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Can TiVo be Saved?

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the people-have-been-saying-this-for-five-years dept.

Television 604

ChipGuy writes "TiVo's death watch has begun. The company is having a tough time finding traction in the marketplace, as more and more competitors rush into the market, most of them deep pocketed satellite and cable companies. But is all lost? What if the company went private and became the anti-cable, letting us download, store, organize, and serve media from both cable and -- this is the important part -- the internet. Others believe that TiVo should get into the content aggregation business."

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don't have TiVo... Yet (5, Insightful)

lecithin (745575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745661)

I have held off from getting TiVo or the equivalant as I had figured that this would happen. Just like most types of technology things get smaller and cheaper. (then the big boys take over)

I figure that the Cable companies are going to move very quickly in this arena. My own (Comcast) offers "On Demand" programming right now for free. I can view programs, store and play later as if it were a movie/DVD. It sounds like the next step is to watch what ever you want, when you want as long as you pay what they want.

I can wait for it all to come together, I know how to program my VCR.

Re:don't have TiVo... Yet (4, Insightful)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745795)

If Tivo got rid of the subscription model, I'd buy a Tivo box right now. While I haven't see any Myth TV linux solutions, I have seen comcast On-Demand with video recorder counterparts. And Tivo feels like a rip off in comparison.

Re:don't have TiVo... Yet (3, Insightful)

mzwaterski (802371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745904)

Think of the lifetime subscription as a fixed cost for the TiVo box...did you buy your TiVo yet?

Re:don't have TiVo... Yet (3, Insightful)

jcostantino (585892) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745905)

You can buy the box and a lifetime subscription instead of subsidizing the cost of the Tivo via the monthly fee. Unfortunately, it seems as though the "lifetime" of the company won't allow you to get you money's worth on a lifetime subscription.

Re:don't have TiVo... Yet (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745963)

" If Tivo got rid of the subscription model, I'd buy a Tivo box right now. "

This puzzles me....are there really THAT many people out there that pay the monthly fee, rather than the one time lifetime sub. fee? I figure the one time chunk of money into the whole price.

Maybe its me...I hate paying monthly on something if I can get it all out of the way once and for all...

Re:don't have TiVo... Yet (4, Insightful)

Corporate Drone (316880) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745889)

My own (Comcast) offers "On Demand" programming right now for free. I can view programs, store and play later as if it were a movie/DVD. It sounds like the next step is to watch what ever you want, when you want as long as you pay what they want.

Have you actually used on Demand? You only get what Comcast decides to store; you don't get to choose what programs you can time-shift. and, of course, you're not "storing" anything -- you're getting whatever programs are held centrally.

The "VCR-style" buttons are a joke -- there's a 4-5 second delay between your remote control button press and the response (good luck trying to stop a program at a given location!).

And, it may "seem" that the next step is full on-demand access to programming, but that's quite naive. keep in mind -- this "on demand" functionality only appeared as a response to DVR feature sets; if DVR competition were to disappear from the marketplace, and their chokehold on content distribution restored, do you really expect them to expand this functionality?!?!

Re:don't have TiVo... Yet (1)

lecithin (745575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745921)

Yes, I have used on-Demand. You are correct, the storage is not local.

It may be a 'joke' to you, but it works and right now for free. (and you can store some things locally)

No. I don't expect them to expand functionality. I expect them to buy somebody that knows how to do it right. Then they can fuck it up well.

Re:don't have TiVo... Yet (1)

tonsofpcs (687961) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745929)

My cable company will be starting to offer DVRs inside the cable boxes soon, as well as the current on-demand programming.

About TiVo (5, Insightful)

Bryan Ischo (893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745669)

I work for TiVo.

Believe me, it can be very disheartening to work for an innovator in a marketplace where large established companies have such control over the distribution channels.

Cable companies and satellite companies already have a "lock" to a large extent on their customers and for them to sell an additional service such as a DVR requires so much less capital investment in marketing, and let's face it, making a good product, than it takes for a company like TiVo.

And those companies already have much deeper pockets than a small company like TiVo with which to absorb the losses associated with pushing this rather expensive technology out to users.

It's kind of funny to me that people will pay $80 cable bills without a whimper but will cry foul at the concept of paying $13 a month to TiVo to make the cable service so much more worthwhile.

Cable DVRs suck. Most people would be much happier with a TiVo and would find the extra expense to be justified. I know I'm biased but I honestly believe that.

My comments are my own and I do not speak for my employer.

Re:About TiVo (5, Insightful)

mzwaterski (802371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745712)

The cable companies can more efficiently provide the same services that TiVo can provide. They haven't completely duplicated the service of TiVo yet but they have charged a heck of a lot less. What can TiVo provide that cable companies can't/don't that justifies the cost? No offense intended to you or TiVo of course.

Re:About TiVo (5, Interesting)

Bryan Ischo (893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745764)

No offense taken.

