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Old 11-29-2012, 12:59 PM   #1
tvmaster2
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Tivo HD - cable companies and h.264

Cox Communications has apparently begun switching their HD channels to h.264, MPEG4 from MPG2.

The Tivo HD doesn't like that, although I'm led to believe Tivo could correct the problem with a software update for the Tivo HD.

Only the Premiere can access these channels.

If all cable companies continue what Cox has begun...how long until ALL the Tivo HD's are essentially boat-anchors?

It's not likely that Tivo will address fixing the HD to access MPEG4 channels, nor will they do a free swap to a low-end Premiere.

Is it just COX so far who's doing this, or have folks with Comcast, Time Warner, etc been noticing that your HD channels are disappearing.....
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:08 PM   #2
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There have been a couple of other threads about this here.

Take a look at those.

You can start with this one from yesterday.

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...ight=mpeg4+cox
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:20 AM   #3
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I haven't heard anything lately about Comcast moving to h.264.

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Old 11-30-2012, 09:28 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by tvmaster2 View Post
..........The Tivo HD doesn't like that, although I'm led to believe Tivo could correct the problem with a software update for the Tivo HD.

Only the Premiere can access these channels.

If all cable companies continue what Cox has begun...how long until ALL the Tivo HD's are essentially boat-anchors?

It's not likely that Tivo will address fixing the HD to access MPEG4 channels, nor will they do a free swap to a low-end Premiere.
.............
The HD was first introduced in 2007. Five years old makes it an antique in the consumer electronics world. It's not reasonable to expect software updates to address a new functionality need that hasn't even existed for the first five years of use.

This topic was thoroughly covered in the thread linked in post #2 here.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:31 AM   #5
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The HD was first introduced in 2007. Five years old makes it an antique in the consumer electronics world. It's not reasonable to expect software updates to address a new functionality need that hasn't even existed for the first five years of use.

This topic was thoroughly covered in the thread linked in post #2 here.
Thanks for your input - I just disagree with that concept: five years old and it's obsolete. I don't expect things to last 20 years, but I do have televisions, receivers, vcr's, radios, coffee grinders, vacuum cleaners and automobiles that have stayed completely functional for that amount of time.

When it was "introduced" is irrelevant - when it was purchased is the true date, as that is a date the manufacturer needs to support.

The concept of "accepting" that what we buy needs to be re-purchased again every five years would have made Steve Jobs extremely happy (actually, Steve preferred every two years). People who have decided to accept that are being sucked in.

The very fact that the item IS software based, therefore making it possible to keep it current, makes the concept of forced-obsolescence even more maddening.

Sorry, not ready to go along with that concept just yet

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Old 11-30-2012, 10:54 AM   #6
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I hope I can still use my HD for OTA for a long time.
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:32 AM   #7
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Thanks for your input - I just disagree with that concept: five years old and it's obsolete.
It's a relative term.

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I don't expect things to last 20 years
I surely do. We have a 1970 Chevrolet pickup with over 500,000 miles on it. I manage over 50 Unix hosts that were purchased and installed prior to 1995, and some were fired up in 1992.

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When it was "introduced" is irrelevant - when it was purchased is the true date, as that is a date the manufacturer needs to support.
Well, no, that's not quite reasonable. It would preclude anyone from selling off old inventory at discount prices. That would be bad for everyone.

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The concept of "accepting" that what we buy needs to be re-purchased again every five years would have made Steve Jobs extremely happy (actually, Steve preferred every two years). People who have decided to accept that are being sucked in.
There's one born every minute...

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The very fact that the item IS software based, therefore making it possible to keep it current, makes the concept of forced-obsolescence even more maddening.
I agree to a point, and in general. If the hardware supports it, then software updates should be made available, perhaps for a modest fee.

