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The Tivo Mini lives....

Discussion in 'TiVo Mini' started by dave13077, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. Jan 10, 2013 #601 of 1620
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    To get the same functionality as a Mini, which includes the abilityntonwatch live TV, then you do need to install a CableCARD. And if you want to get the benifit of having a "real TiVo" then you most certainly do.

    I know there are a few users that are OTA only, but the vast majority of users who would buy a Mini will be cable users. In fact the vast majority of TiVo users in general are cable users.

    To eac their own though. If you think spending an extra $150-200 on a "real TiVo" is a better deal then go for it. But I seriously doubt TiVo is taking that into account when deciding on the price.

    Like I said if it's under $250 with lifetime I'll be shocked. I'll be pleasntly shocked, but shocked none the less.

    Dan
     
  2. Jan 10, 2013 #602 of 1620
    atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Active Member

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    That brings up an interesting point, if as many believe the mini is basically a premiere without tuners and a hard drive, is there any reason that a basic dual tuner Premiere couldn't function like a mini and use a tuner from a Premiere 4? If it could then you could have a whole home system with more tuners but only need one cable card (assuming OTA worked for the dual tuner unit). Actually is there any reason one cable card couldn't provide data for tuners in 2 DVRs?

    My guess has been $250 with lifetime. But I expect there will be packages deals offered from there.
     
  3. Jan 10, 2013 #603 of 1620
    CoxInPHX

    CoxInPHX COX Communications

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  4. Jan 10, 2013 #604 of 1620
    NotNowChief

    NotNowChief Addicted to TiVo

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    I'd be comfortable at about 200 for the product and PLS, that's my limit. Anything over that, NO THANK YOU.

    I love my TiVo, but I just feel like the only thing they can do REALLY well is screw up new products.
     
  5. Jan 10, 2013 #605 of 1620
    slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    That's a good point about the Moxi Mate, and given the stranglehold Tivo has on the third-party market now there is little incentive for them to price it less than $200 all-in. They know that most of the loyal users here will not buy one at a price of $200 or more, but I think they'll bundle it in with the XL4s and be satisfied with whatever sales they get with that.

    Face it folks, retail is the bottom end of their focus. What they care about now is keeping the MSOs and the content industry happy, and if that means pricing the Mini so that it doesn't compete too hard against cable, that's all good.

    I think a lot of us would like to see a Tivo 'extender' app on Roku, PS3, Xbox or whatever, there's really no need for a Mini at all (if the other devices can handle mpeg2, like PS3, Xbox etc.). But Tivo doesn't see it that way, and doing apps that can handle the protected content stream on all these other devices could be too costly or problematic for them. Plus we know it would take them forever to deliver apps on multiple platforms anyway.
     
  6. Jan 10, 2013 #606 of 1620
    mulscully

    mulscully Member

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    I would buy a stream in a heartbeat if it could also stream to an xbox, Roku, GoogleTV or Apple TV. But just to be able to stream to my ipad or iphone? I don't watch enough on those devices to justify it...
     
  7. Jan 10, 2013 #607 of 1620
    lgerbarg

    lgerbarg New Member

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    Maybe I wasn't clear about the intent of my post, it was not to claim you could get an 8 core x86 CPU cheaply, it was that the previous post was comparing Apples to Oranges twice.

    1) The assertion that h.264 encoding of 1 device is equivalent to h.264 encoding of another device. Very few consumer h.264 encoders for x86 will run as fast a s a TiVo stream, because most of them do not expose the options necessary to do so, instead they simply do higher quality encodes. For example, there is a technique where you do deep analysis of macroblock motion across successive b-frames that results in an incredible amount of high quality compression on things with large swathes of constant colors and smooth motion (animation), but takes a lot of CPU and gigabytes of ram. Not only does the stream exclude that sort of optimization, it would make no sense for it to do since except when it is sideloading since everything it generates is ephemeral; it simply doesn't matter if the h.264 it sends over with is 20% larger than it could be so long as it is small enough to fit comfortable over wifi. There are tons of those sorts of optimizations, and consumer grade decoders do not let people control them. Play with something like x264 and choose every option to optimize for speed over quality and you will easily be able to encode 4 streams in real time on modern consumer CPUs once the compression efficiency drops down to what the TiVo stream is using.

