WOW!'s latest TiVo-powed deployment provides showcase of hybrid set-top of the future

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by HarperVision, Jun 2, 2016.

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  1. Jun 2, 2016 #1 of 25
    HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

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    I'm still betting this will be the new TiVo mini replacement and they'll offer an OTT service at some point that this can utilize.

    http://www.fierceinstaller.com/stor...qVng0amx6cTRseDZwM2tjZkZXYnVlY2xCU215VT0ifQ==

     
  2. Jun 2, 2016 #2 of 25
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    If you drill down thru several links starting in the linked press release, specifically to here:

    http://evolutiondigital.com/ebox-ip-hybrid-stb/

    you see under features:

    Really? single tuner?
     
  3. Jun 2, 2016 #3 of 25
    snerd

    snerd Well-Known Member

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    Why not? It isn't a DVR, and has no hard drive. Since it can't record, multiple tuners serve no purpose.
     
  4. Jun 2, 2016 #4 of 25
    rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    Why would you need more than 1 tuner? Cloud based recordings and VOD negate the need for multiple tuners. With IP based devices, tuners are not really important.
     
  5. Jun 2, 2016 #5 of 25
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Sorry, I thought more importance was being implied for this than just a mini replacement.
     
  6. Jun 2, 2016 #6 of 25
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure I see how this hybrid IP/QAM set-top box, dubbed "eBox", makes sense as a replacement for the current retail TiVo Mini. Yes, one of the stated functions that the new eBox can fulfill is serving as a client/extender for existing hard-drive-based TiVo DVRs (e.g. the TiVo T6) -- in other words, yes, the eBox can act as a Mini. But it can do a lot more than that and was designed specifically to meet the needs of cable MSOs as they transition from the traditional cable TV world of QAM-based linear channels and an array of expensive STBs, some including failure-prone hard drives, to the coming world of all IP-based content with cloud DVR functionality. Sounds like this eBox is pretty flexible, allowing MSOs to deploy them once and keep them in the field as they change their back-end technology and menu of available services to customers.

    Perhaps TiVo will roll out a retail version of the eBox, for cable TV subscribers who want to own their STB and enjoy the TiVo UI while accessing their cable provider's IP-based TV, cloud DVR, etc. But the problem is that the eBox is part of the "post-CableCARD" cable TV landscape. So TiVo would have to negotiate with each MSO to allow a retail version of this box to work with that MSO's services and to incorporate a software-based security solution that is acceptable to the MSO. Would Comcast, Charter, Cox, etc. work with TiVo to do that?
     
  7. Jun 2, 2016 #7 of 25
    HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

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    That's actually the point. I'm not saying thats all it will ever be. It starts out as a simple client box that has its own single tuner so it doesn't have to steal one from its host if and when the viewer wants to watch live tv. But then it can morph into whatever is desired or needed in almost any given situation. It can be a stand alone cable box that offers TV and streaming apps, it can be a DVR client box, it can be an iptv box, it can be a mixture of all of these. As the name implies, it's an evolutionary box.
     
  8. Jun 2, 2016 #8 of 25
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Unless TiVo is pretty certain that all those features of such a box would work in a retail context, I don't see them releasing it as a retail product. "Buy it now to act as a Mini and maybe at some point in the future if we work out a deal with your particular cable provider, it will have additional functionality too." I dunno, I guess if the build-out cost for the eBox was no more than it is for the Mini, maybe they would do that and simply be mum about any future capabilities the box might get through future software updates. (Keep in mind too that the eBox is not made by TiVo, rather it only uses TiVo software.)

    I still think it's wrong to think of the eBox as the successor to the TiVo Mini. The eBox represents the successor to the TiVo itself -- it's the main thing, not simply a sidekick box.
     
  9. Jun 2, 2016 #9 of 25
    HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

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    They won't have to. I'm betting they will jump on the OTT bandwagon and offer either their own service, or contract with SlingTV, Vue, DirecTV Now, etc.

    Of course it's not made by TiVo, they keep stating (if you read my other posts) that they want out of the hardware business.

    Didn't I just explain that??? :confused:

     
  10. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Um, you started this thread by saying you think the eBox will be the new TiVo Mini.

    As far as offering this as a retail product to go along with TiVo's own streaming cable TV service, something like PS Vue, why would it need a QAM tuner? (Why would a next-gen Mini extender need a QAM tuner, for that matter? Without its own CableCARD, could it use the tuner to access encrypted cable channels?)

    Anyhow, TiVo has indeed indicated that there is a retail product coming this year that is not a traditional DVR, which would seem to indicate some kind of streaming box. Why wouldn't they simply take the guts of a Bolt, minus the hard drive, and stick it in a new small enclosure? Is there something about this new eBox that runs on a different software platform than existing TiVo boxes like the Bolt, giving it access to more OTT apps?

    You may be right that TiVo will roll out their own PS Vue-style subscription TV service, although I see little in TiVo or Rovi to indicate that they're prepared for that sort of undertaking with the major content providers. Although I guess they could strike a deal with one of the emerging players, e.g. Vidgo, to white label their service for use on TiVo retail hardware.
     
  11. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    If you mean you have "virtual" cloud based recordings, WITH UNLIMITED (or a heck of a lot) storage, WITHOUT commercials.. then I'd agree with you.
     
  12. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    As cable MSOs move to IP, hard drive based recordings are a thing of the past regardless.
     
  13. HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

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    Yes, to start with, then it will "Evolve" (as in "Evolution") as the industry does. That's exactly what this eBox was designed to do.

    So it would work for a wider range of customers, from the ones that already have a TiVo DVR (act as an extender/mini) to new prospective customers that may just want a simple single tuner HD cable TV and streaming app integrated box to those that want the OTT service mixed with the streaming apps, or even a combo of them all.

    Think about it, if this came out and offered an OTT service on it, let's say Vue, and it could be an OTT, streaming app and TiVo DVR Mini extender all in one for ~$149, then I for one would switch all my minis to these so I could integrate all my apps, Vue, TiVo recordings, etc into one master OnePass list, owning "Input One" on my TV. I would use these devices on all my TVs and make my TiVo DVR just a gateway device that has the tuners for my OTA/Cable signal recordings (unless they can load the same FW onto the main TiVo too).

    For someone that doesn't have any TiVo currently, they could easily just buy one of these for each TV they want service on, subscribe to Vue OTT (or whatever is on there) and whatever apps they want (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon) just like a Roku, FireTV, etc. but with the famous TiVo interface. If they have cable or antenna service, then the unit has a tuner too! If they decide to get cable or use an antenna later on, then boom...just add a full blown TiVo and you have your QAM/ATSC live TV and recordings available now too.

    It would need the QAM tuner to be a Mini (think TiVo Preview) that can use it's own tuner for live TV without using one from the host TiVo. It probably doesn't need a cablecard because it can use DTA type software encryption, which also don't have cablecards. Some of these DTAs already exist using a TiVo GUI. See HERE

    Because they've already reported they are moving in a direction away from manufacturing their own hardware to using all third party STBs, in this case, Evolution Digital.

    I think that they wouldn't roll their own, but contract with someone like PS Vue or DirecTV Now (AT&T).

    See the vision and the "evolution" they're trying to move to with this device?

    http://m.evolutiondigital.com/acton/attachment/3194/f-00c5/1/-/-/-/-/eBOX_TiVoPowered_SS_160503.pdf :
     

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    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
  14. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    The eBox makes a lot of sense for TiVo's MSO partners. It solves several of the problems they currently face and was clearly designed specifically for that market. While we may see a new retail device from TiVo this year that incorporates some of the technology in the eBox, I really don't think we'll see this exact same hardware simply rebranded as a retail device (like the TiVo Roamio/T6). (In fact, every time TiVo has done that in the past, it was the other way around, with the new hardware debuting on the retail side, then making its way to the MSO market.) I question whether we'll ever see post-CableCARD retail TiVos that can work with cable TV services. It's been clear for some time now that TiVo's future lies in working as a software/data/service partner to MSOs, not as a retail hardware and service provider.

    All that said, I do believe it is certainly possible that we'll see a new retail TiVo box this year without a hard drive that's marketed as a streaming box, maybe with a PS Vue-style service and even an ATSC tuner built-in. Perhaps it can also serve as a Mini-type extender for those who already have a traditional TiVo DVR in their home, although TiVo would be smart not to market it as an extension of their current product line-up but rather as an all-new streaming box for the cord-cutter market which is not all that interested in hard-drive based DVRs or devices that require a monthly service fee (other than for content-based services like Netflix). Essentially, the product would be a direct competitor to Roku. I've been saying for some time now that there's a niche for TiVo to fill there, if they can provide an integrated UI with universal search/browse/watchlist, but the key question is whether they can gain access to a few more missing OTT apps like HBO Now, Showtime, etc.
     
  15. HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

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    So why would they spend more time and capital to re-engineer something like that or contract out to a third party company like Pace or Evolution Digital when they have something like this that can already do all that in the eBox?

    I guess it's all speculation and we shall see, hopefully sooner than later. Maybe it's being timed to release with the new DirecTV Now OTT service in Q4 this year? :D
     
  16. HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

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    Or maybe they will use Evolution Digital's own IPTV OTT solution:

     
  17. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    So I thought I'd Google the i-Velozity platform you mentioned and I found this:

    http://www.i-velozity.com/

    You know what I find interesting on that page? Not so much the fact that iVelozity is Evolution Digital's turnkey solution for providing VOD to MSOs but rather that it "offers an Android powered OTT box to target Internet-only or standalone customers".

    Back up in post #10, I asked "Is there something about this new eBox that runs on a different software platform than existing TiVo boxes like the Bolt, giving it access to more OTT apps?" It's not 100% clear but it seems likely given that bullet point above that the eBox is based on Android. Maybe they're taking the TiVo and Rovi FanTV UIs and feature sets and rebuilding them atop Android in something other than Haxe (perhaps as a native Android app)? And if the eBox's OS is Android, that could open it up to a world of OTT apps that have already been developed for Fire TV and/or Android TV (given that the developers permit those apps to run on eBox), freeing them from relying on TiVo's current set of HTML5 apps.

    I've been calling for such a move on these boards from TiVo for a long time now if they want to offer a compelling streaming box. Maybe this will happen on the retail side too, with a box aimed at cord cutters. My guess is that, like the MSO-only eBox that was developed by Evolution Digital in conjunction with TiVo, a new retail box would be developed and sold by a retail hardware/STB maker with familiarity with Android and they would simply license the TiVo brand/UI/data services to run on their box. My thoughts there are definitely informed by yesterday's comments from the Rovi CFO on the future of their retail efforts:
    http://zatznotfunny.com/2016-06/future-tivos-retail-business/
     
  18. HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

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    Interesting concept. Good sleuthing, Sherlock! ;)
     
  19. tomhorsley

    tomhorsley Well-Known Member

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    Android would clearly make vast amounts of sense for apps. If android apps "just worked", no one would need to beg for apps to be created because everyone seems to already make apps for android.
     
  20. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. I bought a Roamio OTA a little over a year ago as a new cord-cutter (moving away from DirecTV) in the hopes that it could be my "one box" to smartly integrate live and recorded OTA TV with various streaming sources with a unifying system interface. It comes tantalizing close in various ways, with universal search, OnePass, and a single list of saved recorded and streaming shows. And it has Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Vudu and YouTube. But over time I've given up on my TiVo being an ideal single TV solution. It needs more streaming apps, better performing apps, and a more accurate and updated OnePass database for streaming content.

    Moving to Android (whether a modified version of open source Android, like Amazon Fire TV, or licensing Google's Android TV platform) would be a way for TiVo to gain access to a big existing library of apps that "just work". Given the increasing importance of streaming video to consumers, it makes a lot of sense for future TiVo products, whether on the retail or MSO side, to be Android-powered.
     

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