TiVo Mini Rumored To Launch March 6 @ $100

Dave Zatz —  February 26, 2013

tivo-mini

While I can’t vouch for the source, one TiVo Community forum member indicates he attended “dealer training” — where he came away with the final pieces of the TiVo Mini puzzle. And we’re purportedly looking at a March 6th retail launch, with hardware running $100.

As expected, assuming this pans out, the TiVo Mini will also set us back an additional$6/month or a flat $150 up front for “lifetime” service. The service fee remains somewhat befuddling, given such a large percent of the Mini is powered via a 4-tuner TiVo Premiere DVR, which comes with its own set of fees, and couple with the fee-free TiVo Stream that provides similar extender functionality to iPads. However, we suspect the idea of “subscribers” is a strategic move on the investor side of the house.

Beyond availability, Digital Dawn seems to reinforce our tuner allocation launch details… but also provides details on what comes next. Assuming TiVo can stick to the schedule, they’d release true dynamic tuner management in the second quarter this year, with each 4-tuner Premiere supposedly supporting up to 9 TiVo Minis and up to 4 simultaneous streams.

We’re pretty anxious to get our hands on one (or more) of these extenders and while $250 probably represents a hefty profit margin for TiVo, it doesn’t seem unreasonable – especially in conjunction with reports of significant app speed improvements due to a more modern Broadcom BCM7418 chip.

Story Timeline:

(Thanks brennok and Sam!)

79 responses to TiVo Mini Rumored To Launch March 6 @ $100

  1. Another note on cost… Verizon currently charges me $4/mo for CableCARDs, with rumors new cards will run $6/mo. Which makes the TiVo Mini look pretty reasonable.

  2. $250 per device+lifetime is a bit more than I was expecting to spend ($200). I’m holding out on any new TiVo gear until the Series 5 units come out, as long as my TiVo HD unit lasts.

    I’m interested that the USB port will support the IR extender. I wonder if I put a bluetooth dongle on there if my TiVo BT remote would work as well. I certainly hope so, I think those were the best remotes TiVo ever made (and if the processor speeds up, the keyboard underneath might actually be of use).

  3. I do not believe asking for a monthly subscription for an extender is reasonable. My description would skew more towards offensive, or even obscene.

    In a similar vein, $250 is ridiculously overpriced for an extender. MCE extenders cost $150-$200 in the late 2000s. SageTV HD extenders cost $200 in 2008 and dropped to $150 in 2010. It’s 2013; you can buy entire android computers with 1GB RAM for $99. And TiVo is asking $250.

    Insulting.

  4. $6!!!!!! for a FiOS cable card!! That is crazy. If that happens I really hope a six tuner TiVo comes out soon. I will pick up one Mini at launch and a second one later. Since Lifetime will only be $149, I’ll get that instead of paying monthly since the break even time is only 25 months.

    Plus I’ll have the savings from dropping one of my three FiOS cable cards. But if they raise it to $6 per cable card, then that will be my incentive to drop to one cable card.

    With six tuners and dynamic tuner allocation, I would be able to do it. I just hope if they release a six tuner TiVo that it has at least a 3TB drive on board. I would need that if I dump my two Elites.

  5. Anthony, based on the demo models I’ve seen in action, I suspect the discontinued TiVo Slide Bluetooth remote would work. Also the Suddenlink one appears to be running the same software (version) as the Premiere, so if it works on the DVR it’s likely to work on the Mini?

    Rodalpho, yeah it’s more than it needs to be. But they can afford to push for higher margins in retail and remain a niche, premium solution given their MSO and licensing deals.

    aaronwt, if that $6 is legit, I suspect we’d be grandfathered.

    Good question from Twitter, which I didn’t think to address given my familiarity with the product. The Mini will need to be connected via Ethernet or MoCA to move content from a host DVR… as will that host. Wireless isn’t supported.

  6. They can absolutely afford it, and I have no doubt they’ll sell some of them. And I understand why they priced it that way, due to pressure from MSOs. But they’ll never make it to the mass-market. It seems like they aren’t even trying any more.

  7. To me this looks like a bargain. I currently have a Tivo Premiere up stairs and a Tivo HD in the basement. I’m paying $9.99 per month for the Tivo HD subscription and an additional $1.50 for the extra cable card. I’ll replace my HD with the stream and I’ll save ~$5 per month. Yes I will loose the extra DVR space that I had with TivoHD, but I won’t have to deal with having to manage multiple recordings.

  8. Under $100 for an Apple TV
    Under $100 for a Roku (most advanced version)
    $240 ($10 less than Tivo with lifetime) buys an XBox 360 with 2 controllers plus a free game at Walmart (http://bit.ly/WguRJM).

    As much as I loved my old Tivo (years ago), I don’t see prices like this drawing me back in as a customer.

    Sorry Tivo – try again.

  9. Rodalpho, it’s no “bargain” but compared to the prices of premium solutions in other lanes (like Sonos), it’s not crazy. Then again, many of TiVo’s “premium” features over the generic cableco DVR are too slow to be useful/used. Like cckrobinson, by dropping my TiVo Premiere (which was $15/mo, could have been $13) and $4 CableCARD I come out ahead. Also, I can hear my TiVo fans or harddrives in the bedroom and wouldn’t mind a silent solution (and a single playlist).

  10. $250 for an extender does seem a bit steep. However, if it means getting rid of the 2 FiOS cable cards I rent for the old Series 3, it may be worth it…

  11. Exactly. The extender’s only real audience is people who already heavily bought into the TiVo ecosystem.

    You won’t get anyone who already has a bunch of cable company DVRs going “hey, I can buy one TiVo and a bunch of extenders and get a superior experience for a reasonable price”. Its only purpose is to cannibalize their already existing customer base.

  12. I don’t think the $249 price is that bad. I still think $199 would be the better price point and I could see it hitting that when the next models launch at least in a bundle. Once TiVo releases the next 4+ tuner model I will at least be picking up one Mini for my parent’s house.

    If we could count on the FCC to actually do something, two years from now we would be on our way to the CableCARD replacement which could possibly render the Mini unnecessary.

  13. Rodalpho, yeah that’s always been their challenge – why go with TiVo over the entrenched incumbent (assuming one even knows they exist). And, these days, the reasons are fewer.

    Brennok, the CableCARD device IS the gateway and TiVo’s already skinned that cat… :D That will be cable’s argument against some sort of universal mandate.

  14. Agree with Radolpho that at this price they’re preaching to the choir.

    HOWEVER, this choir member will be picking one up.

    With Comcast I’m paying a $8.75 Digital Outlet fee – $2.50 for customer owned equipment = $6.25 for the TiVo HD CableCARD I’ll be replacing. My monthly price for the TiVo HD is $12.95 since I replaced the $6.95 DT a while back. So all in all I’ll save about $13, get a faster product, and not have to manage recordings in this room anymore. Overall a big win as far as I can tell.

    Not sure whether I’ll do the lifetime $150 though. Can’t remember–can I only do this upfront when buying the unit? If so maybe I will, but I’d rather not pay it until I’ve experimented with the unit, worked out how much impact going to three tuners on the Elite will have (not much I suspect), etc. If I have to do it up front I guess I will, given the short payoff cycle.

    I won’t be getting a second one given the current tuner allocation scheme–when I’m traveling I’d be using the one tuner and the wife in the bedroom might be locked out, or vice-versa. Not acceptable. And not willing to drop the Elite down to 2 tuners I don’t think.

    Looking forward to it.

  15. Usually you have 30 days to change or cancel the subscription plan. I don’t know with the Mini though, but I would assume it would let you opt for lifetime or monthly and switch within the 30 days. I don’t know if TiVo will give you the normal 7 days without activation.

    On the subject of digital outlet fees, nice to see they are at least getting some coverage with how they are charging them for DTAs to get around the FCC limitations. Everytime the cable companies file their CableCARD statistics they should be required to include their outlet fees since you can’t just pay the CableCARD fee. Of course I don’t have outlet fees so I can’t really file a response to their filings showing this is indeed missing in their report.

  16. Any word on when the stream will be able to send to the xbox 360? (This was presented in a TiVo survey I received). If that was enabled I would have no reason to buy a mini as well as the stream

  17. I doubt it’ll happen. Also doubt they’d ever stream to a Roku, since the Mini will be on the market. Android is probably up next for Stream, but I don’t have any intel on timing.

  18. I was doubtful when I read it in the survey. It said it was technically possible, but I knew that with the mini in the works it would be very unlikely. Oh well. I’ve been sucked into the TiVo way since 2001. (4 TiVo’s 3 with lifetime. 1 Tivo Stream and on March 6th a TiVo Mini)

  19. To everyone upset with TiVo charging a subscription fee for the mini, allow me to quote one line from their quarterly report:

    “[Quarterly] Net Loss of ($15.8) million”

    That said I went to do a price comparison and I noticed that in my area, Cox has dropped the “secondary digital outlet fee”. Now they just charge you $8.50 for a STB and $10 for “DVR Service” on top of that (or cable card for $2/mo plus TiVo’s fees). Since Cox has eliminated the secondary outlet fees that changes the pricing equation for TiVos and Minis, but not by enough. A TiVo for $15/mo plus 3 minis for $21/mo is $36. Or 4 cable STBs (one of which is a DVR) is $44/mo. So I’d save $8/mo on a monthly basis, cheaper if I lifetime everything and use it for 3 years until All-Vid is standardized and cheap STBs are available w/o a fee.

  20. Dave, do you think there’s any chance the mini will support a 2 tuner premier in the second quarter update?

  21. Josh, it’s a good question and I don’t have the answer. Technically, they could. And they obviously support tuner sharing of sorts with the Stream. The things that could hold them back is the lack of MoCA on the 2-tuner Premiere or a desire to push folks to the higher priced, lower subsidy 4-tuner models. I’d think it’d be a good idea to support the Premiere – given its presumably larger penetration and difficulty marketing a fragmented solution. Then again, I think new DVR hardware is in the pipeline which could change the dynamics.

  22. If it only supports the 4-tuner model, it would be nice if there was an easy way to transfer lifetime from a 2-tuner to 4-tuner Premiere. My understanding is that Lifetime is attached to the box.

  23. Gabe, TiVo hasn’t allowed transfer of lifetime except for some of the original series. I have also heard of them transferring it if the box breaks in the original warranty period. I have never heard of a transfer allowed for the benefit of upgrading the TiVo. (though this would have been nice as it is why I have purchased lifetime 3 times. 1x on original series 2, 1x on TiVo Hd and now 1x on Premiere Elite)

  24. So yet another product only for digital cable customers.

    For $250 I could almost buy another TivoHD w/ lifetime.

  25. The TiVo Mini was a great idea I came up with and posted on a TiVo forum when the original Premiere came out. TiVo even used the same name. Of course, it’s three years LATER than it SHOULD have been.

    It’s a no-brainer why not three years ago product. But when your company is ran by a cable guy who writes an essay of why he voted for Obama, well, can’t expect much.

    Around the time the usual crowd who stated an extender was not needed (before TiVo decided to make one) and buy a bunch of Mini’s the price will be down to $200 w/lifetime. About 9 months.

    P.S. These are the same people who owned 2 to 5 – 2 tuner Premieres and said that 3 or more tuner Premieres where pointless, until TiVo decided to made them – and then bought a couple themselves.

    Who are they? The same dozen people who actually still post regularly on THAT community about TiVo.

    Not that these are the ONLY people who will, or should buy them. But it’ll be the right timing for the rest of us.

  26. I’ve been around the TiVo forums since they were called the AVS forums (as have many posting here on this blog, certainly Zatz and Megazone and a bunch of others) and I assure that that people were posting about distributing video from a central TiVo to “extenders” all the way back to 1999. It’s an obvious idea.

    TiVo moves glacially slow, because they have had no direct competition since replaytv went under many years back. They have near 100% of the non-cable/sat STB market, and losing money or not, for whatever reason, they aren’t hungry.

  27. Also the majority of people have always said more tuners are better. I can only think of one person who constantly says 2 tuners is enough and he hates the Premiere because it can’t be prom hacked.

    As far as the Mini, people said it wasn’t worth it or really feasible until TiVo offered streaming which didn’t happen till about a year after the release of the Premiere. They also said it wasn’t really worth it until they offered more than 2 tuners.

  28. Streaming is an obvious prerequisite. Tuners are not, because who could have forseen that technical limitation?

  29. Nope, never envisioned an extender until Dean mentioned it. ;)

    http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2009-09/tivo-and-the-cci-byte/

    A better implementation for TiVo’s MRV, and what we see with Windows Media Center and Moxi in the retail space, is an extender model in which shows are streamed to another node in the home rather than copied to another device.

  30. Earliest reference I could find was 2002, but I do remember seeing posts in 2000 or 1999.

    http://archive.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=62125

  31. I think the tuner limit discussions were more for people who would want to watch live TV on the extender now of course known as the Mini. I believe it came since people argued over how you handle it. Do you let the extender cancel a recording or not to steal a tuner? I know user profiles as a result came into the discussion so that you could set permissions.

  32. I guess the $250 isn’t terrible — I’d still rather see closer to $200, but still not too bad.
    I’m pretty sure that you have always been able to “upgrade” to lifetime with their stand-alone boxes, so imagine you can here as well.
    I think that it would make sense for them to allow streaming of recordings on the 2-tuner boxes if they have wired ethernet – but not sure if that is a large enough population. Still, I they fix the tuner allocation thing.
    I assume it will support it, but has there been mention of whether it will support Comcast On-Demand? (Or on-demand from cablecos like RCN and Suddenlink)?
    I guess I’ll need to take a ride out to my aunt’s at some point to see how it works — RCN was supposed to install one of these out there yesterday.

  33. Michael, I don’t think RCN is deploying TiVo Minis at this point. It’s more likely she received a TiVo Preview which is somewhat larger, sporting it’s own CableCARD and tuner for live TV.

  34. I was on the phone call. They are coming to remove their 2-tuner box from the living room and replacing it with a 4-tuner box and putting a box without a hard drive in their bed room. I can’t think of what this can be other than the mini?

    http://www.rcn.com/dc-metro/digital-cable-tv/tivo-q

  35. Yeah, it’s probably the “TiVo Preview” … Which the Mini will most likely end up replacing in TiVo’s product catalog as it’s more economical for MSOs to skip the CableCARD, both hardware and support.

    http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2011-06/tivos-new-hardware-at-the-cable-show/tivo-preview-front/

    http://www.tivo.com/assets/pdfs/business/Generic_SS-2011_Preview.pdf

  36. So is this logically any different than the mini other than being physically bigger?

  37. Hmm, I thought he said no tuner — but could be wrong.

  38. Yes, the tuning is handled locally on the Preview to host-DVR tuner allocation doesn’t come into play. Also the Mini pulls more stuff from the host DVR, including the Guide and Discovery Bar content. The Mini is a much “thinner” client.

  39. Dean-I: very funny, total crack-up. Hey, I “invented” Google Glass back in college. So pissed that I never got around to filing a patent on the damn thing. If I had I’d be a millionaire now…

    As far as VOD access, I have it on my Elite and really don’t use it much. However, I can imagine there are people who care about this.

    What does VOD access involve? The IP queries can of course take place on the Mini, but it would have to tune the Premiere DVR to the dynamic “channel” assigned. Not really all that different from tuning from the channel guide except for where the “channel” comes from. And the trick commands would have to be sent over IP, presumably by the Mini.

    Certainly seems like it COULD be supported by the Mini. As in all things though, its “simply a matter of programming”.

  40. I agree it could certainly be supported — I was just wondering IF they did that mater of programming :). My main question is because this would be at least part of my motivation to get one — I would want something I could easily move between rooms to get on-demand where I don’t already as it is such a small box…

  41. TiVo Mini.

    My name back in 2009.

    TiVo community look it up.

    TiVo Mini

  42. A LOT of people in TiVo Community told me OVER and OVER and OVER that more than 2 tuners were NOT necessary. Also they didn’t need an extender. UNTIL, of course, TiVo decided to do it. They still are the big posters over there.

    They were my TWO biggest BIGGEST complaint on the release of the Premiere.

    No 3 tuner version.

    No extender.

    I never claimed to INVENT extenders. But the Mini name – absolutely!!

  43. It’s not the greatest branding. Then again, beyond “TiVo” they’ve lacked inspiration. DISH’s Hopper/Joey is way more memorable and descriptive. Regarding “TiVo Mini”, our very own Todd Barnard beat you to it in 2008 – albeit, not necessarily as an extender product.

    http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2008-09/tivo-hd-xl-unveiled-1tb-of-storage/#comment-82589

    Interesting side note: I used to work with the guy who came up with “Series 2″ – which I regularly ribbed him on (although he felt it was quite successful in augmenting, rather than overwhelming, the core brand).

  44. Found it.

    10/27/2010 under TiVo coffee house – TiVo Discussion

    The “TiVo MiNi”

    Notice the immediate No No’s from a regular.