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Sorry, not ready to go along with that concept just yet
I'm mostly with you. OTOH, I am mostly uninterested in the majority of software upgrades out there.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:22 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by tvmaster2 View Post
Thanks for your input - I just disagree with that concept: five years old and it's obsolete. I don't expect things to last 20 years, but I do have televisions, receivers, vcr's, radios, coffee grinders, vacuum cleaners and automobiles that have stayed completely functional for that amount of time.
Well the concept you've chosen to disagree with isn't the one I stated. I said consumer electronics and coffee grinders, vacuum cleaners and automobiles aren't that. Also I didn't use, nor mean, the term "obsolete". I'm continuing to use my lifetime TiVo HD and don't expect it to be obsolete any time soon. I'm also driving a 19 year old car. If some new kind of gasoline is introduced that can't be used in that car, I certainly don't expect the manufacturer to do an upgrade, at least not a free one.
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The concept of "accepting" that what we buy needs to be re-purchased again every five years would have made Steve Jobs extremely happy (actually, Steve preferred every two years). People who have decided to accept that are being sucked in.
iPhone users may be suckers in your eyes but if they are happy with what they do then that's their choice. Nobody's being suckered -- buying the new version is their only way to get the features they desire.
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The very fact that the item IS software based, therefore making it possible to keep it current, makes the concept of forced-obsolescence even more maddening.
Developing the required updates for the HD may cost tens of thousands of dollars worth of software engineer labor and test/debug, plus a significant cost of pushing the updates via TiVo servers. You should expect to pay the cost of this and, even then, TiVo may not find it to be a very desirable way to assign their software development resources. This case is not the same as fixing a bug that impaired functionality from the beginning, which they at least have an ethical responsibility to do.
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Sorry, not ready to go along with that concept just yet
Again, you've defined a strawman concept to oppose -- not mine.

There has definitely been a trend in many products of designing in less durability/longevity than "back in the day". I remember furnaces, water heaters, washers and driers designed to last much more than the 5-10 years you typically get now. I don't like it but it's just a case of producers catering to the bulk of consumers who prefer stuff to be a little cheaper at the expense of the durability. If most consumers expected more durable products, the manufacturers would respond accordingly -- and quickly. The concept of brand loyalty enters here. If you care about durability you have to have confidence that a particular brand means that. The bulk of consumers pay no attention anything but the cost of many items they buy.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:01 PM   #9
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:42 PM   #10
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Well, we know that the Tivo HD can handle h.264 via a PyTivo "push".

Question is, will the cable companies encode their h.264 in the format that the Tivo HD accepts, and if not, would it be a simple software fix?

I have a feeling it might come down to hardware incompatibility.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:22 PM   #11
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Well, we know that the Tivo HD can handle h.264 via a PyTivo "push".

Question is, will the cable companies encode their h.264 in the format that the Tivo HD accepts, and if not, would it be a simple software fix?

I have a feeling it might come down to hardware incompatibility.
Have you scanned this thread (linked in post #2 of the current thread)?
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...ight=mpeg4+cox
Dan203 makes some very pertinent comments there, including:
Quote:
They definitely support H.264. They already use it for Netflix and Amazon shows. Plus you can do a push via pyTiVo and play an H.264 recording on an S3/HD. So the hardware supports it. It's definitely just software. However updating the software may not be that easy, and they may decide it's not worth it to support an obsolete platform
. I think "obsolete" is a bit strong for the Series 3 platforms but the point stands nonetheless. I think the software mods would have to be trivial before TiVo could justify making them for products that are at least 5 years old and were replaced by newer products almost 3 years ago.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:49 PM   #12
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Well the concept you've chosen to disagree with isn't the one I stated. I said consumer electronics and coffee grinders, vacuum cleaners and automobiles aren't that.
That's a little specious. The distinction is an artificial one, and one that only exists because we as consumers have allowed it to be made.

There is a parallel in automobiles, however. The entire concept of a "year model" is not one that has existed for the entire time that cars have been produced. It wasn't until the 1920s that General Motors began introducing cars with only primarily superficially or cosmetically different features than the previous year. Being fundamentally vainglorious, however, consumers lapped it up, and having a newer year model than your neighbor became a status symbol.

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Also I didn't use, nor mean, the term "obsolete". I'm continuing to use my lifetime TiVo HD and don't expect it to be obsolete any time soon. I'm also driving a 19 year old car. If some new kind of gasoline is introduced that can't be used in that car, I certainly don't expect the manufacturer to do an upgrade, at least not a free one.
Well, first of all, the automotive companies do just that. It is called a recall, and they happen all the time.

