New, Larger Capacity TiVo DVR To Launch At CEDIA

Dave Zatz —  August 16, 2014

tivo-big

By way of the TiVo Community and whispers on the wind, we learn that TiVo intends to launch a new, higher-end DVR at CEDIA early next month… despite laying off their in-house industrial design hardware team. As to what comes after Roamio Plus and Pro, one can only guess. Assuming TiVo even sticks with the cutesy moniker for the custom install crowd, they’ve previously appended both Elite and XL to higher capacity models. First and foremost, that’s exactly what we expecting here. Whereas the Roamio Pro tops out at 3TB, I have reason to believe this incoming model will provide significantly more recording capacity, although it’s not entirely clear if this is accomplished via a single 4-6TB drive OR multiple drives working in concert for outrageous amounts of storage.

Beyond the hard drive bump, might we see 6 more tuners, powered by a second CableCARD, to take on the ridiculous? Signs point to no, but perhaps there are other surprises in store. I know I still miss that old Series 3 OLED display – it just oozed orange coolness (assuming your DVR wasn’t in a cabinet). Not to mention, maybe TiVo’s top unit should ship with learning Slide remote. And we wonder if it’s still too early for 4k. Guess we’ll find out in a few short weeks… What’s on your hardware wishlist?

35 responses to New, Larger Capacity TiVo DVR To Launch At CEDIA

  1. Signs point to insane amounts of storage… along with matching insane pricing. But we are talking the custom install crowd here. If TiVo does go the media server route, might they let us move our personal video and photo collections onto the DVR and provide a means to move it around the house (or beyond)? Also, if we’re going with multiple drives, I imagine we’d need a larger, different enclosure. Would they make it a it rack mountable and RAID like SnapStream? Hm.

    Wonder if we’ll see something running on Pace hardware or similar, given the personnel transition.

  2. The Roamio line for me really gave me what I was looking for from TiVo hardware wise finally. A 12 tuner would be crazy, but I would rather have 2 Pros for backup in case one fails or reboots in the middle of a recording as some have seen recently.

    My wishlist is still software related. I want Plex functionality so I can stream any locally stored content and have TiVo handle it as well as TiVo handles TiVo to TiVo streaming including the trickplay functionality. I would love to be able to offload using the built in Stream functionality to transcode the raw Mpeg2 to something more reasonable size wise that would still look great on a TV. I want built in Trakt.TV functionality so I can track what episodes I have watched and also the ability to tell TiVo never to record those specific episodes even if I have record repeats on. I would love all of this to be wrapped in a new TiVo Desktop.

  3. Isn’t the current Pro 3TB? Could this be as simple as a 4TB option?

  4. Fixed, thanks. The way it’s been presented to me, it seems like a whole lot more storage than a simple 1TB bump.

  5. @brennok, I would love to see some sort of redundancy so that a single hard drive failure doesn’t cause a loss of recorded programs. The current Roamio Pro has 450 hours of HD storage… perhaps we will see > 1,000 hours?

  6. Looks like TiVo is just going with the latest WG Green drives which now support 5 & 6 TB. My bets on the 6TB in a Roamio Plus/Pro housing. Simple and can ship tomorrow.

    Model # Capacity. Interface Form Factor
    WD60EZRX 6 TB. SATA 6 Gb/s 3.5 Inch
    WD50EZRX 5 TB. SATA 6 Gb/s 3.5 Inch.

    http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=780

  7. What TiVo should REALLY do is release an android app offering their full DVR experience (but no youtube, etc) for google’s new AndroidTV that records to a network (SMB) or direct-attached USB3 drive. The TiVo app should be free to install, come with a 2 week free trial, and charge $8.99/month per household.

  8. Forgot one important point– the above would be fully integrated with a HDhomerun prime.

  9. “Looks like TiVo is just going with the latest WG Green drives which now support 5 & 6 TB. My bets on the 6TB in a Roamio Plus/Pro housing. Simple and can ship tomorrow.”

    Wonder if normal procedures will apply, and tinkerer customers will be able to just drop one of those drives into an existing Roamio…

  10. Not sure how Brian came to his conclusion, but additional intel suggests something more…

  11. I’m guessing a 6TB version, otherwise identical in every way to the Plus/Pro.

  12. “Not sure how Brian came to his conclusion, but my intel suggests something more…”

    Tailfins?

