Upcoming TiVo IP-STB Christened "Mini"


TiVo’s upcoming IP-STB has been been christened as the “TiVo Mini.” This wasn’t entirely unexpected, as I’d learned of it being referenced as such internally and believe it’s popped up at a TiVo investor or industry talk recently. It’s probably not TiVo’s best branding move to describe their DVR-less extender, but the kangaroo-centric Hopper and Joey are spoken for. Regardless, TiVo tells me the Mini IP-STB is still on track for a fall launch… which I’m counting on to turn my existing TiVo Premiere XL4/Elite into a whole-home DVR, streaming both live and recorded content to additional HDTVs, yet powered by a single CableCARD.

(Thanks, Sam!)

45 thoughts on “Upcoming TiVo IP-STB Christened "Mini"”

  1. I still disagree with the Mini name since it isn’t a TiVo. Mini makes more sense for the RCN set top box.

  2. I guess since TiVo is trying to call their box the everything box, it makes sense that one without the ability to record would be a mini. Do we know if the Mini will work without a TiVo to compete with other streamers?

    Anyways, not a big fan of the name, but it is much better than “Extender for TiVo Premiere XL4.”

  3. Brennok, Remember, this is the same company that came up with “Series 2.” They also renamed the Elite the XL4 mid cycle, while the MSO Q and retail P4 are basically the same product.

    Ben, I doubt the Mini will work without a Premiere of some sort. And probably only a XL4/P4/Q at launch. It seems more like a Moxi Mate than say the extenders Sage TV put out.

  4. I am waiting to upgrade my Series 3 to the Premier XL4 until I actually see these IP-STB shipping. I greatly prefer the idea of a single central unit that can be shared by all the TVs in the house, but I am not going to jump into an upgrade until all the parts are actually shipping. TiVo has been slow to get things out to the door too many times.

    As soon as they show up though – immediate buy of the big XL4 and 3 “mini” extenders. Will save me money with Comcast since I won’t have to pay for the 4 cable cards and extra cable outlets around the house.

  5. Will these require ‘service’ from TiVo or will they be free and require a TiVo with current service to work?

  6. I really really hope they don’t decide to do a monthly fee for the box. It would be such a mistake. I don’t want to be paying monthly especially since I have lifetime on my Elite.

    One side note, I swapped out my old ComcasTivo box yesterday that they are dropping support for (was sitting in a spare room on a rarely used TV) now that the Premier supports OnDemand. I really forgot how truly awful the Motorola software is. I can’t imagine being stuck using that software for day to day use. I had hoped to just use the now-called Mini in that room (thought may not because the Moto box is part of my package so dropping it won’t save me money).

  7. Is this the consumer device or the cable company device?

    I think I’m mixing this up with the TiVo Preview.

  8. The Mini will be available for both retail and cable partners.

    The Preview is a different product entirely, for cable partners only.

  9. The Preview has a CableCARD slot and can tune digital cable, whereas the Mini co-opts a XL4/Q tuner to receive those channels from somewhere else in the house, plus receive streamed recorded content. I imagine the Mini may eventually supercede the Preview…

  10. Also saw that TiVo Stream promo in my Facebook feed, assuming it means it will be coming soon. Personally I’m not interested at all since I’m perfectly happy with my TTG/Air Video solution…

    The IP STB/Mini though I’m potentially very interested in, since it has the potential to save me money. But ONLY if they don’t have a significant monthly fee. If it has an $8/mo fee or something then forget it, I’ll just keep using an old TiVo in the bedroom and paying the monthly CableCARD fees associated with it.

  11. I’m very interested in the Stream as it essentially ships live video around the house, too… which is better than any MSO’s iPad app. Especially Verizon who still hasn’t released live TV on that platform.

  12. I think if Tivo sells the IP-STB separately, then most of the sales will be to replace a second premiere and there won’t be any gain in revenue unless they charge a high price for the IP-STB.

    I could see them offering a discount on the IP-STB bundled with the purchase of a new XL4.

