TiVo Cloud Recording Coming Soon?

Dave Zatz —  November 10, 2017 — 39 Comments

As I continue to mull over the new (incomplete, buggy) TiVo Hydra interface, while awaiting patches, evidence has surfaced that TiVo cloud recording remains an active project. When the Tablo-fighting TiVo Mavrik OTA solution was scrapped, I’d assumed cloud was similarly off the table. However, recording options and uncovered code on tivo.com suggest otherwise. As revealed last spring, it appeared TiVo would offer two tiers of cloud recording capacity (20GB, 50GB) and we know they were testing on Bolt this time last year. Wether or not the presumably optional service will be limited to over-the-air programming is anyone’s guess and if it’s something enough of us are willing to pay for… given sufficient recording capacity and out-of-home streaming.

(Thanks Cole!)

39 responses to TiVo Cloud Recording Coming Soon?

  1. Instead of wasting time on incomplete, buggy interfaces and cloud recording no one needs, why don’t they fix what they’ve already got so I at least can see who’s going to be on Jimmy Kimmel tonight?

  2. If they could set it up so that say anyone in my area (local TV stations and channel subscriptions) records a show that I missed recording either due to recording conflict or just ignorance about the show and I could access their copy that would be awesome. Not sure if they would allow that, but that would actually be cool…

  3. I hate Hydra. I’ve been a fan of TiVo for decades and they took such a wrong turn here. They took everything that made a Tivo so great and smashed it with a sledgehammer. It’s like they didn’t take any user feedback into concern whatsoever. I am thanking God that they allowed a way out of it and back to the great interface I had once again.

  4. Who says we don’t need cloud recording, any dvr manufacturer that ignores the cloud will not exist within 5 years. There is a lot that can be done with a combination of in home and cloud recording.

  5. Well, I’d certainly take Aereo-style cloud recording. But a DVR with a hard drive that also records to “the cloud” for a fee, well I wonder how many takers there would be. Assuming the modest 20-50GB storage tiers stick, at least the potential of blowing through one’s broadband cap may have been mitigated. But many interesting elements to ponder – wonder if they’d cache locally before uploading, are we talking MPEG2 or MPEG4, some have wondered if we might share recordings (doubtful), etc.

  6. Isn’t this really just a dead tech regardless? It only works with cable which is clearly on its last leg. I’m not saying TiVo (which I loved until I cut the cord) should roll over and die but it’s a business that’s predicted the success of cable which there hasn’t been very much of. They should use the same recognition and become a internet based television service.

  7. I will say I use TiVo to find what I am looking for, a TV guide the goes across multiple apps like Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime etc. Is there really any competitor for that (I feel like Apple will get there once they get Amazon on their platform…

  8. “Well, I’d certainly take Aereo-style cloud recording. But a DVR with a hard drive that also records to “the cloud” for a fee, well I wonder how many takers there would be.”

    Oh, c’mon now. Who wouldn’t want the lousy transport controls and unreliability we’d get with cloud recordings over local caching?

    Not to mention that high capacity hard drives are priced higher than the equivalent weight of gold, and tend to triple in price every year…

  9. Scott, the 4-tuner TiVo Bolts and Roamios do cable or OTA. The 6-tuner models are cable-only.

    Brad, Roku’s universal search is also pretty good but obviously excludes linear television.

  10. Dave that’s about to change, (albeit only on Roku TVs) least on Roku’s TV 8.0 OS. It is getting OTA added to universal search along with 14-day EPG.

    http://www.cordcuttersnews.com/roku-tv-os-8-0-update-coming-month-new-features/
    http://newsroom.roku.com/press-release/canaux-streaming-francaiscanadien/new-roku-os-8-delivers-enhanced-entertainment

  11. This would make sense for cable companies using TiVo’s hardware/software. Beyond that, unless everyone all of a sudden gets great upload speeds or TiVo finds away to have access to every cable company feed and OTA broadcast directly I don’t see how it is going to work very well.

    And of course there is the big problem with TiVo not being able to make anything work correctly any more. They are their own guide data provider and that sucks, Hydra is half baked at best and every time they updated the old HDUI they always ended up with more problems.

  12. “This would make sense for cable companies using TiVo’s hardware/software.”

    Excellent point. Makes far more sense for MSO boxes than retail.

    “the big problem with TiVo not being able to make anything work correctly any more … Hydra is half baked at best”

    I strongly agree with the “at best” part of this. I thought Dave’s description, “the new (incomplete, buggy) TiVo Hydra interface” missed at note. I would have put it as “incomplete, buggy, and most likely fundamentally flawed even when the bugs are squashed.”

