New DirecTV TiVo Launches Next Month

Dave Zatz —  August 24, 2011 — 37 Comments

Looks like the new DirecTV TiVo HD DVR is (finally) nearing launch! Perhaps as soon as next month. But is it all we hoped for?

If you recall, TiVo and DirecTV once had a fruitful partnership… that petered out. However, the companies rekindled the flames nearly 3 years ago and announced collaboration on an updated HD DVR  - set to launch in 2009. While we’re a few years off schedule, today at TiVo’s quarterly call CEO Tom Rogers indicated that new DirecTV TiVo DVR units are “now being manufactured and we expect DirecTV to publicly share specific launch details in the relatively near future.” Further, a few unconfirmed reports suggest DirecTV distributors should be receiving product on or about September 25th. If that wasn’t evidence enough, folks over on DBSTalk have been discussing DirecTV’s August training video (embedded above, thanks Engadget!) which reintroduces their salesforce to TiVo.

directv-tivo

Unfortunately, what we pieced together back in February appears to be accurate: Older DirecTV hardware (HR22-100) running the older TiVo interface. Yesterday’s technology, today! Even worse, multi-room viewing will not be supported between DirecTV TiVo units and/or other DirecTV HD DVRs. Ouch. But, on the bright side, the unit will ship with the latest TiVo peanut remote.

If DirecTV and TiVo had launched as planned two years ago, this product probably would have worked. As it stands, I doubt there will be much of a market for their “new” solution — irrespective of the yet-to-be-revealed hardware pricing and service fees. Unless this is merely a stop-gap… as at least two people on DBSTalk indicate they’re aware of additional hardware. Stay tuned?

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37 responses to New DirecTV TiVo Launches Next Month

  1. One funny observation from the DBSTalk forum… notice the 5/2010 manufacture date on the box? Doh!

    Some DVR features from DirecTV’s TiVo support page:

    * Access to over 160 HD channels
    * DIRECTV CINEMA™, with thousands of shows and movies to watch instantly
    * TiVo Integrated Search across TV and Video on Demand
    * TiVo WishList® Searches, Suggestions and KidZone
    * DIRECTV DVR Scheduler

  2. At this point you couldn’t pay me to go back to DirecTV. FiOS, Media Center, and uncrippled TiVos are just too much better than DirecTV especially when I look at the fact my monthly bill with internet is less that what I was paying just DirecTV for SD programming.

  3. It will be interesting to see how DTV markets this DVR. DTV does have “significant” marketing committments in their agreement with TiVo. Clearly it is not as good as their whole home DVR. It appears to fit as a middle tier offering over their basic DVR. It is essentially a a crippled TiVo HD without OTT support.

  4. No MRV even between DirecTiVos?!? To think at one point I missed having DirecTV. I can’t imagine replacing my 3 TiVos with crippled units. DirecTV – making CableCard look good in comparison since 2004…

  5. Yawn…

    DirecTV’s own HD-GUI will run circles around this old school HR22/ TiVo S3.

    Wait until you see it.

    Now only if DirecTV could come back to adding basic HD channels….

  6. I’m having a hard time figuring out the market for this. Many TiVo loyalists (like us) have switched to cable, and I see no reason to switch back to DirecTV, especially when this box has fewer features than a Series3, let alone a Premiere. From what I’ve heard, most DirecTV customers are satisfied with the DirecTV DVRs – unlike the views of experts like ZNF readers. So I’m stuck trying to figure out who would buy this.

  7. TiVo is coming! And this man is going to yell about it! Gah!

  8. “I’m having a hard time figuring out the market for this… So I’m stuck trying to figure out who would buy this.”

    Virtually no one. Period.

    Those of us loyalists who didn’t switch to cable stuck with DirecTV and find their DVRs to be perfectly adequate and — with a few small niggling feature differences — far ahead of the last Tivos we used. I cannot even remotely fathom giving up multi-room. And when DirecTV allows me to have the 5-tuner box, I can’t imagine I’d ever consider another solution.

    This thing is years late, and many many feature short for those that stayed — and certainly for those that left.

