Dish Brings Google Nest Hello Doorbell to Hopper DVR Platform

Dish Network Dec. 20 announced that its Hopper and Wally DVR receivers now support the Google Nest Hello Video doorbell. When the doorbell rings, Nest Hello sends on-screen notifications directly to the television.

Dish is the first pay-TV provider to integrate a Google Nest device into its ecosystem with the Device Access program. The Nest Hello announcement is the first in a series of Google Nest integrations coming to the Hopper platform.

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“Google Nest on Hopper is about giving our customers added choice and control over their home environment — with the subtle on-screen alerts delivered by the Nest Hello, customers are better equipped to hit pause and take action right away,” Rob Sadler, director of product management, said in a statement. “This is just the beginning of a powerful relationship with Google Nest and their vast portfolio of products.”

After pairing their Google Nest account with their Dish Hopper or Wally receiver, customers will receive on-screen notifications, including an image, when their Nest Hello has been pressed.

In 2018, Dish introduced the ability for Google Assistant to control its Hopper receivers. It expanded that capability earlier this year, with the introduction of the Google Assistant-enabled Dish Voice Remote.

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The Nest Hello feature is available to all broadband-connected Hopper and Wally receivers beginning today. Support for Joey (all clients) will begin rolling out in the following weeks.

Nest joins Dish’s suite of smart-home control options, including the Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Josh.ai.

The whole-home Hopper platform claims to lead the industry in DVR features and functionality. The Hopper 3 boasts 16 tuners, two terabytes of DVR storage, live and on-demand 4K compatibility, PrimeTime Anytime, AutoHop and integrated apps Netflix, YouTube, YouTube Kids, Pandora and Amazon Prime Video, among others.

Voice-control capabilities through Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and the DISH voice remote give customers easier access to their favorite programming. Hopper (all generations) gives customers access to live, on-demand and recorded content on Dish’s online streaming app, Dish Anywhere.

Amazon Prime Video Debuts on Dish Hopper 3

Dish Network Dec. 16 announced that the Amazon Prime Video app is now available on Hopper 3, the cloud-based set-top box/DVR. Prime Video joins Dish’s catalog of integrated video streaming options, including Netflix, YouTube and YouTube Kids.

The satellite  TV operator said Prime Video complements the existing “Dish experience” by allowing subscribers to instantly stream Amazon Originals, including “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” and Emmy Award-winning “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” from the same platform as their pay-TV programming.

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“Rather than switching between inputs, devices or even remotes to watch Prime Video, our customers get the convenience of having all of their programming in one place, providing more value to the Hopper 3 experience,”Brian Neylon, group president of Dish TV, said in a statement.

To access the Prime Video app, users can say “Launch Prime Video” into the Dish voice remote or launch via the guide on channel 301.

“We’re committed to providing customers with the best viewing experience possible and that means giving them even more ways to watch Prime Video,” said Andrew Bennett, director of worldwide business development for Amazon Prime Video. “With Prime Video now available on Hopper 3, we are making it easy for even more Dish customers to immediately start enjoying their favorite TV shows and movies on Prime Video.”

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Prime Video is available to all Hopper 3 customers and accessible via the app menu or Dish voice remote. Amazon’s 4K content is also available to Hopper 3 customers with a 4K TV.

Sling TV Bows DVR Function for ESPN

In time for the college football bowl games, Sling TV has begun offering subscribers the ability to record ESPN content for an additional $5 monthly fee.

Slingers are now able to record programming from ESPN, ESPN2, ACC Network, SEC Network, ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Goal Line, ESPNEWS and ESPNU.

Digital networks ESPN3, ACC Network Extra and SEC Network+ are not eligible for recording via Cloud DVR on Sling.

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Users can now pause, rewind or fast-forward through any recorded programs, and even skip the commercials. Previously, recordings on select channels would automatically redirect viewers to on-demand content, if available.

With this update, viewers can now watch the version they recorded and fast-forward through commercials, saving time to watch the shows they love, without interruption.

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Sling subs can record up to 50 hours of programming and keep the recordings for as long as they are a subscriber, and even protect recordings from being deleted. For those taking a break from Sling, the Dish Network-owned online TV service will keep recordings for 30 days after the subscription ends.

 

TiVo Rolls Out Enhanced Set-Top Device; Streaming Service Pending

TiVo Oct. 1 began rolling out a new set-top device that enables users easier connections to video content delivered via antenna or cable.

