Cool Tech Reviews

Just Cool Tech

July 10, 2007

TiVo users can now order Amazon Unbox videos direct

Back in February when and TiVo announced that they were hooking up the TiVo DVR with Amazon’s Unbox Internet video store, one problem I noted was that “it’s not perfect because you can’t order the downloads from the TiVo.” Instead you had to order through your PC for delivery to your TiVo. However, starting today, that gap has been bridged:


Posted at 10:45 am. Filed under Amazon, Brands, Companies, Digital Video Recorders, Internet, TiVo, Unbox, Video Downloads

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February 14, 2007

Amazon Unbox hooks up with TiVo for video downloads

I’ve always been hopeful about Internet video downloads even though the available services always seem to leave quite a bit to be desired. Gizmodo’s Charlie White summarizes the problems nicely in Top 10 Reasons Why Movie Downloads Suck, but I’d like to call out a couple of them:

3. No computer in the TV room: Most people don’t have a computer near the TV, and getting a downloaded movie from one to the other is awkward at best.

10. Too complicated: Finally, all of that knowledge and computer know-how needed for downloading movies is simply nonexistent in the skill sets of the average movie viewer. They’re just not willing to go through the learning curve to get the digital data from the PC to the TV screen when they can effortlessly pop in a DVD.

These aren’t problems for a “power user,” but they surely are impediments for the casual consumer. That’s why I was interested to see the alliance announced last week between Amazon’s Unbox movie download service and TiVo, the digital video recorder makers, to provide Unbox downloads automatically and directly to the TiVo DVR. The details of the announcement are here, but the FAQ may be more illuminating.

In a nutshell, if you are the owner of a broadband connected TiVo Series2 or Series3 DVR, you can register the unit with Amazon from your PC and whenever you purchase any video at Amazon Unbox (again from your PC) you can specify that it be delivered to your TiVo. If you delete it from the TiVo, it can be downloaded again free from your Amazon Media Library.

It’s not perfect because you can’t order the downloads from the TiVo, but it neatly gets around the two problems listed above. Of course, there are still more of the “10 Reasons” to overcome, but at least it’s a start. Amazon’s Unbox had a very shaky launch, but presuming that they have ironed out the bugs, the only downside that I see is that broadband connected TiVo Series2 and Series3 boxes aren’t particularly common – TiVo estimates that there only are 1.5 million potential candidates. However, if you happen to own one it would be worthwhile to head over to Unbox and at least kick the tires when this rolls out later this year.

Update – March 7, 2007: The Amazon Unbox TiVo service is now live.

Posted at 10:49 am. Filed under Amazon, Brands, Companies, Digital Video Recorders, Internet, TiVo, Unbox, Video Downloads

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September 24, 2006

Which US satellite TV service offers the best DVR?

If you’re like me, and I suspect most folks in the USA are in this regard, you are constantly besieged by offers for satellite TV service. DirecTV and Dish Network plus a host of local affiliated installers are always after you to install their latest super duper offering. A large part of any decision is the discount offered plus what channels you are interested in or how many rooms you need to connect, but these days there’s one more consideration: which of the provided digital video recorders would you prefer. DVR Playground has a head to head review:

The first decision you need to make is whether or not you need a High Definition (HD) programming package and in turn an HD dish and receiver/DVR or if you will view your satellite TV via standard definition (SD). At this point, both Dish Network and DirecTV offer one standard definition and one HD DVR each. Of course, you could go out and buy a used receiver from another user, eBay, etc. However, you should be careful doing this as there are several perilous usage and licensing issues that you should explore completely before giving up any of your hard earned dollars.

So, what are your choices? For SD programming, DirecTV offers the R15 (or as they refer to it, the DIRECTV Plus Receiver) and Dish offers the 625. For HD, DirecTV and Dish offer the HR20 (DIRECTV Plus HD DVR) and the ViP-622 respectively.

Hit the link for the full review, but pricing aside (since it depends on what kind of local deal you are offered), it’s pretty much a wash except that the Dish Network DVRs can support two separate TVs displaying different shows even in different rooms. If you need that capability, keep it in mind while evaluating all the deals you are offered.

Posted at 7:23 pm. Filed under Companies, Digital Video Recorders, DirectTV, Dish Network, Satellite TV

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