TiVo support for IPTV

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by WorldBandRadio, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. Oct 14, 2018 #1 of 355

    WorldBandRadio Active Member

    Dec 20, 2010
    I saw an interesting comment on the Comcast TV forum of the DSL Reports message board about TiVo's [lack of?] support for IPTV:

    Instead Comcast needs to move more quickly to IPTV. Better quality for all (of course tivo owners will be screwed until/unless tivo decides to pay the license, but it is in tivo control (tivo customers need to ask every day when tivo will be supporting IPTV)). Actually, thinking about it, tivo owners with lifetime should probably sell soon before the market drops out with the flood of lifetime tivos from Comcast subs on ebay.​

    That raised my curiosity regarding TiVo's planned support for IPTV. Will my Roamio Pro become obsolete when Comcast goes all-IPTV?
  2. Oct 14, 2018 #2 of 355

    mschnebly Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2011
    In my opinion, if Comcast moves "All In" on IPTV it will really diminish the resale of cable TiVos. Is there really a way to retrofit a TiVo to operate on an IPTV system? If they are less than stellar streamers on IP now, will they perform satisfactorily with only IPTV?
    mirajomin32 likes this.
  3. Oct 14, 2018 #3 of 355

    schatham Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2007
    This is one of my reasons for buying the base Roamio, OTA capability. I doubt you need to worry though, it will be a decade before that happens.
    mirajomin32 likes this.
  4. Oct 14, 2018 #4 of 355

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

    Aug 2, 2003
    It's perfectly capable now, in terms of hardware...
    mirajomin32 and coalponfire like this.
  5. Oct 14, 2018 #5 of 355

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2015
    I've been the guy who's perhaps posted most on this forum about the potential danger to TiVo owners that Comcast may switch from QAM to IPTV, thereby making TiVos obsolete for use with Comcast cable TV service.

    Honestly, we just don't know what's going to happen. IF Comcast does switch from QAM to IPTV, then I would expect that TiVos will cease to work with their service. I seriously doubt that Comcast would bend over backward to work with TiVo to engineer a software update that would allow the very, very small percentage of their customers on TiVos to continue accessing their service via IPTV through the native TiVo interface. Comcast, as well as all of the big cable companies, are moving toward the use of apps (which they design and control) as a means to access their services on retail device platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV and Android TV. I think these cable companies see TiVo as the past, not the future. Although as long as they continue to transmit their channels via QAM, then they must support access via CableCARD-equipped devices such as TiVo (unless the law gets changed).

    But again, it's a matter of IF and WHEN Comcast will shift from QAM to IPTV. Could happen next year. Or might not happen for another five years. Or maybe Comcast keeps some or all channels on QAM until the late 2020s when they exit the business because the whole concept of the linear cable channel bundle collapses since everything -- entertainment, sports, news -- has shifted to OTT direct-to-consumer streaming services owned by Netflix, Disney, AT&T, Amazon, Google, Apple and others. The TV landscape is pretty fluid right now. Several years back, Comcast flirted with the idea of employing switched digital video (as other cable co's have done) as a means to economize bandwidth but they held off, deciding that they would eventually make the bigger, final switch to IPTV. They've deployed their X1 boxes, which can handle both QAM and IPTV, to 60% or more of their user base now. There have been rumors for some time about them switching over to IPTV but no one knows. Perhaps they're pausing while they try to figure out where the whole industry is moving.

    I personally would not spend close to $1000 on a new TiVo set-up, including lifetime service, to use with Comcast cable TV. Too risky for me, but maybe not for you. Maybe the box stops working with Comcast TV completely, or at least on certain channels, within the next few years. Who knows? We are reading reports that recent upgrades that Comcast is doing to their network in various areas is making their Xfinity OnDemand app for TiVo no longer operable but, so far, core functionality with actual linear channels remains intact.

    The risk greatest, I'd say, is for those TiVo owners on Altice/Optimum cable TV (the #4 cable company in the US). They are currently converting their network over from cable to full fiber-to-the-home and, as that happens, switching from QAM to IPTV. TiVos will almost certainly be obsolete on their network after the switchover.

    As for Comcast, it's a crapshoot. But, yes, if/when TiVos become useless on the largest cable provider in the country, they cease to be a viable retail product and their value on the resale market will plummet.
    mirajomin32, mschnebly and dlfl like this.
  6. Oct 14, 2018 #6 of 355

    Bigg Cord Cutter

    Oct 30, 2003
    This is not a new issue. I've stopped caring, since Comcast's video quality is so bad that much of their content in unwatchable anyway. That being said, who knows. They are clearly moving towards IPTV, but they announce stuff, say stuff, and then miss those dates, nothing changes and life goes on. My bet is that the first thing to go is QAM-based VOD, which is still running, but X1 boxes use IPTV. I believe some sports packages and foreign language packages are already IPTV-only. As to when more mainstream content goes to IPTV, who knows. Comcast claims that they are going to make IPTV compatible with TiVo, but based on recent patent litigation, I'm rather skeptical. It is also not impossible that they could move higher tiers, or all cable channels to IPTV, and leave locals and maybe Starter on QAM, since those are the most watched channels, and TiVo users will be left deciding what they want to do based on that.

    My personal theory, as I stated in the DSLR thread, is that Comcast is waiting for several million more people to leave their pay tv service before making any big transitions. They've so badly over-compressed their HD that it's just not taking up that much bandwidth on the system compared to what it used to, and a lot more bandwidth is now used for DOCSIS 3 and DOCSIS 3.1 in order to deliver gigabit speeds.

    I like that theory. The space is moving so much faster than any of us could have reasonably predicted even 3-5 years ago.

    It depends if you have FiOS available. FiOS will likely be one of the last providers using QAM, since they have a dedicated 860mhz one-way QAM system that is of no value to anything except linear video. I strongly believe that Verizon will be doing linear QAM until they exit the pay TV business, which may be sooner than later, as they may want to streamline everything to OTT so that 5G and FiOS run on the same video platform. They're pushing their 5G customers onto YouTube TV.

    The resale value would drop if TiVos become useless on Comcast. However, some of the affected TiVos like the 2-tuner Premieres and 4-tuner Roamios can be used with OTA, which is a strong resale market, at least until 3.0 comes along. Comcast, however, is slightly less than half the QAM-based MSO market, with Charter, Verizon, Cox, Altice, and part of Frontier making up a little more than half of it. Further, some customers have Verizon FiOS, RCN, WOW, or another overbuilder available to switch to.

    All that being said, I agree abotu not buying a new TiVo for use on Comcast. Not a good bet. Charter will most likely have QAM around in 5-7 years, as they are technologically behind Comcast is basically everything, but who knows if we will still have a pay tv market as we know it today by then.
    compuguy and mirajomin32 like this.
  7. Oct 15, 2018 #7 of 355

    tenthplanet Well-Known Member

    Mar 5, 2004
    Don't be concerned about resale value. Dvr's are tools, they aren't houses or cars. Use your tools, take care of them, the day will come when they won't of be value/of any use to any one. Tools eventually wear out. You buy new tools.
  8. Oct 15, 2018 #8 of 355

    sangs Active Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    New Jersey
    One of the most sensible posts found anywhere in the TiVo forums. Ever.
    MonitorMan, mirajomin32, jlb and 5 others like this.
  9. Oct 15, 2018 #9 of 355

    Anotherpyr Active Member

    May 6, 2015
    I agree. If you’re worried about resale value sell now, or pack away and sell when they’re rare because the rest have been destroyed or recycled for their raw materials.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
    MonitorMan and PSU_Sudzi like this.
  10. Oct 15, 2018 #10 of 355

    WorldBandRadio Active Member

    Dec 20, 2010
    I'm not. The person in the message I quoted seemed to have a concern, though.

    My concern is: how much longer will my current TiVo continue to work, and does TiVo have a plan to deal with IPTV?

    I've read that Comcast is already starting to move its X1 platform to IPTV, so I have to wonder how long before Comcast's QAM goes away completely and my TiVo does little more than hold up the dust?
  11. Oct 15, 2018 #11 of 355

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    Right. I have a Series 2 DT (649080) in perfect operating condition stored in the basement since 2009, just waiting for it to become a priceless antique. :rolleyes:
    MonitorMan and mirajomin32 like this.
  12. Oct 15, 2018 #12 of 355

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2015
    The resale value of TiVos with lifetime service is cited by many folks as a reason why it makes economic sense to go that route rather than rent a DVR from the cable company. Buy a new TiVo Bolt 3TB with lifetime, plus a Mini for your 2nd TV, for a total of $1230, use them for five years, then sell them for a total of, say, $500 (after eBay fees and shipping costs). That works out to an effective cost of a little more than $12 per month for DVR service on two TVs, which is probably much cheaper than what you'd pay if you used the cable company's boxes.

    My point is that that rationale would pretty much cease to exist at the moment when Comcast TV service becomes incompatible with TiVos (IF that were to ever happen). Let's say you spend $1230 now for that same TiVo hardware with lifetime service and then, 24 months later, Comcast TV becomes incompatible with TiVo. (Or, perhaps, all but the most basic tier of channels becomes incompatible.) At that point, about 45% of the target market for CableCARD-equipped TiVos would just be gone. If it's seemed like TiVo has struggled to survive in the retail market the last few years, then it becomes completely infeasible for them to do so at that point (as far as CableCARD devices, not necessarily OTA devices). Losing Comcast compatibility would almost certainly mean the end of TiVo selling new CableCARD-equipped DVRs.

    Meanwhile, eBay and other resale markets would be flooded with used TiVos from Comcast customers who could no longer use them. (This is the scenario referenced in the OP at the start of this thread.) So there would be a big rise in the supply of used TiVos. Meanwhile, there would be far less demand for used TiVos since no other Comcast customers would be looking to buy one. As far as that goes, lots of folks on other pay TV systems (Charter, Verizon FiOS, etc.) might decide against buying a used TiVo too because it appears to be a dying product. So instead of fetching $500, maybe you get $250 for your lifetime Bolt and Mini. (Keep in mind that the 3TB Bolt can't do OTA, only CableCARD.) In which case, you spent a net amount of $980 for 24 months of DVR service on two TVs, which works out to an average of about $41 per month. Not nearly as attractive a figure as $12.

    That said, if you really want to stay with Comcast TV (rather than satellite or a streaming service like Hulu Live or YouTube TV) and you greatly prefer TiVo over Comcast's X1 (and there are certainly reasons to prefer TiVo), then maybe those figures don't bother you. Just something to think about.
    mrizzo80 likes this.
  13. Oct 15, 2018 #13 of 355
    Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

    Aug 21, 2002
    New York...
    The economics of buying Tivo versus using the cableco provided boxes should NEVER include resale value. You are talking about selling a five or more year old item of consumer electronics. 5 years is forever in this market. The best time to buy new Tivo DVRs was the spring/summer of 2014 when there were all those discount coupons floating around. I purchased 2 Roamio Pros and 5 Minis, ALL with lifetime service, for ~$2400. Doing so, compared to using Verizon's Quantum DVRs (brand new at the time) saved us over $100 per month, so we broke even in about 2 years. Back then, you could be very sure of getting at least 2 years out of the equipment, so any resale value would be a bonus. Today, the future longevity of TiVos is not so clear.

    If you are not sure you can recoup the investment by USING the TiVos you probably shouldn't buy one.
    MonitorMan, mrsean, Bigg and 5 others like this.
  14. Oct 15, 2018 #14 of 355

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2012
    Riverside, CA
    Somewhat off the subject, but one can do what I have done, buy used or refurbished units at prices far less than new. Then keep two, three or four years sell them and buy a newer used model. And, while computing TiVo costs versus cable company boxes, how about considering that TiVo’s are quite superior to the cable co boxes, at least as far as the POS boxes from Spectrum.
  15. Oct 15, 2018 #15 of 355

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2015
    Many posters on this forum over the years, who have sold their used TiVos with lifetime service for decent amounts of money, would disagree with you.

    But I do agree that the future longevity of TiVos is less clear now than in the past, for a number of reasons.

    At any rate, if you aren't including future resale value for a TiVo with lifetime service, then that makes the decision to drop $1000 or more up-front on TiVo even dicier because it increases the amount of time you'd need to keep and use the equipment to recoup your initial investment.
    PSU_Sudzi likes this.
  16. Oct 15, 2018 #16 of 355

    chicagobrownblue Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    New Comcast Xfinity install last week. One vertical box sure looks like a cable modem, has 4 wired ports and I can connect to it wirelessly. Other box is rectangular and not as elegant as my Roamio. Red light comes on when I assume it is recording. Seems like IPTV is not here in Chicago now.

    I may buy an OTA Bolt once a few comments appear here. Maybe the Roamio tuners will generate less heat. My Roamio will go to a friend.
  17. Oct 15, 2018 #17 of 355

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    The warmest location on a Roamio is the area surrounding the tuner. They seem to be the same tuners. Roamio (OTA & basic) do a better job of removing the heat. An external fan does an amazing job on a Bolt and a Roamio.
  18. Oct 15, 2018 #18 of 355

    chicagobrownblue Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    Since when is consumption an investment? And if $1000 is an investment you probably can't afford to spend it.
    MonitorMan and ej42137 like this.
  19. Oct 15, 2018 #19 of 355

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

    Aug 2, 2003
    Did they? I don't recall seeing that before... do you have a link?

    Of course, they'd probably just do a port of their app, so you wouldn't be able to record anything (except on the "network" DVR), or really use the TiVo interface.
  20. Oct 15, 2018 #20 of 355

    PSU_Sudzi Well-Known Member

    Jun 4, 2015
    Philly suburbs
    I thought that I saw that posted as well, something like “we’re working on a solution for that” here at some point in the past few months.

Share This Page