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Old 10-11-2012, 02:39 PM   #1
DrTivol
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Top Reason Why I Returned My TiVo Stream

I was excited about the TiVo stream product (actually i still am and forever hopeful that they will improve it) and couldn't wait to purchase it. I had to drive to two different best buys before finding it. After about three weeks of usage (very limited) here is why i decided to return it:

1. I was hoping i would be able to save the downloaded files and you do not have access to them. Perhaps they willl have some Tivo Desktop integration in the future to speed up the transcoding. I think it's great how fast it is but i really would have liked to save these to an external hardrive for loading later via itunes or whatever.

2. I really didn't like how the viewing liveTV option left the recorded show on my TiVo. If i was going to watch a particular show i probably wouldn't have minded it but sitting around trying to surf the live tv guide and having all these shows that i had to delete on my TiVo was a pain! Perhaps they will fix this with a newer release.

3. On my final day of usage where i was thinking about taking it back within the 30 day window i started to see an error message popup that said 4 streams were already being viewed (reached my maximum) and that i would have to stop one of them to view another one. The problem was is that i had just rebooted the device, watched only 1 show, and then tried starting a 2nd show. From my viewpoint i had a fresh box and had only attempted 2 streams. So why would i get this error. I did everything but reboot the box and couldn't get it to work. Then i decided boy is this really worth $130? Maybe they will have it fixed in a few weeks or perhaps not.

4. After reading tivocommunity and one of the threads about it being discounted in the future i thought to myself again .. boy at $130 this is a lot of money for something that isn't working flawlessly. So if i return it now, perhaps i could by it again in the future, assuming they make some of the above improvements, for $99 or so? Or perhaps not. Thought it was worth the gamble and unplugged it and took it back for a full refund.
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:43 PM   #2
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Feel better now? :-)
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:57 PM   #3
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At least it kept you off the street for the last month though didn't it?

It certainly sounds like you had quite a wild ride with your TiVo Stream.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:02 PM   #4
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1- you certainly don't need a stream for what you are looking for. Most PCs are not as fast as transcoding as the stream, the CPU is not as optimal as the chips in the stream.

2- I would think MOST would want the show on the tivo to not be automatically deleted, none of the other MRV/MRS functionality works that way. I believe you are likely in the minority on that complaint, but you can want what you want.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:06 PM   #5
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1- you certainly don't need a stream for what you are looking for. Most PCs are not as fast as transcoding as the stream, the CPU is not as optimal as the chips in the stream.

2- I would think MOST would want the show on the tivo to not be automatically deleted, none of the other MRV/MRS functionality works that way. I believe you are likely in the minority on that complaint, but you can want what you want.
I think he's just trolling to be honest with you.

Also: one more post and you hit 1000.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:37 PM   #6
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1) Not really what the Stream was designed for. We can hope for some sort of TiVo Desktop integration, but I honestly don't expect it any time soon.

2) The live TV thing is sort of a hack. What you really want is access to the live buffer. However until the TiVo Mini is released, and the corresponding TiVo software update, that's not even possible. Once the TiVo is released the Stream will likely gain the ability to grab a real live tuner just like the Mini.

3) I've been using mine daily since the day it was released and I have never had this problem. I have had to reboot it a couple of times do to a weird quality issue that crops up, but I've never seen the error you described.

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Old 10-11-2012, 09:47 PM   #7
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2- I would think MOST would want the show on the tivo to not be automatically deleted, none of the other MRV/MRS functionality works that way. I believe you are likely in the minority on that complaint, but you can want what you want.
I don't have a Stream.. Do you?

From what I've read, if you view live TV, FOR EVERY CHANNEL YOU'RE ON, it makes a 'dummy' recording that stays on the TiVo. That is ridiculous. (Like I said in another thread, that's effectively what the "pause live TV" functionality on my non-Tivo recorder does.. It was lame ~10 years ago and is lame now.)
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:54 PM   #8
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Ewww. That is ugly.

I want a stream, but need to wait for the Android software.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:37 AM   #9
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Like i said live TV is a hack, but I suspect it will chnage once the TiVo software is updated to allow dynamic tuner allocation by an external device. This feature is in development now for the TiVo Mini and will likely be added to the Stream once it's widely availabe.

For now they do they best they can with live TV. The alternative with the current software would be to not allow live TV viewing at all.

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Old 10-12-2012, 02:30 PM   #10
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yeah live tv is a hack. jtroo you are wrong on this one. we want access to the live buffer. again, i'm sure they will fix it in the future perhaps with a mini update or not. My main reason for taking it back is that i think i will get it cheaper in the future and will want to play with it more then.

in terms of the desktop transcoding on pc ... that is my point! of course it's slow and it would be great to tap into the HW acceleration, BUT only if they are not going to give you access to the mp4 file on the ipad --- which they are currently not doing. I want to be able to pull of the mp4 and archive it. Anyway, this wouldn't be a complete deal breaker for me if it's not fixed in the future.
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Old 10-12-2012, 02:45 PM   #11
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Um, I just said it was ugly. Your description to a non-user for #2 was not clear. Once I understood it, I agree.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:42 PM   #12
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BUT only if they are not going to give you access to the mp4 file on the ipad
The problem is the file on the iPad is NOT an MP4. It's an encrypted HLS stream. HLS is the same technology they use for YouTube and other iPad compatible video on the web. Basically a stream is broken up into a bunch of small TS streams and then strung together back to back so they play as one continuous file. By breaking them up it makes it easier for the user to randomly access any part of the stream without excessive buffering or server I/O. TiVo would have to remux the file on the iPad itself to convert it to an MP4 that could then be offloaded to a PC. Although there isn't that much overhead involved in doing that so I guess it's possible it could happen in a future release. Although I doubt they'll invest the effort for such a niche usage scenario. More likely they'll just port the TiVo app to Windows 8 and tell users they can watch the Stream on a PC that way instead.

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Old 10-12-2012, 04:29 PM   #13
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actually that's not correct. HLS is used for streaming. Apple will not let you perform local playback of an HLS content. The only thing you can play back locally with their player is an mp4 file.
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:49 PM   #14
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That's why TiVo uses their own player and not the built in Apple player. There are a couple of threads on this forum where people with jailbroken iPads looked at the TiVo apps storage area and a single show consists of hundreds of ~700kb .seg files. I had someone send me a few of them and I looked at them in a hex editor and they have no discernible pattern to them which is why I believe they are encrypted. Also if you go to the advanced system information screen for the Stream on port 49152 and then start a Download you'll see that it's still listed as using the Encrypted HLS protocol.

Now I can't say for certain that the local .seg files are HLS segments, but I'm an expert when it comes to MP4 and I can guarantee you they're not MP4 files or segments of MP4 files.

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Old 10-13-2012, 06:14 PM   #15
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Thanks for the info on this dan. I've worked on mp4 for years and hls for the last few years. But i'm no expert when it comes to searching other threads . I followed up and read the thread you are talking about. A lot of good work going on there.

It is possible to still use the Apple player with local HLS but it requires running your own http server and putting the hls streams and m3u8 playlist files on the local loopback address. I'm betting they must be doing this to take advantage of the HW acceleration for playback. It's rather tough to decode AVC at 720p/2mbps and full screen in SW on the iPad.

Anyway, as you point out they are encrypted and that's just another huge can of warms that some experts are going to have to attack. Was reading another forum about getting the app to work on JB devices and with all these cablelabs requirements it sure does make things tough.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:32 PM   #16
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I tend to agree with the OP on the basic point. When I first saw the price I thought, "Holy cow! That's $30 more than the AppleTV or Roku box which both have a lot more functionality than this thing."

I guess it is a sign of how much financial trouble TiVo is in that they have to charge that much for a box that essentially transcodes a stream, period. When I first heard about the device I was completely confused. It seems to me that you could do all of this within the TiVo with software. I suspect the problem is the Processor and limited memory within the TiVo made it impossible to add the feature without offloading it to another device.

Don't get me wrong, I have a Stream because I wanted the limited abilities it provides. But for the price I can't recommend it to any of my friends.

Perhaps if they someday make a TiVo with sufficient capabilities to do all of this without the extra piece of hardware on the network, it would be worth buying one of those TiVo's. Unfortunately, I just upgraded to a 4XL, so I won't be buying another TiVo for at least three more years.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:59 PM   #17
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The reason they can't do this in the TiVo is because the processor in the TiVo isn't powerful enough. It barely powerful enough to run the HDUI so transcoding to H.264 is out of the question. However TiVo did say during a conference call that they expect to have the Stream's functionality built into a future TiVo model.

As for the price, three things are causing that...

1) The chip they're using is cutting edge and probably not cheap. (it can recode 4 streams at 3x real time, that's impossible for even a high end desktop processor.

2) They probably ordered in low quantities. Since it's a new product and they didn't know how well it would sell they probably didn't do a big run. Like anything the more you make the cheaper they are, so the economies of scale probably didn't kick in on the initial run.

3) They have to recoup the R&D so like everything there is currently an "early adopter tax".

If the Stream does well then I bet we see them drop to $99 MSRP within 6 months. And we'll likely see slight drops even sooner from suppliers like Amazon once they finally get stock.

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Old 10-18-2012, 11:47 AM   #18
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I guess it is a sign of how much financial trouble TiVo is in that they have to charge that much for a box that essentially transcodes a stream, period.
Tivo is in financial trouble?

They wouldn't make the stream if people didn't want to buy it. Unfortunately, it costs a lot to manufacture a product like this, and I don't think they have economies of scale on their side for the Stream to the magnitude that the Roku and Apple TV have. The stream is a relative niche product. Most Tivo users won't buy it. It's really just a placeholder until the next generation of Tivo comes along.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrTivol
2. I really didn't like how the viewing liveTV option left the recorded show on my TiVo. If i was going to watch a particular show i probably wouldn't have minded it but sitting around trying to surf the live tv guide and having all these shows that i had to delete on my TiVo was a pain! Perhaps they will fix this with a newer release.
This is my biggest gripe. Live TV is a hack. I often use the stream to watch news programs in the evening while I'm working. It leaves the useless program on the Tivo consuming space until I get around to deleting it.

I wonder if Tivo will fix this when the "mini" comes out? Presumably it would have the same problem, right? You want to watch live TV on your "mini" streamed from your 4-tuner whole-home DVR, and you end up with annoying little snippets of programs left around...
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:21 PM   #19
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The stream is a relative niche product. Most Tivo users won't buy it. It's really just a placeholder until the next generation of Tivo comes along.
Agreed- it is applicable only to tivo users, who have a relatively small user base already. I would guess that the sales expectations are lower than add-on drives and that the price is indicative of them moving to cost for their products.

Hopefully this will be useful in reducing costs for the next gen product. I suspect that, unless a partner pushes these units, there will be no price drops until after the holidays and after they produce their next batch of units.
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:20 PM   #20
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I wonder if Tivo will fix this when the "mini" comes out? Presumably it would have the same problem, right? You want to watch live TV on your "mini" streamed from your 4-tuner whole-home DVR, and you end up with annoying little snippets of programs left around...
I suspect it will. The Mini will have the ability to stream the real live buffer without starting a recording. And the iOS app uses the same API, called Mind RCP, as the Mini. So it would seem that once the TiVo software is updated to support the Mini, and has these new Mind RCP API functions, it should be easy for the iOS app/Stream to be updated to support real live TV streaming as well. Although there could be a lag between the two, and there is a rumor that the Mini has been delayed until Q1 next year, so it may be another 6 months or so before we actually see that functionality added to the iOS app/Stream.

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Old 10-25-2012, 05:14 PM   #21
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I'm waiting for Android & Windows 8 support, as well as Live TV support.
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:20 AM   #22
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TiVo has some info on the Mini on their support pages:

http://support.tivo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2395

Don't yet know when it will be available though. What's annoying to me is that they say:

"NOTE: You can stream recordings from any 2-tuner Premiere series box, but you will be unable to set up your TiVo Mini without a 4-tuner TiVo DVR."
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:26 AM   #23
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TiVo has some info on the Mini on their support pages:
This thread is not about the mini.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:53 AM   #24
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Tivo is in financial trouble?

They wouldn't make the stream if people didn't want to buy it.

I have to disagree with you there. Tivo has a history of developing products that people didn't want to buy. How many countless "partnerships" have they formed over the years that never developed into anything.

For hardware there has been the Tivo PC software, The Motorola/Comcast/Tivo, the Tivo with the built in DVD burner.

For software, I can't even begin to recall the number of apps that have come and gone over the years. Almost all of them have gone. Remember the ads that popped up over commercials? Probably not. Remember the Amazon integration? Probably not.

The point Tivo develops a lot more unsuccessful products than successful ones.
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