At CES 2014, CES was showing off a new prototype feature for operator-provided TiVo boxes—the network DVR. TiVo customers and DVR owners in general are already used to watching shows now (via Live TV) or recording future shows, all through the guide. With Network DVR features, TiVo customers will also have the ability to go back in the guide to watch previously-aired shows. In TiVo’s prototype demonstration, they showed a week’s worth of previously-aired shows on all channels.
It’s an ambitious project, and one that’s likely to be fraught with legal and licensing challenges. Essentially, TiVo (or the cable operator) would be retaining recordings of all shows in their originally-aired form—commercials and all—making them available for time-shifted viewing at a later time. In theory, previously-aired shows could also be “recorded,” or saved for even later viewing. TiVo demonstrated the concept on its best-in-class TiVo app for iOS, but the concept applies to the 10-foot lean-back experience from the set top box itself.
Of course, the amount of previously-aired content, specific channels, and mobile availability will all be subject to operator’s rights to the content. But that doesn’t make the possibilities any less interesting and exciting. This capability would compete directly with Dish’s PrimeTime Anytime feature (though leveraging technology in a different way), and it more-or-less blows Dish’s offering out of the water. We’ve been pondering what the cloud DVR of tomorrow might look like, and if this is indication of what we can expect, consumers might soon see much greater access and catch-up capabilities.
As an added bonus, TiVo’s press kit for the Network DVR included images of a TiVo channel for Roku—not something they discussed with us, but certainly an interesting concept to ponder. Imagine using your Roku as an extender of sorts for your Roamio or Stream-enabled Premiere. The images we saw suggest you could watch recorded or live shows and even record a show.
Android users have long been waiting for an Android tablet version of TiVo’s popular TiVo app. Previously hesitant to discuss specifics, the representatives we spoke with at TiVo did confirm that we should expect to see such an app optimized for 10” Android tablets later this year.
While TiVo wasn’t willing to answer specific questions about the (desperately-needed-and-hoped-to-be-soon) release of an updated Amazon app, they did confirm that the Opera TV Store is rolling out to Premiere owners this week. Available to Roamio users out of the box, the Opera TV Store adds many additional over-the-top video sources including Vimeo, TED, and others.
TiVo’s implementation of the Opera TV Store will focus on media content apps, and they expect to more deeply integrate these standards-based HTML apps, including the eventual ability to include them directly on your TiVo menu.
TiVo also announced the integration of the TiVo with Control4 for TiVo media management in Control4’s integrated smart home environment. In addition to live TV, Control4 owners will have access to TiVo’s show information, recorded shows, and full TiVo remote capabilities.
Did we mention that the slide remote is back? TiVo re-released a version of its iconic peanut remote with a sliding keyboard earlier last year, and if you’re a TiVo user, you really should get yourself one. In our experience, there is no better integrated keyboard/remote solution out there.
Read TiVo’s press release about the Network DVR.
Read TiVo’s press release about Control4 integration.