Next Gen TiVo Remote To Feature Audible Alerts

Dave Zatz —  December 16, 2012 — 65 Comments

tivo-remote-sounds

TiVo’s soliciting feedback on the various ways they might implement sound within their next generation remote control. Of course, the obvious usage scenario is being able trigger an audible alarm when you’ve misplaced that iconic peanut under a couch cushion. But TiVo’s applied for some pretty crazy patents over the years, including the one for a RFID-capable remote that distinguishes family members… that could tie in nicely with those rumored user profiles.

While the FCC has granted TiVo (and others) an extension in defining and implementing an open IP-based set-top standard to move content around the home, it’s probably safe to assume they haven’t been sitting still and new DVR hardware has been under development. My TiVo Premiere was manufactured three years ago (12/09) and I’d say odds are good that we’ll see something new prior to the 6/14 deadline. But what I can’t tell you is if they’ll stick with their sluggish Flash-based platform or ever complete the HDUI. Some on the forums pine for a 6-tuner TiVo, but I’m not sure the retail market is large enough to support that. And, frankly, I’d be satisfied with what I consider requisite features on integrated WiFi and Bluetooth – to power this new remote (as the TiVo Slide is no more). Given prior allusions, it’s also probably safe to assume any new retail hardware would incorporate TiVo Stream capabilities. Of course, the TiVo interface needs tons more speed and stability as I’m sure I’m not the only one who moves to Roku and Apple TV for OTT content, like Netflix or YouTube, given TiVo’s poor performance and limited selection of apps. It’s also high time TiVo revamped their archaic photo and music sharing features and implement what my $50 Roku or standard Verizon FiOS HD STB offer in effectively beaming multimedia from smartphone to television… assuming full fledged DLNA is still too liberal an approach.

What else might we want from a new TiVo?

(Thanks Rajiv!)

65 responses to Next Gen TiVo Remote To Feature Audible Alerts

  1. I see the next TiVo as a box with five plugs; USB3, coax for cable, gigabit ethernet, HDMI, and power. If that IPTV stuff doesn’t work out with the FCC (and lets be honest, it won’t) a M-cablecard slot too.

    Inside the case, you find a bog-standard cellphone-like logicboard with a dualcore cortex A9 (or maybe an A15, since we’re dreaming here) SoC, a gig of RAM, and 8GB of NAND. There’s a SATA3 port too, and room for a 3.5″ drive with a 2TB drive pre-installed. Of course it has wifi built-in too.

    I think you see where I’m going for this. Yeah. The TiVo experience would be implemented as an android app on top of a customized android distribution. No flash, all native android (meaning java, with dalvik) code.

    TiVo would curate an app store, much like Barnes & Noble or Amazon, and allow user-created apps in that store, taking their traditional 30% cut. They would be (in my imagination) benevolent curators, allowing apps like Plex and XBMC in their store, and purchases/rentals from Amazon, Vudu, etc. They would (in my imagination) understand that cultivating a thriving ecosystem is more important than complete control.

    This box would sell for $199 with a $10/month subscription. No lifetime available. The subscription is for DVR services only and is not mandatory. If you’re a cord-cutter and just want to run apps, they’re happy to sell the box for $199, because they still make a tiny profit on the hardware and of course get a cut of all the apps/media/services you might rent or buy.

    That’s what I would like to buy, anyway. Never happen of course.

  2. Hmm what would I want from a new TiVo. :)

    -My predictions for the Series 5.
    Premiere name will probably stick around unless they make a huge leap in speed. If so I could see them changing the name to get away from the previous reviews.

    -I don’t see the models changing much.
    The base model will be a 2 tuner with 500gb. Drive prices haven’t dropped significantly so I think sticking with 500gb makes sense. Unless they figure out a way to add OTA tuners to the P4 I don’t see them making the 4 tuner model the base. I can also still imagine cable companies will want a 2 tuner model still also.

    I could see them offering a 6 tuner 3TB model and dropping the 4XL. I don’t know if they would do it initially though.

    Hopefully the Slide remote will become the standard remote with BlueTooth built in.

    I don’t see WiFi built in since I think it would still be a support nightmare.

    *I do agree a 6 tuner box might not make sense retail wise, but with Dish and Directv now offering more than 4 tuners and the Verizon Home Media Server, they will need to compete or fall behind.

    I would love to see the Stream functionality incorporated into the next TiVo but more importantly the functionality opened up to the desktop. I would also like to see them extend streaming from local devices and NAS. If not hopefully by then the API will be out with streaming details.

    The apps definitely need to greatly improve or I will probably pick up a Roku assuming they every get Youtube.

    I really want to see more DVR specific improvements. I want to see user profiles, more conflict options like Media Center offers, more recording options, etc

  3. You’re talking about improving the core DVR functionality, and that’s definitely important for right now, but if I was TiVo I would look to exploit my position as “input 1″ on consumers’ TVs by building a thriving ecosystem.

