Archives For TiVo
TiVo’s gearing up for a new round of television advertising targeting cord cutters with a pair of DVR birthing videos. Generally speaking, most ads that attempt to be clever and edgy are neither. I found the spots very mildly amusing, but think the company would have been better served with more focus on the product’s capabilities (like Virgin) – beyond a rushed description that refers to Amazon Instant or Amazon Prime Instant video streaming as Amazon Prime. (I get brevity in a 30 second spot, but this is the company that couldn’t always spell Roamio.) Further, while I don’t know if TiVo took this through a focus group, I suspect “record antenna TV” versus “record over-the-air HD” is a clearer, more powerful descriptor, plus you still have OTA in the product name and cord cutting references. They do wisely avoid TiVo Roamio OTA pricing options, as that’d consume the entire 30 seconds… not to mention, changes could be in the air. Ultimately, the commercial’s value to TiVo largely depends upon where exactly it’s shown along with the corresponding audience’s sensibilities.
TiVo’s out with price cuts across their line…
First, now is probably not the time to buy a Roamio OTA. With TiVo planning a “late July” announcement in regards to their recently acquired Aereo trademark, it’s best for cord cutters to hold off… unless another amazing deal comes along. I also wouldn’t recommend the base Roamio, as it lacks streaming and MoCA bridging — especially when those features, plus 2 additional tuners and 500GB more storage, can be had for just fifty bucks more — assuming you’re OK with cable-only and a warrantied refurb.
So a variant of the web portal that TiVo had developed for their cable partners, like RCN, is now being made available to retail subscribers. And TiVo Online is looking pretty killer. Beyond the expected
Season Pass OnePass configuration, recording management, and a highly polished guide, the tent pole feature is the ability to stream our DVR recordings and live content to Mac, PC, and possibly Chromebook (replacing the tired and archaic TiVoToGo, if not the infinitely valuable kmttg).
Sadly, TiVo is only allowing in-home laptop or computer streaming at this time while TiVo indicates all Roamio and Premiere models are supported… But I’ll go ahead and assume Premiere and lesser Roamios require purchase of the TiVo Stream accessory to make it happen, versus native Roamio Pro/Plus capabilities.
All we need now is that Fire TV or Roku app…
By way of the Trademark office, we see that TiVo’s brand makeover continues. Whereas the earlier 2015 visual tweaks were logo-centric, and perhaps merely a test, TiVo recently passed 6 applications thru the USPTO showcasing significantly modernized rendition of their classic thumbs up/down iconography as an update to prior art filed way back in 1999. Use of these buttons, in regards to fine tuning TiVo Suggestions, has likely declined and in dramatic fashion as folks move away from TiVo Suggestions into What To Watch Now, OnePass, and recommendation engines built into services like Netflix. However, TiVo has dabbled in real-time thumb-initiated ratings, perhaps as an upcoming advertising feature, and I’m sure there are additional ways to leverage these buttons… including the possibility of improving Suggestions integration itself, as content remains king. I also wonder what these “flatter” graphics might mean in terms of the broader TiVo set-top and mobile app interface.
Via trusted sources, we’ve learned that TiVo is poised to launch Cox On Demand services… nearly five years after an announced partnership that many have assumed to be dead. So while the various players dicker over the capabilities and implementation of a CableCARD successor, TiVo once again strikes a deal to build a custom solution. I’m not sure what’s in it for Cox, other than avoiding the remaining couple years of TiVo’s Time Warp patent teeth. But we clearly know the value to TiVo — the DVR pioneer has previously indicated that retail sales and retention were higher within the Comcast footprint as Xfinity On Demand rolled out. (Granted, those regions had been bolstered by additional marketing.) Giving up “free” on demand content provided by one’s cable provider is often a sticking point before “going TiVo” – and Cox represents a sizable portion of TiVo’s addressable audience as the 5th largest compatible cable operator. Trust me, a large percent of my peers with children rely on On Demand, making a TiVo a non-starter in many cases. It’s yet to be seen if the new TiVo Cox On Demand implementation retains the dated Xfinity approach or goes with a more modern HTML5 front-end. Regardless, given Cox’s continued reliance on Switched Digital Video and over aggressive copy protection, Verizon FiOS is still probably the better choice… assuming you have one.
By way of a TiVo media blast and discussions I’ve had with Plex representatives, we now know the rumors are true. Plex lands on TiVo Roamio, Premiere, and Mini hardware next week! And, fortunately, the Plex experience is not buried within the Opera TV Store, residing alongside Spotify and an also soon-to-be released iHeartRadio under Music & Photos. Although, in actuality, most folks will probably utilize the multi-talented Plex as a video player – reinforcing TiVo’s need to rethink how they present and we access apps.
Plex on TiVo is a custom built affair, similar in presentation to their other Smart TV apps and utilizing the Opera SDK. At launch, streaming will max out at 720p – but 1080p is on the roadmap. However, unlike most Plex “Smart TV” implementations and given their partnership with TiVo, a PlexPass subscription will not be required. Unsurprisingly, our Plex libraries will not commingle with TiVo’s unified search and OnePass that encompass both linear television and streaming apps like Netflix. All that remains to be seen is how well Plex performs. No, it probably won’t be as sprightly as Roku or Amazon Fire TV, but it could be good enough for Input 1. And a big boon as TiVo now courts cord cutters.