TiVo Edge gives viewers access to live, recorded, and streaming content, featuring Dolby Atmos audio and Dolby Vision HDR resolution.

The device, which links with the pending TiVo+ streaming service, offers features such as software allowing viewers to skip to the end of a commercial break; simultaneously search live TV, DVR recordings and streaming apps for content; and “track down” every season and episode of favorite shows, automatically recording current and upcoming episodes and adding them to a playlist ready to be watched in order.

“Today people face confusion and overwhelming choice when it comes to home entertainment — U.S. households have an average of 7.2 entertainment subscriptions, and that’s growing all the time,” CEO Dave Shull said in a statement.

TiVo Edge for antenna is a cost-effective alternative to cable TV, providing a less expensive cable box experience, according to the company. The antenna model includes a two TB hard drive (up to 300 HD hours), and four tuners.

TiVo Edge for cable claims a seamless experience between cable and online TV programming, including access to all major streaming services. The cable model also includes a two TB hard drive (up to 300 HD hours) along with six tuners.

The TiVo EDGE for antenna retails for $349.99 and requires a service plan of $6.99 monthly, $69.99 annually or a one-time All-In-Plan for $249.99. TiVo EDGE for cable is available for $399.99 and requires a service plan of $14.99 monthly, $149.99 annually or a one-time All-In-Plan for $549.99.

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“Everyone at TiVo is passionate about helping viewers make sense of that sea of options by bringing all their entertainment together in one place,” Shull said.

Available exclusively to TiVo customers in the coming weeks, TiVo+ delivers live streaming channels and thousands of movies and TV shows to viewers in an app-free environment.

TiVo+ combines entertainment including news, sports, kids shows, dramas, music TV, reality shows, pop culture, cooking shows, lifestyle, esports gaming and international programming alongside the TV and subscription services people already use and love.

TiVo has partnered with Xumo, Jukin Media and other publishers to make channels like TMZ, Outside TV+, PowerNation, FailArmy, Unsolved Mysteries, Hell’s Kitchen | Kitchen Nightmares, Food52 and Ameba among others available at launch. Pending publishers include Gannett, Loop Media, Revry, Newsy, Tastemade, Latido Music and Mobcrush.

 

TiVo Prepping Ad-Based VOD Service

Digital video recording pioneer TiVo is looking to join the “+” video bandwagon.

The company is quietly assembling an ad-supported video-on-demand service to compete against platforms such as The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Philo TV, Shout! Factory TV, Tubi, Crackle+ and  IMDb TV, among others.

In a post on the TiVo community blog, Ted Malone, VP of consumer products and services, said the company has secured third-party content agreements for the service.

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“Our soon to be launched TiVo+ video service will include dozens of channels of free entertainment,” Malone wrote. “We have assembled an amazing set of partners as part of this service and will be evolving it in the coming months with many more channels, on-demand movies and shows and other specialty content coming as well.”

With Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu dominating the subscription VOD market as pioneers in the space, ad-supported VOD has emerged as a free alternative to consumers featuring largely catalog content.

With studios and other content holders eager to mine a new revenue stream, AVOD has gone mainstream beyond early pioneers Shout! Factory and Sony’s Crackle.

TiVo last week announced it would begin rolling ads playing ahead of consumers’ recorded TV content.

Malone, in his post, reiterated that users will be able to skip the ads, which are “served dynamically” when playback starts. Ads do not appear after a user pauses and resumed playback of content.

“As part of our commitment to improve the experience, we are measuring each step in the process and will be continually optimizing the ads to reduce latency and improve performance,” he wrote.

 

TiVo Bringing Ads to DVR Content

TiVo popularized the digital video recorder (DVR), enabling TV viewers to record and playback programming.

Now the company wants users to watch ads before viewing their time-shifted content. TiVo plans to roll out so-called “pre-roll” ads on all recorded content within 90 days.

The move underscores the ongoing value of advertising in an over-the-top landscape that eschews them. For TiVo, which now operates as two separate companies focusing on software IP and hardware, respectively, ad-insertions open up a new revenue opportunity.

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“DVR advertising is going to be a permanent part of the service,” a company representative told LightReading.com, which first broke the news.

The company, which began testing the concept with its TiVo Experience 4 device, will roll out the ads to all TiVo DVRs.

