TiVo Begins Massive Premiere Update

Dave Zatz —  January 6, 2012

tivo-hd-guide

TiVo has begun rolling out an update to Premiere and Premiere Elite DVRs. In fact, version 20.2 represents the most significant software update to grace the Series 4 platform since its 2010 introduction – featuring a core code rewrite with an updated architectural design and high definition user interface (HDUI) running on a newer iteration of Flash. Not only does TiVo promise me “significant” performance and stability improvements (building upon the second processing core that came online last month), but this moves TiVo closer to a unified software platform amongst their various partners and products. Unfortunately, the HDUI is still incomplete and the Netflix experience remains unpleasant. Having said that, there’s a lot to like here…

One of the most obvious non-HDUI shortcomings has been the standard definition guide, which is now replaced with modernized, HD versions of both the traditional “grid” guide and TiVo’s unique “live” guide (that I’ve never grown accustomed to). The channel banner(s) also sees a visual refresh… and relocation from up top to down below, with the addition of a browsable mini guide – as seen with many other providers. And, if you’ve been tracking the successful Virgin Media’s successful UK TiVo deployment, the handsome updated look should be familiar.

tivo-discovery-bar

TiVo’s “Discovery Bar” has also been rethought – presumably due to limited user interaction and the prevailing assumption that all items represented paid advertising. So, whereas the prior version presented a horizontally scrolling bar of entertainment options, the updated area features a static 4 to 6 items. Further, each content block displays info on why it’s present and, as before, just one slot is reserved for TiVo’s marketing partners. TiVo tells me they still intend to ultimately allow us to pin favorites to the bar.

Last, but not least, of the major enhancements is the release of the now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t multi-room streaming (MRS). Unlike the existing multi-room viewing (MRV) method of copying recordings from one TiVo to another, MRS streams — which may seem like a technicality, but it quite relevant to anyone hit by an aggressive cable company’s attempt at content protection (via the CCI Byte) prohibiting room-to-room digital cable content transfers. Fortunately, streaming is CableLabs-permissible (and what most other provides with psuedo- or full-on whole-home initiatives offer). MRS does not supplant MRV, which may be useful on slower home networks and is an absolute requirement for TiVoToGo functionality. Although, I wonder if having both options available may be a source of some confusion amongst the lay folk.

tivo-version-twenty

We’ll find some other small items in the Premiere update such as new graphical transitions, improved episode guide, and Hulu Plus search integration. But I’m most excited about finally receiving a modernized guide and banner along with another successive (and hopefully significant) performance improvement. I’ve known some of these details for a week or so, but I’ve only actually had the update in my possession a very short while… and will therefore reserve judgement until living with what TiVo internally refers to a version 2.0 of the Series 4 software. As with most TiVo software updates, this will be a staggered rollout occurring over the next couple weeks.

68 responses to TiVo Begins Massive Premiere Update

  1. For folks on the TiVo Community forum… I suspect version 16 is version 20. Although the code base hasn’t been entirely unified from what I’m told. It looks like the gold star ads have also made a reappearance. A note on MRS – it won’t be toggled server-side until everyone has received the upgrade. And in regards to this being a “major” update, as I wrote last night before the rollout started, “For TiVo, it’s pretty major. For us, it may not be quite as major.”

    For the folks who must absolutely be first, TiVo’s design chief is taking requests to be added to the priority download queue. But be aware, it’s already crashed on me once.

  2. You’ll find other little changes as well that might take a little to get used to. For one, the FF function has changed in that when you hit FF for the 4th time it does nothing, it used to send you back to Play. I’ve already gotten used to it and do like it as I can just smash the FF button to get moving.

  3. Hmm and all it took was a little money from AT&T and Dish and maybe they will finally start to hit the ground running.

    We shall see…

  4. “You’ll find other little changes as well that might take a little to get used to. For one, the FF function has changed in that when you hit FF for the 4th time it does nothing, it used to send you back to Play.”

    That is a sound and proper UI modification. The previous UI behavior never made sense to me.

    Now if they can just make the UI function with ‘teh snappy’, I’ll finally have a decent reason to upgrade from my TiVo HD…

  5. I played around with it last night before I went to bed. It is certainly a nice step in the right direction.

  6. The fast forward thing was introduced in 14.9.2.2 in Nov/Dec:
    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=480161

  7. And the Elite has always used the new FF.

    There is also an official TiVo android App now.

