Archives For TiVo

As I continue to mull over the new (incomplete, buggy) TiVo Hydra interface, while awaiting patches, evidence has surfaced that TiVo cloud recording remains an active project. When the Tablo-fighting TiVo Mavrik OTA solution was scrapped, I’d assumed cloud was similarly off the table. However, recording options and uncovered code on tivo.com suggest otherwise. As revealed last spring, it appeared TiVo would offer two tiers of cloud recording capacity (20GB, 50GB) and we know they were testing on Bolt this time last year. Wether or not the presumably optional service will be limited to over-the-air programming is anyone’s guess and if it’s something enough of us are willing to pay for… given sufficient recording capacity and out-of-home streaming.

(Thanks Cole!)

How To Upgrade To TiVo Hydra

Dave Zatz —  October 29, 2017 — 78 Comments

The switch has been flipped and Hydra is now available to TiVo Bolt, Roamio, and Mini owners who want it. However, you probably want to review these considerations before proceeding. Further, the downgrade app, should you later choose to throw in the towel, does not yet appear to be available and TiVo Minis have had some trouble with the upgrade process.

Should that not be enough to dissuade, here’s how to get in early on the optional upgrade: Hit this link, log into TiVo.com, and select the boxes you’d like to update. The TiVo Service Numbers are being swept in every two hours so, should the 24-48 hour wait be too long, you’d go into your network settings to force a connection to receive the update and then reboot to apply it.

Keep in mind any Minis you have will ultimately need to match the host DVR interface. So excluding them or trying to prioritize them within the request form won’t ultimately mean anything. With that in mind, I’d suggest updating everything or nothing.

I haven’t had enough time with Hydra to pass judgement, other than to say I appreciate the menu customization and find the animations, transitions, etc very smooth … although there’s going to be significant retraining in regards to deprecation of the left directional button and rethinking of the now playing show info banner, plus who knows what else. Also, at a meta analytical level, the new interface has me wondering what makes TiVo a TiVo. Hm.

The TiVo Hydra Heads Up

Dave Zatz —  October 28, 2017 — 62 Comments

TiVo Hydra is coming… the interface (and more), several years in the making, that re-envisions the TiVo experience upon a modern, extensible platform. And should you be primed and ready to go, TiVo Consumer VP Ted Malone has provided details how to accelerate the optional update process for existing Bolt, Roamio, and Mini boxes:

On Sunday morning, you will be able to go to a page on the TiVo website and request the upgrade for any TSN that is on your account. While not technically “forever”, you will need to wait 2-3 hours before forcing a call to download the new software.

However, before you take the plunge, there are some things you should know…

  • Despite the extensive gestation period, including the incorporation of Fan TV talent and departure of design chief Margret Schmidt, Hydra remains a work in progress. Folks who lived with the prior interfaces for years upon years should be prepared for a shock to the system. Not to say the experience isn’t good, but it’s dramatically different and not yet complete. Not that these things ever are
  • And one feature in particular power users need to be alerted to: PC-to-TiVo uploads (think TiVo Desktop, pytivo, etc) are not yet operational. I don’t believe this is an intentional EOL event. Rather, there was work prioritized ahead of this more niche functionality and the retrofitting of likely archaic hooks. However, transferring recordings from various TiVo DVRs to Hydra boxes works (via TiVo.com, versus STB initiation) as does downloading recordings to computer.
  • The possibly pioneering, two column Live Guide is gone. Which amuses me to no end. For years and years I pined for a grid guide (look, here’s a post from 2006) while TiVo pushed their supposedly superior solution and lamented grid guide removal after TiVo’s brief dalliance. But, in what I assume may be a concession to the cable companies, Hydra features a traditional grid guide. While I’m perfectly OK with that, I suspect many others may not be.
  • Owners of first generation TiVo Minis should be aware they lack the interface’s critical ‘back’ remote control button. The ‘zoom’ button will act as a stand-in should you be prepared to move forward with Hydra without committing to the purchase of a new remote.
  • Should you update to Hydra and later change your mind (or someone in your household changes it for you), you can revert back. However, it requires a complete factory reset … and lose of all your recordings.

In any event, I expect several updates over the next few weeks ironing out any last-minute bugs before the team gets to work on more significant refinement based on our feedback and what I assume is an extensive roadmap.

