What’s Next for TiVo: Hulu, Streaming, Extenders

By  |  Monday, March 21, 2011 at 8:31 pm

While we generally shy away from rumor and speculation, TiVo’s been pretty quiet as they approach the one year anniversary of Premiere retail availability. Given our site heritage and interests, the lack of news out of Alviso can be frustrating. So we’ve whipped up a post based purely on hearsay, but one that hopefully gives some indication what TiVo is quietly working on.

Hulu

Access to Hulu Plus from TiVo DVRs was announced way back in September and expected to launch “in the coming months.” Yet we’re wrapping up month six and who knows what Hulu may look like when TiVo’s app ultimately launches. Engadget’s received word that beta testing is underway. While I can’t corroborate with 100% certainty, I’ve seen purported blurry cam video footage of the service and, at least on a cursory basis, the interface looks quite similar to Hulu’s other set-top box offerings (like Roku and PS3). If Hulu Plus is indeed in beta testing, I’d expect the TiVo app would be ready to go live in the very near future. However, in the past Hulu has dictated partner announcements and product releases. So its launch may be held until the news can be bundled. For example, we’re still awaiting Hulu Plus on the Xbox 360.

Streaming

Regulars know I’ve been disappointed in TiVo’s multi-room viewingtechnology. Most whole home solutions stream content room to room, whereas TiVo played it safe early on by merely copying shows on demand – given their own prior hardware limitations and home network concerns. However, we’re collectively at a better place on the technological front while we’re conversely limited by obtuse cable policies designed to prevent piracy (but actually do nothing more than inhibit valid, secure usage). According to this anonymous commentand anonymous private correspondence, TiVo may be currently testing Premiere-to-Premiere streaming. Unfortunately, older hardware won’t benefit from this solution. And while TiVo could artificially draw the line in the sand, TiVo Series3 and HD hardware truly would struggle with real time HD streaming in many network environments.

Extender

Last week, online logs revealed new TiVo hardware without storage capabilities and new product numbers have been identified. Based on the timing and an offhanded remark, I assumed the non-DVR Best Buy TiVo smart TV is nearing launch. And it very well may be. But this anonymous comment and anonymous private correspondence suggest a TiVo extender is currently being tested.

This unit is described as very slim and the flattened TiVo Premiere above is purely a mockup. As an extender, this unit would is not designed to record television content but rather would receive streamed recordings from a TiVo DVR elsewhere in one’s home. Additionally, unlike Moxi’s extender solution, TiVo’s play will reportedly tune live cable television via an M-Card. Of course, TiVo’s Internet apps would also be available. Supposedly the new extender hardware leverages multimedia over coax (MoCA) networking… which makes sense as TiVo joined the Alliance last year. And in various forums, TiVo has more than alluded to a beefed up “multi-room and non-DVR platforms.” But it’s generally been specific to cable partners (Suddenlink, Charter), rather than an outright foreshadowing of new retail products.

For a retail customer such as myself to take advantage of a MoCA-based TiVo extender, I’d either need a MoCA network adapter near my existing Premiere. Or perhaps there’s a Premiere+ under development with integrated MoCA capabilities (and hopefully more tuners). Actually, I assume there must be such a product in the pipeline. But given factors like the still incomplete HDUI and limited advertising, as I’ve been saying for quite awhile now, it appears retail takes a backseat to TiVo’s cable and satellite partners (and even litigation) these days. However, should an extender become available, I’d be down for two. Assuming a small or non-existant monthly service charge.

(This post republished from Zatz Not Funny.)

 
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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Alan Says:

    Thanks, great educated speculation!

    I really wish they’d show some love to the TiVo Premiere retail devices also. The updates have slowed, and there are still stability issues. And the HDUI seems like it’ll never be built out. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been sufficiently stable enough to use day-to-day, so I switched back to the standard def menus anyway.

    Please TiVo, finish the Premiere, and also make it more stable, especially in the HDUI menus.

    All Premiere’s also come with a dual core processor, but TiVo has only enabled one of the cores so far. What gives?

    I really look forward to the Hulu Plus service (STILL supposedly) coming, as long as it works well. Amazon Instant would be nice too.

    Having said all this, I do love my Premiere, and it’s the total bomb with Product Lifetime service and Over-the-Air programming… completely free, and great TV once you get past the up-front half-grand hurdle. I get 14 free channels, and with a decent outdoor antenna aimed right (even if mounted inside, like mine), most people can probably get at least around 10 channels. And OTA HD is the best quality broadcast HD you can get. Better than cable and satellite!

    Everyone raves about their HTPC, but I’m sorry, the last thing I need is another general purpose computer to maintain, etc. The nice thing about Tivo is it takes care of itself, and it’s passive…. I don’t have to DO much of anything to get the programs I want to watch. It comes to me. Couple that with the built in Netflix, Hulu Plus (hopefully coming soon), and maybe Amazon Instant, etc in the future, and it feels great to give the final kiss-off to the cable company.

    I sure hope TiVo wins their lawsuits, so they can start dumping some resources into some neglected areas of late.

  2. dholyer Says:

    I remember when it was the Reply TV and TiVo Wars, Reply first came out in Byte Mag and next moth TiVo came out. And the fight was who was born first. Replay did not have as deep of pockets as TiVo. The same thing happened with Dish and Dish lost. Around 2 years later I joined Dish, because less cost and better picture with easy DVRing with a 7 or 8 day ahead program guide. Looks like they are now trying to make up from what Dish in ways premiered at CES 2009 & 10.

    I'll stay with Dish that gives me 284 SD channels and 143 HD ones, plus I have a 500G tuner storage of shows and can add a 1Tera drive if want to store more video. Plus I can move digital photos up to 4K x 4K from thumb drives or Hard disks to be viewed on my HDTV if it has no photo show talents, it seems all HDTV's since 2010 can do thisSo when will TiVo add internet browsing? They may be smart and wait for the Web Wars to have bloodied the field some or even wait till the blood dries up.

  3. dholyer Says:

    It is strange how they have a Dual Core CPU system but only use i core. They must be waiting to have a big enough bank account to pay the multi tasking programmers. I remember in May 2005 when I moved from a single core AMD64 to dual core and it seemed like I now had the power of 3 computers. Wonder what the gains your systems will gain. How would you guys like a Google TV box to hook to your digital VCR's?