Archive for the ‘DVR’ Category

Updates on ODV

June 24th, 2009 No comments

2/26/10 Walmart to acquire VUDU

This is so funny.  All of a sudden I got a bunch of IM pings and email from ex-VUDU people asking me if I had heard about “it” yet….  What was “it”?

That turned out to be the BIG news that Walmart is buying VUDU, lock, stock and barrel!  I guess VUDU will survive with Walmart’s muscle behind it… or will it?  I just don’t think Walmart is a risk taking company, nor do I think that it is innovative.  I would love to be proven wrong though.

There are so many companies now in this space.  The space itself is getting fragmented.  We have:

  • Server based video streaming over Internet – this is divided into those requiring a box/appliance vs those streaming to your computer.  Some provide services to both (Amazon, Blockbuster, Netflix, etc.).
    • Require Appliance
      1. Amazon
      2. Blockbuster
      3. Netflix
      4. TiVo
      5. VUDU
    • Stream to computer
      1. BBC
      2. Hulu
  • Video streaming OTA (Over The Air)
  • Video streaming over cable (traditional like Comcast, Charter, Time Warner, etc.)
  • Video streaming over satelite (Dish, DirecTV, etc.)


I believe VUDU is getting out of the hardware business. They’ve shifted their focus to the embedded business. VUDU set top box is getting harder to find from what I hear on the web. VUDU have also announced a number of embedded wins — Entone STB, LG (BD Blue Ray and HDTVs), Mitsubishi HDTVs.

It make sense to me. I’ve always thought it was dumb to try to break into the consumer hardware business when you don’t have the deep pocket to keep you going through the first few years. It’s better to license the designs and software.

Dec 4, 2009

It has been confirmed that VUDU is out of the hw business.  They’ve closed off their production facilities and stop selling new STB (you might be able to find places that still have stocks, but once they are out, that’s it!).

They’ve gone to the embedded model.  Also seem to be changing from P2P to streaming as the embedded devices generally frown on P2P.  On one hand, it’s good because of less infrastructure to maintain on the VUDU side, also less support (P2P has a whole host of issues with regards to firewall, home routers, etc. not to mention blocking by ISPs such as Comcast).  On the con side, this requires the clients to have higher bandwidth.

Btw, less infrastructure for VUDU because they can use CDNs such as Akamai, Limewire, etc.  It’s harder to distribute to CDN with P2P, trust me, it’s harder.  When I was there, I was looking into how to do this…. and it was not easy.

So, keep your eyes out for VUDU to be embedded in more devices.   At this point, I can’t decide if VUDU has done enough to save whatever market they have or if it’s too late.  I’ve just bought a WD TV Live (media center device) that let’s me play pretty much any video formats out there, along with music and in HD to boot.  I’ll have more to talk about regarding the WDTV in another post.

Categories: DVR, Tech Tags:

VUDU partnered with Entone

May 5th, 2009 No comments

VUDU Goes Box-free for Entone
LA Time – VUDU and Entone team up…

Heh, that mean they (both of ’em) are still alive. That’s because they are doing something to stay above the tide of competition.

I’ve always thought that VUDU can’t survive on their own.  They need to partner with someone else, but it has to be the right partner, otherwise it’s a waste of resources (time, effort, fund…).  They had a couple of chances with some very good possibilities, but they screwed up.  Actually, IMHO, both sides screwed up….

Anyway, this is a step in the right direction, although I wish VUDU has partnered with one of the big players in the video on demand or consumer electronics field — e.g. Amazon, Samsung, LG, Sony, etc.

I think Samsung or Sony would be perfect partners for VUDU.  It’s a win-win for both side.

Categories: DVR, Tech, VUDU Tags: ,

On demand video

April 30th, 2009 No comments


Whether via Netflix, Blockbuster (very slow on-demand :-)) or online via Internet, ODV is here to stay.  It’s a given.  I just want to get that out of the way.

In a way, I think TiVo should be thanked for pioneering the video appliance and the very easy to use UI.  They helped introduced lots of people to watching videos on their own time, at their convenience, as opposed to the TV/cable network’s.

Once people see what TiVo can do for them, other uses pop up and the genie is out of the bottle.   There are other related uses besides recording TV/cable/satellite shows.  Such as automating, digitizing movies (going from manual, post office ship DVDs of Netflix, Blockbuster) to renting, buying videos on line, on demand.  The video on demand usage has been known and attempted for a long time, going back to the early cable days.

