Archives For TiVo

As Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, continues to transition from MPEG-2 to more efficient MPEG-4 video delivery, TiVo is walking back plans to abandon legacy hardware.

Whereas TiVo Series 3 and HD owners were originally told (in dramatic fashion) to upgrade their DVRs (at a cost, of course), I assume the fear of significant stand-alone customer defections motivated the company to rethink their approach … and they’re now engineering a solution to retrofit TiVo HD hardware.

TiVo HD and TiVo HD XL: TiVo is working on a software update which will bring MPEG4 capability to TiVo HD DVRs. Customers can expect this update sometime in the first half of 2016.

The original Series 3 is still out of luck as far as MPEG4 goes and both platforms are smarting from the loss of Amazon and YouTube video. Yet, I’d wager that most these TiVo owners have had a great 7-10 year run — a span pretty much unheard of in this space.

(Thanks Mike!)

HBO GO Confirmed For TiVo

Dave Zatz —  December 6, 2015

As we await the TiVo WWE app and long overdue Hulu refresh, a Google alert tripped several weeks back has seemingly confirmed HBO GO will also be on the docket. I’ve got no pretty marketing materials or photographic evidence to share with you, just an HBO GO config file … with 288 provider references to TiVo. And, thus far, Comcast won’t be blocking TiVo owners from accessing HBO GO. I expect Roamio, Mini, and Bolt hardware will partake whenever the time comes. A December announcement would be ideal, given the critical holiday shopping period. But, dependent upon where TiVo is in the development cycle, they could conceivably be holding back for a CES unveil.

tivo-hbogo

There’s no evidence yet of support for the cord cutter-centric HBO NOW streaming service and it appears release of an OTA-only Bolt is stalled. Yet I expect both to eventually turn up.

Along with the introduction of the TiVo Bolt came two highly publicized new features: QuickMode and SkipMode. QuickMode allows one to plow through recordings at 1.3x speed with minimal audio distortion, while SkipMode introduced TiVo’s take on commercial avoidance. Existing Roamio DVR owners were promised a QuickMode upgrade, but told SkipMode would remain out of reach. And we didn’t like it.

As promised, TiVo has reevaluated that approach … and come to a favorable ruling.

tg15_tivo_player_skipmode_3

Based on a holiday promo and image assets hosted by TiVo.com, we now know SkipMode should begin hitting Roamio units December 10th. And one can safely assume the behavior will also extend to TiVo Mini extenders.

Don’t miss your chance at big discounts on TiVo Roamio DVRs before they’re gone forever! For a limited time, we’re offering a year of free service when you purchase TiVo Roamio. Roamio DVRs will include innovative features, like SkipMode (in select markets*) and QuickMode, so you can jump past commercial breaks with a single click or watch recordings and shows with a buffer 30% faster with pitch-corrected audio. So act now and take advantage of this offer while supplies last. There aren’t many left! *SkipMode available in San Francisco/Bay Area and Chicago markets.

Continue Reading…

TiVo Priority List Now Open

Dave Zatz —  November 20, 2015

While TiVo’s CEO is (finally) moving on and though it may be too late to salvage their retail business ambitions, the product team continues cranking away. As such, TiVo has just opened the Priority list for Premiere, Roamio, and Mini customers looking for an early 20.5.6 software update. I’ve got no intel on this round and assume it’s mostly bug fixes… hopefully to include the one which will finally allow their WWE app to be published. It’d also be real swell it the Bolt’s commercial skip functionality made an appearance. But given its recent uncertainty, even if a favorable decision has been made, it could take some time to implement.

Boxes will be updated in groups. If you would like your TiVo Roamio, TiVo Mini, or TiVo Premiere to be in one of the first groups to be updated, please enter your TiVo Service Number below. Note: Only TiVo boxes purchased directly from TiVo.com or a retailer are eligible for this update. Boxes provided by cable companies will be updated on a different schedule.

Refurb TiVo Mini @ $70

Dave Zatz —  November 13, 2015

Those looking to stream live and recorded TiVo Bolt, Roamio, or 4-tuner Premiere video to other televisions around the house have a nice deal to contemplate today… As Woot’s offering up the first gen TiVo Mini is on sale for a low $70. Sure it’s a refurb that only ships with an IR remote (versus RF on the latest model), but this minimal expenditure adds a whole lot of value to existing TiVo households – as it also includes Lifetime Service.

tivo-mini-sale

In fact, I’m tempted to add another as we set up our guest bedroom. While we’re not wired for Ethernet at that location, our networking needs would be covered by the Mini’s integrated MoCA capabilities using the existing coaxial outlet. However, integrated WiFi would make Mini infinitely more flexible and I keep holding out for a Verizon FiOS Roku app. Looks like I have about 8 hours to decide…

(Thanks Elias!)

As promised, some of the new elements found in the TiVo Bolt have begun trickling down to Roamio (and Premiere?) environments. TiVo Mini is up first with newly applied guide logos and “Quick Mode” to playback content at 1.3x speed.

While I’m happy to see older gear continuing to receive updates, neither of these features does much for me. Given the wide array of presentation, channel logos in the guide mostly clutter things up – it remains to be seen if I’ll more quickly identify what I’m looking for. Not that I use the guide very often… as a DVR owner… with highly competent search functionality (frequently accessed via TiVo’s smartphone app) . Even though I don’t have a use case, I do imagine my wife would enjoy the pitch-perfect Quick Mode to get through long award show presentations or episodes of Dancing with the Stars, assuming she remembers it exists and how to toggle it – it’s not exactly intuitive.

But, what would interest me, despite its limitations, is TiVo’s new SkipMode commercial avoidance feature. Also, the generally modernized interface would be a welcome addition. And at least one of these is bound to happen.

(Thanks Dan and Nick!)

TiVo to give away viewership data in 2016

.

TiVo, Now on Fire TV

Dave Zatz —  October 8, 2015

tivo-fire-tv

As promised (to me, personally;), the TiVo Fire TV app has arrived today … in “beta” form and without live television. Having only played with it about five minutes, my initial observation is that this was clearly designed for or tested against something other than a television given little thought to overscan. Without adjusting my Fire TV’s settings, elements in the lower left, upper left, and upper right were clipped on my television. Indeed, from Amazon’s design guidelines:

The amount of space a TV uses as overscan varies across manufacturers. That real estate is not available to your app. Although the Amazon Fire TV platform provides a way for the user to adjust for television overscan in the settings, for the safest possible behavior we recommend that you avoid placing any of your app’s UI elements within the outer 5% of any edge on the screen. The focused item and on-screen text, especially, should be fully within the inner 90% (the safe zone) of your user interface.

Continue Reading…