The TiVo Premiere is here! (That’s it?)

Dave Zatz —  March 2, 2010 — 84 Comments

TiVo-Premiere

After a few months of unintended leaks and 3 1/2 years since third generation hardware was introduced, the TiVo Series 4 Premiere has arrived. As with TiVo’s HD line, which is being cleared out, the Premiere will ship (next month) in two SKUs: A base model with 45 hours of HD storage (320GB) at $300. And a higher tier THX certified “XL” unit, containing a terabyte of storage (150 hrs of HD), for $500. Service fees are unchanged. As you’d expect, the Premiere sports significantly beefed up processing power and, also as expected, finally realizes TiVo’s new HD UI.

Additionally, the Premiere represents a savvy reboot of TiVo marketing. With, perhaps, a little help from their friends. Now that “DVR” functionality has essentially been commoditized, TiVo’s pitching the Premiere as a “cable box.”  That also provides video, web, and music content. Basically, “One Box” to rule them all.

So that’s what the TiVo Premiere is.

However, given TiVo’s inaugural role and leadership in space, not to mention the tens of millions spent annually on R&D, I have to say I’m somewhat underwhelmed. I get why they didn’t go the tru2way route, given the cable industry’s inability to roll out as planned and requirement to implement an inferior, secondary interface. But where’s the improved whole-home DVR experience (like Moxi), additional tuners, Blu-ray player, social media apps (like FiOS), DLNA, user personalization (like Sezmi), etc?

But, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s dive into the Premiere specifics…

Hardware

TiVo-Premiere-Rear

The TiVo Premiere is slimmer and more aerodynamic in appearance than it’s TiVo Series 3 and HD predecessors. Yet it’s also somewhat bland, lacking in personality beyond the ‘fruit loop’ status indicators of questionable value. Which you may just end up turning off. (I will.) Its aesthetics are perfectly serviceable, but the S3 still sports the coolest looking TiVo front panel. Assuming you don’t hide all your gear in a cabinet.

Moving inwards, and as mentioned above, the hardware sees a significant performance upgrade. Which is powered by the Broadcom BCM7413 SoC along with 512MB of DDR flash memory. But, at the same time, the Premiere is much “greener” clocking fewer watts than the S3 or HD. (Low-to-mid 20s, if memory serves.) I assume some of this power savings comes via TiVo’s choice of hard drive(s), but I haven’t yet received a response to my brand/model query.

In what I believe is an attempt to reduce costs, the single CableCARD slot has returned to the back, the integrated telephone modem has been dropped (replaced by an optional USB accessory for those living in the dark ages), along with a discontinuation of S-Video output.

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that there is no DOCSIS 3.0 modem hidden within the Premiere. Meaning we’ll never see native tru2way capabilities. Perhaps these functions could be added via a USB accessory or hardware refresh. But, it’s just as likely TiVo will continue to fight the good fight. And those of us struggling with SDV tuning adapters and/or missing out on our cable-co’s OnDemand offerings, will have to suck it up. Or move on.

Software
TiVo-Central
Of course the most apparent change with the Premiere is TiVo’s new UI, which does a surprisingly good job of modernizing their classic interface. Anyone who follows TiVo probably first caught a glimpse of the UI direction back in September, 2008 and later saw it land on TiVo Series 3 hardware as the new search. High def, chock-full-of-info, and, sadly, way too slow to be usable. Fortunately, Premiere’s additional horsepower renders their new 16:9 HD Adobe Flash platform without the same sluggishness. While not perfect, the early software build I saw was still being optimized and fleshed out. I expect we’ll see it continue to improve prior to release and beyond.

Which is a good thing, because there’s still too many lists and textual inconsistencies. My Shows could be movies, video podcasts, or actually shows. Yet the line below, fleshes out Find TV, movies, and video or on demand. But aren’t movies or on demand, also video? And what’s the difference between Showcases and the new Collections, which may represent the evolution of Guru Guides.

TiVo-Premiere-Episode-Guide

Beyond those nits, there’s some really cool stuff going on. At the forefront is the new Discovery Bar up top. Which aggregates both broadcast and broadband content recommendations, along with tips and app shortcuts. In fact, power users can adjust the type and frequency of content – including pinning your favorite apps like Netflix. Yes, unfortunately, one of those Discovery Bar slots may be reserved for advertising. Also, the new UI embraces picture-in-guide (PiG). It’s beautiful eye candy, perhaps of limited value, but I appreciate it. Being TiVo, of course that windowed video is pausable (or can be disabled entirely). I’m also very happy to finally see a free space indicator (front and center, no less!) on the Now Playing My Shows screen. However, my absolute favorite new feature is the web-sourced episode guides. I can’t tell you how often we watch TV with a laptop on the couch and in bed to determine which episode comes next, who’s in an episode, etc. No more.

