TiVo Preps Significant System Enhancements

As Amazon puts its final touches on the Fire TV Recast DVR (!!), TiVo is prepping a rather significant fall software update… that actually extends to hardware. As in: we’ll finally receive HDMI-CEC capabilities. Well, at least Roamio and Bolt DVRs running this upcoming version of the Hydra user experience. While volume control isn’t included or required due to programmable remote capabilities, hitting a TiVo button will switch inputs and/or power on the television — as we’ve long seen from others, including Fire TV and Apple TV. Bonus: CEC extends to Alexa voice control! Sadly, and this is a big one, Minis aren’t included in this round.

Another notable move, based on user feedback and usability testing, is a partial retreat on the dual axis interface across Roamio, Bolt, and Mini platforms. A strategy I’m totally good with. The first cut of the My Shows revamp swaps the Series level strip view from for a more practical vertical listing. And, in a number of areas, the browsing strip will be replaced by a traditional grid of title tiles.

Perhaps the biggest improvement for those who had upgraded to Hydra a year ago, and proceeded to lose features, is the restoration of folder Play All functionality for uninterrupted binge viewing. You’re welcome.

47 thoughts on “TiVo Preps Significant System Enhancements”

  1. “volume control isn’t included or required due to programmable remote capabilities”

    It would be nice though. Having the RF remote tell the TiVo to adjust the volume over CEC instead of having to point the remote at the TV would be nice. Even nicer if it’s not a TV but an audio system that might be hidden.

    Bummer on the mini too.

  2. Unfortunately, the Mini is the only device for which I really want CEC. I use universal remotes everywhere else, and I’m switching between multiple inputs—a setup where I’ve learned that CEC can cause more problems than good.

  3. On the one hand, CEC would be great, because the Bolt remote doesn’t support changing inputs correctly on my Denon receiver, and the Tivo is my only devicethat doesn’t support CEC. On the other hand, is Hydra still a total charmless garbage fire of a UI?

  4. Matt, agree – it would be nice, but as long as I’m been following these guys, they always seem to struggle in juggling multiple tasks and projects. Will take what I can get!

    Richard, yeah… my primary viewing locations are Minis. TiVo’s looking into bringing CEC to them with the spring update. We shall see. And, again, I reference point one of this comment.

    Andrew, these tweaks should help. But I’ll probably wait until the Spring update before giving Hydra another go.

  5. do you know if Hydra supports “PC-to-TiVo uploads (think TiVo Desktop, pytivo, etc)”?

    I didn’t upgrade to the new interface because I didn’t want to lose that functionality.

  6. Dan, I’m also glad to see a new post. This parenting thing is exhausting. :)

    William, I have no reason to believe it does and would imagine that’s low priority if it’s even on the roadmap.

    Ronnie, assuming the schedule holds, these updates are expected this year.

  7. No word on being able to restrict access to specific Apps? That’s like the main thing that made me revert every one of my 4 Bolts when I got them. And it’s simply a parental controls issue; on 3rd gen software you can hide launching the app behind the PIN or Cast functionality, and on Hydra, you can’t. So, any parents who want to restrict their kids’ access to full YouTube have this huge reason not to upgrade till they fix it.

  8. I’ve heard nothing but negative feedback on Hydra so I’ve not looked into upgrading my Roamio, Bolt, or Minis. Has Hydra evolved to the point where it’s worth considering?

  9. Personally I would never buy a Tivo again due to the fact that the subscription travels with the unit you have, so, if you want to upgrade the hardware you need to buy that as well. With OTA with Amazon’s product and streaming video, Tivo is not worth the money.

  10. My kids need the tv on to fall asleep. I don’t want to churn up data on my capped Xfinity internet plan with them watching Netflix, so the main reason we kept TiVo’s is for the ‘Play All’ feature. It’s the main reason that the only TiVo we have upgraded to Hydra is the one in our Master Bedroom. Looking forward to the HDMI-CEC additions, we have to hunt for our regular TV remote when trying to switch back from using our Apple TV to the TiVo.

  11. OMG. Totally not going to “upgrade” to Hydra, even though I really, really want HDMI-CEC. And I’d need it on my TiVo Mini’s, anyway. It remains astounding to me that time and time again, TiVo continues to figure out unexpected ways to disappoint me.

  12. Dave, when we upgraded to the “new experience” on our Bolt, we lost the parental control abilities provided in the previous software, specifically with regard to controlling which apps were available. Before we could limit the apps available to use and the parental pin was required to add apps. This allows us to control what our difficult teenager watched. Any word from TiVo on restoring that control? Or is there some way to do so now that we just haven’t found? We have been really upset with the “new experience” to the point of being just about done with it. Thanks for any information you can provide!

  13. Good article. I don’t think Firecast is a competition for TiVo as much as Comcast DVR is since Firecast is OTA only at this point, but we’ll see! ?

  14. I bought a new Roamio OTA TiVo after many years of tv provider DVRs. It had Hydra, and it is missing so much, and does so many things so freakin’ screwy that I am starting to hate my TiVo. Simple little things like putting small info display at the bottom when pressing play during playback… all it displays is the play bar. And you get stuck in menus and its impossible to get out. And way too many buttons. And it auto-records to 100% of disc to where delete of a show means it is permanently gone within an hour, and no undo the next day. And no Dolby 5.1. It is a frustrating and irritating box, so much worse than the old much better TiVo I owned 15 years ago.

