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Television Media Toys Hardware Technology

The Trouble With TiVo 369

Posted by Zonk
from the cute-little-antenna-guy dept.
BobCratchit writes "Multichannel News has an interesting take on TiVo: The DVR company has incredible mindshare but is totally dependent on cable providers to survive. Cable does not have many good reasons to let TiVo thrive. As a result, TiVo is destined to fade away unless it can carve out a niche as the cool kids' DVR (a la Macintosh) with products like the $299 HD DVR it just announced. From the article: 'TiVo has long been a darling of consumer-tech reviewers -- check out, for example, these happy hosannas from BusinessWeek, New York Times and Wall Street Journal. These guys are constantly befuddled that TiVo hasn't been more successful. Yes, TiVos make cute little popping noises when you click the remote. And they definitely provide cool features, like suggesting shows you might be interested in. But the cognoscenti enamored with TiVo's whizziness ignore a certain reality. It's easier to get a DVR from your cable company. And most people prefer to rent, not own, a set-top.'"
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The Trouble With TiVo

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  • by Nishal (636649)
    Tivo..or..Dvr its all the same to me, as long as i can fastfoward commercials
    • Re:DVR (Score:5, Informative)

      by jeffmeden (135043) on Friday July 27, 2007 @11:20AM (#20011245) Homepage Journal
      MythTV or... MythTV. It's all the same to me as long as the commercials are deleted before I watch the show.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by utopianfiat (774016)
        I have serious issues with MythTV- especially the fact that I have to drop an arm, leg, and half a genital on a machine fast enough to record 480i...
        Although I suppose it's even worse now that I have to compile it to parallel-process on a couple of Opterons just to be able to do 1080p. Once my setup upgrades start costing less than $2000, I'll upgrade to HDTV :/
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          I have serious issues with MythTV- especially the fact that I have to drop an arm, leg, and half a genital on a machine fast enough to record 480i...

          That's what Hauppauge [hauppauge.com] cards are for: Hardware MPEG-2.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          yeah, IMO this is the problem with TiVo... well that and subscription fees.

          My local cable company offers a DVR for a $5 a month rental, if I order the HD Cable package I get one for free. Where is my incentive to buy a Tivo? Not only will have to pay $X hundred up front for the device but I STILL have to pay a subscription fee. Not only that but the HD models aren't compatible with my cable providers HD service.

          If I'm going to spend a few hundred dollars I'd rather build myself a SageTV or MythTV box
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mrbooze (49713)

            My local cable company offers a DVR for a $5 a month rental, if I order the HD Cable package I get one for free. Where is my incentive to buy a Tivo?

            I can get $LESSER_QUALITY THING for less money than $HIGHER_QUALITY_THING. What's my incentive to buy $HIGHER_QUALITY_THING?

            It's the age-old question. Why buy any car but a used Yugo? Why buy a bigger house if a smaller house is cheaper? Why buy real food from a grocery store when you can get a burrito from Taco Bell for less than a buck?

            Not only that but t

      • by jnaujok (804613)
        Yes, and nothing like losing a minute of the show because of a false positive... I'll take a 30 second fast-skip button any day.
        • Re:DVR (Score:5, Informative)

          by Reverend528 (585549) on Friday July 27, 2007 @11:34AM (#20011479) Homepage

          Yes, and nothing like losing a minute of the show because of a false positive...
          Mythtv doesn't actually delete the commercials, it merely flags them so that they may be automagically skipped. In the event of a false positive, it's quite easy to go back and see what was skipped.
          • How's that working out?
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by jedidiah (1196)
              If it doesn't work for a particular show, I turn it off (menu button) and hit the instant replay button.

              OTOH, I don't have to enter a secret code to get my 30-second skip back after a brownout.
        • Re:DVR (Score:4, Informative)

          by jeffmeden (135043) on Friday July 27, 2007 @01:25PM (#20013249) Homepage Journal
          It's simple, MythTV is never wrong. Seriously. In over a year of extensive recording with the new commercial detect engine, it has only erred toward caution, and an extra commercial creeps into the playback. Trust me, it beats the hell out of fast forwarding.

