The TiVo Premiere Paradox

TiVo Premiere, er, premiere week continues! And, last night, I was a guest on the EngadgetHD podcast dedicated to TiVo’s launch. Unfortunately, as with my write up, we had a difficult time focusing on what the Premiere offers… versus what it lacks. Of course, we’re not representative of the broader consumer market and have the advantage of being über-geeks, being able to roll our own Windows Media Center alternatives. But what about the typical TV-viewer? Are they willing to pony up for an improvement over the cable-co DVR experience? They haven’t demonstrated it recently…

Which brings up the TiVo Premiere Paradox, a title I’ve swiped from ‘doormat’ on the TiVo Community. (Sorry. Thank you). What is it exactly that holds folks back? For the majority, it’s probably a combination of education and motivation… in realizing there’s an alternative to the cable co and figuring out how to get it done. An upfront fee and an additional, ongoing subscription (beyond the cable-co’s fees) are probably also a barrier to entry. Whether or not it really costs more, long-term. Also, the competition is catching up to TiVo in many cases. Exceeding them in others. (With whole-home DVR and access to free on demand content being the most obvious examples.)

An interesting comment from that Paradox thread, by ‘eisenb11’, that I identify with:

So will I buy the Premier? Maybe. I’m leaning towards it, but it’s going to be begrudgingly and not in a totally excited manner, like when the Series 3 came out.

My response, keeping in mind that I actually reviewed the Series3 for Engadget back in the day:

Yeah, it’s crazy to think back on how much I paid for the S3 and Lifetime. Without TiVoToGo and MRV even! And was excited about it. Compared to how I feel now. Somewhat let down. I’m not sure the Premiere is a big enough splash to get people to defect from their cable provider’s hardware. Or their connected Blu-ray player. Or Roku. In some strange way I feel sad for TiVo. It obviously wasn’t their intent to let many of us down. And I’m not sure they saw this reaction coming. But potential exists… they’ve got smart people, they’ve got solid relationships, they’ve got plenty of cash and probably more on the way. So I’m hopeful that they’ll surprise and impress me over the next 12 months. In the meantime, I’m playing the field a bit more – digging Moxi’s extender and will build a Ceton HTPC whenever that card hits.

So, as we discussed on the EHD podcast last night, I’ll most likely be purchasing a Premiere once the review period concludes. Given what we do here on ZNF. But will you?

36 thoughts on “The TiVo Premiere Paradox”

  1. I was more excited for the S3 because it brought my home into the HD era. Upgrading from the S2 to the S3 was a huge leap, that leap will be even greater for people upgrading from a S2 to Premiere.

    Over the last few days I have come to the conclusion that I will not buy a Premiere, my S3 and HD do the trick for our house for now.

    An HTPC would be nice, but I’m not geek enough to accomplish that, and the TV has to “just work” for my wife when she wants to watch something. TiVo gets that done now even without the fancy new HD UI.

  2. I tweeted yesterday, “I am more excited by Cablevision’s network DVR announcement than the new TiVo boxes Your take?”

    Okay, you have to be a Cablevision subscriber to get access to their great technology and service, which most people can’t be because they live in Comcast, Time-Warner, or Charter land.

    I have had or still have almost every iteration of TiVo boxes. I think I am unlikely to buy another one.

    The TiVo Premiere price is an issue. It is not just the cost of the box or the subscription, which are substantial. TiVo is over-charging for wireless adapters and remotes. This is off-putting.

    TiVo does not seem to have a compelling product or service anymore.

  3. I will in essence be getting two free since I already have a buyer who was waiting on my 2 Tivo HDs with lifetime. If it weren’t for that, I don’t know if I would be buying either. I didn’t expect TiVo to announce anything big, and yet I am still not excited.

    Personally for me TiVo has focused more and more on getting away from what made TiVo such a big deal. This of course was the ability to record TV. It is what 7 years later and we still have 2 tuners. We are only just getting past the original recording time of the Series 1 if you compare it based off hours. We still don’t know if there will be truly a better conflict resolution or if any of the requests to be able to control the TiVo in full through TiVo Desktop or At this point in time should be able to do more for us.

    Why can’t I go to and not only select the shows I want to record, but also use the website to organize my season passes? Or even better why isn’t assisting me in organizing them to maximize my preferred recordings? I still have to explain to family members why shows didn’t record on their TiVos because they didn’t reorganize the season passes which unless you have a guide in front of you as you do it can be tricky especially once you get used to watching recordings and no longer know what night your favorite shows are on much less what channel.

