TiVo’s launch this week of a whole home DVR extender is significant because it has always been the leading innovator in DVR technology, as several major pay TV services have learned the hard way in court and as shown by pay TV services such as Virgin Media and Ono selling products that are based on TiVo’s technology and services. Apple and Intel are reportedly cooking up a smart TV and STB respectively and would be well served to see what tiny (compared to them) TiVo has accomplished.
TiVo Mini and Its Familiar (to TiVo Users) Remote Control for Both Pay TV and OTT Services
TiVo’s latest addition is a $99 TiVo Mini. It’s a 6.1-inch square box that weighs less than a pound. It turns TiVo’s 4-tuner DVRs into whole home DVRs. It connects a TV in another room to the TiVo DVR so users can watch live TV, DVR recordings and eventually online content that’s on the remotely located DVR. It’s compatible with the TiVo Premiere 4 or Premiere XL4, which have four tuners, through Ethernet or MoCA (coaxial) cable. The Mini uses one of their tuners so the Mini is not, unfortunately, compatible with the TiVo Premier XL, the TiVo that’s capable of being connected to an antenna.
There is no Wi-Fi and no HomePlug connectivity – that is unless the user starts buying and installing adapters for them, a messy proposition.
Users can use the OTT and other apps that are on the master DVR — and TiVo has a full range of OTT apps such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube and both Amazons — but not the ubiquitous iTunes (which it and no one else is likely ever to get) and Walmart’s Vudu, which TiVo has been negotiating to get for a very long time. The absence of Vudu is mystifying because it’s on lots of smart TVs and Blu-ray players and you know TiVo wants it. What’s holding up the deal? It can’t be technical, so maybe it’s payment terms.
The TiVo Mini also has apps for Pandora and Spotify, photo services like Google Picasa and Photobucket and gaming apps like Wordsmith.
The $99.99 TiVo Mini requires a monthly subscription fee like other TiVo devices, but unlike other TiVo models, the monthly fee is only $5.99 with a 12-month commitment (in addition to the subscription fee for the TiVo Premiere 4 or Premiere XL4). Alternatively, the lifetime license fee for the Mini is $249.
TiVo spokesman Steve Wymer said that TiVo users have been expecting a product like the Mini and resellers are already selling lots of them…
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