          Plus, they aren't really 'gone' like the other poster said.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by ichimunki (194887)
            I have had constant false positives while watching Law & Order. Leaving it on for that makes the show unwatchable. But with all other shows it's really good.
      • Re:DVR (Score:4, Interesting)

        by glindsey (73730) on Friday July 27, 2007 @12:56PM (#20012793)
        And MythTV's recording stability is going to be seriously negatively impacted by Zap2It Labs shutting down [zap2it.com]. Yes, MythTV's dev team has stated they can go back to website scraping, but that will break every single time the website's format is slightly altered.

        Don't get me wrong, I really like MythTV, but when it loses its only source of reliable guide data, I anticipate some serious problems.
        • Re:DVR (Score:4, Insightful)

          by calibanDNS (32250) <brad_staton@NOSPam.hotmail.com> on Friday July 27, 2007 @01:47PM (#20013577)
          The MythTV devs, along with devs from other projects, have started the Schedules Direct [schedulesdirect.org] project to address this issue.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by evilviper (135110)

          Yes, MythTV's dev team has stated they can go back to website scraping, but that will break every single time the website's format is slightly altered.

          First, Zap2it.com regularly changed their format and broke XMLTV a number of times. Just my luck, they did that right as I was trying to set-up MythTV my first time... D'oh.

          Second, you haven't been to XMLTV's website lately. They have plans to start their own listings website. http://schedulesdirect.org/ [schedulesdirect.org] Two of the MythTV developers are involved.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ben there... (946946)
      I hope the cable cos do eat TiVo's lunch. As it stands, a TiVo is just a DVR "done right," according to people that own them. If regular DVRs become that good/decent/whatever, it will force TiVo to come up with something better.

      Like the equivalent of a pre-built MythTV box. Or a Media Center-ish small form factor PC for the living room. Or like an AppleTV, with a service to download stuff. The kind of thing that's powerful, but that grandma could use.

      And cheap program data, cheap hard drive upgrades, DVD bu
      • Re:DVR (Score:5, Informative)

        by jargoone (166102) on Friday July 27, 2007 @01:25PM (#20013245)
        Sigh. Every time a TiVo article gets posted, I have to do this. Here we go.

        Have you looked at any of TiVo's features in the last, oh, 7 years? TiVo can do a large subset of what you can do with a MythTV box, "Media Center-ish" PC (whatever that means), and has a service to download stuff. With a TiVo, you can use it as a DVR, transfer recordings to your PC, play your own music, play music on the internet, play purchased movies that are downloaded to your TiVo, check traffic, check weather, check movie listings, buy movie tickets, and that's just using their out-of-the-box supported features. They have an open API for application development that makes the possibilities nearly endless.

        And as a bonus, since it's "done right", people like me can watch TV without worrying about my guide data provider vanishing, or my wife calling me because the damn front-end needs restarting.

        Based on every cable company's DVR I've seen, they better be looking elsewhere for lunch.
      • Re:DVR (Score:5, Informative)

        by Canthros (5769) on Friday July 27, 2007 @02:04PM (#20013873)
        Amazon Unbox can now be accessed directly from your TiVo.
        With the right (TiVo-provided) software, you can tell your TiVo where on the local network it may find your MP3s and photographs, which you may then play or browse at you leisure. (That feature is at least three years old.) Dunno about video on your local network. However, I can check that out this evening.

        In the mean time, if the cable companies "eat TiVo's lunch", we won't get a better TiVo. TiVo will be gone, and we'll be stuck with mediocre, cable company DVRs and over-priced HTPCs. And AppleTV, which isn't the same thing at all. Well, and ReplayTV, but I can't recall the last time I actually saw one of those in a store.

        You can crack open your TiVo and upgrade its hard drive right now. Takes some know-how, but not that much more than doing the same thing to a PC, from what I recall. There have been versions which included built-in DVD burners (they were $$$, so didn't sell so great, IIRC, ca 2004, when DVD recorders were $$$). And it's easy to use. It may not be a general computer, but there's really no good excuse for making it one, either.
      • Re:DVR (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jsdcnet (724314) on Friday July 27, 2007 @02:37PM (#20014337)

        I hope the cable cos do eat TiVo's lunch. As it stands, a TiVo is just a DVR "done right," according to people that own them. If regular DVRs become that good/decent/whatever, it will force TiVo to come up with something better.
        I owned a TiVo (direcTV version) for 4 years and I've been using the Comcast supplied Motorola DVR for a year now. The difference is night and day. Comcast is a clunky, unreliable POS and TiVo was a brilliantly designed totally reliable joy to use. If the cable cos do "eat TiVo's lunch" I expect that just means we'll all be stuck using clunky unreliable POS's forever, since the cableco's will have no incentive to improve their product.
    • by WED Fan (911325)