There is a very real difference here, though, and one that cannot be parallelled in the automotive industry (at least not yet). A significant hardware retrofit is not something that may be reasonably required of a company. Software is another matter, however. Software can be easily and cheaply updated. Companies that make $40 peripheral cards, $20 mice, and $70 motherboards do it all the time.

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iPhone users may be suckers in your eyes but if they are happy with what they do then that's their choice. Nobody's being suckered -- buying the new version is their only way to get the features they desire.
The suckering lies principally in getting the user to believe they are supposed to desire those things, and then to accept the requirement that they buy new hardware to get the things they urgently need which did not exist a month ago. It's called hype.

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Developing the required updates for the HD may cost tens of thousands of dollars worth of software engineer labor and test/debug
Almost surely not. The code in significant detail already exists. Modifying the existing code is not that terribly expensive. Thousands? Surely. Tens of Thousands? Probably not. Even so, $20,000 - $50,000 is just not a lot of money for a company like TiVo, who has a reasonable fraction of a $Billion in the bank.

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plus a significant cost of pushing the updates via TiVo servers.
SOP. Those people are paid whether they are pushing updates or sitting on their bums.

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You should expect to pay the cost of this and, even then, TiVo may not find it to be a very desirable way to assign their software development resources.
That's a different matter, but I submit it is a much better investment in PR - and probably a cheaper one - than hiring Tim Tebow.

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This case is not the same as fixing a bug that impaired functionality from the beginning, which they at least have an ethical responsibility to do.
The ethics here are a little fuzzy, but a company's reputation is not. A company like TiVo can abandon a small segment of the population without too many repercussions, but if the delivery of h.264 content on CATV systems becomes widespread, the probably cannot.

Note TiVo would be more than happy to fire up a service plan for my retired 12 year old Series I. If they are willing to do that, then at some level they need to be prepared to continue to support those platforms, let alone one 6 - 8 years newer.

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There has definitely been a trend in many products of designing in less durability/longevity than "back in the day". I remember furnaces, water heaters, washers and driers designed to last much more than the 5-10 years you typically get now. I don't like it but it's just a case of producers catering to the bulk of consumers who prefer stuff to be a little cheaper at the expense of the durability.
Yes, in some cases. In others, it is little more than the producer having a virtual monopoly.

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The bulk of consumers pay no attention anything but the cost of many items they buy.
In some areas this is true. In others, not. Some consumers are so addicted to their products they don't care how long they last or how much they cost. They just "gotta have them".

Last edited by lrhorer : 11-30-2012 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:57 PM   #13
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I think "obsolete" is a bit strong for the Series 3 platforms but the point stands nonetheless. I think the software mods would have to be trivial before TiVo could justify making them for products that are at least 5 years old and were replaced by newer products almost 3 years ago.
Define "trivial". It certainly would not require a massive code re-write.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:57 AM   #14
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Define "trivial". It certainly would not require a massive code re-write.
Obviously the operative definitions of "trivial" (and "massive", which you haven't defined. ) are in the eyes of TiVo management. Even if the cost of the H.264 mod is only a few thousand dollars, I doubt that they would consider it a good investment compared to other uses of that resource.

Actually I believe you're wrong that this mod would bring them a better return (in customer relations or any other area) than the Tebow thing although, for me, the Tebow thing has absolutely zero impact.

The comparison to auto recalls is (to use your word) specious.

The only antidote to "hype" is consumers who don't respond to it, unless you have some other more effective approach in mind (?). Go ahead and castigate the producers for using it if it makes you feel better -- but that's the only effect it will have.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:06 AM   #15
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Obviously the operative definitions of "trivial" (and "massive", which you haven't defined. ) are in the eyes of TiVo management.
Well, to a limited extent yes. That is to say, one may spin an analysis more than one way, but if the overall cost is less than the overall benefit, it's pretty much a lock. Of course, there is inherent even in that cold analysis some level of perception. If the management incorrectly perceives the potential cost to be more than it really will be, or if they fail to consider all the returns on the investment, then the analysis will be skewed. Such failures are not uncommon.

