Looks like our old pal Dave Zatz has uncovered some possible release information about the vapor-friendly Tivo Series 3 (the standalone HD Tivo with 2 CableCard enabled tuners and 2 OTA tuners). Tivo is having an American Idol related contest and the grand prize is a Series 3 Tivo. The contest ends at the end of American Idol on May 24th. The rules stipulate that the prizes will be given away no later than 4 months after the end of the contest.
So, what does all of this mean? There are two ways that you could look at this:
Tivo believes their Series 3 will ship some time before the end of American Idol or
Tivo feels confident that they can at least ship one Series 3 by September 24th to the contest winner.
Now, I saw the Series 3 in perfect working order at CES this year and I banged on it quite a bit. I realize that it may have not been completely baked, it was mostly baked. My guess is that they are waiting for something else like a deal with cable companies (other than Comcast) or they are still figuring out pricing.
Oh ya, the dollar value they’ve put on the Series 3 with lifetime service is $1500, but with their new pricing model, I don’t know how much this tells us either.
Anumberofstoriesthismorning regarding the relaunch of Disney’s Moviebeam service in 29 markets this year. In a nutshell, Moviebeam is a hard drive based set top box that receives movies over unused television spectrum. The box ships with a 100 movies on the hard drive and about 10 movies are swapped out each week for new ones. Movies then can be rented for $1.99 to $3.99 (catalog versus new releases) with HD movies costing $1 more.
While the service is interesting, the biggest problem that I see is that the set top box is $250 before rebates, which is a huge barrier to entry for many folks. Not to mention it is another piece of hardware to hook up to a television. I have a sense that if this service were being a promoted by someone like Apple it could be hugely successful, but with backers such as Cisco and Disney, the future of Moviebeam is fuzzy at best.
If you’ve been shopping for an HDTV, you might want to check out Ars Technica’s CableCard guide. CableCard is the technology that allows televisions and other devices access cable tv without a cable box. The guide goes through the long history of CableCard and details out the questionable future that the technology has.
The long and short of is:
One way communication (no pay per view)
Two way communication (pay-per-view included)
Maybe available next year-ish
Two way communication via software
Available in 2007-8
The bottom line is if you can wait to buy that HDTV and can stand looking at your ugly cable box, you possibly, may be slightly better off. Sounds like a way to continue squeezing people for a cable box rental.
Not that I’m excited about the new format war (HD-DVD vs BD) and given the craptastic line up of movies announced, I’m not even sure why I’m reporting on this, but my adoring fan would be upset if I didn’t.
Sony announced today wholesale prices for new BDs at $23.95 and catalog (read:old) titles at $17.95, both commanding a slight premium over DVD. Now, remember folks, those prices are wholesale and vendors usually charge something a little extra so they don’t go out of business.
No release dates, but I’m sure they’ll come out around they same time the players arrive.
Two great tastes…(ugh, must not post while tired). Looks like you won’t have to rush right out to replace your old shiny discs with new shiny discs after all. Netflix announced they will have both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs when they launch. They don’t expect demand to be too high(I’ll second that), but want to support both formats for early adopters. No word on additional costs, but I haven’t heard anything about the cost of these HD discs.
(Man, I get more and more sweary in my post titles the later that it gets. Maybe its the crappy wifi and crappier Muzak). Gotta check this out tomorrow, but apparently, TiVo is showing off their Series 3 CableCard 1 and 2.0 HD PVR at CES. According to megazone, this unit will have 6 tuners (2 NTSC, 2 ATSC, 2 CableCard). I’m sure they won’t all work simultaneously, but 2 should work. I hope this means I can chuck my Craptastic err… Comcastic box sometime soon. Unfortunately, TiVo has a bit of a reputation of showing off the vapor at CES, so no ship date or price.
Just to keep it nice and confusing, Microsoft has announced an HD-DVD add-on for the Xbox 360. The announcement talks specifically about movies rather than games, so this unit better be cheaper than standalone units, or MS has a nice Sega CD on their hands.
Ok, normally I don’t get really excited about bigger, better, faster(Ok, that’s a lie, but generally I expect it.) CES is the place for the big electronics companies to show you who has the biggest screen, but I think that LG has the biggest plasma by far. Now, 50″ plasmas are nice and all, but let’s say you need a really, really, really big tv to bling out your media room, this 102″ monster is for you. No price on this sick tv, but if you have to ask…
Looks like we finally have some shipping dates for HD-DVD players. Coming in March, Toshiba will ship both the HD-XA1($799) and the HD-A1($499) with the XA1 coming with better stabilization and quad DSP decoders for better audio. Both have audio decoders for an alphabet soup of audio standards and only HDMI for video output. Looks like you early adopting, component video only early adopters will be shelling out cash for a new TV as well. Oy, at least these things are under a grand…
OK, so a whole bunch of movies were announced today for the not yet shipping soon Blu-Ray HD players. Here are some of the worst of them.
A Knight’s Tale
Resident Evil: Apocalypse
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
This craptastic lineup makes me wanna run right out and spend 1000 clams on a new player. Seriously studios, can’t we do a little better than this? Even the “A-list” contains tired movies like Terminator 2.
Sony felt like they were falling behind in creating acronyms so their latest, greatest television brings us the latest, greatest in alphabet soup product naming. Sony dubbed the technology behind their KDS-R60XBR1 as SXRD, which is basically a tweaked out version of LCOS.
Bottom line is that this television doesn’t seem to suffer any of the problems that other technologies seem to have (rainbows, screen-door, gigantism) and has a really great picture.