      Tivo..or..Dvr its all the same to me, as long as i can fastfoward commercials

      It's that feature alone that keeps me with Tivo. Problem is, the private DVR's don't necessarily have that feature. DirecTV wants me to drop my Tivo (I only dropped my UTV for the Tivo when the system ultimately died, and when I could get a dual tuner Tivo) and get their DTV branded DVR. I have heard that the new DVR includeds the features to allow broadcasters the ability to control what you can skip and what you can record. Tivo

    • by HTH NE1 (675604)
      I think they're calling it a DMR now: Digital Media Recorder.
  • by catbutt (469582) on Friday July 27, 2007 @11:06AM (#20010997)
    is for tivo to sell/rent their dvr's through the cable company. Its not like the cable company makes their own dvr's currently
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by asphaltjesus (978804)
      Ahhh yes... The quick and dirty reasons why Tivo is the bane of cable companies existence.

      1. Not invented here. Cable companies didn't think of it so it's bad. Period. No logic. Just bad.
      2. Negatively affects ratings. Since most "cable companies" are subsidiaries of the entertainment conglomerates, you bet the word comes from the mountain top that pvr's are bad. Dings ratings, failure to fully monetize their content.
      3. Most consumers believe renting the box is a benefit. This is a dead end for consu
      • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wor f . n et> on Friday July 27, 2007 @11:35AM (#20011507)

        Ahhh yes... The quick and dirty reasons why Tivo is the bane of cable companies existence.
        [list of reasons clipped]


        You missed a big one. CONTROL.

        Cable companies control the entire DVR user experience when you rent/buy their boxes. (If you buy a box off eBay, the cable company will "update" its firmware).

        TiVo doesn't let them do that. Instead of ads plastered everywhere (mine - if you scroll the guide (which only shows 5 channels because the full-screen guide has the top half used) using the up/down buttons, they stick an ad at the bottom of the list, reducing the guide to only 4 channels long, but the ad is a "hotspot" now, so it takes 5 button pushes) - TiVo only lets them have one at the bottom of the main menu (rotates) with the rest hidden under a "Showcase" menu.

        It's also not like TiVo can't support stuff like Video On Demand or Pay Per View (I don't use it, I don't care, my "bonus" coupons from the cable company haven't been touched) - they did PPV stuff just fine with DirecTV.

        Also, I suspect they know once people go TiVo, they're not going back. There are a lot of unhappy DirecTV customers since the DirecTiVo was discontinued (and I'm sure, many ex-DirecTV customers from those who left when it was revealed that the replacement DVRs are crap, much like the cable DVR). So the Cable company really doesn't want to be beholden to people who get used to TiVo, and who'll leave their cable service behind when they decide to abandon TiVo. They want a nice audience who'll sit infront of the TV, without considering alternative TV providers.
      • by pragma_x (644215)

        2. Negatively affects ratings. Since most "cable companies" are subsidiaries of the entertainment conglomerates...

        The real WTF here is that this particular problem should've gone away a long time ago, unless I've misunderstood the present situation.

        With millions of cable boxes between Comcast, COX and whoever else is out there, why haven't they supplemented, or outright replaced the Nielsen ratings system yet? They obviously have the infrastructure, and could easily send out questionnaires to allow people

      • Off air recording (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tgibbs (83782)
        Here's another one. A big reason why many people get cable is for better quality. But with this new TiVo and an ordinary roof antenna, it is possible in many areas to pull in all of the network channels in full HD quality, and with TiVo, you can watch what you want when you want. So who needs hundreds of channels to flip through when you've got a 12 hour backlog saved on your TiVo? Of course, there are movie channels and cable channel special shows like The Sopranos, but are they really worth paying $50 a m
  • TiVo Over Cable (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LordSkippy (140884)
    I have a lifetime subscription, but if I didn't and was torn between paying the cable or TiVo bill, I'd dump cable first. TiVo can pull programming off an antenna, and reception willing, would still be able to time shift a lot of shows to my schedule. So, I don't agree that TiVo is dependent on cable. Better with cable, yes. But not dependent on it.
    • by gh0ul (71352)
      Yea, but doesn't your lifetime subscription only apply to the box you have right now? If you were to upgrade to a Series3 for example, it would go away?
      • Re:TiVo Over Cable (Score:4, Informative)

        by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wor f . n et> on Friday July 27, 2007 @11:23AM (#20011285)

        Yea, but doesn't your lifetime subscription only apply to the box you have right now? If you were to upgrade to a Series3 for example, it would go away?


