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TiVo Mini Review Roundup

Discussion in 'TiVo Mini' started by Peter Redmer, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    Northern...
    it's no different with other electronic devices. Even twenty years ago I would get electronics, like a receiver, CD player VCR etc. I'd try it out a few months and if I decided I wanted something else or a better version came out, I would sell it for most if not all that it cost me. I don't see a TiVo DVR as being any different.
     
  2. wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    Dave, I absolutely agree that it's a personal -and situation specific - issue. One of the problems here is that we're talking about what each of us has experienced, what we currently "know" and what we really "value". The point I've been making very frequently is that all of that is pointless in this discussion

    The issue here is about "generalities" because that is what will drive Tivo to either gain market penetration or lose market share. So, we all need to take our "Tivo centric" glasses off in that case and look at the situation through a technology agnostic lens. There is no doubt in my mind that there are, and have been, situations where Tivo solutions have in the long term been less expensive than MSO solutions. None at all. There is equally no doubt in my mind that the opposite has been true in some cases.

    The point is that in each and every case, one thing holds true. That is, that in order to gain those savings from Tivo or to even attempt to gain them, the consumer must pay 100% up front. Buy the box, and buy lifetime service (for that box). And that if there are both in, or out of warranty failures, you also pay that.

    It doesn't matter if you "might" be able to recoup your money down the road. You might now. Or, if you have or have not had equipment failures. You certainly could. And you could end up paying for them.

    It matters that all of that is not debatable, and those are key issues for the general market. When Tivo had true "lifetime service" - meaning for the subscriber and not the box - it was a very VERY different story. I have no issues paying the extra money and/or taking the risk as well as the huge cost up front in order to have Tivo. But I don't make the mistake of believing that just because I do, any of my neighbors will. Because they don't, and they won't - in large part. And, if I'm going to pay that premium, I'd darn sure better get premium service, and that includes premium pre-sales product support and technical support - AS WELL AS better than just "parity" of important functions that the MSOs have provided for years.
     
  3. wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    Sorry - totally disagree 100%. As a matter of fact, I could not possibly disagree more. You are only presenting one side of the discussion in order to try and defend that position. It is fundamentally flawed.

    If, during that same time period, different "distributors" would allow you to "lease" those products, with no up front cost, never have to worry about repairs, never have a long term obligation, and if in some cases those products were superior in feature sets to the "high end audiophile" products, AND if those products also stored content that could not be moved to another product, then we can start to have that discussion.

    Imagine this. Let's say consumers have two options.

    First, they can spend $75K for a high performance, high economy car up front. They can "believe" that resale value of that car will hold strong. AND - that car requires a specific fuel (let's call it "Tivoline" for kicks) in order for most of its stuff to work.

    OR, they can spend a small amount in monthly lease payments on a different car. It's not as nice looking, it's slower, doesn't handle quite as good and is not as quiet inside. But, there are some things it can actually do that the $75k car cannot. And you could care less about who made it, because if the company that produces it goes out of business, you just get a new one at no cost. At any time they can return the car and never pay another penny. If the car ever breaks, it gets fixed or replaced at zero cost. For as long as you have it. If the road systems require changes to the car, you get a new car for free.

    Let's say that over 8 years or so, the $75k car turns out to be less expensive.

    Which do you think will be more popular? That's a far better analogy.
     
  4. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    Northern...
    I don't know, if you lose your kids when you trade in the cheaper car because they were still inside, I guees it wouldn't be very popular.:)
    Of course the kids would be more important than TV shows though.

    Of course if the car keeps breaking down like the cable company DVrs, even getting it replaced for free would be a PITA.
     
  5. HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

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    Paradise...
    I'm with you Jr.!:up: It's really about whatever the person decides to do, they're going to justify (mostly in their own mind) that decision. I'll be the first to admit my guilt of doing that exact thing, and I am doing that right now as we speak while I have 3 different systems in my home, (DirecTV Genie w/ Clients, TiVo w/ Minis, Windows Media Center/HDHomerun Primes/Ceton Echos) evaluating which one has the best quality, value, service, etc. so I can make an informed decision. Each time I try to decide one or the other, I catch myself justifying to myself and my wife why I think this one's better than that one, even so far as to overlook glaring faults and weaknesses (read: Ceton Echo!):rolleyes:
     
  6. HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

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    Paradise...
    :rotfl::p
     
  7. mr_smits

    mr_smits New Member

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    Let's keep your analogy going. In year 9, you can sell the $75k car for $18k because it still works and has low mileage or you can keep using it and pocket the savings. You can always sell it next year or the next if it is still working.

