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Old 05-30-2008, 11:09 AM   #1
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TiVo planning "whole-home" DVR

http://www.electronista.com/articles...hole.home.dvr/

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TiVo is prepping a digital video recorder that would serve as a hub for an entire house, company chief Tom Rogers confirms at the D6 Conference. He notes that current TiVos are essentially limited and can't record or offer content to more than one TV set in the home; the Wi-Fi adapter that lets the TiVo work remotely is only a part solution to the problem, Rogers says. Instead, TiVo is working to produce a version of its self-titled hubs that could give "whole-home" access, though the executive doesn't provide more details.

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Old 05-30-2008, 11:42 AM   #2
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Cooperative scheduling!
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:40 PM   #3
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Actually it sounds more like they are working on something similar to Motorola's QIP6416 Multi-room DVR with one main DVR and a bunch of satellites (that don't have tuners or large hard drives).

The satellite boxes would interface with the master TiVo (maybe any TiVo) in the house to bring up the TiVo's main menu allowing for full functionality (scheduling recordings, playlist management, etc). The only difference would be that playback is then streamed/downloaded to the box instead of playing directly.

The only problem I see with the above, is that you couldn't have multiple users manipulating things on the TiVo at the same time. For example the remote user tries to play a video another (local or remote) user deletes the video. A work around to this would be a locking mechanism to prevent more than one remote user from making changes to the TiVo for resources that are in use.

It would probably be functionality that could be added to existing TiVos if they wanted to do so.
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:41 PM   #4
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I also started a link on this over at the HDTV Forum Thread, where I raised this point back in Oct-07!!! They should already have a proto-type out on something like this by now closely resembling the features/approach I suggested....

TC Thread
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...41#post6332441

Suggestion Link (Oct-07)
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...33#post5646933
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Old 05-30-2008, 01:01 PM   #5
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if the toilet backs up can we go back 30 mins?
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Old 05-30-2008, 01:46 PM   #6
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if the toilet backs up can we go back 30 mins?
I think that's where the external plumbing attachment for additional storage will come into play.
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Old 05-30-2008, 01:52 PM   #7
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My fairly unrealistic hopes for what this means. Due to hardware restrictions most of this is likely impossible currently, so would have to go in a next-gen TiVo:

1) The ability to play essentially all videofiles from SMB mounts and uPNP shares with no conversion or transcoding necessary, including divx/xvid, h.264, WMV, mpeg-2, etc, like the popcornhour and XBMC.

2) Built-in slingplayer functionality with windows, OSX, linux, iphone, windows portable, and blackberry clients. Ideally this would actually be in partnership with slingmedia.

3) Cooperative scheduling between multiple DVRs.

4) Low-cost HD-capable extenders with built-in wifi.

5) Streaming MRV via both uPNP and SMB rather than TiVo's proprietary protocols.

Any more pie in the sky "predictions"?
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Old 05-30-2008, 02:32 PM   #8
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Cool. very early stages so let the speculation have fun.

It sounds to me like a main media collector somewhere and then hubs off that. The ycan easily make the current DVRs we all have as hub "capable" and protect our investment in them while allowing us to not have to buy and put a TiVo full fledged DVR on each TV in the house.

Questions I have are around how the main collector looks and works. 6 tuners? RAID of hard drives? do we get to put our onw media on it like songs and pictures and home moviews and make use of its storgae, etc?
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Old 05-30-2008, 02:35 PM   #9
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I would love to have one of these babies. One of my biggest annoyances today is having to record all the same shows on 3 DVR's because with wife and kids I never know which TV I will get to watch.

I think Directv has been talking about the same thing for a while now too.
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Old 05-30-2008, 02:49 PM   #10
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I would love to have one of these babies. One of my biggest annoyances today is having to record all the same shows on 3 DVR's because with wife and kids I never know which TV I will get to watch.

I think Directv has been talking about the same thing for a while now too.
Along with FIOS I think.
I think TiVo is just looking to take MRV to the next level and make it more integrated and hopefully will integrate scheduling of recordings as well.

We currently do not care so much what time and channel a show is on - hopefully with this we will also not have to know, worry about what TiVo it is on or scheduled by either.
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Old 05-30-2008, 03:28 PM   #11
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I would love to have one of these babies. One of my biggest annoyances today is having to record all the same shows on 3 DVR's because with wife and kids I never know which TV I will get to watch.
Why doesn't MRV solve this? Slow transfer times? The real key is being able to use the disk space of all DVRs to record regardless of which Tivo you have it scheduled on.

Of course, having some additional unit that could accept the streaming without being a full-fleged tivo would be great.
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Old 05-30-2008, 07:55 PM   #12
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Why doesn't MRV solve this? Slow transfer times? ....

4 characters

0x02

in other words copy protection flags on digital cable channels which block tivo's current incarnation of MRV.

tivo could get around this like MS and others have by streaming content (MRV currently copies it).

So a whole house dvr could have a big monster dvr (I'm guessing maybe 6 tuners as a cable M-Card can decode up to 6 streams) and then that box could stream to think clients.

I'd have to go back and read some old posts- but if I recall tivo (or at least it's founders) even at the very beginning said they thought that a master box with cheap think client slaves was the best plan but the hardware availible back when they started just couldn't handle it.
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:37 PM   #13
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I also started a link on this over at the HDTV Forum Thread, where I raised this point back in Oct-07!!! They should already have a proto-type out on something like this by now closely resembling the features/approach I suggested....
Don't hurt yourself patting yourself on the back. MANY of us have came up with the same idea (and I wouldn't doubt I posted about it *years* before that date).

The logical idea is "big tivo with lots of storage space as the server, and 'client' Tivos with small hard drives [to deal with network slowness or outages] that would then copy the files to the main server for everyone to see", along with cooperative scheduling.
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Old 05-31-2008, 10:58 AM   #14
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Don't hurt yourself patting yourself on the back. MANY of us have came up with the same idea (and I wouldn't doubt I posted about it *years* before that date).

The logical idea is "big tivo with lots of storage space as the server, and 'client' Tivos with small hard drives [to deal with network slowness or outages] that would then copy the files to the main server for everyone to see", along with cooperative scheduling.

not sure you even need a hardrive with current wifi technology.

I recently replaced my G router with an N as the G died and I already had N built into my laptop. And I can't believe the strength and stability of the Standard. If you just built N into all the boxes you could probably get by without the hard drive. (unless N gets messy with many devices on the same network?)
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Old 05-31-2008, 09:24 PM   #15
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Don't hurt yourself patting yourself on the back. MANY of us have came up with the same idea (and I wouldn't doubt I posted about it *years* before that date).

The logical idea is "big tivo with lots of storage space as the server, and 'client' Tivos with small hard drives [to deal with network slowness or outages] that would then copy the files to the main server for everyone to see", along with cooperative scheduling.
Back patting wasn't the intent of my original post, but rather the point with why Tivo is taking this long to speak openly about the development of their next gen platform - this should have been in play quite some time ago.....
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Old 06-02-2008, 10:13 AM   #16
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not sure you even need a hardrive with current wifi technology.

I recently replaced my G router with an N as the G died and I already had N built into my laptop. And I can't believe the strength and stability of the Standard. If you just built N into all the boxes you could probably get by without the hard drive. (unless N gets messy with many devices on the same network?)

I doubt even N can handle multiple HD streams perfectly. G can't even handle 1 full HD stream (MPEG2/ATSC) without dropping any frames if even one other wifi device is active. wifi has a critical limitation, it can only allow one station to talk at a time. Wired ethernet can allow for simultaneous bi-directional streams.

This isn't as big a problem with MPEG4/h264. But HD MPEG2 can easily saturate the real capacity of a wireless G network. The radios might link up at 54Mbps, but you simply can't get that kind of speed out of them because of the overhead. You might get 2-3 streams on an N network, but that would be pushing it for MPEG2 HD. Gigabit Ethernet could do it without breaking a sweat. The hard drives are needed to buffer some data to make sure wireless can keep up. Even then, I can see a lot of problems with the thin client approach with wireless.

People give wifi WAY too much credit. For huge HD video files (or even large SD video files) it sucks hard compared to even 100Mbps wired ethernet. Throw in multiple client machines, or a neighbor with wifi, and wifi quickly becomes useless. Don't even get into going from a wifi box to another wifi box (you're now 1/2 speed). It's great for surfing the net or copying smallish files around. But for unbuffered multi-GB video files in real time? Hell no. With local buffering, it could probably be done reasonably well, but I can see pauses if the network gets busy.

Unless the main box is beefy enough to transcode for slow networks.........
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Old 06-02-2008, 10:21 AM   #17
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The problem is that to be a significant central unit you would need something like six fully parallel tuners, a terabyte of storage and easy home networking (ie MoCA or Powerline) which would make this a pretty expensive unit. Then you'd need to buy client boxes. Certainly a market for this in the serious home theater user segment but not likely a high volume BestBuy type of thing. Also you need to solve the copy protection issues.