What TiVo’s not quite ready to talk about is where they’re going next. Unlike the original HME framework and apps which really never took off beyond internal and partner use, I get the sense the new Flash-based platform is designed to be extensible, technically and visually. The market is obviously ready for “apps” and this lines up well with their “One Box” marketing push. So I’d look for a variety of new content and service providers over the next 12 months. In fact, the first of these new apps will be Pandora.

Now-Playing-FSI

TiVo Series 3 and HD owners will never see the new UI and are out of luck. I assume it’s mostly due to prior generation processing power and architecture. But it also makes reasonable business sense to draw the line in the sand somewhere. That’s not to say your (our) platform is dead. In fact, if I remember correctly, the skip-to-tick or advance function has been re-imagined for the Premiere and will also make its way down to the S3/HD platform. Additionally, TiVo’s got some nice upgrade offers for existing Lifetime subscribers. Which do not involve transferring service. Keep your existing unit subbed and get Lifetime on a new unit for 50% off ($200). Have a monthly plan, instead? Take 20% off the Premiere hardware.

But, back to the new HD UI… I wouldn’t say it’s revolutionary, and it still seems a little flat. Plus, killing “Now Playing” in favor of the generic “My Shows” makes me nostalgic. But it’s quite a significant upgrade, 2 years in the making, and I’m looking forward to spending some quality time delving deep into all of its nooks and crannies.

Remotes

The TiVo Premiere line heralds the introduction of three new remotes. Two available at launch next month, bundled with their respective DVRs, and the totally new QWERTY remote control coming later this year as an optional accessory purchase.

The first two remotes are quite similar to their TiVo HD and TiVo HD XL counterparts — the traditional “peanut” is still in play (amen), but with the standard cable-co color coded buttons – not dissimilar from what we’ve seen on TiVo’s dedicated Comcast offerings. There’s the lower-end base model mated with the Premiere, and the superior backlit, programmable model (think Glo) to accompany the Premiere XL. On RCN, the “OCAP buttons” will probably be used as intended. However, on the Premiere retail line, they provide a variety of nice UI filters and shortcuts. But, if I remember correctly, these remotes are not backward compatible with prior TiVo models.

TiVo-Qwerty-Remote

Then, of course, is the sliding/split QWERTY keyboard remote – first alluded to in November. Which communicates with the TiVo Premiere via Bluetooth! Having played with an early sample, I can say both the mechanism and keys feel solid. However, the remote looks a bit odd – squished down in length (a stubby peanut, if you will) with a toy-like look. But we’ll see what ultimately hits retail in a few months. Yet, as an early proponent of QWERY remotes, I’ve slightly changed my tune given the broad distribution of smartphones. Save the hardware (and engineering/marketing expenses), just give me an app for text entry.

WiFi Adapter
TiVo-80211n-Wireless-Adapter
My mesh network dreams for TiVo’s new 802.11n wireless access point were perhaps a bit too lofty. As their latest WiFi adapter, due later this year, is merely that. A WiFi adapter. Well, more precisely, it’s a wireless bridge. However, it’s a significant upgrade over the current model – obviously boasting speedier transmission and broader range. And, as far as I can tell, without artifically jacking prices. (Like Microsoft/Xbox.) Unfortunately, they’re not able to draw enough power over USB, unlike say Netgear’s latest wireless accessory, and it needs to be plugged in. Having said that, TiVo’s done their best to minimize the cable clutter. The pre-release hardware I fondled, which is a larger, squarer version of the current WiFi adapter, has one cable connection. And the one cable splits into an Ethernet cable and power cord. Bonus: If the price is right, I don’t see why you couldn’t also use this with any other AV or gaming gear.

Purchasing Advice

I imagine many are seeking a bottom line: Should I buy? It’s a tough call. The TiVo Premiere isn’t the home run I was hoping for. In it’s current form, and for potential upgraders, the Premiere basically offers the same core features of a TiVo Series 3 or HD. Albeit, in a significantly faster package, with a modern UI. If the Premiere were $100 cheaper or without service fees, I’d probably be more effusive about what it is. Rather than focusing on what it lacks. However, this is just the first cut of an entirely new platform – software and hardware. We obviously won’t be adding tuners or Blu-ray drives to these particular units, but there are a number of potential software enhancements that the hardware is capable of handling. TiVo’s product people know my pain points. Which aren’t unique. And apps are an obvious extension. So I expect to see a variety of improvements and additions over the next 12 months. Also, as a brand new platform, early adopters may find themselves in for a slightly bumpy ride. But we’ll know more once the review units go out. Hopefully in the very near future. Having said all that, TiVo’s fundamental challenge remains the same. Educating folks that they have an alternative to the boxes provided directly by the cable industry. And convincing them that TiVo is worth the perceived premium.