    Ultimately nobody’s going to care about DVR functionality, because all the content is either going to be pointcast and streamed (or just plain pirated). You want to capture that pointcast audience, and nobody’s really done it yet.

    Everybody talks about cordcutting, but there’s no way to get everything on the same box and there’s no universal “now playing” list or search. A real opportunity exists, and now is the time to push forward, before apple moves in and eats your lunch.

  4. Agreed. The kind of folks who would pay for a premium DVR are the kind of folks who would be amongst the first to deemphasize linear content. TiVo made some bold claims as the “one box” when they launched the Premiere and were on the right track. Well, the marketing was on the right track. The product hasn’t gotten there yet. But if they intend to find retail success, they need to move further (and better) into over-the-top content. And bring more value as many of the incumbents have compelling offerings these days. As far as local video content, that may remain niche. But engaging the highly technical isn’t a bad strategy… as we have spouses and children… and friends. Halo. (A remote that whistles isn’t enough on its own to move the needle.)

  5. On the software front, I think the chances of TiVo abandoning Adobe Air for another technology is very low. With the more current Broadcom SoCs I think the complaints about sluggishness will evaporate. We know from the posted Adobe Specs on TiVo’s Developer site that the current platform doesn’t meet Adobe’s minimum specs.

    Wouldn’t this new remote feature require a new box with a ‘find remote’ button? I expect that we will see more tuners (5 or 6) in a new digital-only platform with Stream functionality built-in. Like Brennok, I’m not expecting WiFi because of support issues. I wonder if its possible that we will see a retail version of the Pace XG1. I suspect that Pace would be able to produce a retail box at a lower hardware cost than TiVo.

    With TiVo’s focus on social, discovery, and personalization I expect that a big thrust next year will be around their ‘pique’ initiative. Maybe we will see a new cross platform TiVo desktop leveraging their Zinc.tv acquisition or Zinc.tv discovery and personalization will be integrated with a stream client that works on desktop platforms (Mac/pc).

  6. While I agree, until OTT streaming matches local streamed content with regards to control and responsiveness we won’t use it. I tried Netflix and we dumped it. I stuck with TiVo over Media Center because of the remote responsiveness and how trickplay works.

    Now if TiVo and the apps allowed you to buffer more of the stream I would be interested. I should be able to jump around a Netflix show or movie as if it was a local recording on a TiVo or any other device that has enough local storage. Until that happens it will never be a source or anything other than minimal source of content.

    I do agree they need much better OTT content. The Mini should come out as a Roku fighter that also works as an extender to TiVo. Like we have said before TiVo should offer a Blu-Ray player now just make it one that could also work as an extender.

    Also to get everything on the same box requires those companies to want their stuff on your box. I would love to see the next model come out the gate with Hulu Plus, Netflix, Youtube, HBOGO, Amazon Prime, Redbox Instant, and every other streaming app out there. I doubt it will happen though unless it was something that could be easily ported from another device. This of course would probably require them to abandon Flash, but with as much as they have invested I don’t see it happening.

  7. I dunno, Sam, Brennok – is there any other gear or device in your home that doesn’t incorporate WiFi capabilities? And if the next TiVo incorporate Stream capabilities, MRV could be much more efficient, less bandwidth intensive.

  8. Yes, TiVo’s “one box” marketing was absolutely spot on. But they completely failed to execute on those promises. If they can deliver it, they’ll succeed.

    If they continue to quarter-ass it (they aren’t even half-assing right now) with glacially slow hardware and feature-poor software, expecting to find continued, erm, survival based upon their being the best DVR platform, they are likely to be quite surprised in 5-10 years when nobody at all cares about their DVR any more.

    That’s why I went into some detail on the ecosystem. It doesn’t need to be based on android; I put forth android because there’s already a healthy developer community familiar with the environment that could quickly begin deploying on TiVo.

    Oh, and remember that google bought sageTV. The 3rd gen googletv platform might be a rea… heh… no, can’t say that with a straight face.

  9. What’s the difference between a device that has 2 tunes, 4 tuners and 6 tuners? If you have a tuner than can tune 2 channels at the same time, you just put one, two or three of them in. Same chassis, same software. It’s like Apple selling iPads of varying storage capacities. $199 for a 2 tuner 1TB unit, $299 for a 4 tuner 2TB unit, and $399 for a 6 tuner 3TB unit.

    I’m in the six tuner category myself if TiVo ever manages to deliver the smaller network connected boxes that can stream live and recorded TV over my local network (it’s been so long I forgot what their name was, just like I forgot the name “All-Vid” a few weeks ago).

    TiVo could have won this race if they had beat the industry to All-Vid but I don’t see them having the engineering resources to both shape/implement all-vid and beat the standard to market by more than a few months.

    Why do both? Because TiVo will likely be destroyed if Apple ever buys into All-Vid and makes compatible tuners and television sets. Having their own solution that one-ups the industry standard would keep them alive.

