September 30, 2015

4k TiVo unveiled in the US

TiVo in the US has announced the latest addition to its Series 6 lineup of players with the arrival of the TiVo BOLT (pictured above). Breaking with TiVo's customary black finish, this white player offers 4K support as well as a revamped user interface that introduces new features like the ability to skip commercial breaks on recorded content as well as the ability to speed up playback 30 percent faster while listening to pitch-corrected audio. Four tuners, too.
Here's the tech breakdown:
  • Cable + OTA support 
  • CPU Cores/DMIPS: 2/11,000 
  • DDR memory: 3 GB 
  • HDMI Output: 4K/HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 
  • 4K decode: Yes – HEVC/VP9 
  • HDD: 500 GB or 1 TB 
  • Transcode/#Streams: On-Chip/1-2 
  • Wired Networks: Gigabit Ethernet 
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11ac/n 2×2 
  • MoCA: MOCA 2.0 
  • No. of tuners: 4 
  • Control Input: IP/RF4CE/Bluetooth (future) 
  • 11.4″ W x 7.3″ D x 1.8″ H 1.9 lbs. 
  • Smaller footprint with modern design 
  • 4K/Ultra High Def Platform 
  • Upgraded software 
  • Better performance 
  • New features including “QuickMode” and “SkipMode” 
  • In-home and out-of-home streaming (out-of-home in 2016)
That odd design isn't just to make the box distinct: TiVo claims that the gentle curve that lifts part of the player up also helps with heat dissipation. That’s useful given the hardware’s upgraded internals, which include a CPU that’s three and half times as fast as the previous (Roamio) model and three times the memory.
I see the disc storage hasn't been increased to accommodate 4K recordings: as this model is actually described as "entry-level" by TiVo it is perhaps an indication of where the next generation of TiVo hardware and software is heading. However, that probably is the box we are likely to see in the UK if Virgin Media continues to provide TiVo hardware beyond the current generation of DVRs.
More information can be found on TechCrunch and I'll post more on the new HTML5-based UI shortly.

September 21, 2015

September news thin on the ground

I just realised that I haven't made a single post on this blog during September. This isn't due to time constraints on my part (I've had plenty of time to be honest), more a reflection of the lack of news on Virgin Media services, Netflix UK and the other areas covered by this blog. Not much going on out there I'm afraid. All I've got of late is a story regarding a 4K TiVo rumour in the US I picked up:
Personally, I am as excited about the arrival of 4K in the home as I was about 3D (i.e. not at all) - you need a TV at least 55in to really see the full benefit (I think Sony do one at 43in but I can't really see the point) and the amount of genuine 4k content available is minimal. Sure, it may become a standard with new sets even if people don't watch much 4K on it (3D was similar) but as long as they don't degrade HD streams to sell it, I won't be interested. Views?
And, whilst you're kindly reading this, does anyone else think the picture quality on Sky Movies has taken a dip of late? I watched a recording from Film 4 HD the other day and thought it was so superior to another from Sky Movies Premiere HD I had to check the latter hadn't been recorded from SD by mistake. Similarly, BT Sports HD footie coverage looks sharper and handles motion better than the games on Sky Sports HD. The studio footage is fine and suitably sparkly, but the games themselves look, at best, average PQ.