  45. Wish you could edit here.

    2010. Forgot the Premiere came out in 2010.

    Years later, some nice newer posts added after the Mini announcement

  46. And shocking the regular is the person I was talking about that is extremely loud and outspoken but the majority of people disagree with. Personally I have him on ignore.

    Also the other stipulations were like I said above. There was no streaming at the time so it wasn’t an option. There was also no real network controls.

    To quote that thread with another regular “Yeah I really don’t see a need for a TiVo mini.

    For a TiVo mini to be successful, two things would have to happen. The first would be they would have to find a way to include at least one local tuner in the mini. This of course would raise the cost and require a CableCARD so I don’t see that happening unless of course we see one from the TiVo/Suddenlink partnetship, but it would only work on Suddenlink Cable. This would be similar to the basic boxes you can rent from the cable company that don’t support PPV and VOD, but are purely unidirectional. It would still be able to access a main TiVo unit, but wouldn’t be able to record and would need a small drive to allow transfers since we know TiVo’s position on streaming. There would also be a small MRV monthly fee to support the cost similar to how DirecTV charges for it now.

    The second option would be the TiVo Home server where you have 4-6 tuners in one TiVo and use the TiVo mini to access those tuners similar to the 360 and Windows 7 Media Center. Of course you still have the dilemmas from the first option like you need a small hardrive for transfers and that plus there would probably be some type of fee per mini unless the TiVo Server just has a higher fee. The issue here is also TiVo doesn’t allow a lot of remote access so you can’t delete or schedule or do many of the basic TiVo functions. Of course TiVo could open this up, but whether they would is another question. “

  47. Once again, wish you could edit.

    WoW!

    TiVo Mini name in 2008. I give credit to Todd.

    Of course, after reading it, I’m still not quite sure what he’s after. Server/cloud based DVR?

    Oh well. The thread is STILL a REALLY good read though. It’s AMAZING the people who beat up my idea and now think it’s GREAT and can’t wait to pick one up.

  48. Again the reason it wasn’t good idea at the time is because based off their current model at the time it wasn’t a good product. You seem to keep missing this.

  49. Actually what you and I want(ed) are two different products.

    You seem to think a TiVo Mini HAS to have a tuner to exist.

    It didn’t back then and interestingly actually DOESN’T in reality. So….I guess the TiVo Mini doesn’t NEED a tuner.

    ONE cable card, ONE DVR, multiple MiNi’s, smaller cable bills.

    As far as the need for more than two tuners. Well, yes. I bought that up even BEFORE the MiNi thread.

    There is NOTHING I brought up that wasn’t done ALREADY at the time by someone else, either Roku or Moxi.

  50. /popcorn

  51. I meant, More than two tuners IN the DVR. I mentioned it in the thread and before. The original Premiere XL was a complete waste of time and a $$$ rip off without a 3rd (or more) tuner, as TiVo must have recognized not TOO much later.

    My version of the TiVo MiNi was a streamer. Didn’t need a hard drive. WHY??? Blows the WHOLE point of it. Then AND now. The lack of a Cable card saves about $8 month for most(rental CC AND extra outlet fee)

    The other thing are all these fees you mention. Uff da. Worse than a cable bill. You are insisting on going down a road that doesn’t exist.

  52. Dean, I do have to snicker at some of the self-elected experts over there. Every benign “wish list” thread becomes a debate. Dual tuner? No! It’ll cannibalize single tuner sales? Hulu? NO! People aren’t used to commercials on their Tivo!

    A free space meter? No! TivoPony said in a post 5 years ago that they have higher priorities! Plus they’re inaccurate! Customer support calls will be through the roof! Three or four tuners? No! My god man, think of the horror it will do to the 2-tuner boxes!

    An extender?? No! For the love of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the Apostles! Tivo will die overnight if everybody replaces their their paid DVRs with extenders!

    Not to mention the ones that obsess over minutia, like reminding us regularly how live tv streaming on the Stream and Tivo itself isn’t “live” because of a few seconds of recording buffer.

    They really are funny. :D

    I just now did the search for Dean’s original Mini post. Funny story, I was half dedicating this post to that “outspoken” person before I even knew who was being referred to. :)

    It’s funny to read the comments in that thread.

  53. Haven’t dug it up yet. Was it Zeo?

  54. I don’t think a TiVo Mini needs a tuner to exist nor do I want the Mini to have one since the cost would be much higher and require a CableCARD then. I do think for a product to have the name of the main product along with Mini it needs to duplicate the functionality in some way or it is confusing to the average consumer.