    I think ultimately for me the S3 was huge because it added something new to the basic usability of the device and that of course was recording HD. Until TiVo does that again by adding more tuners, more hard drive space, an easy way to organize recordings, and just in general improve its basic function, I don’t know if TiVo will really excite me with any announcements. Of course based off how long it took them to add a second tuner to the series 2 we still have a couple years.

  4. I am going to have to pass. I agree with everyone that is saying the reason to upgrade to S3 (I have one S3 and one internally upgraded HD) from my S2’s was to get HD. Premiere is just a fancier looking interface, which if I am being honest, don’t care. I did not get a TiVo to look at its interface, I got it to watch TV on my terms. If the new interface would include new functionality that would make watching TV better, then I would think about it… but no evidence of that.

    That being said the new QWERTY remote looks pretty cool, might consider that for the family room if it is compatible with the S3.

    TiVo if you are not going to actually improve the functionality of your product, could you at least decrease the monthly fees? I don’t mind paying for R&D when it produces something, but I am hard pressed to see what you accomplished in the last couple of years…

  5. Maybe TiVo just thinks of themselves as a rouge cable box producer? I mean to be honest there is no real, meaningful upgrades between the various Motorola boxes that cable companies switch out of…. could this be???

  6. I consider myself a power user, uber-geek, etc… But I don’t think I’ll go for this Tivo Premier. I think the 3rd party DVR market is still in it’s infancy to be honest.

    If it did have Comcast on Demand, then yeah maybe I’ll go for it (big improvement over the Comcast DVR software). But it doesn’t. That’s not really a big deal for some (heck, Comcast is BIG, but not everyone has them.) Comcast does a great job with their HD-VOD and SD-VOD library. It just works and the quality is right there. No buffering, lag time, doesn’t count against the monthly usage caps, etc… It just works. We use it extensively to supplement our lack of HD channels. So what would our options be? Well sure, we could keep the Comcast box and just add the Tivo Premier. But now your talking 2 boxes using 2 HDMI inputs, 2 power outlets, switching inputs, additional cost, etc… IF this was a super “one box does it all” for me, then yeah, I’ll go for it. But it’s not.

    Not to mention you have to pay $299 up front ($499 for the XL) AND an ongoing monthly fee. You might as well just use the Cable Company DVR. It’s simple. You order it, they install it (or you pick it up). It just works. A few glitches and quirks? Yes. Outdated UI? Yes. Showstoppers? No. It does time shift programming, pause live TV and provide you with listings of what’s on.

    Many HD-Guru’s, elitists, geeks, etc, are tied to the Cable Company DVR because it does what it’s intended to do (not as pretty of course). Cable Company DVR’s are also improving. Heck I can program my DVR from the web or iPhone now. Shows are now stored in folders. It now remembers what it recorded in the last 28 days to prevent re-recording of old content. It does on demand! My caller ID shows up on the TV. If it breaks, I can swap it out for another; no questions asked!

    Tivo Premier? Count me in as interested in the technology, where it’s headed, and all that. But am I willing to lay down the upfront cost + monthly subscription for a two box ‘wife confusing’ setup? Not at this time.

    Tivo as a software provider? Now that I am interested in. If my cable company want’s to offer this Tivo Premiere experience as a downloadable option to my Motorola DCX DVR, then they can upsell me. Why? Because it’s a one box that does it all, and when it breaks, again… no questions asked, I’ll have a replacement same day if I go get it myself.

    The DCX3400 DVR is close enough to the Tivo Premiere. HDMI 1.3, Dolby TruHD, 1080p24 passthrough, 320GB Hard drive. Newer Broadcom CPU, 512MB RAM. I don’t see why they couldn’t port it over. Not everyone has that DVR… but if leasing from the Cable company, it’s not like they couldn’t come out and give you one.

  7. I wonder why TiVo hasn’t went to a “no money down”, 3 year commitment option.

    The new site is setup to compare the cost to a cable DVR, but the problem is as long as the cable co’ gives it to you for free, people don’t mind paying $18/mo for it. (I also love how all the price comparisons on TiVo’s site don’t factor in the CableCARD rental — how convenient)

    Monthly TiVo service is $12.95 a month + $299 for the TiVo (so $765).

    I bet more would be willing to pay $21.95 a month with a 3 year commitment which would be $790 total.

