TiVo Exits Best Buy; Walmart Status Uncertain

For possibly the first time in twenty years, Best Buy no longer sells TiVo. While I imagine there could be some lingering product on shelves, the last remaining item recently on clearance has now been completely excised from Best Buy store search. And, as Walmart unveils their own line of competing Android TV streamers, TiVo’s shelf availability appears diminished – both a reader and I confirmed on a very small scale that TiVo Stream 4K endcaps and dongles are no longer seen in our local outposts. However, other Walmart reconnaissance and online search does show some stores with inventory.

TiVo will need all the reseller help they can get to continue expanding their Stream footprint … and gutting the product marketing team doesn’t necessarily advance that cause. But, hopefully TiVo will resurface at Best Buy, perhaps with a TiVo Stream HD and/or Pro remote joining the original 4K offering.

UPDATE 6/2 PM: Walmart’s dwindling inventory could be related to what might be closeout pricing of this SKU…

30 thoughts on “TiVo Exits Best Buy; Walmart Status Uncertain”

  1. I hear the Doors in the background… “this is the end… my only friend… the end…”

  2. Seems like I picked the right time to depart the TiVo universe. I was renting my boxes from RCN but I have Fios at my new place. While their TV One platform isn’t quite as intuitive and polished as TiVo’s, it’s capable of doing nearly everything the TiVo did, and is geared a little more toward the power user.

  3. So.. Once there is no more tivo corp.. Will there be any way anyone can take over providing guide and channel updates? I know it wouldn’t be immediate, but I’d hate to see all these Tivos in the landfill..

  4. Stephen, Xperi/TiVo is in fine shape and will indefinitely provide guide data (to some models, anyway) even if they ultimately exit direct-to-consumer sales at some point. Heck, they were pitching TiVo Edge deals online last week. Not to mention Amazon and Channel Master (and Walmart online) continue to sell TiVo products.

    By the by, I briefly contemplated pinging TiVo’s outsourced PR before publishing. However, they completely ignored my last two inquiries on a prior topic, possibly at the behest of their client, and couldn’t be bothered to even respond with a ‘no comment’ ‘we’re not prepared to discuss’ etc. But I get their reticence – I’m a small time blogger with possibly unflattering info to share. So, as to trajectory, we only have assumptions to go on here.

  5. Disappointing, but just more of the same. I still have my Roamio in play. The ideal setup for me is something like the Stream 4k with a TiVo app. Obviously, they took that off the table. I have been frustrated with the streamers out there due to what I view is overly minimalist remote designs. I am excited by the Walmart streamer as the Google “standard” remote seems like a reasonable compromise for me. This makes me more inclined to purchase another Stream 4k. If TiVo drops it completely, I see a reasonable alternative. I have been playing around with Channels DVR (which means Firestick, Android TV, and Apple TV are my only options). Generally, I like it. It has some nice features. I just wish they would improve the Live TV functions. With the new dongle/remote options coming, I might finally ditch my Roamio.

  6. TiVo’s numeric keys are good for those doing live television via Channels. But, like several other Android TV devices, there’s no dedicated play/pause button and inconsistent center button function. That sometimes irks. What are you missing from Channels for live television?

  7. I have two Roamio OTA boxes using the classic UI that I use mainly as tuners with some recording (I have found that I stream most everything w/o commercials). I switch between the four tuners when watching TV and use the buffer to pause/skip through the TV. I do record somethings that are available OTA but not on YouTubeTV.

    If TiVo goes kaput, what other devices are available that will are the options that perform similar functions? I have a Tablo but it is somewhat difficult to channel surf on it.

  8. I’ve been a TiVo loyalist (and somewhat fanboy) since 2000, when I picked up the DirecTV/Sony SAT-T60. On some levels, it’s still a better DVR than what DirecTV sends out today.

    Since then, I’ve had a few different units, some with lifetime memberships, and pretty much all but one has now been depreciated and TiVo announced they will no longer allow activations on them.

    I’m holding onto a TiVo Bolt now, almost solely for the fact that I sank a small fortune into it back in 2016 to ensure it had lifetime membership and I wasn’t paying another monthly fee to watch TV.

    The problem, however, is that Comcast continues to nickel and dime. They are moving a lot of content to IP feeds, which the TiVo can’t decode, but honestly a good chunk of programming these days is garbage anyhow.

    If I could reasonably get my locals in full HD without extra ads/preroll marketing via streaming, I’d probably take it. Yes, I watch other channels like CNN or even TBS/TNT, but I don’t need them. My local news, national broadcast shows, and then my splurges to Netflix, Prime, Disney+ are usually enough. TiVo killed Tivo, but crappy programming certainly poisoned the pool long before that.

