TiVo Premiere Elite Transforms Into Premiere XL4

Dave Zatz —  April 20, 2012 — 24 Comments

premiere-xl4-front

We suppose it’s safe to assume the TiVo Premiere Elite soft launch, with limited retail inventory, was a success. As the company has not only decided to wisely simplify branding across the Premiere DVR line, they’re also reintroducing the “Elite” as the “XL4″ in full color packaging (versus their original brown box). The new boxes are expected to roll out at Best Buy beginning on Sunday. And, as a refresher, the TiVo Premiere lineup includes three models of varying recording capacities and tuner count:

  • Premiere, 2 tuners, 75 hours of HD recording, $150
  • Premiere XL, 2 tuners, 150 hours of HD recording, $250
  • Premiere XL4, 4 tuners, 300 hours of HD recording, $400

It’s also worth noting that while the Premiere and Premiere XL can tune over-the-air programming via antenna, in addition to digital cable, the TiVo Premiere XL4 is only suitable for cable (and FiOS) subscribers.

As an owner of the original Premiere, I’ve been contemplating a hard drive upgrade. But it may make sense to take this opportunity, given the recent price cut, to simply replace my unit with the more capacious, four tuner Premiere XL4. Especially with retail extenders expected later this year (not to mention a Netflix app update is just weeks away).

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24 responses to TiVo Premiere Elite Transforms Into Premiere XL4

  1. Hmm not sure I like the XL 4 name if anything it is a little confusing. I would have probably gone with the TiVo Premiere XXL or XL2 lol.

    I wonder if it was enough of a success to consider bumping offering up to a 6 tuner model. I wouldn’t expect it soon, but maybe a roll out next year? This way they could see how well the Elite does in general retail. Then again it will probably still be limited to the Magnolia stores like the XL.

  2. I’d have preferred just two models, the Premiere and the Premiere XL (which would really be the Elite/XL4), with the higher-end model including WiFi and the QWERTY BT remote – but we can’t undo the XL history. Doubt we’d ever see a 6 tuner. If anything, there’s going to be less we want to watch on cable and more online. Never mind the processing power, additional expense, and whatnot.

  3. I don’t like the name change and think this was a bad idea, and confusing for the product. Is the model# staying the same? TCD758250

    So was the price drop to $399.99 just to get rid of Elite stock and now the XL4 will be $499.99 again?

    Any idea if a hardware modification was also made?

  4. Not sure on model number, but I’m not aware of any hardware OR pricing changes. This is more about making it simpler to shop amongst Premiere hardware models. XL4 isn’t great by itself, but I think it lines up the Premiere platform more logically for folks unfamiliar with TiVo.

  5. I have the same feeling as Bryan–I suspect the price drop was to dump the elite inventory and it will shoot back up.

    I have two series 3 and unless they let me transfer my lifetime service from one, I won’t upgrade. I dont need 3 tivos. Though I’d really like one of these.

  6. XL4 sounds like a bad name to me. It makes it sound like an XL model. But the two tuner XL can do OTA while the four tuner XL doesn’t. Calling it the Elite made it sound completely different like it should be. Since it can only be used with cable using a cable card.

    I guess as long as I will have no issue selling my two lifetime Elite boxes when the next model TiVo box is introduced I won’t mind.

  7. The 2-tuner Premiere models can also tune analog cable.

    IIRC the XL4 can only tune digital cable, and since (unlike Moxi) no Tivo can remap clear QAM the XL4 must be used with a CableCard.

  8. I’d guess this new naming scheme means that TiVo is giving up on the Chinese market…

    ——

    “As an owner of the original Premiere, I’ve been contemplating a hard drive upgrade. But it may make sense to take this opportunity, given the recent price cut, to simply replace my unit with the more capacious, four tuner Premiere XL4″

    Given the lack of any open-source method of self-installing a 2TB drive in the Premiere, and given the price cut in the Elite, if you want 2TB, the economics mean you’ve pretty much got to go with the Elite.

  9. Fred Beiderbecke April 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    I am waiting on one of the Best Buy 12% off coupons. That and my reward zone points should enable me to get one below $300.

  10. Good call. Been awhile since I’ve seen one. Hm, better make sure my Reward Zone address is right.

  11. TiVo releases concept hardware in the areas around TiVo HQ, and therefore where the employees live. And by extension the employees families live. Once the employees (and their families) buy or upgrade, TiVo labwls the product a success and expands its rollout to the rest of the country, where nobody cares, and TiVo loses gobs of money. TiVo needs to package at least one slim client unit with the XL4-HD-DVR-LMNOP whatever, at no extra percieved cost, before anybody will understand why this upgrade is relevant.

  12. ohdohbob, what would this slim client you want them to include with the new box do? I think it’s pretty clear what the upgrade is–4 tuners versus 2 and more space.

    The problem I have is they offer no real upgrade path–they call it “upgrading” on their web page, but you are not really upgrading your existing box–you are buying another box, and have to buy a new lifetime plan.

  13. You can sell your old boxes. I sold two of my lifetime Premieres to more that cover the cost of my launch Elite with lifetime. I picked up a second Elite two weeks ago(I guess I should have waited to get an XL4:) but my 10% BestBuy coupon was going to expire any way). And the sale of two more lifetime Premieres will more than cover the cost of my second lifetime Elite as well.

