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Old 02-07-2013, 09:20 AM   #1
bradleys
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For fun - What would a new TiVo Desktop look like?

So, we have seen some conjecture that a possible refresh of TiVo Desktop may be on the horizon. I thought it might be fun to consider what that refresh might look like.

The current desktop allows you too:
  • Publish music to your TiVo
  • Publish a Photo Library to your TiVo
  • Transfer shows from your TiVo box for archival and to view them on your computer.
  • Down scale and decode videos to be moved to mobile devices (paid version only)
I am not sure how much use the photo and music connectivity really gets. Does anyone consistently use these features? But moving video’s to a central media server is something that is done quite a bit and several community tools have been developed that are far more feature rich and usable. My guess is that we would see a similar product in design and functionality as the IOS TiVo app / TiVo Stream – No remote control functionality, but I would expect:
  • Streaming of content, downloading content, managing season passes and enabling transfers of individual shows or series.
  • The TiVo Stream would be the mechanism that connects PC’s to TiVo’s
So the question is; what product would bring value to consumers? What would you like to see in a refreshed TiVo Desktop?

My first feature request is more seamless access of content between the network video shares and TiVo content. I would like to see the new HD screens applied to your network shares and natively enable streaming from the Network share to the TiVo.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:26 AM   #2
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From a consumer point of view it is pretty easy to say what TiVo Desktop should do:
  1. Everything it does now
  2. Everything the Stream does
  3. Everything the mini is expected to be able to do
  4. Everything media center does now
  5. Everything that XBMC does now
Basically it should be a full media center replacement with full support for all things TiVo.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:29 AM   #3
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Just thinking on this - there is also a possible downside.

Currently, when we use TiVo desktop to archive content - it is wide open in a video share. The videos of course are encrypted as a .tivo files, but the beauty of this arrangement is that we can add our own personal content to those video shares. Using the TiVo stream (who's sole function is to video conversion) also probably means loosing the native .tivo file in the process...

I would hate to see any future video shares hidden behind a firewall of DRM.
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Last edited by bradleys : 02-07-2013 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
3.Everything the mini is expected to be able to do
4.Everything media center does now
Well, I suppose today you could hook a computer up to a TV, and using a bluetooth keyboard and TiVo desktop play on the big screen. And I am sure you would do the exact same thing with any new product - or PyTiVo for that matter...

But I doubt it will be optimized for that usage - why create a product that directly competes with another product?

I think it is safe to say that this ecosystem is going to remain closed and any amount of wishing isn't going to change that. I also think that even if TiVo wanted to open up the ecosystem (which they do not) the content owners would fight it tooth and nail.

So, back to reality!
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Last edited by bradleys : 02-07-2013 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradleys View Post
Well, I suppose today you could hook a computer up to a TV, and using a bluetooth keyboard and TiVo desktop play on the big screen. And I am sure you would do the exact same thing with any new product - or PyTiVo for that matter...

But I doubt it will be optimized for that usage.

I think it is safe to say that this ecosystem is going to remain closed and any amount of wishing isn't going to change that. I also think that even if TiVo wanted to open up the ecosystem (which they do not) the content owners would fight it tooth and nail.

So, back to reality!
Well if TiVo is going to show watching TV on a laptop and/or desktop monitor (which they are) then it does need to function at least like a mini. If they have gone that far no reason not to finish it up and make it into a full media center replacement.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:59 AM   #6
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I wouldn't mind it - but usability on a desktop or even a touch screen is significantly different than usability with a remote control.

The ability to select a video from your TiVo and play it on your computer exists today in Tivo desktop (MRV)... But using the current TiVo desktop as a Media Center option on a 60" wide screen would be PAINFUL!

The question is: Since TiVo is creating a product called the Mini, why would they create a competing product in a TiVo desktop refresh?
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:04 AM   #7
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By not making it free anymore. or at least by having an enhanced desktop that was not free. Tivo Desktop Plus PLUS.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:20 AM   #8
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Kind of going away from my origional topic - but it is fair to do the comparison and consider possibilities.

From Tivo's mind set they want to make money (read - finally become profitable) and are trying to develop products that consumers will buy. For each of these products they have specific use cases...

