TiVo To Merge. Again.

40 months after consummating their courtship of Rovi, TiVo is once again on the move. Whereas the DVR pioneer had been planning to split the company as it sold off two component businesses of patent/licensing and TiVo product/services, Xperi (who?) is taking the whole enchilada.

On paper, Xperi seems to align more closely with the patent/licensing portions of TiVo. And my hunch is that it’s quicker, easier to simply merge now (despite a year of planning) and unload the product/services capabilities at a later date. Hello Arris TiVo?

For us retail customers, I wouldn’t expect any drastic changes within 12 months of the deal closing. Having said that, one of Rovi management’s first moves was to kill the unannounced, unreleased TiVo Mavrik. It remains to be seen if TiVo, let alone Xperi, has the fortitude to stay the course with their Android TV Stick – of vague capabilities and unrealistically lofty sales goals.

34 thoughts on “TiVo To Merge. Again.”

  1. Xperi purchased DTS in 2016, they have a huge building out here in Calabasas, CA. Sad to see TiVo go, I know they will still sell under the TiVo name, but the company itself is now gone. :(

  2. There the hell are the TiVo apps for Apple TV, Fire tv, Roku and Android tv? This is what I have been waiting for.

    I’m almost done with TiVo. I’ve moved three tvs over to channels dvr with two HDHR primes.

  3. Jezmund, you can subscribe to new posts by email using form in right sidebar. To follow a specific posts’s comments, easiest way is to leave a comment and check the box. However, there are also RSS feeds for the comments. RSS was never mainstream plus Google killing reader and rise of social media kinda pushed them even further off most folks radar.

  4. I wonder if this will push TiVo into being among the mostly defunct brands that live on in name only: Polaroid, RCA, Commodore, Atari, etc?

    Is it a little sad that even as a daily user of TiVo hardware, I’m almost rooting for them to die so I can let go and move on to something else?

  5. @Allen Schreiber – I hope they stick around. I don’t want to see my investment in “All In” go to waste.

    Which reminds me. I still have SD movies and TV shows on my ReplayTV.

  6. I’ve spent too many years worrying that the company was about to go under or the service about to change drastically for the negative. I’m now afraid to invest in new hardware. I’ve been a TiVo fan for so long (hello little TiVo guy tree ornaments!), starting with my Series 2 in 2002. Heck, I even like the current iteration of Hydra pretty well.

    But as I just got my first 4K TV (with a Roku OS) last week and need to move on from my Roamio, I’m accepting that it’s time I evaluate other options. Even the cable company’s DVR has come a long, long way, and I *never* thought that would be an option I’d consider. TiVo’s got until CES to give me a reason to stay, or it’s time I jump ship.

  7. Realistically, we’ve not had to worry about TiVo’s health since banking $1b in licensing from DISH and others. Our service will remain in play for a long, long time. The more pressing concern would be bug fixes, new features or products. They were prepared to dial down retail when they shifted focus and then hired Ted. We’ll see what happens next.

  8. I appreciate the insight, Dave, and have long appreciated your reporting. Fills a need no other does. Happy holidays to you!

  9. Seems the financial engineers are firmly in control, and the product engineers are sidelined. I’m done with Tivo after a ten plus year run, and several house moves. I’m now on HuluTV, Netflix, HBOgo, Disney, PrimeTV. All in, I’m spending less with more content, and its all portable from one house to the next, plus its all on my phone/tablet/computer. My advice to others is not invest in new Tivo, and use your existing stuff as long as you can…..once you switch to streaming services, you won’t look back. Thanks Dave for the great reporting and insight.

  10. I love my Roamio Pro. It is still the best DVR out there. Unfortunately, they are in last place in the updating and innovation race. I have set myself up with firestick, Amazon HBO and a few others and will be cutting off cable. I would have kepy it, paid the price for the beauty, simplicity and ease of use that TIVO gave me. Most of all SHE liked it and could use it. Oh well, greed wins again…

  11. It is not set all surprising, I started with a DirecTV TiVo and loved it, but then moved to provide dv R for a few years. When i came back for an OTA recorder I was sorely disappointed. It was old feeling, clunky, way to many buttons. It seems like they decided the customer was a afterthought.

