TiVo fans everywhere are rejoicing today with the announcement of the company's new Series4 Premiere and PremiereXL DVRs, due out in early April. The new boxes have a completely new high-def interface built with Adobe Flash--a huge improvement--and new partnerships have been inked with Pandora and FrameChannel, both of which will complement the current Netflix and Amazon On Demand integration. Streamed content will have a bigger spot in the homepage limelight as will locally stored content when it comes to search and navigation. In fact, the Premiere and PremiereXL will boast 320 GB and 1 TB built-in storage for 45 and 150 hours of HD video storage, respectively. Both units will also have CableCARD and eSATA slots for memory expansion.
Also of note is the full QWERTY Bluetooth remote, THX certification for the PremiereXL and an optional wireless-N adapter. Shipping in April, the TiVo Premiere and PremiereXL are expected to cost $299 and $499, respectively.
TiVo owners unhappy with the speed and bandwidth capabilities of the current AG0100 Wireless G USB network adapter will be happy to know an 802.11n version appeared in the FCC database today. The AN0100 Wireless 11n AP doesn't have a description or any images attached in the FCC filing (aside from what looks like an included Ethernet slot), but it's probable that the new adapter will better handle wireless HD streaming across a home network. The current version of the DVR adapter features support for TiViToGo, online scheduling, multi-room viewing, and photo and music playback.
It's been a long time coming, but today TiVo owners will finally be able to stream Blockbuster OnDemand movies. First announced in March, the TiVo/Blockbuster partnership will stream $3.99 new releases, $2.99 classics, and "select HD titles" in the next few weeks. As part of the agreement, Blockbuster stores will also sell TiVo units--at least in the United States. Owners of TiVo models Series 2 and Series 3 will be able to access the service immediately, after signing up for a Blockbuster account.
Best Buy and TiVo are forming a partnership that will result in heavy TiVo promotion in all 1100 Best Buy stores in the United States.
As part of the deal, TiVo will develop a custom version of its digital video recorder for Best Buy that will allow the electronics chain to advertise its products and services to TiVo subscribers on their TVs. Subscribers will also be able to purchase items and receive tips and advice. Best Buy will finance a move to bring TiVo's search tools and software to its own brand of home theater products, Insignia, as well.
TiVo hopes the partnership will help people realize that the set-top is more than a way to rewind and record television shows. Newer TiVo boxes have broadband connections allowing subscribers to do things like order pizzas and Netflix movies, and buy tickets for movies and events. But TiVo has had a tough time educating consumers about the new features; not a good thing considering most cable companies now offer their own DVRs.
TiVo lovers everywhere can now program the beloved DVR from their mobile phones. The company is launching a mobile website, usable on any carrier's network, from which any user can see TiVo's program listings. Only TiVo Series 2/3/HD owners will be able to control their program recording remotely though, which obviously makes sense. You'll find the site at m.tivo.com on your mobile phone currently, but still in beta, it's short a few features you'll see in a few weeks. Sling Media's SlingPlayer Mobile software already allows SlingBox owners to do this, but its unlikely they have the user base of TiVo. Oh, and by the way, stay tuned over the next few days for our full Slingbox PRO-HD review.
Tired of the typical TiVo offerings? Good news, the choice of content available to broadband-connected TiVo Series3 and TiVo HD DVR owners just hit the moon as the company has just announced with YouTube, bringing hundreds of millions of user-generated videos (some good, some bad) directly to your TV screen.
TiVo users will be able to browse and play YouTube vids using the TiVo interface while seated comfortably on the couch. And very soon YouTube users will also be able to logon to their accounts using the TiVo granting access to their personal favorites and playlists. All of this without ever touching a computer.
Whether or not this is a better deal for TiVo or YouTube is hard to tell. Is this really the type of content that TiVo users want? If anything, this is another huge deal for YouTube, enabling their giant video platform out of the interweb and into the real world.
Look for a software update in the next few weeks that will enable this new feature.
Most of what you read here at TVSnob is focused on new HDTV-related products, services, and the news you can use, but TiVo has forced us out of our comfort zone with both a new website design and Facebook application in the same week. TiVo, known for a nicely designed product, but ugly-as-all-hell website decided to step up giving their website an impressive makeover last week, dramatically improving not only its looks, but its usability, improved product descriptions and even some video tutorials. Interestingly, TiVo looks to have forgot to update its "Find TV Shows" page, which is still ugly-as-all-hell. Maybe this page will require some time-consuming database updates or something. Who knows, but I'm sure the company has been made aware of it by now, so doubt it's an engineering problem. Now that TiVo isn't so ugly, they've decided to venture into the world of social networks, debuting the My TV Facebook app which allows TiVo users to converse, share what they're currently watching and making it a little funner to find new stuff to look at. No actually TiVo box integration though-in fact you don't even need to own a TiVo to use it. Looks like the company needs a little work on the distribution end of things though, with only a few postings on the app's page so far, mainly about how it's slow, boring, lacking conversation, and even TV show titles.