I hope that after a TiVo business case review they decide to proceed with the project.
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Old 06-02-2008, 10:55 AM   #18
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Certainly a market for this in the serious home theater user segment but not likely a high volume BestBuy type of thing.
I disagree, I don't think this will be aimed at serious home theater users, but more towards families, or anyone with more than one TV in the house.

It's something that differentiates TiVo from the current cable offerings (no reason why the cable companies can't do this, and maybe they are, which is why TiVo has to follow)

The challenge will be setting the price such that TiVo makes money from this and "families" can afford to buy it.
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Old 06-02-2008, 10:58 AM   #19
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Nah. You wouldn't do it that way, because the market isn't large enough. All you need is two SKUs, a TiVO HD and a TiVO HD Extender. If you want more tuners, buy another TiVo HD.

Copy protection is simple to work around, just stream the video instead of copying it.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:05 AM   #20
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I doubt even N can handle multiple HD streams perfectly. G can't even handle 1 full HD stream (MPEG2/ATSC) without dropping any frames if even one other wifi device is active. wifi has a critical limitation, it can only allow one station to talk at a time. Wired ethernet can allow for simultaneous bi-directional streams.

This isn't as big a problem with MPEG4/h264. But HD MPEG2 can easily saturate the real capacity of a wireless G network. The radios might link up at 54Mbps, but you simply can't get that kind of speed out of them because of the overhead. You might get 2-3 streams on an N network, but that would be pushing it for MPEG2 HD. Gigabit Ethernet could do it without breaking a sweat. The hard drives are needed to buffer some data to make sure wireless can keep up. Even then, I can see a lot of problems with the thin client approach with wireless.

People give wifi WAY too much credit. For huge HD video files (or even large SD video files) it sucks hard compared to even 100Mbps wired ethernet. Throw in multiple client machines, or a neighbor with wifi, and wifi quickly becomes useless. Don't even get into going from a wifi box to another wifi box (you're now 1/2 speed). It's great for surfing the net or copying smallish files around. But for unbuffered multi-GB video files in real time? Hell no. With local buffering, it could probably be done reasonably well, but I can see pauses if the network gets busy.

Unless the main box is beefy enough to transcode for slow networks.........


interesting-

I guess they could just add a few gig of memory though and skip the hard drive and still make it a single board?

Didn't know wifi had those limits- Not sure of the real world throughput (as I dont know how to test- i hard wired all 3 tivos and hte PC that does TTG to them) but I get 300Mbs link on my wireless N network at home. it's pretty amazing in my mind- but maybe that's normal- I live in a townhouse and have 3-5 other wifi networks all around me that I can see if i search. (I'm actually kind of puzzled- I set the router to "auto" to pick it's channel and it picks 6 just like 2 of my other neighbors are doing. Why wouldn't it aim for a "clean" channel? and how does it max out if there's other networks on the same channel). But again- no idea what it really is moving.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:08 AM   #21
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Nah. You wouldn't do it that way [..six tuners..], because the market isn't large enough. All you need is two SKUs, a TiVO HD and a TiVO HD Extender. If you want more tuners, buy another TiVo HD.
Then it isn't whole home then. Whole home, to me, implies a central server with clients. Unless your concept is strapping x TiVoHDs together and making them look like a monolithic unit.
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:47 PM   #22
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not sure you even need a hardrive with current wifi technology.
You'd want the hard drive for temporary buffering. Wifi can get interference, of course. Having a hard drive, then upload to the server, prevents brief network outages. (Thing downloading vs streaming).


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The problem is that to be a significant central unit you would need something like six fully parallel tuners, a terabyte of storage and easy home networking (ie MoCA or Powerline) which would make this a pretty expensive unit.
Why would you need six parallel tuners?

Think multiple existing dual tuner Tivos, that then simply talk to the server. The server would need to be able to handle multiple streams simultaneously (if you didn't want to make some people wait), but itself wouldn't need any tuners.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:32 PM   #23
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I doubt even N can handle multiple HD streams perfectly. G can't even handle 1 full HD stream (MPEG2/ATSC) without dropping any frames if even one other wifi device is active. wifi has a critical limitation, it can only allow one station to talk at a time. Wired ethernet can allow for simultaneous bi-directional streams.

This isn't as big a problem with MPEG4/h264. But HD MPEG2 can easily saturate the real capacity of a wireless G network. The radios might link up at 54Mbps, but you simply can't get that kind of speed out of them because of the overhead. You might get 2-3 streams on an N network, but that would be pushing it for MPEG2 HD. Gigabit Ethernet could do it without breaking a sweat. The hard drives are needed to buffer some data to make sure wireless can keep up. Even then, I can see a lot of problems with the thin client approach with wireless.

