TiVo Mini Wireless Adapter Arrives

The TiVo Mini Wireless Adapter has arrived, having just popped up on Amazon for $59.99 with delivery available as soon as 11/26.

The wireless adapter was originally announced at CES in January and, as I said back then, “Unlike my most recent 802.11n bridge suggestion, the upcoming TiVo USB dongle implements the more current, capable 802.11ac (which we’re now calling WiFi 5).” The Digital Media Zone had also reported that beyond merely hopping onto your existing 5Ghz WiFi network, supposedly newer Bolt (and Edge?) DVR hardware communicates directly to the adapter and Mini it’s attached to. However, given the product listing below, I wonder if that feature made it to production. Further, based on TiVo employee forum input, only the Mini Vox will be supported at launch but the company is hopeful of expanding support to the the second gen TiVo Mini (the one with the RF remote).

From the Amazon product page:

  • Simply plug the TiVo USB Wi-Fi 5 adapter into your TiVo MINI VOX using the included USB extension cable, connect to your wireless network, and you’re ready to go!
  • TiVo’s Wi-Fi 5 adapter is compatible with TiVo Roamio, TiVo BOLT and TiVo EDGE DVRs running TiVo’s New Experience. [That’d be Hydra. -DZ]
  • TiVo’s Wi-Fi 5 adapter requires an existing 5 GHz wireless network. Many wireless networking equipment supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks, so you’ll need to make sure you connect your MINI VOX to the higher speed 5 GHz network.

Having recently moved, I found myself in something of a conundrum. Our bedroom TiVo Mini isn’t collocated anywhere near coax (for MoCA communication) and we’re not wired for Ethernet. I temporarily solved the problem with an Eero Pro on our dresser, but the access point Ethernet jack is needed in the upstairs office next door and we’re generally clutter adverse. TiVo, Inc to the rescue with beta access!

In our limited usage over the last few months, the streaming experience from Roamio Pro/Plus has been surprisingly solid – I can only recall one disruption, but can’t point to a specific cause. I guess what impresses me the most is that TiVo clearly still cares. (At least the portions of TiVo that aren’t pushing pre-roll and guide advertising.) I mean this is likely a corner case accessory … for another TiVo accessory in the Mini – the decision to go down this path had to have been made with customer goodwill in mind, because they’re not going to move a ton nor generate meaningful revenue from this sku. Assuming the streaming set-top box clients are still in play and given the upcoming Android TV streaming stick, in light of the TiVo Mini Wireless Adapter, the broader story here is that TiVo is willing to meet us where we are.

41 thoughts on “TiVo Mini Wireless Adapter Arrives”

  1. This is absolutely bonkers. $59 just to add wireless to a frontend that already costs $179? I just don’t understand with Tivo is doing, and I’m glad I sold my Bolt while it still has value.

  2. Fred, the wireless adapter is a USB stick. However, if you plug it straight into the Mini Vox, you’ll likely to block the HDMI port. So they provide a USB extension cord.

    Jake, if you think of it solely as a $59 accessory, it’s extreme. Heck, more than many Roku and Fire TV models. But I assume TiVo is thinking of it as $179+59 for a total solution, which over X years will come in less than renting an additional cable box or paying the cableco to wire an additional coaxial outlet. Options are good. Related, I sure hope those streaming clients are still in development and that the pre-roll ad team wasn’t pulled off that more favorable (for us) project…

  3. Nah, this is typical. Products get preloaded into Amazon all the time. I assume the Amazon copy will improve, plus a price, and the TiVo product page will launch in the near future.

  4. It’s a shame that TiVo couldn’t effectively market their OTA/cord cutting solutions. My networked roamio + TiVo mini are absolutely flawless. They could have built and offered their own streaming bundle ala sling tv and piped into the native interface along side ota channels. A familiar, yet better interface that 99% of people who had cable in the last 10 years are fully accustomed to using.

    The user experience of any OTT platforms, apps, etc. are so convoluted they remind me of this old Onion video about Apple revolutionizing the keyboard – https://www.theonion.com/apple-introduces-revolutionary-new-laptop-with-no-keybo-1819594761

    Nothing beats having a native dvr for controlling and playing content. Totally worth it even with its only purpose to manage and watch ota network channel content.

