When I signed up for DirecTV back in 2004 I received the, now legendary, DirecTiVo (the Samsung S4040R). I loved it. I almost cried in late 2007 when I bought my first HDTV and “had” to give it up for a DirecTV HD DVR. Time marches on, though, and DirecTV and TiVo were no longer partners.
TiVo joined forces with DirecTV in early 2002 with units made by Phillips, Hughes, and Sony. Later RCA and Samsung joined in. Then in late 2006, when NewsCorp gained control of DirecTV, They phased out TiVo in favor of another NewsCorp company, NDS, which was already manufacturing DVR’s for the European market.
In late 2008, with NewsCorp out of the picture, DirecTV again announced a partnership with TiVo. And, since then, we have waited….and waited….and waited. Delay after delay has been announced. It’s really gotten to the point where DirecTV subscribers are starting to think of it as gamers think of Duke Nukem Forever!
The latest release, which was scheduled for late 2010, has apparently been pushed to early 2011. Rumors persist that beta units are floating around, but I know of nobody who has received one and requests to DirecTV are denied.
So, is this the ultimate Vaporware? For that matter, after reading reviews of the new TiVo Premiere, do users really want it? The current DirecTV HD DVR (the HR23-700) has a 500GB hard drive, which is more than most other DVR’s issued by cable and satellite providers. The software (interface) isn’t that bad either. I am starting to think that TiVo, as much as we all pull for them, are verging on extinction. They seriously need to get their Comcast and DirecTV boxes out the door yesterday before the battle is completely lost.
I share with you early on in the show, why I screamed no over the weekend some of you had troubles downloading the last show and that was part of it. Watch your ears at the end as I share a special audio No :).. This one is packed to the rim folks with lots of tech and assorted goodies. The new news links you all have been providing are dangerous. Thanks to all of the Ohana that keep this show at the top of their listen list. I am very grateful.
For those of you with a cable or satellite DVR or TiVo, Western Digital has updated their My Book AV DVR Expander hard drives. Among other things, is the addition of a USB port, to the already existing eSATA port. That means the drives are now compatible with the Sony PS3 and other media devices such as camcorders.
This is TiVo’s one and only “official” method of hard drive expansion.
The capacity has not changed – it’s still 1TB, but I think we can expect that to be expanded on in the near future. Although, 1TB is an awful lot of HDTV recording. I never came close to filling the 500GB drive in my DirecTV HR23.
One thing to watch out for, at least for DirecTV users (and I have no idea if this applies to other DVR’s) is that this drive replaces the internal drive. The good news is that it replaces, but doesn’t overwrite. In other words unplug this drive and reboot to the original internal drive and all of your previous recordings are still there. It would be nice if it added to, instead of replacing, but beggars can’t be choosers. And, since most cable DVR’s have ridiculously small drives, this is a no-brainer of an upgrade.
So, what do you pay for this convenience? It retails for $149.99, but Amazon already has it for $119.00. This is what we should have from our TV providers to begin with, but, for now, we have to pay extra for. And this is, by far, the best extra you can add to your DVR.
I was looking for a 23 inch monitor that was HD ready. I was able to pick up an LG monitor Model B233OH for a total of $257.00 including tax at the local Best Buy. I am using it as a media monitor. It was easy to put together, my husband simply snapped the base into the monitor and it was ready to set up.
The first thing I did was to use the HDMI input and connect that to my TiVo Series 3 DVR. I had I connected my Apple TV to the DVI input using a HDMI to DVI adapter I have. This is just a temporary set up until I can pick up an HDMI switcher. Right now I am not sure which one will give me the best value for its price. The next thing I did was to connect the TiVo to a Kenwood receiver I had. The receiver is about eight years old, so the only video connection it has are S Video, and composite video, because of this I decided to use it for audio only. I connected the TiVo to the DVD optical audio input. I used composite cables to connect the Apple TV to the Tape input on the receiver. I plan to pick up another optical audio cable, but for now the composite cables work fine. I then connected the speakers, two rear, two front and one center, with no subwoofer. Obviously, this is not an optimal setup, but it works and it was cheap.
After, having this set up for about three days I am happy with it for the most part. The picture is nice although during the daytime when the sun comes thru the blinds, there can be a problem with glare. This doesn’t last very long though and it depends on what angle you are watching from The sound is good. The biggest problem I have is getting Comcast HD to stay up, when it comes in its great, unfortunately I keep losing the signal. This unfortunately is a problem I can’t solve, other then that I am very happy with my set up. I do have a question for the readers, what HDMI switcher do you recommend and who should I purchase it from. I was looking at Buy.com, are they a good company to buy from? Any other recommendations?
The once-king of movie rentals is now losing on market share big. Their online rental system is non-existent, thanks to a patent battle win by Netflix in 2006. So how can Blockbuster cure part of their problems? Maybe sell to Google?
Back in 1985, David Cook put together the first Blockbuster store in Dallas, Texas. Scott Beck, John Melk and Wayne Huizenga took it to franchise – which would then be bought by Viacom.
From there, it was pretty much opening stores and gobbling up others like a Pac-Man game. I remember a local company called Doorstep video that was acquired by Blockbuster by 1990. By 2000, Blockbuster was the dominant movie rental chain.
Enter the Online Movie Revolution
Once the Internet began to infiltrate, the ability to order movies at home caused concern to the rental industry. The only thing to do is join the revolution. Blockbuster and Netflix show up with rental business models. What a great idea – Rent a movie from the computer and wait a week for a disc, watch it, then wait another 2 weeks for the next disc.
Of course within time, that model would get better. No late fees, return at any time. They even found it worked on a gaming model with Gamefly.
Blockbuster sweetened the pot with the option to return to their stores and get more movies while they wait for the next titles. Add no late fees – It looked like a great option. Netflix went a different route. They went the online way – Movies from your computer right now. Through the web or through a set-top box.
