Archives For TiVo

TiVo’s Academy Awards Contest

Dave Zatz —  February 27, 2006

TiVo, Inc. and your Series 2 unit are hosting an Academy Awards competition. The subscriber who correctly picks the most Oscar winners will walk away with a 60GB video iPod. This is a fun use of HME… all we need now are folders.
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TiVo’s CEO Video Interview

Dave Zatz —  February 27, 2006

Reuters is running a juicy 5 minute web interview of TiVo CEO Tom Rogers. The reporter does a nice job in understanding the issues and asking Rogers the tough questions. If the business side of TiVo interests you, check it out!

Here are a few highlights…

  • “Having a DVR is not having a TiVo.”
  • Several new value-added features will be unveiled in the next 3-4 months to further distinguish TiVo from a generic DVR.
  • DirecTV may be responsible for about 2/3 of TiVo subscribers, but 85% of their revenue comes from other sources.
  • TiVo-enabled Comcast service is expected late this year.
  • Existing Comcast boxes can be upgraded via a software “burst.”
  • TiVo is in discussions with other cable operators.

(thanks Pete!)

TiVo Winter Olympics Recap

Dave Zatz —  February 27, 2006

The results are in… and the Olympics were boring! Overall the US finished second in both total medal count (25) and gold medals (9) without Bode Miller’s participation. The HD was great, but NBC’s coverage just didn’t capture my attention. I also felt used in the way events and participants were edited together in prime time to keep me watching… reaffirming sports coverage is more enjoyable when live.

TiVo crunched the numbers from 20,000 households to determine the top Olympics moments. Surprisingly, The Shani Davis Chad Hedrick Show didn’t crack the top ten though it contained my most replayed moments outside of curling.

TiVo’s Top 10 Moments:

  1. Canadian skater Marie-France Dubreuil slamming to the ice
  2. Sasha Cohen’s Short Program performance putting her in first by a razor thin margin
  3. Apolo Anton Ohno winning gold in the Men’s 500M Speed Skating
  4. Bob Costas interview of Silver Medalist Sasha Cohen
  5. Sasha Cohen performance at the Champion’s Gala Evening
  6. Commentary featuring U.S. skaters Kimmie Meissner and Emily Hughes
  7. Gold medal ceremony for Women’s Giant Slalom winner American Julia Mancuso
  8. Re-broadcast of silver medal win by U.S. Ice Dancers Ben Agosto and Tanith Belbin
  9. Julia Mancuso’s gold winning Giant Slalom run
  10. Russian figure skater Yevgeny Plushenko’s performance at the Champion’s Gala Evening

The Boondocks Cover TiVo

Dave Zatz —  February 25, 2006

Aaron McGruder and I simultaneously honed our artistic and comedic skills as undergrads at the U of Maryland. Print was his medium of choice with The Boondocks, while mine was radio with Zatz Not Funny. Looks like only one of us succeeded. ;)

TiVo Is Dead? Again?

Dave Zatz —  February 23, 2006

Let’s face it… if you’re a journalist, bashing TiVo is good for business. Very few companies inspire the cult-like loyalty and name recognition (a small player like) TiVo enjoys. There’s nothing like a negatory article to energize the masses. That could explain why every few months both the Motley Fool and Phillip Swann of TV Predictions claim TiVo is dying and/or will be acquired.

While it’s possible TiVo may die or be bought, their reasoning is illogical. Both point to TiVo’s Valentine’s Day mixer as a red flag. Do critics chime in that McDonalds is doomed whenever they release a bizarre television commercial? TiVo’s ultimate success or failure cannot (and should not) be gauged by a small marketing experiment designed to excite fans.

It’s true TiVo will lose a ton of subscribers when their deal with DirecTV expires. However, Comcast has roughly twice as many potential customers (~32 million) as DTV. It’s true TiVo’s release of the Series 3 HD model is taking too long. However, many of us will wait patiently for a HD stand-alone box while TiVo continues to add Series 2 subscribers. It’s true TiVo has not been profitable with the exception of one quarter. However, TiVo is investing in themselves by acquiring customers. Not to mention, it’s that critical mass of subscribers which has allowed them to sell more advertising at presumably higher rates.

In all likelihood, TiVo will never die. This kind of branding and buzz would be snapped up in a heartbeat if the current management team failed and TiVo were in trouble. More importantly, DVR technology is here to stay. I’m fine with competition in the marketplace — it forces companies to innovate and keep prices reasonable.

I know you visit my site for the hard-hitting journalism ;), so I asked the question many of us have been wondering… and during a brief email exchange Phillip Swann informed me he owns “zero stock.”

Swanni says: Unlike TiVo, tech companies such as Apple and Google have enjoyed remarkable success in the last year. So they are now getting the overwhelming (and sometimes gushing) coverage that TiVo once enjoyed. Tech reporters — like everyone else in the media — loves a winner, or at least the appearance of a winner. Apple and Google now look like winners while TiVo looks like a loser.

Fool says: If there’s anything the Olympics bring to mind, it’s the thrill of victory … and the agony of defeat. Not that TiVo’s a full-on defeat, but for the past couple of years, “disappointment” seems to be a reasonable word to describe the company. I was once a TiVo bull — I even owned shares long ago — but lately it seems as if TiVo has stalled out in the innovation department.

TiVo Valentine’s Day Recap

Dave Zatz —  February 16, 2006

Couldn’t make TiVo’s little Valentine’s Day singles soiree? Me neither… Fortunately my secret TiVo Valentine sent me some clever party favors and Davis Freeberg reported his W hotel experiences. I still haven’t decided if this was marketing genius or lunacy, but the folks in attendance seemed to have a good time.
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Mac TiVo Desktop Updated

Dave Zatz —  February 15, 2006

TiVo offered up a little more Valentine’s Day love for us yesterday when they released TiVo Desktop 1.9.2 for OSX. So I went ahead and installed the brand-spanking new software. No new features as far as I can tell, but both Panther and Tiger are now listed as being fully supported. The good news: TiVo obviously has some Mac expertise on staff. The bad… if TiVoToGo for Mac were anywhere need ready to ship, I don’t think this package would have been released as an obvious stop-gap. The update doesn’t support Intel-based Macs, but I’m giving TiVo a pass on this one since Apple delivered 6 months early and few people have them in their possession.

Update: Bob Poniatowski, of TiVo Product Marketing, is hopeful an Intel-compatible TiVo Desktop will be available in 6-8 weeks. Additionally, Mac hacker Dennis Wilkinson has uncovered TiVoToGo-related code within 1.9.2. Makes ya wonder if Mac TTG is only 8 weeks out…

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