    I also think they are going to have to register the IP-STB on the customer’s account to restrict the streaming to only the Tivos on the customer’s account. I think Tivo is going to want to get paid some kind of additional fee for another device on the customer’s account.

  13. The fact that I got a Tivo email about a $400 Premier w/Lifetime, Wifi and 6months of Hulu makes the cynical side of me pretty sure that this device won’t support the 2 tuner premier

  14. @Sam,

    Well, Comcast’s Xfinity app will let you stream stuff off their servers, but I suspect that’s not what you’re asking. Sounds like you’re asking whether I can stream stuff I recorded on their DVR? My guess is no, though in the long run as DVR’s are replaced with network-based DVR’s (I know Comcast has one in the planning stage, suspect all the majors are working on this) I would think this would become a common ability actually.

  15. @Glenn,

    I was wondering specifically if the TiVo Stream’s ability to stream recorded content from one or more TiVo Premiere’s in the home will be a first-to-market feature. It sounds like it might be at least for the time being.

    As far as nDVRs go I think the issue will continue to be the responsiveness and reliability of network based DVRs. As the broadband pipes become fatter I expect that nDVRs will become more prevalent. I think the need for network DVRs will become less and less relevant for the MSOs as more and more of the content will be available via cloud services (i.e., VOD).

  16. Dish’s Slingbox solutions, embedded or otherwise. Comcast’s AnyPlay (aka Motorola Televation) is capable as far as I know, but not enabled. I believe AT&T U-verse allows or allowed some DVR content to be transferred, but can’t seem to prove it today. DirecTV’s Nomad does something. (My computer is packed up ahead of the move and the iPad isn’t the greatest multitasker…)

  17. Could someone tell me how all this fits in my home? A link (URL) would be nice. I currently have a Series 3 and a Series 4 and they both have Frontier FiOS.


  18. a monthly fee for this device would be the deal breaker. If a fee is required, then it might make more sense to invest in another Premiere product and pay that monthly or Lifetime, and one would get the advantage of additional tuners.Even if the fee were $10 per month, I would not want to pay that out forever and get a device that takes away a tuner in the other room.

  19. Travis, check out this TiVo press release from a few months back. Basically, The TiVo Mini IP set-top box will receive streamed live TV or recordings from a Premiere XL4 or P4 so you’d put it at a TV without a TiVo for a smaller form factor and theoretically lower cost.


    Sammy, good points on the cost versus tuners. Although I think some cablecos may still charge additional outlet fees and Verizon charges $4 per CableCARD. So maybe I’d be ok with say $7.99/month. Although I’d prefer $129.99 for the box and no monthly fees. Would TiVo risk cannibalizing Premiere subscriptions? It’s a tough one.

  20. If you look at the mini as something to make the 4 tuner boxes more valuable, then it makes sense to have no monthly fee. If you have to pay a monthly fee, there is little reason to take the cable company’s box out – just keep paying that fee. I don’t see this as cannibalizing Premiere sales to an existing owner, but as an incentive for somebody who doesn’t have one to get one.

  21. “So maybe I’d be ok with say $7.99/month. Although I’d prefer $129.99 for the box and no monthly fees. Would TiVo risk cannibalizing Premiere subscriptions? It’s a tough one.”

    Call me naive, but I’d be astonished if any potential monthly fee were above $3.99. I think there would be serious resistance above that point. And if I were running TiVo, I’d just price the hardware with a healthy margin and skip the whole monthly fee entirely.

    After all, it is supposedly a monthly fee for guide data…

  22. “Its streamed across the home wired or MoCA network.”

    That’s too bad. I really was hoping a bunch of tiny little TiVo mascots carried the bits by hand across your home, all the while singing “Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, It’s box from box we go.”

  23. @travis,
    You’ll need to have a wired network for the Mini. It has two connections on the back. One is a wired ethernet and the other is a wired coax (i.e., MoCA). MoCA stands for Multimedia over COAX Alliance. Its a standard that is heavily used by cable operators since most homes have coax wired throughout the home. It essentially allows reliable transport of multimedia over coax lines throughout the home. The XL4, Premiere 4, and Mini all support wired ethernet and wired MoCA.

