a TiVo-friendly format. As of press time, 1,433 videos were labeled "TiVo", which is a combination of TV shows and movies. Sure, that's a lot of videos for any one person to watch, but it's not much of a library. However, Amazon claims it will be adding new titles every week, so you can expect this library to grow. In terms of cost, most movies we saw were $15 to buy and $4 to rent, while TV shows were $2 to buy.… Read more
Friendster makes Google its ad, search supplier. Google has unseated Yahoo for advertising supremacy at Friendster, one of the oldest social networks that still has 37 million registered users. … Read more
There's still no word on whether the TiVo Series3 will be seeing a price cut in the near future. But in the meantime, it's worth visiting an issue that cropped up during our testing of the box back in the fall of 2006. At that time, we noticed that the Series3 analog-video outputs exhibited some strange behavior when connected to JVC A/V receivers via HDMI--essentially, the composite and S-video outputs wouldn't work when playing back recordings that were flagged as "restricted" by the content provider.
Both TiVo and JVC have since followed up on … Read more
TiVo is slowly rolling out a software update to its Series3 high-def DVR. Among the improvements in the 8.1 version (as reported at tivocommunity.com): TiVoCast (video downloads); Extend Live (autoprompt for live-event recording extensions); KidZone (family-friendly content control); wireless networking improvement (WPA support added to WEP); Product Watch (download preferred advertising videos that caters to your interest); and Recently Deleted Folder (resurrect accidentally deleted content). As Dave Zatz points out, that brings the Series3 functionality in line with that of the non-HD Series2 boxes except for two big missing features: TiVo To Go and multiroom viewing, both of … Read more
It's really impossible to follow any tech blog these days without hearing something about Joost, formerly known as "The Venice Project," the mysterious online video start-up from the same minds that brought us Skype and Kazaa. There's been a lot of speculation, a lot of hype (usually involving the phrase "YouTube killer"), and a lot of hush-hush. That's because Joost, as I learned upon signing up for the private beta test, has a very strict non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Consequently, it's been difficult for me to address some of the more pointed questions … Read more
We checked out MeeVee in September, and cited its lack of integration with recording and viewing services. Today, MeeVee has strengthened its viewing service with two new features: personalized networks and community video. Essentially the site lets you pick out your favorite shows and then aggregates relevant videos from hosting sites like YouTube and EVTV1 (with several more on the way). Clicking on any of these videos will actually take you outside of the MeeVee site, but there's a helpful frame put on the top of the screen to direct you back. We're told MeeVee is moving to … Read more
>> Senator to propose surveillance of illegal images. John McCain wants to give surveillance duty to your Internet service provider and to Web sites to crack down on child pornography. All questionable images would be flagged and sent to the authorities with your IP address. (CNET News.com)
>> Flip launches. Conde Nast's answer to MySpace and other social networks. The service, aimed at teenage girls, lets you create a scrapbook of sorts in the form of a flip book. Your flip book can then be shared on other services. (Mashable)