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Old 09-26-2013, 11:28 AM   #1
socrplyr
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Discount due to Fios MPEG4 (rant)

Alright, so I am a bit frustrated at Tivo here. Let me know if you think I am out of place in my thinking.

First off, I have a TivoHD and I now can't get some channels on Fios due to the MPEG4 changes. The first part of my frustration with Tivo comes with the fact that the TivoHD supports MPEG4 (as shown by the Australian Tivo and Netflix), so this is pure "planned obsolescence." It had been known for years that the cable companies were going to move to MPEG4.

That said, I called up Tivo a week ago and they offer me a deal that was apparently offered a while back. $50 off a Premiere 4 and $200 off lifetime service for it ($498 total). This is of course not a deal, since MSD wise I already get $100 off and the box is easily found at >$80 off. More specifically, an example would be Tivo selling them through Woot for $149 with an included Stream. With MSD that would be $548 total with the included stream. So really, Tivo wasn't offering me anything special (and in some ways a worse deal). The deal offer gets more offensive when you think about the fact that the Premiere is now an obsolete product to Tivo. They are trying to get me to spend $500 on an outdated product, that I have no idea if the core functionality will be broken tomorrow on.

Now, I fully believe that they should offer me something special. They chose to make the box obsolete ahead of its "lifetime." Really, I think I should get a free lifetime on the replacement box as a consolation for the fact that they "broke" it intentionally. (Maybe a bit harsh in words, but they could have easily provided the functionality.)

So I call them back today. I explain how I feel that they have wronged me by knowingly not implementing something they new would be used in the near future. Then I said that I don't want an already out of date box (Premiere). Could they just provide the $200 discount on a box that I am less likely to fall prey to the same issues in the next couple of years (Roamio)? After waiting for 15 or so minutes on the phone for the rep to talk to a supervisor. The answer is NO (no offer of any kind). Basically, Tivo's failure is my loss. I guess I didn't expect much, but this new Tivo would be my 5th. I didn't think I was asking for too much.

Sad thing is I am perfectly happy with my TivoHD, I don't need to upgrade. However, if I am forced to upgrade, I am not going to spend my money on something that is already out of date.

Done. Alright, frustration vented.
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:53 AM   #2
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The TiVo HD was replaced by the Premiere in March of 2010. No cable company in the US was broadcasting H.264 until late 2011, long after TiVo had stopped developing for the S3 platform. It wasn't "planned obsolescence" it was a simple fact that there was no way to test H.264 support in the US until long after the platform was obsolete. Do you expect them to support the platform forever?

You can probably sell your HD for about $250. You should do that and pick up a new Roamio to replace it. You can get a 4 tuner Roamio with lifetime for $600. I absolutely would not recommend getting the Premiere. The Roamio is well worth the extra $100.
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:06 PM   #3
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Dan you are wrong

If the TivoHD was discontinued 3/2010, Tivo is obligated to update and support it for 3 years. Well into H.264/mpeg4 distribution dates.

On top of that, the item is not considered obsolete as long as they take subscription money for services, which they still do or sell extended warranties, which they did through 3/2010.

The point you make is further weakened by the fact that they just did a software upgrade (11.0m), to fix certificate problems, so the notion that they cannot upgrade these boxes falls apart.

On top of this, it has been stated that the TivoHD is capable of Mpeg4/H.264 use with only a minor software change now!
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philhu View Post
If the TivoHD was discontinued 3/2010, Tivo is obligated to update and support it for 3 years. Well into H.264/mpeg4 distribution dates.
The 3-year period you mentioned expired in 3/2013 so it sounds to me like they met the criteria.
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:21 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by socrplyr View Post
Now, I fully believe that they should offer me something special.
Ah, the age of entitlement!

FIOS changed their system and you want Tivo to give you free/discounted stuff. Makes sense.
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:24 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dan203 View Post
The TiVo HD was replaced by the Premiere in March of 2010. No cable company in the US was broadcasting H.264 until late 2011, long after TiVo had stopped developing for the S3 platform. It wasn't "planned obsolescence" it was a simple fact that there was no way to test H.264 support in the US until long after the platform was obsolete. Do you expect them to support the platform forever?
Yes, you are correct. But also look at when those cable companies started replacing their boxes with ones that could handle MPEG4. MPEG4 didn't come out of the blue in 2011. It was a known expectation for years. Tivo made a conscious decision not implement it. Thus, planned obsolescence.

I do not expect them to support it forever. I do expect them to have at least extended support for say 5 years after I purchase. I do not expect them to add new features, but I expect them to keep core features working. In this particular case, they could have easily implemented H.264. In the extended support time, they make minor tweaks to it for any minor variations that occurred. As a point of reference, the last (semi-)regular update was 11.0k (I think March 2011).

