TiVo Drops Below 1 Million Retail Subscribers


While TiVo is crushing it with cable partnerships and licensing deals, the retail DVR picture isn’t so rosy. And, for the first time since 2004, they’ve dropped below 1 million subscribers. Having received nearly universal praise, I imagine the company believes they’re posed to turn the tide with the newly released Roamio. Yet, TiVo indicated to investors that they intend to reduce R&D expenditures and that Roamio hardware generates “better hardware margins” for the company (despite a billion in the bank).

There’s no question in my mind that TiVo will see solid sales this fall and through the holidays… it’s what happens after that’ll determine their retail fate. Surely more over-the-top apps, out-of-home streaming, and Android streaming support would be a good start. But TiVo may also find they need to lower prices/fees for sustained expansion of their customer base.

61 thoughts on “TiVo Drops Below 1 Million Retail Subscribers”

  1. Yep, lower fees are a must. I won’t touch TiVo without it. Even with a break even point in 3-4 years when buying the lifetime service (compared to renting FiOS cable boxes), it’s not worth it for us. Even with the compelling new features.

  2. What???? Rolling out model after model of basically the same thing with a higher price tag and more tuners isn’t flying off the shelves? People aren’t lined up to hand money out to Tivo?

    Let me give you my take from a disgruntled (and almost 15 year customer).
    * Basically the same UI since day one.
    * HD menus are unusable (Premiere). Sluggish and unresponsive.
    * Apps (like Spotify) are excruciatingly slow
    * Cablecard support in my area (Midwest / Cox Communications) is non-existent
    * Monthly subscription is on the high side. I pay $25 for two Tivo’s with just OTA connections. That’s ridiculous for guide info for 10 channels.
    * Too many negative aspects of the lifetime subscription model. I seem to always read about Tivo cancelling people’s subscriptions, or not honoring new models, etc. Not sure how true it all is, but it’s out there.
    * 10 minute boot time. Seriously? It’s a PC.(?)

    Yeah yeah yeah, someone can come along and dispute all these points, I don’t care, but it’s what keeps me from continually looking for alternatives. As soon as the litigation money runs out, I predict Tivo is toast. The only thing I hate worse than giving Tivo $25 for a subscription is using a Motorola DVR. :^(

  3. android suport isn’t going to help — this is the US after all.

    it is about pricing.

    I’ve offered to come back in on a 2 year premiere + buying a stream for 199 + stream, no interest.

  4. I have 3 Series 2 boxes that have been on lifetime for years. As a satellite subscriber, Tivo left me behind after Series 2. They also left behind any chance to get more of my money. Stupid business practice to abandon half of the potential customer base.

    Once the patent lawsuit business plays out, Tivo is end of life and buy-out bait.

    No innovation since the early days. a classic case of a “one trick pony”.

  5. OTA-only viewers would be better served by a used Series 3 w/ lifetime bought off ebay or tivocommunity.com, assuming they can live with 2 tuners.

    The last S3 OLED w/ lifetime I bought cost me all of $150.

    I will note that the Roamio I had had better OTA reception than any of my Series 3 units, but it worked less than 24 hours before I had to ship it back to Tivo

    (I wanted the Roamio to be able stream to my Premiere instead of having to copy OTA shows)

  6. People have literally been predicting the demise of TiVo since I first discovered it in 2002. Just look at the forum archives. My first TiVo was a series 2 with a 60 gig HD.

    I just upgraded to the Roamio plus and a TiVo mini and I love it. Is it perfect? No. But I believe it is the best option out there and a pretty damn fine one at that.

    I do believe that its a pricey up front option. Its never going to attract people looking to save money on such things. You really have to do long term math to realize savings with TiVo, and most people are more about how much they are paying monthly before thinking of total cost of ownership.

    Anyhow, just some thoughts.

  7. 13 years and they still don’t get it.

    Convenience trumps everything.

    Back in 2000, the cable company issued DVR/STB combo won out over TiVo and it’s (vastly) superior interface for a very simple reason: if the TiVo broke, it was MY problem – I was out $300 and/or had to deal with fixing it. If the TWC box broke, it was THEIR problem– they would (eventually) send out a repair person or just swap out the box.

    Then there’s the whole fee thing. On paper, the TiVo will be cheaper in two years versus renting a cable DVR. But it will also be outdated, and I’ll need to buy a new one, so it’s pretty much a wash. AND that’s not factoring in that people would rather pay that $300 out over time, buried in their cable bill, versus plonking it down all at once.

  8. @Bud – Tivo did NOT leave you. It was the satellite companies that forced you to leave. If there was some way for Tivo to actually access your satellite stream, they would. Its the fact that satellite isn’t required to support CableCard that makes it so that Tivo can’t get to your stream. Its why Tivo was one of the ones pushing for the whole-house TV gateway solution. How are they supposed to support satellite if satellite won’t let them in? Series 2 worked as a single-tuner device by capturing/re-encoding the stream output from your satellite box’s analog output. You would need a satellite box that output n simultaneous streams and Tivo would need to capture/re-encode those streams to support satellite without access to the streams.

  9. I don’t agree that TiVo needs to lower fees. At least not yet.

    For example, Cox is offering its “Contour” service (which competes with the Roamio at most levels, except for On-Demand), no up-front costs but $33/mo once you factor in 6-tuner box rental fee ($8.50), 6-tuner DVR service fee ($15), Contour service fee ($10). $33.50/mo over 36 months is $1,206, whereas the Roamio Plus and $15/mo (plus $2/mo cable card rental) are only $1,012. Or the Roamio Plus and lifetime ($500) plus the cable card rental is $972.

    Maybe this is different for other MSOs, but once you compare apples to apples, TiVo isn’t a bad deal.

    And FWIW, they shouldn’t cut R&D until they eliminate the SD UI.

  10. …and since they have no Roamio upgrade deals for the people who supported them, expect it to drop even further.

    They don’t even offer the Premiere upgrade deals, despite the On Hold Announcements to the contrary

  11. Jason, the subscriber numbers include folks on Lifetime… it’d be real interesting to know what the percent is.

  12. Yet, TiVo indicated to investors that they intend to reduce R&D expenditures

    R&D costs rose as TiVo not only rolled out new Series 4 hardware but worked on rolling out three all hardware products: Stream, Mini and Roamio; while developing from scratch the iOS app, TiVo portal, and major TiVo OS software updates. How can R&D costs NOT go down?

    The software side should not see any R&D cuts asTiVo is a software company and all new features and innovation will come via software. Unlike Apple they don’t ship new hardware every year.

    Hopefully the money goes towards marketing especially working with Best Buy to build an interactive display to show off Roamio, mini and stream. They already have the space at Best Buy.

    [TiVo indicated] that Roamio hardware generates “better hardware margins” for the company (despite a billion in the bank).

    Apple has $100 billion surplus and Wall St. rips them every time hardware margins go down on the iPhone or iPad. Why should TiVo a company that’s largely been unprofitable its entire history be any different?

    TiVo is a business not a non-profit charity. It’s owned by it’s share holders and has a responsibility to them to be profitable. TiVo now is profitable with sustained outlook profits for 2014 and 2015. THIS IS GOOD NEWS for both consumers and TiVo share holders.

    Profitable companies always watch their margins and looking for cost savings. One simple cost savings for TiVo is a $30 million yearly litigation costs due to the settlements.

  13. I agree with much in these comments.

    – Innovation is waaayyy too slow.
    – Cable card and setup is too difficult for lay people to understand (cable box is much easier)
    – Prices continue to be too high…especially with the content prices being ridiculous

    It may not be TiVo’s fault, it’s just not feasible to compete with the content providers financially. They have a much more captive audience and hidden prices.

    Any way you look at it, it saddens me. My first was a Series 1, 30 hr with lifetime. There were many between that one and my current XL. We’ll see if I end up getting a Roamio and if it will be my last. I’m hoping not. I still have a lot of love for this company.

  14. @Alan Wolk,

    Unfortunately TiVo can’t come to your house and swap out the box like a cable company BUT they have a very reasonable $50 exchange fee.

    I had a TiVo Premiere break on me last year and they immediately sent a replacement TiVo with free shipping via UPS or USPS both ways. Could no have been easier.

    Compare that to my broken iPhone 4S experience. The earpiece stopped working so I went to the Apple store and explained my problem and the sales person explained that if the techs couldn’t fix it via software setting, etc then Apple would just swap out the iPhone with a used one. Then he asked me when I’d like to set my APPOINTMENT for? What? You need to schedule an appointment ahead of time. So I setup the appointment for the weekend and when I get there I find out it’s the earpiece and that it’s $199 exchange fee. I asked him why no one told me ahead of time that the swap out fee would cost $199 (the price I paid new) for a two year old phone especially with an all new iPhone 5S months away? I found out recently I could get it fixed online third party for $70!

  15. Bryan, the first thing that 7 figure Roamio marketing budget needs to address is the misspelling of Romio on TiVo’s homepage… ;)


    Did the $50 exchange fee require having purchased an extended warranty? Hm. Speaking of warranties, I wonder if anyone’s gone with SquareTrade to extend TiVo’s 90 days. I used them once for my BlackVue dash cam as it’s a grey market item imported from Korea with no safety net here.

  16. @Bryan10024 – cool story, bro. Vastly different than my Tivo / Apple experiences.

    I mistakelnly removed my Tivo from a yearly plan or something, and found quickly that when I tried to reinstate the plan, it didn’t exist. I now pay $15 a month as opposed to the $6 or $8 I was paying. Speaking with a Tivo CSR got me nothing.

    OTOH, my iPhone’s mute switch abruptly quit working. A call to Apple had a new one by FedEx at no charge in 3 days (and I don’t have Apple Care).

    You see, there’s a reason Apple is blowing the doors off of sales and revenue (and shareholder return) and Tivo continues sucking. The ONLY thing Tivo has going for it is that it’s pretty much the only game in town. Yes, it keeps hanging on year after year, but eventually they’ll run out of people to sue and be left with nothing.

  17. It’s really not that surprising – I would almost expect them to move to a full MSO model.

    Similar to cell phones, the hardware expense is subsidised by the service provider; selling the hardware by itself, TiVo has to cover it’s costs since it doesn’t have an ongoing revenue stream. Forget the TiVo fees – the programming (Cable TV) is what I’m talking about.

    This is how DirecTV and Dish lure you in with their free hardware and discounted rates – it’s all short term and then you end up staying with them since you don’t want to switch.

    For OTA users, there’s really no incentive to upgrade – ‘cable cutters’ are looking to eliminate costs, so they’re not looking to spend a whole lot to get anything.

    TiVo has to rely on the ‘power users’ who understand the TiVo platform – this population will continue to decline over time.

    I’m on the fence about it right now – I want a whole home solution, but don’t want to pay for it (who does?). DirecTV w/ Genie saves me about $800 over the first two years, but then the annual service more than doubles. The breakeven point for the Roamio Plus and 2 Minis (all with lifetime) is around three years – but I have to shell out over a grand upfront, which is a lot of cash.

  18. @frankfurter

    You need to write a letter to TiVo explaining your situation with your contact details as well as call back and speak to someone higher up.

    Why are you giving up because of what one first line help desk person said? If a Best Buy sales person (kid) told you that you’d laugh and ask to speak with the manager, then his manager then the store manager, his manager, etc.

    I’m actually calling up Apple now thanks to you. How old was your phone when it broke? Apple care is one year on the iPhone.

  19. @Bryan A – My time is worth more than $5 a month to hassle with Tivo. And if you’re comparing Tivo’s CSR’s to Best Buy’s sales people, that’s an issue right there. SURELY Tivo doesn’t have part-time college kids answering the phones…

    Regarding Apple, I don’t recall how old it was when I called in. Perhaps under a year old, but it was a warranty issue, nothing to do with Apple Care. The point is, they could’ve been a**holes and hassled me, but they worked with me. YOu can’t put a price on customer retention. Tivo has lost me years ago, it’s just that a “better” solution hasn’t come around.

    The main thing Tivo has going for it is the remote(!) and ease of use. My young children can operate it. Not possible with any other HTPC setup or even a Motorola DVR.

    Good luck with Apple.

  20. Agree with @davis, its not that surprising.

    TiVo mostly crushed Replay because their models didn’t cost as much up front, even though they had monthly fees. Why should they be surprised when the cable company goes them one better?

    Like he says its the same as the (US) cell phone market. I know lots of people who went with an iPhone 4 rather than a 4S or 5 because it was $99 rather than $199. Ignoring the part where that price difference is irrelevant compared to the $2400 in fees over two years.

    Yes the upfront cost is a serious hurdle. I mean I’m going to at some point put out $599 plus what $400 for lifetime, so almost $1,000 for a Roamio Pro? Plus another $250 for a second Mini? So I can avoid the conflicts I get with 4 tuners, avoid having to schedule recordings on two DVRs, avoid problems transferring HBO shows between rooms, and get ‘the snappy’? Really?

    And maybe that CableCARD will only support 4 tuners? And I’ll get the usual crap support from Comcast for the install and have to stay home that day and miss work when they end up inevitably coming out to fix it cuz they fumble fingered one of the 42-digit numbers they have to type correctly to get the pairing right?

    Seriously? Yeah, I probably will, but we wonder why most people don’t?

  21. I have to say when compared to any cable company solution or satellite company DVR, the Roamio Plus and Pro are far superior. I have owned a Series 2, 2 HD Tivos, 3 Premieres, a Stream, and now 1 Roamio Plus and 2 TiVo Minis. The Premieres were slow and I was disappointed when I upgraded from my TiVo HDs. But, they did introduce more apps, room to room streaming, and some performance enhancements through the years. With my cable cards, I could record 6 shows in the house, (2 at a time on each box). I have been happy with that since 2011.

    As soon as I saw the reviews for the Roamio I knew TiVo had many of the issues from the past. I have had my Roamio and 2 TiVo Minis running for 24 hours now. I am using MoCa and Ethernet in my house. Shows stream instantly to the Minis. Just today they added Netflix support on the Minis. They seem to be in a period of rapid development. I like being able to transfer shows to my iPad and iPhone and I am looking forward to the streaming outside of the home network this fall. Then I can finally retire my Slingbox HD.

    I purchased lifetime on all of my new boxes. It was hard to do, even with all the existing customer discounts. I figured out my return on investment (after eliminating 2 cable cards) was 2.4 years. My cable company (Midcontinent) offers TiVos for 18 bucks a month, and 6 dollars a month for Minis. When you look at that cost of ownership vs. renting, it is so much better to buy. My cable card is only 4 dollars a month and now I only need ONE to record SIX shows at once. It is awesome.

    I know many (including myself) have been soured by some of TiVos practices in the past. I agree they should consider changing pricing and work the lifetime subscriptions into the price of the boxes. In the OLD days we could spend $500 bucks on a good VCR and much more on tapes. People just go with the Cable company DVRs because they make it easier and people don’t realize the hidden costs. For me, I love this new golden age of TV and I want a DVR that can do it all and record it all. I LOVE my TiVo Roamio. After ten years of being a customer and beta tester, I can honestly say I didn’t always love, or like, TiVo. With the Roamio, they brought me back to being a TiVo fanboy.

    I am giving my old TiVo Premieres to my Parents and my In-Laws. They will like 2 tuners just fine, since they have never owned a TiVo or DVR, and one still has a VCR.

    -Kenny Allen
    Twitter: @Kenny_Allen
    (Lots of pics and tweets about the last 24 hours with my TiVo Roamio)

  22. Michael Burstin
    ” Tivo did NOT leave you. It was the satellite companies that forced you to leave. If there was some way for Tivo to actually access your satellite stream, they would.”

    That nonsense! My Series 2 boxes still work fine with satellite. There’s no way for sat companies to prevent it.

    Tivo could easily continue to support satellite in the same way. Give me better resolution, a faster processor, internet TV app support like Roku, more storage, and continued software support.

    So, I don’t get 6 tuners. I’ve never found one tuner a problem & can’t understand what I’d do with multiple tuners – most programs run multiple times, if there were ever to be a conflict. Besides, OTA could be a 2nd tuner. (Gone for me now with my Series 2s). I.m not “too hip” to be seen using IR blasters – they work fine. Cablecard sounds like more hassle than it’s worth.

    A new box with 1 OTA tuner and one satellite feed tuner controlled by IR would be fine and inexpensive to produce. Larger disks are inexpensive as are faster CPUs and video processors. Throw in Roku-style apps and I’ve got a single box that replaces 3 that I currently must use.

    The point is that I’d pay money for newer, bigger, faster, boxes, I would not have to use Rokus in addition to Tivos. Tivo would get revenue for 3 new boxes and 3 new lifetime subscriptions. That’s a couple of grand that TIvo left on the table. Why pass on potential customers and revenue?

  23. @Bud. I think you are one of the few who would have that opinion. Most people would laugh at the thought of Tivo releasing a single-tuner based box when the cable/satellite providers are putting out 4 or more tuner boxes. Yes, while the cable channels do offer repeats, the OTA channels do not. I think there are very few times that I record something in prime time when another tuner isn’t also recording.

    Also, the satellite companies can certainly prevent it. If their receiver boxes are putting out only digital signal (HDMI), they can certainly implement a no-copy flag that Tivo would be violating FCC mandates if they didn’t honor. Yes, its possible to transcode (and lose quality) on analog component output, but this is also much more hardware intensive for HD than for SD (though it is possible with newer faster chips). If the boxes start going the way of BluRay with digital only output, then you are dead in the water.

    People also got sick of IR blasters missing channel changes – especially in today’s world of integrated DVRs without the need.

  24. I believe the technology is great but the price is still outrageous. The $499.99 lifetime fee is ridiculous. Lifetime subscription should be $299.99, they should also make the monthly back to $12.99. The hardware pricing is ok if they change their subscription pricing. Android support would be great, but not enough to justify the high subscription rate. I’ll stick with my Premiere for now.

    I also agree with Bud that it’s a shame they don’t support Satellite. And the removal of OTA from the Roamio Pro and Plus is annoying for cord cutters.

  25. Satellite was shut out of CableCard by the MSO’s. Both Dish and Direct wrote strongly worded letters to the FCC complaining of this. Fortunately for satellite, the FCC did nothing, and satellite was spared the CableCard curse.

    It’s all about the cost to the consumer regarding TiVo:

    Even if TiVo were an option for satellite (well, it sort of is with DirecTV, but a diminished TiVo product based on the S3 platform, so it’s hard to view it as a PEER TiVo product to the alternative DirecTV Genie), it wouldn’t make much difference as both satellite companies have superior whole home DVR’s for FREE (not the crap cable DVR’s with which S4 & S5 TiVo competes) or for a far smaller upfront cost if one is a current subscriber, for TWO Hoppers in the case of Dish. The vast majority would still go the far less expensive route of FREE or greatly reduced upfront, but nearly identical monthly costs.

    About obsolescence: Yes, cable and sat carry the subscriber, not TiVo. As one example, when Dish migrated all HD to MPEG4, it replaced all the MPEG2 HD DVR’s every subscriber had, including replacing OWNED DVR’s with the MPEG 4 replacement as still OWNED by the subscriber. It sure cost a lot of money and was quite an effort, but we know that TiVo is NOT going to do anything for those who may face obsolecense. There have been other instances of Dish and DirecTV having migrated subscribers at NO COST to the customer, to new tech that was a necessary change. Currently, Dish is migrating to 8PSK for SD on the Western Arc, and will cover all costs to get those people new equipment (superior to what they have today, by the way) so everyone can continue to have functioning services and DVR’s. This is NOT the TiVo mode.

    Further, when the DVR dies (the HDD, most often) even one does not pay for the Protection Plan (their “extended warranty” that covers the entire down-link system all parts and labor), one ONLY pays for the shipping (about $15) to get a replacement in 2 days. Compared to the costly exchange of a TiVo outside of warranty. Its is so bad, I’ve found Weeknees to be far more reliable. Even still under warranty, TiVo manages to keep sending units with HDD’s that won’t get past the “Welcom” screen. This never happens with Weeknees.

    Yes, the longterm economics support the Lifetime option for a TiVo, but not only do many find plunking down that much cash aversive, many households either can’t justify such a big pay-out or simply don’t have that much cash after living expenses, and Lifetime for them is an impossibility, so the more expensive in the long run cable DVR model is the ONLY way those folks could ever get a DVR in their home because they have a FEW dollars left after expenses to support it.

    My aunt moving into an OTA only situation, and she asked me about TiVo. Oh, yes, TiVo is an excellent DVR for her OTA needs, but after going over the various costs, her remark was “it’s expensive,” and she lost enthusiasm for the idea of a TiVo.

    Further, it isn’t the cost of the box she found unreasonable (she expected to pay a few hundred for a DVR she owns), it was all about the MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION cost. Forget it, she is retired and she finds paying out an additional $500 (yeah, I know, $499) for a DVR of any kind an assault on her sensibilities. Going from zero to $15 (yeah, I know, $14.99) was a HUGE pill to contemplate swallowing. She is going to “think about it,” but she seemed very disappointed.

    This brings us to what I’ve suggested in the past: the return of the OTA subscription price, permanently. It would seem that if one has the plethora of channels on their MSO, a $15 per month rate comparable to a cable DVR service seems something of a value, but for those with OTA and far fewer channels, it seems out of scale to “cord cutters.” While $5 would be hugely embraced, I doubt those economies would work at all for TiVo, so considering they’ve really built the Roamio super cheap, the original $9.99 for Roamio OTA only could go a long way to getting more OTA only households and cord cutters. That rate would at least be below the psychological $10 barrier in the minds of consumers.

    TiVo won’t be toast, but it will be an MSO exclusive product. I just don’t see TiVo continuing the retail model and personally believe the Roamio will be the last retail TiVo ever. After all, Tom Rogers stated a long time ago that his intention is to have TiVo become, primarily, a SOFTWARE company, where it can make money, as well as a very limited maker of boxes for providers world wide, but not direct to consumers.