  14. As a Best Buy employee I think this is great… mostly because the Elite’s brown plain box was just too confusing for many associates who receive shipments. If I had a dollar for every one that was cut open expecting a nice bright colored box inside… i’d be rich :)

  15. ohdohbob – “TiVo needs to package at least one slim client unit with the XL4-HD-DVR-LMNOP whatever, at no extra percieved cost, before anybody will understand why this upgrade is relevant.”
    —————————————-
    ohdohbob is right. For me to even consider leaving DirecTV and the MultiRoom DVR solution that works so well, Tivo would need to bundle clients. No WAF without MRDVR (we’ve become spoiled with DirecTV). In addition the ability to remap channels so on Tivo Ch 3 is the HD version… not 503 or whatever.

    ALMOST there Tivo…. ALMOST….

  16. Based on a survey I answered a few months back it sounds like TiVo want to have a monthly charge for these client boxes.

    I put in my response that I didn’t see the point. Just grab the data off the box you’re connected to and use that. I don’t need another subscription.

    I also think that if they did that I’d just go, if I were looking to do another TV in my home, with a Premier + lifetime. I don’t want to pay $5-10/month for a dumb client that has no need to contact TiVo.

    They may end up killing this client device with this monthly charge before it even gets released (meaning it’d be released but people would already have decided not to get it because of the fee, not that they’d just kill the product).

  17. I’d kinda ruled TiVo out a few months back, because I didn’t want to pay $20 a month. $15 seems more reasonable to me though. I was considering Simple.tv, but it sounds like it’s going to take them a little while to get that to where it really needs to be (one box, that has a few tuners and a NAS). I’m really curious to see what TiVo does with that new streamer addon box… though it being TiVo I half expect them to charge another $20 a month to use it.

  18. Was there an announcement for a dumb tivo add-on box? Another thing that annoys me about the existing TiVo is that even if I subscribe to the same channel on both TiVos, it still won’t let me transfer/stream shows from certain pay channels between the boxes. It should be able to verify that the channel is available and override that copyright flag and transfer the program. I wonder if this add-on box would have the same issue–i.e. not allowing you to stream copyright flagged stuff.

  19. “Given the lack of any open-source method of self-installing a 2TB drive in the Premiere, and given the price cut in the Elite, if you want 2TB, the economics mean you’ve pretty much got to go with the Elite.”

    Nah, on ebay you can pick up a formatted 2GB Premiere drive for $150 – $200.

  20. “Nah, on ebay you can pick up a formatted 2GB Premiere drive for $150 – $200.”

    Well, that’s certainly more reasonable than Weeknees, if you have a trusted vendor on eBay. But still:

    1) If you’re buying into Premiere afresh, the Elite is still cheaper than upgrading a base Premiere via an eBay drive.

    2) If you already have a Premiere, I’d imagine that selling your Premiere on eBay and buying an Elite would be competitive with or cheaper than buying an eBay drive.

    My math isn’t checked on option #2, but I’d still imagine that if you want 2TB and are fine with only 2 tuners, the Elite is still going to be the way to go.

    Compare and contrast to when I bought a TiVo HD, used open-source tools to stick in a bare 1TB drive I modded from the installed drive, and saved a couple of Benjamins (while also enjoying the DIY moment)…

  21. “Was there an announcement for a dumb tivo add-on box?”

    They announced 2 boxes. One is a transcoder to stream video content to portable devices (including live tv). The other is a streaming box/thin client to other televisions (also including live tv.)

    “Another thing that annoys me about the existing TiVo is that even if I subscribe to the same channel on both TiVos, it still won’t let me transfer/stream shows from certain pay channels between the boxes.”

    Well, are you talking about streaming or transferring? The Premieres do streaming now, and streaming bypasses the copy protection flags.

  22. No interest in the Elite here. No OTA tuning is a deal breaker. I’m looking for less dependence on Comcast not more. I have two Lifetime subbed Tivo HD’s right now and see no reason to be locked into cable any more than I am now. I’d consider selling both for a Premier and and extender if Tivo does not try to charge me for use of it. Otherwise, I’ll look to Ceton’s offerings and probably say goodbye to Tivo for good. Not what I want to do, but there it is.

  23. Chucky, the whole resale thingy is what holds me back. Seems like too much effort. Maybe I can find someone local, versus ebay. Or maybe I’ll get a Best Buy coupon to sway me further. But, yeah, if there was no effort involved I’d happily trade my standard Lifetimed Premiere for a Lifetimed XL4. At the moment, given our temporary housing situation and limited television offering, four tuners is actually overkill. But thinking ahead…

  24. As always, I have a hard time just “throwing away” the lifetime subscription on my existing Tivos (or the grandfathered $6.95 monthly on 3rd Tivo) to upgrade the HW. Plus, the HW quality of the new Tivo generations are extremely iffy. Both my Premier and S3 units are prone to some serious humming at least once a week . My lone S2 is still a rock solid piece of HW. I am also ultra disappointed in the inability to see my Amazon Prime on Tivo. Embarassing that I can get it on my $69 Sony BD player, but not a $400 Tivo box with a $15 monthly subscription!

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