  8. I think that I may have some insight into the “paradox”. I’ll buy a Premiere when somebody resolves the CCI byte / MRV issue. I don’t care how this gets resolved – I just want the capability.

    MRV was the feature that justified my family’s decision to go with Tivo. We ended up with two S2DT’s and everything was fine. Then I replaced one of the S2’s with an HD, and we then had to juggle our season passes so that my wife could still watch all of her programming on both TVs (she doesn’t care if it’s in SD or HD). The logical next step is to replace the remaining S2, but without MRV we would be giving up a capability that we use almost daily.

    MRV is so important to us that I even ran wired ethernet to both our living room and family room to improve performance when wireless did not cut it.

    I don’t blame Tivo for the problem – they can’t control what TimeWarner does. But if Tivo wants to attract new customers they need to provide a compelling reason for consumers to spend money on their product instead of using the cable company’s DVR. For my family, MRV is the compelling reason. Everything else that goes beyond basic DVR functionality is just gravy.

  9. The costs that really bother me are the cable card digital outlet fees charged by the cable co on top of whatever you pay Tivo. Moxi’s streaming extenders model can save you $20 bucks a month assuming two extenders. And Moxi 2 extenders (with lifetime) is only $999. Moxi is clearly the better economic deal for someone looking to replace a few cable company dvrs.

    With that said, I am still on the fence between buying the Premiere to replace my S3, which would move to the office to replace the TivoHD I gave my mom after the digital transition. Why? TiVo “just works” and I’m pretty loyal. It has OTA which can allow me to drop cable altogether. And if my transfer times allow me to transfer in real time or better I can avoid a cable card/digital outlet fee in the office. Finally, I want see this new UI in action. Will it really be “fun.”

    Looking forward to the Moxi review. Hopefully, you can find the time to do an in-depth review.

  10. I have a TiVoHD. TiVo Premier seems like S3.2 to me. They’re exciting announcement was basically, “We’ve made TiVoHD moderately better!”

    Years back I was excited about getting a TiVo S3 because I thought, “You know – we’re all going to have to deal with cable boxes of some type, I’d like to get a box with an interface I like.” The promise of cableCards was great. The delivery of TiVo S3 was, as I remember it, about 2 years late and then it was crazy expensive (like $1000 + monthly fees because they ended the lifetime). Then they introduced TiVoHD (which is an ugly box) at a lower price point and brought lifetime back. That was enough to make me bite then. I remember one of the main reasons I went for it was because I couldn’t stand the Comcast cable guide where if I wanted to scroll through the grid I’d have to scroll through all sorts of Spanish and porn channels that I didn’t receive. Just a huge pain. Other than that the Comcast interface was a bit clunky but it worked.

    Then I experienced, “cableCard install.” Now, while cableCard installation (and the horrors of it all) isn’t really their fault you can’t help but look at it from the consumer’s side of, “All I want to do is watch TV – this shouldn’t be hard.

    I haven’t subscribed to cable in almost a year. When I move, because of the distance and my crappy indoor antenna, I’ll probably pick up cable w/ a cableCard and get some kind of deal for 6mos to a year and then scale back to limited basic cable after that. Most of the stuff I’m watching online or, for the most part, can do without.

    As it is, I stopped recommending TiVo years back because of all the nonsense of getting cableCards installed. I remember telling my mom: Just get a cable box – it’ll work and you won’t have to fight it.

    If my TiVo were to up and die on me tomorrow I probably could rebuild it with a new hard drive (still have the old drive saved off after I upgraded the internal drive) but I’m not sure if I will. The thing is – I’m kind of tired of screwing with these things. I don’t want to waste time getting a TiVo only to fight the cable company to get a cableCard and then screw with upgrading the hard drive plus the bucks that get laid out upfront for it all (TiVo + subscription fee + upgraded drive + time to do it all).

    It’s just not appealing.

  11. At first my thought was that there wasn’t enough new features to justify getting the new box, but TiVo introduced something that I’ll call the upgrade paradox that has made me rethink my plans.

    For those who already have a TiVo, upgrading to the premier will be much less expensive than it was to jump from the Series 2 to the series 3. Last time, they let you transfer your lifetime subscription for $100, but it more or less made your S2 box a liability (new ongoing fees after a year) or unusable. This time they are letting you keep the lifetime on the old box and giving 50% off for the new one. Since a TiVo 3 with lifetime is going for about $420 on Ebay right now, it means that I could sell my current box and only have to $80 – $280 for the upgrade depending upon which model I wanted.