There's been a lot of speculation about the new TiVo HD out in the last few months and it looks like most of its been right. The great thing about the new TiVo is that it retails for $299. Not too shabby when you realize it records 180 hours of standard TV (20 hours for HD) and dual CableCARD slots. Here are the basic specs:
Controls cable TV with Record, Pause, Rewind, and Fast-Forward in HD
Records two HD channels at once, while watching another recorded show
Records up to 20 hours in HD (or 180 hours in Standard Definition)
Designed specifically for cable customers1
Video output modes include: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i
Download thousands of movies directly to your TV
Share home movies with your friends and family on their TV
Get broadband videos, music and photos on your TV
Schedule shows online
Discover broadcast and broadband shows with universal Swivel Search
Easily pre-approve what your kids watch with TiVo KidZone
16.5" W x 12.625" D x 3.375" H
Weight: 12 lbs.
Signal sources: Digital cable, Analog cable, Digital antenna (ATSC) and Analog antenna channels (satellite not supported)
If you don't have a TiVo on your holiday list this might be the year to add one. According to eHomeUpgrade.com:
TiVo, the creator and a leader in television services for digital video recorders (DVR's), is offering consumers an unprecedented opportunity to get for their own homes or give as a gift to friends and family the most popular TiVo box absolutely free this holiday season. When they sign up for a new service plan, consumers will receive the TiVo Series2 which retails for $219.99 and which has the capacity to store up to 80 hours of their favorite TV programming, free after rebate. This versatile TiVo box empowers consumers to enjoy their favorite TV programs whenever they want, and works with all cable, satellite, antenna, and combination set-ups. This is a limited time offer, while supplies last.
The rebate details are:
As part of a major holiday campaign offering consumers widespread savings, TiVo is extending special rebates on a number of its most popular models, including: 80-hr TiVo Series2 DT (DT stands for Dual Tuner which allows you to record 2 shows simultaneously* while watching a 3rd), which regularly retails for $249.99, is now just $69.99 after rebate and service activation, and the 180-hr TiVo Series2 DT DVR which regularly retails for $349.99 for only $169.99 after rebate and service activation. TiVo products can be purchased at leading retailers across the country, including Best Buy, Circuit City, Radio Shack, and other major electronics retailers. Visit TiVo.com for more details.
You might want to jump on this deal before the holiday season ends.
Even though the TiVo Series 3 has been out for a few months, we haven't seen many reviews out there yet. We guess the lack of exposure has to do with how many people are willing to spend almost $800 on a box that requires a contract. Anyway, here's a small but decent review at HolidayGadgetGuide.FederatedMedia.net:
About six weeks ago, a Comcast truck rolled away from my house and I finally had my new Series 3 TiVo up and running. For the past year, I’ve been using Comcast’s HD DVR and it’s been a bear to use, buggy, and unreliable (my review). I bought a Series 3 TiVo on the day it was released just to get away from the old box. What follows are my impressions from my time so far with the new device.
Here's a couple of the high points that the article notes:
Hands down, still the best interface in recordable TV. I realized I was watching less TV and not marking new programs to be recorded on my old Comcast DVR because the interface was so cumbersome and time-consuming. The TiVo is just natural to use.
HD video quality is perfect, standard def at high quality looks great too, much better than the default Comcast DVR recordings. Since the 250Gb drive can record hundreds of hours of standard TV, I set it to High Quality (2nd highest) and was impressed as it was much better than my Comcast DVR’s standard def recordings.
And of course, one of the biggest low points:
The price is high. No doubt, the biggest drawback to the Series 3 TiVo is the price. Suggested list is $799 and if you shop around you can save about $100 off that price. On top of the high cost of hardware, you also have to pay for a monthly subscription in 1, 2, and 3 year increments (that range from $12.95-19.95, depending on length). This is definitely high end gear and it carries the price to match.
We definitely agree with this low point but we expect to see the price of the Series 3 to start slowly come down after the Holidays. Be sure to read about all of the high and low points in the article:
Got a new TiVo series 3 box and you're having trouble with the remote? Well according to Engadget, your Plasma TV might be the problem:
As many home theater aficionados know (first-hand, unfortunately), plasma TVs emit a significant amount of EMI and RFI signals from their surfaces that can confuse nearby IR sensors and render them useless, especially if your home theater gear juts out in front of the display. Well this problem has been happening in spades to new Series3 owners, as the box's IR receiver seems especially sensitive to other frequencies, so much so that they often need to press a button 10 to 15 times for a command to actually register.
TiVo seems to be aware of the issue, but has not yet offered a solution, which is why the good folks who frequent the TiVo Community forum have put their heads together and come up with several effective workarounds.
While there's a lot of debate among readers what the real issue is, you'll want to check out some work-arounds at Engadget's site.
So yesterday, we told you that you could now order the TiVo Series 3 box now. Can you believe that the guys over at WeakKnees have already upgraded their Series 3 from a 250GB drive to a 750GB drive? Wow! It's pretty impressive how fast they got that done.
WeakKnees will be taking preorders for the upgrade sometime next week. Be sure to stop by their sites for more information: