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Michael Antonoff Posted: May 26, 2016 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $300 (500 GB), $400 (1 TB)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
One-touch leapfrogging of any size commercial block
Four tuners
Can play shows 30 percent faster
Mobile device transfer
Integrated search functions
4K UHD compatible
Minus
On-demand cable may not be available
No component video output
No clock on front panel

THE VERDICT
TiVo Bolt is an indispensable tool for TV-obsessed viewers who hate commercials and value the ease of managing all their cable, online, and local-network-stored entertainment from one smartly designed receiver/recorder.

With 412 scripted TV series originating on broadcast, cable, and online channels last year, viewers face the twin challenges of finding shows that appeal to them and having enough waking hours to watch them. TiVo’s new flagship digital video recorder, Bolt, purports to help solve both problems. An admitted TV addict, I bolted for a Bolt to see if it could rekindle the excitement I felt when TiVo debuted in 1999.

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Michael Antonoff Posted: May 11, 2016 0 comments
A look at how personal video broadcasting, virtual reality, and other budding technologies haven’t been lost on TV comedy writers.
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Michael Antonoff Posted: Apr 05, 2016 1 comments
To cut commercial clutter from a diet rich in streamed entertainment, I agreed to pay Google $9.99 a month for its YouTube Red service across all my devices. Unlike free YouTube, there are no pre-roll commercials to fidget through. The countdown taunting viewers to put their lives on hold until the Skip Ad button appears is nowhere in sight. Intermercials that played between videos or regularly interrupted a full-length movie are gone.
Michael Antonoff Posted: Apr 01, 2016 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE Free (App); $5 to $20 per hour

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Eliminates airfare, hotel, and dry-cleaning bills
Diffuses “line rage” caused by waiting in too many lines for too long
Lets you bypass prickly security checks
Minus
Vertically held camera phones result in narrow, picket-fence-like view on widescreen
Surge pricing and data overage charges passed onto consumer quickly add up
Lacks 4K video and 7.1- channel audio support

THE VERDICT
Mob Cam VR will appeal to the weary, the non-ambulatory, or anyone so disgusted with the idea of returning to a massive trade show that they’d do anything to opt out.

Mimicking business plans pioneered by Uber, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit in which anyone with a car, room, or broom can offer transportation, a bed, or cleaning service to strangers, the Lirpa Labs Mob Cam VR is a new app that empowers smartphone owners everywhere to work as on-location cameramen for one or more distant viewers willing to pay for a live video feed.

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Michael Antonoff Posted: Mar 02, 2016 2 comments
Apps are often referred to as “mobile,” which an Apple TV decidedly is not. Fixed to a big-screen TV, the media receiver (Gen 4) and Apple TV App Store offerings are meant to be enjoyed from the sofa, though there are some games and workouts best deployed off the couch. The store has seven departments: Games, Education, Entertainment, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, News, and Sports. Here are my favorite apps, several of which you’ve probably never heard of.
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Michael Antonoff Posted: Feb 10, 2016 2 comments
Have you heard about the sequel to the TV series, Lost? It’s called Found, and the premise is that the island is where all things lost end up: a missing sock, a runaway drone, a lost shaker of salt. Tourists arrive, and the lucky ones are reunited with their stuff.
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Michael Antonoff Posted: Feb 09, 2016 14 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $149 (32 GB), $199 (62 GB)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Touch surface remote
Dedicated App Store
Snazzy photo slide shows
Minus
Arduous ID and password entries
Weak implementation of Siri
Lacks 4K video support

THE VERDICT
Apple TV Gen 4 brings a better remote to the table but fails to soar above other top streaming devices.

When Apple TV debuted in 2007, dozens of rival media receivers were already in place. At a time when TVs were too dumb to do their own streaming, Apple TV came along mainly to benefit iTunes users. Since then, other media players have come and gone, but Apple has persevered. The company recently shipped Gen 4.

What’s different in 2016 is that most consumers now own a smart TV, media receiver, game console, or Blu-ray player connected to the Internet. Unless Gen 4 can deliver a richer experience over other Internet appliances, notably the Roku 4 Streaming Player (see review, this issue), Apple TV will be a tough sell.

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Michael Antonoff Posted: Dec 16, 2015 3 comments
Back in 2001 when the M.I.T. Media Lab unveiled a demo about social media and TV, it presaged greater things to come. At the bottom of the TV screen, viewers’ live comments appeared for all to see, demonstrating the potential of instant feedback shareable by everyone. My eyes opened wide as I experienced the idea of social media at a time when tweets were still for the birds and Facebook wouldn’t launch for another three years.

Michael Antonoff Posted: Dec 14, 2015 2 comments
Successive Thursday night offerings in December of live musicals to the home were as different as could be: The Wiz featured a big cast and attracted an audience of millions through its broadcast on NBC; Daddy Long Legs was performed by two actors and seen by thousands via the Internet. Yet it was Daddy that made history as the first off-Broadway show streamed live from New York.
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Michael Antonoff Posted: Oct 28, 2015 1 comments
Techno-lust rises during the holidays, especially for action cams that take selfie-friendly video to a whole new level. Driving my hormones this season is the V.360º, a wireless camera with companion apps for Android and iOS devices. Though its manufacturer, VSN Mobil, likens the cylindrical cam to a 9-ounce can of Red Bull, the immersible camera captures a 360-degree view—8MP photos and 6480 x 1080 video—without stitching.

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