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Old 09-19-2013, 07:57 AM   #1
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How can they justify a monthly fee on this device?

I was just looking at the Mini as a way to potentially get rid of one of my Tivos to save on the monthly fee. I was a little bit shocked to find that the Mini has it's own monthly fee. I scratch my head wondering why I pay a monthly fee for a full TiVo box but this? This is silly.
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Old 09-19-2013, 07:59 AM   #2
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Because they can.

In all seriousness, just consider the cost of the Mini to be $250 w/lifetime, monthly is a sucker's bet used by same folks that buy everything with a payment. Tivo works on the cellphone model where hardware is subsidized by the service fees.
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:06 AM   #3
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It's a $250 box (box + lifetime) that you have the option of paying under $100 for up front, but then have to pay a monthly fee.

(TiVo does have monthly costs associated with its devices, but they are quite small compared to the monthly fees. The monthly fees are much more a financing method for the large number of folks who can't or won't pay the full up-front costs of the hardware plus lifetime.)
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:42 AM   #4
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If you look at it that way every TiVo product is disturbingly overpriced. I guess I looked at the monthly fees as an agreement with TiVo that they would continue to update and add new features to the boxes I payed good money for. I'm starting to realize how misguided I was. The Premiere and HD I own are boxes of broken promises and the Roamio feels like a big "screw you" to me.
Probably time to cut the abusive cords to both TiVo and Comcast and get a Roku with Netflix.
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Old 09-19-2013, 09:53 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by DVReveler View Post
If you look at it that way every TiVo product is disturbingly overpriced. I guess I looked at the monthly fees as an agreement with TiVo that they would continue to update and add new features to the boxes I payed good money for. I'm starting to realize how misguided I was. The Premiere and HD I own are boxes of broken promises and the Roamio feels like a big "screw you" to me.
Probably time to cut the abusive cords to both TiVo and Comcast and get a Roku with Netflix.
By definition it's not really overpriced if you were willing to pay it,
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Old 09-19-2013, 10:49 AM   #6
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By definition it's not really overpriced if you were willing to pay it,
The only way something can be overpriced is if you can get the same or better item for much less money, a co. that overprices its products will be out of business quickly, my wife feels that Whole Foods is over priced so she shops at Stop & Shop, but the Whole Foods near our home does a great business so I guess a lot people don't share my wife's option. We have great country where people can make and have the chose of how they spend their money. (Look up pet rocks)
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Old 09-19-2013, 12:26 PM   #7
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Would you pay a monthly fee to rent a box from the cable co? There you go. They do it because they are competing with other products that are also paid for on a monthly basis. They also give you the option to avoid that with lifetime. What's the problem?

Why do people insist on comparing the mini to a roku? When you can get cable tv on a roku, then maybe it's a worthwhile comparison. As it stands, they serve different purposes. I have a roku. The "channels" they provide are for the most part worthless and are no comparison to cable tv. The big names like netflix are about all it's good for. If you are ok with that level of content, then by all means forget the mini and get a roku. The mini costs more because it provides greater access to better content.
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:10 PM   #8
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Would you pay a monthly fee to rent a box from the cable co?
Not if they also charged me $100 and didn't upgrade it when the technology changed.

The Mini is a streamer, a roku is a streamer. Sure, the mini streams from a Tivo. But you paid for that TiVo and you pay for service on that TiVo. Trying to bilk people for a monthly fee on a device that simply piggy backs on something you're already paying for is gross.
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Old 09-19-2013, 02:07 PM   #9
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Well that's not an option, if you want a box from the cable co. you have to pay monthly for it. If you like tivo and aren't going to switch away then lifetime is the way to go anyway. The mini is also better than a cable box, thus the $100 up front. It integrates the most valuable parts of a roku too. So for a comparable experience, you have to buy a roku at around $50, and rent a cable box. Now you are in the same ball park as a mini, except you are still paying the cable co. indefinitely, and have to deal with 2 devices, with one of them being most likely quite crappy. You did save $50 though up front... if that $50 is making or breaking the decision then yeah I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. Also a lifetime'd device will carry a good resale value. Money to the cable co. is never coming back.

