New DirecTV TiVo Delayed until 2010 (plus tru2way)

Photo by Zandir

After finding a few minutes to scan TiVo’s quarterly call transcript what stands out, other than hoarding $200+ million in cash, is what appears to be a slippage in the delivery of a new DirecTV TiVo DVR. 2009 has become 2010. CEO Tom Rogers, via Seeking Alpha:

DIRECTV not likely to rollout until early next year

We’ve pointed to that timeframe in early next year

our expectation is early next year that the DIRECTV new product will be available

I can’t say I’m surprised. And have been suggesting for some time that it’s unlikely we’d see the renewed DirecTV+TiVo relationship bear fruit this year.

Regarding TiVo’s cable partners, the Cox TiVo may finally progress beyond trials in the “next two to three month timeframe” and Comcast may finally expand their TiVo footprint beyond New England – “launching TiVo soon in Chicago.” (We’ve heard these proclamations before…) Perhaps more importantly, TiVo confirms they’re developing for the tru2way platform:

we are working with Comcast to develop a TiVo application that is truly compatible with the tru2way stack, which is somewhat different than the current middleware that we are operating on in the Boston and New England market[…], the fact that Comcast’s R&D activity with us involved upgrading TiVo’s application to their tru2way middleware stack.

I assume pieces of this could be reused for some future stand-alone retail tru2way DVR. However if Comcast picks up the pace and the DirecTV DVR starts shipping in a timely fashion, TiVo may want to limit continued investment in their direct-to-consumer product line. (If I were an investor, that’d be my advice. As a customer, I hope not.)

34 thoughts on “New DirecTV TiVo Delayed until 2010 (plus tru2way)”

  1. Tivo Shmivo….why even report this anymore, they haven’t delivered anything new and on time in FOREVER. Man, I’m chomping at the bit for a competitor – I can hear a collective WHOMP when all of us just waiting for something better to come along drop our Tivo’s to the floor and buy something else…..

  2. @Frank Furter

    TiVo brand name allows them this malaise, lack of innovation. Their brand is nearly a verb in the populous’ lexicon ( Even my elderly step mother says “I TiVo’d it…” ) so your chomping at the bit for a competitor may go unanswered.

    Broken record sounding, I [ continue ] to call upon TiVo to abandon proprietary hardware and offer a software only service ( API ) that runs on cheap off the shelf hardware.

  3. Todd, how can I convince you to blog more often? We need more ‘malaise’ in our ZNF vocabulary.

    Speaking of which I’m bitter that Scott G of Satellite Guys (who I chatted with yesterday) found out at CES (Jan) that this was pushed back to 2010, whereas TiVo PR has been telling me no change through the Cable Show in April. Trying to keep the info under wraps and/or minimized to protect their stock valuation is my guess. More here.

  4. I have been a huge tivo fans over the years. At one point, we had three tivo units in the house: two stand alones hooked to directv receivers and one combo receiver/tivo unit.

    over the last fifteen months, i have replaced two of the tivos with directv HD DVRs. this change was driven by the growth in HD content on Directv and the natural desire to want to be able to DVR it. i have been very pleased with the results. i was waiting to replace the third for the release of the directv tivo box this fall. now i will probably go ahead and replace it with another directv HD dvr. I am not sure what the value proposition will be to go back to a directv Tivo unit when it actually appears.

  5. Frank Furter, I already have something better than Tivo, a DirecTV HR-20. It has its faults, but so does Tivo. IMO, this is overall much better than my Tivo was.

  6. Hm, my buddy at work complains about his HD DirecTV DVR literally several days a week. (He used to use the SD DTV TiVo boxes.) The only reason he hangs on and hasn’t switched to FiOS is because of the Sunday Ticket. If everyone gets the Red Zone channel though, like Comcast is, he may bail.

  7. I’ve had mine for a year and a half and it’s never missed a recording, and it gets pretty heavy use. And I like the interface much more than the Tivo one.

