TiVo announced a Linux-based “TiVo Mega” DVR with 24TB of storage — enough for 4,000 hours of HD video — plus six tuners and streaming to mobile devices.
Over the years, TiVo boxes have grown smaller, with relatively large digital video recorders such as the circa 2011 Premiere Q slimming down to more recent product such as the Roamio OTA. Now TiVo is bulking up again with what TiVo calls its “monster” — the TiVo Mega. The rack-mounted Mega is not only physically larger than recent models, but it has 12 times more storage than the most capacious DVRs on the market, according to TiVo.
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“Size matters. People hate being forced to delete cool stuff from their DVR before they want to or finding a TV show they had recorded is now gone,” stated Ira Bahr, CMO at TiVo. “Now, with TiVo Mega they can always know their show or movie is still there to watch later.”
This pantheon to lazy couch-surfers everywhere also has a fairly monstrous price: when it ships in the first quarter of 2015, it’s expected to sell for approximately $5,000, says the company. However, that includes free TiVo service for the rest of the product’s life, which typically costs $15 per month.
The TiVo Mega is equipped with 10 RAID 5 ready, user hot-swappable hard disk drive bays, supporting up to 24 Terabytes. That’s enough for 26,000 hours of SD video or 4,000 hours of HD. Six tuners are available to record content simultaneously, and it supports integration with the $150 TiVo Mini satellite device to create “the ultimate whole-home solution,” says TiVo.
TiVo has offered few details so far on the inner workings of the Mega, although it did say that like other TiVo boxes, it runs on embedded Linux. The device frame uses an “anodized precision-machined bezel,” and offers Ethernet and MoCA networking support. It also ships with a TiVo Slide Pro Remote, which uses RF communications for non-line of sight control, and includes a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
The TiVo Mega not only lets you record and retrieve video, but also stream live TV or recordings to smartphones and tablets, as well as download programming for offline playback. Mobile apps include Season Pass, a recording scheduler that lets you add or remove recordings.
Content navigation features on the TiVo Mega are said to include:
- Universal search across cable, video-on-demand, and web apps including Netflix and YouTube
- “What to Watch,” which provides a personalized dashboard with recommendations for what’s on now, next, and tonight
- Collections, which offers editorial collections based on current events or categories including new fall TV, Shark Week, Holiday, Emmy or Oscar winners, etc.
- Channel guide, with filters to enable users to get to what they want as quickly as possible
TiVo was one of the first embedded Linux success stories, joining a select group of company’s whose product names have been adapted to verbs, such as Google and Skype. The DVR pioneer also spawned a noun: “Tivoization.” The term was at the center of one of the bigger controversies in embedded Linux, referring to the firm’s practice of performing signature checks in hardware to prevent anyone from modifying the device’s software.
TiVo Mega is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2015 for about $5,000, including product lifetime service. A bit more information and email signups may be found at the TiVo Mega product page. The TiVo Mega will be on display this week in TiVo’s booth at CEDIA Expo 2014 in Denver.