    Integrated Roku?

  13. @Sam TiVo building in the redundancy would seem to be a waste when they could partner with someone like Synology. Then you could connect one of their NAS directly or via the network to expand drive storage while opting for the redundancy plan you want.If it treats it like an extended drive then it should be able to move even copy once recordings over to the NAS since the TiVo will still be the primary playback device with no modification to the original recording.

  14. Integrated roku would be sweet, that’s my pet answer from years ago.

    Regarding space, would love to see them include a h.264 hardware encoder that encodes all those mpeg2 streams to mpeg4, dropping space usage by 75% or so. Those encoders have been around for years now, it’s no longer particularly expensive to encode h.264 in realtime. That would be an actual improvement in core DVR functionality– the first in many years.

  15. Rodalpho, given the built-in “roam”io/streaming functionality, they can transcode at will. Still might be a straighter and safer shot MPEG2 > HDD tho. Don’t know exactly how they’re architected or way the pain points might be, if there’s a better way, etc.

  16. The plus with an ota tuner would be be a plus. The base model requiring lacking moca and streaming is a deal breaker. The higher end models w/ota is also a deal breaker. How they manage to keep blowing the simple stuff boggles.

  17. The “upgrade” that TiVo should be doing….. bringing back the dual coax inputs for ota AND cable (not ota OR cable). As broadcast channels keep climbing in retransmission fees, cable companies would benefit from a box that allowed their customers to combine ota and cable content seamlessly.

    Also, TiVo should be appealing to the cord-cutters more by offering more than a low-end STB for those people. A cord cutter needs more storage space, not someone with a cable subscription that has access to VOD.

  18. I expect we’d seen it pass through the fcc if this was anything more than a larger hard disk.

  19. SO BIG it’s almost inappropriate

    What other DVRs dream of being when they grow up.

    OK, maybe it’s more than just a 6TB drive. :^)

    It has been one year since the Roamio’s release date so maybe adding a new model isn’t so out of the question? A model aimed at Cable operators for whole home multi-room households with multiple Mini’s. So maybe support for dual CableCards’ as Dave mentioned to allow one Roamio to support 10 Mini’s live?

    “TiVo Roamio supports up to 11 TiVo Mini accessories. Each DVR supports 4
    additional outbound HD streams simultaneously”

  20. TiVo Roamio supports up to 11 TiVo Mini accessories.

    That’s new. Their retail site says “Up to eight TiVo Minis can be supported by one TiVo network containing either TiVo Roamio or Premiere DVRs. One tuner is used each time a TiVo Mini is being used on the network.”

    I bought 8 Minis thinking it was safe. However, if I have all 8 connected I start experiencing timeouts (c501) on the minis and eventually the host dvr reboots. Maybe I’ll hook the 8th back up and see if now works.

  21. “I expect we’d seen it pass through the fcc if this was anything more than a larger hard disk.”

    Unless this is TiVo baked into some other manufacturer’s hardware. Given the layoffs and their increased focus on software and services, that seems like a reasonable possibility. Also, many companies in general are revealing less via the FCC – including better timing filing posting with announcement or just passing thru the wireless chips they use.

    I suppose it they could do something externally too, which would bypass a FCC reveal – Weaknees offered some sort of external RAID once.

  22. Michael Burstin August 18, 2014 at 8:24 am

    I never paid too close of attention given that I only have 1 mini (and that currently is on Moca while rest of household including other Tivos are on ethernet) but what is the bandwidth requirement of a single mini? Would hitting more than 8 start to possibly reach moca or even gigabit ethernet bandwidth? Maybe even SATA bandwidth for 8 streams plus 6 recordings?

  23. Michael, unless you have multiple SATA drives to write to? Not that it matters, it looking less likely this is about tuners.

  24. Michael Burstin August 18, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Sorry – I was asking more about the 8 mini limit for current hardware … I didn’t know whether that limit was based on actual ethernet and/or SATA limitations.

    BTW, did you know you’ve gotten a spambot infestation over the past hour or 2 — I have subscribed to a bunch of old posts and gotten dozens of spam postings to them

  25. 4K? Does anyone have 4K content? My cable company doesn’t really do HD well. It’s so compressed it looks like the web circa 1995. Well, not that bad. But any time there’s fast motion or fire or smoke elements, it looks like garbage. So I don’t see 4K as being a necessity any time soon.

