TiVo Demos Smart Watch Remote (with voice control!)

Dave Zatz —  January 4, 2016

By way of Com Hem, an international TiVo partner, the DVR pioneer appears poised to launch smart watch apps for remote control — citing both the Apple Watch and Android Wear platforms. Beyond replicating existing smartphone app functions, like changing channels as while browsing the live guide, TiVo indicates voice control is also on the docket… as alluded to last September.

Initially, these Dick Tracey-esque wrist interactions appear specific to Com Hem TiVo customers (and the apps are saddled with a ‘beta’ designation). Yet, with CES just kicking off, I suspect we could learn more about potential retail customer support within the next 48 hours.

As to other TiVo news from the Vegas trade show, an HBO GO announcement seems like a lock and I’m hopeful we’ll learn more of an OTA-only Bolt solution… with or without “Aereo” branding.

(Thanks Sam!)

35 responses to TiVo Demos Smart Watch Remote (with voice control!)

  1. Any word when skipmode comes to all Roamio owners (versus certain cities)? Really looking forward to that.

  2. Just got a press release from Com Hem on this. Some additional info and clarification:

    In the beta version of the app, developed for the TiVo-platform, the viewer can browse between channels, view program information and also use the watch as a remote control. In the Android version of the app, the viewer can also select a channel through voice command.

    Iceman, haven’t heard anything on that. Hopefully plans are disclosed this week at CES.

  3. The video voiceover could use some wordsmithing. I especially like the part about how their goal is to constantly strive to develop ideas to make the future of television better.

    Their goal could be to make television better, but instead it’s apparently three or four degrees of separation from that.

  4. Ha, I had the same thought about the striving goal redundancy and inconsistency. But was more fixated on this being an English-language promo, given Com Hem’s Swedish market. Maybe they’re speaking to the investment community? Or on behalf of TiVo? Hm.

  5. Uuggghhh why do R&D for the intersection of Tivo owners, iPhone owners and Apple Watch owners??? Why not try to get more non-Tivo owners to buy Tivos by adding features…. Honestly I love my Tivos and I feel like I own a ton of Apple products, but I don’t own the Watch because why? And honestly no one is going to buy a Tivo because they have a poor guide experience on their wrist… Heck why not build Tivo software for the AppleTV??? Get more entertainment TV apps… Why do this?? If they care about the future of TV then you would think they would do more to be a hub/streaming solution incorporating OTA and cable cards… they are unique in that space…

  6. I never wear my Apple Watch when I am home. Not sure how useful this will be.

  7. I’ll never own an Apple Watch, so don’t really care about this app, although I guess it’s good branding for TiVo to associate themselves with the latest thing from Apple. I am excited, however, about HBO apps coming to TiVo. Really hope we hear TiVo announce at CES that apps for both HBO Go *and* HBO Now are on their way soon (and not just for the new TiVo Bolt)!

  8. I’d have rather seen a SlingTV app announcement, with support for scheduling/recording from SlingTV… If SlingTV could just be another “cable provider” that was supported in Tivo’s Guide/OnePass/Suggested content, and the app would work with “older” internet connected Tivos like the Premiere XL4, as well as newer Tivos.. I could remove the cable card and tuning adaptor from the family Tivo and be done.

    Shrug.

    Maybe next year.

  9. That’s always been my thought too, perfface4radio, except with PS Vue as well. That’s more of a comprehensive service than SlingTV. Offer both and the consumer has more choice, but I agree even one would be nice…..for a start. I think the kludge of dealing with cable co’s is one of TiVo’s biggest obstacles to true nationwide acceptance and success.

  10. Interesting. I’m always looking for new uses for my not-particularly-useful-beyond-telling-time-and-receiving-notifications Android Wear watch.

    I’m thinking this project has more to do with doing something novel that will promote the TiVo name (“Hey look, TiVo’s got an Apple Watch/Android Wear App!”) than making something that TiVo users will find actually find practical/useful. As it stands, I will always use my remote with physical buttons over the TiVo app on my smartphone/tablet, and I imagine I will in all likelihood prefer to use either of those two options over a smartwatch app. But it’s still nice to have.

  11. I’m eager to see how this app turns out. Like Brad said, Tivo is unique in that they can bridge both the cable/FIOS world and OTT sources in one box better than others. With MPEG 4 recording coming through Comcast and probably FIOS, it could open up possibilities for using third party devices (Apple TV, Roku, Android TV etc.) as extenders. I’m not holding my breath, but I can dream.

  12. Somewhat unrelated (but perhaps not since we’re speculating about CES announcements), but any word on the Roamios eventually getting the Hulu HTML 5 app that the Bolt enjoys?

