The Netflix federation has been expanding at record pace as of late. Following their recent announcement of Watch Instantly streaming video support for the Mac platform, the company has revealed further plans for world domination. Netflix has revealed a partnership with DVR purveyors, TiVo, that should bring Netflix streaming to set-top boxes across the country. Under the recently announced deal, anyone with a a TiVo Series 3, HD, or HD XL set and an active Netflix account can begin streaming high quality film content to their home television. The catalog seems to be limited to the Watch Instantly queue, but it’s still a damn good thing for anyone looking to make their television viewing experience a tad more exciting. Initially, they’re rolling this out to a couple thousand beta testing users, but everyone can look for the update to hit your box come early December. Merry Christmas!
Two short weeks since the Slingbox PRO-HD and Slingcatcher were first made available for pre-order, the PRO-HD box is now alive and shipping. It’s probably safe to say that after a delay or two, the team made sure that it got this puppy out the door ASAP. For $299 ($329 for our Canadian buddies) you can be streaming 720p or 1080i high definition goodness to just about anywhere your little heart desires. The Slingbox PRO-HD also features an integrated digital tuner and plenty of inputs to accommodate your DVR, digital cable, satellite receiver and DVD player. The release also coincides with a major software revision for Windows XP and Vista users. SlingPlayer 2.0 includes plenty of updates and new features, not the least of which is much needed live video buffer that allows viewers to pause, rewind and fast forward live streams a la DVR. There is also a great new guide feature that provides a built-in programming guide outside the player window, allowing you to easily browse program schedules as you stream. Today is a big day for our pals at Sling Media and with these major updates and the PRO-HD release out of the way, hopefully we’ll see things kick into high gear on the mobile front.
Woh, woh! Hold on there killer! It’s not like the image above suggests that’s what WE would watch if RIM and TiVo built a streaming application… We’re just saying, you know? If you happen to have a TiVo hard drive full of old episodes of a certain show you enjoy, whatever that may be, this would enable you to watch them on the go. Ok good, we’re clear then. It’s easy to get ahead of yourself when you hear that RIM and TiVo have announced a partnership, but Sling Media and HAVA shouldn’t be shaking in their boots just yet. The initial announcement only covers an integration that would let BlackBerry-rocking TiVo users remotely view program guides and schedule recordings. Ok, that’s cool. Some might say however, that Jim’s statement alludes to the fact that we can expect a bit more as this new partnership evolves:
As the BlackBerry smartphone continues its evolution as a modern lifestyle device, the importance of home entertainment integration will continue to grow and TiVo will be the key in providing consumers with greater flexibility in accessing television content.
Being able to schedule your box to record the next few episodes of Entourage while on the go is hardly “accessing television content,” so we’d like to think that Balsillie was pretty clear with his intentions. Now that the Bold gives us some 3G love, there’s no reason that someone shouldn’t provide a solid TV streaming app for BlackBerry!
Say Goodbye to Amazon Unbox. Say Hello to Amazon Video On Demand. Launched on Wednesday, this new video streaming service does as it drab name says; it offers streaming, ad-free video on demand. PC owners can stop taunting their OS X friends as the new Video On Demand service is compatible with Macs (finally!). If you own a Tivo, a Windows Media Center extender box (can we say Xbox360 instead?) or a Sony Bravia Internet Video Link TV, you can join the streaming party, too. While not as slick as Hulu (or free for that matter), the Amazon interface is functional with all the typical controls to control playback and view in fullscreen mode. It offers Amazon’s entire catalog of 40,000 movies and TV show which exceeds Hulu and Netflix in sheer volume of content. Movie rentals are $2.99 to $3.99 while TV rentals are $1.99 and expire 24 hours after purchase. With a free 2 minute preview available for all videos, you can at least try before you buy. Overall, we must say that Video on Demand is a respectable attempt at streaming video. Enjoy the Hoopla while you can, though, as you, Amazon, may be upstaged September 9th.
Tivo owners will be happy to learn that starting today and continuing over the next few weeks, TiVo will be rolling out a new version of their software. And as the post title and video above would suggest, version 9.4 of TiVo’s software brings with it a healthy dose of YouTube love. That’s right people, YouTube on your TiVo. No, YouTube videos aren’t going to look overly spectacular on your 60″ plasma screen, but at least you don’t have to get off the couch anymore every time you want to rewatch that Wii hula-hoop girl video. You’ll need a newer Series3 model to enjoy YouTube however, as the YouTube integration marks the first time that TiVo is using a codec other than MPEG-2 (they’re indeed using H.264) and older models don’t support additional codecs. As for other new goodies in the latest software version, at the end of the video above you can get a quick look at the new SDV Tuning Adapter support as well as the presence of TCP Remote support.