        Except for the few-times-a-year offer where you can get a Series 3, and transfer the lifetime sub to it. Everyone knew about the one that ended Jan 1, 2007, but since then, I have seen at least 2 more (one that ended last week, too!).

        Basically, if you have a Series 2 with lifetime, they will for $200 let you transfer it to a Series 3. Bonus - the old Series 2 gets 3 years of prepaid service (nominally $300). So your old TiVo still gets service, and lifetime is moved to your shiny new Series 3.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bit trollent (824666)
      Tivo's subscrition ($12.95 - $16.95 per month) [tivo.com] costs as much as my rental DVR from the cable company.

      Tivo's DVR may be better, but I refuse to pay $12.95 per month for tv listings I can find for free on the internet. I could live with $3.00 a month, and I'll bet Tivo could too.

      Sorry, Tivo, you have priced yourself out of the market.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by wfeick (591200)

        If you have more than one box, they knock $6 off the monthly fee for the additional boxes bringing it down to $6.95 per month. It's not $3, but still not bad. When you consider the rental charge on the cable company's box, the difference for a Tivo is really just the up front $300. That's not so bad, in my view, considering you end up with a much better experience.

      • by jedidiah (1196)
        The part that really annoys me is a rental fee for each unit.

        If there are multiple units in a household, one should be the master and do all of the talking with the mothership. Any data or updates that any other boxes need should go through the master system. Tivo shoul d only need to see the one box.

        TivoTerminals should be cheap enough that most people would be comfortable buying one to put next to every TV & computer in the house.
  • VCR (Score:3, Funny)

    by atanamar (638935) on Friday July 27, 2007 @11:09AM (#20011035) Journal
    I still enjoy my VCR, thank you very much...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 27, 2007 @11:09AM (#20011039)
    No suprise people like renting, as it's quickly becoming the 'new' model for everything.

    You don't own a cellphone, you rent it.
    You don't own the DVR, you rent it.
    You don't own that DVD, you license it.

    Pretty soon, you will not 'own' your 'Personal' Computer, you will rent it.
    You already effectivly rent the software, it works for the MMORPG, it can work for Microsoft Word.

    It's a way to ensure a 100% foolproof revenue stream.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lumpy (12016)
      Dude you already RENT a Tivo. if you do not pay for the lifetime subscription after purchase you are in essence RENTING it.

      Yeah,yeah, you can call it subscribing to the guide service, but then why does it completely stop working when I stop paying? it should work as a VCR and let me access everything I recorded when on the service.

      I know that some of the wierder DVD recorders have a "tivo basic" that does just that, but the older Tivo's and the new HD units dont.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tlhIngan (30335)

        Dude you already RENT a Tivo. if you do not pay for the lifetime subscription after purchase you are in essence RENTING it.

        Except you own the hardware, and can do anything you want with it. By your definition, you "rent" cellphones, too, since if you stop paying, it doesn't work (well, emergency calls do, but TiVo works as a nice TV tuner with a 1/2 hour trick play buffer, too).

        Try that with your cablebox DVR - open it up, pop out the hard drive. Then return it. You'll find that you'll be charged some huge

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by amigabill (146897)
      I don't get why people would like this. I hate renting. I want to buy it and be done with it, not be on the hook to continually pay and pay and pay forever even after the purchase price has been met multiple times over. I hate cable co boxes. I currently do not have any of them. I dont want one. I'll be stuck with one soon when I get FIOS, but I'd rather own it. I may buy this Tivo HD to replace it, especially since it's a lot cheaper than the Series 3. I own my cell phone. I need to buy a new one because i
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by drooling-dog (189103)
        When product cycles are short and the stuff you "own" is obsolete a couple of years after you buy it, there really isn't any difference between owning and renting (except for paying up-front when you own)...
  • by Applekid (993327) on Friday July 27, 2007 @11:10AM (#20011053)

    It's easier to get a DVR from your cable company.
    It's also easier to buy fast food than cook some yourself.

    Anyone I've let play with my Tivo for a while thinks it's cool, but to really appreciate getting cherry-picked recommendations, automatic deletions, season tickets, video podcasts, and other features it's gotta be in your home.

