Rhapsody No Longer Available On TiVo

Dave Zatz —  August 14, 2011


About a month ago, Rhapsody updated their music streaming service technology in such a way (certs) that respective changes were required from home audio vessels. From Rhapsody’s forum representative:

we contacted all our device partners several months before this necessary change to our service, providing them all the info necessary to make a successful change. The vast majority of these partners made the change on time and successfully tested their devices (as did Rhapsody) and signed-off.

Thus far, TiVo is not one of “the vast majority” and remains non-compliant – resulting in the error message you see above. Rhapsody indicates support will be restored to TiVo Premiere hardware in the near future, which may have been corroborated by TiVo. But, unfortunately, Rhapsody’s rep indicates Series 2 and TiVo HD/S3 units are out of luck:

As far as the series 2 and 3 devices, Tivo has chosen not to update the firmware for those devices, meaning Rhapsody will no longer be accessible on them. This was a call that Tivo made, not us, and yeah, it sucks. Some manufacturers have run into speed bumps getting their updates out, and some devices have been end-of-life’d by the manufacturers. We didn’t know that the Tivo 2 and 3 series would be dropped for support until Tivo responded saying so.

So there you have it. However, given the relatively little forum chatter, I’d say there aren’t very many Rhapsody customers streaming music via TiVo anyhow and we know the Premiere is TiVo’s actively developed platform. Although this isn’t the first time apps have vanished… Yahoo retired their APIFrameChannel folded, CBS didn’t renew their Fantasy Football dealio, Disney movies and Jaman are no more, etc. Which sort of suggests folks stick with the cableco DVR and pick up a fee-free $60 Roku for continued app availability, development, and variety – if that’s a priority.

18 responses to Rhapsody No Longer Available On TiVo

  1. “Which sort of suggests folks stick with the cableco DVR and pick up a fee-free $60 Roku for continued app availability, development, and variety – if that’s a priority.”

    Or upgrade to a Premiere. Or keep your pre-Premiere TiVo as a DVR and pick up a Roku or some other input 2 device.

    I personally prefer my TiVo pre-Premiere DVR to a cableco DVR.


    However, if the firmware upgrade TiVo needs to make to the pre-Premiere units is reasonably trivial, and TiVo is not implementing sheerly to drive upgrades, I’d lose a whole lotta love for the TiVo brand.

    It’s worth noting that the stuff TiVo hasn’t implemented for older units up until the Rhapsody decision has been utterly reasonable. You can’t stream from older hardware because the hardware can’t support it. You can’t run Hulu Plus on older hardware because they’re not writing new apps for that software platform. Even the iOS remote app implements everything for older hardware that the older hardware will support.

    So not implementing the minor Rhapsody change for older units if implementing would be reasonably trivial would be a first, and a disturbing first for all potential customers of the TiVo brand. It would mean they don’t maintain services for older hardware even when they can. (“Reasonable trivial” comes down to a cost/benefit tradeoff. It depends on how many man-hours it would cost divided by how many pre-Premiere units are using Rhapsody. I could well imagine the denominator being small enough that the result produced is that it’s not reasonably trivial, but I don’t know the numbers involved…)

  2. I’m sure the number of Rhapsody TiVo streamers are insignificant… but this is representative of TiVo’s “One Box” development strategy – an incomplete HDUI after more than a year in release, with few app additions or updates (Netlifx, anyone?). They’ve got to provide significantly more than the cablecos to grow, or even retain, their base. And they’re not getting it done. Perhaps they’re resigned to working for Sir Richard Branson and collecting patent/licensing fees.

  3. Now gone from my Denon 4810-CI receiver as well, after a firmware update; not that I’ll miss it. Never used it there or on my Tivo.

  4. jon the heretic August 14, 2011 at 10:11 am

    I could care less about Rhapsody, but as a trend it is disturbing and even self defeating. This smacks of Apple-like disregard for older hardware, dropping support to shave a few bucks because they can.

    There is one huge problem with this scenario: TiVo is not Apple. The Apple-we-are-bigger-than-Exxon can pull far worse things than this for less reason (like drop Rosetta from Lion) because they are growing so fast, We Disgruntled Few simply don’t matter. Jobs to the mac loyal: suck it up! But the struggling Apple of the 90s let me run my 68k apps for over a decade, including a few that were compiled on a Lisa! That Apple needed me. No longer.

    Tivo however really does need us, and swaggering around like they can jerk customers around. When TiVo drops a feature it needs to actually make sense. That’s because for TiVo We Disgruntled Few are all they have left.

    Though with Sir Richard, maybe they don’t; maybe Virgin will acquire TiVo? You heard this baseless rumor here first.

  5. “this is representative of TiVo’s “One Box” development strategy – an incomplete HDUI after more than a year in release, with few app additions or updates”

    Well, it depends on how we parse this:

    “Rhapsody indicates support will be restored to TiVo Premiere hardware in the near future”

    If the “near future” means days or weeks for a service few use, then fine. Otherwise, I’d begin to agree with you on “updates”.

