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Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by davezatz, May 15, 2008.
Never used a Comcast DVR, eh?
Where did you get off saying that the interface is a fixed cost? Doesn't your Tivo get software updates?
On the other hand, I'm sure if you run Windows you're getting software updates for "free". Microsoft chooses to amortize the ongoing development costs into the fixed cost of the software. Tivo gives you a choice.
As much as we'd like to think that computers run themselves, the reality is that they don't and there is an entire profession built around updating and maintaining computer systems (IT).
If you don't think so then go ahead and run your own DVR with free guide data on your PC. I guarantee you it won't be a one shot deal. You are going to have to maintain that system.
I personally run most of my own servers, but in the case of recreational video recording I outsource the job to Tivo. I have a lifetime sub, but even if I didn't I'd probably subscribe to Tivo because based on the hourly wage I earn it'd still be cheaper than doing it myself.
Does the cost go up for every unit sold?
I agree they are always spending R&D money but by definition if it does not vary with quantity then it is fixed.
Support costs certainly go up with number of units.
I am really tempted to get a 2nd HD unit with the lifetime for $600. I have two Series 2 units with lifetime now (and another HD unit on the MSD monthly plan). How easy would it be to sell one of the Series 2 units to recoup some of my cost? I would probably sell the modified unit. I forget how much extra drive space there is but I think it was a 120G addition. I'd have to look that up.
I've never sold anything on ebay (bought stuff before) so I don't know how hard it is (especially since I'd have no reputation). Being able to get some money out of the old unit would go a long way toward convincing the wife that buying a new HD unit makes sense.
I don't see any option for upgrading my existing monthly unit to a lifetime. Am I missing something?
To put it in perspective... a one-time nice dinner for two+ out can set one back by $50... and it's all out next day. Come on, just get life(time) !
I have 2 lifetime boxes and 6 active TiVo DVRs in my house so getting lifetime is not a block in itself. I just do not have a problem with paying monthly either and have 3 TiVo DVRs paying month to month with no contract at 6.95 a month.It is grandfathered and as long as I keep them in good standing the rate is not going up
Well I called Tivo and changed my monthly HD to lifetime. I did not see a method for doing that online and wondered if they were allowing that. When the person asked if I wanted to do it, I just said yes. I hadn't really gotten to the point where I had decided but figured what the heck.
Then I asked about buying lifetime for a retail purchase which is also OK. Also not obvious to me poking around the Tivo site. I could see that I could buy one from them and pay $299.
So I bought one from Amazon (well from someone through Amazon's front end) for $226 new. So that will be here next week. So I just spent $826 on stuff that I hadn't even considered when I woke up this morning. Thanks a lot guys. Sheesh.
I hope that I can sell a Series 2 and get back $150-200 to bring that down...
Is it possible to purchase the refurb HD web special for $199 from tivo.com with lifetime service for $299? I am not seeing this option even after I log into my tivo account.
Yes, that was my point, if not well written/put. Technically the guide data is fixed cost, but since they license on per user basis, to tivo it's not.
Customer support does need to be in there, agreed, so add that to the guide data price.
Basic point still stands, though.
I'm having a hard time understanding your point. Is it that TiVo is charging too much for guide data? Or is it that the only aspect of the TiVo service you value is guide data?
As I'm sure you'll agree, the TiVo service offers much more than guide data. Comparing today's TiVo operating environment to the original ones eight years ago, reveals many more differences.
My understanding is that today, the boxes are priced so that TiVo does make money on the sale of each box. Eight years ago, the prices of the boxes reflected a small loss on each sale, with the expectation the subscription prices would ultimately bring them the revenue they needed. The problem with the lifetime service, during that time frame, was that it did not bring in enough revenue to offset the support and development costs. And people kept their units for a lot longer than TiVo ever anticipated.
Clearly, the market situation today is very different in that TiVo must continue to justify the prices of the service they offer by differentiating and providing a user experience that is valued, to some, at something higher than a more commodity offering.
There really isn't any 'right and wrong' here in that some people prefer the additional features and functionality, or prefer the user-interface, and are willing to pay a premium for it. Others don't value it, and would prefer a more commodity-oriented alternative at a lesser price.
But with all of that said, what does that have to do with the 'lifetime service' being resurrected? I think the point of the thread was that its now making sense for TiVo to offer that as an option, whereas several years ago, it was a losing proposition for TiVo to do so.
At risk of wandering further off topic...
I think guide data is variable since it does vary with the number of units calling in each month. If your TiVo does not call in every six months they will mark your account as inactive and stop paying royalties to Tribune.
By vary with units, I don't mean that the price gets cheaper at larger quantity (although I see how I could have made that impression); just that the total amount paid to Tribune is a function of q.