“We’re dedicated to innovation that helps our customers stay in control of how, when, and what they watch,” TiVo said.  “Advertising is an important part of every media business and TiVo is investing in new advertising experiences.”

The company also said it designed the new DVR advertising software with the ability to ‘skip’ ads anytime a customer chooses to.

Some media reports said users attempting to bypass ads found the process more complicated than simply pushing a button.

Regardless, TiVo, which saw a 9% drop in second-quarter (ended June 30) platform revenue, in addition to a $9.5 million operating loss, said the ad-insertions would help stabilize operations.

“This is part of our ongoing commitment to bring our users the best media discovery experience possible,” the company said.

 

TiVo Narrows Q2 Fiscal Loss

DVR pioneer TiVo is in the process of transitioning its hardware and intellectual property (i.e. patents) into separate operating businesses.

In the meantime, the current combined company continues to right its fiscal ship — narrowing the second-quarter (ended June 30) net loss nearly 54% to $9.54 million from a net loss of $20.5 million during the previous-year period.

Total revenue increased nearly 2% to $176.1 million from $172.8 million last year. Through the first six months of the fiscal year, TiVo revenue is down about 8% at $334.4 million from $362.6 million.

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The bulk of revenue comes from TiVo’s portfolio of IP patents enabling third-party pay-TV operators to offer subscribers on-demand content, video recording, content recommendation and related viewership data.

Indeed, TiVo said it has expanded its third-party advertising functionality to include promotions surrounding VOD movie transactions.

 

The company said promo campaigns deliver strong performance results, including an 81% increase in digital transactions for a Hollywood studio using the software over three weekends to promote a new movie title.

Licensing, services and software revenue increased 3% to $174.4 million, while hardware sales fell about 50% to $1.67 million.

CEO Dave Shull said TiVo remains on track to separate the businesses.

“Based on my experience with strategic transactions and operational transformations, we are making great progress on the separation of TiVo’s Product and IP Licensing businesses,” Shull said in a statement. “We remain on track to complete the separation in the first half of 2020.”

Nielsen: Media Choice Abounds, But Many Americans Stay With What They Know

NEWS ANALYSIS: One of the biggest challenges facing media consumers today is finding something to watch or listen to. Can that be right? After all, we live in a time where thousands of content choices are merely a click or swipe away.

As hard as it is to fathom, it’s not uncommon for scenarios of indecision to play out, but that’s because we spend quite a bit of time checking out previews, trailers, teasers, schedules and listings, yet struggle to land on something that actually engages us.

But this isn’t just tragic for consumers. It has just as much of a negative effect on content creators, programmers, platforms and marketers. After all, if their efforts fail, consumers spend more time searching and less time consuming.

So with so much choice available, how are modern consumers navigating the “paradox of choice” and deciding what to watch? Are they embracing subscription and on-demand services, or relying on traditional means like live scheduled programs and DVR?

Surprisingly, findings from the first-quarter Nielsen Total Audience Report suggest that it might be the latter, as streaming users tend to gravitate back toward their traditional TV preferences when they’re not sure what to watch. Still, seven in 10 homes have a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service and 72% use streaming-capable TV devices, putting the onus on streaming services to keep users engaged with the content on their increasingly accessible platforms.

When we look at video streamers, Americans are pretty focused. Notably, our MediaTech Trender survey found that on all of the occasions they stream TV or video, almost two-thirds of adults who stream video content are likely to watch when know exactly what they want. One-third will watch when they have a rough idea, and only 22% watch when they don’t know what they want before diving into the options.

For those who are still on the fence about what to watch, it gets a bit tricky when looking at how they make their choices.

 

The interesting thing about video streamers is that they’re frequent “go-backers.” Said differently, they like what they know and are comfortable with. In fact, 58% say they go back to their favorite traditional channels, 44% like to scan through traditional channel options, 39% scan the program listings and 31% browse their DVR recordings.

Comparatively, far fewer SVOD users scan their subscription content menus. That means SVOD content creators, programmers, platforms and marketers have some work to do in terms of giving viewers what they’re looking for. The data shows it. Only one-third of adult respondents say they browse their SVOD content menus for more content, while 21% say they would simply not watch anymore content altogether.

The Curious Case of the Core Demo

So which group is most susceptible to indecision? The group that marketers cover the most: the 18-49-year-olds.