    In year 9 of the 'free' car, you are still paying monthly for a box you don't own. Sure, maybe a slightly newer box was released with new features, but the features are still ho hum. Plus your monthly price has increased every year since year 2! It's now clear the easy, cheaper choice originally is an expensive, worthless anchor.

    I understand people have different risk tolerance, and there are people that can't or won't do basic math. The problem with Tivo is that they are competing against MSOs with 'free' DVRs, and consumers aren't aware that they have a retail option.
     
  8. wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, but I think your answers are wrong. Because you again fail to include the total cost of ownership. In year 9 of the $75k car, the engine and tranny just blew. You're done. In year 9, the $75k car is 9 years old. In year 9, the "lease" car is brand new.

    Your math simply does not work. It is neither realistic nor accurate. Total cost of ownership includes risk and likely mechanical failure, which WILL occur on some percentage of devices over some segment of time. That is a fact. You can play Russian roulette and hope it isn't you, but there is not a darned thing you can do to really avoid it.

    There is no possible scenario where you can INSURE that Tivo is ALWAYS no more expensive. And there is no scenario period in which you can avoid up front expense on a major basis. And there is no scenario period in which the deployment and management is as seamless as the MSOs. This does not mean that Tivo is without value. It has great value. But that is not in a direct price point competition with MSOs. Customers have gone to leased DVRs because they're cheap, require no up front investment, have little (or no) risk, and incur no maintenance/ repair obligation. Customers use Tivo because the UI is superior, and because at some point they had the most comprehensive feature set. Tivo dropped the ball and lost the lead in innovation some time ago (whole house, streaming) and is struggling to catch up.
     
  9. wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    You're taking the exact approach I did, and typically do. I have redundant RG6 feeds to each room, so when I moved from Dish to Comcast, I had both running at the same time for a period to compare. Did the same thing on Comcast to VZ, and the same thing with VZ DVR to Tivo. I still maintain my free (yes, absolutely free for life, no strings or hooks) DVR in addition to my Tivos.

    That way, you and I can observe actual FACTUAL and DATA DRIVEN characteristics rather than talking about how much we love/hate Tivo and how our "neighbors" hate their DVRs. I realize not everyone can or will do that, but it sure takes the bias out of the conversation.
     
  10. mr_smits

    mr_smits New Member

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    The math works whether you want to admit it or not. It's pretty simple to compute total cost of ownership using some basic assumptions, and the payback period is a lot less than the 8 years in your analogy. Of course, like a vehicle or any product you buy vs renting and paying forever, there is risk. Risk is the only factor that comes into play with buying a Tivo vs taking the 'free' DVR from a cable company.

    Just like a vehicle, all mechanical systems will fail or require repair at some point. Some people want a new car every 3 years, so they sign a lease every 3 years. These people will pay a fortune over their lifetime to rent a car instead of buying a car. Sure they don't have to worry about repairs or extensive maintenance, but they are paying a steep premium for this. This is the same for people renting DVRs from their cable company. No worries about repair or paying repair bills, but you pay a much higher total cost - forever.
     
  11. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    For some reason you seem to equate making monthly payments with cheap - I do not consider paying $22.00/mo (cost of a inferior standard TWC DVR - the dual tuner whole home DVR is $29/mo) forever cheap.

    You are correct in that total cost of ownership for a TiVo can not be known for certain until after you are no longer using it so if it is cheaper than an individual's cable option or not is unknown until you have owned it for several years.

    However as I posted in another thread my TiVo HD's per month cost is now below $10/mo and going lower and my Premiere's cost is already below $15/mo. and heading down (note no cable cards as I am OTA only add $1.50/mo for them in the past and $2.50/mo going forward as TWC has raised the price) and those cost include hard drive upgrades for both units.
     