  24. Thanks Sam.
    Does the “Live and recorded” content use the same coax that my regular cable content uses or do I need to have a second run of coax?

  25. “Does the “Live and recorded” content use the same coax that my regular cable content uses or do I need to have a second run of coax?”

    That’s the beauty of MoCA. It uses the same coax for regular cable content and data. Only one coax run required throughout the home.

  26. @Sammy Snead

    I’m with you. Sell me the device as-is and skip the monthly charges (isn’t it or can’t it get all of the info from my Elite, anyway?). Otherwise, I’ll just get a Premier, pay the lifetime fee, and live with that (and have more tuners).

    I suspect that they’ll try to charge a monthly fee.

  27. I’m not going to buy *another* premier, XL4 or otherwise. I have the Elite/XL4 already. The guest bedroom where we’d likely put the IP STB has an “old” TiVo HD in it. Used to have a DT before I bought the Elite. I currently pay $12.95 a month for this box. Plus $8.75/mo (looks like it just went up $.75) for an “additional outlet” from Comcast. Minus $2.50 for “customer owned equipment”. So $19.20 a month for a TV that rarely gets used. Kinda ridiculous. I mostly keep it hooked up so I can use a SlingBox on that TV since I spend a lot of time in hotels.

    I guess even at $8.00/month I’d save on the order of $17/mo, which would pay for a $129 STB in under 8 months. And I’d much rather give TiVo my money than Comcast. I don’t hate Comcast or anything, just dislike the whole charging me ridiculous prices for 2nd and 3rd outlets in the home thing.

    Plus of course I’d be able to stream shows recorded on the Elite, something I can’t always do with the HD (shows on Showtime, HBO etc are protected in my area).

    Guess I will be getting one of these. Huh.

  28. If there’s a monthly fee, this thing is a no go for me. I can rent an extra DVR from Charter for $7 per month, so I can’t see paying for a mini and then paying a monthly fee plus a cable card fee on top of the initial purchase price. It would be nice to record in one place and stream to other rooms, but if the cost is actually higher, I can just set certain season recordings up on multiple Charter DVRs and it will work just fine.

  29. I think the monthly fee will approach what cable companies charge for a cable card and an additional outlet. The mini will be plug and play after you enter the TSN online. I don’t think there are any other 3rd party plug and play devices for cable. I don’t think Tivo necessarily wants customers to start replacing premieres with the mini, if the result is less revenue.

  30. But the new IP-STB may actually inspire new purchases. First off there are probably a number of customers like me that are fine with their existing TiVo devices and are waiting for a compelling new device to upgrade. My original Series 3 and two HD models are just fine. So TiVo has a group of consumers that will upgrade for the IP-STB capability, this generating new revenu.

    Second, there are consumers that will be newly drawn to the TiVo ecosystem with this option, assuming the prices are right. This will also generate new revenu.

    Those two new revenu sources will probably trump the lost revenu fron the few people that might replace existing Tivos with the IP-STB and already have a Premier that can stream to it. I doubt they need to charge much (or anything) as a recurring fee for the IP-STB.

    I am holding that the purchase price is in the $100-$150 range though. That puts it on-par with the AppleTV and Roku, even though those aren’t direct competitors they share the same mind space and table/TV-input space.

  31. There might be a little cannibalization of DVR sales, but I don’t think much. I think far more of these boxes will go on secondary and tertiary TVs where people weren’t willing to spend $500-$900 for DVRs.

    I’m still in the camp that there won’t be any extra fees. They’ll get a little bit of subscription money from MSOs though. We’ll have to see though.

  32. I would be shocked and disgusted if they charged a monthly fee for it. That would be like charging a monthly fee for a Wi-Fi adaptor. Though I can see the cost being higher because of not being subsidized with a monthly fee to pay for the equipment.

  33. I’m late to the commenting party here, but just a note that the DirecTV Nomad box also has the capability to stream recorded content. Not sure if Direct is using the capability.

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