    Margret tweeted a link

    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.tivophone.android

  8. Yeah, I had official screengrabs last night but was waiting to take my own once the app went live. Will post in the next few hours (although my pics aren’t that good).

  9. Michael Burstin January 6, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Nice – I’ve been seriously pondering getting an Elite to do away with needing the ComcasTivo box.

  10. I must say I am a bit disappointed with the update.

    The guide itself is fine, but I feel it is missing a lot of info they could have provided. The only info you have in the guide is manual or series recording marks and only if the show is to actually record. I would have liked to see indicators that you have a season pass even if the show won’t record. Conflicts would have been nice. You now no longer have the ability to filter which was nice in the old guide and seems pretty big to leave out. Also one thing that now guarantees I will never use the guide is the preview window. I can understand even if I am watching a recording to keep it playing in the corner, but if I hit guide from the menus and I have the preview window turned off there shouldn’t be one in the guide. As it is now you will have to pick something from My Shows or risk spoiling a show you are recording if you want to view the guide. There is definitely a lot of room for improvement and they could steal a page or two from Media Centers guide which can add channel logos, color coding for show types, and custom channel order.

    I am also not a fan of the new Discovery Bar. I wish you could remove the labels and get back the old images. At this point, the new Discovery Bar makes me wish even more I could disable it since now it will never be useful to me. At

  11. Ok, now Tivo just needs to add MRS to the S3 family and I’ll give serious consideration to replacing the older (S2) portions of my S2/S3 fleet.

  12. So it’s still not full HD everywhere, and the release (which must have been in beta for what, 6 months?) crashed the instant Zatz booted it up. Streaming is nice, if it works.

    Is it even noticeably faster?

  13. bernnok, yeah the Discovery Bar is a step backwards visually. I need to live with the changes, but there are some things I like and some I don’t. Related, Rodalpho I want to give it a bit more time. It still seems too slow in populating some screens or areas, but once up it seems pretty smooth. Need to percolate on it a bit (and let it finish reindexing?). And in using TiVo and FiOS TV DVRs side by side for nearly a year now, even though the TiVo UI has been too slow in many areas, it’s been ultimately faster because things are organized more efficiently. Not to mention it doesn’t drop nearly as many remote presses as FiOS.

    dwgsp, I suspect major development for the THD/S3 ended some time ago.

  14. I’ve been waiting a long time for TiVo to give me a substantial reason to upgrade from my now almost 6 year old S3. Guess I’ll keep waiting.

  15. Rodalpho,
    If you can’t find a substantial reason to upgrade at this point than you might as well stop paying attention to TiVo news. This update lays the foundation is “major” and lays the foundation for more updates that will be rolled out this year. It was already the best retail DVR on the market and now its even better. The HDUI interface was already usable and now its even better. The addition of MRS support is a slam dunk. As a Hulu Plus user the integration of Hulu Plus results in the search is a welcome addition. The Android App is another Premiere-only slam dunk. There are some other features/capabilities that I’m hoping to see that will further differentiate the platform and I believe with Margret leading the design team we will see many of them in the near future. ~Sam

  16. Well Margret’s been involved in TiVo design since 2001 (#)… and I’m not sure how that’s relevant to innovating and executing (in a timely fashion). As far as TiVo being the best retail DVR, well they’re the only retail DVR. It’s not like Moxi was ever in Best Buy and online sales seem to have ceased.

    The Android (and iPhone) apps do offer some TiVo HD and Series3 functionality.

  17. And, of course, no mention of KidZone. This is the number one killer feature of our TiVo, and why I am still on my TiVo HD.

  18. I posted a comment somewhere a month or so ago that it’s quite possible we never see KidZone updated to the HDUI. I’m not sure it moves many units or sees much use. Obviously, the folks using it wouldn’t want to give it up. But the number may be small and as we’ve learned in the last two years, TiVo is prioritizing design decisions – who gets what and when. For example, Virgin Media TiVos have had similar HDUI guide and channel banners for about a year.

  19. @Sam Biller,

    As an enduser, I don’t care about “foundations”. I want actual features that I would use.

