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Skype On Tivo Revisited

As I’ve mentioned previously, more than once, the recent release of SkypeKit seems like an opportunity for a company like Tivo to up their game. Adding video calling capability to Tivo seems like a natural extension of the devices functionality.

If you have a Tivo unit it’s already connected to your TV. It’s most likely already on your network and making use of your broadband to fetch guide info and download movies. I know that we use our TivoHD units to watch Netflix streams and download from Amazon’s Unboxed service. You might already be using it to stream music and view the family photos on your TV.

Yep, video calling on the big screen would certainly be a logical next step.

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The Freetalk Everyman HD Webcam & H.264 Compression

Not long ago In-Store Solutions launched the Freetalk Everyman HD Webcam for Skype. I’ve had a number of webcams before, even one capable of real “HD.” I bought the Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 last summer when I was trying the LifeSize Desktop video conference client. HD in this application means 1280 x 720 pixels.

So initially I thought that the Freetalk Everyman HD Webcam for Skype was less than exciting. Upon further investigation I find it very interesting for one specific reason; hardware acceleration of H.264 encoding.

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HBOs “True Blood” & Polycom Kirk DECT Gear

Maybe it’s a guilty pleasure, but I admit that HBO’s ‘True Blood” is one of my favorite programs at the moment. Imagine my surprise when watching this past Sunday’s new episode when I recognized an unusual phone ins a scene.

The scene has a pair of vampires sorta camping out at a posh hotel in the Dallas area. One is trying to leave, or at least make a call to a friend. Another is trying to stop him on both counts. Cut to the close up shot of the handset….

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Netflix Streams On TivoHD, in HD

tivohd_wremote_rf_300rgb440Early in 2008 when Netflix officially dropped support for HD-DVD I thought that I’d have to terminate our Netflix account. We were getting HD-DVDs routinely, but had no plans to migrate to Blu-Ray. Still don’t really. However, my wife had been enjoying downloads from Amazon’s Unboxed service, even if they were all SD and marginal image quality. It was a suitable substitute for Comcast Pay-Per-View which you simply can’t use on a TivoHD because of cable card issues.

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Comcast Trouble Resolved With Help From Their Tweeple

I was incensed as a result of the past weeks trouble with the cable card swap that Comcast imposed. After considerable time spent on the phone in the afternoon I detailed the situation in a blog post early last evening. At the point when I wrote that post we had no clear path to solution, just the promise that someone would call us back.

Shortly after the blog post went live a twitter message was automatically sent to highlight that post. This caught the attention of @comcastcares, which is Frank Eliason, Director Of Digital Care at Comcast.

Frank & his staff are based in Philadelphia PA. The fact that Comcast has been using Twitter to stay on top of customer service has been known for some time. I had some cursory interaction with them during the long service outage in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.

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Comcast Service In Houston: FAIL!

Nothing makes my blood boil like dealing with Comcast. I have never encountered a company with such complete disregard for their customers.

First A little Background: Chapter 1

Until early in 2007 Houston was Time-Warner Cable market. Houston, much of Texas and parts of Missouri were run by a partnership between Comcast and Time-Warner, but it was branded with the Time-Warner name. Early in 2007 that ended with Comcast assuming Houston operations and Time-Warner taking the rest.

Now no-one loves their cable company just as no-one has warm fuzzies for an ILEC. We had no great love of Time-Warner, but since then our experience with Comcast makes us long for the good ‘ole days of Time-Warner Cable.

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