TiVo Mini IP-STB Delayed Until 2013*

Dave Zatz —  November 2, 2012 — 29 Comments

tivo-ipstb

As industry shifts to a “whole home” approach, TiVo has augmented their traditional DVR hardware lineup with nodes designed to receive content from a Premiere hub. Their first stab was the TiVo Preview, exclusive to TiVo’s US MSO partners, which both tunes digital cable via CableCARD and receives streamed recordings from a Premiere DVR. Earlier this year, TiVo announced plans for a potentially cheaper extender that does away with CableCARD support and instead co-opts a tuner from an existing TiVo Premiere elsewhere in the home to provide live TV functionality. Unlike the TiVo Preview, this “IP STB” was also slated for retail availability and recently branded as the TiVo Mini. TiVo’s original guidance called for a late summer release… which was later modified to fall. At this point, I’ve heard from multiple solid sources that a retail launch is no longer on the table for 2012, although the Mini has been in testing for some time and *MSO availability is still a possibility. A TiVo spokesperson declined to comment on the record… but, taking a page from FiveThirtyEight, I’m willing to bet TiVo, Inc $1000 that I’m correct.

29 responses to TiVo Mini IP-STB Delayed Until 2013*

  1. Despite my intel, TiVo has launched a whole home support page specific to the TiVo Mini. I’d like to be wrong, and pick up two Minis STAT (assuming reasonable pricing/service) to complete my home network. But it’s geared towards the “cable provider.”

    http://support.tivo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2395

  2. Boo hiss. I have a couple of TVs that are just on basic cable that I was waiting for something like this to upgrade to… I’ve been trying to avoid the cableco whole-home DVR, and the assorted broadcast-only solutions aren’t what I need.

    Noticed on that Tivo page:

    - it states “All TiVo equipment must have active TiVo service plans”, which implies a monthly service fee for the Mini.
    - it says (paraphrased) “for any issues, contact your cableco”, which implies that landing page is *not* for a retail version.

  3. I wish the extender would come sooner rather than later, but tuner assignment would defeat the purpose for my plans. Anything that decreases the available number of tuners to record isn’t a solution I want.

    My hope now is that the Mini comes out and then shortly after that the next model comes out. This way I can give my Elite to my mom and pick up a Mini to replace her two TiVo HDs. Then I would upgrade to the new 4, hopefully 6, tuner model.

  4. @Bill The Stream also has to be active on your account and it has no monthly fee so I don’t think you can assume that.

  5. I really think Tivo is missing a big opportunity to be the whole-house DVR solution for those without cable and satellite. Maybe that’s the void this box will eventually fill.

    Current solutions, like an HDHomeRun, aren’t buy-off-the-shelf-and-plug-it-in-ready. New entries into the market include Simple.TV and Boxee TV. From what I have read thus far, both seem promising but don’t appear to be there just yet. For my money, Aereo seems to be a compelling solution but they are only currently available in NYC.

    At this juncture it doesn’t make sense to have multiple Tivo’s with multiple monthly service fees.

  6. It’s hard to say how many cord cutters are willing to pay TiVo more than they pay Netflix on a monthly basis… given the noise surrounding Boxee’s $10/$15 fees. Speaking of which, I got a Boxee TV arriving next week and will check out Aereo if they ever expand into my region. But my wife will never let me cut cable.

  7. Well this sucks. I was all ready to spend money on the TiVo stream, but I couldn’t because of no Android support. And now the TiVo Mini. I’ve been ready to spend money on the Mini but I can’t if it’s delayed.

    I guess I’ll be playing around with a BoxeeTV, a Popcorn Hour A400, and a SlingBox 350 this holiday season. Hopefully I’ll be able to check out the Boxee TV and the A400 within a week or two. I’ve been using the SlingBox350 since it launched and have been very pleased with it so far.

  8. The big problem with all the other solutions (Boxee, simple.tv, etc.) is that they don’t do Cablecard. Tivo is really the only game in town in this third-party DVR space so we are held hostage to whatever they want to do.

