TiVo Premiere, In Da House

The eagle has landed. And my TiVo Premiere review loaner, with new HD Flash UI (in places), is firing on at least one core. I haven’t had much time to play with it yet, but I did grab the opening animation (above) for your viewing pleasure, along with a few interesting screengrabs (below).

Yes, like Engadget I’m seeing the discovery bar and various menus populating slower than you’d expect. On the other hand, indexing on my unit probably isn’t complete and, maybe because I’m driving or due to the excitement in fondling new hardware, it’s not nearly as painful as it is watching their videos. Having said that, there’s work to be done in a variety of places. And to truly live up to their promise as THE ONE BOX, I’m going to need a better Netflix app.

As I wrote in my TiVo Premiere launch coverage, “I expect to see a variety of improvements and additions over the next 12 months.” Which does indeed appear to be the plan, given a recent post in the forums by TiVo’s Director of Product Marketing:

It’s the first time since that original Series1 that we’ve redone the hardware and the software simultaneously. And there are an amazing number of changes to the service infrastructure as well (although most of that isn’t visible to you all). A complete reboot of our product, across all fronts. Series4 is a new start. While you’re reading this, I’ll head straight into the wind – is Series4 perfect? Nope, absolutely not. We know that. There are plenty of things to tweak, and the team is busy working on the next release. Just like any of the products we’ve launched over the years, there are improvements coming, and always more features to be added.

However, you generally only get to launch a product once. And many of the initial reviews were lukewarm. The DVR competition is catching up to TiVo in many cases, exceeding them in others. Then there’s the flank attack from the Rokus and connected Blu-ray players. Rich Demuro, Techmeme‘s lead editor and someone you may remember from CNET, covers this angle as he questions his longterm TiVo love affair:

At the end of the day, people will always want their HD (3D?) programming, live sports and favorite TV shows big and clear on their HDTV. TiVo delivers that experience without a hitch. But these days it’s all about the apps. Find a way to build them into this box. Combine that with a truly competitive price point and there’s less risk early adopters like myself will ditch TiVo and a better chance the average consumer will buy it, or at least consider one.

With all that being said, I appreciate the opportunity to spend some quality time with the Premiere and digging deeper. I also look forward to seeing some visual and performance improvements. Hopefully in the not so distant future. Longer term, I sure hope DLNA and MRV streaming, with whole-home collaborative scheduling, are on the roadmap. It probably wouldn’t hurt TiVo to telegraph such moves…

Click to enlarge:

10 thoughts on “TiVo Premiere, In Da House”

  1. My pre-order status on tivo.com has changed to order processing. I’m pretty anxious to get ahold of mine myself despite all the negative reviews because I know the software will be updated in due time. Is it wrong to be more exited about my new tivo (even though I already have two TivoHDs) than I am about the iPad?

  2. How long before the YouTube video is taken down? ;)

    BTW, is there a business reason TiVo released the Premiere now instead of waiting until summer or whenever else when they’d finish HD UI and enable second core?

  3. TiVo’s been pretty cool about letting me leave the animations up on YouTube. This will be #3. (Although THX occasionally forgets my S3 opening animation was approved by TiVo marketing.) It’s not like I’ve edited it in any way or get any revenue from it, since YT won’t run ads on potentially copyrighted content that isn’t my own.

    I think most of the new Premiere hardware will have December manufacturing dates. It’s already been delayed enough, they had to get it out the door is my guess.

  4. I’ve upgraded my TiVo already, and this ‘new’ box (Premiere) doesn’t seem to add any value to my viewing needs. Especially since the cable company is now offering a box that can record 4 shows at once and be paused and watched in any room. I contacted TiVo today and chatted with Haley, who brushed me off as an old customer, stating TiVo will not upgrade the HDs anymore. This Apple-like philosophy is frustrating at best, and I refuse to continue to buy their newest boxes, when they are as buggy as my HD can be. I like my TiVo, but it’s a waste of money when the cable company is out-pacing them. And it’s really sad that TiVo doesn’t care or want to do anything for the people that have kept their subscriptions, EXCEPT sell them a new box every two years.

  5. The Best Buy by me had 4 in the box and one on display. I was hoping it was working but no such luck. The new box design is, ehh.

  6. @Jonathan,

    I know AT&T has a “4 tuner” DVR. But it can only do two HD shows at once, mostly because they don’t have enough bandwidth on DSL to move more than 2 HD channels at the same time. And you can’t watch another channel at the same time either. And AT&T isn’t a “cable company”.

    Verizon doesn’t have 4 tuner DVRs. Nor does Time Warner. Nor Comcast. Nor Cablevision. Who is this cable company you’re talking about with a real 4 tuner DVR?

  7. Glenn,

    Sorry, I didn’t say the AT&T box was able to record 4 HD channels. In Chicago, we have RCN, AT&T (who offers TV channels, as opposed to ‘cable’), and Comcast, and other type providers like Clear.

    The TV Channel companies (so as not to use the word ‘cable’) are very quickly catching up with TiVo. AT&T offers the ability to extend recording time and access to the DVR from the internet; while they still do not have ‘favorites’ their DVR allows you to use video on demand from the TV channel provider.

    My post was not about picking hairs between the minutia of what a ‘cable’ company is and the number of HD channels that can be recorded at once. It was to point out that the TV channel companies are quickly catching up to the lagging TiVO and that TiVO customer service is lacking and that they do not seem to value their customers. That was all I was saying.

    I’m not interested in trashing electronics every two years…I’d prefer to have electronics which can be updated and upgraded. Replacing the TiVo is not as easy as inserting a SIM card, it requires the TV channel technician, and re-entering all of your favorites and season passes (TiVo has no program back-up, and should you have a DVR extender, say good-bye to those shows). At some point they should be replaced but an expensive box like a TiVo should not need to be junked every two years.

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