Calling them both streamers is technically true, but the content available to one of these streamers is of a much higher quality and quantity, so in actual use they aren't that similar.
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Old 09-19-2013, 02:49 PM   #10
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The Mini is a streamer, a roku is a streamer. Sure, the mini streams from a Tivo. But you paid for that TiVo and you pay for service on that TiVo. Trying to bilk people for a monthly fee on a device that simply piggy backs on something you're already paying for is gross.
We've had this discussion before. Roku and TiVo have very different business models. Roku makes money via fee sharing deals it has with all the service providers who have apps on their boxes. TiVo makes money by selling their service. TiVo only considers Roku a secondary competitor. Their primary competitors are MSO DVRs like the Hopper, Genie, etc... In those cases the MSO charges a monthly fee for each box so TiVo fits right in.

You also have to consider their subscriber numbers. TiVo does not separate Mini subscriptions from real TiVo subscriptions. This allows them to bolster their subscriber numbers and appease share holders. I don't know the actual numbers but it seems like a lot of people owned multiple TiVos for viewing in different rooms. If the Mini did not have a service fee and those people all switched from multiple TiVos to a single TiVo with Mini(s) then TiVos subscriber numbers could take a serious hit which could insight a stock sell off that would kill the company. By charging a service fee, even a smaller one, they can keep their subscriber numbers up and prevent that from happening.
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Old 09-19-2013, 03:12 PM   #11
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The Mini's limitation to only 4+ tuner boxes currently limits it to a potential audience in the "tens of thousands" max. That's not enough to impress anyone or cause a stock selloff. Its impact is easily lost in the tens of thousands of retail subs they lose per quarter anyway, and the tens of thousands more per quarter gained riding Virgin's coattails.

A Tivo executive said they're charging a fee "because others are doing it" too. On the back of that iron-clad reasoning, the fee has no good reason to exist. It's effectively Tivo's version of an additional outlet fee.

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Old 09-19-2013, 03:30 PM   #12
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The Mini's limitation to only 4+ tuner boxes currently limits it to a potential audience in the "tens of thousands" max. That's not enough to impress anyone or cause a stock selloff. It's impact is easily lost in the tens of thousands of retail subs they lose per quarter anyway, and the tens of thousands more per quarter gained riding Virgin's coattails.

A Tivo executive said they're charging a fee "because others are doing it" too. On the back of that iron-clad reasoning, the fee has no good reason to exist. It's effectively Tivo's version of an additional outlet fee.
The mini should probably be the same price as a Ceton Echo without any other fees attached. They are basically the same thing. Neither box works without a main box and neither has a guide available without being tied to the main box.

I always find it quite funny when people use the argument that since Company A (in this case the cablecos) are screwing you, it's OK for Company B (in this case Tivo) to screw you. The only people who should find this scenario acceptable are people who work for Tivo.
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Old 09-19-2013, 03:39 PM   #13
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The Mini's limitation to only 4+ tuner boxes currently limits it to a potential audience in the "tens of thousands" max. That's not enough to impress anyone or cause a stock selloff.
I'm referring to people switching from having 2-3 TiVos to having a single 4-6 tuner unit and replacing the others with Minis. In a scenario like that a single person would go from being 3 subscriptions to 1 if the Mini did not have a service fee. Even if only a small percentage of users did that it could be a large drop in subscribers in a single quarter and could rattle confidence in the company.
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Old 09-19-2013, 03:44 PM   #14
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I always find it quite funny when people use the argument that since Company A (in this case the cablecos) are screwing you, it's OK for Company B (in this case Tivo) to screw you. The only people who should find this scenario acceptable are people who work for Tivo.
This is a tivo board right? If you feel they are screwing you then what else is there to discuss? Buy something else or buy nothing if that's what you prefer. The fact is tivo offers a solution that no one else does. Some think it's worth it, some don't. Life goes on! If you can offer something better to save the people from being screwed, please let us know.
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Old 09-19-2013, 03:52 PM   #15
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I'm referring to people switching from having 2-3 TiVos to having a single 4-6 tuner unit and replacing the others with Minis. In a scenario like that a single person would go from being 3 subscriptions to 1 if the Mini did not have a service fee. Even if only a small percentage of users did that it could be a large drop in subscribers in a single quarter and could rattle confidence in the company.
Very few people have 2-3 Tivos, and relatively few have a 4+ tuner box to accommodate the Mini in the first place. The difference still gets easily lost in the predictable sub results.
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Old 09-19-2013, 03:55 PM   #16
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I always find it quite funny when people use the argument that since Company A (in this case the cablecos) are screwing you, it's OK for Company B (in this case Tivo) to screw you. The only people who should find this scenario acceptable are people who work for Tivo.
Nonsense. How is TiVo screwing you? TiVo as a company does not make a profit, and has basically never made a profit (except for patent litigation). The income from services is not enough to pay for the hardware subsidies, the R&D, the customer support, the guide costs, and all the other overhead of any company.

