Maybe Not Everyone Wants A DVR

from the so-much-for-that-idea dept

For years, people have been saying that those who don’t have TiVos just don’t understand them — because everyone who does would never want to give it up. Well, perhaps that’s not entirely true. A study done by Disney, where they gave a bunch of people DVRs found that nearly 43% returned the device after the experiment was over, saying they had a bad experience with the installation or that the price was too high. Of course, Disney interprets this to mean that they have more time to rest on the laurels of the 30-second spot. There are plenty of more interesting lessons to be learned — but Disney appears to take the one most convenient for them (the one that says “status quo is good…”). Another read on this would be, people need DVRs to be more user friendly. They don’t say what brand was used, but many are especially difficult to set up and use. Second, the pricing is a real problem. The plans are often complex, and not everyone sees the value at the pricing level. However, should DVRs get easier to use and cheaper they still will present a serious threat to the standard 30-second spot, and the smart broadcaster should already be thinking about alternatives — rather than convincing themselves that the tide can be held back.

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Comments on “Maybe Not Everyone Wants A DVR”

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Dave says:

Was it TiVO or something else?

All my friends have TiVo, and several friends have TiVo and another PVR. TiVo is on a completely different level than other PVRs, especially those made available by cable companies… the non-TiVo PVRs are really not more useful than VCRs. TiVo is one of the few electronic appliances that has real conceptual integrity. People don’t have to ‘figure it out’–it just works in ways that people would expect it to work. Conceptual integrity is the reason the iPod is the most expensive mp3 player on the market, yet Apple has nearly 10x the market share of Rio, the #2 maker of mp3 players.

August Jackson (user link) says:

Re: Was it TiVO or something else?

This is a very excellent point of differentiation. One could suspect the fix might have been in at the very beginning of this study. I have to say that looking at the results of the study the way Disney evidently have leads me to believe their conclusions were made in advance, the study being a formality.

I’m a TiVo user and have always been fairly impressed by the ease of set-up and user interface. When I visit friends and family who have DVRs from their cable company or dish provider I’m amazed by how difficult to use their DVRs are. My sister has Dish Network and hates the DVR she has. I can’t say I blame her. My own limited experience with the thing leads me to believe the interface designers went out of their way to make it harder to use.

On a somewhat related note, Disney do appear to be taking some steps to stick it to their compeition among customers who use DVRs. ABC’s two hit shows this season are “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives.” Both shows, based on the showings of the past few weeks, start and end one minute beofre and after the hour, respectively. So the shows are 62 minutes long as opposed to 60. The impact this has on viewers like myself who use TiVo is that you cannot record any show before or after these programs on any network and still program these shows. Not without some tweaking. Your other alternative, of course, is to watch the shows in real time, which then has you watching the commercials, too.

Are Disney ABC waging war on people who use DVRs?

dorpus says:

Is there anything to see?

Regardless of whatever fancy hardware that electronics makers come up with, what if the quality of TV is so bad that people are abandoning it? My sense is that the US focuses its media resources into movies, while other countries focus on TV and make better TV shows. American TV seems full of repetitive ads designed to be as annoying as possible.

Permanent4 (profile) says:

Re: Is there anything to see?

While I hate to ignore the “Please don’t feed the dorpus” signs, that’s a perfectly valid point. There’s not much worth watching on American TV these days. I would probably dump cable TV and the DVR in favor of a Netflix account if I weren’t such a sports junkie. (And Disney owns ESPN. Oh, the tragic irony of it all…)

Precision Blogger (user link) says:


This study shows that 57% of the people will keep their DVRs (and probably start time shifting). If more than half the people in the US did that, network advertizing would be dead, dead, dead.

Maybe there was something about this experiment that caused more people than you might expect to return their DVRs, but that 57% is A KILLER!
– Precision Blogger

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