  12. jmpage2

    jmpage2 New Member

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    Certainly for most MSO customers, if they are fortunate enough not to need an out of warranty repair, and they don't mind using an "older" hardware version, the TiVo will end up saving them money in the long run.

    The picture used to get more clouded when multi-room was involved because prior to the Mini, TiVo did not have anything compelling for multi-room and in many cases, the rental charges on multiple TiVo boxes would actually end up costing someone more than an MSO whole home solution.

    With the Mini TiVo is ALMOST at parity with the MSOs.... again, assuming that someone does not have warranty issues and does not mind potentially using older gear when newer gear becomes available (flipping the TiVo gear is always an option but in many cases there is a multi hundred dollar hit associated with doing this).
     
  13. Loach

    Loach New Member

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    Omaha, NE
    To duplicate my current 3 TV whole home setup with Cox WHDVR would cost as follows (monthly):

    Whole home DVR service - $15.00
    WHDVR receivers $8.50 x 3 = $25.50
    Subtotal - $40.50
    Less - $1.99 for Cablecard
    Net incremental cost - $38.51
    Tax @ 7% - 2.70
    Total with tax - 41.21

    Here's what I paid for my Tivo setup:
    Premiere 4 with lifetime - $625
    2 minis with lifetime - $500
    MoCA adapter & POE filter - $66
    Total - $1,191

    $1,191 / $41.21 = 29 months to breakeven. If I keep my setup 4 years, I will save at least $783 using Tivo during that period. 5 years would equal $1,277. Those numbers assume no cable co. price increases on WHDVR service (yeah, right).

    Some people wouldn't even need the MoCA adapter (I did because my P4 is not near an ethernet jack so I had to enable MoCA elsewhere). Even if my P4 completely failed to the point of being irreparable (unlikely), I could replace it with the monthly cost savings and still be ahead. And my analysis also gives no consideration to any market value of the P4 and Minis at the end of the usage period.
     
  14. jmpage2

    jmpage2 New Member

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    Loach,

    You are right, TiVo is more cost effective. So ask yourself the question of why more of those Cox customers aren't making the switch? Is it because they can't do math? Is it because of the up-front out-lay of nearly $1200? Is it because with the Cox solution everything just "works" and if it doesn't (or if newer gear comes out) Cox will just take care of it for "free" as part of the service?

    I suspect it's a combination of all of those things, we'll have to see what kind of whole home bundle deals TiVo tries to do with the Mini later this year.

    This is what I think TiVo needs to do in order to be more competitive;

    1. Drop the price of the current Premiere 4 to $500 with lifetime for new subscribers.
    2. Drop the price of the Mini, if purchased with the Premiere 4 to $199 for new subs.
    3. Fix the tuner allocation issues.
    4. Add market critical services to the Mini such as Netflix, etc.
    5. In MSO markets in which TiVo knows the MSOs don't want them around, play up the long term cost savings of switching to TiVo with a new print and radio campaign.

    That's the minimum I think they need to do to grow the subscriber base. Next level efforts need to include a redesigned Premiere-4 with faster silicone and integrated "stream" functionality for both Android and iOS.... as well as continued pressure on MSOs for on-demand functionality and a move away from Cable Cards towards an IP based (equipment agnostic) delivery mechanism.
     
  15. Loach

    Loach New Member

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    Omaha, NE
    I think it's some combination of all of those things PLUS the fact that most Cox customers in my market aren't even aware of Tivo as an alternative. As I mentioned elsewhere, my parents just switched to DirecTV and when I told them I went with Tivo, I got a blank stare...
     
  16. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    Jan 23, 2006
    Mission...
    I think for a lot of people it's just short term thinking. As long as on a monthly basis things appear to be cheaper in the short term that's all that matters. Sort of like people continuously re-financing home mortgages with the objective of lowering monthly payments without any consideration about long term prospects of all the fees + interest paid and never paying down principal much so that one day they would own the property out right. I personally like to avoid monthly payments and any kind of debt as much as possible but certainly looks like I'm in the minority. Trying to explain how TiVo can be a cheaper solution in the long run is not an easy argument to make so I usually don't bother and tell people if their main objective is to save money then TiVo is not the solution for them. i.e. Choose TiVo because of the feature set, not the price.
     