  5. As Mikeguy mentions, since my original posting the Amazon listing has been updated with additional details and the price is confirmed as $59.99. Not seeing anything on tivo.com yet, but I expect something to hit eventually.

    Mike, they’ve announced they’re working on a $50 Android TV stick. Presumably this would include an extender app of some point. Unlike the Mini, content would likely be transcoded to MPEG4 and stereo-only, with a less sprightly response to channel changes and the like. But it’d be immensely convenient and economical. Hopefully it comes to fruition, in the time frame and dollar amount they indicated. But TiVo doesn’t have a great track record with those things and they’re in the midst of carving up the company for a split and potential sales, so who knows where they land.

  6. Yes, at $179 for the Mini Vox plus $59 for the wireless adapter it’s an expensive solution. But I’m thrilled it’s available. There are a number of friends I’ve set up with TiVo that simply didn’t have a reasonable way to get Ethernet or Moca to a location. At least now there’s an option for them. Perhaps we will see a better price for bundling a Mini Vox and the WiFi adapter together or better yet, a new Mini Vox with WiFi built in!

  7. I’m going to try your solution from 2013 with the latest version of the TP Link AC750 and see how that works. Right now I have a 50+ foot long ethernet cable running around the room from the my modem to TiVo Mini Vox and this might do the trick!

  8. Yeah, I’ve been using power line adapters for years for the upstairs Minis. They lose it from time to time, but generally work. Whatever happened to the Roku app? That would solve the problem.

  9. I took a gamble and pre-ordered yesterday from Amazon without knowing the delivery date. Today the product page shows “Arrives 11/27 – 12/3”, but my order details still show “we’re working on a better date”. This was pricey but will be worth it to me so I can remove my Orbi satellite from my kitchen counter – that was what I had connected my Mini Vox to on the kitchen TV, as there was no other way for me to get cable/LAN to it. This will clean up my setup nicely…

  10. I got my pre-order placed on Amazon last night as well. It shows in stock there now but my Pre-Order from last night is still showing waiting for a ship date. I have a rigged up config with a different USB powered Ethernet to WiFi bridge now that works ‘most’ of the time. Hopefully this will clean things up dramatically and improve the reliability of things.

  11. For those who did the Amazon pre-order: the earlier Amazon pre-order was for stock from Amazon, which, when I checked earlier today, was not yet in; the currently-available stock is as sold by WeaKnees. And so if you want the adapter now and had placed a pre-order, it might pay to cancel the pre-order and to place the order again, from WeaKnees as seller.

  12. Apple TV app? How about the Roku app?! I think that was first revealed back in January?

    But I did get some good news from Amazon/weakKnees: my wireless adapter arrives Monday 11/25 “by 8 PM”!

  13. What kind of warranty comes with the Mini Wireless adapter? Amazon says to make a request to customer service to find out the warranty details.

  14. I’ve used TiVo Minis with Powerline adapters, I believe they are the older AV500 models. It generally worked, with a few glitches here and there and slightly slower response, but not to the point it was annoying. Throughput and reliability can vary a LOT depending on your home’s wiring, and I had a few weird issues like the TiVo Mini not working when the dishwasher was running (due to electrical interference from the motor).

  15. TiVo has never been a cheap eco-system. The best argument in it’s favor has been the relative cost of a cable card .vs. renting a DVR from a provider; something that only plays to your favor after many years of ownership.

    This is a welcome solution which should be easier to adopt for less tech-savvy customers, CI’s, and others who care more about convenience, support, and reliability than cost.

    I mean it’s not like TiVo actually has any direct competition in the cable DVR market – meaning a product that can do everything the TiVo can do, but more, better, and for less.

  16. I did try the Eero bridge option to get an original TiVo Mini to work in my back yard and it worked well. Then I learned Eero does not support VLAN tagging and thus my plan to segregate IOT devices will not include Eero.

    It is interesting to see TiVo enter the Roku, AppleTv,Fire TV market, but they are about 3-5 years too late.

    I want to stay with TiVo, but I have a difficult time risking cash on an All-In Edge when my Lifetime Roamio Plus/Pro and minis are chugging along fee free. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Comcast decides to sunset customer owned equipment and cablecards, hosing their TiVo and other owned equipment customers.