  9. “Channel surfing” is still where a TiVo beats pretty much everything else out there, especially if you’re only channels are OTA and you don’t have a cable set top box. Most of the other solutions like Channels DVR + HDHomeRun OTA tuner are based on streaming a single channel at a time over your network, and these devices just aren’t capable of handling multiple live streams at the same time, much less switching between them at the tap of a button like a multi-tuner TiVo. To reproduce the TiVo functionality, the closest you can probably do is have multiple streamer devices, each streaming a specific channel, and you switch between them by switching inputs on your TV or AV receiver. This is not really ideal. And, Channels and Plex have limited PIP functionality, but it’s really kludgy.

  10. TiVo with cable is still by far the best DVR and yes, channel surfer too. Most of the public have no appreciation for that, hell, many still watch live TV (!!) and suffer through the interminable, repetitive, and highly offensive current crop of ads. Many are like fingernails on a chalk board, especially by the time you see them for the 999th+ time.

    I have not seen an ad skipping feature on anything else and TiVo’s works extremely well. In addition, fast forward, pause and slow motion simply do not work well on anything else I have seen including Amazon’s stick, and Roku and even TiVo’s own included streaming services. That alone should make TiVo the device of choice but it won’t. The average person tolerates crap way more than I do, for sure!

    I hope TiVo will be around for a very long time.

  11. maryyugo, Channels DVR skip is pretty darn good. And, unlike TiVo, it’s not primarily limited to broadcast networks during prime time — Nick Jr ads need to go!

  12. Dave,
    Since you asked. Channels fails on Live TV for me due to two missing functions:
    1. Ability to start watching something and then record it to finish later.
    2. Ability to change which device you are watching from (and are behind on).
    This is an issue with how Channels DVR evolved and later added the DVR functionality. They made a good first step on fixing this by adding tuner sharing. There are several ways that these could be fixed and they all seem pretty trivial to me (coming from the software dev side), so I don’t know why they haven’t added a buffering option to the server. Additionally, there are lots of small additional issues for me (that are not deal breakers).

    As for the remotes, yes the TS4k remote isn’t perfect, but look at what other options are out there until recently. Here are my requirements for a remote. 1. TV Power button. 2. TV Input button. 3. TV Volume buttons. 4. TV Mute button. These requirements are the minimum needed so that when I sit down, I can pick up a single remote and know that I can get things working.

    Additionally, these are nice to haves: dedicated trickplay buttons, additional button to get you to live TV, a button or two that an app can dedicate to a purpose (guide, skip, config, etc.), number keys (although with the all 4 digit numbers on Channels DVR, I will never remember those).

  13. I’ve been here before, I had the replay tv…

    Now my Roamio and 4 minis sit unused because I just don’t care about cable any more.

    Spectrum was the real problem, sdv was unreliable and the price was ridiculous. When sports stopped we cut. Now they’re back and we just don’t miss it that much. Peacock deals help, but YouTube highlights fill in the gaps.

    Think of where TiVo could have been if they were the company they were 10 years ago. Oh Well, onward and upward!

  14. Hey Dave

    Tivo stream $29 @ Walmart
    You think it’s worth it to play around with? Maybe hack it?
    Do you think maybe someone will come up with a way to stream from out Tivos as a hack?
    Has it gotten any better with the universal search?

  15. So I just hit the spam button on Wolfpoint Michael Sweeney. Elucidation and constructive conversation is always welcome, even when contrarian. But insults and astroturfing are not. As far as conclusions drawn, in a vacuum of Xperi’s choosing, my track record speaks for itself … as does Best Buy’s inventory and the retailer’s historical significance to TiVo sales. Who knows, maybe Michael has or will work a TiVo Stream deal with Best Buy. And maybe Walmart had a period of exclusivity, perhaps as one condition of that (prior?) prominent placement. But he didn’t come here to talk about any of that and likely isn’t cleared to do so.

    MarkV, yeah Stream is a decent enough device whether or not you partake in TiVo’s aggregation aspirations and ad-supported streaming content. Most of the early bugs have been closed out. Walmart’s new, generally cheaper onn Android TV streamer notches higher benchmarks, but that doesn’t tell the whole story about software performance or remote. Channels DVR users can use those numeric TiVo buttons for television tuning and remap the guide button, which is cool, and there are two levels of de-tivoing you could undertake, but may not want to for continued security, stability, etc updates. Consumer Reports did recently identify a security vuln that TiVo took action on – the full de-tivoing might, not sure, prevent some levels of future patching.