I was part of a discussion panel which included senior management and a few of us in engineering back when I still worked for the CATV company. They had huge stars in their eyes over someone's bright idea to go into large apartment complexes and install telephone switches to compete with (at the time) SBC. I told them they were nuts; they would never be able to make any money. For solid technical reasons, they simply would not be able to deliver all the services that SBC could, and I told them many customers would demand that. They countered with an argument that basically assumed 100% of the people in the complex would abandon SBC in favor of their service. Their actual penetration turned out to be less than 30%, and very few, if any, of their customers were very satisfied with the sevice.

The product never made a single penny of profit. Two years and several million dollars later, they wrote it off. I had left the company by then, so I don't know for certain how much they lost, but it would not surprise me if they failed to recover even 25% of their investment.

So the bottom line is you may be ultimately correct. Users can only hope the senior management at TiVo is a bit more enlightened than that of the CATV company. (Not a difficult task, mind you.)

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Even if the cost of the H.264 mod is only a few thousand dollars, I doubt that they would consider it a good investment compared to other uses of that resource.
Not if they suddenly had 20% of their customer base enraged by not being able to record stuff. They would also take a huge financial hit if tens of thousands of used TiVos suddenly flooded the market.

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Actually I believe you're wrong that this mod would bring them a better return (in customer relations or any other area) than the Tebow thing although, for me, the Tebow thing has absolutely zero impact.
For me, as well, which is my point. They have spent perhaps many tens of thousands of dollars on an ad campaign which has alienated a significant number of potential future customers and done nothing at all for another significant number of potential future users. At the current level of subscriber impact, it really makes little sense to spend any significant amount on supporting h.264. If it grew to nearly all channels for all subs on a significant number of large MSOs, then it is another matter.

Oh, and BTW, the code for this function would probably be essentially identical on the Premiere, so developing it for the S3 would more than likely cost almost nothing at all.

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The comparison to auto recalls is (to use your word) specious.
Not at all. The auto company discovers an issue which causes something on the vehicle not to function as designed, and they issue a recall. Whether the failure is due to an external or internal influence, or both, is not generally relevant. Of course, often the recall is issued in order to forestall expensive litigation, but it is still a financial decision, and often one made to improve customer satisfaction. Relatively small things can cause a consumer to buy someone else's product, and spending $200 per owner to encourage them to buy a $20,000 vehicle can be good business.

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The only antidote to "hype" is consumers who don't respond to it, unless you have some other more effective approach in mind (?).
No. Well, yes. Stop producing idiots who buy into hype.

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Go ahead and castigate the producers for using it if it makes you feel better -- but that's the only effect it will have.
I don't castigate the producers for bilking morons. I castigate morons for gladly allowing themselves to be bilked.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:26 AM   #16
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if Tivo doesn't want to continue to support, service and make whole their products merely three years after they were available for sale at retail locations, they should really get out of this business.

How anyone can read this any other way is bizarre.

If cable companies make it difficult for Tivo - boohoo Tivo, here's a Kleenex.
Serioulsy, Tivo just won a HUGE, multi-million dollar judgement for their intellectual property and patents, likely arguing to the courts that they couldn't support their customers otherwise.

So START SUPPORTING YOUR CUSTOMERS!

If your damn box can be software upgraded to offset what some slimey cable companies are re-engineering, then counter them.
You don't win if you don't fight, therefore, by rolling over to the cable companies, Tivo loses.

Fix the H.264 software, and show the cable companies that they are going to have to spend ALOT more money if they want to join the fray.

If customers just roll over, agree to pay expensive upgrade fees because they seriously believe that consumer electronics shouldn't last longer than three years....I feel sorry for you. Get a bloody backbone, customers.
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:27 PM   #17
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It is not a fix. It was not broken, you are asking for a new feature that was not offered (or required) when you purchased your device.

Unfortunately, this has become a common, accepted experience in the gadget world. Asking nicely may help, but in the end I would expect that tivo executives will see a much greater return looking forward and not backwards.

If I were losing this functionality, I would get a premiere and sell my old HD until while the prices are high (i.e. before this rolls out more widely). There are even those purchasing old S2s with lifetime, despite it also being swallowed up by newer technologies and requirements.
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:12 PM   #18
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if Tivo doesn't want to continue to support, service and make whole their products merely three years after they were available for sale at retail locations, they should really get out of this business.
First of all, it is not barely three years. It will be at least another two to five years before h.264 encoding is anything but very rare.

