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TiVo Series4 pushes online video, QWERTY remote

updated 07:35 pm EST, Tue March 2, 2010

TiVo gets new UI, 1080p, Pandora

TiVo fought back in digital media tonight by launching the Series4, its long-planned overhaul of its DVRs. The new models center on a heavily redesigned, Flash-based and HD native interface that now puts online video services like Amazon VOD, Blockbuster and Netflix on a higher level than before; content available through those will appear in the same searches that spotlight regular TV shows. More Internet deals are also coming that will include Internet radio from Pandora and a mix of news, photos and status updates through FrameChannel.

Less dramatic adjustments include a 30-second scan mode to find a particular moment quickly, a video window to keep watching content uninterrupted, and a capacity gauge to make it clearer when old shows need to be erased.

Hardware has also been given a significant overhaul to bring it into the modern era. While the dial-up modem has disappeared, a single CableCARD slot now supports multistreaming and can record a show in the background without needing a second card. A multi-core processor is equally new and is key to 1080p support as well as third-party apps anticipated in the future. Ethernet networking and eSATA external storage carry over from Series3.

Optional accessories have been given more attention this time around and include a new Bluetooth remote that hides a slide-out QWERTY keyboard to speed up searches. An 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter is also due, and those dependent on dial-up will have the option of a modem.

Series4 is initially divided into two models dictated largely by capacity. The $300 Premiere holds a 320GB drive large enough for about 45 hours of typical HDTV. A much more capacious $500 Premiere XL will hold 1.5TB, or 150 hours, and will be THX-certified to help it integrate into home theaters with similar badging. Both of these are due in early April; the 802.11n adapter will be available for $90 in May, while dial-up will be an online-only purchase for $30.

TiVo's launch signals a new commitment to Internet content in the wake of a changed market. While the company has been quick to add online video as it became available, its DVRs have gradually lost impact as online-only set-top boxes like the Apple TV and the Roku Internet Player, as well as cross-over Blu-ray players, have reduced much of the dependence on time-shifted recordings from cable and satellite. Altering its interface to give equal weight to online video helps keep its device in constant use instead of letting customers drift away.











By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Aeolius

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2006

    +2

    DirecTV w/ TiVo

    As soon as DirecTV comes out with a DirecTV with TiVo, I can finally ditch Time-Warner. I would have done it sooner, but my wife likes the TiVo interface.

  1. Mike Richardson

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2009

    0

    Flash based? WTF?

    Flash based interface? Like Adobe Flash? Why would you want to do that.

  1. coffeetime

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Nov 2006

    +3

    Flash based interface

    ... so that they can repurpose it to other platform, web browsers, and other devices without reprogramming from scratch. The remote control is wicked cool.

  1. QualleyIV

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -2

    You lost a customer TiVo...

    Bad job TiVo. This is exactly what I DON'T want. I love my TiVo Series 2 and I loved my TiVo Series 3 (when I had it -- a beta tester, in fact), but this is just the wrong direction for them to go. I'll stick with my AppleTV for online video, and my Series 2 for broadcast TV.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +1

    Re: Directv

    Sorry, but Directv will never go back. h***, even when they had TiVo, it was a bastardized version which never kept up with the 'real' TiVo.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +1

    Really?

    a single CableCARD slot now supports multistreaming and can record a show in the background without needing a second card

    Actually, the Series 3 (at least my HD Tivos) do this already.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +1

    Re: You lost a customer

    Bad job TiVo. This is exactly what I DON'T want. I love my TiVo Series 2 and I loved my TiVo Series 3 (when I had it -- a beta tester, in fact), but this is just the wrong direction for them to go. I'll stick with my AppleTV for online video, and my Series 2 for broadcast TV.


    The AppleTV is fine, if all you want is to live in the Apple world of video, and have no desire to hook into any other service that Apple doesn't approve.


    And they didn't lose a customer, since you're still using it. And you apparently loved the Series 3 so much you never got it.

  1. OtisWild

    Junior Member

    Joined: Feb 2005

    -3

    Meh

    Slick remote, which I'd never use since all devices kowtow before the might of my Harmony.. 1080p = mostly useless, as I don't know of any cable channels that broadcast in 1080p, not even HBO..

    If it could play UPnP/DLNA like a PS3, Xbox, XBMC or Boxee, perhaps that would give it a spot in my system, otherwise I'll stick with the TivoHD until I drop cable TV entirely and torrent everything on cablemodem :p

  1. Climb AZ

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2009

    +1

    sweet

    I really liked my Tivo but when it broke I switched to Direct TV and their dvr. While still not nearly as slick as my series 3 it had some cool benefits. I'm glad to see Tivo finally get up to speed on the online and new hardware.

    I would really like to go back to Tivo if they stepped up their game.

    Well, what I would really like is for Apple to step up their game and come up with a AppleTV that is a dvr as well. Yes, I know the Apple TV is for the iTunes store but cmon. How cool would it be for it to do that plus be an HD DVR? There were rumors years ago about Apple buying Tivo and it was pretty exciting. Then we got Apple TV. I guess it's cool for what it is but it could be soooo much more too.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: Meh

    Slick remote, which I'd never use since all devices kowtow before the might of my Harmony.. 1080p = mostly useless, as I don't know of any cable channels that broadcast in 1080p, not even HBO..


    It's a forward-looking device. And who says the various video you can download will not be in 1080p?

    Oh, and if an AppleTV came out with 1080p, no one would would be dissing it for that reason, they'd be proclaiming Apple was once again pushing the boundaries of technology!

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