DirecTV TiVo, What We Think We Know

Dave Zatz —  February 23, 2011

directv-tivo

As we’re about out of runway for an “early 2011” launch and in light of DirecTV’s recent communique possibly suggesting the schedule has slipped again, I’ve been directed to DBStalk for details on the new DirecTV TiVo experience.

Now I can’t vouch for the info from the forums, but there appear to be multiple data points. Which seem to suggest DirecTV TiVo prototype hardware is based on the vintage Thomson HR22-100. And supposedly there it is in the photograph above. (Technicolor was previously disclosed as the manufacturer… and was once known as Thomson.)

As with most engineering initiatives, project timelines slip, slide around. Of course, adding a partner company to the mix adds complexity. In fact, you may want to check out Megazone’s thoughts on potential scope creep and the guilty party. Yet, discussion seems to suggest that the new DirecTV TiVo, as currently implemented, runs the classic TiVo UI and lacks multi-room viewing. Which brings us to timing…

As recently as last month, speculation suggested an April launch. However, the current thought is we’re on for a June or July release. But given the history of this project, originally slated for a 2009 release, there’s not much point in reading these particular tea leaves. It’ll arrive when it arrives. However, if the new DirecTV TiVo has indeed been further delayed, I hope the time is put to good use by applying the Virginized TiVo interface and implementing DirecTV’s multi-room viewing experience.

14 responses to DirecTV TiVo, What We Think We Know

  1. One would hope but with TiVo these days I doubt it. I thought TiVo said some time around the release of the Premiere that they couldn’t previously easily add features like the free space indicator. It had something to do with how the code was written or changed over time and it became increasingly more and more difficult to tweak or add things without breaking something else. Of course I can’t find the quote or interview so I may be misremembering.

    One other factor which I have recently started thinking about which TiVo did warn its investors in a SEC filing that it could cause problems is the new GPL which limits “TiVoization”. I wonder if not being able to use the later versions has hurt them causing the move to Flash and slowed their development even past where they were. Of course maybe I am thinking of something else and this had nothing to do with the jump to Flash since my knowledge of programming is next to nothing.

    Finally one can only hope that they are incorporating the DirecTV multiroom for the potential we would see it on the Premiere. Of course if we didn’t TiVo would have even more negative response if the DirecTiVo got streaming, a universal My shows list, etc, and the Premiere didn’t.

  2. If they come out with it and it’s the HD Virginized TiVo interface and works with the existing MRV to other HR24/H24 receivers, I would consider it. Tivo, if your not going to be innovative and your just delaying the same old DirecTivo from years ago, then see ya. The current MRV HR24 DVR works fine. No reason to pay any more money when my setup is adequate.

  3. All I hope is that this new Directv Tivo plays “Duke Nukem Forever!”

  4. Well Mike White said it himself, “you’ll see us launching a new HD user interface later this year that we’re very excited about that will go with the entertainment portal.”
    Source: DirecTV Q4 2010 Earnings call: http://www.morningstar.com/earnings/22555738-directv-q4-2010.aspx?pindex=10&qindex=8

    DirecTV’s DVR’s will get a new HD user interface. Tivo’s is rumored not to. So why pay more for a worse looking UI? The writing’s on the wall for Tivo. They are outta there if they aren’t producing and updated product.

  5. I would be hard pressed at this point to find a reason to switch to the Tivo DVR. I am happy with the overall performance of my HRs. Unless they give current subs a reason to switch I don’t see the full value, I would have to re-up for 2 years.

    Also, DirecTV just relased more info on the iPad app it looks interesting. http://www.directv.com/DTVAPP/content/directv/mobile_apps/ipad

  6. I gave up recommending TiVos years back. I remember when my mom switched to HDTV and asked. I told her, “Just go with the cable company’s DVR. It’s cheaper. There’s no up front cost, and it’ll work without hassle (no cablecard/tuner nonsense).”

    What I find weird is that I remember Comcast partnering with TiVo and I remember people getting excited about it (years back for the Motorola boxes). When they released the screenshots I remember saying, on probably TiVoCommunity, “It looks like they did little more than just skin the current interface. It’s not TiVo. It’s a Motorola set top with a different skin.” That wasn’t welcomed criticism and a few years later someone finally got it up in the Northeast and said, “Hey, this is really just like a regular Motorola set top with different graphics…”

    I think they did the same thing for either Cablevision or Charter.