84 responses to The TiVo Premiere is here! (That’s it?)

  1. i must have one. as soon as possible.

  2. “I have to say I’m somewhat underwhelmed.” Ditto!

  3. Nice read. Too bad about the new software not making its way to the Series 3 boxes, but I understand the reason. I was hopeful.

  4. jon, I believe pre-orders begin tomorrow and units ship in early April.

  5. John fischetti March 2, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    Wow. No mobile viewing features beyond what we have? I’ll stick with my SlingBox HD and S3.

    In fact, rather than buying a S4. Spend your $ on a SlingBox HD instead to enhance your S3 with the real feature(s) we were hoping for.

    You let us down TiVo with your lofty event invitation copy.

  6. You did not mention it, so I assume no, but OTA HD?

  7. PeteyNice, yes TiVo still provides ATSC OTA tuning capabilities. Unlike Moxi.

  8. Blech! I do not get Tivo, are they intent on suicide?. I do not see any of this staunching the customer abdication to another service. Abandoning the S3 and HD owners is also bad call. I don’t think this is drawing a line, it is chucking teh loyal customers to the curb. They may be clearing HDs from stock, but they are still available and the consumers will not know it is a box with no future (mine w/lifetime is 3 weeks old). That upgrade plan is an insult, especially for those that dropped a Grand for the S3. $500 or $700 once again!!! Plus the $200 premium for a 1TB HDD that is a $79 piece of HW, is the height of arrogance. No wonder a search for “Tivo Deathwatch” nets 132,000 hits. The deathwatch clock continues to tick away.

  9. Dave, what about MRV? same implementation? streaming? backwards compatible with S3?

    Al

  10. Needs DLNA and real TiVo-branded iPhone remote app that uses BT (I’ll write it @TiVo if you give me the spec, I just re-upped my iPhone Dev acct).

    Sadly, I see myself getting a Boxee Box and keeping my TiVo HD.

  11. There is nothing here that will dissuade me from dumping Tivo in favor of a HTPC with the Ceton quad tuner card. All of the announcements today amount to perfume on a pig for me. They couldn’t even put three tuners to match the Moxi box, much less come up with a moxi mate-like solution. Also, the pricing is ridiculous. $200 difference between the 320gb and the 1tb models? Check newegg for the price difference between these two drives, it’s around $50 (and that’s not for a company who buys in bulk). A $500 “Cable box” (nice try, Tivo) with no Tru2Way, only 2 tuners, no new whole home solution and a UI that runs on Flash that you still have to pay a high monthly fee for? This is what they spent years and millions of dollars on? No thanks.

    But that’s just one man’s opinion, maybe they’ll come up with a new box within a year that will change my mind (and screw over early adopters).

  12. I’m not ready to buy but I can tell you when I pre-ordered the Series3 I ended up picking up one at Best Buy before TiVo shipped it.

  13. Hmmm… I’m a bit underwhelmed as well. I appreciate the faster processor, something that could have been used in the S3, but I can’t help but feel that the primary work done on this “Series 4″ Tivo is on the software side. Primarily architectural, perhaps to move the experience to a variety of devices other than Tivo hardware.

  14. Al, for now MRV is still copy, not stream. Which sucks for me and others fighting the CCI Byte. And, yes, I do believe it’s backwards compatible between S3/S4.

  15. Yawn. Bring on the Ceton Windows Media Center Tuner. I’ve pretty much written-off TiVo at this point, and this doesn’t help. There’s not really any innovation here — they’re basically just catching-up to Moxi and even the Fios DVR in functionality, and not really offering a whole lot more.

    And the qwerty remote isn’t even necessary! Why don’t they just implement 10-key text input like everyone else? And I take issue with their claim to inventing the DVR…doesn’t anyone remember the late, great ReplayTV?

  16. Epic fail, fail whale, what ever you may call it- this sucks. No social, no Pandora, no HD or S3 upgrade. They can suck it. Long live Windows Media Center, down with Tivo.