    If nothing else, at a minimum it would be nice to get DIAL/Cast capabilities added to the current app since currently the only way to watch Showtime content on the TiVo is to start watching it on another device, then opening it up in the History on the TiVo app.

  13. MPEG 4 recording is here. I have been recording MPEG 4 from Cox on Premiers since early 2012. The news this weekend was that they are going to add the ability of Series 3 hardware to record MPEG 4

  14. Alex, the updated Hulu app is definitely coming to Roamio. Not sure about Premiere. Don’t know what the timing is, but given HBO GO (and some other less interesting apps), they could put out a big release that refers to it this week. Haven’t heard anything on Sling TV – that would be a killer app, especially in relation to an OTA-only Bolt. However, DISH’s sister company Echostar produces DVR+ for Channel Master… which is getting Sling TV. So there who knows if the motivation is there.

    I finally got around to tweaking the title and post, based on the press release that was issued after I posted.

    I don’t see myself picking up a smart watch anytime soon, but voice control directly via iPhone Siri (if possible) would be very useful. “Hey Siri, change TiVo 1 to ESPN.”

  15. steve lunceford January 4, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Except with the way Siri understands me, her response would be: “I don’t know what you mean by ‘change To Go One to Ease Peeing’, Steve”

  16. Oh Tivo please don’t forget the Pebble Time! :)

  17. Seems like it would be silly for Dish to freeze out the potential pool of TiVo users (however small it may be) from Sling TV to make a point of differentiation between TiVo and the DVR+ considering that TiVo owners are probably unlikely to ever consider purchasing a Channel Master DVR, but a recurring $20/month subscription will quickly outpace any profits off the sale of hardware. On the other hand, since the DVR+ is exclusively for OTA users, that market would likely be more receptive to Sling TV than the TiVo user base that has both cable and OTA users, but probably still way more cable users.

    I’d be interested to know the breakdown between TiVo cable users and cable cutters. I’m guessing us cutters are vastly outnumbered.

  18. “I don’t see myself picking up a smart watch anytime soon”

    You might want to reconsider that. My sources in Alviso tell me that the “one more thing” announcement will be TiVo streaming to the Apple Watch. Now that’s the killer app. You’ll be able to watch 2001 on your watch.

    It might be worth noting that my sources in Alviso are imaginary, so my confidence level in that prediction is only about 95% or so…

  19. Beyond Chucky’s imaginary streaming prediction, I’m happy to see an expanded relationship with Apple products (even if not exclusively Apple), as it gets us closer to the (hopefully) inevitable app for AppleTV 4. I have my AppleTV 4 in the same room as my TiVo presently, but am considering either a new one or a swap of the 4 in the living room with the 3 in my kids’ room so they can get rid of their Series 3. I am also considering a TiVo mini in there instead, but a free app download is cheaper than a mini (which may be why TiVo won’t develop such an app).

    Once Greenlight finishes converting all of their analog channels into digital, I will be getting another Mini if there is no app, and letting that Series 3 go. It has had a solid run… 7 or 8 years now….

  20. Odd that no one mentions the obvious that TiVo is doing this for their cable partners such as, well I don’t know, Com Hem.

    I also love how things are only useful if the poster uses them. So I guess TiVo can stop supporting Android as I don’t own any Android gear. Stop wasting time TiVo supporting Android.

    Also stop supporting streaming out of home as I don’t use it so it’s a waste of time and money. Actually I don’t use streaming in-house so kill that too. Also don’t support OTA as I pay for cable and it’s support does nothing for *ME*.

    Also no need to waste time with Amazon and Hulu support as I don’t use them. And please remove all features from TiVo software *I* don’t use as these features are stupid.

  21. “And please remove all features from TiVo software *I* don’t use as these features are stupid.”

    Agree entirely.

    As far as I’m concerned, they can remove all features except for the upcoming Apple Watch streaming. First to go should be the HDMI port. (They can push a software update to disable the port from existing hardware.)

  22. Well, TiVo has put up their CES press release. It’s full of…nothing new. Oh well, guess we’ll have to wait awhile longer for that HBO Go app and Bolt OTA.

    http://pr.tivo.com/press-releases/tivo-expands-the-boundaries-of-personal-tv-with-amazon-fire-tv-and-the-latest-mo-nasdaq-tivo-1237545

  23. Well… there could be more releases. But it’s also possible HBO will be announced when HBO is ready. They frequently let their partners drive.

  24. Yeah, after I posted that, it dawned on me to check last year’s press releases. TiVo issued three the day before CES began (i.e. today) and three two days later. So hopefully we’ll hear some new stuff this week yet.