    Everything in that quote has changed making the Mini a possible option. At the time without the necessary features, the Mini is a dead product.

    If we had streaming, network controls, and everything else TiVo has since released in 2010, your thread would have been a different discussion.

    The very second line of that quote is “For a TiVo mini to be successful, two things would have to happen.” Those things happened. TiVo introduced a 4 tuner model, they introduced Streaming of live and recorded TV which eliminates the need for a tuner, and introduced network remote options such as deleting and scheduling recordings.

  55. No Dave it is lrhorer. http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=458155 is the link to the thread.

    Even he is spot on the second post.

    “Unless it could seamlessly control the main Tivo (as if one were sitting in front of it), I don’t think it would be a big seller. One would need to be able to create Season Passes and Wishlists, delete programs, set thumbs uo/down, etc all from the remote box. I’m also skeptical that TiVo could make enough money on it to cover their costs for delivering it. The economy is tight right now, and such luxuries are not a high priority for the average consumer. What’s more, although I am not a big advocate of putting more than 2 tuners in a DVR, this is one case where the lack of additional tuners in the main machine would become an issue. Don’t ask me why, but people insist on watching things “live”. With only 2 tuners in the house, that means only 2 rooms can be watching something “live”. That, and if 2 or more people want to channel surf, it becomes an issue. “

  56. Dear Lord!

    It NEVER ends.

    Once again.

    Everything I mentioned back THEN was ALREADY being done by either Roku OR Moxi.

    I get a kick out of those who think something NEEDS some thing to EVER work.

    Gee, I’d hate for the TiVo Mini, at the time, NOT to have access to a tuner, because that could’ve REALLY messed with TiVo’s HUGE quarterly losses of SUBS and $$$ at the time. And we wouldn’t want to mess with the good thing they had going back then.

  57. Mike, you would NOT believe.

    These guys ALL had more than 3 TiVo’s. One even had 7 TiVo’s. But could NOT understand how a Multiple (more than 2) tuner TiVo and extenders could help him save time/money/space/cable $$. it’s just stupid and pointless, can’t be done.

    But they ALL bought 4 tuner TiVo’s literally as soon as they became available. Then boasted how they are saving money on cable cards. :o

    And they will ALL be buying Mini’s. And selling their Old Premieres, again. The money these rocket-scientists have blown buying things they said were unnecessary, again AND again, is as insane as their rigid ideology.

  58. Personally I think the Mini name is stupid. But whatever, don’t care.

    My main reason to get rid of the thing isn’t even the cost savings or “the snappy”, its that I really really hate how Comcast handles CableCARD, making it so very very difficult for me to upgrade a TiVo given the horror I’ll have to go through to get the new thing working on my cable system again. By not having a cable card, this eliminates a fee I don’t think I should be paying and lets me stuff the cable card back in Comcast’s face.

  59. I don’t care for the Mini name either. I think the Mini name was more fitting for the Preview since it was more than just a streamer.

    As far as your comments Dean, you seam to read things into peoples comments that aren’t there or at least not in the few threads I skimmed.

    They weren’t being done by TiVo which is what everyone said. It wasn’t that people didn’t want extenders, but instead they needed TiVo to implement multiple product improvements before an extender model would work for TiVo. These of course were also features people wanted and complained about that TiVo hadn’t implemented yet.

    I am glad TiVo invested in MRV first because if they had done streaming from the beginning they might not have bothered with ever implementing the ability to copy.

    The only Mini I will be buying is for my mom and giving her my XL4 so I can buy the next 4 or hopefully 6 tuner XL model. 2 tuners has never been enough for me which is why I have always owned multiple TiVos. At the same time I am not a huge fan of the extender model except for lightly used rooms because you have a single point of failure. There are also other disadvantages as well and multiple reasons why it wouldn’t work in my house.

  60. Aw geez, the TiVo Preview. I really liked it when I had one for three weeks, but I had forgotten all about it since then.

  61. The service fee is kind of a downer, I think I’m going to have to explore Aereo when it comes along.

  62. This seems like the ultimate wasted opportunity for TiVo to really expand its install base. The hard sell has always been why a consumer would pay ~$200 upfront vs. the “free” CableCo DVR. Well, this would have been the perfect selling point. Charge $129 or even $149 for the Mini with no monthly fee and I think a lot of people would prefer that over paying for multiple STBs (~$10 ea./month) from the CableCo and start to look into TiVo more seriously.