  17. Not that you’ll know Dave, but I wonder if I can get that 20% discount for transferring my current TiVoHD monthly sub? I still have a S2 & S3 on lifetime…

  18. I saw a Comcast on Demand icon in one of the Engadget photo’s: http://bit.ly/9RL5qL

    So can it do Comcast VOD? That would win this household over. The UI is nice, but according to Gizmodo it still feels a little flat without the flashy transition effects that smartphone programmers have been doing for years in the palm of your hand.

    I think I’d want to play with one, and hopefully a Best Buy would have a demo that I could just mess with for a few minutes. Any pictures of the guide? Is there a grid guide still, or is it completely different? I’m interested in what kind of “apps”… perhaps Boxee like MLB.TV, I’ll use the Pandora one, what about Facebook, Twitter, Last.FM, etc…

    I’m on the fence on this one… it’s very underwhelming considering I don’t see anything regarding MRV via MoCA or DLNA, or some cheap ‘extenders’ or ‘moxi-mate’ like boxes for the bedroom. Also it’s still 2 tuners? They didn’t put a DOCSIS modem inside, they could of gotten away with devoting a third tuner instead. Disapointed with the lack of Tru2Way support, but hopefully it can still do VOD or SDV with some kind of IP gateway client sent upstream via YOUR cable modem, and then over ethernet it’s told where to tune for the VOD or SDV content. One can only dream… you know getting the Cable operators to comply is like moving mountains. They think their 1980′s user interface is good enough for everybody.

  19. No streaming? WTH? Nothing here for me. What did they spend all that R&D money on.

  20. As a 10-year TiVo user, I’m pretty underwhelmed. Looks like I’m stuck with the ancient interface on the S3, because at $300, the new boxes just are not compelling enough to upgrade. Disappointed that this will be useless for millions of TiVo users that aren’t going to pay Premier prices. Don’t understand how TiVo has basically completely failed to move the price needle in 2.5 years even one dollar. Everything else has gotten much better and much cheaper, and TiVo has gotten a little better.

    Headscratcher. I’m sad to say it, but my overwhelming takeaway from this is that it’s overpriced and not worth it.

  21. I don’t think this was that bad of an announcement (it seems pretty par for the course as far as TiVo announcements go), but I don’t see why they hyped it the way they did and had so much secrecy (especially after they already leaked bits about the TiVo Premiere months ago). That’s just setting everyone up to be disappointed.

  22. Over-promised & under-delivered :(

    Should’ve added 2 more tuners, but — more importantly — made it into a general media player to play movies & shows from a home network.

    P.S. Seems too expensive to me too, especially the $200 price difference between two SKUs.

  23. Honestly…I started looking closer at the UI and I felt myself tempted for a minute. I had some harsh words up there, but then I started thinking that as much as I like the 7MC interface, universal search and Netflix in HD would be nice…and then I remembered that the TiVo still can’t do whole-home DVR control (even though my ReplayTVs managed this five years ago) and there’s STILL ONLY TWO TUNERS! That’s just…inexcusable! Seriously, TiVo, what the hell???

  24. Marc Novakowski March 2, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    It’s too bad TiVo no longer integrates with cable/sat boxes via IR blasters anymore. Even if it was just analog/SD (i.e. S-Video input) I’d buy a box just for the updated UI and services. I have a feeling I’m going to be stuck on Series 2 hardware indefinitely (like many people, CableCard isn’t an option for me).

  25. Paul in BarneyFrankistan March 2, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    As with most other commenters, I think Tivo really missed the boat here. After massively over-hyping the event they delivered incremental improvements and kicked existing S3 and HD users to the curb. Fail.

    FWIW, this does not appear to be the RCN box. My RCN bill this month included an insert touting the RCN Tivo with a picture of a modified peanut remote featuring a large VOD button (there’s a pic over at DSLreports.com). If the Premiere doesn’t support VOD, this seems to suggest that the RCN box is a different unit with additional capabilities. RCN does not use SDV, so that’s a non issue (so far).

  26. What exactly was reinvented here. Wow what a disappointment. They have so much potential here to do so much with social and mobile and instead we get a new unit with mediocre interface changes. Imagine what could have been. The list of features we all beg them for that could put them over the top and finally sway people away from their crappy set top boxes. What a bummer. I’ll stick with my tivoHD and keep using pyTivox to watch stuff from my mac.
    Booooo.

  27. 1) can i transfer lifetime from a S3 box and trash the S3?
    2) is there external hd expansion?

  28. Paul, this is pretty much the RCN hardware too – which will be delivered this summer. It’ll use the SeaChange stuff on their network for VOD.