    “every time they updated the old HDUI they always ended up with more problems.”

    This, I never saw. I found that Encore grew (very, very slightly) better over time, with the exception of the big improvement of OnePass. I never noticed things getting worse.

  13. “Brad, Roku’s universal search is also pretty good but obviously excludes linear television.”

    As I noted elsewhere, Fire TV is even more similar to OnePass.

    It shares the Roku’s universal search, but also allows you to add items from the various services to your unified watchlist. So, like on the TiVo, you’ve a got single list for things you might want to watch. (There is one caveat though: you can’t add any item that isn’t available on Amazon a-la-carte. So the Netflix-owned movie Okja can be searched, but it can’t be added to your watchlist. In practice, I find around 80% of the stuff I want to add to the watchlist is available on Amazon, and I can thus bookmark it in the unified list.)

    This is why I’ve been using Fire TV these days, even thought I prefer Roku on pretty much every other count.

  14. YouTube TV unlimited DVR, Directv Now dvr coming Jan 2018. How about adding streaming TV service to Tivo!!!!!
    Tivo FIX your fking laggy hydra, it is not fluent and how about you just copy plex, netflix etc… from Roku. All the apps in Tivo are trash vs Roku

  15. I’m really enjoying the Hydra interface. Much slicker. Is it perfect. No. Did they remove some of the signature simplicity. Yep. If this first step leads to things like cloud recording and more investment into continuing improvements, I say bring it. The amount of time it took to get HD interface was ridiculous. And I agree, fix the guide. It has not been the same since they merged with Rovi.

  16. I’ve spent a week now with Hydra and I cannot express enough how much TiVo has missed the mark. Everything about TiVo that made it grade has been mitigated. It’s clunky, and being forced to use the back button is incredibly counterintuitive. The old TiVo interface was a master work. To put it bluntly……Why fu*k with a good thing?

  17. “To put it bluntly……Why fu*k with a good thing?”

    Hydra looks shiny! Hydra looks “contemporary”! What else could anyone possibly want?

    (They did apparently need to re-write the code base, so some “f*cking with it” was inevitable. But there is absolutely no reason they couldn’t done so with an Encore-like UX.)

  18. The reason I am considering leaving Directv for cable with Tivo is a new software update that forced a shaded progress bar, this shade blocks sports scores and news headlines. I see that Hydra has adopted this idiocy, have they changed it back?

    If I do move to Tivo, I will not be upgrading to Hydra but how long before they force everyone to upgrade?

  19. That reminds me, I’d like an option to turn on a sport / news ticker blocker whenever I want.

  20. Using the Back button is counter intuitive????

    You can’t get more intuitive than that. You hit back to go to the previous page. That makes more sense than using a left arrow.

  21. I love the basic TiVo features that let me cut cable TV by watching over the air TV when I want to. I have zero need for cloud recording, uselessly using my internet upload bandwidth. I use streaming services when not at home. It is much more efficient to move directly from TiVo to my laptop or phone when watching out of home. Instead of enhancing their advantages (over the air recording, watch when you want, suggestions, streaming Amazon, Netflix, etc), TiVo is trying to unimaginably compete with cable and satellite companies in features that TiVo cannot win. Make transfers on local home network instead of clogging the internet with duplicates of home recording on a medium for which the original shows are available.

  22. “Scott, the 4-tuner TiVo Bolts and Roamios do cable or OTA. The 6-tuner models are cable-only.

    Brad, Roku’s universal search is also pretty good but obviously excludes linear television.”
    Dave, Roku TV OS 8 is getting a guide with universal search to combines app and linear TV search results.

  23. Give Hydra some time. At first I didn’t really care for it but now that I have used it for awhile, it’s not that bad. Next I’m going to learn to use all the new features of my VOX remote.

  24. I think people are thinking you upload things to the cloud, Cloud Dvr’s work in reverse in most instances the recording originates in the cloud and the video is streamed to you. Sony PS Vue, Sling TV, Hulu Live TV all work in this way. That’s not to say cloud back up would not be handy at times, but that’s not a prime use of a cloud dvr.

  25. “the new (incomplete, buggy) TiVo Hydra interface”

    TiVO’s Hydra interface is the best modern thing to happen to TiVO in years. Like most
    modern media interfaces, itunes, the Apple TV interface, it’s large pictures with text. Yes the layout is all new but anyone can get the hang of it in a day.=> up/down/left/right.