    Just seems like another opportunity for TiVo to really capture a lot of new customers that is being wasted. They are too scared of losing their “profits” to do anything innovative.

  63. @Michael, totally agree. Always seems odd to me, feels like they would make more money selling more boxes at a lower price. Totally reminds me of one of those graphs in economics class where you look at marginal cost.

  64. “especially in conjunction with reports of significant app speed improvements due to a more modern Broadcom BCM7418 chip.”

    The exquisitely funny part is that for a single teevee household like ours, if money were no object, the ideal setup would be a headless Elite networked to a TiVo Mini used as an HDMI client for the teevee. Too expensive and Rube Goldberg-esque for any traction in reality, but that does seem to be the correct theoretical answer on March 7th, no?

  65. Chucky,

    I guess we’ll know soon. I could imagine that various things could still have more latency due to the remote control delays than the native Elite, but I guess we’ll see.

  66. Wow $6 a month per room? That’s the same price as additional DirecTV Genie clients. I will stick with DirecTV.

    Say, why doesn’t TiVo release a DirecTV version of this? Not that severely choked old school TiVo shoehorned on an old HR22 DVR.

  67. Glenn, Chucky, from the new retail TiVo Mini support page:

    When you stream Live TV through TiVo Mini, there is a very slight delay for setup and buffering. This lag is to be expected.

  68. cypherstream wrote:
    Wow $6 a month per room? That’s the same price as additional DirecTV Genie clients.

    Exactly. But aren’t the first three Genie Minis free? As in no upfront cost and no monthly fee. The fees only show up on Genie Mini number four and beyond.

    Tivo has substantially overpriced the Mini.

  69. Get the lifetime service, then the break even period for lifetime over monthly is 25 months. While you would be paying monthly for the Mini or the Genie clients indefinitely. Plus there is more value in a TiVo product that has lifetime service so it could always be sold down the road. In the long run the TiVo Mini with lifetime service is much cheaper than paying a monthly fee indefinitely.

  70. I originally was thinking about monthly until the actual pricing came out. Since the break even period is rather short, I will end up getting lifetime service on the TiVo Minis I purchase. I plan on getting one at launch and a second one if/when a six tuner TiVo is launched.

  71. “When you stream Live TV through TiVo Mini, there is a very slight delay for setup and buffering. This lag is to be expected.”

    Interesting. Not really specific as to whether that means the lag comes “when you start streaming Live TV” or “every time you change the channel on Live TV”. Knowing which of the two would make it easier to guess where the lag is coming from.

    Whichever, my use-case scenario is that I essentially never watch pure live TV with no buffer build-up. Thus, that kind of lag wouldn’t bother me in the way the general HDUI lagginess bothers me.

    So, still intellectually curious if the Mini will have significantly better DVR snappiness than any current shipping TiVo with an integrated platter drive, channel surfing excepted.

    —–

    That Connection states for TiVo Mini chart really is amazingly funny. And I don’t even know why. It actually communicates the necessary information in a reasonably concise form. But it’s still somehow still very funny.

  72. I have a premier, and just want to be able to view that content on the bedroom tv. I thought the Stream was the thing, but can’t stream through the ipad to the apple tv to the tv (it’s still somewhat useful though, just doesn’t meet my original intentions).

    The Mini would be the answer, except that I’d need a 4 (or 4XL), so I have to get a new box anyway – rather than getting the mini, I’d probably move the orginal premier to the bedroom and then just add a 4XL.

    But your comments about new hardware have me waiting to pull the trigger – is there anything significant that I should hold off for? If something is coming out in the next few months that is worth it, or is it typical TiVo (something should be coming out, but will probably be delayed – March 6th has come and gone).

    Direct reply would be fine if you can’t post details here

  73. We believe TiVo is working on updated DVR hardware, featuring a more modern processor that would better handle apps and possibly offer transcoding capabilities (so you wouldn’t need a Stream). As far as timing, nothing in the first half of the year for sure… but I’d say the holiday season or early next year are on the table. Regarding the Mini’s launch/announcement, yes we hear it’s been pushed a bit for reasons unknown – but still happening in the near future.

