DirecTV adding voice search to smartphone app this summer

With satellite and cable TV packages hovering around the "thousand channel" mark, the common complaint isn't that there's nothing to watch--it's that it's difficult and tedious to find what you're looking for.

That's the problem that DirecTV's upcoming voice search functionality is aiming to solve. While DirecTV already offers search functionality on its DVRs, the new voice search features let subscribers ditch the tedious text-entry process by speaking to the DirecTV smartphone app, which is available for both iOS and Android.

DirecTV is far from the first to bring voice search … Read more

Pay TV is on the ebb as customers cut the cord

A look at the numbers shows that subscribing to pay-TV services is on the ebb. According to Reuters, more than 400,000 TV watchers have "cut the cord" since January.

First, DirecTV, which is the top satellite TV provider in the U.S., announced today that it lost 52,000 customers in the second quarter. Then the No. 2 cable provider in the U.S., Time Warner, also announced a second quarter loss today with 169,000 people leaving the service.

"Basic video subscriber losses aren't getting better," Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffett told Reuters … Read more

After 10 years, I'm done waiting for TiVo

The last straw broke last month, when, after a DSL outage, I could no longer connect to the TiVo service.

I got the dreaded N17 error message that says, "Failed while negotiating." The only support guidance TiVo offers is (I'm not joking) to unplug the TiVo and plug it back in. Nothing helped. I trolled forums, restarted my modem, changed my router DNS settings, rebooted over and over, even switched to another TiVo, and connected to a Sprint Overdrive, just to troubleshoot and get guide info. I just couldn't get it working. I tweeted TiVo for … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 1261: The Last of Kin (podcast)

After the shortest time on market ever, the Microsoft Kin has been unceremoniously yanked from market. Which, I guess, you could see as swift and decisive action on Microsoft's part, rather than a total failure of the company's mixed-up mobile strategy. Or both. Also, Apple lawsuits, Google's uncertain future in China, and the Woot monkey finds a new home at Amazon.

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Buzz Out Loud 1195: Five years. You're welcome, tech world. (podcast)

It's our five-year anniversary today, and wow, is that a long time. We've been here longer than the iPhone (rumors of a Verizon phone announced in June), almost as long as it took the U.S. House to ask the FTC to investigate Google Buzz, and about how long it will take Verizon to actually deliver the Android 2.1 rollout to Droid users.

Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 1195

Two new iPhones coming: one for Verizon more

Reporters' Roundtable: 3D TV debunked (podcast)

CES overloaded the industry with 3D TV hype, and it's time to bust it. This week on the Roundtable, I interview CNET's own John Falcone and HDNation's Robert Heron on the practical realities, and likely future, of 3D TV.

See also: CNET's FAQ on 3D TV, and TV industry turns blind eye to non-3D viewers.

Subscribe with iTunes (audio)Subscribe with iTunes (video)Subscribe with RSS (audio)Subscribe with RSS (video) Reporters' Roundtable #16: 3D TV, debunked… Read more

NFL, here's your 2010 tech resolution: Make games easier to access on the Internet

On my way back from Vegas and the remains of CES 2010, I put my faith in JetBlue. As one of the few airlines with a nearly complete collection of TV networks viewable in midair, I knew back when I booked my flights months ago that, in the unlikely event of a Jets playoff game, a seat-back TV would be my only recourse in case the game fell on a Saturday. Of course, the impossible happened and I ended up watching the Jets-Bengals showdown on my miniature seat-mounted screen.

It was a great experience, especially with a flight full of cheering Jets fans (and a few disgruntled Giants/Bengals fans), but I wouldn't have been so lucky on Virgin America. Their spotty in-flight TV service had channels like MSNBC, but no NBC, and in-flight Wi-Fi would have been useless, since the NFL doesn't properly support Internet game-viewing.

At CES, when I saw Flo TV demonstrate its upcoming and very exciting collaboration with Mophie to bring live TV programming to the iPhone via a slip-on case, the representatives tried to entice me with promises of live sports. I knew better: the NBA, NHL, MLB, PGA, and NCAA football were all represented in some fashion, but not the NFL. No, not America's most popular sport: it's been locked up for years, and it doesn't make any sense.… Read more

Buzz Out Loud Podcast 1140: Live from CES 2010

Though the conference opens for the public today, this is our second live show from CES 2010. Leo Laporte joins us on stage to discuss the impressive penetration of 3D at this year's show, Skype on your television, and the soon-to-be growing catalog of Netflix streaming titles.

Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 1140

HP: ‘Slate’ PC shown by Ballmer set for some time in 2010

Microsoft promises Natal for 2010 … Read more

DirecTV Guide mishap messes with March Madness

Saturday evening while folks were watching basketball, hockey, perhaps a showing of "Xanadu," DirecTV DVRs began losing guide data all across the U.S.

Subscribers at, and I experienced a blank program guide with a date of 7/14 and all shows noted as "To Be Announced." While channels continued to receive programming, any recordings were disrupted.

Callers to DirecTV report they were told the problem was fixed or being fixed and they would not lose any programming. A hard reset (or reboot) seemed to fix the problem temporarily, but eventually the guide data … Read more

Reports: DirecTV in talks with Sirius XM

It appears Sirius XM Radio is seeking some sort of an investment from Liberty Media, which controls DirecTV, according to several media reports quoting anonymous sources close to the matter.

A deal between the satellite radio giant and the largest U.S. satellite-TV provider could help for Sirius fend off bankruptcy and an unsolicited takeover attempt from satellite company EchoStar, which has bought up Sirius' debt.

The Wall Street Journal, citing a person familiar with the matter, wrote that "though the talks between Sirius and Liberty are advanced, a deal remains far from certain. It wasn't clear how … Read more