    The HDUI is cosmetic-only and certainly not enough to trigger an upgrade in of itself, even if it is fast enough to be usable now. I only have one TV, so I don’t care about streaming, although I agree that will be really nice once they turn it on, assuming it works. I don’t care about the android app at all, and I am not a hulu+ subscriber.

  20. @Radalpho – Ok, but I guess what you are not saying is what type of updates features would make you want to upgrade. This is pretty much what is available from TiVo, they are going to tweek a few more things but this is what you get. If what the Premier offers is not compelling to you – that is fine. But why watch TiVo news or post on TiVo blogs if you are fine and happy with what you have?

  21. I get the sense kidzone also won’t be updated. They didn’t bother to keep it in the new DirecTiVo either. Also if we eventually get user profiles would kidzone still be needed?

    Then again Rodalpho what functionality and features would make you upgrade that are missing?

  22. “Then again Rodalpho what functionality and features would make you upgrade that are missing?”

    I’m curious about that as well.

    (I stick with my TiVo HD because I hate lagginess in my UI, and I think the functional design of TiVo HD UI is nicely adequate and usable. But I’d sure like the better throughput, better disk capacity, and better touch client hooks of the Premiere/Elite. But my hatred of lagginess outweighs the benefits of the new-gen hardware that I want.)

  23. @chucky – the interesting thing is that my Premier HD UI is just as fast as my S3 SDUI.

    The Premier SDUI is faster than the Premier HDUI.

    I used to get spinning green circles, but I have not seen them in some time. Use what you like, I still have an early S3 and an HD model and they work great! I also have my Premier is it is a superior device – superior enough? That is only for the consumer to decide. I love the ipad app! I may wait a while and take look at the preview for my next upgrade.

  24. Dave, I share your suspicion that Tivo is not planning any major new work on the S3 platform. But I think that this may be a mistake, in the case of MRS, because it would provide a another tangible reason (not cosmetic) for those of us who have mixed S2/S3 fleets to replace our old S2 units with Premiers.

    We all know that the Tivo subscriber base is shrinking. My guess is that much of this loss is due to S2 customers upgrading to cable company HD DVRs. Why aren;t these customers remaining in the Tivo ecosystem? MRV used to be a big differentiator for Tivo, but the CCI Byte has essentially disabled MRV for many customers. Tivo needs a new differentiator, and MRS could be it.

    I realize that Tivo probably isn’t going to do this (the S3 HW may not even be capable of supporting MRS), but I do see it as a lost opportunity for Tivo.

  25. “The Premier SDUI is faster than the Premier HDUI.”

    I was literally hours away from buying a Premiere when I learned about the 10 minute hang bug in the Premiere’s SDUI emulation mode. Prior to that, my plan had been to buy the Premiere and use the SDUI emulation mode.

    “the interesting thing is that my Premier HD UI is just as fast as my S3 SDUI.”

    It’s been several months since I last played with a Premiere, and perhaps software development has improved the experience since then, but the last time I played with the Premiere, the UI was noticeably laggier than that of my TiVo HD.

    “Use what you like”

    As I say, I actually do want want several of the improvements of the Premiere, and would be willing to pony up cash for them if the next time I play with a Premiere the UI functions with a level of lagginess that I’m willing to live with…

  26. I don’t think the S3, a 7 year old platform, much less the TiVo HD has the power or bandwidth to handle streaming HD content especially when you consider everything it needs to be able to do at the same time.

    Just like pretty much all electronics once a new model comes out and the old model is no longer sold, you should consider it end of life.

  27. “Dave, I share your suspicion that Tivo is not planning any major new work on the S3 platform. But I think that this may be a mistake, in the case of MRS”

    Literally can’t be done. The Pre-Premiere hardware can’t achieve the throughput speed necessary to stream.

  28. Chucky for me also the HDUI is faster than my TiVo HD’s SDUI. Some of the lag can also be contributed to the IR since the Slide remote makes it even faster since some of the lag is from the IR.

  29. Actually the TiVo subscriber base is expanding as of their quarter that ended October 31, 2011.

    They had total net subscription additions around 117,000 which was was the first increase in four years.

  30. aaronwt, Those gains can be attributed to Virgin Media, not a sudden surge in retail Premiere sales.

