While we generally shy away from rumor and speculation, TiVo’s been pretty quiet as they approach the one year anniversary of Premiere retail availability. Given our site heritage and interests, the lack of news out of Alviso can be frustrating. So we’ve whipped up a post based purely on hearsay, but one that hopefully gives some indication what TiVo is quietly working on.
Access to Hulu Plus from TiVo DVRs was announced way back in September and expected to launch “in the coming months.” Yet we’re wrapping up month six and who knows what Hulu may look like when TiVo’s app ultimately launches. Engadget’s received word that beta testing is underway. While I can’t corroborate with 100% certainty, I’ve seen purported blurry cam video footage of the service and, at least on a cursory basis, the interface looks quite similar to Hulu’s other set-top box offerings (like Roku and PS3). If Hulu Plus is indeed in beta testing, I’d expect the TiVo app would be ready to go live in the very near future. However, in the past Hulu has dictated partner announcements and product releases. So its launch may be held until the news can be bundled. For example, we’re still awaiting Hulu Plus on the Xbox 360.
Regulars know I’ve been disappointed in TiVo’s multi-room viewing technology. Most whole home solutions stream content room to room, whereas TiVo played it safe early on by merely copying shows on demand – given their own prior hardware limitations and home network concerns. However, we’re collectively at a better place on the technological front while we’re conversely limited by obtuse cable policies designed to prevent piracy (but actually do nothing more than inhibit valid, secure usage). According to this anonymous comment and anonymous private correspondence, TiVo may be currently testing Premiere-to-Premiere streaming. Unfortunately, older hardware won’t benefit from this solution. And while TiVo could artificially draw the line in the sand, TiVo Series3 and HD hardware truly would struggle with real time HD streaming in many network environments.
Last week, online logs revealed new TiVo hardware without storage capabilities and new product numbers have been identified. Based on the timing and an offhanded remark, I assumed the non-DVR Best Buy TiVo smart TV is nearing launch. And it very well may be. But this anonymous comment and anonymous private correspondence suggest a TiVo extender is currently being tested.
This unit is described as very slim and the flattened TiVo Premiere above is purely a mockup. As an extender, this unit would is not designed to record television content but rather would receive streamed recordings from a TiVo DVR elsewhere in one’s home. Additionally, unlike Moxi’s extender solution, TiVo’s play will reportedly tune live cable television via an M-Card. Of course, TiVo’s Internet apps would also be available. Supposedly the new extender hardware leverages multimedia over coax (MoCA) networking… which makes sense as TiVo joined the Alliance last year. And in various forums, TiVo has more than alluded to a beefed up “multi-room and non-DVR platforms.” But it’s generally been specific to cable partners (Suddenlink, Charter), rather than an outright foreshadowing of new retail products.
For a retail customer such as myself to take advantage of a MoCA-based TiVo extender, I’d either need a MoCA network adapter near my existing Premiere. Or perhaps there’s a Premiere+ under development with integrated MoCA capabilities (and hopefully more tuners). Actually, I assume there must be such a product in the pipeline. But given factors like the still incomplete HDUI and limited advertising, as I’ve been saying for quite awhile now, it appears retail takes a backseat to TiVo’s cable and satellite partners (and even litigation) these days. However, should an extender become available, I’d be down for two. Assuming a small or non-existant monthly service charge.