Maybe I expect too much. However, I view the fact that Tivo tried to offer a deal in the first place as an admission of some sense of culpability.

Maybe I should or shouldn't get some special deal. I don't know. I am frustrated by the situation, so I ranted. I will get over it (someday anyways).

Quote:
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You can probably sell your HD for about $250. You should do that and pick up a new Roamio to replace it. You can get a 4 tuner Roamio with lifetime for $600. I absolutely would not recommend getting the Premiere. The Roamio is well worth the extra $100.
I agree. For my Tivo HD, I think $250 might be pushing it. (No wireless or add ons etc. and I never upgraded the drive.) I will definitely recoup a decent amount that way. However, I was looking at it from the perspective that if it supported H.264, I would be spending $0 right now. I am not even considering the Premiere at this point (even at the elevated costs of the Roamio).

One thing that I just remembered that is interesting. Tivo made a conscious decision to do service as an add-on fee. In their pricing, it is always listed out the same. But when they run deals or give special offers, they differentiate based on the hardware. (Examples: In this case the $200 discount applies only to the Premiere. In many cases the $99 deals on older units do this as well.) Just interesting.
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:24 PM   #7
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My opinion is TiVo should either fix the issue or offer people negatively affected a real discount on a Roamio with lifetime (like $500 total).
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:29 PM   #8
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Ah, the age of entitlement!

FIOS changed their system and you want Tivo to give you free/discounted stuff. Makes sense.
Call it what you will. I feel like they didn't properly support their product. I call them on it and they don't offer anything meaningful. Part of me thinks they should give me a whole lifetime for free. I asked for a pittance compared to the money I have spent with them over the years. It isn't unreasonable. You ignore the fact that Tivo knew cable operators were going to do this well in advance. If it makes you feel any better, I had Cox before. They have had H.264 channels for longer. I ignored the issue at that time, because they were being broadcast a a frequency higher than the Tivo could physically tune.
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:34 PM   #9
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My opinion is TiVo should either fix the issue or offer people negatively affected a real discount on a Roamio with lifetime (like $500 total).
I would be happy if they fixed it. That is actually my preferred option.

Your suggestion of $500 total, is in effect, exactly what I asked for.
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:40 PM   #10
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Mr. Unnatural......They did NOt do their obligation. Mpeg4 came out well within the 3yr obligation for support. and Tivo chose not to update their systems, even though the HARDWARE could support h.264 (and does for netflix, etc). That forced obsolescence of the product.

Back in 2010, everyone knew cable companies were going to H.265 to save space on the cable. It wasn't 'out of the blue'
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:43 PM   #11
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You were offered something special, just not special enough by your own measurement. it stinks when technology passes you by, but it happens to nearly everything at some point.

When was the move to H.264 officially the new standard for all cablecos? Was it even certain that it would be used, or widely adopted over other standards? What actual proof did tivo have when the box was still being actively updated that this was a "known expectation" and would take place?

I'm also wondering where the three year obligation is? I would assume that support and updates may be more narrowly defined than some would hope.
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:47 PM   #12
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You were offered something special, just not special enough by your own measurement. it stinks when technology passes you by, but it happens to nearly everything at some point.

When was the move to H.264 officially the new standard for all cablecos? Was it even certain that it would be used, or widely adopted over other standards? What actual proof did tivo have when the box was still being actively updated that this was a "known expectation" and would take place?

I'm also wondering where the three year obligation is? I would assume that support and updates may be more narrowly defined than some would hope.
The Mpeg4/h.264 was being implemented in test in 2010 and even earlier on Satellite boxes.

The 3 year implied compatability of a software/hardware project is a well know amount of time in the industry. It is the default used for products that can be updated.

If the tivoHD could not do mpeg4/h.264 due to hardware constraints, then it doesn't apply. But the box CAN do it, CAN be updated to do it using software
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:56 PM   #13
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Dan you are wrong

If the TivoHD was discontinued 3/2010, Tivo is obligated to update and support it for 3 years. Well into H.264/mpeg4 distribution dates.
Where are you pulling that number from? Who says they are obligated to update it for 3 years? That's ridiculous! They're not obligated to update it at all, let alone for 3 years after the product was discontinued. That being said the S3 platform was released in 2006, and the final software release was in early 2011, so they updated the platform for almost 5 years.