    But as far as “app additions” go, well, what the hell is there for lean-back users who aren’t cord-cutters once you get beyond Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon? If OTT lean-back ever goes more mainstream, then TiVo will have to keep up or they will lose. But we’re not there yet.


    “Perhaps they’re resigned to working for Sir Richard Branson”

    The UK doesn’t have CableCARD legislation, so retail was never an option there.

    But in the US, if I were TiVo, I’d be pursuing a dual retail/cableco strategy, much as TiVo seems to be trying to do.

    (And call me crazy, but I continue to think the “confusing” price strategy they had going for half a year, where your monthly cost was tied to how much you wanted to pay up-front for the hardware was their best bet in the retail market. I think moving away from that was a mistake for retail.)

  6. It’s way too soon for Tivo to stop supporting the S3/HD models, if indeed that is what they are doing. Although these models were on the market for several years, they were only replaced by the Premiere a little more than a year ago. Consumers who bought a product should be able to reasonably expect their devices to be supported for five years after purchase, which is about the expected life of the hardware.

    Rhapsody may be a special case, if almost nobody is using it, but if this is a general trend then that will seal my decision on whether to stay with Tivo when my current boxes die.

  7. Maybe TiVo is redefining lifetime to mean End of Sale + 1 year for supported updates? Otherwise if it keeps working great if not oh well? I still have and use daily my original S3. However I exclusively use it for OTA / CC TV. The apps like Netflix and Amazon on it are a joke compared to other platforms. I am pretty sure this is due to its hardware being pretty underpowered at launch and only getting worse since. Although they can’t seem to get the Premiere working well with its (hopefully) much better hardware.

  8. This is a terrific decision (and I’m not being sarcastic). The TiVo Rhapsody “app” was awful, and effectively stopped working years ago (on my Series 3). I was a Rhapsody subscriber only because of the TiVo functionality, but eventually I had to concede that it was a waste of money, as it was almost never functioning. The only surprise to me is that TiVo still has it at all.

  9. Let’s not over-react to Rhapsody. I personally could care less and I don’t think it’s that popular. They only have 800,000 subscribers in the US so the intersection with TiVo customers has to be rather small.

    The crappy old Netflix interface is far more relevant. No signs that’s going to be updated either.

    Personally I recently supplemented my TiVo with a Roku to support more current OTT offerings and suspect others are doing similar. I get MOG, Amazon Prime access, a much better Netflix client and better codec support than TiVo Desktop (like MKV’s).

    If the Premiere was stable and responsive and the OTT clients were being added/updated with any regularity I would have switched by now.

    Oh, and Apple, wrt the iPhone anyway, supports the current AND the previous gen with almost all software updates. And of course TiVo ain’t Apple.

  10. That’s crap. The Eiger was $800. Just because the S4 came out, doesn’t mean firmware support should be dropped. I didn’t actually use Rhapsody, but I’m a little concerned about the implications for other services I do use. I’d rant about why I don’t actually use my S4 but that’s another story.

  11. Ah, it seems only yesterday the CEOs of TiVo and Real hosted a party in NYC, with colorful libations and live music courtesy of Fountains of Wayne, to announce this Rhapsody app (for the THD/S3)… ;)


  12. For what it’s worth, the Tivo app was the reason I switched from Napster to Rhapsody. It gave me a great way of streaming music directly to my stereo, and actually worked really well with my Tivo HD. I’ll miss it, and its absence is one more reason to consider finally building an HTPC and ditching Tivo.

  13. I guess I was one of the few that used Rhapsody on a TiVo HD. I don’t like the trend: No Hulu Plus, no Rhapsody, no Amazon Prime, what’s next? Time to look at new options.

  14. TiVo bills itself as the one box and then keeps supplying only a half assed rendition of 3rd party apps. Rhapsody keeps getting so caught up in DRM that it keeps excluding possible customers. Bith trends are not the hallmark of forward looking company.

    As for TiVo, it is obvious the stand alone retail base is not the profit center for TiVo. They might actually be bottom line smart in not worrying about Rhapsody on TiVo HD boxes but that means they are ignoring the people that brought them to the dance and that may be a long range mistake

  15. Figures i just signed up for rhapsody 2 weeks ago! I was going to use it on my tivo but when i saw the message on my tivo about the maintenance being done i started using my logitech revue to get rhaposdy instead. I know that if i didn’t have my logitech revue i would of canceled rhapsody because theres no way i will listen to music on a laptop, I would rather use my tivo premiere or logitech revue with my av receiver!

  16. I used the Rhapsody on Tivo and really enjoyed it. I have heard about the problems with the Premier and have so far refused to upgrade. This really stinks.

  17. Rhapsody never worked properly from day one on either of my Tivo HD’s. It would never stream more than 30 minutes without either reverting to live TV or displaying an error code.Sometimes I couldn’t even get to my music library. No loss here as I now access Rhapsody flawlessly on a Logitech device.

  18. Rhapsody was a major reason for having two series 2 Tivos though the service was always a bit unreliable.

    I’m shocked at the lack of any pro-active communication from tivo or rhapsody on this issue. Only when i complained the 3rd time did I get any information.

    Will either company be around in 5 years? Why would i invest $400 in a new lifetime service for a series 4?