The market does not allow TiVo to charge enough money for its machines and services. You seem to feel that Tivo's prices are too high for you - that's a fine, legitimate opinion. But to say they are screwing their customers when they are not even making money off of them overall is ridiculous.
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Old 09-19-2013, 04:19 PM   #17
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Very few people have 2-3 Tivos, and relatively few have a 4+ tuner box to accommodate the Mini in the first place. The difference still gets easily lost in the predictable sub results.
How do you know? AFAIK TiVo doesn't release those sorts of numbers. I bet if you took a poll on this forum the majority of people have 2+ TiVos. And the few people I personally know who own TiVos all have more then one. I'm betting a good percentage of TiVos subscriptions are from second units in a household that already owns a TiVo.

Also I wasn't talking about people who already have a 4+ tuner box. I was talking about people replacing multiple 2 tuner boxes with a 4+ tuner box and Mini(s).
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:16 PM   #18
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How do you know? AFAIK TiVo doesn't release those sorts of numbers. I bet if you took a poll on this forum the majority of people have 2+ TiVos. And the few people I personally know who own TiVos all have more then one. I'm betting a good percentage of TiVos subscriptions are from second units in a household that already owns a TiVo.

Also I wasn't talking about people who already have a 4+ tuner box. I was talking about people replacing multiple 2 tuner boxes with a 4+ tuner box and Mini(s).
The math of the national average says IF a household has a DVR, chances are it's only 1. We all know a TCF poll would be skewed.

I'm just saying Tivo's retail subs would continue to shrink anyway. We've been able to set our watches to them losing roughly 20K a quarter. I know it was posited here that the fee is intended to pad their sub count, but my point is padding the sub count is only a minor perk, if it will be tangible at all. We have an executive basically admitting it's a simple profit motive. So that is the primary motive I'm going with.

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Old 09-19-2013, 07:12 PM   #19
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How do you know? AFAIK TiVo doesn't release those sorts of numbers. I bet if you took a poll on this forum the majority of people have 2+ TiVos. And the few people I personally know who own TiVos all have more then one. I'm betting a good percentage of TiVos subscriptions are from second units in a household that already owns a TiVo.

Also I wasn't talking about people who already have a 4+ tuner box. I was talking about people replacing multiple 2 tuner boxes with a 4+ tuner box and Mini(s).
It's fairly well known that the average cable TV consume averages 2.5 TVs. Tom Rutledge of Charter acknowledged this number in a recent BAML Media Conference. Before the TiVo Mini, the cost of multiple TiVo's made it extremely expensive for the average TiVo user to have 2.5 TiVo's. With the Mini, I believe the economics have changed. I suspect that we will see the average TiVo user trending towards one Roamio and two Mini's. I also suspect that we will see a turnaround in TiVo subs due to this trend and we will actually see retail subscriber growth in TiVo's Q4 (Jan 31, 2014). We will start to see this trend in TiVo's Q3 which ends Oct 31, 2013.
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Old 09-19-2013, 07:13 PM   #20
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Trying to bilk people for a monthly fee on a device that simply piggy backs on something you're already paying for is gross.
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I always find it quite funny when people use the argument that since Company A (in this case the cablecos) are screwing you, it's OK for Company B (in this case Tivo) to screw you. The only people who should find this scenario acceptable are people who work for Tivo.
Nothing gets the attention of a company like losing sales. If you don't like the price, don't buy it. Whining and debating the merits of TiVo's sales model here accomplishes nothing and is the electronic equivalent of a four year old throwing a tantrum in the middle of a grocery store aisle when mummy wont buy them gummie bears.
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Old 09-19-2013, 07:56 PM   #21
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I have a P2. PXL4, and 2 Minis, and a mothballed S2. I bought both P a year ago. I just recently discovered the Minis. I bought 1 right off the bat to put in my office. There was no way I was going to have a full fledged box there, so the Mini fit right in. Then after I cleaned out my basement and restarted working on my model trains after over a year not touching them, I bought the second Mini. There again I could not justify a full fledge box, so the Mini fit right in. There's just me in the house. I had a cable DVR for about 3 months and could live with it. I had to have my TIVOs!!