    I now use Tablo for OTA with steaming to everything and TiVo as a mere channel changer and a 10 second repeat on a single tv in my entire world of viewing components. It it’s not even good for pausing a live tv show an hour+ so you can build a buffer for commercial skip.

    TiVo long ago lost the engineering talent and have been riding on their laurels for years. To bad.

  12. I was a dedicated, diehard TiVo user from 2003 until 2016 when I had a simple issue which they just would not help me resolve. I switched over to MythBuntu and have been gloriously happy since. You have to be comfortable getting under the hood but there was an easy online guide and some configs you have to make, and once you get it right it just works. You can set custom searches, download to Kindle Fire or phone, check upcoming and recorded shows, and check backend status, all remotely. The backend serves through clients that can take many shapes, like PCs, Kindle Fire tablets or firesticks running Kodi or MythTV Player app, or just VLC. I’m so happy not to be dependent on the Tivo infrastructure anymore, especially after all their recent turmoil.

    Yes, I need to pay SchedulesDirect $25 every year, but if TiVo offered me free EVERYTHING if I dumped MythBuntu, I would turn them down. If you have an old PC, give it a try. You just need to buy a tuner card (I use SiliconDust with 3 tuners but their website says they’re working on one with 6).

  13. Technology should get better, not worse. TiVo changed the way we watched TV by putting excellent jog-shuttle controls in every DVR. (Even a good VCR could do this fairly well.) The TiVo box gave us more control over our shows; streaming takes away most of that control and convenience. If TiVo gets out of the DVR business, I will not put up with the clunky streaming interface, or the inability to save recordings at home. I’ll go back to reading books–still a superb random access device.

  14. They’ll probably stick around just long enough to figure out how to screw all the “lifetime” subscriber suckers out of their “lifetime” subscriptions.
    Paid a small fortune for “lifetime” service on four different TiVo units over the years, only to discover that “lifetime” just means “only as long as our short-MTBF hardware lasts”.
    Not the deal they advertised, at all!

  15. Since they don’t support small cable systems which don’t scramble their digital channels (ergo don’t require M-cards), anyway… I’m ready to sell most of my 4-tuner lifetime service boxes (all upgraded to 2TB/3TB drives)… I might keep one just for OTA. Then cut the coax cable altogether (xDSL until ATT gets here with fiber).

    I’m glad I sold my TIVO stock around 22 (when I first found out all the new offerings would require M-cards, even on cable systems that don’t use them), because I seriously doubt it will ever be over 20 again. The uptick Friday was likely people buying to cover shorts and book the profit before year end.

  16. I bought a TiVo Bolt OTA when I cut the cord at the beginning of this year, even though I also have Sling with virtual DVR. Since I live in a major urban center, there’s an overabundance of OTA channels available, and with the TiVo I can skip all their commercials (which is what attracted me to TiVo in the first place, back in 2006.)

    I still prefer TiVo’s user interface over all the others (I tried Hulu TV and it was awful. Sling’s UI is marginally better – because it’s most like the TiVo UI.)

  17. Funny. I’m a diehard TiVo user. I still have a series one in the garage unpowered. Currently have a Roamio for OTA with a 3tb drive. Works fine but drives me nuts how limited is for using all the streaming services that are popping out. I purchased a Tablo with life time lineup on Black Friday. Since I installed it have not switched from Android Tv box to TiVo. Was thinking on o losing the TiVo but I’m waiting for the new android TiVo so that was denied almost a year ago.

  18. One of the most unique features of TIVO had been the TIVO live guide. This makes it so much easier to find future new shows that could be desirable to record. The newer equipment with the latest software does not offer the live guide. This has kept me from upgrading my Roamio. I hope the new management recognizes that what made TIVO unque were features that cannot be duplicated by any other technology platform.