Movies on Demand – Netflix on everything
Netflix’s model seemed to be more powerful than Blockbuster’s. Of course, you could only get Blockbuster on limited devices. Netflix is on the web, through your Boxee, Roku, TiVo and more. Last year, Netflix subscriber base grew and Blockbuster lost share. They closed stores, but that was not enough to keep up with Netflix and now emerging Red Box locations – where you can rent movies in the grocery store (which you have to go to anyway).
Franchise owners sued Blockbuster for their “Total Access” feature. Netflix sued Blockbuster for copying their online model. Blockbuster was also investigated for their “No Late Fee” claim. The issue was over it possibly being misleading. Blockbuster would charge a “restocking fee” for any movie 30 days late, as well as charge the renter the full price of the video if it also was over 30 days late.
It’s probably a good thing they didn’t buy Circuit City in 2008. Blockbuster might not have been around today if that acquisition came through.
So why should Google buy Blockbuster
After all that, you may be wondering why I think Google should buy Blockbuster. It seems like the company is a failing business model, but that’s not completely true. It’s just disorganized.
Blockbuster needs to enter the on demand market the same way Netflix has – ASAP. What a better way than through Google.
YouTube by Blockbuster
YouTube has struggled to get their online rental model going. Distribution companies like Paramount and Universal try to limit the on-demand option by at least 30 days. On Demand rentals turn into a “let’s watch this movie while we wait for the new stuff”. Hopefully you can find something in the sea of B-movies.
With Blockbuster’s online rental, along with brick and mortar stores and YouTube’s on-demand models, it might be a great marriage. Add to that, YouTube has reach on Boxee, Roku and TiVo already, along with a host of other devices. For $14.95 a month, you could get the best of both worlds.
How moving Google on the block would change Blockbuster
There is still something to be said about the store on the corner. Google could definitely take advantage of the older business model. Just look at how popular the Apple store is.
Google Blockbuster stores could not only have movie and game rentals, but also be the place to try out the Android OS. Maybe play with a Android tablet or phone. You could buy some Blogger wear and get expert advice on Google Adsense or maybe how to make a good YouTube video.
Get in on the Gaming
Oh, yeah – we didn’t even touch game rentals. Of course, Google would enter in a new market. They would compete with Game Fly for rentals and Best Buy for purchases. The “games on demand” market is in it’s infancy. When it explodes, Google will be right there to cash in.
Google would get local exposure, while Blockbuster’s model would grow dramatically. YouTube would get a boost on their online movie rentals, Android might get a home and Google would get into the gaming market at the right time – when it is low.
One should expect that to change when people start spending again, because there is still a great predicted growth in this market.
Blockbuster is trying to cut costs to keep investors happy. Their stock price is bordering on losing their filing. They have put their international assets on the market and will be closing stores in the next quarter to compensate. Google stepping in and paying a modest price including stock buyout would keep the company from going under.
Of course, this is only a suggestion. Other companies would also profit from getting Blockbuster – Best Buy and Walmart for example. Even Apple could see great advantage to incorporate what Blockbuster has. It’s just a question of who’s gonna do it.
I have both a Comcast DVR and a TiVo HD. I was having difficulty one day getting my Comcast DVR to do what I wanted it to do, so I decided to do a comparison between it and the TiVo, the result is the following chart. The one plus that Comcast has over TiVo at this point is cost. You have to buy a TiVo, which depending on the model can run anywhere from $149 up to $499. Comcast DVR comes with the service so is free other then the rental fee. To be honest though I am more then willing to pay for the TiVo, it is just an all around better user experience. What do you think, do you prefer TiVo or your cable or satellite company’s DVR, please let me know.
Can schedule or change recording from TiVo Web site
1. TiVo Series 2 handles up to 80 hours of SD, TiVo HD 90 hours SD or 20 hours HD. They are both expandable with the addition of an external hard drive
2. It is possible to save to a computer using the analog hole or fire wire, but it takes so much time and effort that only the most dedicated person will do it. The results are often subpar.
3. TiVo records by show, so if a show for some reason appears at a different time then originally schedule, TiVo will make the adjustment. Comcast records by time and makes no adjustment if the show changes schedule
4. It is easy to record a series on TiVo simply choose if you want to record new, new and repeat, or all. If you choose new TiVo will record the show only once, no matter how many channels the show is played on. Comcast will record a show multiple times if it appears on multiple channels. A good example is Inside the NFL on Showtime. If you set up a series recording for it on TiVo it will record each show only once no matter how many Showtime channels it appears on. Comcast DVR will record it every time it appears on any channel, if its new to that channel
Blockbuster has announced a partnership with once-dominant Tivo to distribute videos via Tivo’s established service. Blockbuster has been looking for an edge against arguably the biggest giant in the mail-distributed video arena – Netflix. Netflix already offers video downloads and some on-demand video to XBox 360’s as well as to Roku boxes and some Blu-Ray players. Blockbuster’s deal is the first to offer rentals through Tivo.
Blockbuster shares have falling precipitously of late, as their market model doesn’t seem able to compete with Netflix’s broad offerings of movies. Only time will tell if Blockbuster, and Tivo (whose share price is also stalling) can make a decent turnaround.
Blockbuster has stated pricing starts at $1.99 for rentals (up to $3.99) and that to purchase movies will cost anywhere from $14.99 on up. Purchased movies through the Tivo service will include DRM which makes the movies only available on the Tivo they are downloaded to.
As the market for purchased DVD’s declines, both Blockbuster and Netflix will have to adjust their market models accordingly to keep up. Currently Netflix is showing regular growth, but as other companies jockey for positions in the market, expect more offerings like Blockbuster’s partnership with Tivo.