    The Roamio seems an excellent product worthy to be the successor to the S3 (let’s pretend S4 never happened :)). I really do hope TiVo goes all out on promoting the new line of DVR’s, especially to OTA people because it surely is the finest OTA DVR out there today, and with FOUR tuners. I would think that if it is marketed well (usually TiVo’s strong point) AND with a less offensive, to some, lower monthly subscription for at least OTA only users, I could see TiVo surpassing 1 million again, and even doing better. Now they have a product that doesn’t seem so embarrassing and seems robust enough to have powerful word of mouth.

    Now, we will have to wait and see what Echostar produces for Channel Master. However, even if Echostar puts is powerful ViP tech (comparable to TiVo in nearly every respect) into the Channel Master, if it has only 2 tuners (and the matter of any monthly charges, but we hope not), that will make it inferior.

  26. @Michael Burstin

    I guess that we just see things differently.

    I’ve been living with my 3 Series 2 boxes for over a decade.

    All I miss is losing ability to record OTA. Having to use Rokus for internet TV is also disappointing, as is having to record in low def.

    I’ve never needed multiple tuners, although a 2 tuner (OTA & Sat) would provide more than enough for me. If one were to use all 6 tuners at once, how would they ever find time to watch all the recorded content?

    As for IR control, I’ve never had a failure with mine. Installing them incorrectly is the likely cause of problems that people might have. I suspect that more modern design could eliminate that.

    My point is that I believe that there is a market for basic Tivo functionality in satellite-land. Basic search & record for satellite content and for OTA content, and user-friendly access to internet content. Extra credit if they threw in access to photo/video/music.

    While it won’t thrill the leading-edge types, it would sell very well to the mainstream who are attracted to Tivo UI ease of use. Satellite boxes still leave a lot to be desired on UI, and will never enable internet content, as they eats into their core business.

  27. @frankfurter,

    Just wanted to follow up in case someone reads this old thread. The reason why Apple support “worked with [you]” on your broken iPhone is due to it being under warranty and support just did what is required under the one year Apple Care warranty that comes with the product.

    How do I know this? Because I was told at the store that it’s $199 to fix a phone out of warranty and when I went to call Apple support up hoping they would “work with me” like they did with you I hit a roadblock. There is no way get to an Apple support person without first giving them the products serial number. Once they had that they wanted $19.99 just to open a call as I wasn’t under warranty!!!!!

    Does TiVo charge you $19.99 just to talk to them once the TiVo box is a year old and out of warranty? Not taking sides just laying out the facts.

  28. @Bryan10024 – guess you got me there. Apple could certainly learn a few things from Tivo’s business model. Oh wait.

  29. Random factoids… I’ve had two iPhone issues out of warranty. One was a busted top power button, and they replaced the phone in store no muss, no fuss, no fee. The other I dropped onto the pavement and shattered the screen, and they offered me a replacement for $199. In neither case did I have an extended warranty. Also, so we’re clear, Apple provides a one year warranty whereas TiVo provides 90 days. I’ve had many, many TiVo units and knock on wood, I’ve never had any issues beyond a Series 1 mishap that was my fault. But I’ve got enough CableCARD and SDV horror stories to fill a book – would much rather go through an RCN directly than do it on my own as I have.

  30. @Dave

    I’m not sure what to make of your story. It’s amazing for you but it leaves me really puzzled as to why they wouldn’t charge you for the busted power button on an out of warranty iPhone. I can only assume it was “close enough” to the one year as $199 swap out fee is standard for an iPhone. They give you a reconditioned iPhone (that was fixed) and then fix your iPhone and give it to someone else.

    Maybe you just have that kind of face that salespeople can’t say no to?

    Did the $50 exchange fee require having purchased an extended warranty?

    No extended warranty. The HDMI port went on me and so I used RGB outputs until the new box arrived, swapped the wires (and swapped out the 2GB HD :0 ) and I was happy again. I mean basically TiVo is a PC so usually nothing goes wrong (knock on wood).

  31. Retail #’s loss was probably unavoidable. But the miserable failure of the Premiere line just made it much much worse. An unfinished product and everyone knew it.

    3 wasted years.

  32. Jason, the subscriber numbers include folks on Lifetime… it’d be real interesting to know what the percent is.

    @dave, as of July 31, 2013, 48% of TiVo’s 981,000 retail subscribers were lifetime. 176,000 of those lifetimes were beyond the 66 months amortization period and no longer contributed quarterly revenue (other than advertising and audience research).

  33. I don’t know why some people say TiVo is so expensive when it is just the opposite. For me to have similar capability with the cable companies is typically more expensive. The break even point is only 2.5 to 3.5 years and that is before even factoring in that you own the TiVo hardware and box with lifetime service can be sold for $200 to $500 depending on the model. With the cable company you never own the hardware and continually pay every month.

    I recently purchased a Romaio Pro TiVo to replace a couple of TiVo Elite(XL4) models. Earlier this year I purchased two TiVo Minis.

    With Lifetime service the Roamio Pro is $1k($600 + $400 for lifetime). And the TiVo Minis are $250($100 + $150 for lifetime). So the total cost for those three items is $1500. And I own them now with no further cost except for the monthly cable card fee of $4.

    To get something similar with FiOS would cost me around $50 a month. So in 2.5 years I will have paid $1500 to FiOS and still not owned the hardware. So even if I add another three months on to that to match the extra cost of the cable cards with my TiVos. That is still $1650 for the FiOS equipment for 33 months.