    What’s really interesting is that they’re able to make it work with the TiVo boxes built for RCN (I think that’s right) where it’s basically a premier with a cablecard already in it but you can just pick it up from the cable company and it works.

    They did the same thing (looks like they did it right) with the VirginTiVo in the UK.

    Yet, they can’t make it happen with DirecTV, major cable providers, etc. here.

    My guess: DirecTV and cable providers really don’t want it to happen but want to keep people ‘hanging on’ with the next possible release date (oops – we slipped again even though TiVo is able to churn out working products for other providers). I really think they’re (cable/satellite companies – not TiVo) are just stringing everyone along to keep you as hopeful subscribers.

    If they wanted it done, it’d be done by now.

  7. I agree with earlier posters. I went form Tivo to multiroom with DTV HR24s and don’t miss Tivo at all.

    To get me back, a DTV Tivo would have to be really special.

  8. I think its too little too late for the DirecTivo.

    DIRECTV has done an AMAZING JOB with their HR24 to go to Tivo would be a big step back for many especially considering it does not support things like Multiroom Viewing which is now a DirecT staple

  9. Allan Steinberg April 18, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    It is obvious that Directv does not really care about TiVo and is doing everything possible to never introduce the box. There are no technical issues. So the delay is a bunch of bull.

  10. I WILL go for a TiVo unless DirecTV decides to increase the 50 item limit on their DVRs. OK, for those of you who say “FIFTY, who needs more than that?”, let me explain. Maybe you do not know the value of this feature.
    While 50 can be enough for most people to put all of their series links (season passes) in, there is another aspect. Let me touch on the tv series thing first. Fifty seems like a lot, but why would anyone want to have to delete a link because the current season is over and have to remember to add it back in when it resumes? That is what I end up doing. You would be surprised how fast 50 gets maxed out. Alright, so let’s say most people do not need more than 50 for TV series. The other aspect is this. You can enter the name of a movie in and it will record it once it becomes available on your premium channels. This is why this is a great feature.
    You see a commercial for a new movie. You don’t go to the theater often, but you want to see that movie. You also pay more than enough to have all the premium channels so you do not pay per view often. BUT, how do you remember to record that movie when it finally makes it to the premium channels? Maybe I am out of the loop. Do people sit down and dig thru the program guide looking for movies that they want to see? How often do you do that? I would not be able to handle the obnoxious monotony of that process. With a bigger limit on that 50 number, you can put in “The Other Guys” for instance as soon as you are aware of it, and then when it comes on HBO or Showtime or whatever, it records automatically. Otherwise, will you even remember what “The Other Guys” is when it finally shows up? “HMMMM. I think I remember wanting to see that????”
    Anyway, FIFTY is ridiculous. I WILL go with a TiVo just for that. In fact, my current system includes an DTV HD-DVR and a classic TiVo, just so that I can put the movies into the “wishlist” of the TiVo and then weekly I have to look at what movies will be recording on the TiVo and set them up to record on the DTV DVR. Awesome use of technology. NOT.

  11. I continue to delay my upgrade to HD Directv until they come out with the Tivo unit. I’m quite happy with the standard def DirecTivo’s that I have, and see no reason to change. If it doesn’t happen before my patience runs out, I’ll probably switch to Comcast, where I can get a Tivo.

    So, that’s 3 years of increased revenue DTV has not gotten from me because of their dilly-dallying, and I’m not ever going to get their box.

    -dB

  12. Question of clarification for bmax50. Is the “50 item limit” for the total number of individually recorded shows, or for the number of “season pass” items (each of which can have multiple episodes). I have been waiting (impatiently) for the new DirectTV Tivo, but have considered breaking down and going with the DirectV DVR…

  13. It’s over. This box isn’t coming and Tivo has become irrelevant. There isn’t really much more innovation that can be had in a DVR, and nobody cares anymore about the brand name the way they did 5-6 years ago. There will be a small number of diehard fans for awhile longer, but those numbers won’t equate to substantial revenue for either DirecTV or Tivo. The only chance Tivo has at surviving long-term is to sell themselves to the highest bidder. Otherwise, stick a fork in ‘em.

  14. We gave up waiting over two years ago. At least our current contract with Dish is up so I can switch if I want to but now with built in Sling and almost 4 TB of capacity with external drives I am very happy what what I have now My father who was a Tivo fanatic even switched about 6 months ago. At least its not as bad as Duke Nukeem forever. Good luck Tivo