OTA DVR race heats up

Tablo TV with program grid.

What the Tablo program grid looks like on a TV with Roku.

At first I was going to brag about my new gigabit internet access, then I remembered that you’d want to know who was providing it (CenturyLink) and how the installation process went (pretty badly), so I skipped it. Anyway, there’s just too much over-the-air TV DVR news to ignore.

First I’ll tip my hat again to ZatzNotFunny, which reported that TiVo has a limited-time offer of lifetime service for its Roamio OTA DVR if you can purchase it for $300. As ZatzNotFunny’s commenters noticed, that special URL won’t always load, but repeatedly clicking the link (not just refreshing the unwanted landing page) has worked for some folks, including me. TiVo has long been the gold standard in DVRs, and this removes the Roamio OTA’s main competitive disadvantage – its really high monthly fees. At $300, it’s still a little expensive to recommend wholeheartedly, but now I would at least consider choosing the Roamio OTA.

That’s even truer given the second bit of news. As first reported by ZDNet over the weekend, the next major version of Microsoft Windows will not include Windows Media Center. In fact, WMC will be incompatible with Windows 10, so there would be no way to add it as an extra feature as with Windows 8. As the ZDNet article describes, this won’t mean much to existing Windows 7 computers running WMC, except that they now have a sunset date of 2020, when Microsoft will probably stop supporting that operating system. Computers running Windows 8.1 with the WMC add-on will be supported to 2023. Too bad WMC is fading just as cord-cutting is getting popular.

Over at Tablo, they’re celebrating a Best of Show Award from the recent NAB Show. Tablo was pitching to internet service providers and similar folks that could add an OTA antenna and some Tablo equipment during an installation to give their customers local channels. Tablo is also opening its Roku grid preview for all Tablo owners; it’s a decent implementation of a program grid considering that it has to be pushed through a restrictive Roku device.

And I’ll close with some good news: The HDHomeRun DVR Kickstarter that I wrote about last time has met its goal weeks in advance. Not only is the DVR funded, but they’re also closing in on the stretch goal of adding support for Kodi (until recently called XBMC). I look forward to getting a chance to try it out.