    If he is having that many problems with it, he should get Directv to replace it. And he should also check the rest of his setup. The units are a bit sensitive and if there is something slightly off with his setup, it can cause problems with the box.

  8. On January 7 2009, I sent this query to TiVo IR:

    “At the Citi conference today, Tom Rogers, in referring to the release of the DTV Box used the term “next year”. Does this mean the release of that device has been put off until 2010″?

    The answer came back from Derrick Nueman [] as follows:

    “We still expect the DTV Box to be released in 2H of this year”.

    I guess Rogers didn’t inform his Investor Relations guy of the change in schedule.

  9. Dennis, Good suggestion. I’ll see how many units he’s having issues with and suggest he see if DirecTV can do anything about it. Seems like slowness and stuttering have been his main complaints. (Though he does miss the TiVo interface, too.)

  10. “TiVo may want to limit continued investment in their direct-to-consumer product line. (If I were an investor, that’d be my advice. As a customer, I hope not.)”

    This seems like a really bad idea. There is no telling when and if the likes of Comcast or Direct TV will extend Tivo’s reach outside of the store shelf in any meaningful way. I think the only way Tivo will get there is if they continue to put pressure on these companies by providing a compelling alternative that is widely available and people are willing to pay for.

    The Tivo HD fits this well as cable cards are easier to get installed these days, you can get a refurb one for $200, and you can add a lot of capacity for the price of a hard drive via the esata connection. The only major feature I see as missing from this box is cable VOD integration.

  11. The promise of CableCARDs has yet to be fulfilled. I still hear of issues on a pretty regularly basis and the bulk of mainstream television viewers don’t seem to want to learn how to bypass their cable operator’s hardware. Perhaps TiVo marketing is a related issue.

    The bottom line, though, is that TiVo continues to lose customers and has about as many subscribers today as they did in early 2005 according to TV By The Numbers. Additionally, despite not having sold a DirecTV TiVo DVR in YEARS, that still makes up over 40% of TiVo subs. True, TiVo makes less money per sub than stand-alones but they obviously have far greater penetration/marketing muscle with a heavyweight television provider.

  12. Good-bye DirecTV. I’ll consider coming back to you in 2010. I want an HD Tivo and with Comcast’s one year deal going on now, the savings are too much to ignore.

  13. Is the HD DirecTivo the new Comcast-Tivo? I hope that its production doesn’t follow the same path and given their history it shouldn’t, but once Tivo starts dropping delays in its financial calls it’s never good news.

    Is the the Comcast-Tivo widely available? I can’t remember ever seeing an ad for it in the DC area.

  14. Well, when my SD Direct TV TiVo box finally kicked the bucket in March of this year… After 6 years wonderful years. I spoke to customer service and requested another one… (needless to say I was not happy with their version of a DVR)

    I then suspended my service for 6 months (waiting for the new DTV TiVo box) and possible cancelation of my service with Direct TV if TiVo is not reintroduced with Direct TV

    Hope things work out for all of us… I Loved my Tivo

  15. I hate to hear the delay. I was waiting on the Directv wtih Tivo to purchase 2 more HD TVs (bedroom and office). I have the Directv HD recorder and do not like it. No problems except design flaws in the way it works. The biggest hangup to me is that you have to “record” on one tuner to be able to switch tuners. Both tuners do not have the buffer unless you actually record. This is a pain. With Tivo, you hit a single button and you have the other tuner was buffered. I would watch 2 shows at once when watching live. When 1 show hit commercials, I would switch to the other that was already paused and buffered. Watch up to the next commercial and switch again.

    Been a directv customer for 12 years but I guess it is time to go with phone companies fiber offerings.