    And yes, I know about HTPCs and have one with card tuners and extenders myself, but that’s not the market I’m talking about.

  9. Forgot to add to my comment – I’m not paying a monthly fee for a Mini, and if the cost + lifetime sub exceeds $200 I probably won’t be getting any of them.

  10. Hey Dave, are you in one of the early Boxee TV markets? I’m assuming you are. I’d be interested in any bit rate analysis you can do–e.g. record something and see what bit rate and how much data gets uploaded for a show. See if it happens all the time (pick something really popular say just for the hell of it, and see if maybe it doesn’t upload much).

  11. Yep, I’m in the DC market. Not sure how to best analyze the traffic yet. Hm. Need to think about it… assuming I have time. Also, fyi, Boxee has pulled DLNA and you can’t pause content. Sounds half baked.

    http://forums.boxee.tv/showthread.php?t=64381

  12. They have said the BoxeeTV service is considered beta right now. But they have some nice incentives to make the purchase worthwhile and deal with the current beta status.

  13. I heard that they have DLNA working well in their office. When or if they ever release that functionality to the public is anyone’s guess.

  14. @ Dave do you have any idea/guess as to when Android will be supported by Tivo Stream? in a couple months or more?

  15. Well bummer. Just incredibly frustrating that there are no good cable whole home DVR solutions. Angry at Google for killing SageTV. Angry at Cable for not providing any solution. Was hoping TIVO might be the answer. Might have to seriously consider Satellite even though I really don’t want to give up my cable internet.

    Dave, thanks for keeping us all updated!

  16. I’m thinking that if I put TV into my bedroom, and I like the idea but, at the same time don’t because, “How lazy do I have to be to live alone and not be able to watch TV from my chair in my living room,” I’ll just go with a low-end Premier and pay the lifetime. If I do that then I know it’ll work and, while I’ll pay an extra $2/month for a CableCard, I can watch something independent of my TiVo Elite in my living room.

    I’m also worried about these extraneous projects like the TiVo mini getting limited budgets. Companies will typically give them just enough budget to get them out the door and onto retail shelves but it’s not soon after that updates are few and far between or long in the past on such products so you end up being stuck with something that ‘almost works’.

    Not really related: The Tivo Stream is pretty cool for streaming around the home. I’d argue that it’s close to useless for loading up your phone or iPad with TV shows to watch day-to-day.

    It takes 5-10min per show (30m to 1h long) and if you were to make a regular habit out of using it you’d have to set it up the night before, on a charger, and select, one by one, the shows you wanted to watch the next day while on mass transit. If you were going on vacation and wanted to stack up some shows for the kids you’d need to do the same.

    What is needed for it to work is for them to make the TiVo app in the iPhone/iPad a ‘mini TiVo’ to where you could tell it, “Ok, download the latest episodes of these shows at midnight so I can have them the next day,” in an automated form. I don’t think you can do that on iOS as the TiVo app must be active while you’re doing all of this.

    It’d probably be easier to use TiVo desktop, transcode, and use iTunes to dump the TV shows you like into your iPhone/iPad for the next day.

    Still, it’s really nice to be able to stream any show on the fly.

    It’s the downloading that needs work.

    At this point I think that the best thing that they could do for downloading would be to make a new app for Windows and Mac that would hit the TiVo Stream, download it, and add it, automatically to iTunes.. Those without the TiVo Stream would complain, “Why do I need the TiVo Stream except to give more money to TiVo???” at that point and they’d be kind of right.

  17. This is so disappointing. I already had 3 Tivos and got a Premiere 4 in September just for this device to stream cartoons to the kids rooms (ok maybe for football and basketball season). I also put together an APU build and debated on the Premiere 4 or InfinitiTV4. Now that the Echo is due and the Mini is M.I.A. this has turned into a horrible decision.

    Tivo can make this right by resurrecting the $99 Premiere (SSD small enough to hold only the OS with no service fee as long as there is an active Premiere on the account). Of course they would have to implement code to kill all operations if the HDD doesn’t pass signature check, and that could take even longer than the Mini.