    Chucky, I’ve used the HDUI nearly exclusively since launch. With each update, it’s somewhat faster. Prior to this update, which I’m not ready to evaluate, I still found it too sluggish. But the pros outweigh the cons in our household.

  31. Awesome news. Time to upgrade people. I recently sold some S2 and TiVo HD units and replaced with Premieres. The best feature is the full functionality of the new IPhone and iPad apps (now on Android). If you have lifetime on your old units the resale value is more than you might think.

  32. TiVos prediction with their last quaterly statement was that they will be over 4 million subscribers by the end of 2014 or 2015. But the additions will mainly come from the cable companies with Virgin accounting for a large percentage of the additions.

    I would think their retail sales will always be limited. Even when they had 4 million subscribers in the past, weren’t most of them from DirecTV?

  33. Dave,
    Do you think there is anything that would spur retail Premiere sales? TiVo will report updated numbers in early March where they will have subscriber gains > 300,000 attributable to Virgin Media, RCN, Suddenlink, Charter, and ONO. Unfortunately, the retail Premiere base will continue to shrink. The only catalyst on the horizon for retail subscriber gains is Comcast and Cox where many believe their current deals will do little to spur retail adoption.

    Its a tough sell to get people to pony up $99-$499 for a retail box plus a monthly or lifetime subscription fee when they can lease the crappy cable operator DVR for $13.95 – $17.95 per month.

    On the other hand there may be reduced churn and possibly the “buzz” of the superiority of the TiVo experience could once again cause a slight uptick in TiVo adoption.

    BTW, I just sold by Series 3 and TiVo HD with lifetime on ebay. Each went for > $300 which is another factor that most people don’t consider when purchasing the lifetime subscription.

  34. Sam, If the Premiere had really lived up to their “One Box” marketing, sure sales could increase. aaronwt, your points are valid but there was a time when TiVo’s customer base, including retail, grew quarter after quarter after quarter.

    The main and not insignificant roadblocks remain conceptual/education (buy a cable box from Best Buy? what’s a CableCARD?) and financial (perceived) versus the embedded cable and satellite providers folks have preexisting relationships with. It’s not a great situation and certainly not entirely TiVo’s fault. But it is their problem. And why they’ve been working hard to broker deals with providers and defend/license their IP. It’s a great time to be an RCN customer…

  35. TiVos prediction with their last quaterly statement was that they will be over 4 million subscribers by the end of 2014 or 2015. But the additions will mainly come from the cable companies with Virgin accounting for a large percentage of the additions.

    TiVo doesn’t predict but I do –> https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ApZGN1EG2HMRdHB3dHVvRENxNEY3bkRfelpqdXdUYlE&hl=en_US#gid=1

    I estimate that they will be over 4 million subscribers by Jan 2013. There are a number of analysts that share this thesis but they are slightly more conservative than I.

    I would think their retail sales will always be limited. Even when they had 4 million subscribers in the past, weren’t most of them from DirecTV?

    Good question. With the current CableCARD and Tuning Adapter requirements it is tough to determine a scenario where there would be a lot of growth in retail TiVo subscribers. Of course they could spur additional retail adoption by cutting prices and adding incentives.

  36. I can’t view that here at work. I had printed out a sheet last year that I thought was from TiVo when I viewed the quarterly statement, but was that an analysis by you then?

  37. Any changes in the YouTube client? I’ve had problems since day one, as none of my playlists or favorites have ever been available on the TiVo. Which makes watching stuff on YouTube a pain. Other major issue is TiVo seemed to be always using the 480p version even though I have an HD TiVo and a 15mbps connections.

  38. No changes to Netflix, YouTube, or Amazon. Disappointing. But I assume the Netflix and YouTube apps from the TiVo TV will eventually make their way to the Premiere, and one upon a time on Facebook they mentioned working on a new Amazon Instant app.

  39. “But I assume the Netflix and YouTube apps from the TiVo TV will eventually make their way to the Premiere”

    What does that mean… the TiVo TV?

  40. Hopefully this lays the foundations for the Preview units – I’m holding off on all decisions until the Preview units get launched and detailed.

  41. Jake, Best Buy partnered with TiVo to produce two Insignia HDTV featuring “TiVo design” — here’ a video I shot of the UI and apps.