  25. “Well… there could be more releases. But it’s also possible HBO will be announced when HBO is ready. They frequently let their partners drive.”

    You know Alviso’s history much, much better than I do. But I’ve been dubious of your predictions of many coming things all actually coming to pass at CES. Does TiVo have a history of CES splashes?

    It seems to me that other than the occasional hardware intro, most of their stuff would get deployed on its own schedule, just due to various stuff specific to their business.

    But again, I defer to you on Alviso’s history…

  26. From CES Dish’s Hopper 3 DVR highlights:

    o 16 tuners
    o 64GB of RAM
    o quad-core Broadcom 7445 CPU
    o 2TB HDD/500 hours of HD.

    o uses 4K to watch four HD games at once in “Sports Bar Mode” on Ultra HD TV
    o supports up to six Joey multiroom boxes at once, as well as its new HopperGo
    o service fee of $15 per month and it’s launching this month

    http://www.engadget.com/2016/01/05/dishs-hopper-3-dvr-uses-4k-to-watch-four-hd-games-at-once/

  27. If time permits, I’ll cover tomorrow. Been trying to hack together something like that Sports Bar Mode for awhile – I’m sure I’ve got a tweet out there that proves it. Very cool.

  28. “From CES Dish’s Hopper 3 DVR highlights”

    That is all incredibly impressive from a hardware POV. Happy it’s them, and not Comcast.

    Of course, the software UX is more important than raw power to me, and while I don’t have a clue on Dish’s merits in that regard, I expect they aren’t at TiVo’s level. I do that love that OnePass / OTT integration…

  29. They’ve frequently announced items at CES. Granted many were minor, but enough to get in the spirit of things. Of course, their marcom regime underwent a huge shift a few years ago (and I no longer speak to that group) – so things are different and unpredictable (from my vantage). Whereas they once occupied a quiet meeting space off the show floor, they picked up part of Microsoft’s abandoned floor space in the main hall… but seem less communicative. Go figure.

    OTA-only 4-tuner Bolt was on the docket for last year – obviously that didn’t happen, so this seemed like a fine place for a reveal. Assuming it’s ready and assuming they’re sticking with it as presented to me. Seems like they could drop 4k, MoCA, etc to get the price down. Regarding HBO, TiVo often lets partners drive that communication (since they’re the ones largely building and bankrolling the app) – but, again, I’d think this is a good venue. The bulk of any remaining announcements would probably come out today, between the show floor finally opening (after two days of press events) and Showstoppers tonight.

  30. @Chucky “That is all incredibly impressive from a hardware POV. Happy it’s them [Dish], and not Comcast.”

    Imagine a hard drive capable of storing 500 hours of HD video!

    The good news is that the bar for DVRs has been raised (The Hopper 3 Is the Most Ludicrously Powerful Cable Box Ever and now TiVo has something to shoot at.

    The Bolt already uses the same or similar Broadcom CPU with 2 cores instead of 4 and 32GB Ram vs 64GB. It’s the 16 tuners that really is the big deal when used as a “Whole Home” DVR. 6 tuners shared between all TVs using Mini’s and recordings turns out to be too few for the Whole home sometimes.

    Too bad cable encrypts even broadcast channels as I assume QAM tunners could supplement the CableCard’s 6 tuner limit. You’d need 3 CableCards to support 16 tuners (though I’d be fine with 12 :-) or the successor to CableCard.

  31. What ever happened to the 2014 TiVo Mega… with 40 years of storage.

    http://www.cnet.com/products/tivo-mega/

  32. “What ever happened to the 2014 TiVo Mega… with 40 years of storage.”

    That’s the final day of CES. “One More Thing” will be the TiVo streaming to the Apple Watch. “One More, More Thing” will be the actual intro of the Mega, ready for sale immediately. My contacts in Alviso have never let me down yet.

  33. I guess your contacts at Alviso let you down…?

  34. “I guess your contacts at Alviso let you down…?”

    The beauty of having imaginary sources is that they never let you down.

    My contacts in Alviso still haven’t gotten one wrong.

  35. Jay, I suppose so. Their marketing department has often let partners drive outreach — considering HBO itself is most likely be bankrolling, if not outright developing, a TiVo app they could be waiting for them to announce when they’re good and ready. Regarding an OTA box… Roamio OTA is no longer available on TiVo.com. So the Bolt variant could be announced real soon and I assume TiVo was briefing press at the show. It was a different marketing regime, but that’s how Premiere was handled. Private press briefings at the show, announced like 10 weeks later. But still a missed opportunity to get some buzz – yeah, they’re still educating folks on the new Bolt. But they should have thrown the hard core fans and gadgets blogs a bone.