TiVo can provide technical innovation. Cable companies are generally not known for their ability to innovate technology or to produce compelling products such as set top boxes like TiVo with new and advanced features. They tend to "follow leads" as is obvious now with the crop of second-rate DVRs that they are releasing.

We'll see how this plays out. Either the technical superiority of TiVo will win out or the lower-cost, lower-quality options that the cable companies can offer will win out. Actually it's likely that both will win and retain some part of the market, the question is, how large a part for each respectively?

Believe me, no one at TiVo is under any delusions that we don't have to work *very hard* to stay ahead of the pack and retain technical superiority.

I feel that especially on this topic, I have to remind everyone that I speak for myself and not TiVo.

ONE WORD FOR YOU, PAL: BETA. ONE MORE: UNEMPLOYED (1)

Subject Line Troll (581198) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745805)

Re:About TiVo (2, Insightful)

mzwaterski (802371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745858)

I've never owned TiVo, only used it a few times. Does TiVo provide free updates to the UI/features that are useful on a regular basis?

Part of my problem with TiVo is that it requires an upfront cost followed by a subscription cost. I know you can do the 300$ lifetime subscription, but thats TiVo's lifetime and currently things don't look that great. So I buy this box and a year later some new tech comes out (enter HDTV) and my box is no good. With the cable companies subscription plan, they absorb the cost of purchasing the new box. How can TiVo compete with that? Further, with the ever dropping price of home HTPC's how can TiVo compete? It seems that TiVo is just currently over-priced (not by choice) in the market.

Re:About TiVo (1)

fruity_pebbles (568822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745873)

How will you provide technical innovation on the current Tivo hardware? For example, TivoToGo is a great idea, but on the current hardware it's so slow that it's useless to a lot of people. Do you see the potential for innovation on the current hardware or does Tivo need a next-generation platform with more horsepower?

Re:About TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745923)

Unfortunatly, most of your market doen't buy your product for "innovation" reasons.
The cheaper alternative will win out, unless you can show everyone how much better Tivo is. iPod and Tivo are very similar in that they are top of the line stuff, so why is one everywhere and the other lacking? Apple marketed the iPod very well, and I know lots of people that have never even heard of Tivo. Now there are cable company boxes and stuff, so it's too late. For people that heard of DVRs from their cable company first, tivo is going to look like a copycat now. You're about to loose the market...

Re:About TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745958)

Oh, and I'll add something to this...
companies run by engineers never do well (with the exception of google... they suprised me) because they think "innovation" and a quality product is enough. Well, guess what? It doesn't mean jack if you don't market yourself well. Too bad too.

Re:About TiVo (1)

the_rev_matt (239420) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745956)

To be fair, cable co's are not generally known for their ability to deliver a one way analog signal particularly well, let alone two way digital. And yet people still pay $80 a month for a crappy service and worse customer service.

I am a very happy satellite customer and would never consider cable ever again. I would rather not have television than deal with a cable company ever again. Thus far the sat co's attempts at rolling their own DVR's have been lackluster, and I hope they decide to stick with TiVo instead.

Re:About TiVo (5, Insightful)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745993)


We'll see how this plays out. Either the technical superiority of TiVo will win out or the lower-cost, lower-quality options that the cable companies can offer will win out.

As an Apple watcher for 20 years, I would say this: pack up your desk. Cheaper almost always wins in the marketplace; US consumers are trained to evaluate on price first, features second. The feature has to be really visible--visible in the Best Buy or WalMart floor space where the consumer makes their purchasing decision--for it to trump price. And your features aren't; you only see the value after use. That means either taking the plunge because you didn't know alternatives exist, or were pointed to it by a friend. Compared to the free advertising ComCast has on their own channels, good luck with that.

While your product is stellar, and I'm a fanatic user myself, I think it takes too long for folks to appreciate the advantages of the TiVo. And, "too long", in this case, means >10 minutes. How do you market the advantages, without saying simply "easier to use"?

I'm really hoping that the NetFlix deal can save your asses. I'm guessing it won't; it's too far away before release, it'll take too long to download stuff, and/or not enough stuff will be available. TivoToGo, while maybe nice (I dunno, I'm a Mac user), doesn't seem to be the killer feature, either: too long to transfer.

I might suggest that you have some chance if you declare war on ComCast, since they didn't play ball with the distribution deal: allow for unrestricted copying/transfer/ad skip/archiving without ads, and only stop it if they come back to the table. That's pretty chancy, but it might the the only shot y'all have.

Good luck--really. But if it all falls apart, please consider releasing enough info to keep the current boxes useful.

Re:About TiVo (1)

RedX (71326) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745777)

What can TiVo provide that cable companies can't/don't that justifies the cost?

Although not an apples-to-apples comparison, but I won't even consider going back to cable from DirecTV until cable can offer a DVR that can record 2 shows at once and also record HD content. Trust me, I'm terribly unhappy with the lack of feature updates coming from DirecTV for their TiVo boxes, and I'd jump back to cable as soon as a comparable offering was available.

