It’s Official: Moxi DVR is Dead

I’ve been expecting this news for some time now, but I went to the Moxi web site tonight to be greeted by the following:

The Moxi HD DVR and Moxi Mate are no longer available for purchase. Program guide data and technial support for the Moxi HD DVR will be available until December 31, 2013.

Hell’s bells. Such a nice setup but I knew they wouldn’t be around forever.

My reason for going to the site tonight is because I think the hard drive in mine is starting to die and I was going to poke around to see what’s involved with replacing the drive. I guess I still have nearly two years of life in the thing if I can get the hard drive replaced.

But, this is timely also because maybe it’s the push I need to get off cable anyway. Particularly with the latest announcement from Amazon of their content agreement with Viacom (and more to come, I’m sure), do I need cable? I have Netflix, Hulu Plus, PlayOn and PlayLater, computers galore, Roku … is the DVR as we know it finally irrelevant?

Well Moxi it’s been a pleasure knowing you. If my hard drive holds out or if I can get a new one put in there, I guess I have about 22 months to get this figured out. Clock’s ticking.

Tom Shales – In dying color: No. 4 NBC has cast itself in the role of the fading peacock – washingtonpost.com

Might the trademark “NBC” be retired and the TV network become just another cog in a large, empty capitalist apparatus — one that plops out leisure-time product with the slick, chilly efficiency of an assembly line? It’s possible that Comcast could be even more tightfisted an owner than GE and that NBC might be the first network to prove that the whole idea of broadcast networks really is over. It could prove it by dying.

One of the networks has to be the first to go, and the most likely candidate is NBC. I was watching “Modern Family” the other night and one of the storylines (if you can call it that on a 22-minute sitcom) was about how no one in the house other than the Dad knows how to use the remote. (Tired gag, but well done in this case.)

So Dad is trying to convince Daughter to let him teacher her how to use the remote to show up Mom who says no one can learn it. Daughter exclaims, “Dad, this is stupid. I watch TV on my computer! Why do I have to learn this?”

It was said in passing but I think that pretty much sums up the future. People like myself who watch TV on the network’s schedule, even when you take DVRs into account, are a dying breed and so are the networks. I think my eyes will be really opened up to this when my Moxi arrives this week and I hook it into PlayOn. Even if I watch TV shows being served *from* a computer I don’t really enjoy watching them *on* a computer. 😉

Boxee – Boxee Box by D-Link

This looks REALLY intriguing. I read someone’s take on it in which they said it has the potential to compete with Apple TV, which made me think either that person doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or they’ve never used Apple TV.

I loved my Apple TV for a while, but with the latest software update that was the last straw. I’ve never seen a product get increasingly worse with each update like Apple TV did, and it’s more or less unusable now.

The other difference of course is that Apple TV doesn’t let you watch much of anything for free. The whole point of the Boxee Box is to let you watch free Internet content on your TV without having to futz around with a computer and a browser to do so.

This is also the promise of PlayOn (http://www.playon.tv), which once my Moxi arrives I’ll be experimenting with.

This is the wave of the future of TV, and paying per-episode for everything like you have to with iTunes and Apple TV is going to go the way of the dinosaur. Cable’s probably next to fall.

Are TiVo’s Days Numbered?

I got a rather shocking email from my brother today, and he didn’t waste any time getting to the point. The first sentence reads thusly:

I once said that my TiVos were more important than my refrigerator and microwave.  I left the refrigerator and microwave plugged in and unplugged all my TiVos.”

Many of you know from numerous previous blog posts that I’m a huge TiVo fan. I bought a Series 1 TiVo when I first saw it on a late night infomerical. I’m not sure I even knew how much it cost when I picked up the phone to order, I just knew I needed to have one. And at one point my brother was probably even a bigger TiVo fan than I was.

But, 10 years later, a helluva lot has changed, and it’s all due to the Internet and increasingly ubiquitous high speed bandwidth. So now that we can get more TV than we can handle through Hulu, the TV network web sites, iTunes, Xbox, Netflix, and numerous other outlets, is TiVo still relevant?

Every month when I get my FiOS TV bill, I’m increasingly thinking no, painful as that is for me to say. TiVo changed the way we watch traditional TV, sure, but it hasn’t kept up with the way we watch TV in the age with all the media sources we have at our fingertips. TiVo was born in the age of 56K modems, but other than the addition of things like YouTube, Rhapsody, and Netflix streaming, it still does the same thing it did 10 years ago, and I’m not sure these recent and rather paltry additions make it worth keeping.

Until TiVo itself isn’t tied so much to cable, it’s getting harder and harder to justify keeping it. I hope TiVo has a longer term gameplan like maybe morphing into an all-in-one box that lets me use Hulu, Joost, Netflix streaming (which I do like), etc. all from that famously easy-to-use TiVo interface, kind of like a hacked Apple TV without the hacked part. And TiVo if you haven’t thought of that and like the idea, you can have that one for free. 😉

I know as little as I watch TV these days, it would be cheaper for me to buy the shows I do want to watch, not to mention being able to watch most of them for free on Hulu and other places, so between cable fees and TiVo fees, and the fall of one of the last great defenders of TiVo (my brother), I’m starting to consider it more seriously.

Have any of you cut the cable and gone full Internet and other outlets for you TV watching needs? I’d be curious to hear some practical pros and cons from those of you who have, and if I get brave enough to make the switch I’ll be sure and share how it goes.