  10. Rodalpho, Google’s using Sage resources in Kansas City. Wonder if it’ll ever end up anywhere or in anything else.

    Anthony, no that’s not a great analogy. Besides the expense of the tuners, there a lot of processing and memory overhead required for each – especial when dealing with a cableco’s uncompressed MPEG2 stream. Fortunately, TiVo should find some cost savings as the other folks who purchase these sorts of solutions are moving to greater tuners. Personally, I’m content with my four tuner Premiere XL4/Elite. Actually, I’m pretty sure I could get by with the 2-tuner bedroom DVR 85% of the time.

    Via another source, I’ve gotten my hands on the five actual remote sound samples used in the survey. Most were kinda sad – like cheapie royalty-free jingles rather than something custom designed for TiVo. Nothing iconic here unless you like old school cell phone tones. RemoteToneShortPause was the best of the bunch.

  11. The little flash or java or whatever applet in the survey didn’t work in my browser, so I couldn’t hear the sound. I didn’t bother trying to debug it.

  12. Other than my cell and iPad, I don’t own anything with wifi built in. I had the wii but even that I used the network adapter. Also as someone who seems to be constantly trying to fix my wifi so my iPad can get a decent connection, I don’t know tht I would.

    The sounds are probably limited based off what can easily and cheaply be added to a remote.

  13. I would love six tuners with, at a minimum, 3TB of storage. Although 4TB would be even better. Since I would probably replace my two Elites with a six tuner box. As long as the Mini did not have to permanently steal a tuner.

    The remote with audible sounds? I can’t see any use for it, except for the rare occasion when you misplace a remote. Otherwise I have no desire for a remote that makes any noises.

  14. That’s what it’s for, when you lose your remote. It’s just a nice little added feature, no big deal.

  15. Yep. WiFi is the norm for h.264 streaming which is significantly less bandwidth intensive than the mpeg-2 that is still used by the majority of cable operators. At some point (~5 years) many operators could be transitioning although it is a fairly CapEx intensive transformation. Perhaps TiVo will release a Mini with WiFi built-in that receives a transcoded stream from the Series 5. These permutations make result in support complications so I would bet against it. They will probably just support Roku and Smart TVs as Stream end-points and call it a day.

  16. I want a new TiVo remote that works backwards.
    What I mean is, I want an IR transmitter at both ends.
    The one on the bottom of the remote would handle the channel, volume and arrows but will be interrpted in reverse.

    That way, when I pick up the remote in the dark qne point it backwards the most likely buttons still work. ;)

    Bill

  17. I hate to say it but TiVo has missed a great opportunity by not having an app store and/or by being the on-demand provider that would work like iTunes only with TV/Movie/Video/Music content. Instead of providing a player for Netflix, Amazon and Hulu they should be the licensee of this content. If they could do this in a cloud instead of taking up space on my hard drive it really could be the one-box.

    I’m also currently believe I can be happy with 4 tuners but there are only two of us in our household. What I do like is being able to record all the channels that broadcast our local news. I keep two copies and that way if someone I know was on local news I can create a copy of their segment and send it to them.

    Cable card technology continues to need some help. At least by changing from Time Warner to FIOS I got rid of the stupid tuning adaptor that had to be reset every 3-4 weeks and took Time Warner 4-6 to find and deliver.
    The last time I needed an adaptor they confided in me that Time Warner didn’t stock them and they had to get hold of some guy named Sal who was their supplier but he wasn’t easy to contact.

    Bill

  18. I just took the survey about the remote sounds. There was only one I thought fit in with the TiVo since the sounds were similar to what the TiVo makes. There were a couple of them I thought were just atrocious.

  19. aaronwt, I have a feeling they’re deciding between just two sounds with this survey and just rounded out their selections with the others. At least I hope so. Although as Rodalpho and brennok imply, an alert is just a nice litte feature, not a big deal. But what else could they be planning with a new remote? Hm.

    Bill, yeah tuning adapters are awful and Cox’s inability to properly support them or provide non-flakey hardware led to my FiOS defection. Obviously, not everyone has a choice. Regarding content, yeah – it’d be nice to see TiVo join the Ultraviolet consortium and rent/sell movies direct while providing cloud access to stuff we may have purchased via other sources/means. As far as rich and expansive app store, they can’t pull it off with their current platform.

  20. As far as rich and expansive app store, they can’t pull it off with their current platform.

    Exactly. This is the primary reason they must move to a new platform. I expect the new platform will have a stepped up Broadcom processor that includes transcoding and that’s about it. I also wouldn’t mind if the brought back a display on the front panel. I miss my Series 3 OLED display!

    I’m very curious to see what kind of processing the Mini has in it when its released to MSOs (this month?) and retail sometime in the first half of 2013.

    TiVo can go in a lot of different directions with its 238 foreign and domestic patents and 413 applications (as of January 2012).

  21. “On the software front, I think the chances of TiVo abandoning Adobe Air for another technology is very low. With the more current Broadcom SoCs I think the complaints about sluggishness will evaporate. We know from the posted Adobe Specs on TiVo’s Developer site that the current platform doesn’t meet Adobe’s minimum specs.”

