Archives For TiVo

TiVo Revises Roamio Remote

Dave Zatz —  October 18, 2014

tivo-slide-pro

By way of the FCC, we learn that TiVo intends to refresh their Roamio remote. And, as this is a “permissive change” filing specific to the original TGN-RC30 hardware, the in-place upgrade is likely driven by component availability and cost, perhaps with some performance improvement.

  • Change of PCB pattern size
  • Change of Component size, shift of component.
  • Add component, delete component.
  • Antenna location shift
  • Antenna Chip size change and location shift

Meanwhile, as previously revealed, an RF remote will likely be bundled with the next iteration of the TiVo Mini and, coincidentally, I just received a new TiVo Slide Pro remote (pictured above)… because my Mini has had trouble receiving IR commands deep inside the TV stand. Fortunately, the Slide Pro does include learning capabilities and I’ve programmed the power button to simultaneously control both TV and 5.1 Vizio soundbar. And, once Amazon Instant and Vudu hit in the next couple weeks, I’ll surely put that QWERTY keyboard to work.

By way of the TiVo Community and an FCC filing, we learn that TiVo has petitioned the powers that be for access to customers of a combined AT&T and DirecTV – should the merger be approved (now with NFL in the bag). And they do make a compelling argument… including drawing a clever parallel to Ma Bell (which is entirely unrelated to the current entity in anything other than name).

Any FCC action approving the merger of the leading DBS MVPD and the leading IPTV MVPD must require that the merged company comply meaningfully and effectively with existing law, including Section 629’s obligation to support commercial competitive devices.

If the merger is allowed, the merged company, in addition to being the largest MVPD, will be the only MVPD to supply programming and services via both direct satellite and wired transmissions. With its national scope, the new AT&T will in certain respects resemble the original AT&T system — a system that was required to open its network to device competition under the Commission

Further, TiVo doesn’t pull any punches in regards to DirecTV, leading us to wonder if their current partnership has soured in some way. TiVo has previously indicated discontent in regards to DTV’s decision to develop and deploy the prior TiVo experience…

TiVo’s experience with DIRECTV has shown that technical access to programming has not been a stumbling block to the use of retail devices. Device competition has been constrained, instead, by DIRECTV’s business objective of controlling the relevant device market, in a manner contrary to the intent of Section 629 and Commission regulations.

TiVo (Finally) Flips On Android Streaming

TiVo Tests Free Hardware (Again)

Dave Zatz —  September 23, 2014

tivo-roamio-free

TiVo is once again testing the market with free DVR hardware. And, this time around, it’s the 4-tuner TiVo Roamio that handles cable and over-the-air (but not at the same time). Instead of charging $150-200 at $15/month, TiVo is giving away the Roamio … for those willing to commit to two years of service at $20/month. You can bet their motivation is to reduce the barriers to entry, as they’re similarly experimenting with via the new $50 Roamio OTA model. Yet, given retail distribution via the likes of Best Buy and Walmart, this particular offering may remain an online exclusive. Civilians can check out the promotional pricing here, while our military counterparts have additional options to consider here.

With Vudu and Amazon Instant soon set to join the likes of Netflix and YouTube, as TiVo begins redefining themselves as a “Streaming Player,” we have a few usability enhancements to suggest. Because, as it stands, getting into TiVo’s over-the-top apps requires quite a few clicks compared to a Roku. So my first suggestion is simply repurposing the TiVo button on the remote – a double click would bring power users straight to the existing (or better) app menu. Next, as to the menu itself, instead of a vertical listing of services featuring logos of varying widths, I’d like to see a grid of standardized app buttons for quicker access and recognition, along with improved provider parity. Lastly, TiVo’s mobile app should be updated for direct app “dialing” as available to Roku owners since 2010.

The Curious TiVo Roamio OTA

Dave Zatz —  September 21, 2014

roamio-v-roamio-ota

The new TiVo Roamio OTA is a curious beast, In fact, we’ve fielded more questions on it than any other product the DVR pioneer has released in recent years.

Unlike TiVo’s prior attempt at targeting cord cutters, instead of lowering services fees on existing hardware, this time around they’re dropping box cost. The prior base 4-tuner cable/OTA Roamio runs $200 (MSRP), whereas the Roamio OTA clocks in at a mere $50. And, according to The Verge, the only physical differences may be limited to an empty CableCARD compartment… now that we’ve confirmed the Roamio OTA will indeed stream to TiVo Mini extenders and WiFi is present. And, with that in mind, the hardware likely costs TiVo more than $50 to market, manufacturer, and support – hence the requisite $15 monthly fee… which, depending on length of ownership, flips to TiVo’s benefit at some point (as there’s no way “guide data” runs double Netflix’s content licensing). Related, TiVo has made the business decision to exclude the Roamio OTA for Lifetime Service.

Assuming you’re OK with the monthly fee, TiVo remains the best retail DVR — not that they have many competitors. And, the ability to add extenders at $150/pop with the potential of other end points, moves it well ahead of the Channel Master DVR+. Plus, as the box advertises, the Best Buy exclusive Roamio OTA is indeed a “Streaming Player” for a handful of over-the-top services including Netflix and Pandora… with Amazon and Vudu arriving later this fall. However, for cord cutters on a budget, a used Lifetimed 2-tuner TiVo Premiere remains the best deal in town … given a massive, recent software update bringing Roamio parity.

Not that you’d ever doubt us or our sources, but TiVo has gone ahead and confirmed a modernized Amazon Instant app is in the pipeline … by accidentally releasing it a bit early to a subset of customers.

Whereas the current Amazon Instant app is downright ancient by Internet standards, the new take is visually rich and streams Prime videos – something many of us have been clamoring for. We’re also under the impression that the new app will be made available to TiVo Mini extenders in an official capacity and beyond the requisite Roamio and Premiere upgrades.

As to the premature release pictured above, it appeared alongside the existing app and isn’t yet entirely functional. Further, someone at TiVo obviously realized their mistake as it was removed after 4 or 5 hours. Yet, we now know both Amazon and Vudu are coming real soon – November at the latest?

(Thanks Sam, Sully, and HarperVision! Two pics via Ikrion.)