VideoNuze TiVo Cable Show Video Interview

TiVo Logo The Cable Show website has posted an interview with Jeff Klugman, TiVo’s Senior Vice President for products, filmed last month at the show. Actually, I’m pretty sure I saw this interview being shot during one of my visits to TiVo’s booth. They primarily discuss the TiVo Stream and the IP STB, as those were TiVo’s big announcements from the show. Jeff indicates the products will be distributed by MSO partners “last this summer” and available at retail “in the early fall time frame”.

There are other tidbits, such as the statement that side-loading is up to 4x speed, so an hour-long program and be loaded in as little as 15 minutes. But I don’t really agree with the comments about side-loading vs. out-of-home streaming (ala Slingbox). While I acknowledge side-loading is useful for environments where streaming isn’t viable, such as on an aircraft, I really have no interest in side-loading. I prefer to stream my content real-time from my TiVo when I’m on the road. The comments about broadband speeds just don’t ring true anymore. Back in the day I used to stream from my Slingbox to my Palm Treo over a 200kbps EDGE connection, and it was perfectly usable.

These days almost every phone has a 3G connection many times faster, if not a 4G LTE connection. WiFi is nigh-ubiquitous, and upload speeds from the home are more than capable of streaming content at a solid quality. My Slingbox PRO-HD can stream 720p video starting at around 1.5Mbps, which is not at all uncommon these days. So the excuse that out-of-the-home streaming isn’t supported due to available broadband capacity just doesn’t hold water. I hope TiVo gets it together and adds it to the TiVo Stream quickly. Especially for those of us with providers who copy-protect nearly everything, making side-loading impossible in the first place.

Watch the video for yourself, of course.

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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  • gabmasterjcc

    I don’t agree with you about the internet speeds not being there. At least in large swaths of providers, they have terrible upload speeds.
    (Options are 50/5, 30/5, 20/2, 10/2.) The majority of customers are on either the Standard or Turbo packages with a measly 2Mbps up. That is where my parents live.
    Where I live, FiOS is available, but if you don’t have FiOS the highest tier available on Cox is 25/3. Others are 15/2 and 3/.768.
    For a good consistent experience, these speeds probably wouldn’t be enough. Tivo doesn’t need a billion phone calls just because people’s internet provider stinks.

    • MegaZone

      Those speeds are *more* than enough. Remember Slingbox has been around for years, well before even these speeds were common. 768kbps is more than enough to stream very solid SD quality video. 2Mbps is enough to stream solid HD (720p) video.

      For SD video you generally want 512kbps of better with a Slingbox, and HD starts at 1.5Mbps. Keep in mind that commercial streaming services, like Netflix, operate at 1Mbps speeds too. The more bandwidth you have the better the image quality. A Slingbox will vary the encoded resolution in steps, and within each resolution it’ll vary the bitrate, increasing until it decides it can jump to the next resolution step.

      If you’re watching on a 4″ phone display you really don’t need 1080p, or even 720p, video. You may even want to force lower resolutions, like 320×240, to avoid burning through your mobile data cap.

      While Sling’s secret sauce is proprietary, the concept in general isn’t rocket science. Netflix does something similar with their streaming video. Doing it on a mobile device where the connection is likely more variable takes more intelligence in the client, but it can certainly be done. Now that EchoStar and TiVo are friendly perhaps TiVo could license Sling’s technology.

      Also keep in mind that this would only be for TiVo customers, already a small market, and then only TiVo customers who decide to pick up a TiVo Stream, and then only the part of that group looking to stream outside of the home. It is a very self-selecting group, and likely the more sophisticated customers. If they have smartphones and TiVo and decided to buy a network streaming box it seems likely they’d also be customers with solid broadband connections.

      Connection speeds keep increasing in general. Average speeds today are more than enough for most broadband customers to viably stream. And things will only get better with time.

      I’d be happy if TiVo enabled out-of-the-home streaming as some kind of hidden feature at first. Market it for in-home streaming and side-loading, but allow savvy customers to set things up to stream outside of the home. Maybe requiring a static source configuration in the client, since dynamic discovery requires some server infrastructure to handle match making.