    While my TiVo equipment costs me $1500 + $132 for the cable card for 33 months. So $1632. Basically the same cost for 33 months. Only in the end of that time, I own the TiVo hardware and can sell it for hundreds of dollars to even further reduce my total cost. Or to reduce the cost of an upgrade to new TiVo hardware like I tpyically do everytime new TiVo hardware is released. Either way, in the long run it is much, much cheaper to use TiVos than to use the cable company DVRs. (Comcast also had similar pricing in my area)

  34. I bought the ST warranty for my new Roamio – the extended warranty Tivo sells only offers one exchange (& you pay to ship your broken unit) vs. ST pays for shipping, and if they can’t fix it after 3 tries pays out your invoice (for me hardware + lifetime) under their ‘no lemon’ coverage.

    With a 30% off coupon, ST’s 3 year for “DVRs up to $749.99” was $25 more, but covering the shipping cost probably makes up for that.

    Officially, out of warranty (labor is only 90 days) an exchange from Tivo costs $50 during the first year (parts warranty is one year), and after the first year $150 (you pay shipping back to Tivo in both cases)

    But I don’t know if the above exchange is available if you’ve upgraded your unit.

    I plan to drop a 3TB drive into my Roamio on day 91.

  35. I’ve no idea where the $150 quote comes from as it clearly states on the TiVo FAQ Limited Warranty DVR that “Out-of-warranty service can be obtained at a nominal cost for replacement and handling. To obtain out-of-warranty service contact Customer Support at the number in the Troubleshooting chapter of this guide to obtain the cost of out-of-warranty exchange for your product.

    They charged me $50 to replace my 14 month old DVR. Then sent me the replacement via UPS and I returned mine in the same box. Didn’t miss a day of service.

    Did notice this one tidbit in the FAQ about Roamio vs Premeire pertaining to future updates:

    A new UI look and feel has been introduced on TiVo Roamio. Will a TiVo Premiere have access to this new look? Can I download it to a previous TiVo box?

    No, the new look and feel is only available on the TiVo Roamio platform and will not be downloadable to any previous TiVo DVRs. The UI looks slightly different but the functionality and menus are exactly the same.

  36. I would buy the new one if i could trade my lifetime subscription from my Premier XL.

    I paid about $800 for it with lifetime if they would let me trade the lifetime they would get another $400 from me for this new machine. I would sell the other and hopefully someone would either get a lifetime or a monthly (more money for them)

    as it stands I will stick with the XL till it no longer works and I think my Tivo days are going to be over and I will take a cable box

  37. “They charged me $50 to replace my 14 month old DVR.”

    You got a deal – over @ tivocommunity they’re paying $150 plus shipping for a swap after the 1 year parts warranty expired.

  38. Tivo isn’t plug and play. The cable companies were charging for a truck roll to install a cable card. It was a painful and expensive process. Now it is somewhat easier, but you still have to make an extra trip to the cable company to pick up the cable card, call in to pair the card and then install the card. Also, some cable companies require a tuning adapter, which is another device to pick up from the cable company and connect to the Tivo. I think it’s still too complicated for many customers.

    The FCC has failed to live up to it’s mandate to create a level playing field for third party cable devices.

  39. @scarymike “People have literally been predicting the demise of TiVo since I first discovered it in 2002. Just look at the forum archives. My first TiVo was a series 2 with a 60 gig HD.” I got my first one(s) in 2001 – I still have a lifetime subbed Phillips S1 at my parents house – for grins I booted it when I was visiting them for Christmas and it dialed in, updated and happily started recording. The only Tivo I didn’t get lifetime on was the S3 with the OLED display – an I paid dearly for that mistake – I could have paid for two lifetime subs by now :(

    I’ll replace it with a Romeo – the four tuner model to preserve OTA recording as an option (I’m very glad to see it back, even if limited). And I’ll be getting Lifetime. Right now I can get the four tuner mode with the multi-discount for $500 – the average cost for every Tivo I have owned – except for the blasted S3 that cost me quite a bit more because I stupidly thought like some I see in this thread…

    Finally as far as reliability – since the hard drive is the most likely thing (followed, at some distance, by the power supply) to fail and since the first thing I do with my Tivo’s after having them for a month or so is take out the factory hard drive, clone it, and put it on the shelf, recovery from hard drive failure is trivial.

  40. Had a tivo for years, its miles better then the cable boxes. For everyone complaining about the price well $15 a month is cheaper the the $22 time warner wants for a crappier box. If you keep the box 3 years.. which lets me honest you probably will. Thats a savings of $252 for your $200 tivo. I may not be for you but its still a better deal.

  41. Had a tivo for years, its miles better then the cable boxes. For everyone complaining about the price well $15 a month is cheaper the the $22 time warner wants for a crappier box. If you keep the box 3 years.. which lets me honest you probably will. Thats a savings of $252 for your $200 tivo. I may not be for you but its still a better deal.

    TiVo would be worth it even if it cost a little *more* than a cable box. I mean would you complain if a Mercedes cost a little more than a Hyundai? What about a little less?

    We live in a world where this holidays big sellers are the $399 iPad Mini and $499 iPad Air many of which ill end up in the hand’s of kids. No complaints. But TiVo is too expensive? I mean all of these items are luxury items.

  42. By the by, this post was written in the quarter that ended 8/13 when TiVo had dropped to 981,000 retail subscribers. The quarter that just ended in November has the number of retail subs down to 960,000 despite Roamio’s very positive reception and I’m told the subscription count includes the TiVo Mini extender.

  43. The (21k) loss of subscribers included “approximately 12,000 TiVo-Owned subscription cancellations from one specific corporate customer, Healthcast.” If we exclude that one-time event, the quarter would have had a loss of approximately 9,000 TiVo-Owned subscriptions. I expect that we will see a break-even quarter for TiVo’s 4th quarter ending Jan 31, 2014. The TiVo Roamio at $149.99 has been floating in the 100’s on the Amazon electronic’s best seller list which is significantly higher than where it was in the past few months. It doesn’t appear that TiVo is aggressively pricing the Roamio so I expect growth of TiVo-Owned subscriptions to remain relatively flat qoq. Subscription Acquisition Costs (SAC) did drop significantly qoq to $160/gross addition so a new TiVo-Owned subscriber has a payback period of less than a year at $14.99 per month.