    2) That assertion that 4 hardware encoders is a high end piece of silicon. It simply is not. It might be somewhat specialized (in that very few people need it), but it doesn't require a lot of die space (which is what determines cost of a chip, at least in commoditized fields like video). 4 h.264 encoders takes less die space than a single mobile GPU or CPU core. Something like a Tegra 3 ships with 5 CPUs, 12 GPUs, a ton of video encode and decode hardware, and sells for less than ~$25 in bulk (a LOT less depending on how big your contract is). A chip with 1 CPU, no GPUs, and slightly more encode hardware is much smaller, and thus cheaper. For reference, a single chip h.264 encoder chip cost ~$5 4 years ago, which is the last time I had to price something like that.
     
  8. Jan 10, 2013 #608 of 1620
    txporter

    txporter One sec, almost done

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    I agree that comparing a PC transcode to a detected hardware encoder is apples-to-oranges. But also saying that it is because of encoding options is also not true. There is just so much more parallelism built into the detected hardware encoders than what you see in a standard microprocessor that is built to do basically whatever folks can dream up. I have used x264 for a few years now for my transcodes (albeit in conjection with avisynth), but I doubt I could detune it enough to get greater than realtime transcodes on 4 streams simultaneously. I run on a i7-2600K, which isn't the fastest thing out there but is plenty fast.

    For what it's worth, the Tivo Stream uses a Zenverge ZN200 for transcoding.

    http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-products/electronic-product-releases/electro-mechanical/4395520/Zenverge-Content-Networking-IC-Enables-TiVo-Stream-to-Revolutionize-Multiroom-DVRs
    http://www.zenverge.com/pro-media-processors_zn200.html

    I wasn't able to quickly find out the cost of the chip, but I would also be surprised if it was much more than ~$25/unit.
     
  9. Jan 10, 2013 #609 of 1620
    moedaman

    moedaman New Member

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    Well Shaw of Canada is selling the 6-tuner successor of the Moxi DVR for C$399 and the client boxes for C$99 each.
    https://shaw.ca/Secure/gateway/form.aspx

    Too bad Arris has decided not to sell these at retail in the US. Even at unsubsidized pricing (assuming Shaw is subsidizing them), it would offer some serious competition to Tivo.
     
  10. Jan 10, 2013 #610 of 1620
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    I realize that comparing an x86 pricessor to the SOC in the Stream was not the best analogy, but it's the easiest for most people to understand.

    The Stream uses the Zenverge ZN200 SOC. It's a brand new chip that is very powerful (it doesn't just cripple the H.264 encoding specs to increase speed). And while it may not be very big in wafer size, that does not necessarily dictate it's cost. Because it's brand new, highly specialized and from a small company it likely has a lot of R&D costs built into the price. Not to mention the R&D on TiVos end for a product that's probably only going to have sales totalling in the low 5 figures (units not dollars).

    Now the reason I mention that is because by contrast the Mini will likely use the same, or similar, internal hardware as the Premiere but without the tuners or HDD. The chips used in the Premiere are basically comodities and are likely a lot cheaper then the SOC used in the Stream. So the cost of the Mini hardware is likely lower. So the price of the Mini will likely be based much more on business decisions then actual production costs. The Stream and the Mini, while similar in functionality, are very different products from a business perspective so comparing their prices is apples and oranges as well.