So yes, there are multiple boxes in a house ...
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:34 PM   #22
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my 2 cents

I balked at the 250 price myself originally, and even if you are buying it elsewhere for less $$, when you add the lifetime though Tivo, you'll be paying sales tax on top of that. I would have been happier if the Mini + Lifetime was 200.

I got myself too excited about getting a Mini after being so impressed with the Roamio. I decided to just say "**** it" and buy it. I got the Mini from B&H for 86 bucks, plus the Lifetime for 160.50 after tax for total of $246.50.

Part of my decision was a good look at my Cablevision bill, which after some math I determined that I am paying $9.08 for the basic HD box in my bedroom. Cost breakdown:
6.95 - box rental
1.50 - additional outlet
0.63 - sales tax on the box rental

This means that it is paid for within 28 months considering the per month savings on my cable bill. If you want to consider monthly 9.08 - 6.41 (Mini monthly + nj tax) = 2.67. Using the balance to divide into $100 cost of the Mini, it would take 38 months to pay for itself. Lifetime is clearly a better deal.
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Old 09-19-2013, 09:00 PM   #23
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The Premiere and HD I own are boxes of broken promises and the Roamio feels like a big "screw you" to me.
Probably time to cut the abusive cords to both TiVo and Comcast and get a Roku with Netflix.
I continue to get my money's worth from my S3 and Elite. No broken promises. And I just spent the bucks on a Roamio Pro and a Mini. And I don't feel screwed, I love it!

As soon as I can watch Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and a million other shows as they air, I'll cut the cord.
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Old 09-19-2013, 09:13 PM   #24
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Just purchased two Minis for $75/ea + actual shipping costs & no tax from this dealer.

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=507825

Will add lifetime on both of them after receipt.
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Old 09-19-2013, 09:53 PM   #25
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Nonsense. How is TiVo screwing you? TiVo as a company does not make a profit, and has basically never made a profit (except for patent litigation). The income from services is not enough to pay for the hardware subsidies, the R&D, the customer support, the guide costs, and all the other overhead of any company.

The market does not allow TiVo to charge enough money for its machines and services. You seem to feel that Tivo's prices are too high for you - that's a fine, legitimate opinion. But to say they are screwing their customers when they are not even making money off of them overall is ridiculous.
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This is a tivo board right? If you feel they are screwing you then what else is there to discuss? Buy something else or buy nothing if that's what you prefer. The fact is tivo offers a solution that no one else does. Some think it's worth it, some don't. Life goes on! If you can offer something better to save the people from being screwed, please let us know.
I'm not getting screwed by Tivo because I don't have a Mini.

When you add up what one of their dvrs cost with the lifetime sub, they're charging a fair price. But, while I don't think the Mini w/lifetime should cost the same as a Roku player, I do feel it should be more in line with the Echo. So Tivo is probably charging $75 too much. At that price Tivo really doesn't need to charge one price for the unit and then an additional charge for the guide. Just sell it at $175 and call it a day. Tivo could even say that the Mini comes automatically with a lifetime sub, so they can keep their investors happy.