    It's too bad TiVo isn't in such great financial shape because all they'd really have to do is give away a bunch of boxes for free and let people play with them for a month. They have it now, pure leased boxes where you just pay your subscription. But it's pricey.

    I wonder if they could get puchased by a company with more financial backing.
    • by whoever57 (658626)

      It's too bad TiVo isn't in such great financial shape because all they'd really have to do is give away a bunch of boxes for free and let people play with them for a month.

      Errr.... they did. They gave away thousands at their HQ a couple of years back. You did not even have to commit to buy their subscription.

      I am surprised that no-one has mentioned the HME interface that Tivo has -- there are applications written by third parties that run on PCs and display on the Tivo. You can use it as a media player,

  • One: FTA:

    TiVo also gets its Trojan horse in the door as a rival TV-related service provider,

    That's a really unfortunate turn-of-phrase. Is the writer aware of what Trojan horses are in the tech world?

    Two: this is where Wall Street has a darling busted by DRM. It's really too much to hope for, but since TiVo is a household name, maybe finally a few legislators may become personally aware of how over-restrictive media controls really interfere with the consumer's best interests.

  • Ya dumb bastards!

    But for a greedy CEO, TIVO would have accepted DirecTV's offer, they would continued to provide viewers with the best experience, with the best equipment, and EVERYONE would have been happy.

    Now, DTV users are stuck with horrible hardware, TIVO cant make any money and NOBODY is happy.

    Tivo, I love your stuff, but FUCK YOU!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by xantho (14741)
      If Tivo were bought by DirecTV, do you think that anyone who doesn't subscribe to DirecTV would be able to get one? Look at what DirecTV tried to do with Major League Baseball. They signed a deal to be the exclusive carrier of Extra Innings (which is the package with all the out of town games on the extra channels), and didn't want to let go of it until there was a giant uproar, John Effing Kerry got involved, and the cable companies started trying to throw their weight around.
      • Who gives a shit?

        Can you buy an iPhone from Microsoft?

        Its called competition. DirecTV has every right to try to lockup programming if they are willing to pay the price. That is the future. Look at DirecTV's football package; most subscribers would still pay for it if the price was double, its that good. I have no problem with providers buying up product. If you want it, PAY for it. If not, your choice.

        • by Shakrai (717556)

          Can you buy an iPhone from Microsoft?

          That's a stupid example. Come back to me when Apple tries to use the weight of iTunes to keep your favorite band from being released on CD or doing live shows because they signed a deal with them.

          Its called competition. DirecTV has every right to try to lockup programming if they are willing to pay the price. That is the future. Look at DirecTV's football package; most subscribers would still pay for it if the price was double, its that good. I have no problem with providers buying up product.

          Bullshit. If I want to watch MLB, Law & Order, or the NFL I shouldn't have to subscribe to DirecTV. The owner of the pipe shouldn't get to dictate what the other pipes can carry. That's called a monopoly, not competition.

          • 1. Satellite is competing with entrenched monopolies... exclusive content (previously the hundreds of digital channels not available until digital cable came out) is HOW they compete.
            2. DirecTV CREATED the out-of-market option to buy the games, because they were a nationwide distributor that needs to use expensive satellites and receivers to compete with a city granted monopoly. These packages were created exclusively for them, but when the contracts ran out, they only renewed one exclusively, because ev
    • Yet another in a long line of examples of when management understands neither the product nor the competition. Ignorance of this sort is almost guaranteed to end badly.
      • Yep.

        And now, even with HDTV, most folks like me with a DirecTivo or two, or three, are holding onto them like grim death. I've got the HR20 HDTV DVR; the worst piece of consumer electronics hardware ever devised, just for watching NFL Sunday in HiDef this fall. My 4 year old DirecTivo's blow it out of the water. If DirecTV and Tivo could work out their differences, and I believe this is true for almost all DTV subscribers, they could NAME THEIR PRICE for an MPEG4, twin tuner HDTV DirecTIVO. It will never

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mark0 (750639)
      You say that like it was TiVo's choice. DirecTV is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch also owns a company that manufactures DVRs. You do the math.
      • Do the math yourself. Murdock WANTED TIVO. He made the offer. He went elsewhere when Tivo's nutty CEO determined that the price offered would not allow him to retire at the level of wealth he longed for.
    • DirecTV and Tivo (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ken Hall (40554)
      I have DirecTV, and two Direct-Tivo boxes, both SD. I'd love to go to HD, but I don't want their DVR. When we moved recently, my wife had a conversation with the CSR about it, and they offered an upgrade to an HD DVR. She turned it down, preferring to stick with her Tivo, and the CSR replied that not only was that the prevailing opinion, but he himself was sticking with his Tivo over their in-house DVR. Several of my friends have tried the DirecTV DVR, and found it to be slower (even slower than the Tiv
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tji (74570)
      That's the first I heard that theory of why it failed.. Do you have any references to support that?