  29. Any word on DirectTV Tivo unit?

    We’re two days a way from installing a 65″ plasma in our media room (formerly kids play room)…..I was hoping to get a firm release date on the DirectTV Tivo.

    With none in sight, I guess we’ll go ahead and purchase another DirecTV HD DVR this week.

  30. No streaming, No thanks. :( I guess it’s time to try Moxi. I think a favorite blogger of mine has a review due soon. HINT, HINT!!

  31. Nice post, Dave. A ZNF Tivo review is what got me into TiVo 6 years ago, so it is good to see.

  32. So if I understand correctly those of us with Lifetime s3 or HD model can pick up a new unit with lifetime for 200 bucks. If that is the case that seems like a great deal though I think I must be missing something or read this incorrectly. If that is indeed the case I will gladly pick up the Premier and sell my S3 Lifetime on craigslist or ebay.

    I agree with the general feeling though that this is not much of an upgrade. I was hoping for a lot more.

  33. Can’t believe I sat on the fence waiting for this. Time to go buy my Acer Revo 3610, a USB tuner, and get everything that this “new” Tivo offers (and more) for about the same cash outlay and no monthly fees.

  34. Thanks Zatz crew for covering this. Much appreciated.

  35. Still can’t touch WMC. I will never understand why MS doesn’t hype the hell out of it. It is easily the best thing they have done since NT4.

    I wanted to like this. I will have to dump my HDHRs when Comcast cuts off my QAM goodness in a few months and was hoping for another option besides hoping the CableCard compatible HDHRs don’t cost a fortune.

    Yeah I know there is a Centon solution but I have a somewhat SFF Dell as my HTPC and don’t want to give that up.

  36. wow, that’s pretty uninspiring

    I wonder if they’re building up the UI while waiting for individual hardware providers (like DirecTV) to come on board with dedicated hardware? The DirecTivo was very popular and it could be again with this front end on top of the single wire MRV/MOCA devices DirecTV has in the pipeline.

  37. the engadget picks linked to above are chock full of fun stuff.

    looks like the “apps” might be the gateway to ‘social networking’

    this engadget pic:
    http://www.engadget.com/photos/tivo-premiere-ui-gallery/#2760479

    has a “Friends recommended” movies category.

    then this screen :
    http://www.engadget.com/photos/tivo-premiere-ui-gallery/#2760474

    looks like indiviual play lists for each member of the family.
    (speaking of which- Dave – any mention of kidzone in the new UI?)

    then this page:
    http://www.engadget.com/photos/tivo-premiere-ui-gallery/#2760475

    has a “now in theaters” folder in the NPL

  38. Marge Geneverra March 2, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Not impressed. I’m still feeling a bit abandoned by Tivo, with three Series-2 boxes connected to Dish Network and no path for upgrading. No cable or FIOS available here.

    It’s nice to go with a vendor, only to have them leave you at a dead end!

    I guess it’s time to move to Dish DVRs, and stop giving Tivo my $400 per year in subscription fees….

  39. Hey Dave, do you know if the network switch is 1000 MB? I think I am one of the rare people that has this in my walls and things would transfer so much faster between my Tivo’s if it actually took advantage of the speed.

    Sigh, Tivo… why do you toy with our emotions???

  40. I had four Series 2s, one Series 3, and one TivoHD, but I think this is the end of my Tivo loyalty. Tivo hasn’t done enough to improve the experience of current users, and with the other alternatives out there, it no longer makes sense to invest $500-$1000 for a DVR and service plan.

    It was a good run, Tivo. You changed the industry. Unfortunately you’re no longer keeping up.

  41. cypherstream – yeah, this shot clearly says “Cable Video on Demand” http://www.engadget.com/photos/tivo-premiere-ui-gallery/#2760473

  42. Underwhelming.

    This is a minor facelift on an interface that has seen few functional or design changes for the better part of decade. You mention tens of millions in R&D spend. I no evidence of that in the pictures or the capabilities.

    The only reason I’m sticking with TiVo is that I have an investment in their equipment. There are now vastly better ways to access archived content (Plex, XBMC, WMC), streaming content services (PS3, XBMC), and OTA/cable broadcasts (WMC).

    A comparison with Palm might be interesting to look at. Both failed to adapt to a changing competitive landscape. Palm tried to reboot with the Pre — a bold new device with a powerful software stack and innovative interface. The Premier, at best, is an incremental refinement. The Pre was arguably too little, too late and has not sold to expectations. Where does that leave the much less ambitious Premier?

