TiVo Announces Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT Capabilities

Dave Zatz —  January 9, 2018

As TiVo puts the finishing touches on their CES experience, we can clearly see from the “booth” signage (above) that they’re expanding beyond newly introduced native voice control to embrace third parties. While TiVo “Vox” offers far deeper integration and control, including stacked commands, than Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant can provide, those offerings are always-listening (for better or worse) and already installed in many TiVo customer’s homes… and options are good. No word yet on availability, but I assume this will come to all Hydra-endowed retail units and whichever MSOs choose to integrate (who may be limited by regional availability).

Also, as we revealed last summer, TiVo’s going even deeper into the so-called smart home with soon-to-be-released IFTTT applets… of yet-to-be determined value and responsiveness:

Receive a text message if your kids try to unlock parental controls. Automatically pause TV when someone rings your smart doorbell. Turn the TV on to ESPN when you get home from work. Use one of the pre-programmed Applets, and IFTTT can recognize a commercial break and automatically skip right past it, no button press or voice command necessary. These are only a few examples of what’s possible, as TiVo users will be able to choose from a catalog of pre-configured IFTTT Applets, or create their own and program the viewing experience just how they want it.

22 responses to TiVo Announces Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT Capabilities

  1. Does sleep mode really save enough power to make a difference? If it does, it would be nice to have the Tivo enter sleep mode when the Nest is away and it does not have a recording job to do.

  2. As excited as I am to hear that TiVo is going to integrate with Google Assistant, the following sentence – “Receive a text message if your kids try to unlock parental controls” strikes me as particularly humorous as Parental Controls haven’t worked for me since I installed Hydra. Attempting to play recorded shows with Parental Controls enabled results in a P103 error and they do not play. I opened a ticket with TiVo in early November and they’ve yet to correct the issue. My only recourse has been to disable Parental Controls entirely.

  3. Joe, sleep mode does make a difference, and it doesn’t affect scheduled recordings. It does prevent TiVo suggestions from recording, however.

  4. “Alexa, find my TiVo remote”

    That’s all I want.

  5. Anthony…do you have a Bolt? If so, there’s a find remote function on the back of the unit!!

  6. Although, come to think of it, that would be a great command.

  7. Michael Burstin January 9, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    @David — there is a remote find button — but in my case, my A/V equipment is in a closet underneath the stairs, so I have to crawl in to hit the button. I’d love to have the remote finder button exposed to the iOS app and/or a kmttg/network remote so that I can find it without crawling. Having the button exposed to Alexa would also help.

  8. @Michael – Hadn’t thought of it from that angle…that makes a lot of sense. I’m really looking forward to Google integration and I think it’s great news to hear that they’re headed in that direction.

  9. @Paul, thanks as I get older, I am always looking to save power.

  10. Wow, how awesome. Now if only I could use one remote to reliably turn on my TV, AVR and TiVo….

  11. I can already do that in all my setups with TiVos. They have been working reliably for years. I turn on the TV with the TV remote and with HDMI-CEC the receiver gets turned on.

  12. It’ll be interesting to see what they do/support with Alexa and Google Home. While I’m the first to admit my Alexa skill for TiVo is a big hack, I do find it very useful occasionally (like changing channels or launching Plex while in the kitchen without the remote in my hand).

  13. Ooooh, and launching the remote finder via Alexa (or the iOS app) would be cool too.

  14. joe gasz: Aside from some power savings, I is my personal belief the full Stand by/Sleep mode on TiVo’s can extend the life of the installed HDD. I don’t know if the drive spins down, but it is my opinion that the acutator arm goes into rest. While corrput sectors is often the root of some HDD failures, the acturator arm/assembly is another common culprit. Not having to constantly write and read can help reduce another point of faulure.

    One of the scariest periods for those with RAID’s implementing certain RAID levels (I forget which in particualr), is the required FULL write to the re-build HDD’s becaues all the heavy non-stop writing can KILL and actuator that already was in some use. The solution for that is to NOT implement that/those particular RAID levels and/or get different branded HDD’s or if the same HDD brand and type, they should be from different production runs so the HDD’s don’t fail pretty close at the same time.]

    My lousy two cents. I do put TiVo’s that have the feature into Full Stand by/Sleep mode as those TiVo’s don’t do the heavy lifting in our home, but other TiVo’s do because they are already constantly reading and writing.

  15. I’ve never put a TiVo into standby, for whatever that’s worth. :)

    By the by, sounds like the integrations mention in the post are all expected Q1 with Alexa likely hitting first, within a few weeks.

  16. @Paul and Joe, Based on my experience, standby mode does NOT prevent the recording of TiVo suggestions. Since I use a Harmony remote, I have always had my TiVos go into standby, and we always have plenty of TiVo suggestions (that we never look at since we don’t even have time to watch our scheduled recordings). Per this page on the TiVo support page, it looks like the power savings comes almost entirely from disabling the video/audio output: https://support.tivo.com/articles/Features_Use/Power-Saving-and-Standby-Modes

  17. To add to my earlier reply, it appears from that page that you can adjust the power saving settings to not have it record TiVo suggestions after a certain amount of time. Interesting!

  18. Does this mean we’ll finally get HDMI-CEC? The TiVo is the ONLY device I still own that can’t change the TV to the correct input on its own.

  19. But the Tivo is always on. What good would HDMI-CEC do for a Tivo?

  20. Michael Burstin January 12, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    @Daniel – I think maybe less HDMI-CEC for power (though that woudl be good) but passing volume and input. For that matter, power as well — maybe hitting anything on the remote turns on power, changes input to Tivo input and brings volume control

  21. Definitely input. Volume and power would make sense too, would probably cut down on support calls for remote pairing. Daniel, my Fire TV and Apple TV are also always on – when I hit a button on the remote, the TV turns on. If I’m on TiVo and hit the Fire TV remote, it’ll switch inputs.

  22. Got it. That mostly works with my Apple TV. It usually switches inputs when the Apple TV remote gets hit. More often than not it happens accidentally.

    What I’ve done for Tivo is to map the input button on the Slide remote to my receiver’s cable/sat input where the Tivo resides. It’s the next best thing towards auto control via HDMI-CEC.