  9. All and all it ‘could’ have a very positive result for Tivo. Next time Tivo has a little chat with the FCC, this is strong evidence for the need of a single standard solution for an open box market (not that much more evidence of this is needed). Oh, Allvid where art thou?

  10. I’m really curious to see how DTV markets this to the public. It seems plausible to me that they are releasing it just because of legal obligations but it doesn’t seem like a very good business decision. I would think they would position it at a cost lower than their whole-home DVR solution.

  11. Greg, the latest HR24 hardware/experience is solid. We’re the outliers here for sure.

    Sam, I doubt DirecTV can charge less given what they’ve presumably invested in this solution and TiVo licensing. I’d can’t imagine this iteration will see strong sales. Hopefully they’ve got a more capable solution waiting in the wings, trailing by only a few months. Virgin in the UK has proven TiVo can be a compelling MSO offering in 2011. But they’re going to have to do better than this tired hardware and the antiquated SDUI.

  12. “But they’re going to have to do better than this tired hardware and the antiquated SDUI.”

    Assuming you’re not dealing with a multi-room setup, and assuming this “tired hardware” is of the S3 vintage, I’ll venture that “this tired hardware and the antiquated SDUI” is superior to the Premiere experience.

    As stated elsewhere, I wouldn’t trade my TiVo HD for a Premiere.

  13. It offers less and presumably costs more than DirecTV’s current HD DVR offering. It also does less than your TiVo Series3, assuming it’s been neutered of TiVoToGo and online content like Netflix, YouTube, and Pandora. The remote and UI are simpler and cleaner, but is that enough?

  14. I’m going to switch… here’s why:
    1) Current HD DVR limits me to 50 series recordings… which means I have to remove currently off-air series and remember to re-add them when they come back on air
    2) I miss ‘suggestions’

    So, my question is, why would anyone want to keep their old HD DVR? I don’t use Multi Room Viewing (I only have one TV)

    Some questions I have: Can I still access the ‘On demand’ features of DirecTV like HBO On Demand?

    How is the speed of the UI? The current HDDVR box seems horribly slow.

    Is it possible this is a ‘rush job’ at this point where we get the hardware with the old interface and sometime in the near-future it gets upgraded to the newer TiVo UI?

  15. I should also clarify I have an HR21 still.
    I only saw a ‘speed and size’ increase for the HR24, so I never thought to shell out the $200 to get one

  16. DirecTV’s in house software currently does YouTube on the TV. They also have the DirecTV2PC app and you can watch recordings on the PC (sorry mac users). They have a really nice iPad app to control the whole thing as well.

    But remember what’s coming.

    A new HD-GUI in Q4

    An optimized and accelerated programing architecture that really speeds things up. Mike White said scrolling in the guide was like super fast scrolling through a spreadsheet.

    Pandora IS on the way (look up DirecTV’s last earnings call).

    More social aspects were hinted at. I know today we do have the SocialTV app that lets you tweet or facebook post what you are watching, along with a comment.

    The 50 program series limit may be removed in this new version.

    Suggestions are on the way. I’m beta testing them now (very early, buggy suggestions, but they are in development).

    Remember the new 5 tuner HR-34 DVR is on the way as well. It does do PIP and also has an integrated RVU server that can power RVU client Headless TV’s.

    MRV… how can you forget MRV.

  17. This THING is weak.We waited close to three years for a retro box. The Thing doesn’t even have Multi-Room service. This Thing is a joke.

  18. I miss suggestions, so I’ll go back. I had an SD Tivo and lost it when it died. I miss the UI and suggestions the most. I don’t understand why so many people are obsessed with multi-room viewing. Apparently my household is a rarity since there’s *only* one TV. As for Netflix or Youtube, who cares? When blu-ray players do it and many TV’s, it’s just not a big deal to me. And the UI griping seems odd. So it’s either a problem because it’s not HD or because it’s too friendly looking. If it works as well as the last one I’ll be happy. Plus, the wife loved that old UI with it’s rounded edges and happy little Tivo character.

  19. I think it is a matter of perspective. I had the HD DirecTivo and had to give it up when D*TV migrated to MPEG-4 and forced their HR22-100 on me.

