Archives For TiVo

TiVo’s got a great offer for those of you still rocking legacy DVRs with Lifetime service. Active* Series 2, Series 3, TiVo HD, and Premiere units can have their Lifetime service transferred to a new TiVo Bolt Vox under the equivalent All-In plan for just $99. As to the fine print, this promotion is only applicable to set-tops that, “have connected to a TiVo service between July 25, 2017 and July 25, 2018. Your current box will be deactivated on September 7, 2018.” So while our moth-balled units can’t partake, active users get a real nice hardware upgrade at a great price – including a month of service overlap to transfer Season/One Passes and recordings.

(Thanks Daniel T!)

I’ve got some very good news for owners of legacy TiVo hardware… and a smattering of bad news.

While I had assumed the TiVo Premiere was end-of-life, over 250,000 of you still on the platform recently received the Roamio and Bolt’s highly desirable SkipMode – which enables somewhat automated commercial skipping of most prime time television recordings. Additionally, these 8-year old DVRs have been treated to the recently released Alexa integration for voice control. It’s quite refreshing to see TiVo invest their finite resources in backporting a subset of folks on this older hardware (and I’m guessing those of you on monthly or annual service plans are to be thanked).

On the flip side, the less than 1% of TiVo owners still using dial-up for guide data are about to be cut off due to exorbitant fees: Continue Reading…

As foreshadowed by yours truly and then announced at CES, Alexa has finally come to TiVo retail boxes. Well, sort of. Over the weekend, a placeholder app appeared – announcing the imminent arrival of Amazon’s voice assistant. Although TiVo has introduced their own native voice remote, it requires an additional purchase, vs those who already own Alexa gear, and is limited to units running the less desirable TiVo Experience 4 (Hydra) on a subset of TiVo hardware. By comparison, Alexa will be made available to a broad swath of devices, dating all the way back to the Premiere and running either Hydra or the HDUI Encore interface.

The TiVo Alexa skill isn’t live yet, but we know it’ll utilize Amazon’s beefed up media api. And, based on some of the documented commands that’ll be available to us, the delay will have been well worth the wait: Continue Reading…

As Rovi foreshadowed, prior to their 2016 TiVo acquisition, the merged company wants out of the retail hardware business. Not consumer services itself, but the manufacturing and distribution. As such, from Seeking Alpha’s transcript of the TiVo quarterly call yesterday:

In addition, we have signed on a major device manufacturer as our direct-to-consumer box partner. This partner will take over retail sales outside of TiVo.com, namely through Amazon and Best Buy. Once we complete this transition, we still will have direct consumer hardware sales through TiVo.com which we will be fulfilling through this box manufacturer. […]

What that means is that we are not going to be producing or manufacturing or contracting directly the manufacturer of these boxes. That will be done by our partners. We will be securing whatever volume we need for tivo.com. We will be securing from the partner.

In that sense, what I think as a distribution channel. But the majority of the sales to everything that happens for example on Amazon or in Best Buy will be handled directly between the partner and the distribution. We would be completely out of that transaction.

From an end consumer perspective, there will be no material change. There’s no significant co-branding. Of course, there’s always recognition of who manufactures the device that will continue. But basically, the consumer will continue seeing a TiVo branded devices with a TiVo experience, TiVo software that they know and love over the years. […]

Yes, in fact that’s a positive impact because they have better presence in those channels that we do today. And then, it’s a partner that we have a great relationship with. We’re very confident of their ability to succeed there. But we’ll continuously work with them, in some places when we decide to jointly try to promote something or jointly try to accelerate something. We’re not just a normal relationship that we will have with them.

So who is this mystery partner? The new TiVo Mini Vox is produced by Arris, a close TiVo partner. But I’m not certain what their retail experience is. Hmmm.

The TiVo Hydra experience has seen a number of updates, since its October release, but they’ve primarily been focused on squashing (numerous) bugs. While that work continues, TiVo has begun rolling out their first “feature update” to existing Hydra owners — beginning two weeks ago with 5000 randomly selected boxes and now expanded to the general TiVo populace.

There are a number of visible changes, but the headline feature relates to the continued deprecation of textual lists in favor of a newly unveiled, graphically-intensive, dual-axis navigation. Another possibly notable revision is an update to the “mini guide” that closes the gap on the abandoned pioneering “Live Guide.”

As one pal told me, if you already appreciate the Hydra experience you’re gonna enjoy it that much more. If Hydra isn’t your thing, the 21.8.1 update won’t move the needle much… and I personally see no reason to give Hydra another go our home at this point. Our TiVos work just fine and predictably within the Encore HDUI. Although I do wonder if Hydra will be a pre-req when the delayed native Alexa integration hits.

(Thanks Daren, Mikey!)

While we often ignore or outright bypass commercial interruption, TiVo recognizes the Super Bowl is different and has flipped the script by inverting its ad-skipping technology:

Everyone knows that this Sunday’s commercials are some of the best, highest quality commercials of the year. So, we’re going to tag the game backwards, with the commercials and the halftime show marked as if it were the program, and the game marked as if it was the commercial. As usual, the SKIP function will not show up until after the game has finished. But, once the green SKIP icon shows up next to your recording of the game, you can watch the recording and use the SKIP or D button to jump to the commercial segments quickly. […] This “GameSkip” functionality should work for all TiVo boxes that have SKIP enabled today.

So this is a pretty cool “experiment” (that’s sure to confuse many who didn’t get the inversion memo), but not without technical challenges given potential inaccuracy in closed captioning and other meta data, along with potential trip-ups due to regional advertising spots. Fortunately, all the best Super Bowl commercials ultimately wind up on YouTube (often saddled with additional advertising, yay). What time is the Super Bowl?