    Paying $500 – $700 would probably be too much to swap boxes, but paying $80 – $280 to exchange boxes is a lot harder to turn down. More than likely I’ll make the switch, but want to wait until the new ones are available so I can see whether or not the price I can sell my used one for goes down at that point.

  12. price, price, price.


    1. In ten years, TIVO hasn’t designed a migration tool to make upgrading to another TIVO easier. So you’ve got people running around with old S1 and S2 boxes they don’t want to upgrade.

    2. They continue to screw up on MRV.

    3. Refusal to allow anything but a MPG file play on their machines…admittedly a niche market, but they are in a niche market to begin with.

  13. Davis – Yeah, they’ve taken some heat on not porting the new UI to the S3/HD and on the upgrade offers. BUT I think the Lifetime deal is actually quite decent. The old box retains a lot of value, either for yourself, a family member, or as an ebayable property. I really like my S3 and don’t want to let it go (despite requiring renting TWO CableCARDs for it), so the TiVo HD is toast as soon as the new unit arrives.

    dwgsp – Yep, since moving last July both MRV and TiVoToGo are mostly dead to me. As you say, it’s not TiVo’s fault. But it’s TiVo’s problem. And why they need to move to a streaming model.

    Marte – I’ve done some write ups of the Moxi. And Melissa even chimed in (it wasn’t for her). Our main issues remain (cluttered UI with a learning curve that includes remote control usage). However, the upside is significantly improved due to the Moxi Mates. They’re imperfect (response, slowdown, no scheduling), but it frees me from the CCI Byte issue. The main thing keeping me from a full time jump is the lack of Amazon and/or Netflix video streaming.

    As for my current situation, I think it’s $1 or $1.50/month for each CableCARD and the additional outlet fees run $6 per additional outlet/television after having been required to upgrade to the digital tier (something like $20/mo? not sure. my bill is incomprehensible.)

  14. I think the marketing people raised expectations too high with the lofty announcement of the unveiling event. As the owner of two TivoHD units, and two DirecTivo units before that, I’m very happy with TiVo being the UI to my entertainment. I see nothing in the new box that makes me want to upgrade. Built-in, TiVo supported way to stream my whole iTunes library would have been nice. I use the third party tool, but it can’t handle a large percentage of my music.

    I’m also frustrated by the CCI byte. Streaming would seem to solve that, but nothing here for me on that topic. As a Comcast subscriber, I would like to take advantage of their OnDemand library. Probably half of what we watch is HD OTA too, so I’m glad to see that capability remain.

    So – no changes in the near future, but I have to fear for the TiVo UI disappearing in the near future with weak announcements like this one. The initial UI elements were so well done — I’d hate to see them go away (pausing from FF going back 8 seconds — delightful!). Unfortunately, those of us who appreciate the minor points of the UI are not enough to keep the brand going, I’m afraid.

  15. I was very disappointed by the Premiere. The only updates I see were search, gui, and capacity.

    I own 3 TiVo HD’s with upgraded capacity, NetFlix & Amazon, pyTiVo streaming from my pc, and MRV. There was NOTHING compelling for me to upgrade.

    There’s some ok stuff for new users, but for current users it was a very minor/safe upgrade. The new interface is nice. Search was always capable so the new search doesn’t sell the new box either. The new remote was nice but should have been included. Upgraded network support is non-existent. And the interface didn’t even seem all that quicker either.

    As I said, very disappointed…

  16. This all could have been avoided if they just released this at CES as the new Series 4 without all the hype. Sure, we would have been disappointed, but we wouldn’t have been ‘let down’. TiVo is seriously running the risk of turning into the modern day Palm. I mean they are already there trying to license the OS to Comcast, following the same misguided steps that lead to Palm’s current ‘also-ran’ offering in the space. I really don’t understand the justification for not executing here. They have the cash and the writing is on the wall in terms of the features needed to succeed. They continue to hope that the Cable providers will embrace them but that will never happen. Not buying Sling was a MAJOR missed opportunity and now they are very much behind the eight ball. I seriously hope they have a few major surprises in store and that the S4 is highly extendable with the flash based UI. There isn’t much time left and the natives are restless!

  17. I tend to doubt I’ll be buying it either unless/until my current TiVoHD dies. The new interface is nice but like Brad said “I did not get a TiVo to look at its interface, I got it to watch TV”!

