TiVo Mavrik is an OTA Cloud DVR!

Dave Zatz —  November 8, 2016

mavrik

Along with the TiVo Mavrik leaks comes word that a new Android app is also en route… and, with it, the refreshed interface and confirmation of cloud storage for your local antenna television recordings! From the Amazon app description:

This is a TiVo App that works as user interface for OTA Streaming, Diskless Cloud DVR TiVo Device Mantis

  • TV Program Guide
  • OTA Live Streaming
  • Streaming Content Search, allowing users to deep link into their Amazon Prime Video account
  • Cloud DVR access

Cloud DVR is a compelling but risky venture (that didn’t work out so good for Boxee) due to bandwidth availability and broadband usage caps, along with TiVo’s spotty record in this space. However, it’s certainly an intriguing option compared to Tablo’s bring-your-own USB storage for equivalent functionality. And, suddenly, those Mantis/Mavrik “tiers” of service make sense as TiVo would likely offer varying recording capacities a la Aereo.

25 responses to TiVo Mavrik is an OTA Cloud DVR!

  1. Well that is interesting. It can work well, like it did with Boxee. I tested cloud recording with Boxee the entire time it was available. And it mostly worked well.. But you also need to be able to monetize it properly, which Boxee could not do.
    And then how many tuners will the TiVo device have for cloud recording? You would need at least two for it to be effective.

  2. I can’t imagine them launching with anything less than 2 tuners…

  3. Minimum 2 tuners to make it a viable product.

  4. As you said, data caps. I just don’t see a compelling need for a cloud DVR to record OTA from my antenna at home.

    Tablo does a great job, and the out-of-home streaming is nearly flawless. I take a pass on this one.

  5. Yeah, cloud storage for a home network-installed DVR seems misguided. ALL recorded streams will have to be uploaded, stressing the already narrow upload bandwidth of most homes.

    I’d really been hoping that Mantis would be an evolution and stabilizing of their existing mobile streaming technology, expanding beyond just the beta app for FireTV, but those hopes are dwindling.

  6. It will be interesting to see how their pricing compares to something like the recent Plex announcement where it uses Amazon Cloud to host your library. ACD runs $60 for the year for unlimited storage.

  7. As an update – I installed the app on my Android and it’s definitely pre-release. There’s some verbiage about using keyboard function keys to refresh the screen, bring up the remote, etc. As soon as I try to launch the virtual keyboard to sign in, the app crashes. So I’d say there’s no way we learn more (officially) about this product in 2016.

  8. Interesting device, and while I like all the things currently happening in regard to cable-cutting, I don’t really see the competitive angle of this box, except that it should be lower cost without needing a hard drive. But surely there will be monthly fees, so who knows what the cost will be in the long run.

    Also, a thought, Google and Apple (and Amazon?) don’t always store copies of users’ ripped music, they match the songs if they can with what they have on their network, and that’s what users hear when they steam it. Could Tivo do something like this for TV shows (without getting sued, that is)? Upload a lower quality version of a show to Tivo to save time/bandwidth, and Tivo matches it to a higher quality version that it has on file. I dunno, just free flowing thoughts here. Though they might need lawyers better than Aereo’s to defend that one perhaps!

  9. Unless you can’t work with the 30 day cloud storage, PS Vue is becoming the answer for more people, especially if you’re among those with lousy OTA reception.

  10. TiVo could find limited success with an OTA DVR device that smartly interfaces with a range of popular streaming devices — streaming boxes, smart TVs, tablets and phones — reliably, quickly, and easily, and at a price point that makes sense for cord cutters versus the growing number of competing options available (particularly Hulu). Hopefully the Mavrik can pull that off but, given TiVo’s track record, I’m a bit skeptical.

    I’m even more skeptical of the need for cloud storage. What’s the point, really? Is it supposed to somehow enhance out-of-home playback on mobile devices? Tablo can do that with only local hard-drive based storage, no cloud needed. And how important to consumers is out-of-home viewing of OTA recordings on small screens anyway? Ideally, I’d like to see the Mavrik sold without a hard drive but with the capability of working smoothly both with a range of popular USB hard drives as well as with cloud storage for an additional fee.