  43. @PeteyNice: Off-topic, but the CableCARD HDHRs are expected to cost ~$250. http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/07/hdhomerun-developing-a-dual-cablecard-network-tuner-for-249/

  44. Hornswaggled, The lifetime subscription will be $200, it’s normally $399.

    The box will still be $300, so new box with lifetime for $500 instead of $699.

  45. Jon the heretic March 2, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    My TiVo hd with lifetime is hardly a year old and they are not making any attempt to update the series 3 ui? Bah. And the updgrade pricing for lifetimers is a big fat joke.

    I have stopped caring. Now I just want TiVo
    to fix the damn pixelation I experience on SDV channels only, even with zero RS errors. Bah.

  46. I guess I’m lucky that I only have a few channels that I can’t transfer with MRV.

    I’ll be happy with my 3 Tivo HDs for years. They’ll always be better than what I can get from my cable company.

  47. The only feature that I’m interested in is multi-TiVo integration. One Now Playing list and one ToDo List that is common across every TiVo in the house. I don’t care which tuner/box records a show and I don’t care which TiVo a show is stored on, I just want to be able to watch and manage everything from any location.

    If TiVo included playback-of-any-media-on-your-network, the way the Syabas Popbox / PopcornHour does, then it might become “one box to rule them all.” Allowing pretty plugins for third-party services that I can already get to in other ways is not a great new feature. Focus on improving the TiVo features and experience first, then make it pretty, then add third-party fluff.

    I’ve been a TiVo user for 10 years and owned at least 8 different stand alone and DirecTiVos, and I don’t see myself upgrading. But I’m still hoping for some new features that will change my mind.

  48. I hope TiVo creates new the IR codes corresponding to the keys of the QWERTY remote. For both new and existing Series 2/3 TiVos. I’d like to use my existing universal remote (a touchscreen Philips Pronto) to input text.

    My guess is that the new remote will come with a USB dongle and that it will work with existing TiVos that have USB ports. This makes more sense than integrating Bluetooth into every new TiVo. If they didn’t integrate WiFi, it certainly makes no sense to include Bluetooth.

  49. As an existing TiVo sub I too feel left out in the cold since the new interface isn’t coming over to my S3.

    Seriously TiVo, just give us a “real” native widescreen UI, it doesn’t have to be the fancy new one. ALL OF THE “ROUND” CIRCLES ARE OVALS AND IT IS EMBARRASSING. I mean, come on, my $$$$ series 3 has stretch-o-vision.

    Dave– thanks for the nice write-up.

  50. Sorry I neglected to Thank Dave as well for a very good write up.

    So, is Tivo mgmt’s next step to hide their head in the sand and pretend the sentiment expressed above doesn’t actually exist? Sad to think Tivo could be the Edsel for a new century. AppleTv adding HDMI is a bigger piece of news.

  51. Wifi is still not integrated into the box? What would that add to the cost of production? 3 dollars? No thanks. Time to move to a HTPC.

  52. Thanks for the hard work Dave. It’s just unfortunate that this unit was much ado about nothing.

  53. @Randall

    I think you are referring to the rumor that the Mac Mini will be getting an HDMI output. The AppleTV has had HDMI since it launched.

  54. Dave, thanks for great reporting and the great energy put into this!

    I don’t know if I buy into the new interface. It seems way too busy. There is something to be said of the simplicity of the current TiVo interface. Look at AppleTV and what they have done.

    I also agree with Carlton that it needs to do a lot more to be the “one box” especially when it come to playing all types of media.

  55. fail. Glad to see Tivo move to a new interface but that is clearly not enough. The nickle and diming for USB dongles is offensive.

    Tivo spends how many millions on R&D each year and this is what they can produce?

  56. @Mike: I totally agree about just having a widescreen UI. It’s fine with me if it’s not HD (I’m reading the text from a distance, so it doesn’t need to be that sharp). I don’t understand why they haven’t simply added a second set of graphics that end up with the correct aspect ratio when stretched to 16:9 displays.

  57. Ok, really? “One Box” but no extender strategy? Really? I’m sorry to say that tivo continues to fall farther and farther behind the curve.

  58. Charles McCallum March 2, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    I know it’s not 100% TiVo’s fault, but until these things work with Satellite, we won’t touch it.

  59. Very disappointed. I’m still holding out that there are more announcements and extensions on the way but as it stands there is just no way to justify the upgrade from a TivoHD. The HD is perfectly serviceable and I’ll keep it around since I’ve got the Lifetime on it, but no way is this the deserving of the hype behind this promo.

