TiVo Drops YouTube & Video Podcasts

Dave Zatz —  April 3, 2015

amazon-youtube-tivo

TiVo app pruning continues… As previously reported, Amazon Instant downloads were to be dropped. Well, as it turns out, TiVo Series 2 and Series 3 owners will also be losing YouTube access come April 16th:

All good things must come to an end, right? Well, that’s the case here. As of April 16, 2015, you will no longer be able to purchase or download content from Amazon with TiVo Series2 and TiVo HD/Series3 DVRs. You will, however, be able to continue watching the movies and TV episodes already purchased and downloaded in your Now Playing list. TiVo HD/Series3 users, you will no longer be able to access videos through the YouTube app. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause

Beyond Amazon and YouTube, TiVo has also killed their podcast download feature on all platforms: “Sorry, Video Podcasts are no longer available. We thank you for using this service in the past.” I guess they prefer you now stream that content via Hotlist on Premiere or Roamio.

It’s not quite forced obsolescence, but it still stings when companies abandon aging platforms and perhaps under-utilized services. But, hey, get a deal on something new?

We’ve set aside smarter, stronger and zippier TiVo Roamio DVRs (which include the Amazon YouTube apps) at an extraordinary upgrade price just for you. These offers are so good they will make you forget this minor inconvenience ever happened. To hear all about it, contact the TiVo Call Center today at 877-BUY-TIVO.

(Thanks DK and Roger! Sorry for your loss.)

44 responses to TiVo Drops YouTube & Video Podcasts

  1. Wow. I wondered why all my podcasts stopped downloading. I’ve been a TiVo customer for well over 10 years, but it looks like it might be time to move on. There are plenty of alternatives now.

  2. “It’s not quite forced obsolescence, but it still stings when companies abandon aging platforms and perhaps under-utilized services”

    True. But, at least in the case of YouTube, one would assume this has to do with Google dropping support for something on the backend that results in the remaining backend either simply not being supportable by S2/S3, or else supporting the new backend would require unjustifiable engineering costs.

    In other words, I’d strongly tend to believe they’re not just dropping YouTube on the older equipment just because it’s underutilized, or just to get folks to upgrade.

    If this whole line of assumption is correct, I’ve no problem with it. It’s been 5 years since they last sold the S3, so it’s somewhat unreasonable to expect them to support what would amount to ‘new’ features. (Though they obviously have at least an ethical mandate to continue to support core functions through minor changes.)

  3. And in off-topic news on TiVo, I still can’t find the fine print on the very recent Amazon Cloud Drive TOS, but if it’s really $60/yr for unlimited backups without any disqualifying fine print, which so far seems to be the case, besides backing up all your computer data, you could also archive TiVo shows that the CCI byte will let you offload!

  4. Except Amazon and YouTube getting axed on the same day? But, yeah, the YouTube integration on the older platforms was custom and based on api/sdk that Google no longer makes available. They cut a lot of folks off and prohibited others, it’s why Roku didn’t have YouTube for a very long time. It’s reasonable to assume Google would kill access eventually and no one’s investing resources figuring out how to engineer a replacement on the non-Flash, non-Haxe S2/S3 TiVos.

    The video podcasts thing is somewhat worse as it hits all platforms and because there was no forewarning – it just vanished.

    On the Amazon Cloud Drive, will have to research – thanks. Although my priority is figuring out how to make sense of my photo collection. Who, how, where.

  5. “Although my priority is figuring out how to make sense of my photo collection. Who, how, where.”

    For ‘making sense’ of it, I’ve got a license to a non-subscription older Adobe collection, and I absolutely love the humble Bridge app for managing photos. Does absolutely everything I want, does it in a very sensible manner, and keeps it all in a non-proprietary file/folder structure I’ll never have to worry about. Nothing I’ve ever heard or read about can come close to matching it.

    For backing it up, (as well as backing up other stuff out-of-home), I’m a big fan of Amazon S3, with Arq being my favored front end for OS X. But if the new Cloud Drive is as good as it so far seems to be, everything will get a lot cheaper and simpler. Once a month, just create an encrypted, timestamped bundle, and send it up to Cloud Drive. An ultra-cheap Time Machine in the cloud…

  6. I have an older Adobe with Bridge too. Will take a look one weekend.

  7. I just called TiVo, and was told they are not transferring lifetime subscriptions from TivoHD’s in this offer, making the offer useless for anyone with a lifetime subscription.

