Archives For TiVo

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.

Some TiVo Deals To Be Had

Dave Zatz —  June 23, 2017 — 27 Comments

Given TiVo’s apparent deemphasis of retail and degraded Rovi guide data, I might not have branded this promotion a “Meltdown” … but there are certainly some good deals to be had here this summer. First and foremost is the TiVo Roamio OTA 48-hour “flash sale” — at $300, including lifetime service, this is a solid deal for a great cord cutter DVR (even though you may not need one). Plus it’s TiVo’s larger 1TB model. Further down the line are refurbished TiVo Mini extenders at $100. This may not be the best price we’ve ever seen, but it’s a nice discount and supposedly the newer, model with RF remote. Lastly, if you were already in the market for a Bolt or prior generation Roamio Pro, TiVo will spot you a minimum of $200 for a box with lifetime service.

Voice control is all the rage these days… and TiVo is working on, not one, but two solutions. Beyond this exclusive pic of TiVo’s upcoming voice remote and native natural language processing capabilities, sources also indicate TiVo is dabbling in Alexa. Integration is not “terribly hard to do” given Amazon’s Alexa Skills api and TiVo’s already exposed network remote control and I’m guessing we might see the fruits of their labor this fall. Equally intriguing is a tip indicating TiVo will be bringing an IFTTT app to to the platform. How and where the automation framework links up remains a mystery, but there are certainly some interesting possibilities.

Sigh. Sources indicate the TiVo Mavrik is dead. What was intended to be TiVo’s more modern take on antenna television now joins the Bolt Aereo Edition in the cord cutter dustbin as Rovi management calibrates a new TiVo. The Mavrik is was a dual-tuner Tablo-esque network tuner with cloud recording capabilities that would stream video to multiple sources, such as the Amazon Fire TV. But, beyond business prioritization, I’m hearing that the technical realities of the product did not live up to the prior management’s hype. In fact, “bad” is an adjective one source levied. Further, we’ve learned all of TiVo’s consumer-facing initiatives are on life support. This wouldn’t necessarily impact existing customers, over the short-term anyway, other than products like the upcoming TiVo Vox products, with bundled voice remote, may also end up on the chopping block. If you’re not feeling blue yet, I can tell you that the TiVo Hydra interface originally planned for 2016 has been delayed again… until late 2017. There remains a small sliver of hope, given third party licensing and TiVo’s search for a new CEO. Perhaps that individual will see more promise in retail and can more effectively wrangle the development staff.

As TiVo continues to find itself, post Rovi merger, details have emerged on what looks like a new retail-focused offering called Vox.

TiVo has submitted six trademark requests with the USPTO for both the TiVo Bolt Vox and the TiVo Mini Vox. While multiple entities have seemingly confirmed to me that “Vox” is a thing, I’ve got nothing else to go on at this point… although I’m always willing to speculate. And one area in which TiVo has started to the lag the competition is in voice control. Comcast has offered an Xfinity voice remote for years, as one example, and DISH just brought Alexa to the Hopper. So given TiVo’s deficiency, the Latin origins of “vox” along with its current day usage, years of voice research at the original TiVo, and some strong natural language processing capabilities from the Rovi contingent, voice seems like a solid possibility.

Beyond the back-end infrastructure, how and where would TiVo deliver Vox voice services? An updated remote control (relayed by a tipster above) seems like an obvious choice, as Apple, Roku, Amazon and others provide. Yet why re-brand Bolt and Mini hardware? I suppose they could go that route if it’s simply a pack-in, but a more compelling approach might be new set-top hardware with always-listening microphones as implemented by Amazon Echo, Google Home, and the new ecobee4 smart thermostat. And the Mini is long overdue for a refresh, both in terms of its industrial design and corporate promises of 4K streaming to match its Bolt DVR hub.

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When TiVo opened their CMS search to all a few weeks back, they left behind traces of an alternate timeline… one where the TiVo Bolt Aereo Edition actually made it to launch. And, fortunately for us, an astute reader ferreted out and preserved the details. First glimpsed in August of 2015, the TiVo Bolt Aereo Edition was to be the Roamio OTA of the Bolt era — effectively the same generation of DVR hardware, minus a PCMCIA CableCARD apparatus. So whereas the Bolt is largely marketed at cable customers dissatisfied with their provider’s hardware offering, the 500GB Aereo Edition was to target cord cutters as an OTA antenna-only offering — clocking in at a lower $99.99 price point. As of October 2015, TiVo was still intent upon launching the TiVo Bolt Aereo Edition, although “Aereo” branding was still in play. I didn’t give it much thought when TiVo’s 2015 “end of year” prediction failed to materialize given their development track record. But after the Roamio OTA resurgence last spring and Mavrik’s unveiling last fall, it seemed likely that the Bolt Aereo Edition had been scrapped in favor of a more Tablo-esque solution and perhaps due to not enough differentiation between the two Bolt models, as the CableCARD model also handles OTA signals.