TiVo ‘Smart Extend’ Records Sports With Precision

Dave Zatz —  October 2, 2018 — 28 Comments

TiVo does what the DVR pioneer does best with Smart Extend, an upcoming feature designed to record sporting events with fine precision.

Given the variable timing of live events, TiVo long ago added padding options – to extend recordings by X number of minutes beyond the scheduled broadcast window. But it’s a something of a sledge-hammer approach that requires a certain amount of guesswork. By comparison, Smart Extend leverages TiVo’s partnership with Thuuz (and significant back-end modification to accommodate real-time communication with the TiVo mothership) to smartly stop recording as a game concludes. And you can still throw some padding in there if you’d like.

TiVo VP Ted Malone indicates this feature is expected to be delivered to Bolt, Roamio, and Mini hardware running “TiVo Experience 4” (aka Hydra aka Mira) this year. And I’m hopeful the company finds a way to also apply this approach to other live programming, such as the Oscars and Emmy Awards.

Supported leagues:

  • NFL
  • NBA
  • NHL
  • MLS
  • MLB
  • NCAA Football
  • NCAA Men’s Basketball
  • Premier League Soccer
  • CONMEBOL Soccer

28 responses to TiVo ‘Smart Extend’ Records Sports With Precision

  1. Maybe you meant “you *can* still throw some padding in” ?

  2. Significant Tivo feature, but is this the feature that makes more of us jump to Hydra? Maybe.

  3. As a person who doesn’t watch sports, I hope this can feed into the issue where programming that follows a sports broadcast is off schedule.

    Sitting down to watch a show, only to find out it does’t begin until 15 minutes into your recording (and thus losing the last 15 minutes) is very frustrating.

  4. Now they just need to stop recording the same game in multiple languages and be able to handle back-to-back games on the same channel.

  5. That’s pretty cool. As it stands, for years, I’ve had all sports season passes set up to pad by an hour. I’ll probably have to test it with something I don’t care a whole lot about to see if/how it works.

    As for Hydra… I was one of the first, because I’m a sucker for “latest and greatest”. I UTTERLY HATED IT when I first got it – to the point that I considered selling off the TiVo.

    However, I plowed through, and while I’m still not a fan, I’ve gotten used to it. But as a TiVo customer since the year 2000, it was a MAJOR MAJOR learning curve.

  6. Yeah, I agree with Scarymike. If this could cover Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers after the NFL that would be the best feature yet!

  7. I didn’t even think of that. Would be good for 60 minutes on CBS too, that’s usually affected by late NFL games. Great idea!

  8. Patrick Gaffney October 2, 2018 at 10:21 am

    As a auto-racing fan, it would be nice to see on Indy-car and NASCAR also.

  9. Cool!

    Is there a can’t that should be a can?

    What would also be great is extending this to update the start/stop times shows that follow the live sporting event.

  10. Any word about whether the feature also adjusts start and stop times for subsequent recordings on the same channel?

  11. I’m checking with Ted to see if they can leverage the sports data to better accommodate schedule changes, such as shows bumped by football games running late. So many episodes and years of The Good Wife were cut or too tedious to mess with, cost me some cash for Amazon Prime video replacements.

    Brian, Chop, thanks for pointing out the typo – it’s fixed now.

  12. Count me in for post-event time shifting. I’m usually watch sports live, and not always on the same network I’ll be recording later

  13. Is the name change from Hydra to Mira an acknowledgement of the bad rep Hydra quickly earned?

  14. So many episodes and years of The “Goof” Wife were cut or too tedious to mess with, Freudian slip?

  15. If this fixes Elementary after whatever game, I’m in. I already got Hydra.

  16. Hail Hydra? ;)

  17. Ted has confirmed they have the mechanism to do it, but they don’t yet feel they have a reliable data source on the other side to draw from.

    Michael, it was (another) epic day of typos – fixed that one too, thanks.

    TiVo has their own internal numbering and naming conventions that don’t often map well to the outside world even though we too benefit from conversational sign posts. I’d call Hydra v1 of the TiVo Experience 4 with Mira being something like the post-Margret v1.5 cleanup. The first Mira rev is due this fall, with a second cut scheduled for early next year or spring.

  18. Speaking of typos, does the “goof” wife qualify or would that be more of a Freudian slip?

  19. Oops, Michael beat me to it…

  20. Would be nice if they could get the data straight to fix the post football Sunday night recordings. Currently, I add a whole hour to any show on Sunday nights

  21. What about the bulk of customers on Premiere units? We have been loyal TiVo customers for years. Most of us see no reason to buy the newer hardware other than being left behind on software upgrades. If our lifetime service would really transfer, then maybe. But not paying monthly or buying new lifetime.

    Maybe lack of sw updates will be good reason to leave Tivo family.

  22. They offer deals for Lifetime transfers for $100 at least once a year of late. The option is there, if there is a desire to do so…

  23. > Is the name change from Hydra to Mira an acknowledgement of the bad rep Hydra quickly earned?

    Just a nickname for the next revision.

    Hydra = 21.7
    Mira = 21.8

    At least this is what I recall from a post I read somewhere, and which I now can’t find.

  24. What about the bulk of customers on Premiere units? We have been loyal TiVo customers for years. Most of us see no reason to buy the newer hardware other than being left behind on software upgrades. If our lifetime service would really transfer, then maybe. But not paying monthly or buying new lifetime.

    Maybe lack of sw updates will be good reason to leave Tivo family.

    Lack of software updates? Didn’t the Premiere series just recently receive SkipMode functionality? (The answer is “Oh, right, yes.”)

    There’s a limit to what older hardware can handle, and it’s simply unreasonable to expect perpetual software updates including all the latest features.

  25. krkaufman, those are the numbers for the software deployed onto retail boxes vs the company’s internal numbers which I think map more to the experience vs the distribution channel and hardware. So the numbers I’m often provided (Mira 4.5 and 4.6 in this case) are different and don’t make sense. :)

  26. I’ll see if I can find where I read that.

  27. Found it; the following TCF post:

    https://www.tivocommunity.com/community/index.php?posts/11616529/

    I contacted Tivo and they now inform me that the BOLTS we have are on TE4 (Mira) and not TE4 (Hydra). There is a known issue with TE4 (Mira) with drop network while streaming and they will notify me when they have resolved that.

    TE4 (Mira) Software version starts with 21.8 while TE4 (Hydra) starts with 21.7.

  28. TiVo should have been doing this ever sense they had an always-on internet connection (i.e. when they moved on from dial-up modems). The data has always existed somewhere to do this. This would be a huge advantage over cable company DVRs.

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