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TiVo Series4 ‘Premiere’ DVRs Add HD GUI, Unified Search

Premiere DVRs feature HD interface built on Flash, optional QWERTY remote, Pandora, FrameChannel ... but still no streaming over home network

Optional QWERTY remote
Stephen Hopkins · March 3, 2010

Leading up to tonight’s event, TiVo touted that “Inventing the DVR was just a warm-up.”

While that may just be PR glitz, TiVo’s lack of a major hardware upgrade in nearly four years made this an event worth taking note of.

Predictions were thrown against the wall like spaghetti on an episode of Jersey Shore—we had some of our own—so let’s see what all stuck for the new DVRs that will ship in April.


  • New slimmer hardware
  • TiVo Premiere 320GB ($299)
  • TiVo Premiere XL 1TB ($499)
  • Single CableCard slot; requires MultiStream card
  • Optional Bluetooth QWERTY remote
  • Optional USB Wireless N adapter


  • New HD GUI with two and three column layouts and “Discovery Bar”
  • Unified search of TV, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Blockbuster, etc.
  • Expanded search options including updated predictive text, search by award (Oscar, Emmy, etc), and “Six Degrees of Separation” based on cultural references
  • Addition of Pandora and FrameChannel online content
  • Cable company on-demand (Comcast On Demand logo shown)
  • Third-party apps with app store (seen in screen shots)
Other Details
  • Strategic retail partnership with Best Buy
  • New GUI will not appear on Series2 or Series3
  • Pandora and FrameChannel will make it to Series3 devices

Obviously this laundry list of hardware and software features is impressive, but will the Premiere and Premiere XL really be the one box to rule them all?  There seems to be some omissions that many hoped for or expected, so keep an eye on CE Pro for our thoughts on what the new TiVo hardware and software could and should have been.

Optional USB Wireless N adapter

Unified search of TV, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Blockbuster, etc.

Expanded search options including updated predictive text, search by award (Oscar, Emmy, etc), and “Six Degrees of Separation” based on cultural references

Official TiVo Press Release

New Box Offers a Stunning New HD Experience That Blows Away Any Other Cable Set-Top Box

TiVo Opens Up the Box to Pandora Internet Radio, Maximizing the TiVo Music Experience

Alviso, Calif. March 3 -TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ: TIVO), a leader in advanced television services, including digital video recorders (DVRs), announced today the launch of TiVo Premiere and TiVo Premiere XL boxes. TiVo Premiere elegantly combines access to cable programming, movies, web videos, and music all in one box at a truly affordable price. TiVo Premiere is now the only way to unlock the real value of the HD television set, a box that is more powerful, compact, and energy efficient than previous generations. If the DVR changed your life, TiVo Premiere will change it again.

“It has never been this easy to get all your entertainment in one place, on the big screen, in HD, right at your fingertips. And the beauty of TiVo Premiere is that finding what to watch is just as fun as the watching the TV shows themselves. We accomplished it by using pictures and graphics to make the whole television guide experience come alive in a way that it never has before,” said TiVo’s President and CEO Tom Rogers. “TiVo Premiere is your new cable box, it’s your movie box, it’s your web box, and music box; it’s the one box that can give you access to almost anything you want, whenever you want it. We’ve taken millions of pieces of content and organized it for you in a way that makes so much sense you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.”

Why Premiere Is Revolutionary:

It’s the One Box: TiVo Premiere is your new cable box, movie box, web box, and music box; it’s the one box that gives you access to everything you want to get on your television and all with one remote. It’s a true one stop shop for entertainment.*

Broadband and Broadcast Integration: Premiere’s search functionality offers users the ability to find programs from many sources - whether it’s a digital premium channel from cable, a funny outtake from YouTube or a movie from broadband sources such as Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, or Blockbuster On Demand, plus options from the Web all brought together into one unified and simple experience.*

Browse Baby Browse: Premiere is at its best when you want to browse, discover and explore the almost infinite array of TV options. Every show, from every source, is organized by category or topic. With a full-screen menu that includes a rich display of movie posters & TV show logos for exploring, it’s simple to stumble upon interesting things to watch or record. Plus, consumers have never before had the option to browse by specific movie collections on their TV. For example, browse thru Oscar Award winning movies or Emmy Award winning television shows with one simple click of the remote.

Six-Degrees of Separation: Premiere will settle debates over “where have I seen that actor before?” far faster than a trip to the laptop ever could. Just click on a show or an actor and consumers will be able to view entire entertainment resumes and cast lists, quickly and easily. Before you know it you’ll find associations from one favorite actor to another that you never dreamed existed, fueling the discovery process even more and likely getting you hooked in the process.