    Anyway, it’s pretty clear that TiVo isn’t interested in heavy subsidies on TiVo-Owned subscribers as their focus continues to be maintaining cost control on TiVo-Owned subs while rapidly growing higher-margin MSO subs via their domestic and international partners.

  44. Maybe the worst analogy ever. If Tivo had 1/10th the innovation or worked 1/10th as well as the iPad, I’d give it to you. An iPad, at pretty much the same price as the TiVo sells exponentially better. An iPad is endless at offering entertainment and new experiences. TiVo, otoh, has barely managed to make it’s crappy HD UI menus work with less thantwo second lag time.

    They should be paying *me* to use it. I’d actually buy two Roamio’s, but for most of America, the whole room to room or sling box experience isn’t really a real must have. I’d just like a fast box with usable apps, like Netflix and Spotify. As it stands today, they are cringe-worthy. I personally don’t need a box that can deliver their crap experience – faster.

  45. @Frank Furter – Funny, my last sentence was “Since it’s 2013 I mean TiVo Roamio when I say TiVo.” but deleted it because I thought it was obvious. But less than 5 minutes later we have Mr. Angry-Middle-Aged-White-Guy complaining about his 2010 TiVo Premiere for like the thousandth time.

    I own a TiVo Premiere 2-tuner and rent a RCN TiVo Q and I’m happy. Amazingly happy if you compare either of these boxes to the TWC DVR 2-tuner 30HR @ $26/mo I use to rent.I use a $50 Roku to watch Netflix, HBOGo and Vudu. That’s *my* experience with TiVo. Yes, Netflix sucks on the Premiere. Boohoo.

    As for an iPad, have you tried using the iPad 1 from 2010? No, because if you did you’d be complaining in the Apple groups about how slow it is and how Apple doesn’t support it anymore (iOS 5!). And the IPad 2 is so slow it takes 10 seconds just for google to start up and allow input from the screen! And it’s heavy as a brick compared to the iPad Air I just got.

    If TiVo annoys you so much then sell it and move on. Life is way too short to get annoyed over an household appliance.

  46. @Bryan10024 – I’m confused, I thought we were discussing why the NEW TiVo isn’t drawing in millions of buyers. Why, even YOU compared it to the NEW iPad Air.

    You can get tight pants all you want over TiVo. But you show your ignorance when you seemed confused why the new iPad sells and the 20th version of the same old Tivo is losing subscribers all over the place.

    I LOVE my Tivo. I HATE the lack of innovation and performance. Yes, even on my antique Premier. Hate to break it to you, I could listen to a short song on Spotify on my iPad 2 before the POS Tivo would even get me to my Spotify playlists. I seriously doubt the experience is any better on the Roamio.

    I do appreciate the connotation that I’m angry. And white. Sorry you base your reasoning on my skin color. I’ll make a deal with you, though – I’ll quit complaining that a 3 year old PC now SUCKS when you quit whining about your moronic issues getting things fixed under warranty. I’d think as a Tivo employee you’d have better things to do than shill for them.

  47. Sam, they have indicated that R&D spend is and will be coming down. But given the huge marketing blitz across US airports and radio, they still seem interested in growing the retail biz. Results of this quarter will be most interesting given the advertising and holiday sales.

  48. Tivo’s pricing model is Horrible — First, why would service pricing for lifetime be tied to the DVR. That means if you want new and improved stuff, you’ll have to pay that fee again. Having said this, it does allow the lifetime fee to make sense, since it costs money to provide service, and thus while providing service they should charge a fee. The same goes for a Tivo Mini. But with the mini it is worse. Why is there a monthly fee at all? Mini’s are dependent on the main box, not on Tivo’s service. Yeah the mini’s connection to the service is a slight hit on resources, but 5.99 per month worth?

    Which leads back to the 15 dollars a month — that is a load of money for what amounts to a low utilization website that has to store very little context. This price added onto your cable and internet bill is a killer.

    I have no problem with a service that makes money. But I want that service to make sense. I used to own a Tivo, and gave it up to save money on the monthlies. I thought also I’d upgrade when the equipment became better (more tuners). When they introduced Roamio I drooled and comtemplated jumping back in. Jumping in included subscribing to cable again. I don’t feel poor.. but I honestly can’t imagine that the full stack is meant for someone like me. Perhaps if I were in a two income household?

    The other thing that scares me is that because Tivo isn’t known for their reasonable pricing, they can raise rates at any time and develop weird pricing models that would force me to quit — having wasted my investment in them.

    Perhaps when I won’t notice the monthlies for both cable and tivo I’ll jump in. For now, viva la HULU and Netflix.

  49. I just installed my Roamio today as a new customer. It’s much better than FiOs’s STB. Nice and fast. But I do see the concern. They’ll eventually need to partner with cable companies like motorola did and stop competing with them. I don’t know if it’ll be 5, 10, or 20 years from now… But unless they get some kind of leasing plan and drop the subscription costs a bit it’ll be hard to attract new customers. I was on the fence until my girlfriend bought me one for christmas. Now I see all the benefits and love it. But researching it was horrible. Their website is completely uninformative with the subscription costs hidden like they’re trying to trick you and getting info on how to hook it up is next to impossible. It ended up all being really easy, but that’s not the impression I got going into this and I can see how most anyone else interested in it would have given up a long time ago and just stayed with the STB from Verizon. I hope they figure it out because I’ll be a customer for a long time and would hate to see them disappear.

