Silicon Dust Does What TiVo Could Not

Dave Zatz —  August 22, 2018 — 22 Comments

Well this certainly came out of left field.

Silicon Dust just launched a television streaming service that commingles online, pay television programming with local, over-the-air broadcasts via their HDHomeRun network tuner hardware. And, yes, this includes DVR (!) using their native software or the superior 3rd party Channels software. It’s somewhat similar to Sling’s AirTV solution but pretty fully baked at launch and perhaps, more accessible – both conceptually and in terms of playback. The HDHomeRun Premium TV channel lineup includes 45 channels, such as ESPN, CNN, and HGTV, for $35/mo – and, like the others, no long-term contract is required. Early reports have raised 720p quality concerns and hard-coded timezones may become a viewing consideration, but one might assume these will be improved over time and that the convenience of everything in one place may outweigh these cons.

HDHomeRun Premium TV complements our existing LIVE OTA Cord Cutting TV solution with a package of premium must-watch shows and channels that you’d find on cable but at a fraction of the cost and without the commitment of an annual contract.

It’s the ultimate Cord Cutting Solution that offers the best of both worlds – great LIVE OTA and the best of premium cable channels without the Cable Subscription or set-top box rental!

Don’t look for Expensive and segmented a la Carte’ services trying to fill that programming void for different devices in different rooms after you Cut the Cord, enjoy HDHomeRun Premium TV on multiple devices at the same time around your home. Watch on your computer, tablet, phone and media devices, and watch live TV and premium content in every room of your house through one convenient interface.

Given Silicon Dust’s size, I’d say it is incredibly unlikely that they put this package together on their own and, rather, have whitelabeled another service (and it’s been pointed out Viva Live TV offers a similar lineup.) As such, it becomes clear that TiVo could have implemented something along these lines for retail customers, given ongoing challenges and dwindling interest in CableCARD. However, for many years now, TiVo’s primary business licensing services to cable companies… and reselling premium television would put them at odds with their MSO customers.

22 responses to Silicon Dust Does What TiVo Could Not

  1. > have whitelabeled another service (and it’s been pointed out Viva Live TV offers a similar lineup.

    Wish I could use this, but I can’t get locals via OTA, and SD is not supporting HDHR Prime (cable card).
    Thanks for the link to Viva Live TV, never heard of them before today. Interestingly I
    was on the BestBuy web site looking at Nvidia Shield and there it mentioned
    another OTT provider I never heard of, tikilive. the lineups are similar to Viva Live TV,
    the web page content is sometimes identical, and in the footnotes both say
    “In Cooperation with Omniverse One World Television, Inc”
    tikilive also has cloud DVR and according to this page
    http://www.tikilive.com/manual/website-frontend/how-to-use-dvr/about-dvr/
    “Note: DVR Storage is unlimited for the time being”
    Wonder how long that will last?

  2. So at this point can we assume that Tivo will never offer anything like this? I’ve actually gone back to cable channels, the discount (Spectrum, for 12 months) on a package for a double play is cheaper than just internet, and then adding Sling or DirecTV Now like I’ve been doing for the last few years. Man, it sure is nice to have all my recordings in one place, and an integrated guide (although I’m missing a few channels, the antique tuning adapter has never worked). And it’s nicer having a non cloud DVR that just works. My family knows how everything works, and I’d hate to replace all my hardware if Tivo might offer something like this in the future…

  3. No NBC SN or Fox Sports, So no Soccer to speak of. No thanks.

  4. If Tivo is lucky…Amazon will acquire them solely for IP and Patents (ala Google & Motorola) then turn it into some useful again.

  5. This for TiVo PLEASE!!!

  6. Heard about this. This is another great option. I have two lifetimed Tivo Roamios but between this option (to be used with the great Channels dvr service) and YouTube TV and the many other choices, People today have some really good options!

  7. >So at this point can we assume that Tivo will never offer anything like this?

    Never say never, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. There were reputable reports that TiVo was working on a cloud DVR service and a tablo-esque box to go with it and those plans got scrapped after the Rovio acquisition. TiVo hasn’t really shared what its vision for the future is, or if it even has one right now.

  8. I think TiVo could have easily done this with their partnership with Evolution Digital. They chose not to for whatever reason, probably because they’re still sucking on the MSO teet way too much and missing the wave of the future.