    However, I am sure my wife would enjoy the new interface. She is always wondering who was in that show or what else they did and are there any other shows coming up with that person in it. Of course, we both have our laptops at the couch and look up that information on there but the way TiVo has it laid out would probably make it a lot easier for us.

    Here’s a paradox. How can Tivo continue saying that it doesn’t make any money off of hardware? At Newegg a 320 Gb drive is $75 and a 1 Tb drive is $90 and yet Tivo is charging $200 more for that upgrade. I’m sure it’s not the THX glasses pushing the cost up. ;) I assume it’s for the THX certification but I just don’t see the value in that. Why don’t they add 2 more tuners and charge me for that? I’d pay for that.

    When I purchased my HD (2 years ago) I didn’t get lifetime on it because I figured I would be upgrading to a Series4 before the break-even point arrived. But the new version is here and I don’t WANT to upgrade to it! Why? Because it doesn’t DO anything that my HD already can do! Yes, it’s prettier but I don’t want to pay more to get the same functionality I already have. I want show MRV streaming and one centralized season pass list for my account that can record on any of my Tivos (that I can manage online). I want tru2way so I can get rid of my stupid tuning adapter that starts blinking every other week and makes my wife miss her shows! And I want to be able to tell if a show is going to record when I look at it in the guide. How hard is that?!!

    And as long as I’m whining… I understand they make their money on the subscriptions but isn’t wrong to disable MRV if I drop my subscription? I’m not using their service anymore. Just the box I paid for. Even though they’re not making any more off the box I still paid for it, right?!

    Having said all of that, when I consider switching to another DVR solution I come up wanting. The home-brew systems aren’t there yet and I can’t stand the TWC boxes so I guess I’ll be sticking with Tivo. Oh well.

  18. As some in the TCF communities put it, the Premiere is a cross-grade. It’s not on the same level as an S2-to-S3 jump, so naturally it’s not going to draw much excitement.

    But about the typical TV viewer, Tivo has always been in a jam. I’ve seen a lot more people complaining about the monthly fee than the cost of the box. If they’re educated enough to want to consider an alternative, they seem to be able to accept the cost of the box, but the monthly fee seems to be the deal breaker.

    The Premiere kinda makes it a bit worse. There’s the cost of the unit, the monthly fee, and now a stronger push for additional VOD purchases… marketed as an altruistic way of helping people find stuff.

    If they wanna be helpful, give me another tuner so I can keep up with the shows I want to record. That’s the primary reason people buy DVRs, and the primary reason people will always buy a Tivo, despite the “internet video box” marketing noise.

    All the VOD stuff is secondary, but apparently we can now see what serving more than 1 master does.

    I’ve never built an HTPC before, but I’ve built computers. I suppose I need to look into it. 2 tuners is truly not enough anymore.

    The qwerty remote is kinda cool though, I’ll give them that.

  19. I will definitely wait to see where they go with this thing before jumping in. Will we see relationships with ESPN360, FiOS’ IPTV platform for VOD, HBO GO etc?

    Those options will never work for Series 3 units, but they could get them going on this box. Until then it is wait and see.

  20. Initially, it was a “yes”. I’m not currently a TiVo customer, but with the rising costs of cable and my cable box deciding it’s no longer a DVR every few months I took the initiative to install an OTA antenna in my attic and was planning to get a TiVo Premiere. We really only watch the local channels and are currently paying $50 a month for basic cable and DVR functionality.

    Well, I had friend with an old Series 2 with Lifetime that hadn’t seen any use for a while. We were planning to use this to order a TiVo Premiere with Lifetime for a total of $499. Eventually transfer both units to me. This was close to a “no brainer” price for me. I get DVR functionality with the wife-friendly TiVo interface for about the same price as a HTPC. Well TiVo claims the Series 2 box doesn’t have lifetime and is not eligible for an upgrade. Well the price of $699 is over the limit for me, and gives me serious pause over whether I’ll be picking one up. Monthly is an option, but I hate knowing the box has little to no value once I cancel.

    Sorry to say, I think a price of $499 for a box that requires no fees would probably hit a sweet spot for a lot of consumers. The price of $699 makes it hard for new customers to jump aboard. If I was keeping cable I’d say TiVo would not even be a consideration. We’d be fine with the less ideal alternative and it’s faults.

    Moxi was a consideration, but according to their FAQ it is not meant to record OTA broadcasts. Seems like my only other option is a HTPC. Bah!

