Best Buy TVs with TiVo Interface Only Slightly Interesting
New Insignia Connected TVs are first to utilize TiVo GUI, but without DVR, CableCard or EPG; Chumby apps, Z-Wave remote, wireless Rocketfish slot add appeal.
What good is TiVo if it doesn’t come with a DVR, electronic programming guide (EPG) or CableCard slots?
Plenty good, according to Best Buy, which is building the TiVo interface into a new line of its Insignia Connected TVs.
The display is the first to utilize the TiVo GUI, providing an “intuitive user experience for accessing live broadcast and online content, all without a paid TiVo subscription,” according to a Best Buy press release.
If it sounds too good to be true, it is. The TVs simply employ the TiVo interface, not its full suite of services like DVR capabilities and integrated EPG.
Still, if you love the TiVo experience, then the LED TVs are a great buy at $499 and $699 for the 32- and 42-inch models, respectively.
The units have a couple of other goodies. For one, they have a proprietary slot for adding Best Buy’s Rocketfish Rocketboost wireless card. With a $40 card inserted, the TVs can distribute audio to compatible products including wireless soundbars and multiroom speakers.
Users can stream music from built-in apps like Napster or Pandora. The TVs also support Netflix, YouTube Leanback and CinemaNow.
Thanks to the TiVo interface, users also can search video content via any of the usual characteristics – title, genre, actors, etc. – from the movie services. But the searches won’t include content from cable, satellite or over-the-air TV.
Best Buy Insignia connected TV with TiVo inside.
In addition, the displays support the Chumby suite of TV-friendly apps such as Twitter, Facebook, Photobucket, Accuweather, Reuters News and Sports, Stocks and Traffic.
CNET writer John P. Falcone sums up his preview of the new TVs:
The quick, behind-closed-doors demo we received from Best Buy/Insignia last week didn’t offer enough exposure to make a buying decision, of course. My gut reaction is “wait and see.” For TVs with built-in Wi-Fi and Internet streaming, the prices are reasonable, if not downright competitive—especially when looking at a comparable bundle (same size LED TV, $99 Roku or Apple TV, $70-ish universal remote). I’d like to see how Best Buy and Insignia flesh out the app offerings (both for the “built-in” and Chumby apps). Moreover, the addition of smartphone or tablet control apps could significantly enhance the value offering here. Company reps confirmed that the TV should offer an “audio-only” mode; that plus the Rocketboost compatibility could make the TVs a decent streaming audio hub, for instance.
Best Buy announced its collaboration with TiVo in early 2010.
The new TVs are expected to be available this week.
Connected TV press release, next page
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]
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