TiVo to Launch 802.11n Wireless Bridge


Looks like Roku and the Xbox 360 won’t be the only set-top boxes making the jump from 802.11g to the faster, further 802.11n spec this fall. While I’ve been scanning FCC filings lately, trolling for something specific, a new TiVo wireless adapter wasn’t on my radar. Fortunately, the Engadget team is  a more thorough and frequent FCC visitor, digging up TiVo’s upcoming 802.11n wireless access point (AN0100). Most of the good stuff, such as external photos and the user manual, are held back under a short term confidentiality request, so we find ourselves with more questions than answers. But that’s never stopped me from speculating…

My TiVo Series3 and TiVo HD each communicate with my home network via TiVo’s very own 802.11g USB wireless adapter. And the solution just isn’t fast enough to copy HD content from one TiVo to another for real-time progressive download playback. So, I assume one goal of this product is to improve the situation by pushing video faster over 802.11n. Which would also enhance Amazon VOD and Netflix HD playback for many.

Additionally, TiVo’s multi-room viewing (MRV) copying has got to go as the cable-cos are locking down their television programming with a CCI byte value designed to limit the number of digital copies. (I’m dead in the water for transferring anything other than local broadcasters on Cox Communications, as is Alex of TiVoBlog.com with Time Warner.) Given the increased bandwidth of a 802.11n solution, TiVo should feel more comfortable pulling the trigger on a software update which enables true MRV streaming, like Windows Media Center or Moxi, thus bypassing the cable restriction — no additional copies would be produced. (And this may be a bit more than idle speculation on my part… I recently came across a comment on the TiVo Community suggesting streaming is in the works. The author is not a TiVo employee, but he’s extremely knowledgeable in these things. What made the post memorable was the fact that it was quickly deleted for reasons unknown.)

Lastly, by going with an access point over a simple wireless adapter, TiVo would be able to eek out better network performance using an Ethernet connection rather than USB — due to their current hardware design. Additionally, access points should allow customers to effectively extend the range of their wireless infrastructure by building out a TiVo mesh network. Pairs (or more) of pre-configured wireless access points (aka bridges), can also easily communicate with themselves, requiring minimal user intervention as seen with Vudu and Sonos. I’d like to see a pair of these going for about $100, with additional units running say $60. And I’d like to see them this year. Make it so, TiVo.

10 thoughts on “TiVo to Launch 802.11n Wireless Bridge”

  1. “…I’ve been scanning FCC filings lately, trolling for something specific, a new TiVo wireless adapter wasn’t on my radar. Fortunately, the Engadget team is a more thorough and frequent FCC visitor…”

    Where does passion for gadgets end and tragic waste of smart people time’s begin?

    I wonder how much of a better place this world would be if we could route just half of the time intelligent, creative people like Dave and Engadget staff spend pouring through FCC documents to something like any of the crowd sourcing projects that convert scans of books to text.


  2. I’m curious how this will improve Amazon & Netflix. If you have a 6mbps connection to the internet, you don’t come close to maxing out with 802.11g which gives you 54mbps, so even that’s a lot of extra headroom.

  3. cypher, there’s two hardware factors at play – I think TiVo units can’t do fast networking over their USB jacks and they may also throttle Ethernet or hard drive speeds to ensure the TiVo’s primary recording/playback functions are never interrupted. I appear to have more than enough pipe over 802.11g, yet TiVo doesn’t utilize much of it. Compared to say the Vudu or Xbox which will take better advantage of the bandwidth. Hardwired, you’d be fortunate to see half the wireless speeds you suggest TiVo to TiVo. All of which expands upon my “due to their current hardware design” remark above.

  4. My understanding is that the actual SoC on the TiVo HD isn’t really up to the challenge of streaming and that the next Broadcom BCM7125 is made for it. But then again that chip also supports MoCA 1.1 so I assume this N adapter will be used instead of a MoCA to Ethernet adapter to feed internet access to all the TiVos.

    I just hope TiVo announces a new DVR at CES that will give me reason to come back from Media Center.

  5. Agree with the other two SouthPaw, but gigabit?I couldn’t care less about that. My cable modem is maxed out at 16mbps and even future speed increases using channel bonding won’t go over 100mbps. And HD cable channels max out at 15-20mbps (and are moving to 38.8/3 going forward). Even streaming HD in and out simultaneously plus Internet maxed out wouldn’t use up 100Mbps Ethernet. I’d much rather see built in MoCA and 802.11n…

  6. Ben, Even if we can’t do streaming on the current hardware, and the deleted TCF post was likely referring to their next platform, 802.11n over Ethernet (assuming that’s the plan) should at least provide real-time HD MRV copying/playback. (Assuming all my channels weren’t locked down.)

    Glenn, SouthPaw, I’d say the revelation of this access point suggests we’re not going to see new stand-alone Series 4 hardware in the near term. Why bother, if something better’s on the horizon? It’s probably too soon for tru2way and as Ben said there are new chips coming. The next hardware platforms will probably be early next year with a Best Buy branded TiVo HD and whatever DirecTiVo unit is cooked up.

  7. Why would they build a wireless card with moca features? If you have a recent updated home with good cabling moca would seem to be better for a home. Maybe they’ll have moca to tivo devices and use the N to connect out to pc devices.

    like you said we can only assume right now till they play their cards.

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