    So this would allow me to get Tivo back (I sorely miss it and refer to my HR22-100 as “worst-dvr-ever!”), but faster than my old Tivo, and, it looks like, I’d be able to add external storage.

    For me, it all depends upon how much they want me to pay them to get back what I had paid $600 for so many years ago now.

    Yes, one day I’d like to have multi-room viewing, but that day is not today.

    Also, it depends upon what market you are in. D*TV is much cheaper than cable in my market, even with multi-product bundles. I’ve repeatedly done the analysis and for me to have a Tivo solution with cable, I’d be putting out $40 a month once the special deals expire.

  20. Wow! Cannot believe that they are going with the old interface and no MRV. Add that to the fact that it will be “neutered” (nice one Dave Zatz) of the great features that I have come to love in my Premiere Units and you have yourself a guaranteed flop.

    I agree with so many comments above. DirecTV is just doing this to stick it to TiVo and bring down their name. They can afford to do it and make their own brand look stronger.

    For those of us who have already made the switch, DirecTV will not get us back. I don’t care how many envelopes they send me in the mail (currently multiple per week).

    I dumped DirecTV, went with 2 Premieres and I couldn’t be happier – http://j.mp/BuhByeDTV

  21. I may need to correct myself. Thanks very much to this post, I decided to look (again) at the pricing of my local cable provider (Comcast) for their “triple play” package + Tivo Premiere compared to my current three-provider setup (AT&T for home phone, Comcast for cable-internet and DirecTV for TV).

    Largely because I paid for a lifetime DVR thingy long long ago, the pricing is only about $5 in favor for staying put. (I need to do some due diligence on channel lineup, though.)

    What that means, then, is that it comes down to how much DirecTV is going to ask me to pay up front to “lease” the “new” receiver. If it isn’t a whole lot cheaper than Tivo Premier, it makes sense for me to finally dump DirecTV and return to Comcast. But don’t get me wrong, I hate Comcast more than I am displeased by DirecTV, so it is trading one evil for another.

    You guys who have FIOS and all that competition — count yourselves lucky!

  22. Brent,

    Yeah really do your due diligence on the Comcast channel lineup in your area. The thing with Cable is how vastly the systems vary from one region to the next. If your in one of the recently digital migrated areas, likely they have a very robust lineup of HD channels. There’s even a bunch of HD channels they carry but DirecTV plain out REFUSES to add.

    My biggest gripe with DirecTV is that even my local no-name cable provider beats them in the HD channel department.

    When my contract is up, I’ll leave and return to Cable just so I can get all the good HD channels back.

  23. To ZZ who said “I miss suggestions, so I’ll go back.”

    Just to let you know we started beta testing a new feature on the HR series boxes called “UMIGHTLIKE” which is just like TIVO suggestions.

    Expect this to be rolled out in about a month to all customers receivers.

  24. I would have been all over this in 2006 to replace my HR10-250s, but instead DirecTV pushed me away so I got the S3 boxes in 2006 along with Comcast and dumped DirecTV in 2007. Then in Summer 2007 I got FiOS and dumped Comcast. I would have never even considered leaving DirecTV if they had a TiVo upgrade path to MPEG4 back then. But now that I’ve experienced FiOS and along with the TiVo Premiere, there is no way I would go back to using a TiVo where the software looks like the one I used between 2004 and 2007.

    I can’t stand using the TiVo SD interface. That is the one thing I do not like about the Premieres. I only run the HD interface but I still have to be subjected to some of the screens still running their SD interface.

  25. A couple of major deficiencies with DirecTV’s current multi room viewing option that people are not talking about here are the inability to pause and rewind live TV on the “slave” TVs along with the inability to program recordings on any TV other that the one that is connected to the DVR. For that reason, it is still a better option to have multiple DVRs. That said, I would prefer the TiVo units since the current DirecTV interface is still clumsy and the remote is the worst that I have ever seen.

  26. Thank you PeteP. I had no idea that you couldn’t pause and rewind live TV on the “slave” units.
    That is a “whole home” deal breaker for me. DirecTivo here I come.