  17. Hoping for some advice. I setup a Mini at my parent’s house using power line adapters that worked fine for a couple of years. For the past couple of months, sound drops randomly on both DVRd shows and live tv on the Mini. I tried changing out cables and adapters without a difference. I gave up and bought a new Mini which seemed to work for a day, and now the sound is dropping more and more. I was going to replace all cables and power line connections simultaneously, but then I saw this while trying to find options. I’m not a networking pro, but I ordered a couple of eeros (before I saw the look at me in 2013 idea). Would someone be kind enough to tell me what to do to use them? Do I need MoCa adapters as well? Do I plug the Tivo and Mini into the ethernet ports on the eeros and they somehow see each other on the network? I am good at following directions, but I am unsure of how to figure the setup out for myself. The Mini Vox that I bought came bundled with a wireless adapter – I know it’s compatible with the TiVo, but I don’t want to have to update their interface to the new style – they are easily confused by technology and I’m afraid they won’t like that at all. Thank you!

  18. @Kim- I don’t know why MoCA causes such confusion, but MoCA could be used at the same time as an Eero system if you wanted Eero for your wireless system, and MoCA for TiVos. However, at that point the TiVos aren’t using the Eero mesh network, they’d just be using the main Eero as the router if you have Eero set up to be the router, if not they wouldn’t use it at all. They would be two separate physical networks but one logical network with any device able to see any other device.

    That being said, if you’re going to use the Eero to bridge the TiVos, which is the much simpler option, just plug the TiVo Minis into one of the satellites and let the Eero do the backhauling between TiVos. I’m not sure what you mean by “somehow see each other on the network”, Eeros create a single network, so anything plugged into any of the satellites is on the same VLAN, same /24 subnet, however you want to look at it. People have used satellites to connect a whole switch full of stuff to their network, and it works fine. The Eeros will function simultaneously both as wireless mesh nodes, and as bridges to backhaul the network wirelessly to wired devices around the house.

    I’d stay on TE3 and use the Minis as wired devices running off of the Eero satellites. The Eero satellites are good for backhaul, the only downside is that you have more limited placement of Eero mesh nodes if they have to be next to a TV to feed Ethernet to a TiVo Mini.

  19. Thanks, Alex. As I said, I’m not an IT type – I am just good at following plain English directions for setting things up. So, I probably didn’t explain my question very well. If I understand what you said, I would plug the Mini directly into an eero, no MoCa or anything else required. I probably need to plug the main TiVo into something, too. Right now, it’s plugged into a power line adapter. There’s no ethernet jack near it, so I can’t hardwire it, unfortunately. So, perhaps the Mini plugs into one eero and the TiVo plugs into a separate eero, and then they can communicate with each other, for lack of a better way to put it. (Maybe that’s “do the backhauling between the TiVos”?

    I’m not worried about the eeros functioning as a mesh network. The house isn’t big and wireless works fine in all of the rooms. I’m just adding the eeros to try to get the darn Mini to function properly.

  20. @Kim- If you’re using Eero to backhaul the Mini, then it would connect to the Eero using Ethernet and it would not be using MoCA. The Eeros create one, giant flat network. Yeah, so in that case, you’d need an Eero mesh node at each TiVo. You could experiment with Powerline adapters for one and an Eero mesh node for the other, but then the Powerline adapter could be the bottleneck for the whole thing, since streaming from one to the other would require going through the Powerline adapter and then through the Eero. It’s certainly possible in theory, but I wouldn’t recommend that type of setup, as there are too many points of failure versus doing it all wirelessly.

    The Eeros are a mesh network, and they always will be, so that is of some concern. I would think that they could reduce their radio power if they are put too close together, but that could create dead spots elsewhere if they aren’t evenly distributed around the house. That being said, Eero has made their software magic sauce able to operate in close proximity to handle apartments in big cities where there is a lot of interference, as well as old buildings that are made of brick or stone and have poor characteristics for RF penetration.

