TiVo, We Hardly Knew Ye

from the first-mover-disadvantage dept

Somoene over at Slate is already declaring the TiVo dead, saying it was too far ahead of the game. While those who have it can't stop talking about how wonderful it is, they're still having trouble signing up users and making a profit. The suggestion is that they have "first mover disadvantage" where the idea is cool - but too complicated for most consumers to see the benefit. So, while a similar concept may succeed in the future, TiVo may be running out of time. The article compares it to the old Commodore Amiga, which was certainly cool, but way ahead of its time. I think part of the problem with TiVo is the pricing. While they've done a good job bundling and subsidizing the hardware on the satallite versions, most people don't have satellite TV - and it's a big disconnect to convince them to switch. But, on the cable versions of TiVo, they seem to be trying to recoup their box costs and charging for the monthly service. The combined charges are way too high for mass acceptance. If the real money is in the service fees, then they should just subsidize the boxes, and try to sign up more customers for the service.
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  1. identicon
    Gerry D, 9 Oct 2002 @ 11:16am

    Prices too high!

    The TiVo is priced WAY too high for my budget. If it were more in the $200 range and without the monthly fee I could probably convince the wife to go for it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Chris, 9 Oct 2002 @ 11:51am

    No Subject Given

    I don't know anybody who watches enough TV to justify a Tivo. Yeah, I could catch those cool movies that AMC tends to show at 3 AM, but for $15 a month I can probably find most of them at Netflix too.

    Or, I can just fire up Morphous and watch for free ;)
    (that was a joke, I haven't messed with the P2P stuff since Napster almost 2 year ago)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Mike (profile), 9 Oct 2002 @ 12:04pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    My experience (and I don't own a TiVo, but many of my friends do) is that it doesn't matter how much TV you watch. It just allows you to set your own time schedule when it comes to watching anything. It really does change how you watch TV.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    James Gerpeople, 9 Oct 2002 @ 4:14pm


    I have owned Tivo for over a year now and only now did I buy the lifetime package for $250. I was paying $13/month and who knew it would last a year. I can watch any program at my convenience no stupid games like find the blank tape and tape over this.

    It's great and I have to disagree with that assessment.. If you watch 3 or more shows in any given week, you should get this. It also allows you to tape things you normally wouldn't and actually enhances/broadens your viewing tendencies. Networks should be please, because they are getting more exposure than they normally wouldn't get without Tivo owners.

    Think about this... I tape discovery's 2nd run shows from 12am-2am... Then, I watch them over the weekend or if I am bored with the 6:30pm news on a weekday. This means I get exposed to new commercials and shows I normally wouldn't tape or watch.

    I heard that time warner is rolling out their own box's, but I am skeptical about this until I see the features. If they have a digital recorder that records two channels at once then I'll go for that.

    Tivo is expensive, but when you get the lifetime subscription, its like you have TV Guide for life.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    brian, 9 Oct 2002 @ 7:25pm

    No Subject Given

    say it ain't so... will I have to resort to buying "Dora the Exporer" dvds for my son to watch? Tivo is great... but so was Webvan.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Todd, 9 Oct 2002 @ 8:28pm

    No Subject Given

    Most Techdirt readers probably don't track this company at both the technology and financial level, but as a reader who *does* do both, let me assert: TiVo has licensed itself sufficiently to ensure their technology will live a long time.

    Now, more interesting, the name TiVo might not: the company has licensed the technology to DirecTV and Sony, both of whom will use it without the brand "TiVo".

    Just the other day, a TiVo employee hinted in the TiVo community forum that "TiVoMan" -- their icon -- is soon to be history.

    So save the eulogies for now -- the technology platform is rock solid and the device is simply awesome so TiVos partners will take the goodies and put them to good use.

    One last note: TiVo and DirecTV have figured out that TiVo/DirecTV subscribers order bigger cable packages, more PPVs and churn less. As a result they LOWERED the monthly TiVo fee to $5 from $10. Finally, someone gets the supply-and-demand concept RIGHT. Whew.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Jeff, 18 Jan 2003 @ 11:08pm

    Re: No Subject Given - TIVO & DirectTV

    TIVO/DirecTV is a slimey little transition. I have a TIVO/DirecTV unit for which a lifetime TIVO subscription was purchased. But after TIVO jumped in bed with DirecTV, DirecTV will not honor the lifetime subscription. So TIVO gets out of lifetime subscriptions when units fail but that was not enough of an angle for them. They decided to slither into DirecTV's hole. We'll see what attorney generals' offices think of this marriage made in Hell.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Cindy, 30 Mar 2004 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Tivo

    You may want to read the Life time package again. The one we saw was for the life of the unit. Not for life. If the unit goes out in 1 1/2 years your out even more money. We just got DirectTV with Tivo and are only paying 4.99 per nonth. It's great!!!!!!!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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