TiVo Slows Its Roll While Expanding Partnerships

Shortly after releasing the bungled TiVo Stream 4K update, that inadvertently broke MPEG-2 decoding and locked up developer options behind a PIN, the company halted its software roll-out. They’ve regrouped and now, about six weeks later, are slow-rolling a new set of updates that incorporates all the prior fixes, restores that lost functionality, and provides some neat new tricks. And, for me, the most notable addition is the integration of Locast  into the guide.

When TiVo first linked up with Locast last year, it didn’t make much sense given legacy DVR tuner hardware – you already get the locals, via cable or antenna, baked into the guide and available for recording… vs an inferior app serving up silo-ed content. Fast forward to the cord-cutter-centric TiVo Stream 4k that now places your locals smack dab in the middle of TiVo’s live guide, mingling amongst the likes of Pluto TV, it all makes much more sense. However, browsing the guide, as currently implemented, is a bit of a daunting mess. Fortunately, Redditor tivopm indicates a customizable, unified guide is on the roadmap:

At the moment we don’t have a way to filter the locast channels. We wanted to provide you this ASAP, but we do have filtering options planned in the future. […] We have a lot of filtering options planned.

I can confirm that TiVo Stream 4K firmware 4896 resolves issues with Channels and I’ve re-implemented hardware decoding for my preferred DVR. However, in taking a somewhat more cautious approach this time around, TiVo has only seeded 10% of deployed TiVo Stream 4k devices. Assuming all looks good, the roll-out would obviously expand and accelerate (and TiVo has hopefully beefed up internal regression testing going forward).

21 thoughts on “TiVo Slows Its Roll While Expanding Partnerships”

  1. Can my legacy Sony SVR-3000 be ressurected with new software?
    It has a paid up lifetime contract! and I upgraded it with a bigger hard drive!

  2. It’s 2020, any software company that doesn’t have a software development pipeline that includes automated testing deserves to fail.

  3. Chris, TiVo hasn’t fixed decades old bugs and operations that are well documented and easy to repair yet they continue to linger. I used to be part of their test process but it was too stupid to deal with and has not improved they how many management changes now. It’s very sad but screwups are ever increasing, not getting better and will continue to decline as a company.

  4. Is this device a viable alternative / replacement for roku yet? I mean with the HBO Max and Peacock services not on Roku, I’ve been contemplating a different streaming ecosystem, but not one as expensive as Apple TV. Roku is dead simple to use, and at least the Ultra model is very quick to navigate (plus the remote finder means not having to invest in another TILE sticker).

    With Android at its underpinnings, I have to wonder if it’s as flexible as the fire stick.

  5. Tivo has steadily become worse and worse. My Roamio Pro is slow and choppy now and locks up semi frequently, I’ve lost Xfinity on demand, their Android mobile app is just embarrassingly awful. Recordings downloaded to my tablet rarely play correctly, if at all, and take forever to transfer (over 5Ghz wireless AC).

  6. Cypherstream, IMO, your best bet is probably going to be the upcoming Google Nest TV (or whatever they end up naming it — it’s currently code-named Sabrina). It will be from Google themselves, and it’s generally a good thing when the same company is behind both the hardware and the OS. It will run an updated version of Android TV (possibly renamed to Google TV) with a new UI. Will support 4K, Dolby Vision, and have a voice remote. Rumored to cost in the $50-60 range and debut on Sept. 30. Only major app missing from Android TV at this point is the Apple TV app. But it does have both HBO Max and Peacock (along with all the other major ones).

  7. Has TiVo abandoned their other products? The “updated” GUI is shite. Thumbs don’t work. Buggy & slow. Can’t sort guide by channel name. Haven’t seen an update since installing. How they don’t release new versions monthly like real software companies do is astonishing in 2020. They went from pioneers to pathetic.

  8. Oh, and TiVo deliberately breaking their app on Amazon Firestick/TV is infuriating! What a dumpster fire of a company.

  9. With Tivo…
    I jumped out over a year ago.
    The platform got to be a joke when all the reasons I was on, started failing.
    Both software and contract fail.
    I.e buggy software and tivio’s legal fight with Comcast which cut off dvr programing from comcast.

    As this was, it caused me to reevaluate my usage and I killed off both Comcast cable and tivo.
    A bit as punishment to both.

    Yes I had lifetime boxes.
    No I didn’t pay retail for any of it.
    2nd hand with lifetime and I saved 1000’s.
    Plus killed off 1000’s in comcast equipment charges.
    I got 3 years down the road with this.

    But it my opinion.
    For what is out there today..
    Roku is king.
    Tivo is dead.

  10. DrTek, sounds like HDR could be handled soon, in the next update.

    Daevid, yeah killing the “beta” Fire TV app before the replacement was ready and then killing the replacement stings. I mean it wasn’t great, but it was something in a pinch.

    Josh, doubt it’ll happen. TiVo is a niche platform and more apps will be leaving (like HBO last week) or abandoned (probably Plex) vs arriving these days.

  11. Article talks as if Locast is available to all. Has Tivo worked out a deal?? Cuz Locast is not available to me in the NewHaven,CT market.

  12. I think Locast is being sued. They aren’t paying retransmission fees to the local channels. Incorporating Locast into their guide is a big gamble.

  13. With locast one can circumvent the blackout of sports events in certain regions of the US by using a VPN. The court might require them to do something to prevent this. A viewer can toggle between markets and view sporting events that they would otherwise have to pay a significant fee to access or possibly not be able to access at all.

    And, as was mentioned previously, if the viewer has not payed the suggested monthly fee, the viewer is presented with ads that preempt the first part of the show they are trying to watch at the beginning of the viewing session and then the viewer is disconnected from their viewing session every 15 minutes and presented with an ad requesting a donation. Then they have to initiate the viewing session again and repeat the same cycle.

    The Locast service is significantly degraded, unless the viewer pays the suggested monthly fee. With PBS, the service is somewhat degraded by requests to donate money, but the user can ultimately watch an entire show.

    I’m not sure the courts would permit Locast to inject their advertisements into a show and preempt part of the show without paying advertising revenue that any other entity would have to pay.

    Although, if a viewer can pay $5 per month to toggle between multiple Viewing markets and have TV Everywhere connectivity with Channels DVR that would be quite a bargain.

  14. Did TiVo ever fix the major issue they had with always on HDR?
    It’s been many months now since the TS4K launch. I would hope that TiVo has fixed it by now.

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