    Yup. All I really want from the next gen TiVo is a chipset that can run the damn UI with ‘teh snappy’.

    It’d obviously be nice if it could also be a full-spectrum OTT box, or at least with the kind of CableCARD required OTT services like HBO Go. But given that Roku’s are very cheap and TiVo’s aren’t, I’m perfectly fine with a simple, solid TiVo with an appropriate chipset for CableCARD on input 1 and a cheap box on input 2 for OTT that can be frequently replaced as the OTT market continues to evolve.

    Stuffing all the evolving OTT into your TiVo isn’t quite as dumb as stuffing it into your flat panel, but it’s the same kind of issue. As always, it makes sense to keep ‘em separated, given that the upgrade cycles will be dramatically different.

  22. For me, build in the damn Tuning Adapter technology if Tivo still plans to sell DVRs to cable customers — Verizon stopped rolling out FiOS years ago, which leaves bandwidth-starved cable for the rest of us. If you don’t have to deal with a Tuning Adapter now, you soon will. Then Tivo will be forced to write software that supports the Tuning Adapter in an intelligent way, and we get rid of this Blu ray player-sized “dongle” that crashes all of the time. I am on my 5th? 6th? Whatever — they are pure crap. I honestly would never recommend a Tivo to my elderly mother as long as we are still dependent on Tuning Adapters. The Charter support folk love to gloat their generic craptastic DVRs don’t need em.

    A distant second and obvious choice: bring Tivo Stream back into the One Device paradigm. I just paid $130 to partially restore what was lost when I dumped my Tivo Series 2. And make it so you can stream to a computer, too, not just a mobile device. This one actually makes me angry just thinking about it.

    IP back channel for On Demand would be nice. But anything the Cable industry isn’t forced to do will die on its own. Pretty much can say the same thing about my employer and rapidly declining benefits, while the upper execs yuck it up.

    And while it will never happen, shift the CCI control byte burden to the consumer rather than playing DRM cop for an industy that doesn’t care about consumers or Fair Use. Warn the user, or at least weaken the protections so that determined users can work around then. Charter locks down everything they can. And with recent rulings, it looks like what used to be clear QAM is next. Tivo spends way too many resources trying to build in bulletproof protections that detract from the value of their own product and hurt their own consumers. Put your efforts elsewhere, that’s all I am saying. Local government and industry flouted prohibition rules in the 30′s because they were Stupid. Alas, I am well aware congress works for big industry and the rest of us are small potatoes by comparison.

  23. I’m fine with two devices also, but one would obviously be better. I would love to simplify my TV area.

    I really do think TiVo should move to commodity cellphone hardware running a modern software platform with a curated app store, and I strongly feel that platform should be based upon locked-down android.

    Do I think they’ll actually do anything like that? Hells no! The new TiVo will be slightly faster than the current one, include in-house streaming, and PROBABLY full HD menus. It’ll still run flash, even though adobe is aggressively desupporting it on all non-desktop platforms as quickly as possible. That’s it. TiVo doesn’t innovate.

  24. Jon, to build tuning adapter capabilities into a TiVo would require a DOCSIS modem. At least that’s my understanding. So I could see them building that sort of solution if Charter or TWC had deep enough pockets, but otherwise we’re probably stuck waiting for that 2014 IP standard – like secure DLNA or whatever.

    As for me, I suspect Verizon’s six tuner hub would arrive before TiVo’s… but will their extenders? Hm.

  25. “It’ll still run flash, even though adobe is aggressively desupporting it on all non-desktop platforms as quickly as possible.”

    Adobe is aggressively desupporting it on mobile. Embedded use-cases like TiVo are just as supported as desktop use-cases, AFAIK.

    “I really do think TiVo should move to … locked-down android … TiVo doesn’t innovate.”

    Well, on one hand, who needs them to innovate? They’ll continue to ship the best DVR around for the duration of CableCARD, which will last longer than everyone thinks.

    On the other hand, of course it would be nice if they started from scratch and based the platform on something that they could get 3rd parties to write OTT clients for, thus fulfilling the ‘one box’ concept.

    But back to the first hand, the needs of OTT and CableCARD are different enough to make the ‘one box’ concept a bit of an eternal chimera, to my way of thinking. When Apple ships their all IPTV in 2027, once enough homes get wired for fibre and Cupertino gets all the content and MSO companies on board, things will be different. But until then…

  26. If (when) TiVo doesn’t innovate, someone else will do it for them and eat their lunch.

    As for DVRs, it’s the old buggy whip story again… but not really.

    TiVo does build the best damn buggy whip around, but through varying levels of incompetence they failed to leverage that into commercial success, so they own a very small share of the once powerful but now clearly in decline buggy-whip market and can just barely stay afloat by suing everybody for using their IP. They aren’t even a STRONG buggy-whip manufacturer!