  8. Michael Sheehan April 3, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    The YouTube app will no longer work on most 2012 or earlier Sony “smart” TVs and Bluray players, nor on older Panasonic TVs and BR players, as of April 20, 2015.

    https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6098135?hl=en

  9. Pretty insane that Google is cutting off YouTube from Google TV. Not that we needed it, but more evidence that product and product management was a disaster. Would never buy Nexus Player.

  10. Norman, sell you S3 Tivo on Craigslist / eBay and get $150 for it.

  11. Also the add RSS video feed on the website has been broken for a while. I’ve been trying to add the TekThing podcast to my TiVo and no one can get the RSS add part of the website to work. Does not work on my Romio pro

    This sucks because I rely on my TiVo for a lot of this. Also how I watch a lot of twit broadcasts.

    Anyone have a fix or workaround?

  12. Speaking of RSS, Dave should know his RSS comments feed has been down the last day or two…

  13. ★★★★★ ZNF offers excellent and quick customer service.

  14. Really sucks that they got rid of podcast downloads, and didn’t even bother to tell us. TWiT sure is going to take a hit in views.

  15. I took only a quick look at Amazon Cloud drive, and some of the review comments from users suggested holding off. The reason I’m still using Dropbox, despite its continuing high price (comparative), is that the synch thing just works. And really quickly. And I take advantage of that all the time. The wife’s iPhone uploads photos to her Dropbox, but I can access that folder in my dropbox to get access to her photos, etc. Lots of useful features and works well.

    That said, they want too much money, and their “security” is very sketchy since they obviously have the keys. And they don’t promise not to give the keys to others with the right (perhaps political) pressure.

    So I currently use BoxCryptor (older version with no subscription) to lock up things like credit cards or tax files or whatever within my Dropbox.

    If I can get close to all of this with Amazon, or with something running in front of Amazon, then I’m game. And even if I can’t, like Chucky says, they’re driving prices down.

  16. “If I can get close to all of this with Amazon, or with something running in front of Amazon, then I’m game.”

    I don’t think you’ll be able to even get in the same neighborhood, at least anytime soon.

    Most of the reviews I’ve read have been negative, precisely because of the concerns you express. It’s essentially got no endpoint support. So, if you want good sync, or mobile access, or all those other bells and whistles folks love, it’s not the thing.

    However, I’m a customer of Amezon S3 for out-of-home backup, just for the remote possibility of my home being destroyed, or an EMP getting set off. And Cloud Drive seems, and I emphasize “seems” cuz I can’t find the fine print, to offer a massive improvement in price and convenience. If it’s as good as it looks on first glance, not only would I save money over what I currently spend, but I’d be able to back up much more data, much more frequently. I wasn’t joking about Time Machine in the cloud. And I wasn’t joking about the feasibility of archiving TiVo recordings for some day in the future.

    In short, if there is no disqualifying fine print, all Cloud Drive is right now is an incredible supplement/replacement for toasting bare drives and putting them in cases.

  17. “And even if I can’t, like Chucky says, they’re driving prices down.”

    The fascinating thing about it all is that the prices they’re driving down are their own. If it’s as good as it looks, they’re totally cannibalizing Amazon S3 for everything but real-time serving.

  18. @wes – Leo and Jeff Jarvis were talking about it on this week in Google. Leo said they get a very small marginal number of viewers via TiVo.

  19. For the numerous commenters looking for workarounds for non-YouTube lost functionality, I have a few suggestions. (Note that I haven’t tried any of these, but it’s where I’d go exploring if I were in need.)

    – If you’ve got an S4, S5, or Mini, check out the Opera app store on TiVo. Who knows what lurks there?

    – A bit more complicated, but for video podcasts, you could download them to Plex Media Server on a computer, and play them back on your TiVo via the Opera Plex app.

    – If you’ve got a Roamio, you’ve got a web browser built into your TiVo. Kmmtg’s recent builds have introduced some quite interesting support for using this, including using your remote as a mouse, displaying web pages with everything but playable media stripped out, and some other cool stuff.

    (Kevin Moye is a golden god whom we should all worship with animal sacrifices.)

  20. Yeah, not sure I can give up various Dropbox functionality. But $60 for unlimited bulk cloud storage (in conjunction with unlimited fiber-fast Verizon data throughput), it might be a nice dumping ground for basically everything. I wonder if sub-Prime (ha, subprime) Amazon accounts get free, unlimited photo storage too. I put my mom on my account years before they restricted access to a single household address, would be nice to back up her photos. Then again, I could just back everything up into my account.

  21. “Yeah, not sure I can give up various Dropbox functionality.”