    It is also a version 1.0 early adopter OPT-IN release which has worked fine for me since day 1 on a Roamio Pro, Mini v1 and the lightning fast Mini Vox (Netflix loads almost instantaneously!).. I would not go back to the old interface if they paid me. It’s like wanting to go back to MS-DOS after using MS Windows.

    As for missing features and having bugs of course it does. What version 1.0.0 software isn’t? Seriously name a complex piece of software that at v1.0 was bug free and fully feature rich? But Hydra v1.0 is a VERY solid base for TiVO to work from and I look forward to each new software update.

    But alas not everyone will like the new interface but that’s a given. You can’t make everyone happy unfortunately especially for people who don’t like change.

  26. “TiVO’s Hydra interface is the best modern thing to happen to TiVO in years.”

    Wait. It’s modern?!?

    I did not know that. Now I’m intrigued. I like modern.

    “Like most modern media interfaces, itunes”

    OK, getting even more intrigued now. What is better, in terms of UX, than iTunes? Wow. I had now idea it was that good.

    “it’s large pictures with text.”

    Cool. Like comic books? I prefer comic books to novels, so now I’m almost sold.

    “I would not go back to the old interface if they paid me. It’s like wanting to go back to MS-DOS after using MS Windows.”

    Hell, now I’m completely sold. I’m tired of the command line interface on Encore. Now that I know Hydra has a GUI, there’s no way I’m not upgrading.

  27. “Give Hydra some time. At first I didn’t really care for it but now that I have used it for awhile, it’s not that bad.”

    If TiVo wants to stay within the spirit of FTC regulations, they should be forced to include that pullquote in all their advertising. Try the brave new world TiVo. It’s not that bad. After you acclimate to it, it’s notably better than ebola. At first I thought Hydra was worse than a sharp stick in the eye, but after a few weeks…

  28. I think my issue with Hydra is that while it may be 1.0.0 for Hydra, it’s well into the lifecycle of the TiVo interface. To be fair, haven’t used it personally, just read about and watched videos of UX by others, but when you push forward, you should not do so at the expense of the UX, and certainly of the intuitiveness of it. Rather than comparing the Generation 3 interface—>Hydra update to MSDOS—>Windows, I would think it would be more apt to compare it between Windows 7 and Windows 8, with the large tile screen that replaced the relatively simple to navigate (and more familiar) Start Menu. I would t call Hydra the mister that Windows 8 was, but it certainly is a step backwards in User Experience for many, from the need to do more clicks to get to a show to watch (unless you use voice), to having less info on the screen (even though there is more screen real estate to deal with), to having smaller, hard to read text (which many have complained about). Also, having lost some key elements, such as compatibility with pyTiVo (not their product, but still a popular one within the community), the Live Guide (and if they had their way, the Grid Guide, too), and some basic navigational functions that were replaced with new functions, causing a bit of a struggle as long-time, acclimated TiVo users try to retrain 15 years+ of muscle memory. The overall appearance of the interface (whether or not it’s modern) is subjective, and will have its fans and detractors, but having to click several extra times to get from the main screen to a program that you want to watch, or a missing Live Guide that has been with TiVo from the first time I used it in 2000, and is still preferred by a lot of users (note, I did not say “most”), or the missing ability to transfer/stream offloaded shows from your PC via pyTiVo are indisputable facts. Some or all of those things may be fixed with a 1.0.1 or a 1.1.0 release of Hydra in the future, but they are issues for several long time fans.

    I’m not ready to make the change, but I am continuing to keep a close eye on it to decide when to take the plunge.

  29. Oh, and I can see some benefits of cloud storage, but the storage amounts are oddly low. I saw Dave’s comment on the reason possibly being tied to users with bandwidth caps, but if the cloud drive works in any way like the local drive, new recordings would eventually overwrite older ones that have hit their “keep until” date or “keep at most” episode count. If so, it would not necessarily keep people from exceeding their cap. Of course, if the offload is completely manually-controlled, then that changes things, but it appears you could set “Cloud—>if possible” as a default option if you so chose. Certainly if you set that setting, and record a show that comes on frequently, like a late night talk show, a soap opera, a sports or news broadcast, etc, and keep 5 or 10 at most, it could continue to overwrite the older ones if the storage cap was met, meaning it could exceed 50 GB, and eventually the monthly bandwidth cap.

    I’m fortunate to be on a local MSO that has no cap at this time, and hopefully never will, but a lot of folks, especially in larger metro areas, aren’t so lucky.