  27. “it’s probably safe to assume they haven’t been sitting still”

    We’re talking about TiVo here, right?
    The only safe thing to assume is that TiVo has been sitting on their hands and NOT innovating.

  28. Oh they’re definitely going to refresh the productline; Zatz wouldn’t say it unless he had some sort of inside line.

    That doesn’t mean it will be an innovative or impressive refresh, of course.

  29. Rodalpho, no inside line. In fact, most of my official and unofficial sources have moved on. However, considering the number of years we’ve been building upon this platform, it seems likely TiVo would have to have something else in the pipeline prior to 6/14 … if they intend to stick with retail. And given the (questionable) investment in Tebow, I’d say they do.

  30. I would like a browser with a full sized keyboard and touch pad Quite a bit of OTT content can be had through a browser and they might convert some WMC customers or simplify viewing for others who alternate between a computer and Tivo.

  31. The content providers would just block the browser, like they did with googletv and the boxee box. The only way to fix that is to hack your device and change the browser or flash ID string, which obviously TiVo won’t allow you to do.

    If you want to browse from your couch to watch media, you will never get a satisfactory experience from anything other than an actual computer. Of course ‘actual computers’ are getting much cheaper, and it may run some sort of cellphone like system on a chip with embedded Linux or be streamed from a windows8 x86 tablet running on a broadfield atom, etc, so that’s not as constraining as it sounds.

  32. DVRs are not buggy-whip tech, hell most people still don’t have one. It is sad that we don’t have more choices in this space and that Tivo has largely fumbled the ball, but DVR tech itself is not obsolete nor is it going to go away anytime soon.

    I’ve said it before on TCF and will again here – if the streaming future means unskippable commercials, count me out (and it will). This single feature makes a DVR worth it, whether it’s recorded from tuners or from IP streams provided by some future cable gateway. I don’t want to be able to click on ANY stream on-demand if it means that I’m stuck with their playback.

  33. “DVRs are not buggy-whip tech, hell most people still don’t have one.”

    I’d assume DVR market penetration hasn’t even hit its high water mark yet, though I’m just guessing on that one.

    As always, the multicast / DVR model really is going to be around for longer than everyone thinks. But as a reasonably mature technology that will slowly phase out over time, no one gets excited about it anymore.

    It’s like talking about the buggy-whip industry in 1890. The automobile had been invented, and it was obviously the coming thing, but it wasn’t going to be the mainstream thing for quite a while. A lot of buggy-whips got sold in the decade or two after 1890…

  34. “Rodalpho, no inside line … … if they intend to stick with retail.”

    The fact that you always wonder if they’re going to kill retail is why I’m a believer that you have no inside line.

    They’d have to be absolutely bonkers to kill retail. They can simultaneously pursue MSO opportunities while still doing retail. That’s the good government beauty of the CableCARD mandate.

  35. As long as they can reuse hardware and software components, I agree there’s little incentive to kill retail – even if they went online sales only. They already outsource online sales and support, so that can easily scale up or down as needed. RCN and Suddenlink use Premiere hardware (of varying storage capacities), so it’s worked out reasonably well this generation I would imagine. Will be interesting to see what they do next – do they continue to design their own platform or borrow from a partner like Pace. Could be cheaper to offload that R&D and leverage Pace’s much larger scale.

  36. Tom Rogers has alluded to the benefits of maintaining a retail offering a number of times when questioned by analysts on the poor margins associated with retail compared to their MSO business. A recent analyst document does a good job of explaining the importance of retail for TiVo:

    “However, we believe management is not likely to abandon its retail business altogether given the insights it obtains in terms of customer use. Moreover, having its own set-top-box enables TiVo to continually drive innovation without the restriction of relying on a third party’s hardware platform or ecosystem. In our view, these were key factors that ultimately persuaded Microsoft to manufacture its own Surface tablet.”

    Its unclear whether TiVo’s relationship with Pace is at a point where the are ready to share their hardware technology roadmap years in advance considering Pace still has a software business that competes directly with TiVo’s solution.

  37. Mathematically, I just wonder if it’d be more economical for TiVo to drop hardware R&D and let someone else handle that. They’ve always said they wanted to be a software and services company, right?

    Regarding apps, TiVo just fired off a press release announcing Spotify (in the US) but I hadn’t heard anything direct from TiVo Inc or their agency. Weird. It’s a brave new world.

  38. But the problem with that strategy is that they’ve proved repeatedly that they are not a good software company – they’re slow to deliver, have consistently underwhelming releases and plenty of unfixed bugs. Plus they have a serious disconnect issue between the current hardware and software side of the house (see: Flash UI) so how is that going to get better if they outsource hardware?

    Tivo’s problem is that they have no one pushing them to make the product better. Yes, they’re better than anything cable has to offer, but the sat DVRs are in some respects better (Hopper and Joeys on Dish, frex) and they’re updated more often.