Re:About TiVo (4, Interesting)

smackjer (697558) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745884)

I have a Comcast DVR that is dual tuner, so it can record two shows at once, and it records HD. It has other features that Tivo does not, such as a Firewire port to offload content (which I haven't used yet so I can't really vouch for it). Best part: I didn't have to shell out ~$1000 for an HD-capable DVR, and since I don't have good enough line-of-sight for satellite, it's pretty much my only option for recording HD.

It's only a matter of time before your local cable company has similar features.

I also have a Series 2 Tivo, which has been relegated to bedroom duty, and had a Series 1 in the past. I have LOVED Tivo (both the product and the company) since 2001. Tivo's software is *slightly* easier to use than my Comcast DVR, but until they catch up in HD support they will lose ground.

Re:About TiVo (1)

DJStealth (103231) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745954)

I'm on Rogers with the Scientific Atlanta 8300HD. It can record 2 HD shows simultaneously, with the ability to simultaneously play back an HD recording.

Alternatively, I can record 1 show while watching another.

Re:About TiVo (1)

XMyth (266414) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745969)

There are cable DVRs that do this. Motorola makes one. I forget the model number, but it's out there.

Re:About TiVo (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745915)

As a user of both a TiVo and a DVR from my Cable company, I can tell you that the Cable company's idea of what a DVR should do is ridiculous. The TiVo is a vastly superior product in every way, save one -- it cannot record digital cable natively.

The designers of the Cable DVR are either a bunch of incredible fools, or could care less about the viewing experience of the customer (probably a little bit of both).

Re:About TiVo (1)

mzwaterski (802371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745927)

Can you give some more details on what you mean? What is an example of how TiVo is superior to cable DVR?

Re:About TiVo (4, Insightful)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745734)

Cable DVRs suck. Most people would be much happier with a TiVo and would find the extra expense to be justified. I know I'm biased but I honestly believe that.

True, but...
* I want a DVI+SPDIF/HDMI input and HD recording capability
* I want faster menus and wishlist processing
* I want nobody to ever mess with 30 second skip. DO NOT FUCK WITH 30 SECOND SKIP.
* I want to be able to watch my TiVo recordings on my P800 fone and/or a video iPod
* weather, stock, headline, etc. applets would be nice.

Cable DVRs do suck, but they also do digital sound and hi-def. They don't handle DVD burning though, and I _may_ upgrade to a DVD-capable DVR in the next few months, remains to be seen whether it's a TiVo unit or some kind of HTPC Linux box..

Re:About TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745754)

"Cable DVRs suck"

That's not really true. Comcast's newer dual tuner HD pvrs are pretty good and only cost i think $10 a month. That includes hardware! Tivos HD box, last i looked, was just under a grand, plus the $13/month on top of that.

Re:About TiVo (4, Interesting)

Bryan Ischo (893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745802)

Those boxes work much more like a digital VCR than a true DVR as far as I know, although I have to admit I have never used one and can only go on others' observations here.

Also you are providing evidence for at least some of my points - believe me there is no way that cable companies could push such *very expensive* technology as dual-tuner HD pvrs without the deep pockets that they have to absorb the losses that must be associated with that product. There is just no way that $10/month can support the development of, production of, and distribution of that product.

Re:About TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745898)

I haven't used them either, but they've gotten a pretty warm reception by some ex-Tivo users at the av science forum, and given that Tivo users are usually so nuts about the interface, I highly doubt that the thing is a dog.

I think the boxes are Motorola, so they did the r+d, but what would be interesting to know is how much Comcast is paying motorola for them.

Re:About TiVo (1)

natelr (734929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745755)

It's kind of funny to me that people will pay $80 cable bills without a whimper but will cry foul at the concept of paying $13 a month to TiVo to make the cable service so much more worthwhile. Because like all technology thats is now getting on the pricey side. I pay $5 more to my cable company and have a DVR that can record duel channels (which you cant do with digital cable with a tivo) in high definition. I also do not have to shell out any additional cost and can upgrade for nearly free when anything better comes along. Tivo just cant compete with that.

Re:About TiVo (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745881)

...have a DVR that can record duel channels

You can record duel channels? Can you send me the Aaron Burr clip? Thanks.

Re:About TiVo (1, Interesting)

GreyWolf3000 (468618) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745762)

The problem as I see it is that TiVo doesn't seem to provide anything that a geek with a Linux box couldn't. Hence, it isn't really "guarded" against competition.

Granted, TiVo has a much lower price point than, say, a small EPIA. But, for example, until July 1st, HDTV capture cards are available. And you can take a Linux PVR and do all sorts of neat stuff with it--add a RAID array, share the files over samba, etc.

Re:About TiVo (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745780)

I think the thing that really kills TiVO isn't necessarily the advertising or whatnot, it's the fact that cable/sattelite companies can charge only $5 or $10 a month for DVR, with no equipment to buy. There's really no way for TiVO to compete.

