TiVo *really* To Go?

So I was reading the latest issue of Popular Science and on page 15, in “What’s New” there is a one page article on a forthcoming product, the Tight Systems‘ Taz 1. A portable video player with a removable/swappable 60GB HD, 4″ LCD (latest chat on their forums indicates that has changed to a 5″ widescreen display), removable pocket MP3 player that uses SD cards (you can move music to/from the HD), etc. Not bad…

But this is the interesting part:
Tight Systems is working with TiVo to enable video downloading direct from you home media center. While most PVPs require you to do analog recording over RCA cables, with the Taz it will be a matter of hitting the “Export to portable” option on your TiVo menu. Your content will download directly to the Taz’s memory either via Ethernet or USB 2.0.

Well, isn’t *that* interesting? The Taz also won a “Best of Innovations” award at CES 2004. They don’t appear to have mentioned TiVo on their website, but it has come up in their forums (other people have seen the article too) and their CEO has commented that they are in negotiations with TiVo. So this may not happen, but it looks like they’re trying to do it. Here are two threads that the CEO posts in that mention the TiVo deal: first thread, second thread.

If this comes to market it could be very interesting indeed.

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MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
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  • unteins

    I thought that Tivo Series 2 used USB 1, which would mean that, like the Home Networking option copying from Tivo to Tivo, it would be painfully slow at 11 MBit max…..

  • megazone

    The original S2 40 and 60 hour units used USB 1.1 HW.

    All other S2 boxes use USB 2.0 HW – starting with the 80 hour unit, and then the second rev of the 40 hour unit (they changed the internal layout of the box – new MB, new drive mounting, etc, with the 80 and then switched the 40 to use the new components), as well as the Sony SVR-3000. Also all of the 2nd generation DirecTiVo units have USB2.0 HW.

    Currently all S2 boxes are limited to USB1.1 in *software*, but that’s just an issue of distributing a driver upgrade.

    Considering the sales ramp up the USB 1.1 HW units are a small minority.

    Even with USB1.1, with a direct USB connection you should be able to transfer even Best level recordings in better than real time. USB1.1 with an Ethernet adapter can *almost* manage realtime for Best, and sometimes does for me – barely, and that’s with TCP-over-USB overhead. Lower quality levels transfer better than realtime no problem.

  • unteins

    Cool…..I hope they ship the driver for USB 2.0 as I have the Sony boxes….

    I used wireless networking for my boxes. I have noticed that the speed has gotten much better with them in close proximity to the router…maybe it works well, I rarely use it at the moment. Unfortunately I’d like to move a unit to another part of the house, but then who knows how the speed will be again.

  • megazone

    The problem is 802.11b’s real world throughput for sustained transfers tends to be less than 5Mbps at best, and sometimes much less. What they really need to do is release both USB2.0 and 802.11g drivers.

  • unteins

    Unfortunately from what I have read about the G standard it appears that if the whole network is not G then it all runs as B….which doesn’t really help much.

    I have to run a length of Cable to the back room, so I may just toss a piece of ethernet in there as well, then I can switch the Tivos to Ethernet if and when USB 2.0 drivers are released.

  • megazone

    It depends on the networking gear – some systems are better at handling mixed-mode than others. At first most systems just dropped back to 11b speeds, but now some of them supposedly handle juggling speeds better.

    If I were buying any gear today I’d buy 11g, it is pushing 11b out of the market rapidly.

    You will get better throughput over Cat5 than 11b, even today.

  • unteins

    I have one older system which won’t take a G card, at least not in the built in slot…maybe USB….but I’ll have to look into that later.

    Yeah, but for now my 802.11b Tivos are less than 5 feet from the base station so its not unbearable :)