  39. TiVo’s patent settlements/licensing with EchoStar, Verizon, and AT&T end in 2017 and 2018. Maybe they’ll be motivated to innovate faster/better at that point? ;) I will say they’re crushing it with Virgin in the UK… where TiVo has had Spotify for over a year (and now cloud-based streaming).

  40. In its most recent quarter, TiVo grew its MSO sub base excluding Virgin Media by approximately 50,000 subs. This was its first increase in US MSO subs in a very long time. Perhaps the losses from legacy DIRECTV subs is finally slowing down but its partnerships with RCN, Suddenlink, and others are becoming more and more meaningful. Suddenlink has completely changed its marketing strategy on TiVO and appears to be all in on the Stream and Mini.

    I completely disagree that TiVO isn’t being pushed to make the software better. IMHO, Virgin Media is the biggest driver of TiVo’s roadmap and I would argue that TiVo has made tremendous progress in the past few years. The great thing about Virgin Media is they clearly understand the drivers of satisfaction for their users and have had a huge influence on TiVo.

    Once they move to a faster hardware platform I expect the pace of change to quicken. There’s been a lot of “plumbing” work in the past few years but as a DVR, my TiVo is a solid product. I’m anxiously waiting for them to release the Mini to retail as I think that’s the missing piece for their whole home ecosystem. Granted that Dish has had their whole home product in place for quite some time as had some of their frenemies (Verizon).

  41. “Virgin Media is the biggest driver of TiVo’s roadmap … Once they move to a faster hardware platform”

    Out of curiosity:

    So, is the best guess that the next-gen US boxes will have a chipset approximating Virgin hardware? Or is everything just on two different tracks?

  42. So, is the best guess that the next-gen US boxes will have a chipset approximating Virgin hardware? Or is everything just on two different tracks?

    I think they are on two different hardware tracks. I know there are complaints that the Virgin hardware is sluggish as well and the Virgin hardware only support three tuners and doesn’t include built-in transcoding.

    We know from news reports that the Pace XG1 runs on Broadcom’s BCM7425 which has 3,000 DMIPS of processing power and supports dual-transcoding. I think the current Premiere is based on the Broadcom 7413 rated at 1,100 DMIPS. I’m not sure Broadcom has released anything faster but there may be some more announcements at CES 2013. I think it makes sense for the Series 5 to be based on the 3,000 DMIPS BCM7425 since its been on the market for quite some time.

  43. “I think it makes sense for the Series 5 to be based on the 3,000 DMIPS BCM7425 since its been on the market for quite some time.”

    Assuming that parsing all that ‘DMIPS’ language means it’ll run the UI with three times ‘teh snappy’ as series 4, sign me up today.

    Given the recent deep discounted sale on discontinued Premiere hardware, and the fact I’d like the 2TB capability, mobile software control, and faster bandwidth of series 4, I’m still on series 3 not because of money, but simply because I consider the series 4 UI lagginess a personal insult.

    (Similarly, I held out on going Roku for quite a long time because I considered the lack of 5ghz WiFi on a lean-back streamer a personal insult. I’m weird about my tech that way. Make sensible hardware tradeoffs, and I’ll pay a premium. Make stupid hardware tradeoffs cuz they don’t help marketing, and I have irrational contempt for the product.)

  44. Wow. Still on the Series 3 platform. I’m pretty much an early adopter of all things TiVo. I’m the first person that opened my Elite and took pictures to determine if they upgraded the processor! I’ll admit I was disappointed that the Elite didn’t get a processor upgrade. I think that was a mistake. The Elite/XL4 is now noticeably slower compared to the 2-tuner units although its improved with the latest software update. I will probably rip open my Mini box when TiVo releases it to retail. If they stayed with the sluggish legacy Broadcom I will be disappointed. FWIW, the Premiere box is now an order of magnitude better than my Series 3 and TiVo HD (JMHO).

  45. “FWIW, the Premiere box is now an order of magnitude better than my Series 3 and TiVo HD (JMHO).”

    (To clarify, I’ve got a TiVo HD, which I, perhaps mistakenly, refer to as series 3. Should it be “series 3.5″?)

    But I basically agree with you. I’d run a series 4 in SDUI emulation mode, and enjoy the aforementioned 2TB capability, mobile software control, and faster bandwidth. And, again, with that recent deep discounted sale on the discontinued Premiere with two tuners, which is all we need in our single teevee urban household, price ain’t the problem.

    It’s just my aforementioned irrational contempt for the underpowered chipset for running the Adobe runtime…

    (Similarly, even if I were OK with migrating up from Snow Leopard, which I’m most certainly not, I wouldn’t buy a current gen ‘retina’ MBP cuz the GPU isn’t up to rendering the UI and has to toss rendering off to the CPU. Bad hardware tradeoffs are a personal insult to me, I tell ya’.)

  46. Chucky, the 2010 Roku XDS had dual band 802.11n… but guess it wasn’t a selling point and didn’t bring it back.

  47. There really is no need for dual band in the Roku for what it does. 2.4Ghz has no issues with the very slow speeds it needs for the internet applications. Plus they were probably looking for any way they could to reduce the cost.

