Dreading tax day? Well, I’ve got more bad news for you. Come April 15th, TiVo Series 3 owners unceremoniously lose access to Amazon Instant. Launched on TiVo way back in 2006 as Amazon Unbox (going HD in 2008), before we called these things “apps”, the video download service has been superseded by a streaming-centric approach that older TiVo hardware is likely incapable of handling (nor would anyone be willing to fund a significant engineering effort on hardware no longer available for purchase). As such, Amazon has begun alerting TiVo Series 3 owners. Presumably, “Series 3″ also includes TiVo HD models and should Amazon video still be available to Series 2 DVRs, I expect it’ll similarly become inaccessible in the very near future. So while we may have indeed paid TiVo for “Lifetime Service” there’s no guarantees as to what that might consist of over time.
Archives For TiVo
After a couple month absence, with the ports reopened and another production run under their belts, TiVo Stream ($130) is back in stock. And, along with it, comes a TiVo Stream software update that enables “premium sideloading” for iPad and iPhone as first referenced at CES. However, it’s not actually the act of sideloading or downloading that’s “premium” — rather, it’s the ability to get at content that’s been flagged as ‘copy once’ via the CCI Byte. When appropriately applied and for most providers, we’re talking premium cable content like HBO… versus, say, the misguided Time Warner Cable approach that flags just about everything other than the locals. Whereas these recordinings were previously inaccessible from iOS, they can now be transferred for offline viewing… assuming you’re OK in deleting it from the source DVR. Presumably, this functionality has or will also make its way to Roamio devices. Indeed, it seems like an incremental post-OnePass update is already rolling. With Android downloads on the horizon too, it’s all looking pretty rosy for TiVo owners with a penchant for mobile.
(Thanks John R and JWhites!)
Poor Aereo. Despite the clear risks in their business followed by a resounding Supreme Court defeat, the corporate remnants and creditors aren’t prepared to simply cut their losses and move on. Has this new litigation precluded TiVo from acquiring certain assets… or will it merely tarnish them? From NASDAQ:
The already contentious bankruptcy of defunct TV-streaming service Aereo Inc. turned even more so this week with the filing of a lawsuit accusing major broadcasters of chilling the bidding in an asset sale intended to raise money for Aereo’s creditors. The suit, filed Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, says the broadcasters “have aggressively pursued litigation strategies that are objectively baseless” and served no purpose other than to hurt Aereo.
Aereo, the innovative yet ultimately criminal television provider buried by the establishment, had an extremely poor showing in bankruptcy liquidation this week — netting a mere $2m. And, without TiVo’s participation, the numbers would have been halved. It appears the same, single source of unknown allegiance notified a number of outlets the details of TiVo’s haul includes both the Aereo name and customer list (which may not be all that impressive). As a TiVo spokesperson said yesterday, “We have OTA products and see some value in these assets.”
Indeed, since last summer, TiVo’s attempted to capitalize on Aereo’s buzz …and their demise. However, while we do believe there is a growing market of cord cutters interested in advanced television solutions, TiVo still isn’t Aereo – which had unmatched pricing and convenience with their decentralized and hardware-agnostic approach. Having said, that we can certainly envision a scenario where the TiVo Roamio OTA DVR ($50, $15/mo) becomes “Aereo by TiVo” … especially should they repackage it in something other than the reused base Roamio enclosure, which I assume is planned. But to more closely replicate Aereo’s Slingbox-esque functionality, they’ll need to directly integrate stream functionality to this hardware… or resume manufacturing the no-longer-available TiVo Stream accessory. And a Roku or Chromecast client wouldn’t hurt.
TiVo has announced a “strategic relationship” with Frontier. And their first phase is quite unique. Whereas TiVo’s prior provider partnerships have exclusively powered cable television solutions, Frontier will be marketing the Roamio OTA to their Internet customers mid-year:
The new partnership will enable Frontier’s high-speed Internet customers to enjoy a consistent TV experience spanning major broadcast channels and over the top (OTT) content via TiVo’s unified cloud-based service, a whole-home gateway DVR, TiVo Mini, TiVo Stream. Multi-screen and remote scheduling functionality will be available through TiVo Web, iOS and Android mobile applications. Frontier customers with high-speed Internet service will enjoy an all-in-one DVR, a broad line-up of over-the-top applications, and a variety of top-tier streaming video services via a high-quality streaming solution.
While Frontier isn’t the first telco/cableco to
hedge go after cord cutters and cord nevers with video services (see Cox, Cablevision), they will be the first to offer an over-the-air DVR for subscribers to record broadcast programming, like NBC and CBS, in conjunction with online services like Netflix. With an established customer base, TiVo presumably expects fewer marketing challenges than moving DVRs thru retail along with Frontier obviously anticipating a new revenue stream. Pricing details haven’t yet been released, so we can’t provide a comparison to a retail-acquired Roamio that currently runs $50 for hardware, along with an ongoing $15 monthly fee. Irrespective of cost, install assistance, etc it’s a forward thinking approach… that may not move the needle much for either company – at least not in 2015. Enter the more compelling second phase of this relationship. Continue Reading…
- Roamio Pro (Refurbished) – $380
- Roamio Plus (NOT Refurbished) – $250
- Roamio (Refurbished) – $100
- Mini (Refurbished) – $100
Assuming you’re in the market for a TiVo Roamio DVR and that you don’t qualify for the apparently ongoing 10 year customer appreciation bundle, the $250 Roamio Plus is a good deal – 6 cable tuners, mobile streaming, and a terabyte of DVR storage goodness. And you can very simply turn that Plus into a Pro at any time down the road with a 3tb drive for less than the $130 cost differential illustrated above. The Plus also stands out as the only new, versus “factory reconditioned,” piece of hardware in the listing. Of course, a TiVo DVR will also require service – either monthly, as low as $12.50, or Lifetime, up to $500. Also worth considering are the refurb first gen TiVo Minis for $100 a pop … but Amazon has them brand new, shipped free, and shipped faster than Woot for $115 as second gen models, with RF and a small performance boost, hit the shelves for $150 MSRP.
— TiVo (@TiVo) February 13, 2015
In honor of Valentine’s Day, both TiVo and DISH have taken to social media to promote their respective remote control finder alerts. Sadly DISH “can’t help you find love with the push of a button” … whereas TiVo proclaims “even our remote finder is a turn on” that “heightens the mood” (while retrieving it from your partner’s blouse). Food for thought when choosing your next provider and set-top box. Continue Reading…