  74. “Regarding the Mini’s launch/announcement, yes we hear it’s been pushed a bit for reasons unknown – but still happening in the near future.”

    In the absence of contrary information, one could well imagine that they’ve decided to finish a bit more of the software…

  75. Well, I’m not sure we can ding TiVo for missing their release date… as the date wasn’t really announced to the public. As far as know, release was intended for “spring” (after missing “fall” and “late summer”).

    But as far as getting Netflix or full fledged dynamic tuner allocation into place prior to launch, would it be unprofessional of me to mention TiVo doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to rapid development or shipping complete products? The HDUI remains incomplete three years after launch, the TiVo Stream won’t have Android support for some time, TiVo Desktop has been busted for nearly three weeks, the Series 3 launched without TiVoToGo or Multi-Room Viewing, etc.

    I guess it’s all about setting expectations – if we compare TiVo to something like Roku or a smartphone line that sees regular hardware refreshes and app/channel updates, we’ll probably be disappointed. However, if we consider TiVo an extension of the cable industry, as they are positioning themselves, then their product development cycles are not at all unreasonable and what they produce is comparatively of very high quality.

  76. “would it be unprofessional of me to mention TiVo doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to rapid development or shipping complete products?”

    Not unprofessional in the least. Just true. But let’s dream happy thoughts for a moment:

    Let’s assume that Alviso has always understood that S4 hardware didn’t have the horsepower to run the TiVo runtime software properly. So why really bother doing serious software dev?

    Now, let’s further assume that the Mini is S5 hardware.

    And then when you write:

    “We believe TiVo is working on updated DVR hardware, featuring a more modern processor that would better handle apps and possibly offer transcoding capabilities”

    Let’s go yet another mile to assume that you are describing a Mini with a platter drive and tuners. In other words, more S5 hardware.

    So, now TiVo hardware has finally caught up with bare necessities to run their runtime software. Now it actually makes sense for Alviso to spend some effort writing software. And so they finish the tuner allocation issue, and finish a new Netflix client to have the bare minimum of software to coherently release the S5 Mini. And they can continue writing, and repurpose all they write for S5 Mini to the new-gen DVR.

    So, in this happy scenario, software dev is finally a worthwhile investment for Alviso in the new runtime, given the adequate hardware, and things can take off a bit on the software dev front. They just made an (understandable) decision to treat the S4 like a redheaded stepchild, but now the sad era of the S4 is now coming to an end.

    Or maybe not. But if I were Alviso with the horrendous trade-off decisions made on the S4, I’d have not really bothered with serious software dev until I had an adequate hardware platform like the S5 to write to. So in a happy world, we can see light at the end of the tunnel. (If the ‘maybe not’ is true, then that light is an oncoming train, of course…)

    —–

    “However, if we consider TiVo an extension of the cable industry … what they produce is comparatively of very high quality.”

    TiVo makes the worst DVR’s in the entire world, with the single exception of all the others.

  77. Michael Burstin March 7, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    @Chucky — I haven’t followed the rumors enough, but are they planning to re-write the entire system, or would they just move the current code-base to newer faster hardware which could run the software better? More of a Tivo 4S in Apple’s world than a brand new system.

    Part of me is wondering this in a wonder whether the Mini will be a proper client for the Tivo if the 5 is a whole new beast.

    Any yes, I think the thing about Tivo being the worst with the exception of all others is true. It is painful to use my Comcast box that is sitting on our spare TV (box comes as part of my cable package) to do anything — it recently has decided to not even be able to remember manually scheduled repeated recordings…

  78. Chucky, I assume a large percent of their resources have been focused on integrating the TiVo experience into the Pace box over the last year for their cable partners around the world. And it’ll surely hit well before the Premiere Deluxe, Series 4.5.

  79. “I assume a large percent of their resources have been focused on integrating the TiVo experience into the Pace box”

    I have pretty much zero knowledge of the Pace box. But is the runtime built on the same Air software development foundation? If so, they can start getting double-use out of development now that the retail hardware is catching up in capabilities to the Pace hardware, no?

    That’d be the happy dream. The same high-level runtime implemented on two different hardware platforms, leaving Alviso able to write once, and deploy everywhere they’ve got the runtime hooked into each variant of adequate hardware. No idea if that’s the reality in our branch of the multiverse, but that’s certainly how I’d want to architect things.

    But, once again, I have pretty much zero knowledge of the Pace box…