  9. “the convenience of everything in one place.” Will someone please explain to me how still needing WiF, or cell data or some kind of connection to reach the gobs of goodies is cord cutting? It seems like you end up with everything even more segmented and confusing and in many cases, even more expensive.

  10. Harper, TiVo owns all the tech and patents they need – what’s missing is the content. And, based on what we see here, they could have gone down that path. Perhaps they have or will, but I doubt it.

    Hectare, Amazon wouldn’t buy them. They may end up licensing Rovi/TiVo IP, but no need to purchase.

    Eugene, yep – most folks are essentially swapping one cord for another. Often with a number of compromises.

  11. @Dave Zatz,

    That’s why I mentioned their partnership with Evolution Digital. They have the content with their eVue-TV.

  12. > Will someone please explain to me how still needing WiF, or cell data or some kind of connection to reach the gobs of goodies is cord cutting?

    Silicon Dust went a bit heavy on the buzzwords there. Streaming paid video over your paid internet connection is not cord cutting.

  13. Silicon dust hdhomerun prime is the box that uses a cable card, one catch is you can only watch all the channels on a pc not a mac or iphone/ipad. Most channels have DRM protection.
    And it is an awkward interface to record and do just about everything else. Although we have it in the household, we are sticking with the TiVO. Still the best way to have DVR capability and have additional room tv’s attached using a mini box. Now if hdhomerun comes out with a roku app then it would be better if the solve the interface. IMHO

  14. There is no real benefit to cutting the cord, once you pay for the device and subscriptions your costs will be higher.

  15. I have lifetime Tivo and an antenna on the roof to capture local channels, mostly in HD, and record with Tivo. My only subscription is Netflix and there’s nothing else wanted so this new service doesn’t make sense to me.

  16. Should have clarified that our Tivo is an OTA Roamio model that helped cut the cord and still get local channela.

  17. The Prime6 has been taking a long time to be released, and it hasn’t happened yet. I wonder if there is some relation to the streaming service, maybe using the cable tuners for basic cable where OTA is impractical for locals.

  18. For those not knowing about cord cutting

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cord-cutting?wprov=sfla1

    I’m still waiting for the right time shifting options for these services. All are either unproven, limit time for keeping recordings or have finite capacity.

    I have 10 TB devoted for recordings.

    I am still using Windows Media center with Ceton infintv6 pcie (God help me) and 6 OTA tuners across 2 devices – 4 is enough put the reception magic happens with 2 tuner device position/antenna for one channel (CBS and CW) – WKRC.

    The last I checked I had recordings as old as 2013.

    For me for now bundled service makes sense. Unbundled internet plus these services is not cost advantageous. Then comparing lineup, cable wins.

  19. Michael Schnebly August 24, 2018 at 9:16 am

    I doubt that SD is doing this to grab all those “billions” of TiVo users. No one is really thinking much about such a small group. They are going after those who are fed up with cable and can use an antenna + streaming. This solution is not cloud DVR, it connects to local storage. I’m using my QNAP NAS for mine but there are other options and they are soon coming out with a box with a disk. Using Channels DVR it’s extremely fast and reliable for me.

  20. These sort of headless network attached solutions are still inferior to a native Box/DVR that plugs directly into your TV.

    TiVo could absolutely own this. If they could offer streaming cable channels beamed directly into the native guide along side the OTA channels, it would blow the doors off the fragmented and poor user experience of most OTT boxes and purely cloud-based streaming services.

    I still believe they have the brand recognition to offer this sort of simplified solution and compete against both the streaming services (Sling, DirecTV Now, etc.) and other OTT devices themselves.

  21. No Roku app, not for me *smile*. Also, no BBC America, no Oxygen or WE, lots of missing channels. I can get local channels OTA, and in fact tried the HDHomeRun for that at one point. Ran into the lack of a Roku app, and also requires more home network streaming capability than we have available. Outputs raw mpeg-2 video instead of transcoded video, so no ability to negotiate streaming bandwidth required on the network like Tablo can.

    Ended up with Tablo, happy with the variable speed, Roku app, and general performance.

  22. yes. No streaming service has yet to offer everything I want. And even the ones that come close, still cost about the same or more than I pay Verizon FiOS. Only I get more channels from FiOS.

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