  48. It matters quite a lot for local streaming with Plex, which is important for many people. The roku plex app is a great client.

  49. “There really is no need for dual band in the Roku for what it does. 2.4Ghz has no issues with the very slow speeds it needs for the internet applications.”

    As always, the problem with the 2.4ghz band is that it’s far more prone to bandwidth interruptions than the 5ghz band. Even if average throughput is OK with 2.4ghz, you’re still far more likely to experience periodic dramatic drops in throughput than with 5ghz. This matters a lot for lean-back streamers that don’t have significant buffers, since any periodic interruption will screw with your playback.

    If you do your research on the issue, it shows up in testing even with complete radio isolation. And, of course, the 2.4ghz band is far more prone to interruptions in the non-isolated real world, with interference from nearby wireless networks, not to mention a whle range of other electronic equipment.

    (In my own case, my Roku is dandy with ethernet direct from the router, and also dandy with ethernet carried across a 5ghz wireless bridge, if but has regular periodic playback issues when I connect wirelessly to my quite competent, nearby 2.4ghz transmitter. If you google around forums, my experience is by no means uncommon.)

    In short, it’s hard to imagine a use-case scenario that cries out more for 5ghz over 2.4ghz than a lean-back streamer.

    —–

    “the 2010 Roku XDS had dual band 802.11n… but guess it wasn’t a selling point and didn’t bring it back.”

    I fully understand that it isn’t a marketing hook for the nescient. But making that hardware tradeoff still shows contempt for their customers. How much would a dual-band radio receiver cost ‘em? A buck or two at the very most? Leave it off the cheapest model, and put it in the rest of them.

  50. “It matters quite a lot for local streaming with Plex, which is important for many people. The roku plex app is a great client.”

    True. It’s a great client, and an excellent way to dip your toes into Plex. But if you can spare the bucks, a Mac Mini under the TV is an far greater Plex client. No transcoding! Noticeably better PQ on a large teevee! Much better display of your catalog of titles! And you can even simultaneously use it as your primary Plex server if you don’t have another dedicated CPU on your LAN.

  51. Well, sure. But the price difference is enormous.

  52. “Well, sure. But the price difference is enormous.”

    No doubt. But it’s somewhat offset since a used Mini’s resale value is always bizarrely high. I’m a big fan of the Mini. I’ve got two, one under the teevee, and a headless one connected to my platter drives.

    The one under the big teevee handles the kickass Plex client, AirPlay, jukebox, internet streaming radio, and a few other A/V functions. (Expensive up front, but I figured an expected 5+ year lifespan made it reasonable. Already had it for just shy of 4 years, and don’t have any foreseeable need to upgrade.) The one elsewhere handles backups, general network storage, and a whole slew of other functions.

    The whole ‘smarts in the LAN’ thing lets you skip Apple TV’s and (execrable) Time Capsules, if you’re hooked into the Cupertino ecosystem. They last forever, hold up their value like crazy in the used market, and are generally helpful to have around on the LAN in a multitude of ways if you’ve got Cupertino gear. Add in the fact that they’ve let us use ‘thinner’ laptop clients on a slower replacement cycle, and they’ve definitely saved us money overall.

    (Of course, if we had secondary smaller teevees, I’d go with the Roku Plex client on those if I were willing to string Ethernet cable to the locations, because of price and since the PQ matters less on the smaller teevees.)

  53. You could always buy an inexpensive 5Ghz router and use it as a bridge.

  54. That is the easiest and cheapest way. I use both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz with my devices. I have no transmission issues from either but I only have a dozen or so wireless networks around me so I’ve never had any issues getting 100Mb/s+ speeds reliably from either frequency.

    My Roku2 XD over 2.4Ghz wireless gives me identical speeds as my wired Roku2XS. But I only use my Roku boxes for the internet Apps. Most of my content is BD ISOs with some TS and MKV files. And I use media players from Popcorn Hour, Boxee, and shortly Netgear to play the BD ISOs. I’ve used them with wireless bridges with 2.4 and 5Ghz and streamed BD ISos fine, but that was only for testing. I normally use a wired connection for my media players.

  55. I just bought a new Premiere directly from Tivo on their winter promotion. It is the original, 320GB version. The manufacture date is November 12, 2012 which surprised me. I thought they would be selling their older model at a discount from older backstock.

  56. Hopes for a next-gen Tivo 5? How about just a Tivo XL4S?

    Agree with others, and especially Chucky that I have no hopes for decent OTT apps on TiVo, let alone an app store.

    What I would like and think TiVo might be capable of producing is:

    - Decent performance from the HDUI
    (not just a MIPS issue, try clamping down your internet pipe and see what happens, but hey any increase would be nice. and seriously, they can’t just keep my recorded show listing in RAM for crying out loud?)