Time Warner, back in the early 90’s partnered with SGI to do VOD at several location around the US.  There were lots of technical hurdles that had to be solved before something like this can become a reality.

Recently, companies such as Akimbo, CinemaNow, Movielink, 2Wire (AT&T Uverse), OpenTV, ZillionTV, VUDU, Roku(Netflix, Amazon), AppleTV, etc… etc… all joined, some have failed, some are failing, others are….

As someone who worked at 2Wire and later at VUDU, I have some knowledge about what the companies were trying to do, and the issues they faced.  I also worked at SGI during the Time Warner VOD trials were going (I was working on the XFS and IRIX 64 bit port projects).

Of course, the content owners – movie studios, TV networks, etc. — aren’t going to sit still and watch others make money off their work.  So HULU and various other studios web sites were launched, offering streaming videos from their content library.

The competition in ODV is getting fierce!  Good for consumers (yes, very confusing, but good to have choices!), but bad for these companies.

Categories: DVR, Tech Tags: , , , ,

TiVo Hacks for Beginners

April 20th, 2009 No comments

Imported from Tin TiVo link

27 March 2008 – 21:32 TiVo Hacks for Beginners

Collected TiVo Hacks


Sorry, several months ago I went to work for a startup in the DVR, IPTV field, and that had taken all my time…. I’ll try to update and add more over the holidays….

Dec 13, 2006 – TiVo File Decoder – A utility to convert .tivo file (produced by TiVoToGo) to a normal MPEG2 file. In another word, .TiVo files can now be converted on any machines and OS that can compile TiVo File Decoder C program. It used to be that you have use DSD and can only run on Windoze using TiVo’s Desktop .dll.

This is cool!

Dec 13, 2006 – Converting your DVD for viewing on TiVo – A guide on how to convert your DVDs to MPEG2 file, and transferring it to your TiVo for viewing. This is if you want to put all your DVDs and video material on a computer to use as your video server. Hmm, I wonder if this can be done with a Series3…

TiVo unveils its 1st Hi-Def Series3 DVR

Jan 2006 – Wow, 2006 already!

NEWS from Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on the TiVo Series3. Thanks to MegaZone

Highlights includes:

  • 2 CableCARD – supporting MultiStream (CableCARD 2.0) or SingleStream (CableCard 1.0).
  • Dual tuner – actually can use simultaneously any 2 tuners. Has 6 tuners in it: 2 cable (analog and digital), 2 ATSC and 2 NTSC.
  • Coax cable in, and coax antenna in
  • Output includes: HDMI, Component, S-Video and Composite.
  • Network: 2 USB ports, 10/100baseT ethernet and a modem
  • Sound: stereo and optical outputs
  • Video encoding is still MPEG2, but understand and play MPEG4 AVC/H.264, VC-1 (WMV9), e.g. same codecs as HD-DVD or Blu-ray.
  • An external SATA port for TiVo external SATA drive.

(locally cached)Pictures of Series3 taken by MegaZone.Dec 2005 – Did some house cleaning, removed dead links, added new links.

Oct 2005 – Start to look at my S2 SA again. I’ve let it updated to 7.2.0… next week, I’ll see about putting killhdinitrd on again.

Aug 2005 – Update on work on my S2 SA. I’ve been too busy with new job to do anything on my TiVo. It’s currently running 7.x… I am looking at upgrading to a DVR that can do HD, possibly a 2Wire MediaPortal set top box.

April 2005 – I am updating the links on this page. Please let me know if something is not working. I am in the process of “un-sleepering” my S2 SA. I’ve actually got it to work using killhdinitrd and also monte. But having problem getting the new Tivo 7.1 to work… I’ll post my experiences and how I got the problem resolved (IF)…

This page contains my collection of TiVo Hacks links that I’ve found as I was starting to learn about my AT&T Tivo Series 2/40 machine.

At first, I had no idea where to start, what to look for or what to do. Hopefully, by collecting all these links in one place, it will help other people.

PS This page is most useful when you send me corrections and additions. It has to evolve and stay updated to be any good. So please, let me know if a link does not work or is outdated. Thanks!

Network for TiVo

Newbie FAQ


Hacking a series2

DirecTivo Hacks

Other cools hacks

TiVo books

TiVo Hardware/Software Upgrades or Repair

NOTICE The following links are for your convenience. I do not recommend nor endorse the services. I disclaim all liabilities.

Additional related sites/Links

TiVo Online Discussion Communities

  • Suggestions welcomed….
Categories: TiVo Tags: ,