Re:About TiVo (4, Insightful)

Bryan Ischo (893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745872)

The costs associated with getting a product into retail channels are nothing to sneeze at. Also the costs associated with advertising these products is not cheap either. Cable companies don't have to put their products into retail channels and can advertise pretty much "for free" on their own service (not really for free since whatever time they use to advertise could have been used to make advertising revenue, except in those cases where they air their ads in the time slots that otherwise weren't bought).

But I agree with your fundamental point that it's the subsidy that they can give to their customers in the monthly fee area and hardware that is most significant.

Re:About TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745819)

I want to buy a (new, supported) TiVo in the UK. Can I?

Re:About TiVo (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745821)

So quit locking down the content.

TiVo where I have access to what I record would be useful. As it stands, my old Series 1 has died and I am almost certainly going with MythTV or EyeTV (Mac) because I will have access to what I have recorded. DRM'd Tivo To Go is garbage.

Re:About TiVo (2, Interesting)

m2bord (781676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745826)

I completely see your point however, please let me tell you why I'll never own a Tivo or a Replay or any other system.

I'm a control freak. I like to know what's going on and who's doing it.

Tivo controls the box. They control the size of the drive inside the box, they control the data that's on the box, and they ultimately could control what can and cannot be saved onto the box.

And while it is true that some can "hack" the box, Tivo has not given users permission to do so.

Tivo alone maintains control and can upload updates on it, they upload commercials on to it, and they can monitor what I'm watching/Tivo-ing.

In other words, I'm paying for a machine and a service which I cannot legally control.

It's a funny thing but I really hate the idea of law-enforcement or anyone else out there being able to see how many times I Tivo'd something.

Tivo is not the only company who operates this way. I'm sure most digital cable and satellite recievers operate under similar standards.

But if I build my own box, and use open source software, I am free to see what's going on and thus gain some control.

Tivo nor any other company that I know of, gives the consumer that option.

Re:About TiVo (1)

bobpence (450461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745860)

Comcast DVR is $10 a month. Except not really; it's $10 after paying $15 bucks for the digital cable box which was only useful to me for the TV listings that TiVo provides. Please stay in business, I might finally take the plunge after tax time. Frankly I think that the demand is quite elastic at this point so that a reduction in the monthly fee - to $10 say - would yield a larger total return within a year.

Re:About TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745861)

TiVo is a great product, maybe innovate a Linux OS in to it with just a good application for editing video/audio to remove advertising, and internet use for torrents & ftp, TiVo would really be rocking the world then:^)

Re:About TiVo (1)

wwonka74 (861731) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745949)

Perhaps at some point TiVo could've decided to partner up with cable companies to provide TiVo's for their customers. I know TiVO did it w/ one of the satellite companies that's ditching them to run their own DVR's. Even if cable DVRs suck my present cable company can barely keep them in stock to meet the demand of new customers. For new technology customer's trust their entertainment providers more than they do some unknown to them company. It would not matter to the majority of cable customers if they received a TiVO DVR or a Motorola DVR from their cable company. Working against the companies that the customers have an inherent trust for is not how you are going to get your product out the door. I think you have already made your choice but really it's play ball with the companies with a "lock" on their customers or stay independent and hope for a wave to come in.

Re:About TiVo (1)

Richthofen80 (412488) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745968)

Why doesn't TiVo become a software company?

Seriously, why doesn't TiVo license its cool interface and technology into the existing cable boxes? I would love it if my Comcast box had TiVo software on it, because TiVo knows how to write good software. Who cares what hardware it runs on?

Also, I think TiVo should get into writing PVR software for PCs for hackers. Although, hackers hardly pay for anything, so maybe that's not such a good idea.

Re:About TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745975)

Uh... I pay $30 a month for Dish, and all the DVR equipment was free. I'm not going to buy a TiVo AND increase my monthly bill by almost 50% for incremental improvement.

The article is right - if TiVo wants to survive, it absolutely *must* go where cable and satellite can't (for business reasons) go - to WAN/LAN-accessible content. If TiVo were to extend its reach beyond DVR to include more media center functionality (play a movie from the server in my basement, play these songs from that remove MP3 server, etc.), then it would once again be a must-have.

Short of that, TiVo needs to do a *much* better job of positioning itself. For most consumers, "TiVo" means being able to pause/rewind live shows and record shows to an internal hard drive for later playback. Whether or not TiVo is actually more than that is completely beside the point because that's the *perception* that most consumers have. And, given that perception, TiVo adds no value above and beyond the sucky cable DVR.

maybe (3, Interesting)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745672)

Maybe if TiVo has patents on their system, they can use those to make enough money to stay afloat for a while?

I think ReplayTV has the patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745829)

As I recall, ReplayTV has the most relevant patents on this technology. That is part of how they've been able to hang for so long with a smaller market share; their competitors (including the cable DVR makers) pay them royalties on every sale.