  21. There have been lots of very good and in-depth comments here. Mine is simple. It’s all about ease-of-use (wife and kids) and price. We still have two S2s, because the family is happy enough with them, and there are no cablecard issues. When I told my wife that TiVo had new models out, her first question was “how much?”. For us, all of the features mentioned above that everyone can’t live without …. they’re just extra gravy, and often downright annoying. Don’t need a web interface, don’t need the ads, don’t need HME stuff, don’t need suggestions, don’t need Rhapsody and all of the other stuff, don’t need advanced search … we do use photos every once in a while. And wife likes the Yahoo weather interface. MRV is handy, but could be avoided if we had DT models.

    If I had my way, I’d pay for a box with limited TiVo like software+guide and no monthly fees. Sure, I could set something like that up now, but I’ve not heard of a solution that does not require me being the family sys_admin.

  22. One of the features I think TiVo could add that would be compelling would be Webkit+Flash. It would open opportunities like Hulu, ESPN 360, etc. If they would have included the @#$% BT chip in the unit by default, you’d hook up a BT keyboard/mouse. They obviously have the adobe flash runtime working on the device, add in webkit (open source FTW) and go.

    Its not as clean but it would be compelling for the hardcode fans.

  23. @Davis: “This time they are letting you keep the lifetime on the old box and giving 50% off for the new one.”

    Not so. As the owner of a Series 2 with lifetime service TiVo tells me:

    “We’re sorry, you are not currently eligible for the TiVo Premiere Upgrade Program.”

    The only thing I’m eligible for is their multi-unit discount program.

  24. Nope. I have two Tivo HD units, both with upgraded drives from weaknees, installed and working with cable cards. Both required difficult cable card installs by the cable company. Why would I go through that again, as well as MANUALLY transferring all my season passes using pen and paper when the new box doesn’t offer any new functionality?

    I would have upgraded if there were more tuners, or Multi-room streaming, or DivX/Xvid playback, or VOD access on Comcast, or SDV without an external box, or MoCA built in, or Hulu access, or built-in Slinging, or …

    But they didn’t do any of that. Some widgets? An HD guide? Access to some stuff I can do on my iPhone? Not compelling.

    The marketing guy/team at Tivo that hyped the hell out of this should be fired.

  25. If I had HD or S3, probably no, but I simply have S2DT, so maybe… Will depend on which cable options are going to be once I move. Currently, our cable company just pulls signal from DISH for digital cable, so TiVo is of no use there.

  26. I ordered one from tivo yesterday. A 20% discount helped, but i was almost ready to buy a THD, so for me getting the latest platform was a better spend of money. But i will say that there’s not a lot exciting per se. I look forward to Pandora and hope that other things come in time. I got a 4×4 cat5 HDMI switcher that routes 1080p to 4 rooms of my house, so that effectively solves multi-room viewing for me and with 2 tivos now i can watch different things in different rooms.

    I am also hopeful that the ethernet transfer speed picks up with the new platform, as the tivoHD could barely keep up and i so wanted to do more with kmttg, etc. I hope that with this platform I could stream from my NAS device and offload content there. Only time will tell. :)

  27. I wrote in more detail about this in my TiVo Premiere post, but I don’t see a compelling need to replace my TiVo HD units, each with an external SATA hard drive for extra capacity, just yet. As someone above commented, this jump isn’t nearly as big as the Series3 jump to HD was, and there’s nothing here I NEED. Would I like the faster performance and the snazzier UI? You bet. Do I feel the need to spring for new boxes to get them, but without gaining any actual functionality? Nope.

  28. As a long-time S2 user, with a new HDTV, this was perfect timing. I’m definitely upgrading. My order was placed yesterday.

  29. It seems to me that Tivo is not addressing the issue that even Cable co.’s seem to recognize, and that’s the need for whole home solutions. That “happy pony” AT&T commercial is annoying as hell, but it has a point. Families need more tuners and more outlets to watch the recorded content on. Tivo has completely ignored this problem with the Premier. Moxi has a solution, AT&T, Cablevision and Verision have solutions and Microsoft has a solution, but Tivo really doesn’t. Until they address this issue, I’m going with a Media Center.

  30. There are a lot of features the tech-geek in me wants.

    The every-day Joe in me doesn’t want to give up the cable-co’s VOD that is included in my cable bill and that I already pay for.