  11. I’d advise they provide an internal hard drive by default – fewer barriers to entry, serves a larger potential audience. Those who want more storage can go USB or cloud. Although, other than the original Series 3, TiVo’s been pretty stingy in terms of what they allow for external storage…

  12. Seems problematic. I’m on an upgraded tier with Comcast, meaning better than what most people have. Typical upload speed is probably 10Mbps or so. Certainly they’d HAVE TO convert incoming streams from MPEG-2 or h.264 to H.265 to do the best they can with low bandwidth. I mean one HD stream would often top 15Mbps using MPEG-2 and there are lots of channels/places where they still use just that. Typical H.264 rates are probably 7.5Mbps or so for AT&T, and that’s with expensive dedicated hardware encoders. Can you get away with half that for H.265, say 3-4Mbps per channel? Sure maybe. You’ll still be lucky to record two channels at once. But then you have to ask what happens when lots of people do this on a shared medium like cable. They’re going to have to buffer the shit out of this to get it to work at all.

    Local storage for a day’s recordings and upload things overnight to the cloud? How much storage would you need? Four hours x 3 channels maybe 20GB? So say 32GB of flash? Still some tricky coding since you might want to watch something that is still on your home flash storage from the road say. Or it might be in the cloud or some of both. Doable, but a little complex. Not something TiVo excels at?

    Then there’s the data cap problem…

  13. Do we know that what they mean by “cloud DVR” is actually meaning that you upload recordings from the MaVrick to the TiVo servers? My thoughts are that it could be a cloud DVR service similar to PlayStation Vue and the MaVrick is the over the air equipment part to get your local networks and then they get merged into the guide and it’s recordings from the cloud DVR cable service?

    All it says is “Cloud DVR Access” after all. The “tiers” could be the programming tiers similar to Vue, etc.

  14. Yes, I do know what they mean…

  15. Excellent. Thanks for confirming Dave! Exciting times ahead for TiVo (and the USA).

  16. Just a note on my thoughts about USB storage. This will be the first product that TiVo has released since their Series 2 DVRs that wasn’t designed around cable card requirements. It will be interesting to see if that allows more freedom on how the recordings are handled. I know we have the Roamio OTA now but it is clearly designed to meet cable card requirements.

    Dave: What do you think?

  17. OTA recordings are freely copyable from one machine to another (Tivo to Tivo, Tivo to computer, etc.)

  18. Why is it just OTA recordings and not cable recordings? Are there copyright issue if you were allowed to record cable TV and keep those recordings in the cloud? Why don’t they allow you to record cable TV and keep those recordings in the cloud?

  19. It would be savvy of Tivo to perhaps have a preference for recordings and season passes to let users choose whether to keep it stored locally or moved into the cloud. Recurring series that viewers might bingewatch every so often could be moved into the cloud. Other shows like sports, news, and more immediate interests could stay on local storage. That would let users manage their bandwidth and create a strategy that addresses their individual concerns. It could be part of the “Keep until” option: Keep X days and then [delete | move into the cloud], or selected right from the recording screen.

  20. The Mavrik looks interesting, but I am still wondering if they are going to make Hulu’s OTT TV service, or Direct TV Now available to any of the TIVO devices when they launch later this year early next year.

  21. Nick, the Mavrik will be OTA only with built-in tuners — no CableCARD or analog video input. However, if they make the same cloud recording capabilities available to Roamio or Bolt hardware…

    Jamie, the ‘they’ in your comment wouldn’t be TiVo. It’d be the respective services you mention. TiVo would surely take those guys, but will those guys invest in TiVo?

  22. Another thing to keep in mind is the coming not-backwards-compatible ATSC 3.0 standard, which should be ratified late this year or early next year.

    ATSC 3.0 broadcasts should be easier to receive than current ATSC 1.0 transmissions, but of course no current Tivo, even the Mavrik, supports ATSC 3.0 yet.

  23. ATSC 3.0 will be a problem. But it’ll be many years before it’s a problem. And, like the digital transition, there will be converter boxes. So I’d say it’s a non-issue at the moment.

  24. What makes this better than using a TiVo stream connected to a roamio?

  25. We don’t know all the details, but we can guess…

    Mavrik would presumable cost less with a much smaller footprint than a Roamio+Stream. On the flip side, a Roamio output directly to the television and, depending which model you have, may also tune cable. Whatever apps TiVo is building for the Mavrik will hopefully also work with the Stream, higher-end Roamios, and Bolt line.