Canadian can finally enjoy the famous TiVo service as TiVo announces its availability in Canada. Tivo Series 2DT is the only device that will be sold during the launch giving Canadian consumer up to 80 hours of recording time. The set top box sells for $199 at some stores such as Best Buys and Future Shop. As for the subscription rates, TiVo said it should be close to what US consumers are paying.
The fusty cynic in me still baulks at paying a monthly fee for something I could get a decent facsimile of for free, but TiVo's latest deals - supposedly "Holiday Promotions" - do tip the balance a little further in their favour. Previously you could only get the pay-as-you-go deal if you were willing to sign up for a three year contract, but now the $12.95 package is open to everyone. Pre-pay options are rejigged too, with the biggest reduction being $50 off the one-year deal (down to $129) while the two-year is reduced $30 to $249. They're also temporarily bringing back the "lifetime" subscription deal, priced at $399.
If you've ever needed to extend, distribute or generally modify your audio/visual content then you're likely to have come across Gefen; the company has a strong back-catalogue of media extenders, KVM products and high-def converters. Now they've bundled up all that know-how into a home-grown PVR, that looks ostensibly like a Mac mini clone but in actual fact is a dedicated media recorder.
Here's something I really can't wait to get my hands on: Archos' TV+ PVR/media streamer/web surfer, which the company were flaunting at IFA 2007. An instant competitor to the AppleTV - and, so my gut feeling says, with the potential to blow it out of the water - the compact box has a choice of 80GB or 250GB hard-drives and a plethora of connectivity including HDMI (outputting 720p Hi-Def), WiFi, USB 2.0 and ethernet.
So the iPhone is getting all the YouTube coverage for its fancy built-in video player, but how about some of that "man tripping up and crushing his genitals" footage for the rest of your home entertainment? Neuros' OSD open-source media box has just been upgraded with YouTube flash video compatibility, not by Neuros themselves but by the fan community who follow it.
If you're going to give up valuable lounge space to a gadget then you want it to deliver, and SysMaster's Tornado M10 Digital Media Center looks like it offers a fair range of features for a box only six inches long. The spec list is a veritable pic'n'mix of acronyms: IPTV, VoIP, IM, PVR... and then you add in things like voicemail, a webcam for video conferencing, email and media streaming.
It's something of a moist relief that manufacturers are helping broadcasters to save me from myself. Every day of my miserable life I'm but a step away from accidentally pirating something recorded on my PVR, and unintentionally damaging the trusting, loyal relationship I have with the people who supply me with endless reality TV and formulaic comedy docu-drama. Thank the lucky stars for Thomson and their NexGuard fingerprinting and encryption technology, which can embed a unique code that includes the serial number of your set-top box into anything you record from it. That way, should you inadvertently produce several thousand copies of, say, Desperate Housewives for your own, personal use, you can be tracked down and roughly flogged.
Peer to Peer networks are very popular these days, though most of them have very shady and not-quite-legal intentions. One legal P2P network that will be debuting soon comes to us from NDS that creates PVRs for DirecTV. A PVR with it's own P2P network, I like the sound of that.
The first thing you have to look at is their new “Distributed DVR” which essentially lets you share the content stored on the PVR with any of the PC's on your home network. Now that by itself is enough to make me want one. But here's the kicker, they're going to introduce ShareTV, a P2P network that allows subscribers to view and download content from any other ShareTV user. And from there you can transfer it to your PC. Theoretically, this would enable users access to content from channels to which they do not currently subscribe. (I'll pause to let you get your minds out of the gutter) I'm not sure how this will make the MPAA feel, but if they can get all of the legal issues, I think this will revolutionize the PVR market.
With its little side-flaps extended I can't help but see this pre-built MythTV PVR as some sort of Transformer, but sadly though its capabilities are broad I don't think they extend to being a robot in disguise. Still, you could have some pretty good times even without self-adhesive decals to position; $499 gets you an Intel Celeron 2.66GHz, 256MB of RAM, a GeForce 6200 graphics card, 80GB hard drive and 18x DVD burner, specs easily capable of running the Ubuntu OS together with one of the most well-respected PVR environments, MythTV.
Basically this is an unpack-and-plug-in solution to your media streaming/live TV pausing/scheduled recording needs. Yes, you could build your own Linux box and install MythTV, but this saves you all the effort, is cheaper than a Windows Media Centre and gives you access to a vast range of fan-programmed add-ons. Upgrade options include up to a terabyte of hard-drive space, multiple TV tuner cards and WiFi, with various models hitting price points up to $1099.
This would be a great way to cost-effectively get into PVR ownership - you could start with the basics and then add to it yourself as you can afford more. Definitely jumps to the top of my "must try" media centre list!
The ActionDVR is definitely a device meant for those leading healthy lives away from the computer. This portable video recorder system comes with a small camera and microphone that attaches to your hat while a 1.5-pound recorder can sit in your pocket or bag. You can record up to 8 hours of high quality MPEG-4 video. If you’re wondering who would possibly want to carry such a thing around, think about hunters, fishermen, outdoorsmen, police, and military. But with all the spy gadgetry available these days, you would think they could have made this somewhat less conspicuous. Priced at $1095.