  42. I’ve been a S3 owner now for 6 years. I’m teetering on maybe the elite, but my S3 pretty much does everything I need. The new HDUI and Android functionality is nice. But I’m a one TV household, so the benefit of streaming is kind of moot for me (unless TiVo eventually has a stream-to-PC option down the line).

    But what of accessing On-Demand services from cable cos.? Is that something in the works?

    And is there a simple explanation why S3 hardware can’t stream TiVo-to-TiVo? S3 hardware can handle Netflix streaming. Or is that an apples and oranges comparison?

  43. Tom, yeah apples and oranges. Or at least Granny Smith versus Fuji. TiVo is working deals with some cable companies to provide VOD using an IP backchannel and SeaChange technology. Comcast is one, Cox may be another. None have actually hit retail boxes yet.

  44. Can anyone comment on whether the new TiVo Premiere interface makes music selection any easier? Does it show cover art when browsing or playing? Is it same old text-based SD UI they’ve been using for years? Thanks!

  45. Sorry, I was in meetings all day and didn’t get to check this page.

    Features/changes that would make me want to upgrade:

    1) Placeshifting functionality (ala sling).
    2) Actual improvements to core DVR functions. Off the top of my head, distributed recording, noticing when a program doesn’t record properly and rescheduling it, commercial stripping, reencoding video to H.264 to save space, and more advanced conflict resolution than a straight-up priority list.
    3) Amazon prime streaming
    4) Platform built on top of Android/Google TV so users take advantage of apps, etc.
    5) Alternatively, partner with Roku and build that in instead.
    6) Ability to stream video of all formats supported by ffmpeg from a SMB share just like Boxee/XBMC. This would save me an entire box in my entertainment center.
    7) Allow me to upgrade from my S3 and continue to pay $13/month rather than $20.

  46. I noticed you now have the option to delete recordings on other tivo boxes in addition to transferring/streaming them.

  47. This was added sometime after the iPad app rolled out.

  48. Rodalpho,
    Interesting list but I don’t see the business case for most of your requests.

    1) Placeshifting functionality (ala sling).
    This would be a great feature. I’m not sure if it would violate Sling (DISH) patents but I could see this feature in the next Series 5 boxes that may be released in the 2013 timeframe since Broadcom is integrating it into some of their SoCs.

    2) Actual improvements to core DVR functions. Off the top of my head, distributed recording, noticing when a program doesn’t record properly and rescheduling it, commercial stripping, reencoding video to H.264 to save space, and more advanced conflict resolution than a straight-up priority list.

    The target audience going forward for TiVo is a centralized media server with 4-tuners. They will support distributed recording via their extenders (Preview). Better conflict handling is a possibility. Commercial stripping — not a chance. Reencoding — not a chance. More advanced conflict resolution — very unlikely. Keep it simple applies.

    3) Amazon prime streaming
    Coming soon.

    4) Platform built on top of Android/Google TV so users take advantage of apps, etc.

    Not a chance on the Series 4 platform. Who knows for the next version but I’m skeptical unless Google buys TiVo.

    5) Alternatively, partner with Roku and build that in instead.

    Unlikely.

    6) Ability to stream video of all formats supported by ffmpeg from a SMB share just like Boxee/XBMC. This would save me an entire box in my entertainment center.

    Unlikely. I see this as a niche capability.

    7) Allow me to upgrade from my S3 and continue to pay $13/month rather than $20.

    Alternatively, buy a new Premiere. Pay for lifetime on it ($399). Get lifetime on your S3 for $99. Sell the S3 on ebay for $400.

  49. Oh, everything on my list is unlikely. It’s just a randomly ordered list of things that could entice me to upgrade.

    The only /likely/ path is for TiVo to continue to stagnate and become increasingly irrelevant as people continue to stream their media online in greater numbers.

    As for the distributed thing, they don’t sell the preview to endusers. Also that’s not distributed, that’s centralized, although even centralized it remains a neat feature.

  50. Though excited about the update, I get more and more annoyed at myself for buying a product so incomplete in it’s design (especially after almost 2 years). I’m comfortable being a beta tester for various small features, but the fact the HDUI is so sloppily unfinished is enough to make me 99% certain this will be my last Tivo unless it will work with Dish network. My Comcast is horrible here.

