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Lifetime is Far Too Expensive on the Mini

Discussion in 'TiVo Mini' started by andrews777, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

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    North...
    Except for patent settlements, TiVo has lost money in almost every quarter since they were founded (they basically broke even in two quarters.) They are a monopoly because they have shown that there is no money to be made in the pure standalone market. People won't pay enough money for TiVo, or anybody, to make a profit in the standalone market, so TiVo has no competitors.

    TiVo needs to get more money from its customers in order to make a profit - you're objecting to the Mini price; what do you suggest TiVo should do to actually have you contribute to a profit for them overall?
     
  2. prisk

    prisk New Member

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    The TiVo Mini is more or less like a Slingbox. Granted there are some differences, but it is the same basic idea and does the same thing to a large extent with many devices. So, a Slingbox is $180 or $300. A Mini is $250. Right in the middle.

    In the past year I've been trying to find a way to:
    a. reduce the amount I pay Comcast each month
    b. download (not necessarily stream) shows to my iPad so I could watch them on a plane or overseas.

    Slingbox would have helped with B, but not A. The Mini, costing about the same, does both. It's not a "bargain", like it's $9.99 or something, but it is a fair price for what it is.

    The reason TiVo prefers lifetime service over selling equipment is because it is valued differently as a service provider vs. a hardware manufacturer. The $150 fee is recognized as revenue over 2 or 3 years (depends on their accounting practices), which allows them to show a steadier and more predictable stream of income. That "predictable" part is a very big deal. Even if they are showing a "loss" for many quarters, they can point to the many lifetime subscriptions (or contracts) they have in the pipe and show how much revenue they will be recognizing for the next 2-3 years, at a minimum. This is viewed as a very stable source of income for a company.
    Lots of companies do this. If you buy an insurance policy, for example, they will spread out and recognize the revenue over the course of the policy life, not the month or quarter you bought it.
     
  3. SullyND

    SullyND L:45-21 TCF Club

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    The mini is not like a slingbox, and does not do B.
     
  4. jmpage2

    jmpage2 New Member

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    Having replaced a Slingcatcher (which pulls video from a Slingbox) with a Mini, I can say that they are nothing alike actually.

    Sure, both let you view your TiVo recordings and Live TV.

    The Slingbox can only do what the host TiVo does (no local apps for example) and has terrible remote lag. It also has reduced audio video quality compared to the direct feed of the Mini. You can also only stream from a Slingbox on a TiVo to a single receiving device, where-as with the Roamio+Minis you can have several remotes watching TV and recordings at the same time.

    I rarely used my SlingCatcher (or later Sling app on Boxee Box) because it was just a headache trying to skip through commercials with all of the delay, audio/video quality not that great, etc.

    Now that I have a Mini in the same location I use it all the time. It's literally like having a full blown TiVo in the room it is in, and that alone justifies the $230 or so cost of the Mini + Lifetime.
     
  5. andrews777

    andrews777 New Member

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    I am not in management at Tivo, but they certainly should pay serious attention to how they will gain market share in the future. Customers can never be demanded on to keep a company afloat (unless you are the government of course, though it only goes so far even then).

    Their lack of competition is probably the worst problem they face as it removes the need to truly innovate and can allow any any company to get at least somewhat complacent.

    It is a challenge though, as running a solo race makes it harder to keep yourself constantly in peak form. Having another individual you are running against is much more helpful.
     
  6. jmpage2

    jmpage2 New Member

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    They do have competitors. Roku and ATV are very viable future competition to TiVo and TiVo almost definitely knows this.
     
  7. andrews777

    andrews777 New Member

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    I would agree they are a threat, but I question whether Tivo takes it seriously enough since they have not done a lot to enhance their offerings in competitive areas. Netflix continues along, but where all all the new sources? What about something like Amazon Prime Video? Etc.

    They do face serious challenges, but they don't have another DVR maker competing for the same market and they can rely on patents and such rather than innovation to keep that market for themselves so they do not have to innovate as much. The pressure is just not there in a directly visible fashion.
     
  8. jmpage2

    jmpage2 New Member

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    TiVo doesn't control availability of those apps, the providers do. Now that they have a powerful enough platform to handle HTML5 those apps will probably show up but it takes time.
     
  9. andrews777

    andrews777 New Member

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    Aug 22, 2007
    That is not relevant. The Roku device has them, Tivo's devices do not.

    I just upgrade to a Roamio and 3 Minis and I also got 2 Roku 2s to get coverage I could not get. I am not sure I would have jumped into the Tivo in the first place had I not already been using that and this is Tivo's principle challenge. On demand things are getting to be fairly comprehensive.
     
  10. aristoBrat

    aristoBrat Active Member

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    I think you stand way more of a chance seeing Amazon Prime on the Roamio than you do seeing Roku changing their business model and trying to tackle Live TV and DVR'ing.

    Huh? It seems to me that TiVo's #1 competition is cable TV company DVRs. And it's precisely because of TiVo's innovation that people would switch away from a cable company DVR.

    Can you name one cable company with a DVR that lets your stream Netflix, Amazon, Hulu plus, MLB, etc?

    Can you name one cable company with a DVR that lets you download shows to an phone or tablet?

    Can you name one cable company with a DVR that lets you stream Live TV into another room on a device that doesn't require an infinite monthly charge?

    Can you name one cable company with a DVR that has a built-in finder for when you lose the remote control?

    TiVo's relying on patents and not innovating? Really?

    :confused:
     
  11. jmpage2

    jmpage2 New Member

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    Well, the real argument there is how long will "live" TV even be around. Some of the more optimistic tech pundits are arguing that we could see a major shift from live to direct content in as little as 3-5 years.

    Live TV will in all likelihood be around for at least another decade, but that doesn't mean that it will remain the dominant delivery mechanism for that amount of time.

    Comcast and others have already expressed a willingness to potentially offer a la carte programming, something they would have not even considered as being worth consideration just 2-3 yrs ago.
     
  12. CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

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    North...
    Sorry, you're not making any sense at all.

    People like you are the reason TiVo has abandoned the standalone market as its future. I don't mean that at all pejoratively. The vast majority of DVR users out there have made the rational and understandable decision that they are not willing to pay enough money for TiVos in order for the company to make a reasonable profit in the standalone market. (I'm inferring that since you're already complaining about price, you would not buy TiVos if they cost 25% more).

    Even with a monopoly position, TiVo can't make a profit from standalones. The convenience of DVR's supplied by the cable companies is too great. TiVo's innovation doesn't matter; they still will not achieve their goals no matter how much better than cable company DVR's they are. The cable company DVRs are "good enough" for most folks.

    TiVo's hope for long-term survival rests on getting enough cable company TiVos out there to be able to start to make substantial money in their audience measurement and targeted advertising ventures. That's the vehicles that will see them through the next couple of decades of massive change in how entertainment is delivered.
     
  13. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Just because there is some minor overlap in functionality does not mean the TiVo Mini and the Roku are competing with one another. The Roku is a standalone device intended to stream internet based services to a single TV. It's business model is based around selling the hardware cheap and making money via profit sharing with the services it offers on the device. It's in their best interest to offer as many services as possible. A TiVo Mini is intended to extend your TiVo experience into another room. It will not even function as a standalone device. You have to own a TiVo to even set it up. The only apps it supports are the apps that are also available on the main TiVo. And those apps are chosen by TiVo to improve the TV watching experience. They may have similar profit sharing deals, or they may not, but it's not their main motivation for adding apps.
     
  14. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo New Member

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    Of course they are competing. Most people don't want a bunch of devices connected to their TV: they want one device that provides seamless access to all of their content. Tivo has the best device currently available, but it won't be perfect until it makes all content available. I know the business issues are hard, but surely that has to be the goal, no?
     
  15. b_scott

    b_scott TiVo Fan

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    the Tivo Mini is an extender. it's not a standalone device like the Roku, so they're not competing.
     
  16. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Exactly! It's intended to extend the TiVo experience to other rooms. The only reason it even has Netflix, Hulu, etc... is because those apps are on the TiVo. And the only reason they're on the TiVo is to offset the lack of access to VOD. TiVo's actual competition is cable DVRs. Because of poor regulations TiVo is left with a deficit in the VOD arena compared to cable DVRs. They attempt to make up for that with OTT apps instead.

    That being said they are likely to add more apps going forward. With their new HTML5 platform, and upcoming Opera store, I'm sure they will become a more viable alternative to a Roku. But Roku has never been their primary competition no matter how similar the hardware in the Mini is to a Roku or how many apps they add.
     
  17. TC25D

    TC25D New Member

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    Dan203 and b_scott - You've accurately made your points. Scooby and andrew refuse to let facts get in the way of their opinions. Afterall, the Tivo Mini, Roku and even the AppleTV all look alike physically, so they all must do the same thing, serve the same purpose and have the same business model. It's all so simple, really. :rolleyes:
     
  18. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo New Member

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    Let me give a hypothetical that might help you understand where I am coming from. Suppose a Roku allowed you to watch on demand any network show (NBC, CBS, ABC etc.) for up to a week after original broadcast. Who you then consider it a Tivo competitor?
     
  19. TC25D

    TC25D New Member

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    Aug 21, 2013
    No - TiVo's primary purposes are; (1) DVR and (2) Live broadcasts.

    Roku, and similar devices, are not DVRs and while I have not researched them extensively, I do not believe they offer live broadcasts, other than through a network specific app that provides it.

    As Dan203 has mentioned, just because there's overlap, doesn't mean they are competitors. IMO, they appeal to two different audiences.

    CordCutters and people moving towards cordcutting - Roku, AppleTV, etc.

    People looking to improve their cable company DVR experience - TiVo.
     
  20. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo New Member

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    Dec 18, 2002
    Weill I don't think Tivo agrees with you: if they aren't at least in part going after cord cutters then why put an OTA tuner in the base Roamio? And these forums are full of cord cutters who have bought Roamios. So I think you are sort of proving my point.
     

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