The Difference Between Replay And Tivo

from the one-little-button dept

If you thought Tivo and Replay were exactly the same, you may have missed one little button on the Replay remote. Replay lets you skip 30 seconds into the future which seems to work out perfectly for jumping over commercials. Tivo only lets you fast forward through them. However, there is a button on the Tivo remote that looks like it could be for a 30 second jump – and Tivo may just turn that on, if consumers start flocking to Replay for that feature. There’s also some concern about how advertisers will feel about the two different methods of avoiding commercials. Of course, the article doesn’t mention that Replay has gotten out of the box selling business anyway and is licensing their technology instead. So, who knows if the licensed versions will have the commercial skip feature as well.

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Comments on “The Difference Between Replay And Tivo”

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Ed says:

Like I Said

Echostar’s DishPlayer also has a skip-forward-30-seconds button.

But that’s not what prompts me to comment. It seems that this is another example where somehow a company is trying to please somebody other than its paying customers. I don’t know why TiVo thinks it needs to appease advertisers; perhaps there’s a current or future revenue stream involved somehow. This has a lot in common with a lot of web ventures that give away services in exchange for ad impressions or marketing data, and in the long run, I think all of these will eventually lose out to companies that actually listen to their customers.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Like I Said

I agree. I’m always a bit weary of any business that involves pissing off its own customers in order to make money…

However, I think it’s interesting that Tivo appears ready to implement the 30 second jump at a moments notice. Maybe they were trying to sneak under the advertisers’ radar so there wasn’t a Napster/RIAA-like backlash… and then when it was too late for advertisers to do anything, add that 30 second skip feature.

Or maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about.

Darnow says:

Wait, isn't the business model the real difference

I thought difference between the two was that TiVo licensed the box design and makes money on the subscription service. And that Replay (tries to) make money by selling boxes. TiVo is a service business and Replay is a hardware business.
The 30 second button is (relatively) minor feature; not part of their business model.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Wait, isn't the business model the real differ

Hmmm… except that Replay isn’t selling boxes any more (at least they said they were stopping last November).

Anyway, I agree that for neither of them does the 30 second button have anything to do with their business model *right now*. What’s interesting is that Tivo seems to be afraid to do so – as they don’t want to piss off advertisers. This is weird if it has nothing to do with their business model (or, future business model plans). The point of the article isn’t that this is a big part of either of their business models – but it’s a feature that makes a *big* difference to many users, and which may influence business model decisions in the future…

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Wait, isn't the business model the real differ

Business model: Both companies license a technology to OEM, and charge a service fee to their customers for ongoing “personalization” services. It is the ongoing services that make a Personal Video Recorder (PVR) better than a Digital Video Recorder (DVR). You could actually cancel your service, and still use the box as a DVR, but you’d be taking a step back to the VCR world of programming start and stop times, etc. Both Tivo and Replay offer lifetime service memberships for @200 – 250, but only Tivo offers a monthly. Monthly or lifetime? Six of one, half dozen of the other…

Does Tivo have a “dummy” 30 second skip button? I don’t have one, but I understand they do. You wouldn’t notice it immediately since it is unlabelled. Look for a conspicuous button that does something that is already done by another button. I’ve heard it exits from menus. I’ve also heard that Tivo has actually coded the 30 second jump into the box, and it’s just a matter of connecting that remote command to that function, and that Tivo staff have done it on their units (it’s an easter egg). Yes, Tivo is positioned well in case Replay ever made a splash with this function. Tivo could still activate it if consumer pressure is loud enough.

So why did they not add it and give their consumers what they want in the first place? Come on, folks! A company thrives on multiple revenue streams. Tivo customers aren’t the only source of dough Tivo expects to collect. Multiple revenue streams drive up stock prices, and smooth out volatility in quarterly revenues. Tivo is well positioned to add many other revenue streams in the future, and one has been announced.

iPreview is a Tivo feature wherein a Tivo unit can be programmed to record a particular show with one click during an on-air preview. For example, HBO shows end 10 minutes before the hour, and they often use that time to preview upcoming specials, shows, movies, PPV, etc. With iPreview, if a user likes the preview, one click will record that show. Deals are done with HBO, NBC, and Showtime. There must be some scheduling data being sent along with the signal during these previews, and you can bet that Tivo isn’t doing this for free.

There are a lot more things Tivo can do for revenue, and many of them require a civil relationship with networks. Here’s a few ideas:
text advertising in the Tivo menu screens,
preference of which shows Tivo predicts you’ll like,
a “showcase” of a network’s programming which Tivo could record at 3am and store on your drive.

Beware, Tivo, though great, may be service more than one master. This should be nothing new to any observer in the media business. Who is ABC TV’s customer? You or the advertiser? Gotta trade off pleasing one with pissing off the other.

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