There are many reasons why the above isn't close to a complete picture of the situation. Here are just a few:
Support is OK, but I don't want "development" if it means I get a product that becomes flakier over time.
I'm not a venture capitalist, I don't want my lifetime subscription to fund "development" of features (such as obtrusive advertising) that benefit TiVo much more than they do me.
In 2000, when I bought my first lifetime, TiVo was a flaky startup that was losing truckloads of money. Now, 8 years later, they're losing boatloads of money. Things have gotten worse. With that in mind, "lifetime" has a reasonable probability of meaning "lifetime of TiVo the company" rather than "lifetime of DVR". I should get a bit of a discount on my lifetime subscription for giving my money in advance to such a flaky company.
If you consider the marginal added cost of a lifetime subscription, I'm paying way too much. The guide data and servers aren't that expensive. The vast majority of my lifetime money is paying for inept ad campaigns, coast-to-coast flights for Tom Rogers, obscenely high "subscriber acquisition costs", and similar high dollar items that provide very little benefit to me.
and yet here you are 8 years later - still complaining.
TiVo the company is still in business and significantly improving their financial picture with Tom Rogers running the business like a business.
If I felt like you did in what you posted - I would have switched years ago to some other DVR. Why have you not switched? What compels you to keep providing the venture capital?
Phantom Gremlin, Marginal costs only come into play for commodities not differentiated goods. The marginal costs of anything related to TiVo are irrelevant.
Someone had started a discussion of "tivo lite"--reduced fee for reduced service, and a response suggested that the price reflected the costs of providing service to customers. I was jumping off from there--lifetime probably better reflects the cost structure tivo faces, since most of the costs of tivo's service are fixed--adding another box does not cost tivo anything (development of software, new software, etc.), with the exception of guide data and customer service. But, tivo prices its boxes so that people pay over time for some of these costs rather than paying it all up front (unless they buy lifetime).
"Value" is whatever people are willing to pay.
TiVo has already offered "TiVo Lite", called TiVo Basic, which is a "Lifetime" free limited version of TiVo service on two brands (Toshiba and Pioneer) of TiVo powered DVD/HDD recorders. Both are now discontinued but are available 2nd hand on eBay.
TiVo Basic has only 2 days of EPG, no search capabilities, no Season Passes, and only 1 active input. It's great!
I use two "Basic" Toshiba recorders to simultaneously record hi-def sourced programs "on the fly" from Series 3 TiVo's when I want to save them to DVD. The resulting DVD's are incredibly quick and easy to produce, look good, are anamorphic, and no computer skills are required!
Phantom Gremlin or anyone else,
So do you think your employer gets to tell you how to spend the money they pay you for your labor? I think not. Unless you are a TiVo stock holder what TiVo does with the money it collects from the sale of subscriptions/hardware is non of your business.
Producers (TiVo) get to decide what they are willing to produce and what they are willing to accept as payment for it. Consumers (us) get to decide if we are willing to take the deal or not.
How much it costs to produce something does not set the selling price. What the "market" is willing to pay for the product/service ultimately does set the price. When the market is unwilling to pay a price high enough to entice the producer to continue producing the product then the product is no longer produced.
From a consumers point of view I am glad the lifetime service option is back, but TiVo should only be offering it because they believe it is in TiVo's best financial interest to do so.
I agree with this.
I can understand why, as consumers, we might want some new feature or a different/less-expensive pricing plan. But in the end, we vote with our dollars, and just because I might want a specific feature or a cheaper price, that doesn't mean it is in TiVo's best interest to do so. And ultimately, what is in their best interest is probably in the best interest of their customers; I'd like them to continue to be around to provide the service that I do pay for, and value, with my dollars.
Are they perfect in their offerings? Definitely not, but I have a lot less gripes with them compared to my content provider; I pay $90 / month and only watch about 5% of the channels that are offered. Nor am I particularly happy with the options and pricing offered by my cell phone carrier; I don't even use my voicemail, call forwarding, and barely even use the "phone" part of my smartphone. But I have to take the bad with the good if I want the features that I value...
 As an aside, every now and then a potential customer asks me for something for free or at a significant discount based upon the logic that it doesn't cost me anything. I've never quite understood that position; as a small business owner, with a couple of employees, we need to make money to survive. If we had investors, it would require even more. Selling stuff is how we make our money and offset the costs of not just the goods we sell, but also the costs of advertising, running payroll, paying unemployment insurance, etc. Its no different than any other business.
I keep reading responses that sound as if they were scripted from Tivo, Inc. justifying Tivo's strategy.
The only thing is... evidently Tivo continues to lose money.
Perhaps if Tivo were to open their minds to suggestions from their customers they could improve their financial position?
As Madman Muntz used to say, "Folks, I lose money on every sale but I make it up in volume!"