Our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide for the day is the TiVo Premiere Elite. What makes this TiVo so much more special than its predecessors? Well, for starters, this thing has four tuners, so it can record up to four different programs at once. You can watch any of the four, or view a fifth already-recorded program, so that's pretty nice. It's also got a 2 TB hard drive in it, which can hold up to 300 hours of HD programming. If you've got someone in your life who loves film and television, but hates those horrible UIs on the cable company DVR, this is the thing to get.
You can pick up a TiVo Elite for $494 on Amazon.
Read More | TiVo Premiere Elite
We introduce you to the Roku 2 XS, XD, and HD in this episode, coming to you from GDGT Seattle. The Roku 2 XS brings Angry Birds to the television screen with a motion control remote that lets you use the Roku as a game console. In addition, Roku has hundreds of channels available and a bunch of live sports options, making cable cutting easy, if that's your thing. You can find the Roku 2 on Amazon, starting at $59 for the HD model.
Big thank you to Carbonite and JackThreads for sponsoring the show - be sure to check them out! Carbonite offers off-site backup of your computer, and you can get two free months (no credit card needed!) by visiting Carbonite and using promo code TPN. As for JackThreads, we've got exclusive invite codes that give you $5 to use towards anything you'd like.
[Camera credit: Taylor Peterson]
Apple just released an update for the Apple TV that brings a couple of new and welcome features to the platform. First, iCloud integration for television shows. There is a new "Purchased TV Shows" area that shows all shows that you have bought, either through the iTunes Store or from the original Apple TV (the current model doesn't allow purchasing, just renting.) You can go into this area for a list of shows you own, and then can drill into that show to see which episodes you've purchased, indicated by the iCloud logo. The other feature that the update brings is Vimeo support. You can now browse and play content from Vimeo, and if you have an account, you can even put in your credentials to access your inbox and mark videos you want to watch later.
The update is available now to all.
Starting Sunday, the Logitech Revue with Google TV is available for $99, down from $249. The company also said it will roll out an automatic software update later this summer, which will add Android 3.1, a simplified user experience, and access to the Android Market.
The price drop is the second for the Revue this year; Logitech dropped it from $299 to $249 in May. That, however, did not help sales and during a recent earnings call, the company said that "returns of the product were higher than the very modest sales."
Logitech later issued a clarification to say that it did not mean that more Revues were being returned than purchased.
Back when the Logitech Revue was first announced for about $300, we knew the device wouldn't sell. Google TV was a new, unproven product, and Google wasn't even the company that was technically doing the selling of the devices. Yet somehow, Logitech didn't realize that, and the Revue has sold very, very poorly. So poorly in fact, that there's a major shakeup going on at the company as its now seeking a new CEO. The official word is that people have been returning their purchased Revue boxes faster than others are buying new ones, and that's just not good. In an effort to increase consumer adoption, Logitech has slashed the price of the Revue down to $99--a $150 reduction in price. So, anyone plan on picking up one of these? Hey, it'll be getting an Android Honeycomb update sometime soon.
Just under a year from when Google and Logitech first unveiled the first Google TV, otherwise known as the Logitech Revue, Google I/O 2011 is this week in San Francisco with some real hope for the platform. Google just signed a deal that brings thousands of videos YouTube.
Content, content, content. Without it, you're as dead in the water as the some extended cable channel at 3 a.m. The only reason that fools like me own one is the vague hope that Google might see the light, open its pocketbook, and perhaps give us some real content to watch.
It's odd, in a way, that consumers could even gripe about such a thing. A few bucks to Netflix or to Hulu opens up a wealth of fresh and archived content that should keep the most devoted couch potato rooted for weeks. But there's something inutterably frustrating about visiting a website and seeing content blocked—blocked!—just because you own a particular piece of hardware.
It seems likely that Samsung will announce its Google TV devices this week, in addition to a Chrome OS netbook. With Logitech reporting just $5 million in sales for the Revue, it would seem that the supply will outstrip the demand.
But with Google's deal that brings rentals to YouTube, there's hope for the platform yet. While Google TV doesn't look likely to dominate the media streamer market, let's look at what Google could do to make the next generation of Google TV succeed.
If you're a TiVo Premiere owners with Comcast Xfinity service, you've got one more reason to be excited, as the companies have announced that they're bringing Xfinity On Demand programming directly into the TiVo Premiere interface. One of the main gripes many have with TiVo is that, if you want to enjoy On Demand and Pay-Per-View content, you still need a cable box from your provider, since the TiVo can't access that stuff. This agreement changes that a bit. Soon, if you are one of the many Xfinity customers out there, you'll be able to browse the On Demand content right on your TiVo. They don't make mention of PPV specifically, but even if that isn't a part of this, you can always order those by phone as well. Given those two facts, this will make it possible for a TiVo Premiere box to serve as your only cable box, which can knock off as much as $20 per month from your cable bill, depending on your location.
Of course, since both TiVo and Comcast and two of the slowest moving companies in existence, this is going to be a slow, gradual rollout. They are going to start with the largest markets, with the first expected to be the San Francisco Bay Area, with additional markets to follow. No timeline or anything has been given.
Any Xfinity customers excited about this?
Read More | TiVo Blog
Thanks to a software update for Apple TV announced Wednesday, owners can now stream live and archived U.S. NBA and MLB games. The Apple TV update version 4.2 also adds 5.1 Dolby audio to Netflix streaming.
Starting at $64.95 a year, the National Basketball Association's (NBA) "League Pass Broadband" lets you follow seven teams, while a $99.95 option lets you watch games from all 30 teams, amounting to more than 40 games a week during the season. However there is a location-based blackout period, meaning that you'll only be able to access your subscription in the state or zip code in which you purchased it.
Meanwhile Major League Baseball's "MLB.TV" streaming package, also available on Roku and PlayStation 3, starts at $19.99/month or $99.99/year for the Standard package; $24.99/month or $119.99 a year for the Premium package. Premium adds the ability to choose home or away team video broadcasts, DVR functionality, and split-screen viewing.
The newly redesigned Apple TV is next up in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide, and for good reason. You can stream movies, TV shows, photos, and music to the device, and setup just requires plugging it into power, and into your television. A couple minutes later and you're connected to Wi-Fi and streaming Netflix. With iOS 4.2 and the AirPlay feature, you can even send videos and music directly from your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch directly to your television. Mix in HD movies rentals from $3.99 and TV show rentals for $.99 cents, and you have a nice little wireless media extender. You can pick one up now for $99 from Apple, or $98 from Amazon with free shipping.
We know you’ve been waiting for our Apple TV review, and we’ve been playing with Apple’s second try at a home theater set top box for about ten days now, and figured it was time to report back with our thoughts. The thing is, it really is a lot of the same in terms of usability and interface. There aren’t many changes (yet!) to that side of things, despite things being very different under the hood. The new Apple TV is a lot smaller, and runs iOS 4, and is priced at just $99. It’s centered around a focus on renting movies and TV shows rather than purchasing them. It’s also got Netflix integration and the new AirPlay functionality that allows you to fling video and audio content from your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch right to the Apple TV with ease.
Rather than go into this as a full review, we figured we’d focus instead on five aspects of the new Apple TV that we like, and five things about the Apple TV that we hate. So let’s jump into five things we like about the Apple TV: