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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
TiVo talks streaming apps, Android hardware, and a potential live TV service | TechHive

Two quick questions.

From Article: (on being behind with apps on TiVo)
"One way to solve that problem might be to migrate the TiVo software over to another platform, like Android TV, which has a much larger selection of streaming apps."

1. The up side of switching to Android software to improve app availability is understood, but is their a potential downside to Android for the regular TiVo function, considering past problems?

Also from Article:
"Another approach for TiVo would be to offer its own live TV streaming service, similar to what SiliconDust has done with its $35-per-month HDHomeRun Premium TV offering. That way, cord-cutters could keep the DVR experience they had with cable and get more than just over-the-air channels. Malone said TiVo has considered offering such a package."

"I think if we were to do something there, we would want it to be seamlessly integrated into the tuner experience," Malone said. "We don't have any plans to announce right now, but… I would like to have something to announce in the area."

2. For now a few cord cutting apps are more cost effective than cable, but it has been warned that the cost to consumers will rise to existing cable levels as content providers are going into their own silos and charging for their individual content, away from content aggregators like Netflix, duplicating cable's business models with similar costs. Therefore, should Tivo wait and see how this new system pans out before rushing in?
 

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From the article:

If you have a TiVo that supports transcoding (including the Roamio Pro, Roamio Plus, Bolt, Bolt Vox, and Bolt OTA), these apps will let you stream live and recorded video to another TV, either at home or on the road. For other TiVo devices that lack transcoding, such as the entry-level Roamio or Roamio OTA, you'll need a separate TiVo Stream box to use the apps.

In a demo, the streaming apps looked similar to the menu system on TiVo's own hardware, but they do have one notable limitation: Video streams will be limited to 720p resolution at 30 frames per second. That means you won't get the smooth motion of 60-fps video for sports, news, and talk programming, nor will you be able to watch broadcasts in their native MPEG-2 format.

"I want 720p 60 [fps]," Malone said. "I've done some internal demos proving that 720p 60 [fps] is actually noticeably better than 720p 30. It's really a battle for resources and just getting it done."

Malone said the TiVo hardware can technically support higher-quality streams, but not without dialing back some other capabilities, such as streaming to TiVo Mini Vox boxes.​
 

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Malone said the TiVo hardware can technically support higher-quality streams, but not without dialing back some other capabilities, such as streaming to TiVo Mini Vox boxes.​
I don't understand this statement at all. AFAICT, streaming to a Mini involves no reencoding.
 

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... but is their a potential downside to Android for the regular TiVo function, considering past problems?
What problems are those?

... should Tivo wait and see how this new system pans out before rushing in?
No. It's the future, regardless of pricing. Cable companies (at least Comcast) are turning into broadband companies, and planning to turn away from traditional cable video altogether. And that's a good thing, IMHO. As far as pricing, we may not be seeing much competition now, but de-coupling of the delivery from the content allows at least the possibility of such competition in the future -- something we haven't had in the monolithic cable era.
 

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I think he is referring to streaming at 720p for apps like Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Android TV that will access a TiVo box remotely as opposed to the full streaming at 1080p or highly going to the Mini.
Yes, I get that. But that doesn't explain it for me. The functions are unrelated, AFAICT.
 

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Also from Article:
"Another approach for TiVo would be to offer its own live TV streaming service, similar to what SiliconDust has done with its $35-per-month HDHomeRun Premium TV offering. That way, cord-cutters could keep the DVR experience they had with cable and get more than just over-the-air channels. Malone said TiVo has considered offering such a package."

"I think if we were to do something there, we would want it to be seamlessly integrated into the tuner experience," Malone said. "We don't have any plans to announce right now, but… I would like to have something to announce in the area."
This is a good plan. :up:
 

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The part of the interview I found most interesting was Malone's suggestion that TiVo is considering an Android TV-powered retail device to follow in the footsteps of the Android TV-powered device that has already been developed for pay TV partners.

My major complaint with TiVo in recent years is that its app selection is far behind dedicated streaming devices, such as Roku and Fire TV. While TiVo offers several popular apps-including Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Go-it's missing lots of others, such as Showtime, Starz, Sling TV, Philo, PBS Kids, Crackle, Pluto, and NBA TV. To access those services, you need a separate streaming device, which means you'll constantly be switching inputs and remotes.

One way to solve that problem might be to migrate the TiVo software over to another platform, like Android TV, which has a much larger selection of streaming apps. In fact, TiVo already offers Android TV-based hardware to cable providers.

Malone said TiVo has recently started considering an Android TV device for consumers, but it's unclear what exactly that product would be.

"I think the question is, if we're going to do something in the Android TV space, what should it be able to do?" Malone said. "Should it be an accessory to a DVR? Should it be a standalone device? Should we do our own streamer? Those are the kinds of questions I would ask you and your readers: Why?"

Hey, can I collect a consulting fee from TiVo? I was the first one on here years ago saying that they should embrace Android (either open-source Android or Google's Android TV) as the operating system for their devices in order to gain access to a large app platform. ;-)

Since TiVo took my initial advice, I'll answer Ted's new set of questions. No, it makes no sense for an Android TV-powered TiVo retail device to be an accessory to a DVR. It should be a replacement for the current Bolt OTA DVR, a one-box solution that contains OTA tuners and hard drive, with pretty much the same TiVo system-wide UI but also having access to the Google Play Store and Android TV apps, with content across the most popular apps deep-linked to TiVo's OnePass and universal search features. This would address the main shortcoming of the Bolt OTA, which is a lack of apps. I can't really see a rationale for a non-DVR streamer box from TiVo except in the form of an Android TV-powered TiVo Mini, which would provide for whole-home DVR functionality when paired with the main DVR box, like now. Of course, folks could also use the forthcoming TiVo app on other streaming devices to watch live or recorded OTA TV from the Android TV TiVo DVR.

Alternatively, TiVo could come up with a headless network OTA DVR solution similar to Tablo or the Fire TV Recast. They designed something like that over a year ago -- the TiVo Mavrik -- but then scuttled it. Such a product would just use the TiVo apps for Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV and Android TV as the front ends for all viewing. But similar competing products already have a big head-start in that arena and I'm not sure TiVo could really improve on it all that much. The Bolt OTA stands out relative to those products because of its simplicity as well as the quality of the user experience (the original MPEG2 OTA recordings, automated ad-skipping, some amount of streaming content integration into a unified UI, the TiVo remote control). What's holding it back is the quality and quantity of streaming apps, which is what embracing Android TV would largely solve.
 

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Isn't Google working on a replacement for Android? Seems kinda late to be jumping on the Android bandwagon if it's going to be replaced in the next few years.

I still think their best bet is to go the Tablo route and make a headless DVR that is accessed via another streaming device, rather than trying to make their own streaming device to add to an already crowded field. Maybe they can work with Roku or Amazon to offer better deep linking into apps so that their OnePass functionality will continue to work. Or maybe they can dump that whole idea and just go back to recordings.

I think offering a streaming package, like SD does, is the ONLY way TiVo survives long term in the retail market. If they can integrate it seamlessly with OTA, and offer a decent combo of channels, they will have a hit product. Plus it would allow them to charge a monthly revenue for a tangible service that people see value in, rather than for guide data which people have always balked at paying for. Roll it all into one package and you've got a service you can actually charge money for without having to tack it on to the hardware or charge a huge "lifetime" fee for.
 

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Isn't Google working on a replacement for Android? Seems kinda late to be jumping on the Android bandwagon if it's going to be replaced in the next few years.
Google is working on a successor OS called Fuchsia (which will reportedly be able to run existing Android apps) but it is likely still a few years away from commercial deployment (and may only be deployed on Google's own devices, like Apple's iOS/tvOS). Given the huge install base of Android, Android apps will be around for a long, long time. Android TV continues to grow and there's really no other option that TiVo has if they want turnkey access to an established, broad app ecosystem (apart from a merger or strategic alliance with Roku, perhaps).

I still think their best bet is to go the Tablo route and make a headless DVR that is accessed via another streaming device, rather than trying to make their own streaming device to add to an already crowded field. Maybe they can work with Roku or Amazon to offer better deep linking into apps so that their OnePass functionality will continue to work. Or maybe they can dump that whole idea and just go back to recordings.
Fair enough. I'm just not sure what reason such a product would have to exist versus all the similar options that already exist -- Fire TV Recast, Tablo, SiliconDust HDHomeRun -- unless it really did offer a unified OTA+streaming UI with OnePass functionality that worked really well. We'll have to see how the upcoming TiVo apps for Roku, Fire TV and Apple TV work because my guess is that a headless network OTA DVR would use those exact same apps. I'm pretty sure the user experience, while OK, will fall short of using a "real TiVo" like the Bolt OTA.

I think offering a streaming package, like SD does, is the ONLY way TiVo survives long term in the retail market. If they can integrate it seamlessly with OTA, and offer a decent combo of channels, they will have a hit product. Plus it would allow them to charge a monthly revenue for a tangible service that people see value in, rather than for guide data which people have always balked at paying for. Roll it all into one package and you've got a service you can actually charge money for without having to tack it on to the hardware or charge a huge "lifetime" fee for.
You may be right. But there's no reason that the Android TV-powered one-box OTA DVR that I imagine above couldn't also work with an optional TiVo streaming cable service (assuming that TiVo could negotiate the contracts with the cable networks, which is a big if.) Might be more feasible for TiVo to simply get one of the existing ones, like PS Vue, to integrate their live streams, cloud DVR, etc. with the native TiVo UI on their devices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
But isn't the reason Google is working on a replacement for Android is that Android has become problematic in stability and consistency, how would this be an improvement over their current operating platform if TiVo goes down that road?
 

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If there is another TiVo generation, it should do absolutely nothing but record. Then there should be TiVo apps available on all the streaming devices (Roku, Chromecast, etc) to play the recordings. No need for more than one TiVo supported app, get all the other streaming services from devices well designed and supported to provide them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If there is another TiVo generation, it should do absolutely nothing but record. Then there should be TiVo apps available on all the streaming devices (Roku, Chromecast, etc) to play the recordings. No need for more than one TiVo supported app, get all the other streaming services from devices well designed and supported to provide them.
Quality of TiVo apps on streaming devices will be limited to 720p and will not have TiVo's full performance delivery level
 

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If there is another TiVo generation, it should do absolutely nothing but record. Then there should be TiVo apps available on all the streaming devices (Roku, Chromecast, etc) to play the recordings. No need for more than one TiVo supported app, get all the other streaming services from devices well designed and supported to provide them.
I have great news for you -- such a product already exists! It's called Tablo. And it sources its program guide data from Gracenote, so it's higher quality than the Rovi guide data that TiVo now uses. (We can quibble about the quality of the Tablo UI vs. the TiVo Hydra UI but think about what the TiVo UI would be like if all streaming and on-demand sources were stripped out -- so that it focuses only on live and recorded TV, as you suggest -- and if it had to work with the simple remote controls that come with streaming boxes.)
 

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I have great news for you -- such a product already exists! It's called Tablo. And it sources its program guide data from Gracenote, so it's higher quality than the Rovi guide data that TiVo now uses. (We can quibble about the quality of the Tablo UI vs. the TiVo Hydra UI but think about what the TiVo UI would be like if all streaming and on-demand sources were stripped out -- so that it focuses only on live and recorded TV, as you suggest -- and if it had to work with the simple remote controls that come with streaming boxes.)
Not to fan the fires -- but it also has lifetime that's tied to the account and not the device. :)

(Now to sit back with popcorn ... and watch the fireworks) :D
 

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I have great news for you -- such a product already exists! It's called Tablo. And it sources its program guide data from Gracenote, so it's higher quality than the Rovi guide data that TiVo now uses. (We can quibble about the quality of the Tablo UI vs. the TiVo Hydra UI but think about what the TiVo UI would be like if all streaming and on-demand sources were stripped out -- so that it focuses only on live and recorded TV, as you suggest -- and if it had to work with the simple remote controls that come with streaming boxes.)
Tablo can't be directly connected to TV like a Tivo. Streaming only, will become fodder for Amazon Recast down the line. Tivo gives better video qailty.
 
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