    Dan
     
  11. Jan 10, 2013 #611 of 1620
    lgerbarg

    lgerbarg New Member

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    Hardware can be more parallel than software, but that doesn't mean moving something to hardware magically makes it possible. h.264 encoding has a number of serial data dependency bottlenecks (entropy coding in particular), and the places where it is easily parallelizable don't necessarily buy you much once they are masked by those bottlenecks. That is a large part of the reason why GPU based encoders have not taken off.

    I would also be astounded if the Zenverge cost anywhere close to $25. I can buy a 4 channel h.264 encoder from Intersil right now for $28 with a MOQ of 40 units from AVNet. Given how part costs scale it is probably less than half that in production quantities (if I remember to ask the next time I talk with my sales guy I'll see if I can get a volume quote). Maybe the Zenverge chip bas better compression efficiency, but from TiVos perspective that actually wouldn't be worth spending more money on. Like I said, most of the use of the of the TiVo stream is ephemeral video where increasing the compression efficiency doesn't matter, so buying a more expensive chip to do that would be silly. Oddly enough quality simply isn't that big a deal (everything is "close enough" for most consumers), whereas price is almost everything in consumer electronics.

    You are correct that the chips in the TiVo mini are probably higher production volume parts, but all of these things are pretty cheap. The cost of the stream is almost certainly due to NREs such tooling being amortized over a product that is anticipated to be lower volume, not due to the actual BOM cost.
     
  12. Jan 10, 2013 #612 of 1620
    rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    Exactly. This is what most people complaining about the price do not understand. TiVo isn't trying to sell these to existing customers. They are trying to create a whole home bundle they can sell to MSOs. The standalone market for these is probably relatively small so there's no way they are going to sell these dirt cheap as stand alone devices. There is zero incentive for them to do so.
     
  13. Jan 10, 2013 #613 of 1620
    mr_smits

    mr_smits New Member

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    The standalone market is all of their existing (retail) customers. That's an incentive.
     
  14. Jan 10, 2013 #614 of 1620
    jmpage2

    jmpage2 New Member

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    Well of course there is an incentive, the incentive is to maintain their customer base, which is shrinking. I don't think TiVo has had a quarter with a net add in subscribers in over 3-4 years now.

    You would think that this is an easy wedge item to keep people in the fold who might be looking to bail to lower cost whole-home DVR solutions, but apparently they don't see things that way.
     
  15. Jan 10, 2013 #615 of 1620
    mr_smits

    mr_smits New Member

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    Not to nit pick, but I thought I read the Mini has a hard drive (or flash drive, RAM, some type of memory) to store the menu/os?
     
  16. Jan 10, 2013 #616 of 1620
    jmpage2

    jmpage2 New Member

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    Engadget reported that it has a 2GB Flash buffer that is used for the OS and for cache.

    2GB of flash in large quantities is about $2-$3 at most.

    If I were to hazard a guess I would say that the most expensive component in the Mini is probably the MoCA hardware... but even with that it's hard to see this thing costing TiVo more than $50 to manufacture.
     
  17. Jan 10, 2013 #617 of 1620
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    I bought a 2GB SSD for my nieces kid camera at xmas and it was $4, so I'm betting surface mount chips are <$1

    Dan
     
  18. Jan 10, 2013 #618 of 1620
    crxssi

    crxssi Veteran TiVo User

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    +1000 (just add XBMC to your list, which I think is at least as important, if not more so, than GoogleTV and Apple TV.)
     
  19. Jan 10, 2013 #619 of 1620
    davezatz

    davezatz Funkadelic

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    No, Zatz reported that. ;) And the dude assured me we were talking storage versus memory. But it looks like Ben and I were both briefed by the B team (hence the pricing slip with no handler present?). Verge and Megazone may have gotten A. Not sure who CNET spoke with. Hopefully mz writes something up.
     
  20. Jan 10, 2013 #620 of 1620
    jmpage2

    jmpage2 New Member

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    Credit where credit is due Dave.

    I was not aware of a pricing slip up or Megazone or Verge articles from CES, do you have any more info?
     

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