TiVo Joins The Contract Bandwagon

from the you-used-to-be-so-cool-man dept

Right after the brouhaha over forced deletions, word has gotten around that TiVo began locking users in to one-year contract with early-termination fees this month, joining the ranks of cell phone operators and others that feel their service isn’t strong enough to retain customers on its own. Is TiVo getting desperate? It’s made some questionable calls over the last several months, like the forced deletions issue and instituting pop-up ads, and seems to be willing to throw anything at its users, like interactive ads, targeted ads and updating old ads. How long before they start charging to skip commercials?

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Comments on “TiVo Joins The Contract Bandwagon”

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DigitalBomb (user link) says:

Ads sicken me

And who isn’t sickened by advertisements? I remember seeing Minority Report and thinking “They better NEVER try voice-activated ads that know who I am.”

This is all such a horrible gimmick. TiVo has gone way downhill. Just let us skip our darn commercials! That, or DON’T LET US SKIP THEM. Pick one. Don’t say “Oh, here is a DVR, you can skip commercials. But don’t, because ads are good for you.”

Pop-up ads on your T.V… Man, that is a new low. Real hackers will make absolutely sure there are ways around it, and I don’t mean skript kiddies.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ads sicken me

Ads sicken everyone. They’ve gotten out of hand and far too intrusive. Companies like TIVO need to follow in the steps of Google. Google advertises in such a way that doesn’t piss off the consumer; and this is the way it should be.

Whether or not we realize it, just seeing an ad for something out of the corner of our eye without really paying attention will influence our buying habits later on. This is even more true if the AD actually pertains to something we have interests in.

Google has this technique on lock and both advertisers and consumers know it. I have not once been annoyed by Google Ads and have probably bought products based off something I barely looked at while doing a simple search. I’m OK with that; at least the AD didn’t interrupt what I was trying to do at the time.

It’s not hard for a company like Google to research and learn your interests based on your surfing habits. Since this is true, there is no reason why TIVO and other companies couldn’t do the same. How hard would it be to link advertising based on TIVO users’ TV viewing habits?

If TIVO and all other advertisers/companies followed google’s examples, they wouldn’t be freaking out about losing customers and requiring BullShit (as in cell phone) contracts with termination fees.

If TIVO actually had young innovative workers with stoner ideas, they’d realize how smart it would be to put internet-type banner ads up anytime a user fast forwarded through commercials or anytime they were doing something that’s not actively watching a show.

MythTV, BeyondTV, or SageTV all the way peeps. Screw TIVO if they don’t want to get smart with their business. We, the consumers are the ones with the power and can ALWAYS find alternatives…

Hey, someone tell that to the RIAA/MPAA too if you see them…

Mark says:


TiVo gets worse press than any company I can think of (aside from Apple in the 1990’s). From what you read in the press, you’d think TiVo customers like me are constantly victimized and bombarded by intrusive ads and onerous policies that we don’t want. However, I can honestly say I’ve never seen a popup ad, never been confronted with an interactive ad, and never saw the dreaded red flag on content. Shouldn’t we save the hand-wringing for the time when some of these dreaded things actually come into existence?

Greg Andrew says:


Geez. Tivo is basically giving away its boxes in these cases; it’s no wonder that in exchange for a free box, they want users to stick around for a year. The policy should be made clear to buyers, but there’s nothing wrong with the policy. The cancellation fee is basically equal to what you pay for a year’s service.
As far as all this ad stuff, Tivo isn’t forcing anything on its users. If you don’t want to see ads, you don’t see ads. What’s the problem?

Another Annon says:

Re: Nope, they want contracts even if you HAVE equipme

I bought a tivo from a friend that bought a bigger one for himself, when I called up to subscribe I was told I had to commit to a 1 year contract and there would be a penalty if I decided to end the contract before the end of the term.

This was around may of 06, so this is not a new idea for them.

I explained to the rep that I already HAD equipment & he told me it did not matter. I asked him why I had to sign a contract to subsidize already paid for equipment & he INSISTED that they never did that.

Eventually I told the rep that they weren’t a cellphone company and I wasn’t going to be committing to any contract, he was literally incensed and actually yelled at me.
I calmly replied that he had just guaranteed I would never pay his company a dime & that I would rather use the box for a doorstop.

Since I already had his name I called back & spoke to a (supposed) supervisor, I related the incident to him & was told that the ONLY way I could get service WAS to commit to a contract and he was frankly unapologetic about the other employee’s behavior.

They are definitely one company that will NEVER get any of my money, ever.

I sold the box on ebay for a profit and used the $$ towards a good video card/encoder for my MythTV box.

chris maroney says:

be realistic

tivo has moved to a cell phone model to grow their subscribers. it makes sense. cell phone companies do it. cable and satellite companies do it. gym memberships do it. subsidize the upfront costs but require a term to cover the costs and make a little money. it makes it easier get new subscribers, but they still make money. this is a good thing, and a standard thing, and not remotely a sign of desparation but rather a reflection on the new ceo’s plan to get as many stand alone subscribers as possible as soon as possible.

bob says:

I've never seen a popup or flag

I’ve never seen a popup or flag on my TiVo. I’ve sene the “interactive” ads. They amount to a small message saying you can hit the thumbs up to see more. you can also ff and skip through them, so it’s no big deal. I dont’ see what all the bellyaching is about. If I can’t record something I won’t watch it, plain and simple. For $100 (now $50) TiVo I like TiVo better than media center for family use. I use Sage TV with 4 capture cards for my own viewing. Myth TV isn’t quite there yet. I still spend more time tweaking it than using it.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

I’m a series 1 Tivo subscriber. The series 1 is inarguably the best of the Tivo boxes despite the slower processor, and lack of media options. I get to record/keep what I want, skip the cruft, and watch TV on my schedule. Before the Series 2, I actively voiced my enthusiasm for the company.

With the more recent news, I’ve become a lot more cautious about promoting Tivo. No, I haven’t seen the newer boxes nor have I experienced what the media has been reporting. On the other hand, I can’t promote a company that would try to take control of *MY* viewing experience in any way. And while I can’t say whether media’s reportage is true or not, where is Tivo’s statement refuting the media’s statements? Furthermore, if what has been reported is true, why are we finding out about the new ‘features’ after-the-fact? Shouldn’t Tivo be telling their customers about these changes?

If you ask me, Tivo isn’t being up-front about it’s business with the subscribers. That’s a bad impression to make to your customers and your future customers, regardless of the situation. Until these issues are resolved, I can’t promote this company, nor will I continue to purchase its products.

Bob says:

Tivo is already dead.

I mean think about it, this thing was being sold last century, which is considered a death knell in the tech world.

Anyway nearly every cable operator already now offers their own DVR or PVR, usually bundled in with new service. You generally get the same functionality, without having to bother with anything more. Which is what most people want.

There’s simply no longer a point to the device, and no place for it today in the market. There is no need for it to fill that the cable operators haven’t already taken care of.

As for TiVo getting desperate.. well, it does appear that way.

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