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The TiVo Mini Thin Client And Its Unexpected Impact On Retail Subscriber Numbers

Discussion in 'TiVo Mini' started by sbiller, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

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    What leads you to the conclusion TiVo would consider this an unexpected impact?
     
  2. sbiller

    sbiller Active Member

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    I don't expect that this would be unexpected from a TiVo perspective.

    It will be unexpected from the perspective of the general public and the wall-street analysts that cover TiVo. They are continuing to expect retail subscriber declines for the foreseeable future.
     
  3. jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

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    Oh. Well, that's not a surprise. You're far better than the so-called "pros" when it comes to TiVo. Only Tony Wible does his homework.
     
  4. BlackBetty

    BlackBetty I

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    This is now the 3rd place I've seen you post a link to that site, all within minutes of each other. You get paid by seeking alpha for every click of the link, right?
     
  5. sbiller

    sbiller Active Member

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    Actually I don't get paid for that story. It's an instablog post - no different than a post to a personal blog. Seeking Alpha only pays per click (1 cent) for a premium story. I posted here because I thought the numbers would be of interest for a community member who possibly doesn't follow me on twitter or TiVo investor discussion boards.
     
  6. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Yeah, they're kind of cooking the books, but then again the whole Wall Street game is a bunch of BS that often yields some really awful results, like AT&T, and to a lesser extent Verizon, not being able to invest in their future.

    The only thing you really got wrong is that TiVo subscribers and average household shouldn't be in the same sentence- they have little relation to each other. TiVo users are self-selecting.
     
  7. sbiller

    sbiller Active Member

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    Do you think that was always the case? I think there's an opportunity for TiVo to appeal to a wider audience especially with the solid support of the Apple ecosystem (e.g., Stream, iOS app) and now the whole home experience that is superior to the majority of cable operators WH-DVRs.

    We'll find out in May (TiVo's Q1 release) how successful the initial launch was from a subscriber count perspective. Based on the general response I'm seeing here on TCF, I have no reason to adjust the estimates. I also expect that the first time we might see some discounting & bundling will be in mid to late April before they close their Q1 books on April 30th.
     
  8. jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

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    There always is. But Tivo's single biggest failure hasn't changed since its' inception - it has absolutely no idea how to create effective marketing to show consumers how and why TiVo is any better what their cable company provides.

    Until that changes, whether the TiVo WH experience is superior or not is moot.
     
  9. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    To a wider audience, yes. To the same audience who gets whatever box their local cable company has, NO. There is a selection bias in the fact that you can't single-source all the equipment from the MSO, from that fact that there's not one support line for it all, and from the fact that you have to buy it up front.

    There is also a selection bias since TiVo is the only off the shelf DVR for OTA, and it doesn't work with satellite (the THR22 doesn't count as anything, since it was effectively DOA).

    TiVo also charges a lot for their products, which might be a good strategy profit wise, but it doesn't help for mainstream appeal. They also missed the boat on the whole whole-home DVR thing by several years (the company who invented the DVR was years behind Comcast, Verizon, and other big MSOs???). Luckily for them, as of a few days ago, they FINALLY have a whole-home DVR.

    I think the whole streaming integration thing can be a huge help to them, but they need to get the apps running better, and create a developer platform to get more stuff on there.

    And yes, advertising. Spreading the message. Once Charlie Ergen clears the way for commercial skip legally, they should roll that out as fast as possible, and use that as a differentiator.
     
  10. HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

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    That about sums it all up in one fell swoop!!!:cool:

    (Is that how you say it?)
     
  11. jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

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    As a long-time TiVo investor, I find the possibility of TiVo benefiting from an action taken by Ergen sadly ironic, given what he essentially stole from TiVo in the first place.
     
  12. sbiller

    sbiller Active Member

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    Agreed there is a significant friction to getting a user to buy a TiVo at retail and connect it to his cable company service. If the FCC ever moves to downloadable software encryption successor to CableCARD it will help. We also know that TiVo has had a bit of success (e.g., slightly improved metrics) in areas where it support XFINITY On Demand.

    In general, TiVo actually sells hardware for a small loss (e.g., base Premiere, Mini, Premiere 4) or for extremely thin margins (e.g., TiVo Stream, Premiere XL4). One of the reasons we haven't seen a lot of retail competition to TiVo is that its expensive to deploy a box that supports QAM, Mpeg2, and CableCARD.

    As far as missing the boat on WH-DVR, TiVo has had a WH solution for quite some time with the TiVo Preview. I think they should have released the TiVo Preview to retail. IMHO, it was a mistake to not sell it to retail. It would not have been a huge retail success because it would have been expensive, it required CableCARD, and it didn't support the WH experience as well as the TiVo Mini.

    Agreed. Its evident that the apps run much better on the TiVo Mini which finally meets the minimum requirements of Adobe Air for TV. Now they need to get some of the key apps (e.g., Netflix, Amazon Prime Streaming, HBO Go) working and working well. I would also like to see them have some sort of Airplay equivalent for TiVo.

    Agreed. This is another area where they could do better. The challenge is balancing retail subscriber acquisition costs (SAC) with a return on investment. They would need a big gain in TiVo adds to offset a significant advertising campaign. Virgin Media in the UK is a good example of a company that has had significant returns from their big investment in advertising. I do believe that as more and more Tier 2/3 cable operators start deploying TiVo next gen solutions there will be a bump in retail sales simply because of 'word-of-mouth' and cable operator advertising. TiVo finally has a fairly appealing WH ecosystem. The next gen boxes with faster processors and more apps are really the only missing pieces at this point.
     
  13. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    It's ironic, in the sense that TiVo semi-patent-trolled DISH (I say semi because they actually make a product unlike most patent trolls, but it was still a patent troll case at heart).

    That's interesting that they get a boost from XoD. I guess people like OnDemand. I'm not sure that the CableCard is the limiting factor, I think it's the concept of going to another provider to get hardware versus the service. It's kind of like unlocked phones. People just don't take to them well in this country.

    I'm not buying the cost factor for MPEG-2, QAM, and the like. Ceton is selling tuners for $180 that will work with any Windows PC in recent history. The MCE experience right now kind of sucks, but it just goes to show that the QAM/ MPEG-2 part of it isn't that expensive.

    I think the bigger issue is that lack of a mass market to support the R&D required to get something like this to market, not the per-unit cost.

    Technically, yes, the Preview was, but it wasn't available to retail, so effectively, they didn't have it. They could have coded the software to not require a CableCard, and let it act like a Mini or a playback-only device.

    The issue with word-of-mouth is that TiVo is already the incumbent provider of the service in the areas where they would be getting the word-of-mouth. TiVo has the best UX out there of any DVR, I wish more big carriers would pick it up. It would also be nice if DirecTV actually supported it for real (i.e. software over the top of the HR44 or equivalent with RVU), although given their relationship, that is highly unlikely.

    EDIT: Combine posts.
     
  14. sbiller

    sbiller Active Member

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    Not directly related to retail numbers but TiVo partner Suddenlink revealed yesterday in their Q1 conference call that they've deployed 10,000 Mini's since launch (Feb 7, 2013).
     
  15. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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