  27. don’t think the new Directivo will be doing this:

    DirecTV appears to have its sights set on Slingbox with a new platform, called Nomad.

    The satellite provider launched a page on its site recently, showcasing a device that connects to customers’ DVRs and allows them to stream programming to other devices, including computers, smartphones andtablets.

    Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-20097794-17/directv-teases-nomad-slingbox-competitor/#ixzz1WF8NecJW

  28. Scott, Nomad does not do live streaming, in fact it does not do any streaming at all.

    What it does is takes select content from your DIRECTV DVR and moves it to you mobile device or laptop for viewing.

    Basically its just a transcoder.

    Also not that not everything you have recorded on your DVR can be moved by Nomad, only stations that DIRECTV has made a deal with will be able to be moved via Nomad.

  29. Scott interesting on Nomad. So you still need a Slingbox, which has no monthly fee, you can’t Nomad everything… it’s basically an airplane solution… for when you’re flying… This sounds almost as stillborn as the DirecTivo.

    Call me when DirecTV understands what TV everywhere means. Comcast — for its many flaws — at least gets the concept. (Note, I’m a DirecTV customer since the 1990s. I’m not going anywhere. But I am going to just get a new Slingbox at this point.)

  30. To Scott Greczkowski:

    Re: “a new feature on the HR series boxes called “UMIGHTLIKE” which is just like TIVO suggestions.”

    It’s close. If I can’t go back to Tivo, or if it’s really so bad as everyone insists (still surprised people think MRV is a huge deal), it may work. Tivo had the lovely habit of auto-recording suggestions. That would usually find me stuff to watch without having to randomly record shows. It also found me some awesome gems to watch on random nights. Plus the Directv feature is based on just one show — it’s showing similar shows. The Tivo features is based on aggregated preferences.

    Oh well, I know I’m the minority. I wonder if nobody else likes these Tivo-only features or if I’m just a vocal outlier with silent supporters.

  31. Scott:

    Actually, you’re not alone. We *love* TiVo here, and if the new DirecTV HDTiVo is as good as our S3, I’ll be very very happy. We want: auto-recorded Suggestions, unlimited SPs on a single DVR, the fantastic remote, and the great UI. DirecTV’s HD offerings *far* exceed what we’re getting through cable, so that’ll be wonderful.

    What folks seem to overlook is that you don’t have to *just* get the DirecTiVo. In fact, we’ll probably end up with one DTiVo, two HD DVRs, and an HD receiver. MRV will be covered by the D* boxes…PLUS we’ll have the TiVo interface. Best of both worlds, IMO.

  32. Oops. Sorry: My reply was meant to go to “ZZ.”

  33. According to a DTV rep, the new DirecTV TiVo, model THR-22, which is based on the HD22 DVR, will be available starting November 3, 2011.

  34. November 3rd is long gone with no sign of this vaporware product. Abandon ship folks, it’s time to move to a new provider. Waiting too long and in the mean time stuck with paying to have tons of these channels stuffed with Infomercials. Really DTV, stop screwing your customers from both ends.

  35. I have to have DirecTV because Comcast did not reach me when I moved. I had the Premier XL (or whatever it is called) and had to sell it since Comcast said it could be months.

    I still like TiVo’s interface way better than DirecTV’s and if the new TiVo’s can have all the same features as my prior one AND have multi-room viewing I will jump back.

    however, it seems that this is a stripped down TiVo.

  36. @Chapel

    I just found out about that 50 recording limit and that sucks since I record a lot and rarely watch live tv.

  37. I read thru this thread and I can’t believe how many people comment on not understanding Multi-Room Viewing. THAT IS BIZARRE! What part don’t you understand? If you only have one TV, then don’t bother commenting on MRV. I personally have all my equipment is a central location and distribute it to 8 TVs in the house, so I do not use MRV, but how could you not even understand the value of it?????? Here you go, just in case you don’t understand what it is.
    You can have ONE DVR and then multiple HD RECEIVERS in other rooms in the house and each one can watch any show on the DVR independantly of the others, at any time.
    If you only have one TV or live alone, then PLEASE do not comment. How silly!

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