  16. I’m with you Baddog, in addition to the issues you sighted above. There’s the crappy flashing frames slo-mo. The fact that you can be watching a program and you have to acknowledge it when it is about to rercord on another channel even if that’s the only recording scheduled. If you don’t it will change the channel on you. If your reflexes are too fast it overcompensates when you stop a fast forward. I can’t believe anyone who’s had a Tivo could seriously compare an R20 or R21 to a Tivo. They Suck!

  17. I had a Direct SD Tivo for several years and loved it. I wanted HD so they brought me an HR-20. It has been a piece of junk every since I got it. I never had a bit of problem with my Tivo unit but this thing sucks dog’s hind leg. Yes I miss my dual buffers but the problems with this thing screen freezing, losing audio sync, weekly reboots after everything stops working, sound stuttering, and the always wonderful message that is is searching for sat on the tuner that I am not even watching.

  18. We have been with Directv since it’s beginning in 93? 94?. We had the TIVO DVR until it was discontinued with the start of the HD20 that introduced the HDTV concept.
    We switched to Dish but we were totally and completely upset with the crappy DVR even though CNET raved about it. We broke our contract and switched back to Directv as they were putting out the HD21. We had heard horror stories and decided to get the protection plan but I now feel silly for doing so. We have had a couple of glitches such as momentary freezes that required a restart but no problems that required the extra protection plan which I just recently dropped.
    I am excited about the renewed cooperation with TIVO and will patiently wait until the DVR is debut.
    For those that have had problems with the HD20/21 I say hit Directv hard for a replacement. Though we prefer TIVO we have not had any major glitches with the HD21 for over a year.
    Our short time with Dish taught us a great lesson and we will never switch unless a truly proven concept proves better than Directv. For those sitting on the fence go for it. If you are concerned about the HD 21 get the protection plan for a few months. If you are like us you’ll become comfortable and drop it.
    Directv may be more expensive if you believe the Dish advertisement but I will never ever use Dish again. EVER.


  19. I’ve been with DirecTV for at least 12 years. Have all three generations of DVRs (Sony Tivo, Tivo HD, HR20). I haven’t had a lick of problems with any of them. The dish is another matter. In 12 years have had to move the dish three times thanks to trees growing into line of sight and needing more and more view of the sky for additional satellites. I know others who had Tivo HD and HR20 DVR issues but DirecTV swapped out their units in all cases, no questions asked. I’m running my HR20 now with a 1TB external drive for more than a year without a problem. Interface-wise, each has its pros and cons. Not enough diff for me to toss one out over the other. To each their own I guess.

  20. I was at UPS a couple days ago and i saw boxes and boxes of DISH units and asked are those going back? Told yes, we love DISH, and they pay for the return postage. No one keeps them.
    I hate the Directv DVR, so i use my TiVo in the bedroom as I can use the remote with my eyes shut. Directs remote stinks, turn on the light, search for tiny buttons…they are horrible. TiVo remote is wonderful, not cluttered, fits the hand, and can use it eyes closes, over your shoulder. i am holding off buying a new TV due to needing to replace my TiVo. Come on Tivo and Direct…stimulate the economy…I won’t use anything but TiVo brand. Yours stinks!

  21. Wow! Great reading. My horror story is simply that I’ve been with Direct TV since ’96, switched to the new TIVO 80 hour dual DVR when it rolled out, and have worshipped it ever since. However, when one of the recorders died and I went to replace, I was told TIVO only interfaces with Direct TV with a single recorder!? Hey, I’m Old School, but 5-7 years later, I can’t get a replacement equal to or better??? This is Jan ’09. So, I’ve held on to the hold unit, and am waiting and waiting for the new Tivo/Direct TV HD unit. Yet, nearly a year later and nothing definitive. What am I missing here?

  22. I love Tivo (my old 35-hour unit died a couple of months ago and I am beside myself with grief). I hate my replacement directv dvr, but I only got it because I was hoping for the new Tivo by the end of the year. Serves me right for being gullible. I desperately miss the Season Pass (this prioritizer stinks to high heaven and you can only save 25 shows…WHAT?!?), the ability to save search terms/actors, rather than only see the most recent searches, and a whole host of other things. Pile on top of that the now missing versus network (I’m a PBR fan), and I want to jump ship. I’ve never said that about directv before, but I’m just about there…after my stupid 2-year contract expires. I’ve never considered this until now.