  19. Can’t say I’m surprised. After all the junk started appearing in my guide, I tossed it. Good riddance to cable AND Tivo. They watered down the service they worked so hard to build. Nice while it lasted. OTA and Plex for me now. (Their DVR isn’t bad these days)

  20. This reminds me. I never got around to cancelling my monthly Roamio.
    But I still have two Bolts and another Roamio on Lifetime.

    I just don’t use my TiVos as much as I used to. But that isn’t the fault of TiVo.

    It’s because the FiOS video quality is so bad now. Although not Comcast bad.
    And the OTA video quality in the DC area is also bad. So I’m watching most of my broadcast content from streaming services since the quality is so much better.

  21. Darr is either misinformed or dishonest. “M-cards” or any other kind of CableCards are NOT “required” to receive unencrypted digital HD or analog SD cable channels. Although some CableCard devices were only able to accept type “S” single stream CableCards, the HD TiVo (which had two slots to accommodate one type S card per tuner) was able to accept a multi-stream type “M” card. When multi-stream cards became commonplace with cable providers, subsequent TiVos came with only card slot, but the CableCard slot is not unable to accept a single stream card!

    Comcast regularly “forgets” to reauthorize my CableCards, and when that happens I lose the ability to view and record scrambled HD channels, but regular HD channels and the large number of channels that are still analog still work just fine. I’ve also used my old HD TiVo boxes on the private cable system run by the retirement community that a parent lived in; the TiVo guide supported it no problem. When I got my first Series 1 TiVo, my building was on a MMDS MATV system and it worked as well. When RCN came to the building, all I had to do was go through guided setup for RCN.

  22. Dave, perhaps you’re confusing CableCard with tuning adapters. A CableCard does not have anything to do with switched video or channel mapping, all it does is manage conditional access and decrypt MPEG streams that are encrypted. Your Program Guide data comes from TiVo (or Rovi) and gets its data through the Internet, not a CableCard.

    The claim that TiVo boxes with CableCard slots MUST have a “M-card” installed for the DVR to function is patently false. Small, private cable and MATV systems might not share their channel lists with TiVo, and so they might not appear as options during guided setup. That is NOT a CableCard issue! As I said, I had a parent in a facility with a private, non-encrypted cable plant, and was able to set up and run a TiVo without any cards. The reason why is because non-encryped content does not require a CableCard. One must select the correct facility during guided setup (and if it’s not there, contacting TiVo used to bring results), and that’s it. QAM != CableCard.

  23. Several years ago the FCC approved cable companies encrypting basic cable. And most or all of the larger and notable ones have. That would require a CableCARD. Some channels can come through when a CableCARD is present, but not paired. Several permutations there as to why. CableCARD TiVo hardware was never designed to map or intelligently present clearQAM. Which is why the company tells customers that cable subscribers need a CableCARD. The facility you mention is a corner case of a scenario and obviously had somebody knowledgeable at the helm to navigate.

  24. Oh joy, another Wikipedia Scholar. After working in broadcasting for more than 30 years (and getting FCC rulemaking directly from GSA printers) I am not “baffled” by that at all.

    Quadrature amplitude modulation is an RF modulation scheme, period. There is no “clearQAM” or “unclearQAM”, there’s just QAM. QAM can have constellations of 16, 64, 256 and even 1024 or more I/Q pairs, but do absolutely no data encryption.

    Encryption is performed on the MPEG payload, using schemes such as DigiCipher, a derivative of the M/A-COM VideoCipher that spelled the end of us being able to watch other networks’ sports programming through our earth stations c. 1990. Cable operators employ DigiCipher or other encryption schemes on the MPEG transport stream as they see fit. Some of these make the PSIP stream withing the MPEG container unreadable, but this 100% the locus of the cable operator, not of any TiVo DVR.