  51. My main reason for not upgrading to the Premiere/XL/Elite generation is because of all that I’ve read about them crashing and rebooting. For me, if the DVR can’t do it’s basic function (recording and playback) reliably, then why bother? My current TiVos (two HDs, a Series 2 single-tuner and Series 3) have rarely crashed, so hearing about the new gen rebooting randomly or rebooting under any sort of load doesn’t inspire confidence.

    I would love an Elite. And I will get one once TiVo assures me that the random reboots are a thing of the past.

  52. Rodalpho, Sam B, I can’t imagine TiVo will ever get into the placeshifting game (for retail) units as they’re very careful not to alienate broadcasters or potential MSO partners at this phase of the game. And placeshifting is still somewhat contested and would compete in some sense with a provider’s TV Anywhere initiative. But I could see them baking it in for a smaller MSO like RCN that may not be equipped to build or want to invest in their own serverside/headend solution.

    Lee, I think the crashes situation is improved and overblown. My TiVo is overall probably as reliable if not more than my FiOS DVR… which has occasionally locked up and required me to pull the power cable. Then again, I no longer had SDV and tuning adapters in the mix – it was a different story on Cox. Hm.

  53. Like I said, I don’t think they’ll do pretty much anything on my list. Placeshifting built-in would certainly give me a reason to upgrade, though.

  54. After some more playing, some more thoughts…

    I have no use for the mini guide. The full-on grid guide is sufficient. I don’t need the mini guide but it’s good to keep the live guide around as I know many appreciate it. Also, launching the mini guide with the Select button is not intuitive.

    Right arrow no longer cycles through three different display banners. It brings the rather large one up and to clear it you click left. Alternately, you can launch/dismiss it with the Info button. There’s a smaller channel banner that TiVo has labeled the “Medium” size one that only appears when you change channels (including “changing” to the same channel via a double tap of the Select button to launch the mini guide and choose the current station). I wish I as the user could toggle between Medium and Large. Sometimes, I just want the simple Medium banner to see what’s on and where I am (since we watch a lot of live TV) without covering up the screen. Related, I wouldn’t mind if the channel banner were lower. Also, I miss having it anchored – in the SDUI, it’s anchored on the left. I’d take left, right, or bottom though… just floating there feels wrong in some way.

    Speed in populating menus/lists is still too slow for my liking. Certainly sufficient and I’ve lived with the HDUI since day one. But as I mentioned before, even though certain areas are sluggish, TiVo is still the often faster DVR because things are organized more efficiently – in terms of things like fewer clicks to accomplish various tasks. I’m also appreciating some of the new graphical transitions and visual cues. But it’s jarring to still occasionally wind up in the SDUI and the Discovery Bar visuals seem like a step back. However, my priorities would be an updated Netflix and Amazon app.

  55. Dave,

    Any chance that you’ll post a video of the new interface? I agree on your priorities — updated Netflix and Amazon are high on the list. I’m having a difficult time understanding what you mean about the channel banner not being anchored. Your comments are the first I’ve seen posted about the speed of the new interface. I’m curious as to how it compares to the VMED 15.2 speed which looked pretty snappy in the video that was posted. I’m wondering if the decision to limit the discovery bar was more performance related than anything else. Less internet caching is required for four items versus a list. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a different discovery bar show up in future implementations.

    Thanks,
    Sam

  56. Since I gave up waiting and upgraded the drive in my living room Tivo HD to a 2TB unit (which Weaknees screwed up by the way–I paid priority to have them do the job, they couldn’t copy everything because it already had an upgraded drive, but they hosed the copying somehow so I now can’t schedule any new recordings and I’m going to have to go through with a full wipe and re-pairing anyway), I won’t be buying an Elite any time soon. I’ll continue watching the forums and maybe in a year if the box looks stable and the 10-minute SDUI bug and the random reboots have been fixed I’ll think again about upgrading.

    There’s so many reasons not to bother though. I’d have to abandon my root Tivo unit which would bump up my monthly fees a bunch. Each new unit raises the issues of Comcast and cable card re-pairing which is OFTEN a pain (the last time they hosed both of my systems in trying to add one). The streaming wouldn’t help me unless I upgraded both bedroom and living room Tivo HD units, something that would be very expensive unless the Preview comes out. Etc etc.