      Everything I have read said that once News Corp / Murdoch came into the picture, they were either going to lowball Tivo's cut of the subscription fees or move to the DVR product that News Corp owned (thus keeping all the $$ for themselves). Considering the fact that Tivo never made a profit during that time, and have only briefly been in the black, I tend to think it was more of an attempt to keep his busines
  • more for people with cable cards as people with them can't use VOD, PPV and the guide data from the cable co and they don't even work that well. Right Now in a SVD system they will not work.
    Also the cable co. DVR can download it's updates over the cable line with needing a cat5 cable, wifi link, or phone line hooked up to it. We need a open cable card system that can send 2 data ways, give you a guide and the cards need to free or have a very low cost as some times you pay just much as you for box for them
    • The biggest problem with Tivo is that the cable guys won't install into it. I just had Time Warner come out and I guess he had some time to kill and we diddled around with the Tivo and got it working for non-digital cable, but when he left, I had nothing above channel 100. I had to go get the manual from Tivo and figure that out. It wasn't hard, just an extra step. I know my wife wouldn't have done it.

      Cable companies, phone companies, they only work with thier shit and if you are not even marginally tech
  • by tarsi210 (70325) <nathan AT nathanpralle DOT com> on Friday July 27, 2007 @11:20AM (#20011231) Homepage Journal
    TiVo has some great things going for it. Whether or not it can beat the marketing and packaging deals of the cable and sat companies, I don't know, but there's some aspects that just beat out other offerings, including Mythboxen:

    It works. All the time, every time, with minor exceptions. I have a wife who loves certain TV programs and will easily strangle anything that doesn't work and record them like they should.

    It doesn't require a degree to run Sure, it might lack some more complex features that some people like. It might make annoying, "to-TOINK!", noises when you move around. But an idiot with a blindfold could sort it out, and that makes it easy on me. Not that my wife's an idiot; far from it. But I don't need to be explaining to her how to run the damned TV.

    I can screw with it Because I own the box, it's mine. I can hack it, fiddle with it, change out hard drives, use them for something else, add to it, paint it, whatever I want. I might void my warranty, but whoop-de-do. I can because I own it.

    • Because I own the box, it's mine.

      Note that, in general, this is becoming less and less true.

      • by tarsi210 (70325)
        Sadly, I can't argue against this. But for now, I can dream, right? Right? Bueller?
    • I have a wife who loves certain TV programs and will easily strangle anything that doesn't work and record them like they should.

      I never knew that we were married to the same person.

      • by tarsi210 (70325)
        That explains all those uncomfortable moments when I feel another foot touching mine in bed and my wife is in the bathroom...
  • A PC manufacturer can choose the default installations and settings on your machine, and thus dramatically influence adoption.

    The question arises, however -- do manufacturers end up having reasons for defaults/settings that may not have much to do with choice and benefits to the consumer?

  • Makes sense to me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by friedman101 (618627)
    Given the tremendous rate of depreciation of electronics renting seems like a pretty good alternative to purchasing.
  • by xantho (14741) on Friday July 27, 2007 @11:24AM (#20011309)
    Tivo is not beholden to cable companies. Cable companies are required by law to give you a cable card to use their service if you want it. Tivo has a cable card reader in their device to get all that video data. There's nothing legal that the cable company can do about it.

    Program data? Tive has a warehouse full of monkeys that contact the networks directly and enter in all the data, or they contract with someone who does, or they have an agreement with the networks to pass xml files back and forth. This is not an issue.

    Cable company DVR boxes? These things are pieces of shit. They consistently disable and fail to provide features that people want, and who's to say that cable companies won't just delete your programs remotely if they feel like it, by which I mean, if Fox nicely asks them to delete your episodes of 24 right before the DVD comes out or something.