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How anyone can read this any other way is bizarre.
How many other electronics companies still support anything, let alone provide upgrades, 5 - 8 years after the introduction of the next generation product?

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If cable companies make it difficult for Tivo - boohoo Tivo, here's a Kleenex.
They are neither making it easy nor difficult for TiVo, any more than the transition to digital programming made it easy or difficult for TiVo. No one should expect TiVo to retrofit all their Series 2 units to digital, and if hardware issues really are at the core of the issue (I definitely think not), then they should not be expected to handle that situation, either. Are you demanding your TV manufacturer retrofit their system, as well? Good luck with that notion.

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Serioulsy, Tivo just won a HUGE, multi-million dollar judgement for their intellectual property and patents, likely arguing to the courts that they couldn't support their customers otherwise.
Don't be utterly foolish. The suit had nothing to do with any TiVo customers. The suit, rightfully settled in TiVo's favor, was entirely based upon the fact Echostar had built their DVRs in infringement of TiVo's patents. Any such infringement is illegal and actionable. Indeed, any failure on TiVo's part to issue a suit would very likely have resulted in their losing those rights altogether. In any case, EchoStar made billions of dollars by stealing TiVo's ideas, and the law says someone like Echostar has to either pay agreed-upon royalties to the patent owner before the fact or be forced to pay penalties to the patent owner after the fact. Such considerations are completely irrespective of any situation concerning the patent owners own customers.

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So START SUPPORTING YOUR CUSTOMERS!

If your damn box can be software upgraded to offset what some slimey cable companies are re-engineering, then counter them.
You don't win if you don't fight, therefore, by rolling over to the cable companies, Tivo loses.
Now you are just ranting senselessly. How TiVo would lose out by their customers being forced to buy a new box from them is beyond me.

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Fix the H.264 software, and show the cable companies that they are going to have to spend ALOT more money if they want to join the fray.
That is completely nonsensical. TiVo's success or failure to upgrade their older units will not cost the CATV companies a single penny.

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If customers just roll over, agree to pay expensive upgrade fees because they seriously believe that consumer electronics shouldn't last longer than three years....I feel sorry for you. Get a bloody backbone, customers.
You started out with a moderately defensible position in part, but now you have just gone off the deep end into total rubbish.
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:17 PM   #19
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It is not a fix. It was not broken, you [tvmaster2] are asking for a new feature that was not offered (or required) when you purchased your device. .........
Exactly -- and is what I said much earlier in this thread. Also, BTW, this is why lrhorer's auto recall analogy fails.
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.........You [tvmaster2] started out with a moderately defensible position in part, but now you have just gone off the deep end into total rubbish.
Correct about the "total rubbish" part. Doubtful about the "moderately defensible" part.
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Old 12-02-2012, 05:26 PM   #20
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Exactly -- and is what I said much earlier in this thread. Also, BTW, this is why lrhorer's auto recall analogy fails.
No analogy is ever perfect, and this is not a new feature from the perspective of the user. They are not benefiting directly from it, the CATV company is. The CATV company could choose to deliver the service via a compatible means (like SDV), but they do not. It is not providing any additional features to the subscriber. Now that is not TiVo's fault, but it certainly is not the subscriber's either.

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Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
Correct about the "total rubbish" part. Doubtful about the "moderately defensible" part.
Some parts of his original stance are indeed somewhat defensible. To wit, a minor software fix (like that implemented for the long defunct S1 TiVos when DST changes went into effect) can be if not exactly demanded, at least reasonably requested. That they should be expected or worse yet an entitlement is pushing it too far, but there certainly is precedent. The notion that it is indeed good for TiVo's business is also quite defensible to a point. Just because something costs money and cannot be shown to directly benefit the revenue line does not mean it is necessarily not good business. Companies that forget that - like Nortel - are doomed eventually to fail. There is a great deal more to continued profitability than just bottom line revenue, and especially more than just top line revenue. What's more, as I already pointed out, the flooding of the market with a glut of suddenly cheap TiVos would drastically impact sales of new TiVos, and nothing impacts the bottom line like a drastic slump in sales.

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Old 12-02-2012, 05:47 PM   #21
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It is not a fix.
Of course it is.

