I've been a TiVo fan for many years, and a subscriber for about ten of those years. I've had various TiVo machines and have been happy with the performance of my HD TiVo. But like any tech-geek, I'm always interested in what's new.
The TiVo Premiere, released last year, intrigued me because of its HD interface, improved UI, larger storage capacity, and 1080p support. The specs sounded great and I was ready to upgrade my system, but as it approached time to pull the trigger, I began hearing stories of sluggish UI performance. Threads posted on TiVoCommunity.com indicate that the second core of the dual-core processor is disabled for stability reasons, thus crippling its Flash-based interface.
This week, TiVo announced the Premiere Elite ($499), which features four tuners and 2 terabytes of storage. Will it have a better processor that will take advantage of the HD UI or will it be more of the same? Unfortunately, I have a hunch that it will be more of the same.
TiVo is continuing their course of being one of the absolute slowest hardware companies out there between product cycles with the announcement of the TiVo Premiere Elite. What's makes the Elite different from the Premiere XL? Well, for starters, this thing has four tuners, so it can record up to four different programs at once. You can watch any of the four, or view a fifth already-recorded program, so that's pretty nice. It's also got a 2 TB hard drive in it, which can hold up to 300 hours of programming. Like the XL, it's THX-certified, which probably doesn't mean much to many people out there, but hey--it's a nice-to-have. The one thing about the Elite is that, despite the name, it actually can only record digital cable and FiOS programming. No over-the-air or analog access here.
No launch date has been set for the TiVo Premiere Elite, but we do know that when it launches, it'll cost $499. Service will be extra, and you can choose the $19.99 per month plan or the $499 lifetime plan.
Read More | Premiere Elite Product Page
This morning TiVo has announced their new TiVo Premiere Q and TiVo Preview boxes, alongside an update for the TiVo iPad app. Unfortunately for TiVo fanatics, the new hardware won't be available for direct sale, which is a shame. The Premiere Q is a four-tuner device that can also stream video to up to three other TiVo boxes on the same network, including the new TiVo Preview, which lacks a built-in hard drive and only functions as a TV viewing box and streaming client. The new TiVo app will hook in to your cable providers video on demand services, and will let you flick that over to your TiVo for viewing. This is all well and good, but the fact that the Premiere Q and Preview will be relegated only to cable company rollouts, coupled with the fact that there will be only two of those partnerships at first (RCN and Suddenlink,) mean that this is more of a non-announcement from where we sit than anything else. It's like they're teasing us!
If you're a TiVo Premiere owners with Comcast Xfinity service, you've got one more reason to be excited, as the companies have announced that they're bringing Xfinity On Demand programming directly into the TiVo Premiere interface. One of the main gripes many have with TiVo is that, if you want to enjoy On Demand and Pay-Per-View content, you still need a cable box from your provider, since the TiVo can't access that stuff. This agreement changes that a bit. Soon, if you are one of the many Xfinity customers out there, you'll be able to browse the On Demand content right on your TiVo. They don't make mention of PPV specifically, but even if that isn't a part of this, you can always order those by phone as well. Given those two facts, this will make it possible for a TiVo Premiere box to serve as your only cable box, which can knock off as much as $20 per month from your cable bill, depending on your location.
Of course, since both TiVo and Comcast and two of the slowest moving companies in existence, this is going to be a slow, gradual rollout. They are going to start with the largest markets, with the first expected to be the San Francisco Bay Area, with additional markets to follow. No timeline or anything has been given.
Any Xfinity customers excited about this?
Read More | TiVo Blog
The TiVo Premiere App for the iPad provides access to all the content available on the set-top box - from TV listings and your DVR queue to show information and social-networking link-ups.
The app will provide access to live TV and DVR recordings; to watch, just swipe and the show will start playing on the TV. When you're away, use the app to set up a TiVo recording.
The bottom menu includes several options, including Info, Guide, My Shows, Browse, and Manage. For more info about a show or celebrity, the TiVo app lets you explore biographical information without interuppting the show on the TV. To discuss what you're watching, the app provides a link to Twitter and Facebook.
There is also an advanced remote icon, which brings up a traditional remote interface. Slide your finger along the bottom of the screen to fast forward or rewind TV content.
To access, download the free app from the App Store and enter the key from your TiVo box. Users must have a TiVo Premiere or TiVo Premiere XL box and an active, paid TiVo subscription.
Read More | TiVo App
Okay, let's keep it real for a moment with this next entry in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. We know more and more people are using DVRs these days, whether it's something like a TiVo, or one of the ones leased from a cable company. The one thing that we hear time and time again is that the hard drives inside these things are simply too small to hold any substantial amount of programming, especially when dealing with HD programming. That's where the My Book AV DVR Expander comes in. You simply connect this bad boy to your DVR (it supports a ton of them from TiVo, DirecTV, Dish, Scientific Atlanta, Motorola, and the list goes on) and give it a few minutes to get calibrated, and you've instantly added 150 hours of high definition storage to your setup. If you know any TV buffs, we'd recommend something like this for the holidays.
The Western Digital My Book AV DVR Expander usually sells for $127.60, but Amazon's got it for $119 right now, a savings of 7%.
We don’t know what took them so long, but TiVo just announced the availability of their new online Season Pass Manager tool, which allows you to manage your season pass subscriptions right from your browser. Even better, if you have multiple TiVos, you can transfer subscriptions between the two. This feature is long overdue, and should have launched alongside the release of the TiVo Premiere—but hey, that thing has enough problems on its own, and maybe that’s what TiVo has been spending their time on, because it sure could use a bunch of optimizations so it isn’t seen as a half-baked product anymore.
Read More | TiVo Season Pass Manager
If you’re ready to cut the cable cord, it looks like Hulu Plus may be just the thing to facilitate that. Already available in beta on the PS3, as well as on the iPad and iOS devices, it was just announced that the service is coming to Roku‘s line of set top boxes, and that it’ll also be added to the TiVo Premiere as a service. Hulu Plus will also be made available to the general public on the Xbox 360 in 2011 as well. Depending on which shows you watch, the $10 Hulu Plus monthly fee may very well allow you to ditch your cable TV package, especially if paired with Netflix. Get ready for a shift in the way television gets consumed.
The only thing we are wondering now is if the new Apple TV will also be picking up Hulu Plus at some point, or if Apple plans on just going with Netflix plus $.99 TV rentals.
When the TiVo Premiere launched, the company made it known that with the new Flash architecture, that it would be much easier to add new apps to the TiVo interface since it was more modular. Well, it took them long enough, but the first real new app feature has arrived in Pandora. You can now log in to your Pandora account and start streaming your favorite channels right from your TiVo. It may take a connection or two to the TiVo service before the feature shows up, but TiVo is saying it’s available now.
Read More | TiVo Blog
It’s always been kind of a chose to “type” in the TiVo, but with the release of the TiVo Premiere and its discovery and search features—alongside its ridiculously slow interface—typing is downright awful. The TiVo Slide remote aims to change all that, giving you pretty much the same TiVo remote you’ve grown used to over the years (just more compact) with an integrated QWERTY slider keyboard. It all works over Bluetooth, and in the end, should make that hunt-and-peck typing a thing of the past. We will be bringing you a TiVo Slide review shortly, but in the meantime, enjoy these unboxing shots!
You can pick up the TiVo Slide remote from the TiVo Store for $89.