    Darr claimed that “[TiVo DVRs] don’t support small cable systems which don’t scramble their digital channels”, and I’ve shown that to be untrue in several ways. Because those systems have no need to use CableCards, none are ever issued. That’s why your claim “[p]ull out your CableCARD and see what stays mapped or available” is also fallacious and non sequitur. The truth is that if you set up a TiVo DVR properly for a small cable plant, it does actually work. It’s the cable operator’s prerogative to choose a channel numbering scheme, and I can confirm from firsthand experience that both simple (e.g. 1,2,3,4…) or dotted (27.1, 27.2, 27.3…) notation are supported by TiVo boxes.

    By far the most troubling part of Darr’s claims is that they include stock trading advice, which may well be in violation of several federal laws. I am against spreading false rumors in hopes of manipulating stick prices, breaking the law and saying things that are factually untrue.

  25. Welp, this is my forum, my rules, on my dime and your jackassery isn’t welcome. I didn’t see Darr’s post and had been responding to you. Folks are free to be incorrect (or not) here without name calling*, being belittled or accused of federal crimes. As to my bonafides, or lack thereof, they’re irrelevant in light of your antisocial tendencies.

    *additional latitude is granted to he who wields the spam hammer

  26. I said goodbye to the Tivo that I knew and loved since the MPEG-2 DirecTivo days when they were rolled up by Rovi / TV Guide. I turned in my last CableCard a few months ago and canceled my Tivo service once and for all. Too bad Tivo proper wasn’t able to navigate a smoother and more successful path into the streaming / OTT world.

  27. Dave,
    Been following this site for a while as a long time Tivo devotee. When I saw the news from CES that they were coming out with a new streaming stick, I immediately came here for more in depth follow up. Hopefully some will be forthcoming, but I have a question that hopefully you can answer.
    The most important function for me is a very simple one that I’ve found that only TiVo’s can fully fulfill. Will the new stick have the ability to rewind and watch in slow motion? I’m a big sports fan, so when there’s a controversial call, or I missed something, I like to be able to back up a previous play and watch it in slo-mo. Do you think this will be available on the new 4K streaming stick?
    Thanks for all you do

  28. That’s a good question – what level of control will TiVo Stream provide over Sling TV channels/content. Once I get an initial post up, I’ll follow-up with the company to address questions like these.

  29. Dave, way late to the party here, but I appreciate your thoughtful responses to someone who was anything but! Those that frequent this site, and know you from other sites know full well that you are far from a Wikipedia scholar, and that your knowledge of the minutia of how all of this stuff works and co-mingles is from a lot of hard work and long hours (including reading through copious amounts of FCC and trademark info)!

    As for the merger, I don’t have expectations one way or the other of how it will affect my TiVo in the long run… I have invested a lot of time and money in the various TiVo solutions since 2000, and expect to be able to get a couple of years more out of what I have… Beyond that, I am hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. I have subscriptions to multiple streaming platforms, from Prime and Netflix to Disney+, AppleTV+, Starz and Hulu, so when TiVo goes, I’m as ready as I can be to adapt. I am not a cord cutter, and enjoy being able to turn on a channel to watch reruns of shows in 2 or 3 hour blocks while I’m just unwinding and relaxing, or doing laundry, or whatever else is going on, but TiVo has long been the center of my media center, and I will ride that train until it pulls into the final stop, whenever that may be.

  30. Really don’t understand all the hate expressed here over Tivo. Tivo was made for cable or over-the-air, making recordings, and playing them back. It was not for streaming, so don’t hate it for the lousy streaming capabilities. It performs its intended function flawlessly with a simple interface (I never did “upgrade” to the “new experience” hydra). If you want to stream things, get a roku or something. If, like me, you are pretty much stuck with cable (lousy over the air reception), and love local sports, especially when you can start recording, wait a bit, and then start watching while still recording, fast forward through commercials, and end up seeing the end of the game around the same time it really ends, you can’t beat it. Just my 2 cents worth…

  31. I agree, it’s without a doubt the best platform for viewing. It seems as though they can’t find a way for it to evolve , as content is delivered through different means. A streaming TiVo with DVR capabilities is my dream.

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