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It was not broken
It was not when the unit was purchased, but it will be whenever and to whatever extent the CATV company converts to h.264. Surely you cannot suggest that a DVR which cannot record any shows is anything but broken?

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you are asking for a new feature that was not offered (or required) when you purchased your device.
No, he isn't. He is only asking that the DVR be able to perform the basic function for which it was designed: to record shows from the CATV lineup.

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Unfortunately, this has become a common, accepted experience in the gadget world. Asking nicely may help, but in the end I would expect that tivo executives will see a much greater return looking forward and not backwards.
One can hope they have more foresight than that. Exactly what do you think would happen to sales of new DVRs if 30% of the DVRs in the country suddenly became inoperable and so were suddenly offered up on ebay, most of them bearing PLS? The answer is the prices on ebay would plummet and no one in the 70% of markets would buy a new TiVo, since perfectly good ones could be had for pennies on the dollar. Given TiVo's newly acquired financial position and their increasing penetration to the leased DVR market, it might not be ruinous for TiVo, but it would hurt a hell of a lot. Although the situation was a little different, the CATV companies rushed like a man with a full bladder to get the Tuning Adapters out the door, when they had far, far less skin in the game, comparatively speaking, than TiVo does.

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If I were losing this functionality, I would get a premiere and sell my old HD until while the prices are high (i.e. before this rolls out more widely).
So how did you miss the point about dumping large quantities of units onto the market? Do you think you are the only one who would think of this?

Just for the record, however, I would simply dump cable, and use my TiVos to watch the contents of my video library. By the time this would come about - if ever - my library will be far more than large enough to last me the rest of my lifetime.

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There are even those purchasing old S2s with lifetime, despite it also being swallowed up by newer technologies and requirements.
Yes, but that is a little different. S2s (even S1s) can be made to work with an STB or DTA. The S3 and S4 cannot. As I already pointed out, if it is not practical to deliver this for the S3, then it would also almost certainly not be practical to deliver it for the S4.
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:59 PM   #22
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Just my 0.02 cents.

If h.264 programming becomes a wide spread problem for the Series 3 platform, TiVo would make an effort to correct things, barring a hardware issue.
I can't believe they would just abandon all of those subscribers. The Tivo's basic function is to record TV. TiVo would be stupid to do that (IMO).
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:08 AM   #23
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I'll reiterate this: The software already exists. Version 11.3b3, deployed in Australia and New Zealand, supports h.264 on TiVo HD hardware. It might need some modification for the U.S., of course.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:10 AM   #24
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If h.264 programming becomes a wide spread problem for the Series 3 platform, TiVo would make an effort to correct things, barring a hardware issue.
I can't believe they would just abandon all of those subscribers. The Tivo's basic function is to record TV. TiVo would be stupid to do that (IMO).
Does anyone know what percentage of digital TiVo's in use are Series 3 models vs. newer models? Is the 30% number that lrhorer threw out correct? It will be a while (probably years) before h.264 cable encoding becomes wide spread, and the Series 3 percentage is of course decreasing all the time.
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.........Surely you cannot suggest that a DVR which cannot record any shows is anything but broken?
........ He is only asking that the DVR be able to perform the basic function for which it was designed: to record shows from the CATV lineup.
........
Sure, jrtroo and I (at least) disagree. You are really stretching the definition of "broken" here. There was a time when S2's were being sold and some CATV systems already had gone digital. By your definition an S2 purchased at that time was immediately "broken". Also if an S3 purchased in the US is taken to Australia, it would immediately be "broken". This isn't a reasonable use of "broken". Even if you accept this usage, it certainly isn't reasonable in those situations to put the onus on TiVo to "fix" it.

As someone who could be affected in the future, I would hope TiVo would make the (assumed) "small" mod for H.264 for my HD. However, given this will occur a year or more from now (if ever), I think it also would be reasonable for TiVo to just say "come on guys, time to upgrade to a newer TiVo". That does not comprise "abandoning" us. If would be nice if they would offer a significant discount on transferring lifetime in that case.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:35 AM   #25
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It would be great if tivo can and will update units for this issue (or provide some sort of good faith offering as was done with the dead Comcast Tivo). I just don't see this happening unless the issue grows significantly so that it eventually impacts their revenues.