Re:maybe (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745891)

Maybe if TiVo has patents on their system, they can use those to make enough money to stay afloat for a while?

I seem to recall that TiVo has patents on basic PVR functionality. I'm surprised that I haven't heard more about TiVo wielding them to threaten the cable providers who bundle PVRs.

Investment (1)

essreenim (647659) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745936)

I'm surprised that I haven't heard more about TiVo wielding them to threaten the cable providers who bundle PVRs.

It sounds like TiVo need to get financial backing of investors if they are to compete with the big cable comanies. Then if they ever need to sue for patent violation etc. they would at least have the money. I hope this doesn't happen though. The best thing might be to merge with a cable company and completely redefine their product.

No (0, Offtopic)

Auritribe (856763) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745684)

No. Thank you I'll be here all week. ('.')b

Bad idea (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745686)

That would be focussing on the consumer. This approach sounds good, but it never works. All you end up with is greedy consumers wanting more and more.

The only way to do business these days is to court other businesses, and work with them. Those are the ones with all the money.

Re:Bad idea (2, Insightful)

LewsTherinKinslayer (817418) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745705)

That would be focussing on the consumer. This approach sounds good, but it never works. All you end up with is greedy consumers wanting more and more.

Damn those greedy customers, expecting more and more for what they will surely be willing to pay for.

ChipGuy (5, Funny)

kngthdn (820601) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745689)

Whoever this ChipGuy fellow is, he sure hates Tivo! Not only is this story a dupe, but ChipGuy submitted both of them. I wonder how many were rejected. ; )

Here's the original [slashdot.org] .

Proof (3, Insightful)

nightsweat (604367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745693)

Tivo's problems are proof that you can not meet the RIAA/MPAA/advertisers halfway. They will screw you.

You either have to roll over completley or get ready for a long hard battle that you will win. TIVO wimped out and tried to make everyone happy, in the process making very few people happy. They'll get bought by someone. I'd like it to be Apple, but I'm skeptical.

Cue the haters (4, Funny)

jargoone (166102) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745702)

Pick your poison:

1. "My cable company's DVR works just fine, why should I pay extra for a TiVO?"
2. "I don't watch TV, why do I want a TiVo?"
3. "My MythTV box only took me 3 weeks to get working, and I will probably only have to mess with the guide data stream a few times a year, and the hardware only cost twice as much as a TiVo."

We've heard them all before...

Re:Cue the haters (1)

LewsTherinKinslayer (817418) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745736)

I don't really see 1. or .2 as haters. Frankly, that is what's killing tivo. Around here, you can get it from the local cable company for free, because its like a cable modem, they own it, and its yours only as long as you have the service. But most people who have the service aren't going to drop it anytime soon, so what do they care? And personally, I fall into the second catergory; I barely watch any television, mostly just adult swim and occassionally some movies on TNT. I wouldn't shell out the cash for any kind of tivo, dvr or any other special service, its not worth it.

I don't watch TV, why would I want a TIVO? (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745838)

I am curious why you categorize this as a "hater"?

I do not watch TV, I do not have cable or satellite. I do watch DVDs for which I have a suitable TV for them.

I think TIVO is a nice technology but I have zero use for one. Best of luck to them. Don't classify those of us who do not watch TV as "haters"

Re:I don't watch TV, why would I want a TIVO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745989)

Because a lot of people (maybe it's a vocal minority) who don't watch TV are so snobbish about their position. Not saying everyone who doesn't watch TV has this attitude, but when articles like this come up on Slashdot or on any other forums, you inevitably get those non-TV-watchers who swear they are better than the rest of the world because they don't watch TV.

Live and let live. If you watch TV, good. If you don't, good. Don't think you're better or worse.

Cue economics 101 (2, Interesting)

swb (14022) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745980)

1. "My cable company's DVR works just fine, why should I pay extra for a TiVO?"

A cable DVR from Crime-Warner is like $8 a month and does several things SA Tivos don't do, like digital sound and HD, and doesn't require hackery like IR emitters and glacial channel changing speeds.

I'll agree that it's substandard software to be sure, but when ordinary people make decisions it comes down to money -- an SA Tivo takes YEARS (box + lifetime) before its ROI exceeds the cable box, and the cable box can be traded in through a cable retail store any time for a newer box.

It's not that Tivo isn't better, but to most people the "better" doesn't matter, the worse does (IR hackery, no HD, etc), and it's a much more expensive hardware INVESTMENT.

I for one... (1)

greypilgrim (799369) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745703)

Say we should read it its rights, drag it out in the back and shoot it.

YAIB (-1, Offtopic)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745704)

"Yet Another Inane Blog."

Please stop wasting our time with such "news."

lamer (1)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745894)

The "blogs aren't news!" meme is so January.

Be ready for March, we all decide that Firefox sucks for some reason.