  15. I’ve been in HDMI CEC hell with my LG B7 and Denon x4200. Getting it to switch to the Tivo input should be easier with this upgrade. The problem seems to be the Roku that can’t have CEC turned off, it always grabs the input on the receiver.

  16. Does “Sort by Channel Name” return to the Grid Guide?

    Any new info to share on mobile app updates that they’re testing?

  17. I love Hydra. It’s been so much better than the HDUI. I hope they don’t get rid of the strip view because that is all I use with my Bolts, Roamio and Minis.

  18. I’m thinking I’ll dump Tivo as soon as the 6 tuner HDHomerun is out. I can record to my NAS and play back via my Nvidia Shield TVs. Honestly the only thing I’ll miss about Tivo at this point is the channel up key automated commercial skip. Hydra is a mess.

  19. I upgraded to a Tivo Bolt 4k, but when I connected my 4k projector using a 4k receiver the Tivo didn’t work. The HDMI sync never locked. Tivo support is worthless they had me do all the basic troubleshooting that I had already done, but I did to make them happy. After 2 calls and 1.5 hours on the phone with them they said we don’t support using a A/V Receiver. All my other devices using the A/V receiver can display 4k, Tivo doesn’t. At that point I lost faith in Tivo. I then thought I’ll just force the Tivo to be 1080p. I then connect a non 4k TV and set output resolution to force 1080p and it doesn’t stick it always try’s 4k and fails. Check out this discussion https://www.tivocommunity.com/community/index.php?threads/4k-weirdness.556986/

  20. I hope they are including some software tweaks to make Hydra faster/more responsive. Also what is the story with new Tivo App will it come with this update as well? Tivo really needs to update their App if they want to remain relevant, it feels so dated and is really starting to show it’s age. Can we please get the Skip feature and Quick Mode on the app and please make it so it works with Amazon Fire Stick TV and other devices, time to expand their ecosystem so more people adopt Tivo before it becomes irrelevant.

  21. I can confirm that for the next two sizeable software updates, it’s being called “Mira” vs “Hydra” – but both are considered “TiVo Experience 4.” Clear as mud, just like the differing internal vs public/retail update numbering systems they use. :)

  22. @Michael K: You know that you can “backgrade” to the old, dependable (well, relatively so, in the TiVo world) Gen3 UI, right? That gets you your “old” TiVo back. Instructions at the tivocommunity.com forum.

  23. Yep, you only lose ALL your recordings and season passes (unless you invest effort unloading them to computer). We did that. And also documented how.

  24. We had to get a new remote…my kids hit the mic button and now we have hydra. Besides not really being able to see the guide now, we lost the ability these what was on the other tuners grrrrrrr

    Not happy.

  25. The switch to Hydra was a little jarring for a few weeks but now that we’ve been using it for a few months — nobody in the household would want to go back. Like most changes – you just adapt and get used to it. Setting up auto commercial skip via IFTTT integration really put it over the top – that’s a beautiful thing.

    HDMI-CEC finally arriving sounds great. As others stated, the missing parental controls really need to be added to Hydra…

  26. So apparently Tivo iOS version 4.1 App update is coming any day now to the App Store. @dave have you seen any mocks or seen that thing in action? Would be nice to get a little preview of NEW features Tivo is adding, Tivo App really needs some updates.

  27. It’s the first app iteration for us retail customers based on the new common code base and with a Hydra-esque interface. iOS cellular streaming isn’t present yet, but it’s on the roadmap. Don’t think there any any notable additions or subtractions with the first release, but I’m not entirely sure. We should know real soon.

  28. I hope Skip and Quick options can be added to the iOS app, those two features in addition to downloading shows from Tivo in background would make it a worthy upgrade. @Tivo_Ted also mentioned that soft_tivo client is coming to Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick TV in 1st-2nd quarter of 2019. Hope to see it sooner than late.

  29. phillip.
    the bolts and romeo parental controls on apps is nonexistant if you upgrade to the new software. the only way to put parental control on the apps. is to go back to the previous software which allowed you to choose the apps. you didnt want.
    ( you need to call tivo to guide you through the process to go back to to the
    previous software.) the new software has good parental controls on the tv channels but (it doesnt allow you to edit or lockout certain apps.) i had to go back to the previous software to be able to lockout certain apps. the new software only lets you lockout a few apps. but allows thru lots of unwanted inppropirate apps.
    what was tivo thinking – its a lawsuit ready to happen because tivos is not fixing the parental controls on the app. side.

  30. I have the update and unfortunately doesn’t look like hdmi-cec made it out of beta.

    Anyone able to use hmdi-cec with this update?

  31. @jeff It is there under Remote section, works great you press TiVo button and TV turns on. You can also use TiVo App to press TiVo button and turn on TV and best part just say ‘Alexa put on channel 400’ and TV will turn on and switch channel as well. Just need to enable the HDMI-CEC first.

  32. @ Jakub Thanks! I did look at the settings and thought it would probably be in the remote section and don’t know how I missed it. Turned it on and it works. So now, if someone bumps the AppleTV remote to switch Apple TV, they can go back to Tivo with the press of a button. I just got a sound bar with CEC support and was happy to hear from here that Tivo was adding this feature. Thanks again!

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