    Honestly I’ll probably be on DirecTV by the time they get this thing worked out…

  57. Sam, by anchored I mean visually – the new banners and mini guide just float over the television content. Whereas the prior banners ran to the edge of the screen. It’s probably just a nit. When I spoke to VPN Jim Denney about the update a couple weeks back, he mentioned the Discovery Bar will contain 4-6 units, so the size and “white space” is obviously still variable. If they did away with the box/slot captions, it’d look better. But then folks may continue to assume TiVo did them wrong with all this advertising (which really isn’t). I’ll shoot a video in a little bit – don’t think I feel up to narrating though — consider it a silent film.

  58. Marge Geneverra January 7, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I guess that it’s time to move away from Tivo for those of us who are satellite customers.

    Owning (& still paying monthly for) 4 Series 2 boxes, I’ve waited long enough, and any UI upgrades stopped long ago. Cable isn’t an option where I live.

    I’m ready to cancel my 4 Tivo subscriptions and start giving the money to the satellite folks. I already give some to Netflix & access with Roku & smart TVs, but still use Tivo to record & share some stuff & download podcasts.

    I’ve just never seen a roadmap from Tivo for the future for satellite customers. (don’t even mention the Directtv Tivo to me!)

  59. Jon the Heretic January 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Pretty terrific thread, with lots of great discussion. Thanks to everyone. I am thrilled Tivo is finally making some progress with the actual TivoOS. However, as substantive as some of the changes are, they are nearly 2 years late and STILL reflect an unfinished product. Maybe they should put the people in charge who did their iPad app — a singular masterpiece that puts the sluggish, unpolished and incomplete HD UI to shame. Yeah, it was probably done by a vendor — but I bet they’ll accept money for new work.

    If the Tivo Extender requires a fee, it is stillborn as far as I am concerned. But the addition of streaming may open up new open source solutions that can reverse engineer and use the streaming. For example, Plex has a nearly useless Tivo app form for streaming content. With this new protocol, imagine if that streaming actually WORKED! Now that would be cool and may open up streaming to HTPCs, computers, tablets and more without being extorted to produce more cash just to workaround the legally questionnable overuse of the CCI byte by cable companies (and Tivo’s rollover and show its belly stance towards the CCI byte. It is not a real technical limitation; it is because Tivo won’t lawyer up to protect its customers, just to squeeze cash from patents).

    And while I can’t say I like The Discovery Bar — gratuitous eye candy — I actually find myself using it — a little. It has helped me discover a couple of shows. But moving to static images seems shortsighted; soon the Static Image Bar will simpler evolve into the Invisible Waste of Space. Users exhibit ‘banner blindness’ on websites where there are regions of the screen with predictably worthless (ads) or rarely changing information. We are attuned to looking for change or new information; static info gets quickly tuned out and literally, is no longer seen. So this design change promotes only that a portion of the screen will now be wasted. Sigh. Better to tweak the original concept than to fall into this classic example of Bad UI Design.

  60. Jon the Heretic January 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Now a couple of Tivo defenses.

    Yeah, the HD UI is objectively about the same speed as the SD UI on my old Tivo HD. But I yearn, as does Chucky, for Da Snap. I do not perceive that on my Premiere. Frankly, I almost exclusively do season passes, reordering, Explore, to do lists on my iPad app because it DOES have Da Snap. With fuller use of the second core and some multithreading on Flash (please?), I expect it will finally make me very happy, by the time the Series 5 is announced. But honestly, it is finally acceptable already.

    Stability: Having learned to love the bomb (HD UI), stability of the actual TIVO is very good. Nice job. Almost never get a green circle either.

    The real problem is that, as with my old Tivo HD, my Tivo is little more than a doorstop without the Tuning Adapter, and that little piece of technology is a festering pile of junk. I miss recordings (Chuck, last night) about once a month because of the Tuning Adapter. Tivo has told me that it is not their problem, which does not fill me with warm fuzzies, given that not all of us are lucky enough to be blessed by the Archangel FiOS and that if you aren’t a SDV cable customer now, you shall be. I literally will not buy a new Tivo model til they have solved this little technocondundrum, because it IS Tivo’s problem and they can’t keep pretending it isn’t. That is, unless they can convince Verizon to commence fiber rollout. One thing Tivo can do in the short term, is to auto reschedule any shows that weren’t recorded due to a Tuning Adapter failure. At present, the Tivo pretends that the lack of a signal due to a TA failure is different then say unplugging your cable TV; the latter is remedied by the Tivo in an intelligent fashion, the former is left as a little surprise to users, left to scratch their heads why they missed an episode of a show that had no less than 5 showings in a single week and thus ridiculous opportunity to compensate Epic lame.

