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Old 05-09-2013, 08:50 AM   #1
NoVa
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Your Thoughts on TiVo Mini as a Whole House TV solution?

Goal: Using TiVo(s) (or Cable boxes) in central closet to watch TV's in different rooms.
The original premise above was to gather all the boxes in a centralized location.
But with the introduction of the low profile TiVo Mini over ethernet & MoCA Coax - I can basically deliver live & recorded TV to at least 2 additional location above the main 4 tuner TiVo Premiere XL4- with not additional cabling.

In short, the goal is to allow TV in each room to have it's own tuner & TiVo watching ability but negate additional cabling & minimize monthly Comcast fees.

Background:

  • TV locations: 1 MBR, 1 Kitchen, 1 family room, 1 upstairs bedroom, 1 Loft
  • One 4-tuner TiVo XL4 - tuners would share Live TV & record simultaneously upto 3 TV location above
  • One 2-tuner TiVo Premiere that could be split (ie both TV watch the same thing) with any 2 location above
  • House has Coax & Cat6 @ each above location - so TiVo signal can come come over via MOCA (coax) or Ethernet (Cat6)
  • BluRay & Amp only need to be dedicated only to Family room - not distributed

Costs Comps:
This setup all with TiVo Lifetime service: (1) PXL4 = $750 + (2) TiVo Mini = $500 + (1) TiVo PXL = $500 = $1750 out of pocket

vs.

Comcast fees*: 1 AnyRoom DVR** = $20/mon + (4) Set Top Boxes = $50/mon = $70/mon***
* Estimates since they don't make it easy to tell
**Not available in all areas.
*** Does not include additional cabling upgrades to put all the boxes in one place with HDMI switchers &/or HDMI extenders ~ $1000



Question:
  1. How would IR & RF work to control the TiVo Mini's that would be mounted behind the secondary wall hung TV's?
  2. What am I missing in my quest for whole house TV watching?
  3. Is this a cost effective solution? based on above - my out of pocket cost = $1750 vs. $70/mon for Comcast box fees+ Switcher & cabling = payback period of 11 months.


Last edited by NoVa : 05-09-2013 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:28 AM   #2
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Your Tivo setup has 4 boxes while the Comcast one sounds like 5. Is that on purpose? You can theoretically have more than 2 Minis, though only 2 can watch live TV at the same time.

1. The standard remotes are IR. You might hope to get reflection off the back wall to hit the Mini's IR, but otherwise you might need an IR extender or grab a Tivo Slide remote, which is bluetooth, if any place is still selling them. IR extenders are relatively cheap but I haven't done any specific research on their use with a Mini.

3. Your Tivo break even point is 25 months at the current values. 70*25 = 1750.

Edit:

If you can wait, it might be worth considering the expected 6-tuner Tivo coming in the fall. This will be more expensive than the XL4 but would eliminate the need for the second PXL, letting you opt for a cheaper Mini in its place. This would also free up the "additional outlet fees" Comcast often charges for multiple cablecards. By then the tuner allocation limitations should be resolved, and you should be able to have an XL6 + 4 Minis.

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Old 05-09-2013, 02:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJimOutlaw View Post
1. The standard remotes are IR. You might hope to get reflection off the back wall to hit the Mini's IR, but otherwise you might need an IR extender or grab a Tivo Slide remote, which is bluetooth, if any place is still selling them. IR extenders are relatively cheap but I haven't done any specific research on their use with a Mini.
The Mini actually supports USB IR receivers. TiVo was suppose to sell one to go with it, but apparently it's still not available. But many people have got 3rd party receivers to work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJimOutlaw View Post
If you can wait, it might be worth considering the expected 6-tuner Tivo coming in the fall. This will be more expensive than the XL4 but would eliminate the need for the second PXL, letting you opt for a cheaper Mini in its place. This would also free up the "additional outlet fees" Comcast often charges for multiple cablecards. By then the tuner allocation limitations should be resolved, and you should be able to have an XL6 + 4 Minis.
I think this is your best option, long term. The setup you describe will work but once the 6 tuner unit comes out the whole thing will be a lot cleaner and easier to manage. We don't know how much the 6 tuner unit will cost, but lets assume it's $200 more then the current XL4, so $699. Total out of pocket would be $1700, $50 cheaper then what you layout above, and you only have to pay to rent one CableCARD and no additional outlet fee. Plus everything will be managed in a single location which makes dealing with conflicts a lot easier. In addition the new units will likely have a much faster processor that will make using the HDUI a lot less aggravating.
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Old 05-09-2013, 04:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJimOutlaw View Post
Your Tivo setup has 4 boxes while the Comcast one sounds like 5. Is that on purpose? You can theoretically have more than 2 Minis, though only 2 can watch live TV at the same time.
Yes - that's on purpose as the I should've posted that I already have the PXL in hand which would split between the Kitchen+Master.
While the PXL4 would be able to independently distribute between the other 3 rooms.
vs.
Comcast which requires a STB dedicated box to each room to enable viewing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJimOutlaw View Post
1. The standard remotes are IR. You might hope to get reflection off the back wall to hit the Mini's IR, but otherwise you might need an IR extender or grab a Tivo Slide remote, which is bluetooth, if any place is still selling them. IR extenders are relatively cheap but I haven't done any specific research on their use with a Mini.
Interesting about the rebounding

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJimOutlaw View Post
3. Your Tivo break even point is 25 months at the current values. 70*25 = 1750.
I agree that is the Payback period for the Comcast Fees...but if I included the wiring (ie cabling) cost to retain the HDMI switching & out of sight remote control ability - I figured my payback would be 11 months ie $70*11 + $1000 wiring = $1770.

Yes/No?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJimOutlaw View Post
If you can wait, it might be worth considering the expected 6-tuner Tivo coming in the fall. This will be more expensive than the XL4 but would eliminate the need for the second PXL, letting you opt for a cheaper Mini in its place. This would also free up the "additional outlet fees" Comcast often charges for multiple cablecards. By then the tuner allocation limitations should be resolved, and you should be able to have an XL6 + 4 Minis.
Most interesting...
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Old 05-09-2013, 04:20 PM   #5
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The Mini actually supports USB IR receivers. TiVo was suppose to sell one to go with it, but apparently it's still not available. But many people have got 3rd party receivers to work.
hmmm...thanks for the idea to research!

Quote:
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I think this is your best option, long term. The setup you describe will work but once the 6 tuner unit comes out the whole thing will be a lot cleaner and easier to manage. We don't know how much the 6 tuner unit will cost, but lets assume it's $200 more then the current XL4, so $699. Total out of pocket would be $1700, $50 cheaper then what you layout above, and you only have to pay to rent one CableCARD and no additional outlet fee. Plus everything will be managed in a single location which makes dealing with conflicts a lot easier. In addition the new units will likely have a much faster processor that will make using the HDUI a lot less aggravating.

The cost estimate on paper for this IMO is - PXL4 with lifetime = $1100+4 Mini's with Lifetime = $1000 = $2100

Of course, I could recoup some of the cost by selling away my PXL (sunk cost) but the main advantage I see is that I will be adding a true 3rd+4th Mini in place of the prior "Siamese" solution with the PXL (ie watching same channel on both TV).

The real $350 difference is adding the 3rd & 4th Mini to my prior schema of just 2 Mini's & a Siamese PXL.

I haven't figured out the Comcast aspect of it esp. now that you are bringing up the additonal outlet charges - which we currently don't have - yet- in our new house but looks like it will add a possible $25 to all 5 rooms?

Last edited by NoVa : 05-09-2013 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:27 PM   #6
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You're right I forgot the PLS on the TiVo.

But my guess at the price was pure speculation. They might be working on a cheaper to manufacture platform so that the prices for the new 4 and 6 tuners units come in around the same as the current 2 and 4 tuner units respectively. They might also have cheaper non-XL versions of both units.
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Old 05-10-2013, 06:16 AM   #7
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I sure hope those new boxes don't cost THAT much!
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Old 05-10-2013, 07:12 AM   #8
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I perdicted the Mini at $250 with lifetime before it came out, so lets price speculate on the speculated equipment; sounds like fun to me

So here are my guesses for Hardware + Liftetime service before MSD:
  1. 6 tuner Cable only XL version = $850
  2. 4 tuner combined cable/OTA standard version = $650

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Old 05-10-2013, 08:19 AM   #9
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I perdicted the Mini at $250 with lifetime before it came out, so lets price speculate on the speculated equipment; sounds like fun to me

So here are my guesses for Hardware + Liftetime service before MSD:
  1. 6 tuner Cable only XL version = $850
  2. 4 tuner combined cable/OTA standard version = $650
Those would be decent prices. Only $50 more for the six tuner with lifetime than the current four tuner with Lifetime. I would be all over it at that price.

Although that could also be with the same size 2TB drive. If they use a 3TB or 4TB drive then I could see them charging more. My ideal six tuner box would have a 4TB drive. But even a 3TB drive would be preferred to a 2TB drive. Especially since I plan on replacing both of my Elite boxes with one six tuner box and finally get down to using only one cable card.
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Old 05-10-2013, 08:33 AM   #10
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You're right I forgot the PLS on the TiVo.

But my guess at the price was pure speculation. They might be working on a cheaper to manufacture platform so that the prices for the new 4 and 6 tuners units come in around the same as the current 2 and 4 tuner units respectively. They might also have cheaper non-XL versions of both units.
Speculation is fun - It also lets me budget .

Hopefully, TiVo understands the marketplace well enough (nothing has indicated that they do though) to provide a compelling value proposition esp. if they keep improving on this whole house TV solution strategy.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:01 AM   #11
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So here are my guesses for Hardware + Liftetime service before MSD:
  1. 6 tuner Cable only XL version = $850
  2. 4 tuner combined cable/OTA standard version = $650
Interesting estimtes - let's look at how TiVo is pricing their curring product line with Lifetime service bfore MSD:
  • 2 Tuner TiVo is $650
  • 4 Tuner TiVo is $750
  • 4 Tuner XL TiVo is $850

The question in my mind is once a 6 Tuner TiVo is actually on the market, will TiVo kill the 2 Tuner Model? If they do, then your estimates do make a little sense. I also got the Mini estimate on target so let me take a stab!
  • 2 Tuner TiVo - Retired
  • 4 Tuner standard cable only TiVo is $650
  • 4 Tuner combined cable/OTA standard version TiVo is $700
  • 6 Tuner standard version TiVo is $750
  • 6 Tuner XL version TiVo is $850

A lot of assumptions on my part, but this is what I have in mind at the moment. I just do not think TiVo is going to want to go over that $850 price point, but I suppose they could all jump $100, but for some reason I doubt it.

In order the keep within that band, the 2 Tuner unit looses it's value for Tivo and we can already see they are not supporting the unit with new functionality (Mini).
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:53 AM   #12
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I love the price guessing game.

Wait, if those prices count the Lifetime, ya'll think the XL6 may go for only $250-$350 out of the box? I'm not that optimistic but that would be rad.

As an entirely new modern platform on the inside with likely integrated streaming and a CPU that can make the current platform look like a toy, I couldn't see the high-end model going for less than $500 (before service) -- same price as the XL4's starting point.

My guess is all current DVRs will be EOL'ed and they'll just reboot the mid and high end. MAYBE they'll hang on to the P4 for MSOs but I think they'll be encouraged to go with a Pace or XL6 variant as a much more elegant solution, when you factor in Minis and transcoding.

P2 (EOL, limited stock) $100
P4 (EOL, limited stock) $200
XL4 (EOL, limited stock) $300

I wouldn't expect these prices to be in stone, as stores will empty their stock as they see fit.

=====

P4 + OTA (new platform) $300
XL6 (new platform, cable) $500

Maybe a P6 or XL4+OTA down the road to fill the middle as prices crawl down.

Those are the same prices as the Premiere and PXL on their launch. Before Lifetime, obviously, and don't count any other potential launch deals like the Premiere had.

Edit:

Because the XL6 and P4+OTA are very different manufacturing-wise, it wouldn't be surprising if the reboots were phased-in with only the XL6 at first, followed later by a P4+OTA, etc.

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Old 05-10-2013, 11:10 AM   #13
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Wait, if those prices count the Lifetime, ya'll think the XL6 may go for only $250-$350 out of the box? I'm not that optimistic but that would be rad.
I know it is optimistic, but follow my assumption. I think this will be a refresh of the platform and the 2 Tuner TiVo will get retired - If that happens, they still need an entry level unit at a resonable price.

Since I see this as a refresh of the platform and not simply adding another device to the line - the pricing makes sense.

With the refresh, we should see a more powerful processor, so expect new OTT functionality that will only be targeted to this new line of Premiers. And yes, I do expect them to branch the software just has they have done in the past.

Just thinking outloud... They talked about the possibility of adding Stream functionality to the main box. If they actually do that, I am not sure what impact that would have on pricing or if the functionality would be included in all models.

It might be a very interesting way to differentiate the standard and XL models - just a thought.


Have we strayed far enough away from the OP's origional question? Sorry NoVA!
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Old 05-10-2013, 11:57 AM   #14
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I'll play since I was correct about the Elite pricing.

P4 - $199 before lifetime
P4 + OTA - $299
P4 XL - $299
P4 + OTA XL - $399
P6 $399
P6 XL - $499.

With the launch we will also see some decent bundles with the Mini hardware around $50, but these will most likely be only available from TiVo directly.

I don't see TiVo wanting to have an entry product at $250 hence the $199 price point and combined with the P4 being the more in demand model for cable companies costs would be lower than the ones that include OTA. The current price is $250 so I see them being able to shave the $50 off while making it up on the OTA version.

I could also see them not even offering a P6 and going straight to the XL version. At 6 tuners 500gb would be a tough sell. They could do it as a 2TB base and a 3-4TB XL assuming they get around the 2TB limit. I don't know about the demand from the cable companies, but if the demand is there we might see the new base TiVo drive being upgraded to a 1TB.
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:20 PM   #15
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The Mini actually supports USB IR receivers. TiVo was suppose to sell one to go with it, but apparently it's still not available. But many people have got 3rd party receivers to work.
Does anyone know if the Premiere's themselves work with USB IR receivers? I assume it just needs to give the IR receiver power.
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:51 PM   #16
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I don't think anyone has tried. But it's not just power. The USB IR receivers actually catch the IR and then transmit it to the box via USB, so there is some software involved. Although since the Mini and the Premiere both have the same software version it's likely it would work with a Premiere as well. If you try it out let us know.

My guess on new TiVo pricing... (before service)

6 tuner XL - $599
6 tuner - $449
4 tune XL w/OTA - $399
4 tuner w/OTA - $249

I think all current units will be discontinued and go on clearance. TiVo may continue to make the Q for MSOs, but that's always been a separate brand from the Elite/XL4 anyway.
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Old 05-10-2013, 01:33 PM   #17
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Have we strayed far enough away from the OP's origional question? Sorry NoVA!
It's become waaay better a conversation! Esp. since I need to decide if I should wait for the PXL6 or adopt the current boxes & transition to the new when they come out.

Since the OP was to provide for the new house, the wait for the PXL6 could make things tough & a resell market could dry up if & when I want to subsidize the move to XL6...

Btw - can you all provide some thoughts about future Mini pricing in the whole scheme of things since that is the HDMI extender that most whole home solution would need.

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Old 05-10-2013, 02:45 PM   #18
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The Mini is already based off the new hardware so I don't see that dropping anytime soon. The only possible discount would be if they offer a bundle with the new hardware. Even then we don't know what or if any discount they will offer.

Based off the transition to the Premiere from the TiVo HD the prices tend to stay up there for a bit after the new hardware. Of course it also depends on the cost of the new hardware and lifetime. I know most people still got $400-$500 with TiVo HDs with lifetime upgraded to 1TB drives around the launch of the Premiere. It has since dropped to around $300 or what people paid for lifetime at that time. It looks like XL4s with lifetime are getting around $700 currently and Premiere 4s around $500.
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Old 05-11-2013, 07:50 AM   #19
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I'll play since I was correct about the Elite pricing.

P4 - $199 before lifetime
P4 + OTA - $299
P4 XL - $299
P4 + OTA XL - $399
P6 $399
P6 XL - $499.
I'm trying to figure out why you're assuming there will be separate P4 w/OTA models, that makes no sense to me.
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:17 AM   #20
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I'm trying to figure out why you're assuming there will be separate P4 w/OTA models, that makes no sense to me.
I am basing it mainly on the fact that I think there will be a decent cost associated with adding OTA tuners.

I don't see the cable companies wanting OTA. I would also guess TiVo has data on how many people actually use and want OTA tuners. I would say it is probably less than people who do. As a result they can make for example 80% of the boxes P4 models without and 20% with. This would allow them a lower cost of P4 which helps lower the costs to the MSOs and lower the cost for entry at retail. I can't see them wanting an entry box that isn't below $200 since I think the 2 tuner models will go away. The increased costs of adding OTA would be easily be covered by the OTA models costing more.

Now if it turns out that it was next to nothing to add OTA then I see them just making all the P4 models with OTA and disabling the tuners by request for MSOs.
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:08 AM   #21
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I am basing it mainly on the fact that I think there will be a decent cost associated with adding OTA tuners.

I don't see the cable companies wanting OTA. I would also guess TiVo has data on how many people actually use and want OTA tuners. I would say it is probably less than people who do. As a result they can make for example 80% of the boxes P4 models without and 20% with. This would allow them a lower cost of P4 which helps lower the costs to the MSOs and lower the cost for entry at retail. I can't see them wanting an entry box that isn't below $200 since I think the 2 tuner models will go away. The increased costs of adding OTA would be easily be covered by the OTA models costing more.

Now if it turns out that it was next to nothing to add OTA then I see them just making all the P4 models with OTA and disabling the tuners by request for MSOs.
If that were the case then they would make a unit with OTA only. What's the point of having one that's cable + OTA? I doubt there are many people that actually use both cable and OTA at the same time.
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:27 AM   #22
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If that were the case then they would make a unit with OTA only. What's the point of having one that's cable + OTA? I doubt there are many people that actually use both cable and OTA at the same time.
I think they worry about push back from the MSOs for offering a OTA device even though they could do it for significantly cheaper since it wouldn't need CableCARD hardware.

By including it with cable they aren't marketing as a cordcutting device.
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:58 AM   #23
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If that were the case then they would make a unit with OTA only. What's the point of having one that's cable + OTA? I doubt there are many people that actually use both cable and OTA at the same time.
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I think they worry about push back from the MSOs for offering a OTA device even though they could do it for significantly cheaper since it wouldn't need CableCARD hardware.

By including it with cable they aren't marketing as a cordcutting device.
Well TiVo Provided (still provides?) Premiere DVRs to the MSOs and they were a combo cable/OTA DVR so I am not certain that is a driver one way or the other.

What does drive how many models TiVo can afford to produce is volume and in my opinion TiVo doesn't have enough volume to justify to many models and has to use as many common components as possible between the models they do have. When I look at the future I see maybe 3 models:
  1. a standard cable/OTA combo unit - hopefully 4 tuners for each but maybe only 3 each.
  2. a standard cable only model that will also be mirrored to the cable companies. I think this will be a 6 tuner model as the cost to go from 4 to 6 tuners is not likely much and the cable companies are pushing whole home solutions and more tuners supports this.
  3. a XL cable only model again I think this will be a 6 tuner model.
If someone knows what is available for tuner modules a more educated guess can be made.
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Old 05-11-2013, 12:06 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by atmuscarella View Post
Well TiVo Provided (still provides?) Premiere DVRs to the MSOs and they were a combo cable/OTA DVR so I am not certain that is a driver one way or the other.

What does drive how many models TiVo can afford to produce is volume and in my opinion TiVo doesn't have enough volume to justify to many models and has to use as many common components as possible between the models they do have. When I look at the future I see maybe 3 models:
  1. a standard cable/OTA combo unit - hopefully 4 tuners for each but maybe only 3 each.
  2. a standard cable only model that will also be mirrored to the cable companies. I think this will be a 6 tuner model as the cost to go from 4 to 6 tuners is not likely much and the cable companies are pushing whole home solutions and more tuners supports this.
  3. a XL cable only model again I think this will be a 6 tuner model.
If someone knows what is available for tuner modules a more educated guess can be made.
They did, but I believe most of them switched to the Q when it became available. I don't know if they offer the 2 tuner model since the release of the Q and the Mini. They might though because they have existing inventory. I can't imagine they would be ordering more though.
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:42 AM   #25
Dan203
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What if they made a unit that only had one coax input and could be either OTA or cable, but not both. And the choice was set via software. Then they could provide that same box to MSOs and simply disable OTA via software and the user would be none the wiser.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:58 AM   #26
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The other option is a wireless HDMI unit. I have one that let's me beam the TiVo to another TV. Working on a remote and should have that taken care of this week. For $200 I will have a TiVo mirror in another room (off an HD, not a premiere). That is less than a mini with lifetime on it.

Will post up once I have a final working solution, but the key question is whether you need a TiVo device to do this or whether there is a different solution. It really comes down to how many simultaneous users need to watch content at the same time.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:09 AM   #27
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Even with the need for only one user I would not want to mirror it. Since I never know when there could be another user that wants to watch something different at any of the locations with a TV.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:58 PM   #28
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I have not went through this thread for the bitching and complaining... but I'm very satisfied that my Comcast bill is cheaper...have a uniformly system....works great....two minis... one p4.... I upgraded from regular premiere... some major cash...but so far so good.....Comcast rentals begone.
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Old 05-24-2013, 02:51 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Austin Bike View Post
The other option is a wireless HDMI unit. I have one that let's me beam the TiVo to another TV. Working on a remote and should have that taken care of this week. For $200 I will have a TiVo mirror in another room (off an HD, not a premiere). That is less than a mini with lifetime on it.

Will post up once I have a final working solution, but the key question is whether you need a TiVo device to do this or whether there is a different solution. It really comes down to how many simultaneous users need to watch content at the same time.

All of the wrinkles aren't out so far, but it is operational. For some this is an alternative:


Using an HDMI Extender with TiVo
You need to upgrade your Flash Player

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