TiVo’s been talking up their DVR extender about a year, since it was first introduced last February as the IP-STB. And while we didn’t get the 2012 retail launch we were hoping for, TiVo tells me we’re on track for a spring launch. The Mini I groped at CES doesn’t look all that different from the product we perused last May at The Cable Show, but it presumably offers a much more polished experience streaming live television and recordings from a 4-tuner TiVo Premiere DVR. In fact, TiVo cable partner Suddenlink has already begun to deploy the Mini to customers.
I’m told the Mini contains 2GB of local storage dedicated to hosting the TiVo OS/experience and handling whatever caching may be necessary. Performance seemed pretty sprightly over their in-suite MoCA connection, but I’d expect at least a little lag when changing channels or queuing up content. Interestingly, I get the sense that the apps available to TiVo Premiere DVRs may not be fully duplicated onto the Mini. Assuming I’m reading the tea leaves correctly, I wonder if that’d be a contractual or technical issue. The remote mated with the Mini looked a whole lot like the discontinued TiVo Slide, but I’m not sure we can draw any conclusions from that and would expect a traditional peanut to ship.
TiVo tells me they’re still working through the pricing permutations. And I suspect building the TiVo Mini was the easy part, whereas effectively communicating its benefit and pricing it within their lineup will be the larger challenge. They intend to make the Mini a relatively affordable offering but, based on the soundbite Engadget captured from a TiVo rep, they’re clearly leaning towards a service fee – which would come in at rates lower than a Premiere subscription ($15/month or $500).
[...] a great cost savings compared to the DVRs [...] a less expensive initial hardware cost and then the monthly fee will also be less. You can also choose to do a lifetime service for the TiVo mini.
As a customer, of course, I’d prefer lower cost hardware and no fees. However, if TiVo’s not making money off the Mini, why even bring it to retail… knowing many, such as myself, would cancel an existing Premiere sub in lieu of a Mini and Roku-esque devices are pretty low margin, anyway. So I’ve been resigned to a monthly fee. And, if the experience is good enough, I’ll pay it.
- TiVo Whole Home DVR Extenders Headed To Retail
- TiVo Stream & IP STB Set For Fall Launch
- Upcoming TiVo IP-STB Christened “Mini”
- TiVo Mini IP-STB Delayed Until 2013*
- TiVo Mini Set For Spring Launch, Service Fee In Tow
- TiVo Mini Tuner Allocation Details Revealed
- TiVo Mini Rumored To Launch March 6 @ $100
- TiVo Mini Pricing Confirmed