    That said, my Tivo Just froze. Weird timing. Got to reboot.

  61. Jon,

    The real problem is that, as with my old Tivo HD, my Tivo is little more than a doorstop without the Tuning Adapter, and that little piece of technology is a festering pile of junk.

    Great posts! The stability of my Cisco Tuning Adapter has greatly improved with the latest firmware update. What cable operator are you with? I can’t remember the last time I’ve missed a program because of a TA failure.

    With fuller use of the second core and some multithreading on Flash (please?), I expect it will finally make me very happy, by the time the Series 5 is announced. But honestly, it is finally acceptable already.

    I suspect that we are seeing a multi-threaded Flash with this version. It was very evident in the Virgin Media 15.2 video. I’m wondering if the sluggishness in Dave’s video is related to his crappy internet connection but that really shouldn’t be an excuse! I’m fearful that we might need to wait until the Series 5 before we experience “Da Snap”. The iPad processor is a lot faster than the crippled dual-core Broadcom inside the Premiere!

    If the Tivo Extender requires a fee, it is stillborn as far as I am concerned.

    Disagree with this one and I can’t see TiVo releasing the Preview without a fee. They pay a license fee for the guide data as a minimum on every box including the Preview. I do see it being about $6.95/mo or $199 lifetime for a Preview and I think it will be quite compelling at those prices and even more compelling at $4.95/mo and $99 for lifetime!

    And while I can’t say I like The Discovery Bar — gratuitous eye candy — I actually find myself using it — a little. It has helped me discover a couple of shows. But moving to static images seems shortsighted; soon the Static Image Bar will simpler evolve into the Invisible Waste of Space.

    This change has me puzzled and I’m guessing its only temporary. I think it was a design trade-off for performance reasons. Virgin Media’s discovery bar is still dynamic. I would not be surprised to see this greatly improved in the future.

  62. Except my (new) crappy Internet connection has successfully streamed HD video from the ‘net via Roku and Apple TV… If TiVo intelligently cached some of this (small) web content locally, I suppose it wouldn’t be an issue either way.

  63. Hah. That’s actually not that bad from a speedtest perspective! So much for my speculation. :) They definitely need to intelligently cache but I’m guessing their design team didn’t have time to include that in this build.

  64. I have always thought TiVo could updat TiVo desktop and then they old use that as a local cache also. This way at least it pulls locally first.

  65. Im on my 2nd premeire box. The first one ended up going into a restart spin.

    I do like the GUI compared to my old hd box that died. But instead of redesign I would rather see more function.

    Things I would like to see.

    1. Comcast on demand
    2. Amazon prime streaming
    3. Satellite get on board. I’m tired of Comcast and would like another option

  66. (Off-topic, but since it was mentioned, I hate the 4xFastForward not going back to play.)

    It’s the best DVR, but for the premium it’s not far enough ahead of the competition anymore.

    I replaced my broken S3 with the FiOS Multi-Room DVR, and then replaced that with a Premiere because it offers Lifetime for most of the cost (vs $20 a month for the FiOS DVR I had).
    Now FiOS will give me the Multi-Room DVR for free for life (as they do with all new installs now), and I’m really struggling to justify not selling the Lifetime’d Premiere ($450ish? + cablecard rental fee) when the FiOS Multi-Room DVR is 80% as good for FREE (and offers me multi-room viewing).

    Things I’d like that would help keep me:
    1. Cheap extender with no fee (I only want to watch my recorded shows, but I think they’ll just be selling me a box and services I don’t need since I watch no online content.)
    2. Can my TiVO iPhone app please have all the features it has on my home wifi even when I’m not home?? (how hard is this!?!)

  67. Even if FiOS gave me four DVRs free for life I wouldn’t take. Them . I’ll keep my four Premieres. My neighbors miss too many recordings with their FiOS and Comcast DVRs. TiVo is extremely reliable for recording and I would not want to give that up.