Easy to Use HD Layout: We’ve kept the easy navigation, but significantly cut the number of screens you have to visit by utilizing the extra room high-definition affords. The experience was built for HD television sets and by creating a two-column and three-column layouts we reduce the number of screens, helping you to get to what you want more quickly.

Set-top box built on Adobe Flash Platform for the Digital Home: Premiere is built on Adobe Flash software, a pathway to future user-generated experiences and development opportunities, which have not been available before on a set-top box. Premiere is built on multi-core architecture that greatly facilitates future development of third party provided applications.

We Listened: By popular demand Premiere includes an on-screen disk space meter that shows how much room is left to record, a built in 30 second scan, and a new video window that lets you watch your favorite show while navigating the TiVo menus.

Room to Record: The TiVo Premiere box has up to 45 hours of HD storage space or up to 400 hours of standard definition programming capacity. And for those who want even more options the TiVo Premiere XL box holds up to 150 hours of high-definition or up to 1350 hours of standard definition programming.

Even More Content: A brand new relationship with Pandora means in the coming months, Premiere as well as TiVo Series3 and HD DVR customers will be able to listen to their personalized Pandora radio stations on the best speakers in the house. A new relationship with FrameChannel brings the best of the web directly to the TV offering users access to nearly 1,000 content widgets of personal and commercial content, ranging from Tweets, photos and status updates to news, weather, sports scores and stock quotes. FrameChannel acts as a personalized channel on your television, transforming your TV into a constant stream of real-time news and information with the content that matters to you most.

Speaking about its strategic marketing alliance with TiVo that was announced last year, Mike Vitelli, President of the Americas for Best Buy, said, “This is an important step toward achieving our shared vision to transform the digital home entertainment experience and redefine customer service. Through TiVo we can continue to strengthen relationships and interact with our valued customers even after they leave our stores, which is invaluable in a rapidly evolving digital media environment. Cable companies do a great job of connecting customers to content, but TiVo takes the complete digital experience to the next level.”

“We are proud to be leading the cable industry in the adoption of this groundbreaking approach to advanced television. TiVo will bring a whole new way for our subscribers to experience television with TiVo’s DVR and broadband television offerings,” said RCN President & CEO Peter Aquino. “I’m very pleased to report that based on our field test results, we will begin to roll out TiVo as our primary advanced box in all of our markets, one by one, in the second quarter of this year.”

Coming in May, a new TiVo Wireless N adapter, that allows for faster downloads and faster streaming of content, at speeds that are especially helpful for multi-room viewing (MRV) transfers. Coming later this year, consumers will also have access to a groundbreaking, slide-out QWERTY TiVo remote. The compact peanut shaped remote gives a faster experience, especially when utilizing text entry. With Easy plug n’ play installation, extended range utilizing Bluetooth and backlit programmable buttons the remote will quickly become a must have accessory.

TiVo Premiere Box Specifications:

  • TiVo Series4 architecture
  • Supports digital cable, high-definition digital cable, antenna (ATSC) and Verizon FiOS
  • Outputs: HDMI, Component video, Composite video, Optical audio, Analog audio
  • Video output modes include: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
  • Inputs: CableCARD support, Cable coax, Antenna coax, Ethernet
  • Ethernet connection, USB 2.0 ports (2), E-SATA support for external storage
  • TiVo Wireless N and G Network Adapter supportENERGY STAR certified
  • 320 Gigabytes
  • Records up to 45 hours of HD programming or up to 400 hours of standard-definition

TiVo Premiere XL Box Specifications (all specs not listed are the same as above unless noted)

  • One Terabyte storage
  • Records up to 150 hours of HD programming or up to 1350 hours of standard-definition
  • Backlit, programmable, and learning remote
  • THX certified, ensuring optimal audio and video reproduction and enables seamless integration with other THX components

TiVo Premiere XL box is the first HD product to feature THX Optimizer, a video calibration tool that lets users fine tune color, black levels and other settings to improve picture quality. Hailed by critics for its ease-of-use, the exclusive THX Optimizer for TiVo Premiere XL box is found in the My Shows menu of the TiVo service. A pair of THX Optimizer Blue Glasses, designed for adjusting Color and Tint settings, is included with the owner’s manual.

TiVo Premiere and TiVo Premiere XL boxes will be available in retail nationwide in early April. They are also available for pre-order today at for $299.99 and $499.99 respectively.

*TiVo service is required and sold separately. Cable and Netflix subscriptions required for cable and Netflix programming, respectively and are not included in TiVo service subscription. Additional fees may apply for other broadband content. Broadband programming sources subject to availability and may change without notice.

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  Article Topics

News · DVR · Pandora · TiVo · All Topics
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