Lets take this to the limit. What if a US cable co developed their own proprietary format for sending content to their boxes (ignore legalities for the sake of argument)? Would it be Tivo's fault that their hardware/software was incompatible? Would those boxes be considered "broken" despite their ability to preform all functions per the specs it was sold with?

While there could be a glut of these eventually available on ebay, selling now would be selling ahead of the curve. And, history shows that there was not a glut of lifetime S2s dropping their pricing to a significant extent.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:51 AM   #26
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Does anyone know what percentage of digital TiVo's in use are Series 3 models vs. newer models? Is the 30% number that lrhorer threw out correct? It will be a while (probably years) before h.264 cable encoding becomes wide spread, and the Series 3 percentage is of course decreasing all the time.
See William's response. It makes the point largely moot, but it would be Series 3 *AND* Series 4 units, not just Series 3. Developing the software for the S4 means most, if not all, of the work is also done for the S3. The 30% was a hypothetical percentage of CATV system subscribers who might be impacted, not the number of S3 subs.

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Sure, jrtroo and I (at least) disagree. You are really stretching the definition of "broken" here. There was a time when S2's were being sold and some CATV systems already had gone digital. By your definition an S2 purchased at that time was immediately "broken".
Partially, yes. They could not be used without the aid of an external box, but the point is they could still be used. They were not bricks. Had they been unable to control external devices, then they would have been bricks, and by definition broken for those subscribers.

Many older aircraft require aviation gas in order to run. The problem is, however, aviation gas is getting harder and harder to get, because petroleum refiners are shutting down av-gas facilities, and soon the last one will be gone. At that point, those planes will not fly. They will be broken, every bit as much as if they had thrown a connecting rod and bent their crankshaft. Can they be fixed? Surely. They can have their engines replaced, which is precisely what would be done with a bent crankshaft.

Don't bother to point out the manufacturers of those craft are not recalling the craft. I already asserted a hardware retrofit is a much different matter than a software update.

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Also if an S3 purchased in the US is taken to Australia, it would immediately be "broken".
Well, not entirely, but for the sake of argument, let us stipulate it to be the case. Indeed, it would be, and it would be broken by the act of moving it geographically. It is no more or less broken than it would be by removing the hard drive.

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This isn't a reasonable use of "broken".
Don't be foolish. Of course it is. "Broken" = "does not work properly". The term in no way implies how the device is malfuctioning or what caused the malfunction, merely that its is to some extent malfunctioning. A unit which is unplugged is technically broken. The fix in such a case is of course trivial.

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Even if you accept this usage, it certainly isn't reasonable in those situations to put the onus on TiVo to "fix" it.
If the actions of the user broke the TiVo, then certainly not. Far more salient is the fact 30% of all TiVos are not going to be moved by some third party to Australia, and there is a big difference between one unit failing and a large fraction of all units failing.

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As someone who could be affected in the future, I would hope TiVo would make the (assumed) "small" mod for H.264 for my HD.
It almost surely is. The THD already plays h.264 content from the hard drive very well*. All that is required is to allow an h.264 stream to be copied to the drive from the output of the CableCard. As William pointed out, this has already been done for S3 TiVos down under. Not only does this mean it is definitely trivial for TiVo to produce it for S3 TiVos here, it also means they have already undertaken that step for a market with much smaller impact than 30% or something like that of the US market.

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However, given this will occur a year or more from now (if ever), I think it also would be reasonable for TiVo to just say "come on guys, time to upgrade to a newer TiVo".
Only if they refuse to take any further MTM payments or activate service on the older models. At this point, TiVo will still activate a Series I.

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That does not comprise "abandoning" us. If would be nice if they would offer a significant discount on transferring lifetime in that case.
'Not interested. It is highly unlikely TiVo will be offering an acceptable piece of hardware at that point in time.

* - Acually, the big problem will arise if the coding of the content is not standardized across the industry.