Oh, unless a mod tells me that I'm out of line, I'll keep posting my thoughts, regardless of this being a Tivo forum or not. Since I have two Tivo's myself, I am interested in this forum.

OH, and if Tivo is paying a fee for guide service on Mini's, a machine that uses the already paid for guide service of another machine, then no wonder they have a hard time making money.
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Old 09-19-2013, 10:11 PM   #26
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I'm not getting screwed by Tivo because I don't have a Mini.

When you add up what one of their dvrs cost with the lifetime sub, they're charging a fair price. But, while I don't think the Mini w/lifetime should cost the same as a Roku player, I do feel it should be more in line with the Echo. So Tivo is probably charging $75 too much. At that price Tivo really doesn't need to charge one price for the unit and then an additional charge for the guide. Just sell it at $175 and call it a day. Tivo could even say that the Mini comes automatically with a lifetime sub, so they can keep their investors happy.

Oh, unless a mod tells me that I'm out of line, I'll keep posting my thoughts, regardless of this being a Tivo forum or not. Since I have two Tivo's myself, I am interested in this forum.
When you are the head of TiVo marketing department you could make your suggestions on how to sell the Mini, you also have the right to say it too much money, to me $250 works as I have one less cable card cost, and one less hard drive that could go bad, and it takes up much less space, and uses less power (OK that only saves me about $15/year). I would have paid $300 for the Mini, when TiVo stopped Lifetime service as an option some years ago people who had purchased lifetime cards from Best Buy were selling them on E-Bay, some went for as much as $790 !, way more than I would have paid. TiVo is having a hard time making money, the TiVo shareholders are not getting rich on their stock, it is possible that if TiVo cut its price of its products (and Lifetime service) by 20% their sales would double, and they would make more money, but I don't think so. There is no correct answer as what TiVo should price their products at, so if you think it is not a good deal don't purchase, no more can be said.
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:24 AM   #27
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Would you pay a monthly fee to rent a box from the cable co? There you go. They do it because they are competing with other products that are also paid for on a monthly basis. They also give you the option to avoid that with lifetime. What's the problem?

Why do people insist on comparing the mini to a roku? When you can get cable tv on a roku, then maybe it's a worthwhile comparison. As it stands, they serve different purposes. I have a roku. The "channels" they provide are for the most part worthless and are no comparison to cable tv. The big names like netflix are about all it's good for. If you are ok with that level of content, then by all means forget the mini and get a roku. The mini costs more because it provides greater access to better content.
I would say it provides greater access to MSO delivered content - nothing else. Yes, that is sure a big deal at this point. However, for other content, such as Hulu, Amazon, etc - Tivo is probably the worst platform and the mini is non-existent.

Bottom line is that it is a very different device. I would also agree that it is overpriced, and Tivo is putting themselves in very very dangerous territory. At whatever point in time that MSO delivered content becomes 50% or less (as compared to sources such as IP delivered content, Hulu, etc) then Tivo is in really really serious trouble. They have consistently demonstrated that they are inferior in that area.
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:32 AM   #28
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A few things to remember here.

First, Tivo can (and does) obviously do what they want. It's their company. We're the customers, however IMHO Tivo has become less and less attuned to customer expectations and more and more struggling to find a short term model that will slow the bleeding from a cash perspective.

Second, The Tivo vs Cableco argument and the rent/lease vs lifetime will never bee resolved. Truth is that there are way too many variables here, and way too many different experiences. I've personally never had a Fios DVR fail - period. And, I pay zero for mine. For Lifetime. OTOH, just about every single Tivo product I've had has failed and required replacement. Some have been replaced for free, others not. Clearly, the ability to return and exchange is far superior for the cableco model. OTOH, if NOTHING goes wrong, then the Tivo model (assuming you're willing to commit a large sum up front) works out to be cheaper over the long haul.

As for broken promises, I would absolutely say that Tivo has broken the bank there. Or, I guess maybe not, because they "allude" to things they'll deliver, rarely commit to details or a date, and then often simply don't do it. Just my experience.

