TiVo would have to put something out on the one day I’m not glued to the net. I saw this this morning in my FCC RSS feeds in Google Reader on my Droid, but I’m just getting a chance to sit down with my laptop and WiFi to post it. This is related to my post from yesterday about TiVo’s last FCC filing, in which they revealed the intended retail plans and time frame for the TiVo Premiere Elite. In today’s filing they go further, revealing “TiVo Premiere Elite Training” slides which detail many of the product features. The full filing is at the FCC, but I’ve also uploaded it here for posterity, just in case.
To make it easier to view the slides I’ve saved them out separately:
As the training slides makes clear, the retail TiVo Premiere Elite is basically identical to the MSO-oriented TiVo Premiere Q, announced in June.
- Targeted at the custom home theater market – which means it isn’t going to be cheap. Given the current Premiere/Premiere XL $99.99/$299.99 pricing, I expect this to be at least $499.99, and possibly much more.
- Four digital (QAM) tuners
- 2TB of storage – 300 hours of HD or 2200 hours of SD recordings
- Supports all TiVo broadband partners (Amazon, Netflix, Blockbuster, Hulu, YouTube, etc.), unlike MSO boxes which lack some of these (notably Netflix) due to contract limitations.
- Network content sharing with other TiVo boxes – the Premiere & Premire XL, and probably the Preview if that ever comes to retail. This seems to be streaming, which we know is coming.
- MoCA support, including MoCA bridge. This was a feature of the Premiere Q some were unsure would make it to retail.
- THX-certified, as befits a high end box.
- Full 1080p and 1080i support, including HDMI compliant splitters for up to 16 HDMI ports. We’ll see what ’1080p’ means. The TiVo Premiere has 1080p support – but only 1080p24 pass-through, no upscaling, no 1080p60, etc.
- Supports Control4, Crestron (misspelled in the slide as ‘Creston’), RTI, and other control systems. I’m guessing this is the network remote feature that is in the Series3 and later boxes.
To use the Premiere Elite you’ll need digital cable (QAM) or Verizon FiOS, one Multi-stream CableCARD (M-Card), and a subscription to the TiVo service. The unit will need to be connected to the network – Ethernet, MoCA, or WiFI (using a TiVo WiFi adapter). There is no mention of a phone line adapter, available for the Premiere/Premiere XL, but who’s really going to buy such a high end unit and use a phone line anyway?
The training materials make it clear that it is NOT compatible with analog cable, ATSC/antenna, satellite, or AT&T U-Verse. This is a digital cable/FiOS only unit. OTA users start screaming… now. I wonder what factors went into the decision to block ATSC. It is still digital, and QAM/ATSC tuner blocks exist. With the growth in cord cutting this could’ve been kind of the hill for OTA users.
In the ‘Whole home solution’ slide they have a ‘circle of life’ showing the Premiere Elite, Premiere, Premiere XL, Media Server, Laptop/PC, iPad/mobile device, and Control system. (Note the TiVo Preview is not listed.) It isn’t clear if that refers to existing functionality that we’re aware of – TiVo Desktop, the existing iOS app, etc., or if there could be more. In mentioning a media server, could TiVo finally have implemented DLNA? With out without DTCP-IP? I really hope so, but I’m not holding my breath. With the new streaming support if would be nice if there were a client for other devices to receive the streams, not just another TiVo. For devices like the iPad, iPhone, Android phones, etc., which don’t handle MPEG2 well, could the Elite include transcoding for real placeshifting support? Again, I doubt it, but it really would be a nice addition.
In addition to the training slides, TiVo’s FCC filing includes additional information about their consumer education plans to handle the digital-only aspect of the product. The in-store data sheet will contain this notice:
CableCARD™ Decoder. A CableCARD decoder is required for your TiVo Premiere Elite DVR to receive an cable programming. The TiVo Premiere Elite is designed for use only with digital cable systems. It does not receive analog programming, including over-the-air, and will not work with an over-the-air antenna. Most of the largest cable providers have “digital simulcast,” which means they rebroadcast all their analog channel programming on digital channels as well. This means that all programs available on analog channels are also available on digital channels when a CableCARD is inserted. Therefore, if your provider has “digital simulcast” you will not miss any of your cable channel programming with a TiVo Premiere Elite. Please contact your provider if you are unsure whether its service provides digital simulcast of all analog programming.
The Quick Start Guide and User Guide will also make it clear:
a. Quick Start Guide — The Premiere Elite packaging includes a large (18″ x 24″), heavy-weight, glossy installation guide that includes the following prominent notice:
The TiVo Premiere Elite is intended for use with digital cable systems only and does not work with external cable boxes, analog cable, or over-the-air antennas. A CableCARD decoder is required to receive any cable programming. To receive digital cable channels, and to watch and record multiple channels at the same time, you need one Multi-Stream CableCARD decoder (M-Card) from your cable company.
b. User’s Guide — The detailed Premiere Elite information booklet included with all
units includes notifications essentially identical to those of the in-store “Data Sheet” described above.
This all gives us a tantalizing peak at the TiVo Premiere Elite. Now, if only the FCC would hurry up and grant that waiver.