    In terms of Eeros doing the backhauling between the TiVos, let’s say you have 3 Eeros, and you plug a cable modem into one, a TiVo Roamio into another, and a TiVo Mini into the third. The Eero is backhauling for the TiVo Mini from the Roamio just the same way that it is using one of the radios for backhaul between the two Eeros to then rebroadcast that traffic over a different radio for a wireless device that is in close proximity to satellite 2 or 3, and wants to download something from the internet, which is connected to satellite 1, i.e. the whole premise of Eero. Sure, it ends up coming out the other end on an Ethernet cable as opposed to a wireless radio, but it’s the same principle.

    Eero is a bit overkill for the situation you’re describing, and if the dwelling is owner occupied, I’d probably just get my drill out and start pulling Ethernet cable, however, they are super easy to configure and use, as opposed to individual bridges connected to a router, and you have the advantage of their mesh system that will re-route traffic around different routes. I think you can have up to 9 or 10 of them in a large house, and then can route all different ways depending on what is going on with the network in order to avoid creating bottlenecks.

  21. Thank you for all of the additional information, Alex. Very informative! I wish that it were easy to just run ethernet, but it’s a 70s split-level with the router in a bedroom upstairs, the Mini on the other end of the upstairs and the TiVo in the basement, going back to the other end of the house, but under a different bedroom.

    I am going to plug the Mini into one Eero, the TiVo into another and see what happens. Easy to configure and stable is what I’m looking for and it sounds like they will fit the bill. They won’t be particularly close to each other and, as I say, wifi goes through the house pretty well, so I’m not too worried about anything but getting the Mini to function again.

    As an aside, one of your comments upthread made me wonder if something in the house is interfering with the signal through the power line adapters when the sound cuts out. I’ve asked my parents to watch TV using the mini and notice if anything in the house switches off or on when the sound starts to cut. Last week, my Dad said that it always started malfunctioning on one program each night – around the time of night Mom would be cooking and they’d be turning lights on. If that was the issue, I could return the Eeros and save some money!

  22. @Kim- Depending on the house, there are other ways to run Ethernet, like through attics, closets, etc, but it can get complicated depending on the design of the building.

    That will work just fine for the TiVos being able to connect to each other, in terms of how they will work streaming will depend on bandwidth available. Eero offers help guides for positioning the mesh nodes for optimal performance.

    When I had a Mini on a Powerline adapter, that TV wouldn’t work if the dishwasher was on due to motor noise. If she’s using a blender or microwave or some other device, it could easily create interference. That being said, if your dad wants to watch TV and your mom wants to blend up a smoothie at the same time, then the Powerline adapters probably aren’t a good solution for them.

    Powerline adapters are extremely wonky, I’ve seen them have wildly different performance based on the electrical in the building. I’m using them right now, and they seem pretty reliable, but I’m in a building that was built in 2018. It drives me nuts when people say that Powerline adapters won’t work with a TiVo- they will, but people do need to understand that there are a lot of potential issues with such a setup, and in certain buildings, it may not work at all.

  23. Sorry, one more question. Once I have the Eero’s connected to the TiVo, how do I get the TiVo to recognize it? The TiVo wireless adapter directions basically say, plug it in and your TiVo will recognize it for setup steps. Should I expect that it should just recognize the Eero, too? Looking at the Network & Settings, it just says “ethernet” but no “wireless” for connection choices. But, maybe because it will be plugged into an ethernet cable that runs to the Eero, it’ll still think it’s a true ethernet connection? I really do appreciate all of the help!

    I do remember the power line adapters being a bit of a bear to setup, but they were really reliable after that. Until one day, they weren’t. Hoping this is the cure!

  24. @Kim- There’s nothing to recognize. You’re backhauling the network via the Eeros, the TiVo is just connected via Ethernet so it has no knowledge of what physical medium the network is traveling over. It has no way of knowing if there’s an Eero, a WiFi bridge, powerline adapters, MoCA adapters, fiber, copper, etc.

  25. @Alex – as always, thank you very much for the quick response! I just didn’t want to be caught flat-footed next time I try. The Eeros were giving me trouble today – I only bought two and should have bought three. I thought that it would be easy enough to use them as bridges from the existing Airport Express router, but they would not connect. I gave up and ordered an Eero Pro to replace the Airport with next time I can get over there. If I’m going through all of this, I might as well improve their whole wi-fi network while I’m at it. I hoped that the TiVo would just work via the Ethernet, but was afraid that it wouldn’t and I was missing something obvious. Thanks again!

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