When (I'm certain it's not if) it becomes yet easier to cut the cord, Tivo will be but a memory for me. Only the cablecard requirement makes them relevant for me at this point. The Mini works reasonably well, though considering it demands a cablecard and tuner from another Tivo, I certainly believe the cost is a ripoff. I paid it due to poor judgement. I'm not sure that I would do it again. Hard to say.
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:40 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by wmhjr View Post
I would say it provides greater access to MSO delivered content - nothing else. Yes, that is sure a big deal at this point. However, for other content, such as Hulu, Amazon, etc - Tivo is probably the worst platform and the mini is non-existent.

Bottom line is that it is a very different device. I would also agree that it is overpriced, and Tivo is putting themselves in very very dangerous territory. At whatever point in time that MSO delivered content becomes 50% or less (as compared to sources such as IP delivered content, Hulu, etc) then Tivo is in really really serious trouble. They have consistently demonstrated that they are inferior in that area.
Nothing else, true, but right now that is the vast majority of quality content. I agree on the premiere the apps were poor but on the roamio they are much better, close enough to roku for me anyway. Not sure why you say the mini's apps are non-existent. The only one that doesn't work is amazon, which personally I don't use often. Paying per episode seems like a potentially expensive model that I'm not interested in, I'd rather just pay my $60/mo for cable tv and record whatever I like. And even comcast on demand works for me, both on the roamio and mini. So tivo is a good fit, for me. And now with the dial support? That is a sweet feature. Others do it but then you gotta switch inputs, it's just not as slick. And this works with minis too.

I agree that everyone's experience will be different, and different factors can sweeten or sour one side to the point that those factors are making the decision. I was always stuck with horrible comcast dvrs. The fios dvrs sound much better, but I can't get fios, so that's out. I have most content unrestricted and the tivo makes it really easy to transfer stuff to tablets. This is a big feature to me and my family, and the other dvrs either don't do it at all, or as well. Again, tivo fits, for me. Maybe that makes me more easily dismiss some other problems that could be deal breakers for others, but that goes both ways.

I don't like the price of most things but does that mean they are overpriced? Usually that's determined by the market, but in this case there isn't much of one. There isn't anything else that does what it does. The echo is close but I don't think I can use it with a tivo, and I already tried the htpc route, didn't like it.

So if we are comparing to the echo or or a roku, basically we are arguing about $50-75 here. In the scheme of things it's not that much. I'll pay it to get the setup I want because it's the best fit for me, I can't really get a better arrangement than I have now. For a long time I've wanted to get all cable devices off my bill and just use the 1 free cable card I'm allowed - finally I'm there! Extra cable cards or devices are spendy in my area - again, the tivo fits, for me. For others it's not as good a fit so that extra cash is the straw that made the camel look at something else.

Overpriced for some. Just what I've been waiting for, for others.

Now if you wanna know what's overpriced - IMO - apple products and wireless service from the big 4. But I say that not just because I think they are too expensive, but because other options exist that provide the same features, for much less money. Speaking of getting screwed, have you seen apple's profit margins? YMMV

Last edited by swerver : 09-20-2013 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:52 AM   #30
wmhjr
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Well, let's put it this way.

Amazon is a big deal for many, including the total lack of Amazon prime capability for Tivo. I can't speak for the Roamio apps- because I don't have one, and probably never will. With 2 XL4s, a Premiere and 2 minis, I'm done spending on Tivo for as long as I can possibly go. I had HDs, and upgraded to Premieres in hopes of finally fixing some problems and getting MRV working. I'm not going to subsidize further Tivo R&D when much of what I have already both does not transfer, and does not work properly. It's good enough to keep only because it's paid for, and the alternative is not strong enough to displace it.

I look forward to not having to pay for MSO delivered content. That day is not very soon, but it is getting closer and closer. Where a few years ago I still questioned the likelihood of it happening, I no longer do - and think it's just a matter of time at this point. But that's just a guess.

The minis that I have are simply "OK". For VZ, video on demand does not exist with Tivo. We'll just have to disagree.

As I write this, I'm STILL waiting for some "promised" support on a long standing and still occurring set of issues...... By long standing, I mean being measured in years - not days, weeks or months.
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