TiVo Hopes FCC Will Allow Santa To Deliver New DVRs

Dave Zatz —  April 21, 2013 — 21 Comments

Back in February, TiVo had petitioned the FCC to build a new line of all-digital DVRs. And apparently Industry is prepared to abandon analog tuning, as not a single letter of opposition was filed.

From TiVo’s February filing:

This petition requests an extension of that waiver to several new all-digital cable only devices and a slight extension of that waiver to cover devices that permit reception of digital broadcast (“DTV”) signals. One model of TiVo’ s new all-digital DVRs would include ATSC over-the-air reception capability; this model, therefore, requires waiver of both the DCR Rules and Section 15.117(b)’s dual analog/digital tuner requirement.

From TiVo’s April follow-up (embedded below):

As the Commission is aware, the lengthy design and production cycle faced by consumer electronics manufacturers like TiVo makes it extremely important that the Commission act expeditiously to resolve the kinds of technical issues raised in the Petition. In this case, if TiVo is to begin production of its proposed all-digital DVRs in time to begin delivering them for the 2013 holiday season, the Commission must act to grant the Petition soon.

So while the FCC recently bungled Charter’s CableCARD waiver request, they have an opportunity to let TiVo get busy on their next generation Premiere DVR hardware. Yet, with the agency’s leadership in flux (and that nonsensical Charter ruling), it’s conceivable that TiVo may not receive a timely or desired response. In any event, two recent TiVo user surveys suggest the company is evaluating a 300-hr, 4-tuner, digital cable and OTA Premiere successor.

21 responses to TiVo Hopes FCC Will Allow Santa To Deliver New DVRs

  1. At least I know when to expect Series 5! Thanks for the report Dave!

  2. Anthony,
    What’s in a name? There are some indications TiVo might stick with the “Premiere” name. Yet, presumably any new DVR, after 3+ years, would include a more modern and suitable processor – perhaps the Broadcom 7425, a counterpart to the chip found in the TiVo Mini. If so, those that skipped this first gen, underpowered Premiere line would have come out ahead by holding off… as apps like YouTube and Spotify are currently unusable (in my household) due their sluggish performance.

    Chris,
    Yeah, as bad as tuning adapters are, TiVo doesn’t gracefully handle outages/interruptions. It was pretty maddening when I was a Cox customer (and had to purchase episodes of Breaking Bad the TiVo missed due to TA flakiness).

  3. 6 tuners would have been better, but I’ll take 4 OTA/Cable. OTA is really only important to me because the darn tuning adapter still goes out once in a while, and it can be a few days before I realize we’re missing shows.
    Would be nice if the new TiVo software could push an email out if it gets tuning errors that might be tuning adapter related.

  4. Part of me can’t wait for the new 6 tuner model which hopefully isn’t stuck with a 2TB drive, but at the same time I hope they bring more than just hardware changes. We know it might have transcoding built in, but I just want something to get excited about. I guess being bored with a device can be a good thing since it means I am also not complaining about it failing to work as expected.

  5. Aren’t the current TiVo DVRs “all-digital”? What makes these new upcoming ones “all-digital” vs. the current lineup?

  6. The current two-tuner Premiere handles both digital and analog broadcast, whereas the cable-only four-tuner models are digital only. For me, the petition itself is secondary to TiVo’s foreshadowing of “several new” DVRs.

  7. These are the DVRs I have been waiting for. The Premier “all digital” is simply the same box but with the two analog tuners turned to digital. I am hoping a from the griound up all digital DVR can just drop a bunch of the legacy analog junk code and start to become a true Media box

  8. well i really want a 6 tuner tivo if they do have these out this year,I hope i can afford it ,I I just wish they would lower the lifetime to $199.00 for current customers ,This would make a great christmas present to my self!.

  9. Anything on the horizon for the satellite customer who is still stuck with Series 2 boxes?

    I’d be happy with a box that did exactly what my Series 2 boxes do now (record from satellite and provide multi room viewing) – only with HD added.

    Extra credit for multiple tuners and/or Roku-like Internet capability.

    As a very early Tivo customer, with no cable option, I feel left behind.

  10. My only worry is that between the Santa-exclusive delivery, and the whole Tim Tebow thing, Jews and Muslims will not be permitted to buy Series 5 DVR’s.

    And given that I’m still sitting on my TiVo HD, that’d piss me off.

  11. The next box needs:

    1. faster hardware (like the hardware in the mini)

    2. support for bigger drives (up to 4TB minimum)

    I doubt any future box will offer more than 2 OTA tuners (AFAIK there are no combo chipsets for OTA like there are for digital cable)

    Still, if a future box offered 2 OTA tuners and at least 4 digital cable tuners I’d be interested.

  12. Bud, DirecTV is selling a newer TiVo that does HD with the old TiVo UI. But it’s something you get through DTV, not in retail. And nothing for DISH.

  13. With their current focus on MSO partners, I can’t imagine another TiVo with “capture” capabilities via component or HDMI is on the roadmap.

    The *main* thing I want from this update is the processor bump that’s in the Mini.

    More disk space would of course be nice. More tuners would be nice, especially if they aren’t going to solve the locked tuner for the Mini issue any time soon. But the processor upgrade is the big deal.

  14. Any chance of upgraded hardware before Christmas season 2013? I’m ready to upgrade my Series 3 (which has served me very well) but I was hoping for the 6-tuner or upgraded CPU before dropping my money on it. If new hardware won’t come until September – November then I may give up and buy the current XL model.

  15. I wouldn’t expect it before September. I believe the FCC filing still has 60 days or so for a reply, but with no comments they might be able to push it through quicker. At the same time with the FCC departures this could slow things down. Until the FCC rules TiVo probably wouldn’t even start production since they don’t know if they can exclude analog tuners yet or not across the board.

    My advice wait for the Cable Show if you can. It is less than 60 days away.

    If anything I would hope to see new hardware at the Cable Show June 10-12. This way TiVo could show it off for the cable companies before announcing retail and this was the same path the Elite took though it was called the Q at the Cable Show. http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2011-06/tivos-new-hardware-at-the-cable-show/
    The TiVo Elite went on sale in October of that year.

  16. Except we already know what the new cable box will be… Of course they could offer more than one, and probably will for the smaller providers or those in need of fewer tuners. I’d say they might not need OTA capabilities. Then again, with retransmission fees and Aereo maybe they could. Mari and I will be at The Cable Show — how could we miss it considering it’s right here in DC again this year.

  17. I wonder if there will be some utterly awesome end-days deal on the P4 which could lead me to save money by buying a P4 to run headless with a Mini for less than a S5.

    Of course, if they raise the 2TB roof on the S5, I’d immediately leap off any such Rube Goldberg notions…

  18. I plan on selling my two TiVo ELites to cover the cost of a six tuner Lifetime TiVo. I already have two TiVo Minis so as long as they get dynamic tuner allocation working before then I will be OK with just six tuners. Otherwise I would need to keep one of my Elites. Or turn my OTA only Premiere back to a cable/OTA Premiere.

    I would really like to finally get down to one cable card from the two I currently have. Although at one time I used eight cable cards.

  19. True we know and I don’t think it will be any surprise. I would imagine they will show the Pace box running in person though since I believe in the past it was just showing the box itself. If anything we should get a feel for how much snappier if at all the new chip is with the current UI.

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