    At least for the time being, it’s not even a Dropbox competitor. It’s just a crazy infinite bare drive in the sky. But if Amazon ever chooses, they could gradually invest in endpoint support to become a Dropbox killer some day.

    The economics of the thing are just absurd, though. They were supposedly a bit short of break-even on S3, and now they roll out this. Classic Amazon: lose tons of money on every widget, and make it up in volume.

    As a pundit I’m not particularly fond of semi-famously put it, Amazon is a charitable effort on the part of investors to benefit consumers.

  22. “But if Amazon ever chooses, they could gradually invest in endpoint support to become a Dropbox killer some day.”

    Or, given that they’ve actually provided the thing an API, maybe the idea is to let a thousand flowers bloom, and let 3rd party devs create all the endpoints…

  23. I’ll just use the unlimited storage on One Drive. Since I’m paying yearly for office anyway it’s less expensive than paying Amazon $60 a year now. I’ll continue to upload photos to Amazon since it’s unlimited for Prime but won’t do videos or any other content any more The same goes for my Google Drive. I will just start using my One Drive for the majority of my content. I also have Dropbox but I only have it to be able to print remotely from my devices to my Xerox Printer.

  24. “I’ll just use the unlimited storage on One Drive.”

    Unless things have changed very recently, it’s still got both a file size limit, and a number of files limit. Combined, that means even if I were an Office 365 user, (which I’m not), it’d still be utterly useless to me, compared to both the way I’ve been using Amazon S3, and am planning on using Amazon Cloud Drive…

    (Also, unencrypted. So, while I don’t trust Amazon holding my keys, and thus pre-encrypt everything I send up to them with keys only I hold, civilian Microsoft cloud users are simply naked to the world. And even educated Microsoft cloud users will have trouble in rolling their own encryption due the file size limits.)

  25. I may have to look into Amazon Cloud. I have been using Crashplan to backup my videos.

  26. “Why live? Why not wait 20 minutes and then watch? … We’ll see how much energy I have… had to get up at 5AM today.”

    Dude. Lack of sleep is affecting your brain. If you start 20 minutes late, you’ll finish at the exact same time as if you’d watched live…

  27. So what deal is Tivo offering to S3 subscribers then?

  28. Chucky, yeah lack of sleep and lack of caffeine definitely effecting my logic and math. And thank you also for the recent grammar corrections – I diligently get them in. :)

    MarkV, no idea what this particular offer is or if it varies by user/account/spend. If you’re in for 10 years, I’d ask for that deal tho – I got a Roamio Plus for $500 with Lifetime which seems like a real good deal. I probably need to upgrade the drive.

  29. “Chucky, yeah lack of sleep and lack of caffeine definitely effecting my logic and math.”

    Have noticed worrying vague allusions in your twits of late. Please tell me you’re not giving up coffee. Not only is it one of the four essential food groups, but the holy texts of all of the world’s religions mandate its consumption. It’s pretty much the only thing they all agree upon.

  30. “I probably need to upgrade the drive.”

    (my bolding)

    Unsure if inclusion of the word “probably” there is a mere typo, or if it’s actually a logic error. If the latter, you should undergo precautionary testing at your earliest possible convenience to make sure you don’t have the Alzheimer’s. Lack of definite intent to cheaply max out a Roamio is one of the first warning signs…

  31. More disappointment from TiVo. Dropping YouTube on the old platforms – OK, that’s the API going away and a limitation of what they can do, same with Amazon downloads. But dropping webcast downloads is bullshit. The streaming system on TiVo is crappy, to the point that I’d rather use RSS feeds on my PC and Chromecast to watch them on my TV. But I made heavy use of the webcast download feature – it worked great.

    Not only am I upset that they dropped this – but I received no notice that it was going away. No system message and no email . That pisses me off. They have a history of this – just dropping webcasts without saying anything and leaving it up to the user to notice they haven’t downloaded. And now they yanked the whole feature without saying anything? It would’ve been nice to have a warning that it was going away so that we could look for new solutions *before* it happened to get everything in sync.

    More and more TiVo is just a DVR again for me. We’ve been using other services more and more, and TiVo’s implementations are often subpar. The only reason they get used is that TiVo is still the primary input on our main TV – because if the DVR functionality. But now we’re using HBO Go – which TiVo lacks. We have several other systems which support Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Amazon Instant, YouTube, and more – often better than TiVo does. Now I’ll be moving all my webcasts to Feedly and not using TiVo for them at all. I find myself using TiVo for less and less as time passes.

  32. “We’ve been using [OTT] services more and more, and TiVo’s implementations are often subpar.”

    Agree. Sluggish, and subpar in other ways minor ways.