    Sure, Tivo is about to license their software interface to Comcast for their DVR boxes, but it's going to take a serious about face on the part of cable companies if their DVRs are ever going to be what people actually want and not some weirdo solution that tries to please content providers, cable company stiffs, and lastly consumers, and fails to please any of them.
  • Loved ours but... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jeillah (147690)
    We bought a DirectTV Tivo several years ago and fell in love with it. We would still be using it except that all of a sudden we couldn't connect to the service any longer and kept getting messages saying we needed to fix it. We tried and tried, called customer support, tried again and again. Nothing we did worked to fix the problem. What was happening was when it dialed out it would connect to the service then drop the connection. Oh we could still use Tivo, we got the program guide updates and all that but
    • by jnaujok (804613)
      Funny, I still have two DirecTivo boxes and they both work fine. If they told you that the don't support each other any more, then they're lying. In fact, I was able to pull a "new" DirecTivo off of Ebay and install it and they still activated it without any problems or questions.
  • TiVo Lite versus DIY (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday July 27, 2007 @11:29AM (#20011391)
    With a $299 price point including remote + monthly subscription fees (yet a reliable subscription service), how does the new TiVo Lite stack up against DIY? Chopping a rough 60% off the price of the current HD model does change the equation.

    Is there any Series III hack yet to avoid the TiVo subscription in favor of an open source solution?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by evilviper (135110)

      Is there any Series III hack yet to avoid the TiVo subscription in favor of an open source solution?

      Even if there was a hack, there is no open source solution for TV listings anymore. zap2it is discontinuing their free service, so XMLTV doesn't have a read source of listings any longer.

      People need to start figuring out how to grab the listings off of the satellite or cable companies' streams, like their own DVRs do. CableCard standardization is supposed to prevent this vendor lock-in, and should make this

  • by Paulrothrock (685079) on Friday July 27, 2007 @11:41AM (#20011581) Homepage Journal

    Just be so broke you can't afford a cable box or a TiVo. Then you don't have to worry about it.

  • by maggard (5579) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Friday July 27, 2007 @11:42AM (#20011597) Homepage Journal

    Guys (and it's usually guys), we luff ya, but get over it.

    It's wicked kewl thyat you can take a spare PC, install some clever software on it, find a source for TV listings, and make it do amazing tricks. Really. Wow. Awesome. Yay you!

    But many of the rest of us aren't interested in doing that ourselves. For us, an appliance, like a TiVo, is the way to go. A black box, paying for a service contract, IT JUST WORKS.

    I diddle with enough technology, I don't want to with my DVR. I just want it to have a great interface and a steady supply of programming that engages me. Everything else is gravy (and yes, the Tivo has some gravy too.)

    So please, whenever you hear the name "TiVo" don't go into a pavlovian MythTV-MythTV-MythTV chant.

    We get it. We got it. We're getting annoyed over it. We're getting to the point you're not getting invited to the fun parties because you can't restrain yourselves. Soon you'll be in pushed into the holy roller corner with the Operalytes (poor souls).

    Some folks can't understand why anyone would watch TV. Some can't understand why anyone would pay for it. Some can't see a need for a DVR. Some can't see the need for paying a bit more for a TiVo DVR. Some can't understand whyeveryone doesn't just whittle their own DVR out of pine. Please, live and let live and let us hold a discussion without your pulling your homebrew out and wagging at us. It's big, that's nice, now let us talk about the conumer product we're interested in.

  • Cable DVRs are like getting a basic no-frills econobox car. Inexpensive, no whiz bang features, just a car that gets you where you need to go. Tivo is like getting a top of the line car, with all the features you'd ever want, and gets you where you want to go in style. Most people choose the former, but want the latter.
  • by apachetoolbox (456499) on Friday July 27, 2007 @11:51AM (#20011747) Homepage
    Tivo wont die because of the cable companies' DVR, Tivo is a much better product. But I could easily see Tivo dieing out because of the mandatory subscription. If anything that is what is going to kill them. I love my Tivo but there's no justifying the high monthly subscription.
    • by thczv (541683) on Friday July 27, 2007 @12:39PM (#20012559)
      Sometimes I think like you, that the Tivo subscription is too high. Other times I compare to the other things I spend my money on. My cost for a second Tivo (due to the multi-service discount) is only $6.95 per month. This is is about 75% of the cost of a single movie ticket. Today, I will probably spend around $6.95 on my lunch, and in 20 to 30 hours or so it will be in the sewer. But my Tivo will still be giving. There are very few things that I spend $6.95 on that give me as much as my Tivo. Even if I had to pay full price, it would be worth doing. My stupid comcast DVR sucks compared to my Tivo. I estimate that at least 90% of the people who don't want a Tivo have never used one, and so don't know what they are missing. thczv
  • Honestly, I can't understand why I would ever even consider a DVR not integrated into my satellite receiver. How would it get guide listings? How would it turn the receiver on and off, or set the channel? How could it record two shows at once? It just doesn't make sense.