Steps (5, Interesting)

cthrall (19889) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745709)

1. Tivo licenses content.
2. Tivo provides nice search interface for Tivo BitTorrent client.
3. Tivo provides centralized Torrent servers and includes content in $12.95.
4. Goodbye cable!

Has anybody tried the new SDK [sourceforge.net] ? It's pretty cool...they should have done it from the beginning.

Re:Steps (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745962)

In case TIVO is listening, I'd pay much more than $12.95 for this. If I had access to all the same stuff as is on my cable line only it was on demand at any time after the shows first released I'd go so far as to pay a premium for this service of about 10% over my current cable bill.

Old news (0, Flamebait)

MyKarmaSucksEggs (836012) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745714)

That Engadget post is 2 weeks old!

Tivo has always been on my todo list (1)

Prophetic_Truth (822032) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745718)

Tivo's something I've always found neat, but the cost and/or monthly fees has always made me want to roll my own with MythTV [mythtv.org]

Re:Tivo has always been on my todo list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745756)

Yeah... Right... Due to the $100-$200 cost of the TiVo hardware and the $250 life-time subscription, you're not buying a TiVo. Instead, you want to spend $600 and build a MythTV box.

Dumbass.

My God, I'm old. (0, Troll)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745722)

Wow, I barely even have broadcast TV. Seriously, every time I call my friend, he's watching a movie. Have we become a world of protoplasm living by proxy, entertaining ourselves to death? Who cares if TiVo dies? Who the hell can watch SO MUCH TV, you need a COMPUTER to track it all?

Re:My God, I'm old. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745748)

If you don't watch TV then no one else should. If you don't need TiVo then no one else does either.

Did I capture your opinion correctly?

ReplayTV (1)

mangusman (778529) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745726)

ReplayTV is probably not going to survive either, which is really sad given that not all cable companies are offering bundled PVR services.

Unhappy with Cable/Sat DVRs (1)

MNeau (827927) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745730)

i've tried a few and they aren't even close to as usable as the TIVO, but its hard to compete with the price. From my experiences, TIVOs surprises have all be pleasant but with my cable and sat. I once told a friend, woudlnt it be cool if TIVO could... "yeah, it does it already" but with my dvrs, i start yelling at the boxes... WHY DID YOU DO THAT! its like no one has ever tried using their products. one of my second gen sat dvrs was far worse than a first release tivo. thats just my opinion, i know several people who would agree.

Uhh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745731)

Why did it take so long for the comments page to load?

Never used one! (0)

Masq666 (861213) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745733)

I'm i the only one here that have'nt ever heard of TiVo before. What is this thing?

And? (4, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745749)

I'm missing where the "death watch" comes from. They've lost some executives and their stock price is down. Is there any real bad news in there?

But, since we've been told to start sharing our unininformed opinions:

1) I don't see where turning TiVo into an Internet storage device is a huge win. Yeah, maybe it's a good idea and they should do it, but that will be just as easy for others to duplicate as the PVR business.

2) I'm not sure whether Jarvis is hinting that they should become a warez enabler, but if he is, that's a dead-end business plan. As surely as piracy will continue to exist, that surely will it remain impossible to run a major business on that model in developed countries.

Well... (2, Interesting)

Adapt or Die (697102) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745981)

A good number of TiVo subscribers subscribe through DirecTV and their DirecTiVo feature. Cheaper monthy rate, dual tuners, etc. I know, because I am one of them.

So, when DirecTV releases information like this [corporate-ir.net] about them releasing their own DVR later this year, TiVo proper stands to lose a lot of its market share. There was also the issue between TiVo and Comcast where TiVo pulled itself from a deal with the cable company. Lots of folks believe this was a bad move as well.

The only good news on the DirecTV side is that DTV is currently rolling out a new software update [directv.com] for those who own the present DirecTiVo machines. What impact they feel this will have on the forthcoming DirecTV branded machines is uncertain. (i.e. Is this the first of a string of new updates to DirecTiVo... or is this the final nod to the collaboration?)

Ala-carte viewing (3, Insightful)

Aggrazel (13616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745765)

Would be nice if they could stream the TV shows off the internet so you could buy what channels (or what shows) you wanted ala-carte. I hate paying $40 a month for my cable when I only watch one network (ESPN) that isn't on the basic $10 a month list.

Re:Ala-carte viewing (1)

Kordmp (731261) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745874)

AMEN to that...heck and I wish my cable bill was $40/mth instead it is $130/mth.

TIVO monthly fee sucks (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745773)

The single primary reason I haven't purchased a DVR is it's hard to get one without a service attached. I want a digital VCR, nothing more, nothing less. I don't have time to tinker something together, so I've been waiting for a package deal that will literally give me the functions of a VCR, but on a hard drive.

TIVO doesn't; it sells you a service and controls you and what you put on the box.

No wonder their business model is failing.