  17. wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry, but you are frankly either being stubborn or just do not understand. There is quite a bit more than risk that comes into play. You make blanket statements such as "you pay a much higher total cost - forever" but then you say the only issue is risk. Really, then if it's always cheaper with Tivo, where's the risk?

    You also completely disregard that the "free" Tivo I'm talking about (the first one) is FREE. For many people VZ as an example provides a free - TOTALLY free, DVR. You will not save a penny by refusing it. Nothing. And it can serve as the basis for whole home. It does not even have a cablecard fee.

    My advice before taking such a strong position (which is frankly impossible to defend) that Tivo is always cheaper in the long term is that you maybe ought to get out another excel worksheet and think about it.

    Tivo is a premium service. They never, ever marketed themselves as being cheaper. Only on this site to I find people who insist that "Tivo is always cheaper" - as well as totally disregarding the massive up front cost to buy into the sale "number of devices" that they can get from the MSOs. Is Tivo worth it? I think so - for me. But I'm not going to be stubborn enough to refuse looking at reality (and my checking account) and say it's cheaper than the MSO.
     
  18. wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    And actually, among other things, consider this.

    You have less tuners than with Cox. You have only two recording tuners. One P4, two minis, either they can't watch live TV whatsoever (then you keep 4 recording tuners) only one can watch live TV (then you have 3 recording tuners) or both can independently watch live TV (then you have 2 recording tuners.

    You also had to pay 100% up front.
     
  19. wmhjr

    wmhjr Well-Known Member

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    I equate "cheap" meaning relatively small payment in terms of monthly payments. I equate "affordable" because many families don't have a couple thousand dollars to spend at once, IN ADDITION to their cable bill.

    I get the HD cost coming down. Too bad it is (for whole house) now an antique and can't function in that space. No streaming capability whatsoever. So a unit purchased just a few years ago (when MSOs had whole house HD streaming, BTW) never could, and never will, be able to do that. Nor will it integrate with the "mini" (which decreases the number of tuners you can use to record)

    I am totally willing to agree that under the right circumstances, Tivos can be more cost effective. I already did - I believe in this thread. However, there are some requirements to get that lower cost. The two most critical IMHO are the requirement to pay up front (which nobody here wants to talk about) a very very large amount of cash for whole house, AND the fact that you are locked in and must stay with Tivo for years without mechanical failure requiring maintenance/ repair. The other pieces I've mentioned also. The willingness to either accept that you won't get new technology or may be subject to MSO changes that obsolete your equipment in some way, and/or a willingness to believe that Tivo w/lifetime resale value will never ever suffer - and a willingness to go through the resale process while at the same time plunking down a butt load of more cash.
     
  20. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    Rochester NY
    If I had finance my TiVo HD with a 20% charge card it would still have been cheaper than renting a TWC DVR over the last 5years and the TiVo HD is still superior to what TWC is offering now.

    And if I destroy my TiVo HD now it will have cost me less than 1/2 the cost of renting one over the same period that was a bad deal how?

    So lets price starting from scratch now say a 3 TV system. From TWC it would cost $47/mo for a dual tuner DVR and 2 more STBs. For a Premiere 4 and 2 Minis with lifetime & 3 yr warranties it would cost $1270. Even if I finance 100% of it at 20% for three years the payments would only be $48/mo.

    The TiVo system is still superior to the TWC system and yes with the TiVo system you will have to upgrade someday and might have to do repairs after the 3 yr warranty, but there is a 100% grantee that I have to keep paying TWC monthly forever.

    I agree many people need or like monthly payments. I don't like monthly payments and believe in saving first purchasing second. While I don't really believe financing a DVR purchase is a good thing it is easy enough to do and in the end if you can afford renting a whole home DVR system it is very likely you can afford to finance one just as easily. So if someone really prefers to pay monthly it is easy enough to do with a purchase and therefor really shouldn't have much to do with someones renting versus owning decision.
     

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