  31. David: Do you know if OTA reception has been improved any with the Premiere? I have a TiVo HD used only for OTA and live in a fringe area and sometimes have problems.

    $500 is what I paid for my Tivo HD with lifetime back in 5/08 so I guess $500 for a Premiere with lifetime is an Ok deal. Not really sure if I am going to buy another TiVo or not until I know more about the OTA reception – however if the OTA reception has been improved I would likely buy one.

  32. let us all stop and take a breath – then recall how the same 800$ is too much for S3 hardware debate rolled around. TiVo will watch sales and once it can no longer grab the early adopter ‘fee’ it will lower the price on the premiere. Simple business 101 stuff.

    So they had a bad marketing day, not the first and not the last. So the premiere is not tru2way or loaded with some other feature – what exactly could they have done to live up to the hype? I knew it would not be game changing weeks before the event.

    and here is the shocking paradox – the premiere is not about US. TiVo certainly needs to keep its core base but at the end of the business day it is about growth. The Stock and CEO compensation grow as profit and market share grow. Again business 101 that everyone seems to be forgetting as they huff about the premiere having nothing for this long time DVR user.

    People walk into Best Buy after seeing the snazzy ad for a TiVo DVR – the shiny interface gets them hooked – they hear about NEtflix and downloading movies features for the first time – they may not even be aware of VOD from cable company.

    so when the price with lifetime hits the right spot, they pick one up and TiVo has a NEW subscriber.

    also the new HD UI will allow TiVo to add new features much faster than before without long meetings about how to fit it into the old menu structure. The PARADOX is that TiVo needs to jump ahead and that means leaving current users in the dust.

    The only real innovation MOXI has put forth is streaming. I completely agree that TiVo needs to do streaming as well, however why must they follow a broken business model of remote boxes that have no sub fee and from Dave says – do not work all that well either. Give me more tuners and independance at the 2nd TV while allowing all content from anywhere in the house to be seen and that is of value to me, the company should get some value for that.

    I ma still of the opinion that Moxi will never get to a solid market share position and TiVo is still searching for that killer thing that gets their market share growing again – I think TiVo has the right core platform to find that growth. We as current users just need to decode if we jump to the new or stew around in the old or go build a HTPC.
    I have a family that used the DVRs a lot – I will not be tech support for an HTPC and I like the UI on the premiere – my current S2 DT will be upgraded.

  33. This is my first post in your blog. Great job and thank you for bringing news from HTPC world.

    I’m not a Tivo user or owner, but what strikes me is how many people actually are using their products. This includes substantial investment in hardware + monthly fees. To tell the truth, I don’t get it. If you are an owner of device like Tivo or cable’s DVR, then your expenses over longer period of time go to hundreds, if not thousands of dollars (for household with couple boxes used over period of 2-6 years). And that fact of large investment, steers people away from upgrade

    Tivo is making move in the right direction with their new series, by bringing IPTV and internet services in new boxes. They could be a winners, if they could only find a away to incorporate it in previous series.

  34. Zeo, your point is well taken. Related, TiVo is getting a lot of positive mainstream press – who are either excited or didn’t know the capabilities of the current hardware. But it still remains to be seen if TiVo can educate and lure people away from the cable company box. 300 million extra dollars in their war chest should help.

  35. Zeo,

    Great points but I wonder if Best Buy will actually execute.

    In the past the TiVo “demos” I’ve seen at BB don’t even work, no CableCARD installed, nothing. For the demo to be compelling the full box needs to work just like the DirecTV DVR demos in the store. Netflix, Amazon VOD, it all needs to work. The sales people have to be sold on the idea, and have to be able to express that excitement to the customers. I strongly question that an effective demo like this is even possible at Best Buy.

    Furthermore the demos need to include cards that compare the cost of the local cable co’s offerings to TiVo’s. This needs to include features as well as price. The fact that the cable VOD needs to be disclosed or people will just return it with a feeling of being lied to.

    Mass market appeal via Best Buy is a tall order. I hope I’m wrong, but I just don’t see it happening.

    PS> I’ve used both TiVo’s MRV and Media Center’s “Extender” model. I will say that the bottom line is that I think a multimaster model makes the most sense, but managing each DVR as its own box is NOT an enjoyable solution, especially when Copy Once is involved. I have my hopes up that a future Premier update will bring the ability for multiple TiVos to act as one, providing the EXACT same experience at every TV (the same ToDo list and My shows at every TV).

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