People give wifi WAY too much credit. For huge HD video files (or even large SD video files) it sucks hard compared to even 100Mbps wired ethernet. Throw in multiple client machines, or a neighbor with wifi, and wifi quickly becomes useless. Don't even get into going from a wifi box to another wifi box (you're now 1/2 speed). It's great for surfing the net or copying smallish files around. But for unbuffered multi-GB video files in real time? Hell no. With local buffering, it could probably be done reasonably well, but I can see pauses if the network gets busy.

Unless the main box is beefy enough to transcode for slow networks.........
I used to work in the wireless industry. There are overhead limits to 802.11b and 802.11g that prevent you from getting anywhere close to the advertised speeds.

There are mandatory delays between packets, headers that have to be transmitted at lower rates, etc. The VERY best speed that 802.11b could get (in the lab, perfect conditions, no protocol overhead) was 6mbps. 802.11g could get 27-28.

That makes me think 802.11n would get about 150mbps. That is still enough to do 5 mpegII hd streams if the head end were wired (half if both halves are wired).

wired 100mbit beats 802.11n in the case of all wireless, but 802.11n to gigE beats 100mbit wireless in the 1 client scenario.
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Old 06-03-2008, 02:50 AM   #24
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This sounds kinda like what my ReplayTV did 8 years ago. (and still does, if i had more than one of them :P
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Old 06-03-2008, 06:46 AM   #25
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Why would you need six parallel tuners?
I want to watch one show and record another. My first child wants to watch Nick in his bedroom and my second wants to watch Disney in the basement. That is four right there. Once you talk whole home, you need to consider worst case.
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Old 06-03-2008, 06:49 AM   #26
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Back patting wasn't the intent of my original post, but rather the point with why Tivo is taking this long to speak openly about the development of their next gen platform - this should have been in play quite some time ago.....
actually a large central server TiVo makes little business sense as many people balk at 250$ for a DVR already. I think such beasts would sell in limited quantity. Not to mention the folks who have posted for years about such a beast most likley already have enough tuners in the house.
All those tuners needs is some type of easier scheduling so I can do it all from any one full TiVo DVR in the house. The elusive cooperative scheduling.

What TiVo really needs is a way for a show to be able to be viewed on any TiVo device in the hosue despite copy flags. Streaming fits that bill nicely and also fits into the business case for more ways to offer IPTV as Netflix comes to the table.
Add in a nice little device that will accept the streaming and maybe some HME apps (but no tuners or recording) for a one time upfront fee and viola- whole home
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Old 06-03-2008, 09:58 AM   #27
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This may actually fit into the Comcast deal somehow. Right now the Comcast OCAP TiVo needs to be near the edge of the home cable network, not deep into it due to the need for high speed modem communication back to the head end. This requirement is the same as for a DOCSIS modem. Perhaps the thinner clients will just be TiVoized OCAP cable boxes that sit deeper into the home behind more splitters and talk back only to the TiVo near the edge via something like traditional cable boxes now use, a lower bandwidth link. It wouldn't be much of a whole house solution like is being discussed so far in this thread, but from a marketer's perspective it could be sold as such.
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Old 06-03-2008, 10:18 AM   #28
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Perhaps the thinner clients will just be TiVoized OCAP cable boxes that sit deeper into the home behind more splitters and talk back only to the TiVo near the edge via something like traditional cable boxes now use, a lower bandwidth link. It wouldn't be much of a whole house solution like is being discussed so far in this thread, but from a marketer's perspective it could be sold as such.
ah - good point - make the TiVo thin client work like a set top box as well as stream shows from other TiVo DVRs or partnerslike NetFlix.
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Old 06-03-2008, 12:52 PM   #29
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ah - good point - make the TiVo thin client work like a set top box as well as stream shows from other TiVo DVRs or partnerslike NetFlix.
If they do that they will need a higher bandwidth connection, something like MoCA
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Old 06-03-2008, 01:27 PM   #30
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Motorola, Scientific Atlanta, and others added MoCA to their next-generation DVRs. I'm not sure why TiVo would be any different.

As I suggested last year, TiVo could add MoCA to the Series4 and then offer $99-$149 MoCA video clients based on a Sigma chipset. The Series4 would simultaneously stream SD and HD video [recordings] to 1-2 of these devices located elsewhere in the home without the need for wireless or any other cabling beyond the existing coax in the home.
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