The New TiVo Makes Good On Hardware Efficiencies

Dave Zatz —  August 10, 2017

As pointed out in the TiVo forums, the recently updated Arris TiVo product line made available to cable companies includes one model strikingly similar in appearance to our exclusive retail TiVo Mini 4K imagery. And I have reason to believe the hardware is, indeed, likely the same… making good on a TiVo/Rovi pre-transition promise:

That said, being in the hardware business isn’t something that necessarily excites us. When we acquired Fanhattan and the Fan TV platform, they had an OEM relationship and we’re focused on a box solution. And when we acquired them, we said, we’d look to move to be box agnostic and be able to partner with box providers who can do that. There are several box providers out there who have direct-to-retail. We’ll be looking at the possibilities of working with them, having them control the box. And while that would be a partnership and we wouldn’t get all the sales as a result, we think that’s probably a better way to approach the consumer space. But don’t look for us to exit the consumer space.

Retail has been challenging for TiVo in recent years and they’ve previously written off hardware expenditures, so leaning on a partner cable box manufacturer to limit TiVo’s retail outlay and risk, given Arris’ larger scale, superior supply chain, etc is a wise business move.

Assuming the differences are largely cosmetic, here’s what the Arris Mi4 spec sheet has to say

  • F-connector for Cable input
  • HDMI™ output (supporting HDR10)
  • Optical S/PDIF digital audio output
  • (1) USB 2.0 ports
  • RF4CE and Bluetooth® wireless interfaces
  • Memory 8GB eMMC Flash, 2GB DRAM
  • Video Video decode up to 4Kp60 , HEVC, MPEG-4 AVC, MPEG-2, SVC, MVC
  • HDMI Video Output Formats 480i/p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p24/30/60, 4Kp24/30/60 HDR10 Support 4Kp60 H.265 / 10-bit HEVC
  • Audio Dolby® Digital, Dolby® Digital Plus
  • Graphics 1.2 Gp/s OpenGL ES3.1, scalable video-ingraphics
  • Home Networking MoCA 2.0 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • Dimensions 5.5”W x 5.5”D x 1.1”H
  • Weight 0.93 lbs.

13 responses to The New TiVo Makes Good On Hardware Efficiencies

  1. I wonder if that USB port will support a local DVR

  2. As to the direct-to-retail sort of partnerships, remember TiVo looks to have rekindled their relationship with Philips… although I haven’t been able to dig up much.

    https://zatznotfunny.com/2017-02/tivo-heads-back-future-new-hardware-partners/

    Aaron, no way. This is an extender, pure and simple (and glorious). Complexity and limited market is probably why the Mavrik was pulled (beyond internal reports of poor performance), so I don’t think they’d keep cranking away on corner cases.

  3. Glad to see that ethernet port. Can’t imagine that it would work particularly well without it!

  4. From a user perspective MoCA will provide an identical experience. And even if a Wi-Fi network is setup properly, the user experience will be identical.

    This has been the case for me at home with TiVo Minis. Whether using Ethernet, MoCA, or a wireless bridge, the experience was identical when using TiVo Minis. Which is to say the experience was very solid.

  5. Although it is a bit surprising that they actually put a GigE port on it. Since even when streaming UHD content, it is all low bitrate. At only around 15Mb/s.

  6. I can say that Wi-Fi streaming from a TiVo has had mixed results for me, at least with the TiVo Wireless N adapter a few years ago. MoCA has been much more reliable and consistent. Wireless would work, but it would sometimes freeze midway through a streaming show between my bedroom and living room units, but now that I have all Minis in the bedrooms running on MoCA, I rarely have any issues.

    I’m wondering whether TiVo would maintain the same level of control over their software releases as they did when they had different hardware partners in the early years. I would be worried about an Android type of situation, where the hardware manufacturers decide what software to release, or even modify the software to provide “exclusive” features. My hope would be the exact user experience, regardless of hardware. That is how I take “hardware agnostic”, but I believe that term has been used to describe Google’s OS platform before, and with mixed results from an end user perspective.

  7. “I can say that Wi-Fi streaming from a TiVo has had mixed results for me, at least with the TiVo Wireless N adapter a few years ago.”

    FWIW, I’d say ‘best practices’ to wirelessly hook up a Mini would undoubtably be to use a more modern, and better performing WiFi->Ethernet bridge, instead of using the TiVo adapter…

  8. The TiVo N “Adapter” actually is a “bridge” however, I’d still recommend something else and wireless performance is so extremely variable… In my new place, I have coax at all places I’d want it and am moving both Internet and video over MoCA. At my old place, we periodically experimented with a “wireless” Mini and had mixed results streaming that full frame MPEG2.

  9. “At my old place, we periodically experimented with a “wireless” Mini and had mixed results streaming that full frame MPEG2.”

    Yeah. I wouldn’t expect it to work well with most simple ‘whole home’ WiFi networks. My assumption is that to get it rock solid, you’d need an access point beaming to your TiVo with somewhat minimal obstructions in the way.

    And as you say, moving from the TiVo bridge to a better bridge is another way to improve performance.

    My only real point on WiFi connection is that if you have the need for it, WiFi should provide a rock solid connection for MPEG2 video, if you take care to set up the proper infrastructure.

  10. Now that I have a new router my wireless ac bridge works well. Powerline worked at first and got flakey. We rarely use it in the bedroom so it’s hard to say how well it works on a day to day basis.

  11. It’ll be interesting to see what the partners come up with for retail & cordcutters in particular. The DVR in my Roamio OTA is flawless, but the streaming app platform is terrible. I’m especially curious what Roku’s got in mind with the patents & data services they’ve licensed from Tivo.

  12. Happy to see HDR 10 is supported, is the Bolt going to updated to support HDR 10 as well?

  13. They’ve mentioned Bolts will get HDR10, but there’s no telling when.