    My DISH 942 has been working very well. Tivo has never been a plausible option for me.

    My only real complaint is that I can't copy saved shows off the 942 and onto my computer. There have been times when I wanted to grab a snippet of vi
  • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Friday July 27, 2007 @11:59AM (#20011897)
    There are three easy changes that TIVO can do that would allow them to dominate, let alone survive.

    1. Ethernet Network connectivity to allow access to the web as well as network diskspace

    2. Allow the users FULL control of the device (i.e. if you hit that 30sec skip button, do the 30 sec skip....)

    3. Allow ability to record shows to physical media such as DVD, BluRay, or HDDVD

    There you have it. The big three. The first company to release such a device will dominate the market as this is what the consumer wants, not what Hollywood wants. Remember we are a capitalist society, which means the consumer is in charge of what they want, not the corporations (even though the corporations do not want to admit this, their income is directly tied to the consumers purchasing their products).
  • The linear TV recording device is dying. As TV companies are slowly twigging to the idea of TV on demand either over the Internet or over the wire/dish, the EPG driven recorder will become redundant. However, the technology will live on. TiVo should be (and hopefully are) looking at ways of managing video on demand. In the UK Sky have recently added AnytimeTV to their Sky+ service. This uses spare bandwidth on the dish to download and store content asynchronously. Its initial offerings aren't particularly c
  • First you pay for the hardware, then you rent the software, and you still get advertisements.

    No, thank you.
  • I think the main problem Tivo has is getting people to go for more recurring monthly costs..

    Their previous HD units were VERY expensive ($1,000 for the initial HD DirecTivo, $800 for Series3 Tivo, some decreases & rebates after that). I think a lot of people are not willing to pay several hundred dollars for a product, then keep paying significant monthly fees.

    With a one year agreement, the monthly fee is $17. $15 for 2 years, and $13 for 3 years. That adds up quickly.

    It's even more distressing whe
  • by martyb (196687) on Friday July 27, 2007 @01:47PM (#20013585)

    What DO you get if you put these together?

    • Google Set to Bid $4.6 Billion for Airwaves [slashdot.org]
    • FTFA: Let's consider one other option: Could TiVo sell itself, perhaps to Cisco/Scientific Atlanta or Motorola? Not likely. True, the company is affordable. TiVo's market cap was around $550 million as of Thursday. The problem is that TiVo carries baggage -- i.e., its existing business model. Cisco/SA and Motorola wouldn't want to continue to service and support the 4.3 million TiVo subscribers out there, and it would be a rather pricey acquisition just to get the technology. I can't imagine buying TiVo would tickle Comcast's fancy either.(emphasis added)

    The author of the article apparently perceives support of 4.3 million fanatic users as a burden!!??!!! I propose that Google would do well to buy TiVo.

    Granted, there are additional costs beyond an acquisition: building the wireless infrastructure, merging it all together... but to put this in perspective, I just checked market caps:

    • GOOG [cnn.com] $158 Billion ($158,390 Million)
    • TIVO [cnn.com] $.55 Billion ($000,550 Million)
    (NB: GOOG's Market Cap went up $190M while I was writing this post.)

    Lessee, $4.6B + $0.55B = $5.1B for nation-wide reach, a fanatic user-base (TiVo users), direct access to what customers are watching (more data!), YouTube tie-in capability (they already have a distributed video infrastructure)... what's not to like?

    Heck, google could afford to give TiVos away, and have a guaranteed platform on which to sell its ads - nationwide, just for a few $billion more.

    Prediction: if Google gets the wireless spectrum it is looking for, I expect to see "GooTiVo" (TM) within a year.

Mathematics deals exclusively with the relations of concepts to each other without consideration of their relation to experience. -- Albert Einstein

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