  30. Bryan10024, I’m glad you’re satisfied. However, my statement regarding buggy and incomplete are entirely accurate and confirmed by TiVo, wether or not one appreciates the changes. While it’s opt-in (for existing hardware anyway), there are some pretty serious beta-quality show stoppers that we didn’t know we’re agreeing to. I have three minis and all lose connectivity to the main DVR with a V66 error. I’m also hearing from several of audio drop out issues. Beyond that, I find the usability and performance degraded in many places – like I said, I’m glad you’re satisfied but I am not and given my position I would certainly recommend folks who haven’t upgraded to wait. Having said that, the video window presentation is handled real well going between menus and live television, etc. I also appreciate many of the new overlays and transitions/animations.

  31. MJR wrote: “I think people are thinking you upload things to the cloud, Cloud Dvr’s work in reverse in most instances the recording originates in the cloud and the video is streamed to you.”
    I certainly still have this misunderstanding… How does it work if my normal usage is, let’s say, is to record local San Francisco news over the air? Cable companies certainly have direct access to broadcasters signal. Does the TiVo company also have a direct connection every station of every city in America and get high quality from each broadcaster? Or do they take the recording from one TiVo subscriber and upload it to be shared? (If the case, how would TiVo know which of their subscribers have a good signal?) In which instances is cloud recording is not uploading my recording to the cloud, but taking advantage of a recording already on the cloud?
    My apparently wrong understanding is that the cloud would have let me conveniently watch my recorded shows remotely (something I practically never need), but at the expense of using my Internet bandwidth connection to upload from my TiVo to the cloud.
    If someone has facts, not just guesses like mine, please explain.
    Thanks for educating me!

  32. One fact based on prior leaks is that early testing and availability was regional – perhaps the company was recording for you in those locations, as Boxee OTA DVR claimed not to do, to flag and distribute back down to folks who ‘record’ to cloud. However, the simplest and safest technical implementation is to cache locally and upload to TiVo’s cloud. Also, from an employee I was told the design (at the time, many months ago) was for OTA content only.

    In regards to MJR’s comment, there’s no evidence TiVo is launching something like Sling TV or hosting a service like Aereo (RIP).

    Bricketh raises an interesting point on retention and availability. Hm.

  33. Data deduplication is not a new phenomenon, by any stretch…is there a chance that TiVo has found an implementation of the backup which captures only those bits of data that are unique to your recording, and otherwise keeps a “source” copy of the remaining program data that was recorded? So if I record Big Bang Theory, and you do as well, we would both get the data from TiVo’s master recording (whether that be something they record, or something they grab from a source that records to the cloud), and then we are only uploading/storing the local content (ads, mostly, I’d suspect) in between? That would explain the “if possible” option for cloud, since it may not be “possible” to record my local news to the cloud, but may for any national or prime time broadcast. This wouldn’t be too dissimilar to TiVo’s restriction on what channels/shows work with Commercial Skip, if that is the case…

  34. Navanacs that option currently exists, a dark piece of tape, now in the meantime can TIVO & DIRECTV remove the shaded piece of graphic tape that obscures the lower portion of the screen whenever one wants to pause/fastforward/rewind.

  35. Hydra has been a big misstep. For a couple years I have flip flopped using a Tivo and Roku/Apple TV. Thankfully Hydra has help me make a decision, I now only use the Roku device for all my streaming needs and a Tablo for my OTA love and recording needs. I guess we can see why Tivo Margret left. I would have left after using hydra for 5 minutes too.

  36. I miss Margaret! Let’s see how the cable partners feel about Hydra. ROFLMAO!

    On a personal note; I was within my 30 day window on one of my Bolts. I got my money back after upgrading to Hydra decided to shut that device off. I’m using another Bolt on the old interface – waiting, hoping that Hydra will get quick upgraded versions.

    John

  37. Ha, just remember Hydra was her baby… Ted’s engagement during this process has been great. Unfortunately he inherited a mess. We haven’t reverted yet but issues remain – in terms of design (which is probably non-negotiable at this point) and quality (with some fixes already in testing).

  38. I’m still enjoying Hydra every day on all my TiVos. Every day I’m so glad I’m not using the HDUI any more.

    As far as cloud storage. I remember my Boxee Boxes uploaded all my recordings to cloud. I kept track of the data usage with my router. And when playing back the content, if there were any OTA glitches I saw on my TiVo recordings, those were always there on the Boxee Box cloud recordings as well.

  39. “20-50GB storage tiers” are a joke.

    Maybe if those tiers were 20-50TB.

    I upgraded all my Tivo Roamio models to 3TB drives as soon as I got them.

    And they’re full to the brim…

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