  23. Currently using a DTv SD receiver w/ TiVo (Hughes). I absolutely love the TiVo feature and have been reluctant to switch to a HD receiver, because of the lack of positive reviews of the current DVR units. I am very excited with the fact that there is going to be a HD TiVo for DirecTv in the near future. I will hold out and under utilise my HD television and wait for the HD TiVo.

  24. Having issues with my Comcast HD TiVo. Once in a while the internet will need to be reset, but now the cable box isn’t recording shows and locking up once in a while. Maybe I need a new box, it’s been about 8 months now.

  25. I absolutely detest my Direct tv HD-DVR. It just plain misses recordings with no explanations. It’s not intuitive at all. There’s just so many ways it could be better that there’s no way to even start listing them here. It’s a big clunker in my opinion. I can’t wait for TIVO. I have missed it so much.

  26. I’m using the DirecTV HD DVR HR-22. But my 1.5 TB Seagate Free Agent Extreme external hard drive wont even work with this unit. whereas it worked fine with the R-22 standard definition directv unit. Why should we have to deal with adding and upgrading external storage when the original units should offer ample TB’s of movie storage. even up to a 10 TB would be a good number. and I hope they can speed up the reaction times of these units. It takes over one minute to pull up the List of recorded movies on my DVR. Direct TV says this is comone for some customers. I just can’t believe this.

  27. We have both the 35 hr and 80 hr TiVo units for DirecTV. They are “ours” meaning DirecTV can’t get em back for any reason, which is a good thing. If they ever do offer the new TiVo HD system I suppose it will be only “on lease” as is the way things are now. They should take note that some of us “gave back” their HD receivers and are only interested if it is a TiVo. So the obvious revenue stream they are missing out on should be some sort of incentive you would think…

  28. Well, here we are, halfway through 2010 and STILL no DirecTV HD Tivo yet. I’ve called them again and the people on the phone don’t really seem to know anything about it but they always ask me why I prefer Tivo. Time Warner did the same thing when I asked if they had Tivo and they wanted me to answer a bunch of questions as to why I preferred that to their DVR. I gladly answered if it will help them switch over.

    I still find it hard to believe that the people at Tivo and DirecTV STILL HAVE NOT JUMPED ON THIS.

    Tivo obviously has the customer loyalty. I’ve had a Tivo unit since 1999. And have been buying used HDVR2’s since then just to stick with the Tivo brand. Lots of other people do as well. WHO ELSE DOES THAT?? Why are these people just sitting on their asses not doing anything when they obviously have people who want to spend money on their products? Who’s in business NOT to make money?? Seriously, WTF, people??

    It was a few years ago that they announced their new partnership and so far they’ve produced nothing. It is a little frustrating but I guess I’ll keep hanging in there as long as I still have my SD recorders.

    I really don’t want to waste the money paying for the Directv DVR units only to have the Tivo ones come out in another 6 months. I’ve hung in there this long, hopefully a little longer won’t kill me.


  29. Gah I can’t believe we’re still using our old (Direct TV) Tivo unit on our monster new TV, but we tried an HR-something and HATED it, so no HD TV for us :(

    ps to all of you with broken SD units you can buy a replacement on Ebay – just switch the card.

  30. If you have what they called sd you probly all ride have hd as well on there with out doing any thing elts. put it on a hdtv frist to see how the picher looks befor doing any thing elts. I am glad that I did becuse I had hd with out me know it at first. the only way to see if it is by puting it on a hdtv. I hope it works just a good as it did for me. just make shour your tv is on full or look in you book about sd becuse it will chang it by that with out paying any more.

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