Archives For TiVo

Over the last few days, TiVo Bolt, Roamio, Premiere, and Mini units have been updated with a refreshed Amazon Video app to more closely mirror the latest experience deployed to other platforms like Roku and Amazon’s own Fire TV. Beyond the large tiles and left column navigation, as pictured on my Roamio, two notable enhancements are the integration of Amazon Channels and the option to filter video genres with the D button (as notated in the upper right). TiVo continues to offer the best mashup of over-the-air, cable, and online content, despite AirTV’s attempts, and it’s refreshing to see another major Amazon app update roll out after only two years … given the decades it took the streaming version of Amazon to arrive and just in time for Sneaky Pete.

(Thanks Avi!)

As revealed last year, TiVo was prepping a cloud DVR service option for retail hardware, with indications that over-the-air television recordings originating from Roamio, Bolt, and upcoming Mavrik devices will be stored and streamed remotely. While this is a CES no-show, we know work continues. Indeed, TiVo needs your help as they fine tune the offering.

From TiVo VP Margret Schmidt:

Beta testers are needed for a new and exciting opportunity that will last approximately 8 weeks.

To qualify you must:
1. Have a TiVo box (Roamio, Premiere, or BOLT) with Over-The-Air (OTA) TV signal – No CableCARD
2. Live in the San Francisco Bay Area
3. And, have two of these three products:
– iOS device (phone or tablet)
– Android device (phone or tablet)
– Computer with web browser, either Windows 7 + or Mac OSx 10 +

If interested, please e-mail with “OTA Beta Opportunity” as the subject line and your name, e-mail address, and TSN in the body.

So now we know Premiere will also be supported as well as the initial anticipated playback clients. Hopefully Roku and Fire TV are also on the docket. As to what this service might cost and its relative value, when weighed against factors such as your broadband cap, remains to be seen.

While TiVo’s cloud DVR and cord cutting Mavrik were CES no-shows, the DVR pioneer is once again presenting its new interface.

Code-named “Project Hydra,” the UX offers a beautiful, customizable interface that lets viewers quickly and easily search for, browse and consume programming from all video sources – live, recorded, on demand and streaming. The interface is designed for seamless use across phone, tablet and web apps.

Originally demo-ed last fall and expected to begin deployment in 2016, the spiffed up experience is intended to be replicated across a number of platforms and features content from a variety of sources (perhaps in relation to that multi-headed Hydra branding). Personalization features prominently in this dramatic, dual-axis, re-envisioning of TiVo. From a user-customizable quick menu in the upper left to an expanded Discovery Bar that surfaces relevant content, TiVo “designed this UX so the viewer spends less time searching channel guides and opening apps and more time enjoying their favorite shows.”

In quizzing Light Reading, I get the sense they find the new appearance pleasant although perhaps a little derivative as so many have gone to the flatter visuals featuring larger content imagery and lesser chrome. However, beyond a quick trade show floor demo, we’ll have to live with experience awhile to determine how it actually performs — as I said in September, few usability test more than TiVo, so I chose to remain optimistic. No details yet on supported devices nor revised launch timing.

From CES, TiVo has reaffirmed their intentions to bring voice control to the platform… this year. While cagey on details, and perhaps still contemplating their approach(es), some interesting nuggets have come to light:

In a briefing here at the show, Tivo SVP and GM Michael Hawkey hinted at the likelihood of a natural language interface for Tivo solutions that might come in the form of a brand new product, but might also be added to legacy products via a new remote, or, more likely, through integration with products like Amazon’s Echo hardware line.

TiVo management has been alluding to voice capabilities for a few years, with perhaps an original thought of bringing control to mobile applications… like Roku has done, rather than bundling a microphone-endowed remote as Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV do. In my households, I do appreciate some of the more basic Logitech Harmony Alexa skills (whereas the newer ones need work) and Mom enjoys calling up cable channels via her brand-spanking-new Xfinity voice remote (despite months of having to hammer Comcast).

Vevo Music Videos Land On TiVo

Dave Zatz —  December 11, 2016 — 10 Comments

Many years after the Music Choice app was retired from TiVo retail boxes, Vevo has finally arrived to meet that acoustic demand. I’ve long been a fan of Vevo as the modern day equivalent of MTV (the one that played music videos). So this represents a meaningful app addition — despite prior silliness involving some sort of TiVo C&D once sent Vevo’s way, due to not-really brand name similarities, and a number of MIA tent pole OTA cord cutting apps, such as Sling TV and HBO NOW.

As that’s my Roamio photographed above, I assume Roamio, Bolt, and TiVo Mini models will all receive access. Although given the radio silence from TiVo and Vevo along with my Minis not currently having access, I also assume someone flipped the switch a little early. Oops? Let us know which platforms you see Vevo on, give it a go, and tell us what you think. Tip: Upon opening the app, you’ll be prompted to activate it from a registered Vevo account:


Due to a number of fortuitous leaks, we know TiVo is pursuing cloud recording capabilities for retail devices. However, whereas the functionality seemed specific to upcoming Tablo-fighting Mavrik hardware, a Bolt owner inadvertently received the notification above — suggesting testing is underway. It remains to be seen how much such a service might run and if offloading cable television programming will be permissible, versus over-the-air content. However, with Bolt presumably now on the docket, it’s safe to assume Roamio would be entitled to similar capabilities… whenever TiVo gets around to deployment.


TiVo’s out with their annual Thanksgiving / Black Friday deals… and they’re way more compelling than what we’ve seen in recent years, despite TiVo’s usual poor presentation. For example, their refurbished $200 TiVo Roamio OTA represents a stellar value. Although you might not realize it because they don’t clearly communicate it includes Lifetime All-In service. We’re Tablo homers here for antenna television, but if you don’t require streaming to smart phones, tablets, or 3rd party boxes like Roku or Apple TV, two hundred bucks for a 4-tuner, 500GB OTA DVR is pretty much an unbeatable value. Heck, it’ll even beam your programming to TiVo Mini set-tops and you can swap out that hard drive for something more spacious any time you like.


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.