    Just to be clear, here are the things that would cause me to upgrade:

    Ability to transfer my lifetime to a new box w/ no fee.
    Single box with extenders at a reduced monthly fee

    And it’s not just about the upgrade Tivo; it’s about keeping me as a consumer. I’ve no idea if you are generating any revenue off my Lifetime, but you are seriously in jeopardy of losing that stream, and a customer.

    I really can’t think of a more over hyped release.

  60. I’m not sure if you saw the article on Lightreading about the new Tivo, but it *briefly* touches on the Seachange / VOD tie in:

    http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=188623&site=lr_cable&

    Now that Engadget put a video up, I’d have to say it still looks a little ‘laggy’. I was hoping for a Boxee like performance with fluid screen transitions and smooth selection movement, etc…

  61. cypher, I think some of the lag is due to an overwhelmed network. Also, I know they’re still “tuning” this. It’ll probably go on months after release… We shall see.

    The Hub, Yeah I’m torn on the UI. It’s modern but there’s a lot going on in a lot of places. I think they can tighten it up some. And they probably will as people don’t dig as deep as they hope they will. Also, something about grids of box art is a little flat.

    Carlton, yeah the QWERTY remote will ship with a Bluetooth dongle. I thought it was only for Premiere, but CNET reports it’s going to be integrated onto the S3/HD platform as well. But I doubt they’ll map the keyboard to IR.

  62. Dave great reporting. When you were at the unveiling, I have to imagine that the impression in the room is moderately similar to what we are seeing in the comments. did you guys get a chance to ask questions to the big people and ask, “is this it?”

  63. Is there a single customer-focused innovation here? A new “HD” UI? Is that it? That’s nice I suppose, but TiVo is about getting me the content I want, when I want it. The existing UI does that. I imagine the killer feature of this UI is “more space for advertising!”

    2010 and I still have to buy an external USB wifi adapter? You’re kidding, right? Oh, and that QWERTY remote will run me more too?

    TiVo, we’re through. My TiVo HD with lifetime will be my last TiVo. There’s a train a-coming and its name is boxee.

  64. Wow, they didn’t even add an extra tuner? Tragic, and off the list.

  65. WANT ONE. But I live in Canada, so I might as well stop reading and getting my hopes up.

    Even though it’ll record OTA and show web content, there’s very little web streaming that works in Canada ’cause of market/copyright/licensing. And our one cable company doesn’t support CableCard, of any type.

    Maybe I could get one mailed to a friend in the U.S., but my Mac Mini works fine and it’s already paid for and doesn’t have the subscription cost. :(

  66. Slept on it and I have to agree with Derek above; My Tivo HD is the last one. But I’m thinking Moxi, or god forbid, just sucking it back up with Comcast?

    Dave, get moxi to do a raffle. Those guys have to be laughing so hard right now!

  67. And to think I considered buying some extra TiVo stock last Friday in case their announcement was a blockbuster!

    Glad I didn’t bother.

  68. I have been a happy Tivo S2 user for many years and have been on the fence for some time about upgrading. I felt that Tivo was very responsive to the user base in supporting the S2 though the analog to digital transition and have to say that my S2 has operated very reliably with the Zenith 901 tuner box. For the most part, I’ve been satisfied that Tivo makes a good attempt to support its users (doesn’t always succeed of course).

    In recent weeks, I’ve been experimenting with HTPC and must agree with the comments above that WMC is a pretty compelling piece of software. There are still bugs in it but it seems to me that were Microsoft to really put some weight behind WMC that it could be an even more significant challenger in the home media space.

    The real problem today is that WMC still needs quite a bit of work to get it going and needs a lot of TLC to maintain. Tivo’s real claim to fame is that it simply works and I think for a lot of people this is the real crux of the matter. Tivo is reliable and its out of the box experience is superior to any other on the market (I haven’t tried Moxi yet – and I’m ignoring cablecard installs :-). If ease of use, reliability and simplicity are key, then Tivo is still the top IMHO.

    However, if you are a little more adventurous, WMC can accomplish much of what we hoped Tivo would do with the Premiere. W7 has so far proved to be a significant improvement over Vista (not that hard of course) but more importantly for this discussion it appears to provide a pretty solid base on which WMC can operate. Improved tuning h/w and options (e.g. LAN based multi-tuners), extensibility, no ongoing monthly costs (MS so far has avoided charging for the TV guide info) are proving pretty interesting. I can access Netflix (no HD yet), Boxee, Hulu, existing internet TV, DVD and Blu Ray, music, pictures, games, and more all from within the WMC interface. Yes, in some cases WMC needs additional bits of s/w to accomplish this – some free, some cost. But the ability to experiment and build a system that really meets a household needs is compelling for a tinkerer like me in a way that Tivo never really accomplished through HME.