Comparatively, younger adults are more likely to explore. They’ll flip through menus, check out programs that have been recommended for them and step outside their traditional content comfort zones. But they also tend to rely on another “extreme” route, as they reported to tune out all together at higher levels compared to other demos.

So how long do people dwell on their content options? On average, a notable 9.4 minutes was reported for adults 18-34 and 8.4 minutes for adults 35-49 who stream. Think about how much more engagement content providers and platforms could achieve if they took out the guesswork. And if they did that, they’d have better retention rates. That’s because nearly 30% of streaming adults 18-49 said they sometimes stop watching content if they can’t find something appealing.

Being inundated by choice is not particularly new to the world of content. Traditional television has faced similar issues for decades. But for the new players in the game, refining recommendations and creating menus and user experiences to better suit user tastes might be their best way to combat it.

Comcast Ending ‘Xfinity On Demand’ Access for TiVo Users

Comcast Cable reportedly is set to end access to its “Xfinity On Demand” app for TiVo devices, effective June 25.

In an email to subscribers — first reported by tech blogger Dave Zatz — Comcast said “out of date [TiVo] technology that cannot be upgraded or updated” was the reason for pending non-access.

Comcast said the shutdown would not affect recorded programming, and access to Xfinity Stream would still be available on Apple iOS, Android Xfinity apps and Xfinity website.

“VOD is also available on TiVo through Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Vudu apps,” read the message.

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The pending shutdown comes as TiVo and Comcast remain embroiled in tech royalty disputes. The DVR pioneer in April appealed to International Trade Commission and filed litigation against Comcast alleging patent infringement on technology related to streaming video and cloud-based DVR.

TiVo, which is splitting into two separate companies focusing on patents and hardware, in 2017 received ITC backing for a complaint involving remote time-shifting functionality on Comcast’s X1 set-top devices.

It filed litigation against Comcast in April in U.S. District Court in California.

“We believe Comcast’s Xfinity X1 continues to infringe Rovi’s cloud and multi-room DVR patents – a vital component of home entertainment,” Arvin Patel, EVP and CIPO at Rovi,” said in a statement.

Rovi, which acquired TiVo in 2016 for $1.1 billion and assumed the latter’s brand name for the merged companies, claims to have invested over a billion dollars into its patent portfolio and products.

“We are extremely proud of our patent portfolio of over 1,000 issued patents in the US.,” Patel said.

Comcast, which launched much of its cloud-based X1 features via TiVo technology, claims it has developed its own tech and that most TiVo patents in question are outdated.

TiVo Splitting into Two Companies

Time-shifting video pioneer TiVo is separating its product and IP licensing businesses into two separate companies.

TiVo’s said its board concluded the separating would be the best strategy to maximize shareholder value. The company intends to spin out its DVR-based hardware business to shareholders. Throughout the separation process, the board would seek “strategic” transactions for each business that could create additional stockholder value.

“Operating independently, these two businesses will have increased flexibility to pursue new and growing market opportunities,” Raghu Rau, Interim CEO, said in a statement.  We believe this separation is the best way to maximize shareholder value, while also enhancing the possibility of value-creating strategic transactions.”

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TiVo expect to complete this transaction in the first half of 2020 through a spinoff of the product business to shareholders.

The product business offers software technologies video service providers or retail markets. At the end of 2018, there were an estimated 23 million households worldwide utilizing our TiVo software. The product segment generated $401 million in revenue, with a large component of recurring revenue.

TiVo believes the separation would “open” its product business up to greater receptivity from service providers, content providers and device manufacturers, as well as potential customers in new markets.

The unit is planning several new product and business model launches later this year, including creating a new content network with increased monetizable opportunities through advertising.

TiVo’s branded IP portfolios (including Rovi) encompass about 5,500 patents and pending applications worldwide. Licensees include traditional and new media video providers across pay-TV, over-the-top video, mobile, CE and social media markets. Licensing revenue reached $295 million in 2018, with a high percentage of this recurring revenue.

“As video consumption continues to shift beyond traditional pay-TV into Internet, social media and mobile domains, we believe it is important that the licensing business can diversify … into new consumer applications and functionalities,” Rau said. The separation will enable the IP business to strategically reinvest in its own business, not only to solidify its strong, existing foundation, but also to appropriately pursue new long-term growth opportunities.”