    What they should do is add back the ATSC tuners. I’m bummed that the pro version doesn’t have it. It makes cord cutting an expensive proposition. I got the pro because I wanted the capacity and I wanted the TiVo Stream built in. The entry model has the ATSC tuners, but you give up cable card tuners, you get a lot smaller capacity, and you don’t get the Stream.

    I’d personally like to see for cord cutters is for TiVo come up with a USB based tuner for ATSC. I’m not certain that the TiVo USB supports the necessary bandwidth for that, though, unless the could somehow inject the video signal back into the coax connector. But the other trick is that it can’t be really expensive. Which means it will never happen. But TiVo is going to have to face the trend that a lot of people are cutting the cord. And being left holding the bag on an expensive DVR isn’t going to sit well.

  26. this is a great idea

  27. Redundancy is impossible for cable systems that use the “Copy once” flag. As the name suggests shows marked with that flag can only be recorded once. Creating a copy, even for backup, would violate the rules.

    Plus DVRs, and VCRs before them, are only legal for time shifting not archiving. So as far as TiVo is concerned the content on the drive is only temporary and doesn’t really warrant backup. I know that people feel differently but TiVo needs to be careful not to market their device as an archive machine or it may get challenged in court and we’ll all be screwed.

  28. Michael Burstin August 22, 2014 at 7:46 am

    @Dan – I agree to some extent with your statement about redundancy for external storage but they certainly could do some sort of RAID array within the box for expanded and redundant storage – though I question whether that would really be practical — plus, if they were going for that, they would need to make the drives be externally replaceable by the end-user – what good is redundancy if you need to ship your box out to get it repaired so would need to encrypt everything on the drive (though I would imagine they could maybe use hardware-encrypted drives.

  29. Tivo needs at a minimum to support larger drives – 4TB are now common, 8TB is here or almost here.

    It would also be nice if they’d update the software for the existing Roamios to support dropping in drives larger than 3TB.

  30. It would also be nice if they’d update the software for the existing Roamios to support dropping in drives larger than 3TB.

    I would assume the upcoming Fall update would support drives larger than 3TB in light of the upcoming CEDIA announcement which looks to support large drives at a minimum.

    As for 8TB HDD:

    “Seagate officially announced its 6TB non-helium-filled drive in April 2014, and after hinting in May that it would release 8TB and 10TB hard drives in the next 12 months, has started delivering early samples of its 8TB hard drive to “major customers” (i.e. enterprise customers). […] however, [no] mention of when these hard drive behemoths are coming to the consumer market

    Curiously, while Western Digital hit 6TB last year by filling its drives with helium, Seagate appears to be pushing the 3.5-inch spinning disk storage envelope by simply increasing areal density. Western Digital, incidentally, despite being the first to 6TB, hasn’t announced anything new since November 2013. Maybe helium wasn’t quite ready for prime time?”

    http://www.extremetech.com/computing/186624-seagate-starts-shipping-8tb-hard-drives-with-10tb-and-hamr-on-the-horizon

  31. Helium drives must be squeaky

  32. I think the Weaknees RAID options depended on the specific SATA configuration on the HD models — the eSATA port was cabled to a standard port on the motherboard, so you could connect the external port as the “primary” drive and run without internal storage.

    The Premiere and Roamio both have eSATA ports soldered directly to the motherboard; I doubt they’ll boot from eSATA.

  33. TiVo just put up a press release:

    TiVo Mega
    $5k, 6 tuners, 24TB RAID5, rack mountable, includes Lifetime Service and Slide Remote, available in 2015.

    http://investor.tivo.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=106292&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1964575&highlight=

    26,000 hours of television sure is a lot…

    TiVo-branded server picture of Mega here:
    http://zatznotfunny.com/2014-08/new-larger-capacity-tivo-dvr-to-launch-at-cedia/tivo-mega/

  34. I’m a bit surprised that it doesn’t have support for a second 6-stream CableCard – this is the sort of box that only someone with LOTS of money to spend on their TV habits would buy so the extra CableCard charge from their cable company is probably ignorable…

  35. Easy answer. Adding the hardware to support a 2nd CableCARD is easy. The Mega uses essentially the same software as the Roamio. Supporting 6 additional tuners ripples throughout the software code base. The NRE isn’t justified.