  16. I retired my Roamio several months ago. After trying Channels and investigating other options, I landed on Apple TV and YouTubeTV. While not perfect, it has worked out well enough that I don’t miss TiVo and I’m not looking at any other options. YMMV.

  17. It’s time. We were long-time users (2001-2019) and owned many of their set-top boxes over the years. One of the signs of a bad company is when you can establish service/billing entirely online, but in order to CANCEL the service you have to call them and deal with high-pressure salespeople urging you not to disable the service (and they were very unpleasant to deal with every time I had to retire an old, BROKEN device- why would I continue service on a device that doesn’t even work anymore?). When it came time to retire our final box, I noticed that they finally allowed you cancel online, but with the extremely petty caveat that if you did so, they would disable your guide service immediately rather than letting you run your existing subscription out like the majority of online services do. TiVo was technically so much better than the alternatives for so long, but their business practices alienated us as customers forever.

  18. @Dave Z.: Having missed the seemingly aggressive and now-deleted Wolfpoint post(s) today, Dave, a bit difficult to understand and make sense of what occurred today with Michael Sweeney/Wolfpoint. Perhaps Wolfpoint reacting ultra-defensively (think, a caved bear) lest a going-out-of-business rumor get started, which likely wouldn’t amuse the Xperi overlords (and investors)?

  19. @Dave Z.: Also, ignoring a “small time blogger” such as you (as you described yourself, and which, by the way, you are not–who else covers matters TiVo?) is a *great* way to get negative rumors started and to shoot one’s self in the foot . . . . A skilled/*decent* PR person or firm would know that.

  20. @MarkV: If you are tempted to play in the TiVo Stream 4K garden, consider going to tivo.com and purchasing there–when I was there a few minutes ago, in addition to the sale $29.99 pricing, I further was offered 15% off (in exchange for agreeing to receive the TiVo email newsletter and other marketing materials), getting the price down to a whopping $25.50 . . . .

  21. @Michael: Thanks for posting the code–I either didn’t get that far in the process or missed the listing–

  22. Mike S, I assume he’s busting his tail on behalf of his client and took offense at what he would know to be a misread of the tea leaves. Instead of biting his tongue or clarifying matters, he lost his cool without explicitly disclosing his relationship. But it worked out OK for us as the response indirectly communicates TiVo isn’t done with retail (although DVR certainly seems deprecated) and, by following the trail, we now know Target is on board.

    By the by, years ago I provided a comment edit option. But it was super resource intensive for site and subject to SQL injection attacks. So I’m the only one who gets to repeatedly edit his own replies these days. Sorry!

  23. @Dave Z.: The benefits of being the overlord of your own blog site, being able to edit yourself . . . . ;) And TiVo depreciating its DVR line asset, imagine that, sigh. :(

    @MarkV.: Or, to get the total price (with shipping, for which TiVo charges $4.99–basically, your use of the promo code at tivo.com almost cancels out the shipping charge) down even lower, you could order from Walmart at $29 and pick up in the store, or use a Walmart+ subscription there with its free shipping (or make your online Walmart purchase with a Walmart+ subscription free 15-day trial), or pad your Walmart online order to $35 to get free shipping . . . . :)

  24. FYI,
    I did pick up one of the Onn streamers to test out. It definitely is going to have to go through a growing pains stage.
    Pros & Cons vs TS4k:
    Pros: A little snappier, I like the home interface a little better (but not a huge deal), Doesn’t require a de-Tivo, available at your local Walmart for pickup (although they had to get it out of the back for me)
    Cons: Audio is a mess (very low on most apps, but some are 10x louder, I made them all the same by disabling one of the audio types, but now when I switch to another device it is 10x off), Odd behaviors in many of the apps

    Overall, I am happy with either one for my usage. If using Channels, for now TS4k has the edge as the remapped Tivo/live/guide buttons make it quite nice. Hopefully they will make a similar mapping for the Onn remote.

  25. I would think Tivo would jump in to the ATSC3.0 market. With the improved compression, stations can have many more subchannels. ATSC 1.0 channels in my area are still adding subchannels. 4K is a niche market and HD is a shadow of it’s former self with the reduced bit rate from OTA and Cable. I think it’s more profitable for stations to offer more channels at lower resolution.

  26. Dave,
    I keep forgetting to bring up the MobiTV purchase for your thoughts. Do you think a branded cable replacement service is the TiVo Stream 4k end game? I know they have the Sling partnership, but I feel like something with MobiTV would make more sense. Or do the intend to just wind MobiTV down and use it for IP?

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