    - The ability to flexibly handle a variety of modern codecs and wrappers
    (an update to TiVo Desktop would be one way of handling this, though obviously DLNA would be better)

    - Deliver the damn IP box.

    - Integrate the TiVo stream.

    Would I love Comcast et al to deliver home media gateways that you could rent for the same price as a single STB and for TiVo to support them? Sure, if we all lived in dreamland and Mickey Mouse were mayor. But we don’t and maybe someday this will happen but not soon, and it’ll probably get screwed up and not happen at all so lets all be realistic. Improved performance would be nice right?

    A remote with sound effects? Really? Have they seen the voice search stuff that Google can do? Wouldn’t that be a nice way of bypassing all that typing? Do they have a fucking clue of what is happening in the world that isn’t defined by cable companies? Oh right, no they don’t. I guess a “Find my TiVo Remote” would be slightly interesting. Sort of. Maybe.

    My Elite x4 tuner is fine. No need for x6. The only reason x4 might be a problem is if they start locking down tuners for the IP STB.

    They need to be seriously looking at the stuff Dish is doing. That prime time any time stuff? Sure TiVo can’t force the cablecos to put ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC on one 6MHz band but still, there are ways to do this stuff creatively.

    Wi-Fi? I’m fine with MoCA personally. If they’re going to integrate Wi-Fi it better be 802.11ac.

    Small things? How about I can reorder the channels in my grid guide so the ones I really care about are at the top and not defined by my cable company. How about I have an option to never show me any SD channels the cable company adds to my package, only HD ones?

  57. Interesting, Dave. Maybe they just have surplus 320gb drives or this is the same SKU a partner like RCN uses. Hm.

  58. Interesting, Dave. Maybe they just have surplus 320gb drives or this is the same SKU a partner like RCN uses. Hm.

    I’m guessing that it is the same SKU that multiple US Tier 2/3s are using.

    Small things? How about I can reorder the channels in my grid guide so the ones I really care about are at the top and not defined by my cable company. How about I have an option to never show me any SD channels the cable company adds to my package, only HD ones?

    Can’t we already do this in the grid guide. I’ve turned off all my SD channels and HD channels I don’t care about. The latest software allows you to remove channels right from the grid guide which is a nice add when a cable operator adds a don’t care channel to the lineup.

    The ability to flexibly handle a variety of modern codecs and wrappers (an update to TiVo Desktop would be one way of handling this, though obviously DLNA would be better)

    We know they have a DLNA agreement with ACCESS. Its still unclear how this plays into the ecosystem. http://www.v-net.tv/tivo-customers-can-transfer-content-to-tivo-dvr-with-access-dlna/

    Agree with others, and especially Chucky that I have no hopes for decent OTT apps on TiVo, let alone an app store.

    I think the DMIPS problem is a serious drag on delivering decent OTT apps. This could change with the next generation platform.

  59. “I think the DMIPS problem is a serious drag on delivering decent OTT apps. This could change with the next generation platform.”

    Hmmm…

    I’d been assuming the problem was that TiVo was using a platform with API’s that made it too difficult for 3rd parties to easily write OTT clients. If I’m correct to that point, a chipset that triples DMIPS wouldn’t solve that problem, even if it would make a much nicer CableCARD DVR – one I would rush out to purchase.

    But if you’re suggesting that the “next generation platform” isn’t going to built on the current Adobe runtime, then, obviously the above paragraph loses its relevance…

  60. “I just bought a new Premiere directly from Tivo on their winter promotion. It is the original, 320GB version.”

    It was a damn good deal, especially if you’re willing to get your hands dirty and stick in a 2TB drive. I almost bit, but as stated, I’m just personally too offended by the hardware tradeoffs of S4 to do what’s best for our household.

    “The manufacture date is November 12, 2012 which surprised me. I thought they would be selling their older model at a discount from older backstock.”

    Doesn’t surprise me all that much. If they can keep cranking out 2 tuner models on the cheap while keeping it generally under the radar, why not? You bit, and I almost bit.

  61. I pay $6.95/month for my series3 (not HD, OLED S3), so I don’t plan on upgrading unless they let me keep that deal or the next-gen hardware is actually, umm, better. Neither seems likely.

  62. They should ditch Adobe Air/Flash for apps and create an HTML widget api. They could base it on WebKit or some other open source thing. Or they could bite the bullet and license something like Opera TV. They they could have their app store. If their UI was in HTML5 & CSS3 maybe they’d complete it.

    The horrible truth is TiVo will only do the least they can. If we want the features we want, we’ll need the external tuning adapter, the external streamer/SlingBox, the external wifi-adapter, the blue tooth dongle, the frigging works. And we’ll still need an Apple TV or Roku. I wish someone would buy TiVo.

  63. It was fun reading through the comments. I think the decisions tivo made on the Roamio line were successful – interesting how both close and so far away so many were…

  64. It was fun reading through the old comments. I think the decisions tivo made on the Roamio line were successful – interesting how both close and so far away so many were…

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