The TiVo Mini
  • An additional television node extending the footprint of a 4+ tuner TiVo.
  • Revenue - sales of hardware and service.
  • Price - unknown, I have estimated $250 for hardware and lifetime service on each unit.
The TiVo Stream
  • Extending content consumption from the TiVo to mobile (and potentially PC) screens.
  • Revenue - sales of TiVo Stream hardware.
  • Price $130 supporting up to three simultaneous streams on a single DVR, and up to four with two networked DVRs.
Turning TiVo desktop into media center software would kill the TiVo Mini product before launch and it would all but eliminate multiple TiVo sales in the home.

Rusult? Tivo can no longer pay it's bills. They finally sell their patent portfolio off to Apple or Google - who promptly kill the retail market in favor of integrating the intelectual property into their own (highly DRM controlled) environments. /snarky

I am sure Tivo would also want to market this "whole home solution" to the Cable Co's - who definately would not be interested in a competing "media center" aproach that takes any potential revunue from additional TV's in the home off the balance sheet.

Yeah - being a realist sucks!
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Last edited by bradleys : 02-07-2013 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:44 AM   #9
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From what I can tell TiVo is pushing a whole home solution with the hopes of selling more or at least maintaining sales of their DVRs. The Stream and Mini are not stand alone products they are products that TiVo developed to aid in selling DVRs. The same is and would be true for a premium desktop software product. Just as I expect the Stream and Mini to be sold at a profit when not bundled with new DVRs I would expect the same for permium desktop software.

So in the end the Stream, the Mini, and Premium Desktop software all have the same function. Providing a unique to TiVo whole home DVR experience that results in the sale of more DVRs.

In regards to using a pc to watch videos - I find it just as easy to use my HTPC with a mouse and keyboard that is connect to my 50" plasma as I do to use a TiVo with a remote all from my Lazy Boy. but in any event if someone wants a remote it is easy to buy one for a HTPC and if you are in media center it work just like using any other DVR, so if TiVo could also sell you a peanut remote to work with a HTPC and there software.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atmuscarella View Post
From what I can tell TiVo is pushing a whole home solution with the hopes of selling more or at least maintaining sales of their DVRs. The Stream and Mini are not stand alone products they are products that TiVo developed to aid in selling DVRs. The same is and would be true for a premium desktop software product. Just as I expect the Stream and Mini to be sold at a profit when not bundled with new DVRs I would expect the same for permium desktop software.

So in the end the Stream, the Mini, and Premium Desktop software all have the same function. Providing a unique to TiVo whole home DVR experience that results in the sale of more DVRs.
I disagree that it would increase their sales. I do agree that a whole home solution should make the Tivo more marketable to both the retail and cable operators. However, what you are suggesting will not.

A Media Center option isn't going to interest the Cable Co's at all... And it is pretty clear that the retail market isn't going to keep the lights on at Tivo long term.

It is not going to happen... And I would bet my shares of TiVo stock that you will never see it.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:10 AM   #11
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I disagree that it would increase their sales. I do agree that a whole home solution should make the Tivo more marketable to both the retail and cable operators. However, what you are suggesting will not.

A Media Center option isn't going to interest the Cable Co's at all... And it is pretty clear that the retail market isn't going to keep the lights on at Tivo long term.

It is not going to happen... And I would bet my shares of TiVo stock that you will never see it.
Well you didn't start a thread about what I think TiVo is going to do you ask what we would like to see in a Desktop software update. Those 2 are completely different.

It is impossible to know if a robust whole home system ends up being a net plus or not. It my opinion it really ends up depending on what the competition offers. If the cable companies came out with great whole home systems and TiVo didn't have one they would certainly be dead. On the other hand if the cable companies never deliver then perhaps a whole home system will cost TiVo some DVR sales which is why things like the Stream, Mini, & Premium Desktop software have to pay their own way.

While I agree TiVo maybe more focused on what cable companies want than what the Stand Alone DVR market wants. I don't agree they have or are abandoning the Stand Alone DVR market, however development cost have to be in line with potential returns. So products that work in both markets get priority and things like Desktop software and OTA support don't.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:35 AM   #12
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If I were TiVo, I'd leave the existing, neglected TiVo Desktop as is and create a brand new, self contained Stream app for the PC and Mac. Simultaneously, I'd update my mobile apps to do what Roku and FiOS DVR apps already do in beaming photos or music from smartphone to television.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:47 AM   #13
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Simultaneously, I'd update my mobile apps to do what Roku and FiOS DVR apps already do in beaming photos or music from smartphone to television.
That is a great idea...
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:48 AM   #14
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Why leave out remote control? Granted, a lot of PCs are in a fixed location away from the TV. But many aren't.

I'm skeptical that streaming will ever come to the PC, simply because the PC is harder to lock down (or at least is perceived as being so) than the tablet platforms. So CableLabs might not allow it (or rather, they might allow it only for CCI = 0 recordings -- the same as the current situation with Desktop).
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:41 PM   #15
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Build a program that uses the UI from the Mini. Incorporate streaming to the TiVo from the PC with expanded codec support. Incorporate KMTTG's version of updating Season Pass Manager so you can tweak your priorities and then send it as one update. Incorporate PyTiVo functionality to push or pull content from the PC with the expanded codec support.

They could then also introduce further functionality into the app/program since it wouldn't be relying on the processor of the TiVo.

For example they could build a season pass manager that assists those who want it in organizing and prioritizing their season passes. It could also assist in scheduling conflicts on free tuners of other TiVos.

It could also serve as a local cache with a user defined storage limit. This way you would only be dependent on your local network for pulling images and details which could potentially speed up the UI for some since you wouldn't be as dependent on your internet connection.
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:35 PM   #16
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When I'm going back and forth between Desktop and Explorer (the file manager, not the browser), if I left the choose programs to transfer window or the transfer status window up, I want it to be there when I switch back, not the main Desktop window.

And it would be nice if it didn't try to freeze up everything else on the PC.

And the main page, where it has the now playing on the PC list, should include the folders I have inside my My TiVo Recordings folder, including the folders that are really shortcuts to other drives, instead of putting every show on the main page.
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:00 PM   #17
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I would expect a completely abandoning of the original TiVo Desktop application and what would essentially be a port of the iOS iPad app to the Desktop. So you would get streaming and transfer capability (With a Stream of course), DVR management, remote control access and guide viewing.

Ideally we would get Windows 8 and Mac Store apps, not separate executables that you have to maintain yourself.
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:14 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by wmcbrine View Post
Why leave out remote control? Granted, a lot of PCs are in a fixed location away from the TV. But many aren't.

I'm skeptical that streaming will ever come to the PC, simply because the PC is harder to lock down (or at least is perceived as being so) than the tablet platforms. So CableLabs might not allow it (or rather, they might allow it only for CCI = 0 recordings -- the same as the current situation with Desktop).
The Stream uses encrypted HLS which is based on HTTPS encryption and AFAIK has never been cracked. So I think it would be as safe to use on a PC as it is on an iPad. Although with a PC you wouldn't really need the transcode step since it can play MPEG-2 video just fine.
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:39 PM   #19
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The Stream uses encrypted HLS which is based on HTTPS encryption and AFAIK has never been cracked. So I think it would be as safe to use on a PC as it is on an iPad.
It doesn't matter how it is on the network. It has to be decrypted to play it.
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:07 PM   #20
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I guess, but that also applies to WTV files that are recorded directly from CableCARD capture cards and they're allowed. As long as they do a reasonable job of "protecting the path" I don't think Cable Labs would object.
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:12 PM   #21
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I wish it would just die completely. Then make a web based version that allows streaming and manual transfers (maybe a plugin will be required like Slingbox). For displaying pictures and home videos, it should allow streaming from mobile devices using their existing app.

I think we are at a point with MRS, that the number of people using TiVo Desktop to archive shows is small. They should keep the same API available for third party apps but the hog of an app, TiVo Desktop should die off.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:18 PM   #22
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I disagree. While I do not use tivo desktop, it has, over the years provided a window in to the tivo communications protocols that are the basis for most of what is available from 3rd party developers now. Each new version of TD has brought with it some new feature that, once implemented properly by community developers, has been very useful. Without TD much of what is available now would likely not exist. And TD works well enough for newbies and casual users that really don't want to invest time and effort in setting up third party apps.

Of course they COULD just actively support the SDK and let the community develop apps.....
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:21 PM   #23
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I guess, but that also applies to WTV files that are recorded directly from CableCARD capture cards and they're allowed.
Microsoft has more clout than TiVo.
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