The TiVo Premiere Elite is in Customer Hands, TiVo Community Starts Analysis

TiVo Logo The TiVo Premiere Elite is available for order from Amazon,, and WeaKnees (and their Amazon store), but the fastest way to get it is still the old fashion way – brick & mortar. And they went on sale at physical Best Buy stores Sunday, at least those with a Magnolia showroom. Though it may be too late now, reports are that many, if not all, Magnolia locations only received two units and many of them sold out quickly. (Looks like WeaKnees sold out too, the next batch ship 10/14.) But before they did, a number of people got their mitts on them, including a number of TiVo Community members.

And, as the community members love to do, they’ve starting poking at it and documenting the features, changes, specs, etc.:

Software Level:
- shipping software is 14.9b-01-7-758 out of the box.
- current software is 14.9.AB4-01-2-758

Flash Player Version: mainline3/2011.07.06.0601
HD Menu Software Version:1-9/2011.08.31-1134

New functions/features:
- MoCA support (Ethernet to Coax bridge)
- Caller ID support if phone line attached (not verified)
- Premiere to Premiere streaming enabled

Hardware differences from base Premiere:
- (details of system board here)
- Base memory doubled. Single IC providing 1GB DDR2 SDRAM.
- Disk drive is 2TB (make?). Default recording capacity shows up to 318 HD hours or 2774 SD.

Observations and/or “obvious” functions missing:
- Installing new software level seems to be faster than Premiere.
- Recording conflict screen only shows one conflict.
- Network screens updated to show MoCA info and additional screens added.

Upgrade info:
- eSata port available. No reports of anyone trying an external drive yet. Ditto Comer tool.

The Caller ID is especially interesting since none of the Premiere units have a modem built-in. And the Series3 & TiVo HD, which do have a modem, don’t currently run the 14.x software. Yet the on-box message is:

Do you want the Tivo Box to identify a caller’s name and number when the phone rings while you are watching a program?

Note: Caller ID messages can only be displayed when a phone line that supports Caller ID is attached to your DVR.

So are the older units getting an upgrade with this feature, or is it only for the Premiere family with the USB Phone Line Adapter to provide the data? The TiVo Premiere offered through Suddenlink offers Caller ID, but only if you’re using their VOIP phone service. So this seems to be different.

They’ve even started opening up their brand new boxes and taking photos of the guts. And a couple of new screens. The Premiere-to-Premiere streaming is working, and it even works for copy protected content that doesn’t work with Multi-Room Viewing. I think we need to agree on a term for streaming – I’m going with MRS, as RCN calls this Multi-Room Streaming. MRV is the old copy-based system, MRS is the new streaming system.

The Premiere Elite is also more energy efficient, drawing only 19-20 watts.

And a nice surprise, it seems the Premiere Elite has enabled the second core. Compare these lines from the kernel on a Premiere running 14.8 to a Premiere Elite running 14.9:
14.8: Linux version 2.6.18-5.1 (build@buildmaster64) (gcc version 3.3.4) #1 Wed Mar 16 02:53:03 PDT 2011
14.9: Linux version 2.6.18-5.1 (build@buildmaster93) (gcc version 4.2.0) #1 SMP Wed Sep 21 18:32:42 PDT 2011

SMP is Symmetric Multi-Processing, which means multiple cores are enabled.

I am planning to get a Premiere Elite myself. But I’m leaving town Thursday for WDW for a combo mini-vacation and a planning meeting for my wedding there in February, so I’ll probably order when I return since it wouldn’t be here in time to setup before I go anyway. On top of that my Slingbox PRO-HD seems to have died recently. I’m hoping it is just the power supply, that happened once before, but I haven’t had time to deal with it. Anyway, once I do have it I’ll give my own run down as well.

About MegaZone

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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