Sounds great (5, Interesting)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745782)

Content aggregation sounds like a great idea, but remember that cable companies have a lot of exisiting ties with the media companies that actually produce the content. Even if Tivo starts doing this, the second they turn profitable the cable companies will play their relationships (I've worked in entertainment... the whole industry is about the relationships) with the media companies to undercut Tivo and get them out. I like the idea of Tivo, but I think the company is fighting an uphill battle.

I say they get bought by Comcast or Time Warner before the end of the decade.

Long Live Tivo (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745791)

There is no DVR out there better then Tivo. I know some people think their $1000 MythTV box is great but that aint for the masses. Windows Media center def isnt there yet. Tivo rocks and I dont know why everyone has put this death sentence on it. How can Tivo survive, release some new boxes with enhanced features ie. a mass market HD Box w/ Multiple tuners(like the one they have for direct tv already), a regular box with multiple tuners, integrated wired or wireless networking. Add some of those features and heck, I will even buy another one. LONG LIVE TIVO!!

I want my IP TV (2, Interesting)

steelem (694396) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745811)

Seriously Tivo, make it happen - screw cable companies, start making deals with history channel, discovery, etc. and provide their content on demand. That will be the only way forward. And when is this netflix deal going to be a reality in terms of service? Hurry, there's not much time for you guys...

Re:I want my IP TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745848)

TiVo (The company) isn't setup to handle something like that. They are more in the products world than the services world.

Re:I want my IP TV (1)

steelem (694396) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745908)

You are probably right, but if Tivo steps back and takes inventory of what they have, they will see an awesome brand, an awesome interface, an a fairly good installed base. Their current product, though, doesn't compete well against cable company products (fanboy fanatacism aside). Time to think outside the box and become a leader in a related field that they are positioned extremely well for...

Tivo box after TIVO exits (4, Interesting)

essaunders (469150) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745843)

Not to sound pessimistic, but what happens to all the Tivo boxes if the subscription Tivo relies on goes away? Can they be converted to work with other schedulers? Would they at least maintain a basic 'dumb' disk-based VCR like capability?

Re:Tivo box after TIVO exits (1)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745982)

Would they at least maintain a basic 'dumb' disk-based VCR like capability?

Yes. If your TiVo can't download programming info, you can set it up to act like the dumb PVRs that the cable companies provide. You just set it to manually record a particuar channel at a particular time.

Any season passes would stop being recorded because those rely on the programming info.

In theory, one of the last things TiVo could do if, god forbid, they went out of business would be to change to some sort of 'open' programming format that someone else could maintain.

In the meantime, I'm busy recruiting others into the cult of the TiVo.

gmail invites (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745851)

for the asking.

safety.account@gmail.com

The first out of the gate almost always loses (2, Interesting)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745854)

Apple had the first GUI, but it lost to the Windows. Dreamcast came out first, but lost to the PS2. Sony was first with Beta, but lost to VHS. And Diamond Multimedia came out with the first MP3 player, but TOTALLY lost out to Apple!

I would be MORE shocked if Tivo actually survived.

Re:The first out of the gate almost always loses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745878)

Um... No. Xerox had the first GUI; Apple bought it. And that which led to the GUI was done at SRL.

Further, VHS was first. 1950s. A "VCR" made by the first VHS company cost $50,000. Sony worked for 20 years to bring it down to $500.

And I'm sure someone did TiVo before TiVo, and someone did the MP3 player before Diamond.

Do your damn homework.

Re:The first out of the gate almost always loses (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745922)

Gee, I don't remember Xerox ever selling a computer with their GUI. It's kind of hard to succeed in the market place when you don't sell a product.

And once again, Sony was the FIRST to sell its video recorders to consumers.

And since you've been wrong twice already, I doubt that your opinions on Tivo or Diamond have much credibility either.

Who should be checking their facts, moron?

TiVo will fail. (4, Insightful)

EvilMagnus (32878) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745875)

The sad truth is this: TiVo will fail.

The reasons are simple:

1. The cable companies are rolling their own DVRs. TiVo failed to get traction here, and it will kill them.

2. TiVo has hobbled itself. There were features out there that could have helped them (essentially value adds above and beyond the cable company DVRs), but they were too slow to market, and too restrictive in their implementation. Examples: TiVo to Go. Network-able TiVos. Commercial skip. Good features, but TiVo hobbled them (or implemented them late) either through proprietary standards or by not officially advertising them to Joe Sixpack.

Too Many Tivo Posts! (2, Informative)

Evil W1zard (832703) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745877)

Can TiVo Be Saved? - Feb. 22 (Answer: NO)

Will New Apps Keep TiVo Afloat? - Feb. 16 (Answer: NO)

Has TiVo's Fate Been Sealed? Jan. 17 (Answer: NO)

The No's have it now Die TiVo Die!

Re:Too Many Tivo Posts! (1)

Fedhax (513562) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745978)

Umm...

Has TiVO's Fate Been Sealed?: NO

Wouldn't that kinda mean that TiVO still has a chance? Following that logic, it is only 2-1 on the ol' pitch count.