    “The only reason they get used is that TiVo is still the primary input on our main TV”

    Disagree, at least for me. OnePass has totally changed the TiVo OTT equation.

    I’d much rather ‘bookmark’ a show or movie on my TiVo and watch it that way than watch it on my Roku, which I otherwise love.

    —–

    “But now we’re using HBO Go – which TiVo lacks.”

    I also use HBO Go, which the MSO’s simply won’t let TiVo offer.

    But the coming introduction of HBO Now has, IMHO, a very high possibility of creating the incentives to force the MSO’s to let TiVo offer HBO Go.

  33. Ive been using the download manager ever since they implemented it. I always wished there were more options for it. For me that is gone so I tried the YouTube app. Its always been a little slow and jittery but if that’s what I’m stuck with I’ll use it but now that’s going too?

    With all the cord cutters they should be implementing more Internet based content not getting rid of it. With the cable companies adding more and more copy protection making TiVo to go worthless, and then giving us access to mobil video on demand, on top of Hulu, Amazon prime, Netflix… Im on the verge of ditching TiVo and just hooking up a PC to my TV.

  34. Another in a long line of slights from tivo. I used to be a major tivo advocate. Now I wish they would die
    F you very much tivo.

  35. Man I miss the video podcast download. Viewing CNET vids on hotlist just isnt as good.

  36. I’ve been a lifetime subscriber since 2000. 2 Tivos with Lifetime service. (Tivo HD, and an old S1 30 hour unit) And now they are took away features that I essentially PAID lifetime service for. I used Youtube. I used podcasts. I used Amazon. All gone. Not a happy customer at all. Anyone know what the deals are on Romios they are offering us users that lost these features?

  37. I just spoke to a Tivo rep. after reading the message about the loss of Amazon and Youtube. The message said to call an 800 number to receive a BIG discount on Roamio. The “BIG” discount was an offer of $199 for a basic Roamio. Walmart sells the same device for $149! Thanks Tivo. I have been a subscriber since 2006. So much for rewarding customer loyalty.

  38. “The message said to call an 800 number to receive a BIG discount on Roamio. The “BIG” discount was an offer of $199 for a basic Roamio.”

    Are you sure that was for the base Roamio? Or that there wasn’t a grandfathering of your service plan? Or something? Cuz that’s the MSRP – aka zero discount…

  39. Uh yeah, the Basic Romio is $199 on the Tivo web site!

  40. Got an offer in email…

    Romio’s refurbed with lifetime

    Romio w/Lifetime $450
    Romio Plus w/lifetime $525
    Romio Pro w/lifetime $700

    That is a decent deal. If I can keep my HD with lifetime I’ll probably go for it and then sell my Tivo HD and get a Tivo Mini or two.

  41. Taking people’s money with the promise of providing a service and then steadily reducing the service until there is almost nothing left could be considered consumer fraud. Tivo cut MusicChoice, they cut iTivo and Tivo Desktop, they cut YouTube, they cut video podcasts. What’s left — the program guide, which other DVRs provide without requiring any subscription? Companies have found themselves on the wrong end of a class-action lawsuit for far less cause than this. No chance they will ever get more money from me. I don’t do business with companies that abuse their customers.

  42. As someone mentioned above, the CNET podcasts are sorely missed. Rather than sitting at the TiVo, watching episodes and then deleting them, I have to click umpteen different menus and categories, figure out which episodes of each I haven’t watched, watch them, move to the next category, etc. Someone at TiVo needs their head examined if this is an “enhancement”.

    As a side note, this thread was related mainly to Amazon and YouTube. But specifically related to the CNET podcasts, were they (in the past) downloaded from YouTube to the TiVo, or directly from CNET? I’m having a hard time understanding why TiVo would remove this functionality from my new Roamio.

  43. Man, I was wondering what happened to my video downloads. I just tried to start a CNET Apple Byte episode used hotlist and it just hung.
    The podcast download feature was awesome for 3 reasons:
    1) Quality was exceptional. I don’t know another way to really get HD quality on a live stream.
    2) Fast forward/rewind/instant reply. One thing you can’t get with live streams is the ability to move quickly scan through a video. This is why we still own TiVo, right?
    3) Video is pushed to you. Another reason we own a TiVo. We get our content pushed, I don’t have to keep searching to see if new content is out there.

    The video download feature should have been enhanced, not terminated. CNET worked the best, but it could have been extended to support more streaming services.

  44. I’ve been using TiVo for about 10 years now. Sadly, it’s time to find an alternative to TiVo. They’ve been getting increasingly worse at quality and customer service.