Yeppers, TiVo Bolt Does HDR*

Dave Zatz —  October 24, 2017 — 48 Comments

As you’ve probably heard, TiVo announced three new Bolt DVRs and a 4K Mini today… which came as no surprise to me, since I’ve spent months tracking them. So, in talking with Ted Malone, my former colleague and newly installed VP of Consumer, I focused on other, geekier matters. And a question I frequently get is HDR. As it turns out, the entire Bolt line (old and new) is currently HDR-ready — specifically the more ubiquitous HDR10. However, it’s dependent upon partner providers, like Amazon and Vudu, to implement the expanded color spectrum within their apps. Given TiVo’s significantly smaller retail footprint, compared to say Roku, those orgs reasonably prioritize other platforms. But hopefully one day they’ll also see fit to service TiVo customers.

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By way of the FCC, we gather the TiVo Vox Voice remote remains on track for a fall launch and that older Roamio hardware (running Hydra) will be supported via a USB Bluetooth dongle (vs Bolt’s native BLE capabilities). Details on voice interaction have also been prematurely provided, and behavior appears quite similar to Xfinity … which is a positive.

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As pointed out in the TiVo forums, the recently updated Arris TiVo product line made available to cable companies includes one model strikingly similar in appearance to our exclusive retail TiVo Mini 4K imagery. And I have reason to believe the hardware is, indeed, likely the same… making good on a TiVo/Rovi pre-transition promise:

That said, being in the hardware business isn’t something that necessarily excites us. When we acquired Fanhattan and the Fan TV platform, they had an OEM relationship and we’re focused on a box solution. And when we acquired them, we said, we’d look to move to be box agnostic and be able to partner with box providers who can do that. There are several box providers out there who have direct-to-retail. We’ll be looking at the possibilities of working with them, having them control the box. And while that would be a partnership and we wouldn’t get all the sales as a result, we think that’s probably a better way to approach the consumer space. But don’t look for us to exit the consumer space.

Retail has been challenging for TiVo in recent years and they’ve previously written off hardware expenditures, so leaning on a partner cable box manufacturer to limit TiVo’s retail outlay and risk, given Arris’ larger scale, superior supply chain, etc is a wise business move.

Assuming the differences are largely cosmetic, here’s what the Arris Mi4 spec sheet has to sayContinue Reading…

While TiVo may be dialing back marketing expenditures in the retail segment, the back half of 2017 is looking pretty promising for us consumers.

First, after many long years, the HDUI has just been completed (with the slightly more modern Bolt-esque presentation coming to Premiere and Roamio). Next, their will indeed be a voice remote control – available as an accessory to existing customers and likely also bundled with new TiVo retail hardware. And, speaking of that new TiVo hardware… I can confirm that, while the Mavrik initiative has been scrapped, the TiVo Mini 4K is a go. Dropping the original trapezoidal TiVo Mini form factor, the updated extender is more Roku Ultra in appearance and subtly carries forward the TiVo Bolt’s design arc. While the headline feature may be 4K and the small number of services that have chosen to provide the higher video resolution to TiVo owners, I anticipate at least Bolt-class processing power — meaning it’ll be a much more snappy and usable app platform than the legacy TiVo hardware provides and something I would absolutely upgrade for to access Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video on Input 1 vs flipping to Roku or Fire TV. I’m expecting both TiVo’s voice remote and the 4K Mini to hit this fall, along with at least one compelling new software trick…

Update: More TiVo Mini 4K details here.

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As revealed a few months back, TiVo is (finally) prepping native voice control. And the retail voice remote is nearing release, given this recent FCC filing and insider chatter. For me, acoustical capabilities cannot arrive soon enough. While I suspect I’ll rarely seek out content suggestions by voice, like “horror movies” or “soccer,” I will absolutely channel surf. For example, it took some time to track down Animal Planet for my daughter (which was a bust) as I have no idea where most channels live (being a long-term DVR owner) and textual search can be somewhat tedious (compared to Mom’s Xfinity remote).

Beyond the new big blue microphone button, it looks like Netflix has successfully strong-armed TiVo into their direct access button requirement (with Apple TV likely being the last and only hold out). Fortunately, that bit ‘o spam is nicely offset by a new, dedicated commercial skip button (that replaces the cable version’s On Demand).

As to timing, I believe we’re looking at a fall release and, supposedly, older TiVo units like Premiere will be able to purchase remotes with a USB dongle to enable the appropriate RF (BLE?) communication.