  50. I have 3 tivos and am getting ripped off at 16$ month per each TiVo, for what’s basically a small tv-guide download every few weeks.

    I just had one die on me, and I called to cancel. They wanted me to first replace it for $150, then told me of this special $50 deal (for my TiVo 4 premiere)…. so I could pay $50 to replace it…..

    I told them I refused, just cancel it… not worth it. If they’re dumb enuff to lose their fat cow cash of $16/month, that would pay that $50 they wanted in 3 months… then that’s their fault – but I wasn’t going to PAY them to make money off me when their crap died.

    Needless to say, they replaced it free.

    I’m looking for another solution, may build my own dvr’s using MYTH… cause $48/month in TV guides is just stupid.

  51. Why aren’t you just using tivo minis? $16/ month is about on par with cable boxes near me. But $16 for each box is too much. Just use minis it’s cheaper and becomes the same as what you would pay for regular tv.

  52. @Russ Supports goal is to help you while *trying* not to cost TiVo any more money then they are already losing on the support calls and subsidized hardware. In your case it cost TiVo support cost+tracked shipping and handling both ways on the box+cost of refurbished box. That’s what the $150 out of warranty was meant to offset. Wonder why TiVo has never been profitable?

    *You* had a choice btwn lifetime box support payment or monthly. *You* choose monthly and now you complain that it’s a rip-off and want TiVo to lower your rate? Does that work with your bank with mortgage payments? Did you try sending TiVo a well thought out letter stating the monthly price you thought would be fair? One that would allow TiVo to pay for their yearly support costs, R&D, staff, recoup lost money replacing your old box, as well as pay down the money they lost when you bought the susidized box? Oh, and some extra money for profit to show the shareholders?

    Maybe in your case with three boxes they would adjust the monthly fees. But that if anything is a sales department call not a support decision. I agree that with certain users with multiple boxes they should be willing to work out a deal or give you the option of paying to get lifetime for each box.

    Understand the lifetime service does not mean for the lifetime of the person but the box. That a TiVo box price is really “box+service fees”. And it’s for a box because otherwise you’d pay one lifetime and then buy new subsidized boxes forever? How could TiVo possibly make money selling you hardware at a loss?

  53. Honestly for anyone complaining about tivo cost. My opinion is that Tivo is more of a ‘VIP package with all the trimmings’ deal. Kind of like a smartphone vs dumb phone lol. If you complain about the cost, then kick rocks and go back to your crappy cable-service dvr or strap an antenna to your roof. personally I may decide to have a base tivo + 2 minis in my house, then any other tv will just be a crappy cable service box lol.

  54. I just got a new Roamio and a tivo mini. Overall I am very happy with it but I can see how it won’t catch on. It just costs way too much. I can afford it but most people can’t. There are just too many other good alternatives that cost less. Tivo just has too much up front cost. The little money I save in TW DVR rental fees does not make up for the overall cost.

    All that said it is real nice if you can afford the luxury. Tivo is a high end luxury. I don’t see how they could ever make money on this.

    1. Netflix & Hulu on same box as cable (don’t have to switch to another device)
    2. Ipad app and desktop app rock. I can do everything from my ipad app.
    3. With Time Warner the Tivo + Cable Card + Tuner box is way better than the Scientific American crap that TW sent me. Some of the channels didn’t even work with the TW box. Menus are faster changing channels is faster.
    4. With Time Warner Tivo is a lot better than anything they have.

    1. Expensive
    2. Set up was long and difficult
    3. Takes 5 minutes to reboot.
    4. Tivo Mini does not work with wireless (I had to buy a wireless bridge and it is faster than ethernet) All they have to do is put a dual band wireless card in Roamio. They should also put a MoCa adapter on Roamio like they did the mini.
    5. Connecting to Tivo online and Internet connection test take way too long for what it is doing.

  55. There are just too many other good alternatives that cost less.

    If there were you and the rest of us would not have bought a TiVo. Even if you can put up with how bad cable DVR’s UI is there small storage for HD content makes it almost unusable for most. My TWC DVR had 45 hours of storage. Just one padded football game recording is 4 hours which is 9% of the total storage!

    1. Expensive

    It’s expensive for people who can’t do simple math which is unfortunately most people.

    Which is more expensive a $99 iPhone 5C or $479 iPhone 5C with $20 lower monthly phone bill for two years? TiVo is the $599 iPhone 5C and the cable DVR is the $99 one.

    Even upfront costs aren’t bad. A basic Roamio is $179. In an age where every kid has an iPhone how is that expensive? And the monthly service fee shouldn’t be anymore than a cable DVR fee. TWC was charging $23.99 for the box and “DVR service”.

    With a lifetime subscription you are looking at $179 + $499 = $679. And at the end of it’s life it will still be worth about $300-$400 just for the lifetime subscription.

    But even at full cost $679 over 60 months is $11/mo. Subtracting $300 resale value the cost drop to $6/mo.

  56. @ Bryan is TiVo still subsidizing hardware? If they are, they have the worse hardware buyers in the history of consumer products. Go down to your local Best Buy or look on Amazon; $300 will get you about what inside a TiVo and remember that’s retail so Best Buy an Amazon is paying less, minus the $80 or so OEM’s pay Microsoft. No way that box still subsidized in 2014.

  57. I’m sorry but $15 a month for “access to a guide.” That is a freakin’ rip off! I was going to give the new Roamio a shot, until I saw Tivo after all these years is STILL charging that ridiculous fee.

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