  18. I personally think TiVo should have brought the Mini to market before the Stream. Don’t get me wrong, the Stream looks/sounds cool, but if they don’t give me a whole house solution soon, I’ll be heading to Directv for a Genie and my Stream money will go for a Nomad!

  19. I used my 3-D printer in the garage to make a TiVo Mini IP-STB yesterday.

    Seems to work fine so far. Takes up a tuner, but c’est la vie.

  20. aaronwt, How exactly do you inform Walmart employees and customers that this Boxee TV is a beta product? And will they extend their return/exchange period until the beta concludes? ;)

    Scott, I had heard or read something about 2013 for TiVo Stream on Android… but I can’t quite remember who/where and the circumstances and can’t say with certainty. (Where as this TiVo Mini intel has come from multiple sources and stayed consistent over the last 6 weeks).

    BradB, yeah I’m too impatient and would rather not have to plan transfers ahead for the TiVo Stream. Not to mention there’s a large percent of TiVo customers who can’t offload everything they’d like due to cable operator copy once flags, anyhow. TiVo Desktop did have some way to offload and transcode for iTunes syncing, but I haven’t used that in years. Also, it’d be nice if there were additional TiVo Stream endpoints. How about Roku and then I’ll skip the MIA TiVo Mini altogether?

    Joe, the TiVo Stream *is* part of their whole home solution. But it’s obviously dedicated to smaller screens. And variations of the Stream have been bouncing around TiVo’s labs for years, whereas the Mini is something newer. Having said that, a Mini would be more meaningful to me than a Stream.

  21. I would think that the ability of the mini to dynamically allocate and deallocate a tuner from the elite would be a programming nightmare for Tivo. If the mini suddenly requests a tuner from the elite which causes scheduling conflicts for shows that could previously record with 4 tuners on the elite, how is that conflict resolved? Will the mini give you the option of which show not to record? Suppose numerous conflicts occur, will the user have to resolve each and every conflict before they can allocate the tuner to watch live TV? I think this will be confusing to customers and generate many calls to customer support.

  22. @shwru980r, the discontinued retail Moxi mate handled a tuner conflict by offering to cancel a recording. I suspect the TiVo Mini will work the same way.

    http://moxi.com/us/support/MC1/MultiV4FAQ.pdf

  23. At this point, I would hope TiVo would just release a new 6-tuner TiVo and the mini at the same time early in 2013.

  24. I hope I don’t have to wait that long for the Mini.

  25. Why not release a tunerless mini? It seems counter intuitive to use a Tivo to watch live TV.

  26. The benefit to me of the mini is it offers live hd tv without the set top box , at least as I understand it. The mini set top box that you can mount behind a wall hung tv is not something my cable provider offers. Am I wrong in thinking that the mini will solve this? I have a tv on a screened porch where we want hd tv for sports but don’t want the clutter of a set top box. A mini with a cable card seems like a great solution if it is ever released!

  27. Does anyone know if this will support the TiVo Bluetooth remote? I too want to mount this behind my TV, but unless it supports the bluetooth remote this will not be possible as the Mini will need to be ‘viewable’ to an IR remote.

  28. Per TechOfTheHub, the USB port is there to support the bluetooth remote. I’m sure Gabe received that information directly from TiVo so I’m 99% sure you’ll be able to use the now discontinued bluetooth slide remote.

    Here’s hoping that TiVo will announce another physical remote that doesn’t rely on IR in the near future.

  29. I have been bombarding Tivo for *years* with emails/requests to make this whole house extender for other TV’s and once they do they stab me in the back. I have an S2, HD and Premiere. So now I need to get a 4-tuner Premiere of some sort to even use these Tivo Mini extenders? Do you see the hole in your shoe Tivo? Why Tivo? Why? Last time it took someone *far above* CSR to get my S1 LT sub moved to my Premiere, I guess it will take the same or more to move my S2 sub to a Premiere 4… Time to make one long and arduous phone call… sigh…

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