Last edited by lrhorer : 12-03-2012 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:20 PM   #27
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It would be great if tivo can and will update units for this issue (or provide some sort of good faith offering as was done with the dead Comcast Tivo). I just don't see this happening unless the issue grows significantly so that it eventually impacts their revenues.
How did the lack of a Tuning Adapter impact the revenues of Cable Companies? As companies go, most CATV companies are far more revenue fixated than TiVo historically has been, yet they stepped up to the plate to the tune of several $million that earned them no direct revenue at all. TiVo's record holds them far more considerate than your cynicism supposes. I'm not saying they are altruistic or are not properly focused on financial considerations. It is just that financial considerations can be combined with parochial ones, and that they definitely must consider possible future impacts. Dealing with a financial impact after it has fully developed is far too late. The astute business must try to forecast to some extent the possible impacts to future revenues of decisions made right now.

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Lets take this to the limit. What if a US cable co developed their own proprietary format for sending content to their boxes (ignore legalities for the sake of argument)?
That is not the limit. The limit would be if every single CATV system suddenly switched to, say PAL. Every TV, not to mention every TiVo, in the US would suddenly be broken. Yes, broken.

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Would it be Tivo's fault that their hardware/software was incompatible?
Fault (in the sense of negligent responsibility) has nothing to do with this issue.

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Would those boxes be considered "broken" despite their ability to preform all functions per the specs it was sold with?
What else would you call them? Perfectly functional? It would be remarkable indeed if hundreds of thousands of DVRs and TVs suddenly wound up in landfills and not one of them was broken. Your persistent call for an unreasonably complex definition of the term "broken" reminds me of the old joke, "The operation was a success, but the patient died."

Enough of the semantics. Whether you want to call them "broken" or "egg salad" is irrelevant. The fact is they would be non-functional, and TiVo would be the only entity capable of making them functional again. Doing so will inevitably cost TiVo some money, and there is no question that beyond some point that amount will be unreasonable, even if not spending it were to mean TiVo would go bankrupt. At some much smaller amount, however, the potential possible impact to future revenue due to various vectors makes the expenditure a good bet. At some point below that, it is merely good business, or if you will a cost of doing business.

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While there could be a glut of these eventually available on ebay, selling now would be selling ahead of the curve.
That wasn't my point. That you might jump ship earlier than the bulk of users doesn't mean at some point it will not become a torrent.

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And, history shows that there was not a glut of lifetime S2s dropping their pricing to a significant extent.
That is a completely different situation. S2s are still functional today with a fix from the CATV company, and would be even if the CATV companies all go to 100% MPEG4. The S3 and S4 will not be, unless TiVo updates them.

Last edited by lrhorer : 12-03-2012 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:48 PM   #28
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I'm not being cynical, I'm being a realist. A cynic would be certain that Tivo would not make the code changes regardless. I'm not certain, I just believe it is unlikely knowing what we know today.

I guess "broken" will need to mean different things to different people.

Note: I don't know how dlfl feels about my arguments, but I would guess dlfl would not want credit for my post.
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:33 PM   #29
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....
I guess "broken" will need to mean different things to different people.
LOL, yes. I'll stick in the camp that doesn't consider something broken just because the power plug is not inserted, (or because an externally imposed change impairs the desired basic functionality even though the device is still performing exactly as originally designed)

I have to admit I do find a statement such as "The CATV changed their encoding and it broke my TiVo" understandable and not objectionable. However, I think it is actually not a strictly correct usage of "broke". However language does evolve and this usage may show up in dictionaries if it is used enough. Somehow I doubt if "you pulled the power plug and broke my TiVo" will ever become that popular though.
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....
Note: I don't know how dlfl feels about my arguments, but I would guess dlfl would not want credit for my post.
@lrhorer: In case it wasn't obvious, jrtroo is pointing out you incorrectly attributed numerous quotes to me in your post #22.

Is it possible we have broken this thread?
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:03 PM   #30
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I'm not being cynical, I'm being a realist. A cynic would be certain that Tivo would not make the code changes regardless. I'm not certain, I just believe it is unlikely knowing what we know today.
You really would do well to take a good course in general semantics.

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I guess "broken" will need to mean different things to different people.
So do the words "blue", "hard" and "automobile". Meanwhile, a good dictionary definition can be found here under 4a and 10, and broadly in context under 4b and 5a. No matter what, no DVR which cannot for whatever reason record any channels from its intended source can be considered properly functional.

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Note: I don't know how dlfl feels about my arguments, but I would guess dlfl would not want credit for my post.
Sorry about that. I forgot to re-load the clipboard.
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