Archives For TiVo

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

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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…

As Best Buy is wont to do, new inventory sometimes ends up on shelves and available for purchase before a manufacturer may have intended. As such, several have been tinkering with TiVo Bolt for a few days now. And, the good news is, internal hard drive replacements are a go.

tivo-bolt-drive-replacement

While Bolt may only be offered with only a 2.5″ 500GB or 1TB WD drive, we can go larger and there’s enough clearance in the enclosure for models taller than 9.5mm. Having said that, I still worry about power consumption and heat dissipation given the new form factor … and would probably recommend this 2TB Samsung ($94) — it’s a proven product at a reasonable price point that will provide sufficient DVR storage for many. Continue Reading…

TiVo-Roamio-OTA-dealThe new TiVonomics got you down? Fortunately for you, TiVo is blowing our select Roamio inventory post Bolt intro. And this Roamio OTA is bundled with Lifetime service for a very attractive $300. For comparison, the 4-tuner Bolt starts at the same $300 but, after year one, requires either $150/year for ongoing service or $600 for Lifetime. Granted, Bolt does 4k… but, with a limited selection of content, it’s likely not yet a motivating for most. The main thing you give up is the Bolt’s controversial new look and integrated stream capabilities. One is likely irrelevant and the other can be corrected with an even more capable $130 Stream accessory, should you so choose. But you better strike while the iron is hot as TiVo will run out of inventory at some point and will surely cease sales once the OTA-only Bolt is unveiled later this year to prevent cannibalization. (Thanks David!)

Continue Reading…

tivo-hatBeyond TiVo VP Margret Schmidt operating well out of her lane to periodically chime in on the TiVo Community Forum, the site that TiVo once bankrolled hasn’t seen much company participation in recent years. That changed today with a marathon QA session handled by TiVo Chief Marketing Officer Ira Bahr. I appreciate his frank engagement with the community and his message (even if the Investor Relations group may not).

Ira provides quite a bit of insight into their market strategy with Bolt and intention to keep the hardcore happy with a more suitable product offering next year. I still think the Bolt has an uphill battle, as currently presented… but perhaps there’s time to deliver a more economical cord cutter-centric “Aereo Edition” this year or flip up pricing should they receive the lukewarm response I expect.

A sampling of the good stuff, chopped up and reassembled: Continue Reading…

The New TiVonomics

Dave Zatz —  October 2, 2015

Along with the introduction of the TiVo Bolt comes a slew of pricing and policy changes. They’re probably good for TiVo, Inc. But the adjustments are largely unfavorable for TiVo customers (and potential customers).

tivo-plans

The devaluation of Lifetime service is the most painful for longtime TiVo fans. Under the “All-In” rebrand, the fee has been raised to $600… without the traditional $100 off for existing customers and without it being offered at time of purchase. Which means you could be rolling the dice. Who knows what the scenario will be a year from now when a year of bundled Bolt and Roamio Pro service expires. Also impacting existing customers is the end of multi-service discount (MSD), in which folks get a few dollar break for each additional DVR on a monthly plan. Fortunately, those who currently possess discounts will retain them… as long as they make no adjustments to their account.

But here’s where it gets weird. And this is going to mess up uninformed people who pick up used TiVos on ebay, craigslist, and the like. Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3/HD TiVo units without Lifetime service will no longer be activated. Based on the support note, it also seems like folks with effected hardware on an annual plan could end up with a brick when their term expires. Fun times. Of course, with MPEG4 killing a number of TiVos in Comcast’s footprint and the loss of Amazon and YouTube apps, those S3/HD models are less compelling these days. But, as they’re continuing to support Lifetimes units (for now?), why not also keep the lights on for units in the basement someone may want to reactivate?