    It will be interesting to see if MS comes up with a pre-set WMC Windows7 installation (e.g. during w7 installation, you tell it this PC will be an HTPC and certain parameters could be optimized and so forth).

    In the meantime, I think I’ll keep running my HTPC and see how it goes before buying a Premiere…

  69. I am a lifetime service owner on an S1 and S2 box. They have been remarkably reliable for years and years. I have personally talked about 20 people into buying Tivos. I like the company and evangelize for it. I have so wanted to get an HD to replace the comcast DVR.

    But I think Tivo has finally lost me. Simply put, the S4 is just lame.

    I have Windows Home Server and a ton of video on it. I have 4 Win7 PCs scattered around the house, plus 2 xbox 360s on the main tvs. In short, how does Tivo fit into that mix. They had an opportunity to be the center of it all. All I wanted was that I could move recorded shows onto my WHS, or access them directly from WMC. Make the stupid box into a WMC recorder.

    How hard is it? So I can pay $500 + $200 for lifetime service. Or I can build a good HTPC for $700 and it will be upgradable ($100 for a 1.5 TB HD).

    You just lost a sale, and unfortunately a customer, probably for good.

  70. Too little, too late. This box should have 3 tuners (to top the previous boxes and cable co dvrs which have only 2.) Also should have DLNA for supporting standards-based media servers that one may have in the home. And Flash? Really, Tivo? Aren’t you paying attention to Apple? Flash is dead. This “new” processor is slow, and the hard drive should be SSD (I’ve had only two things fail in Tivo’s I’ve owned going back several years – the hard drives because they get constant use and really should be server-class drives, and once an HDMI port went ‘bad’).
    Bottom line? Epic fail. Short the stock.

  71. Another underwhelmed Tivo user. No MoCA. No built-in WiFi. No tru2way. No Hulu. No Sling. Nothing much that I can see but an HD UI, which still doesn’t look competitive with say Apple TV or WMC or …

    I’ll stick with my Tivo HDs I guess, along with the Apple TV I’m using to do Movies On Demand properly (no cut for Tivo), photos, music playback, etc. And I’ll probably add a Boxee box for native video playback and web-based video streaming. One box to rule them all? They’re kidding right?

    And the whole GUI is written in Flash? WTF? Are they kidding with this shit?

  72. does anyone know when exactly (or even a reasonably approximate timeframe) for when the Premiere is coming to RCN?

  73. At TiVo’s New York event, I believe they said ‘summer.’

  74. So when do we get a full review, Dave?

    B

  75. I’m not sure… I don’t have a review unit yet. I do know some Best Buy stores have already released a few Premieres to customers before jacking the price and moving them all back to the storage areas. But they don’t have the new UI, and won’t until sometime the middle of next month, which is what we all want to analyze – and that may entail an embargo of some sort.

  76. I have been a tivo customer for the past 10 years. I love it and would live without one. That said, when the new premiere came out, I had to have it. Well let me keep this short and sweet, WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT. Everything from the EXTREME lag in the main menu, to the poorly written interface, that basically just adds additional steps to get back to the standard menu. OMG tivo, are you kidding me? This was your best shot to a new device? Then there is the remote, the redesign makes absolutely no sense. Why would you move buttons around when people were happy before? What I am talking about is the thumbs up and down, are now between the play/pause button and volume channel button. Why??? Not I can’t reach the volume without repositioning the remote. Who was the rocket scientist that came up with that? Hey, lets make the thumbs up and down buttons more accessible and put the volume and channel controls out of reach! dua!
    Folks, if you have a Series 3, or the HD Do not waste your money!

  77. Devices like Tivo are the future and I hope they will fix all the bugs in the new device. I like it anyway :)
    justme @ tvlive32

  78. Tito premiere sell as a package or separately. I’d like Wifi Adapter.

  79. Wifi adapter looks good. But the review makes me thing twice to buy this stuff.

  80. Honestly…I started trying nearer at the UI and that i felt myself tempted for a moment. I had some harsh words up there, then again I started thinking that the maximum amount as i prefer the 7MC interface, universal search and Netflix in HD would be nice…and then I remembered that the TiVo still can’t do whole-home DVR management (even tho’ my ReplayTVs managed this 5 years ago) and there’s STILL solely 2 TUNERS! That’s just…inexcusable!

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  84. Tivo series has cool remote, I like the features.

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