Free TiVo? (1)

EvilGoodGuy (811015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745897)

Is TiVo free? Last I heard no.
In which case expect me to take no part in it.
Sorry TiVo, but I like my money in my pocket.

Star Trek Enterprise, Arrested Development, etc.. (2, Interesting)

fz00 (466988) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745906)

With all these online petitions to save these series with cult followings, you'd think that TiVo would see that as an opportunity. Imagine buying shows at $1 an episode. Or a full season for a discount. TiVo really needs to turn itself into a delivery platform if it wants to survive. I'm surprised they haven't done it already. I hate to say it but with my ReplayTV, I effictively get free cable via Poopli . I do this because such a service is not available. I would pay if one did exist though... less work!

BSD / IPods (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745907)

This isnt anything like The death of BSD or the Ipod Killers is it.
After reading partialy over the artical it apears not ,I was shocked to discover that this claim of the death of tivo actualy has some foundation in reality.
It would be a shame to see it die , I would own one except for the fact i dont really own a TV and they are not commen in my part of the world.
If tivo wants to be saved , tivo needs to get its name out there , and it needs to start selling(obvious statment of the year) .If i were to ask my family if they wanted a tivo they would reply to me "Whats a tivo" , I know alot of people who could really use a product of this nature , they just have no idea it exists .
Adding functionaly and features may help it get some positive marketing , which i belive is really lacking (as much as i dislike marketing , i know its needed). the last i heard of tivo on the news was a few years ago(regular news , not tech sites)

Buy-out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745910)

Obviously Tivo needs to be bought-out by one of the major cable providers, but it would appear the window for that is closing fast since they seem to be opting to compete with rather than usurp Tivo.

DirectTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745916)

but they already teamed up with DirectTV so they should stay alive if not just through that service.

What about DirecTivo (1)

mprinkey (1434) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745917)

I have a few DirecTivo units and honestly, I was on the verge of cancelling DirecTV until I got them. Now, I don't want to give them up. Has DirecTV licensed the Tivo software permanently or is it licensed per system? I know DirecTV is actively promoting DirecTivo sales. The ability to record two shows at the same time is a big win! And the Tivo interface is far superior to the other options (say from Dish).

HD PVRs (1)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745918)

HD PVRs are really where the cable companies are taking off in the Tivo-like arena. Tivo and Satellite TV companies can't compete with my Time Warner Cable HD PVR capability at $10 a month, including the service and hardware.

The SA8300-HD PVR is really quite good. And it has an HDMI output to boot.

Aggregate video content from the Internet? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11745944)

Let's be honest, a Tivo that depends on Internet video content rather than cable providers will not sell. As much as I like watching 2 minute Star Wars Kid videos, the content just isn't there. When I come home from work, I want to watch last night's Daily Show, or 24, etc. This is a dumb idea until you get the networks to provide quality content over the Internet, and good luck with that.

This just in: Tivo passes 3 million subscribers (4, Funny)

EulerX07 (314098) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745971)

Kinda funny that I finish reading an article on news.com about them exceeding 3 million subscribers [com.com] , to find out on slashdot that it's dying.

Is it dying faster or slower then Apple and BSD?

Disclaimer: Not a Tivo subscriber. I'd like to, but you can't get some of that in Canada.

Good enough is all people will pay for (1)

branchingfactor (650391) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745983)

The key benefits of a DVR are to let people time shift their viewing, and to let people skip portions of a show they're not interested in watching (e.g. commercials, boring scenes, innane commentary). The key features of a DVR are the ability to easily record a scheduled show or a scheduled series (first run only, or first run and repeats), and to provide VCR-like controls on live TV. Even the most rudimentary cable DVRs provide that functionality, and that's good enough for most people if it's cheap.

Comcast charges $5/month for a Motorola HD DVR with only two tuners and 14 hours of high definition recording. The difference between having that mediocre DVR and not having one is huge, and well worth $5/month. The difference between having a Tivo and the motorola is small and not work more than $0.50/month. If so, then why would anyone pay $200 for a low end Tivo box that can't record high def plus $12.95/month for the mandatory Tivo channel guide?

Tivo is seriously deluded about the value of their product in a world where DVRs are a commodity item. They had the first mover advantage, but they blew it. They are going down.

Just Bought One! (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11745991)

Oh my bad timing! I just bought a TiVo yesterday! Actually, I've been concerned about whether or not TiVo would survive for a long time now, especially with the cable companies beginning to offer DVR services. But I weighed everything and decided on TiVo because I think that it is likely that the service will survive in one form or another. TiVo is a relatively strong brand which I'm sure someone will pick up, if the company fails. I also wanted to actually own my own DVR rather than renting it from Comcast. I thought about building my own using MythTV or something similar, but I don't have time for that and the TiVo service itself is what made the final sale for me. Besides, the various TiVo hacks that have developed will make the box useful to me for a long time.

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