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The point you make is further weakened by the fact that they just did a software upgrade (11.0m), to fix certificate problems, so the notion that they cannot upgrade these boxes falls apart.
The 11.0m software does NOTHING but update the certificate. They did not have to beta test that or dedicate any significant amount of engineering to it. Updating the S3 platform to support H.264 would require a full beta cycle and a significant portion of their engineering staff to accomplish. That is an apples and oranges comparison.
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Old 09-26-2013, 01:01 PM   #14
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The Mpeg4/h.264 was being implemented in test in 2010 and even earlier on Satellite boxes.
TiVo is not in the industry. They don't have access to early testing like that. They do beta tests by recruiting employees and volunteers to try out software at home. So there is no way they could have tested H.264 until it was released in the wild, which didn't happen until late 2011. And even then I think it was a half dozen channels on one provider. Even now, in late 2013, there are only 2-3 providers using H.264 and only on a few channels. FIOS just happens to be the biggest adopter.

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The 3 year implied compatability of a software/hardware project is a well know amount of time in the industry. It is the default used for products that can be updated.
Until September of last year Apple was still selling the iPhone 3Gs as a new product and yet it's not supported by the new iOS7 upgrade.
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Old 09-26-2013, 01:09 PM   #15
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You were offered something special, just not special enough by your own measurement. it stinks when technology passes you by, but it happens to nearly everything at some point.
Maybe you are right there.
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Old 09-26-2013, 01:10 PM   #16
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Until September of last year Apple was still selling the iPhone 3Gs as a new product and yet it's not supported by the new iOS7 upgrade.
Not exactly the same. IOS6 still functions for all core functionality. Phone, internet, etc.
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Old 09-26-2013, 01:15 PM   #17
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Where are you pulling that number from? Who says they are obligated to update it for 3 years? That's ridiculous! They're not obligated to update it at all, let alone for 3 years after the product was discontinued. That being said the S3 platform was released in 2006, and the final software release was in early 2011, so they updated the platform for almost 5 years.
Not true. They updated it for 5 years WHILE they still sold it. There is a merchantability and fitness clause in the Consumer Fair Trade act that requires a company that sells a product to support it 'in all ways possible' for 3 years after sales complete.

They could have done a reduced purchase blanket price. They could have upgraded the software to handle it. They could have done a buyback for a newer Tivo, but they just cannot stop supporting a device WHEN THEY STILL TAKE subscriptions on the device. That would be like the cable company changing encryption on their cable and saying you need to buy a new cable box to get the new encryption.


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The 11.0m software does NOTHING but update the certificate. They did not have to beta test that or dedicate any significant amount of engineering to it. Updating the S3 platform to support H.264 would require a full beta cycle and a significant portion of their engineering staff to accomplish. That is an apples and oranges comparison.
No it is not. It shows the upgrade paths available still existed. Nothing about the upgrade itself, just that the path to DO AN UPGRADE did exist.

And yes, a beta cycle would have been needed. It is called 'cost of doing business'

I do agree Tivo was not in the industry and could not get betas to test against, but I do remember that back then, everyone knew it was going that way.
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Old 09-26-2013, 01:17 PM   #18
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When was the move to H.264 officially the new standard for all cablecos? Was it even certain that it would be used, or widely adopted over other standards? What actual proof did tivo have when the box was still being actively updated that this was a "known expectation" and would take place?
I did a web search for "H.264 cable box 2009"

One of the first results dated Apr 01 2009:
http://www.multichannel.com/technolo...ome-dvr/124780
Quote:
Cisco's Explorer 8600s features dual tuners with hard disk drive storage ranging from 160 to 500 Gigabytes. The boxes also support tru2way, 1-GHz tuning, an MPEG-4 (H.264) codec and optional Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) support.
Sure sounds pretty definite, since Cisco was advertising it.
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Old 09-26-2013, 01:26 PM   #19
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There is a merchantability and fitness clause in the Consumer Fair Trade act that requires a company that sells a product to support it 'in all ways possible' for 3 years after sales complete.
Citation, please. I've never seen any provision stating this.
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Old 09-26-2013, 01:46 PM   #20
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Not exactly the same. IOS6 still functions for all core functionality. Phone, internet, etc.
And a TiVo HD still functions for what it was sold for. It was NEVER advertised as supporting H.264/MPEG-4 and as such they have no obligation to support it. The fact that the hardware technically supports it is irrelevant. The only reason the hardware even does is because they wanted to support OOT apps like Netflix, Amazon, etc... They had no intention of supporting H.264 broadcasts back in 2006 because no one was even considering it back then. The fact that they were able to support H.264 broadcasts using the same basic hardware in New Zealand is again irrelevant. The AUS/NZ unit is different, so the software would still need to be tweaked and retested here in the US, and they simply have no incentive to do so.

Honestly I don't understand why someone like yourself, who obviously likes technology, would be OK with using hardware from 2006 anyway. There are so many reasons to upgrade to a Roamio other then just H.264 support. It's well worth it.
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Old 09-26-2013, 01:53 PM   #21
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A lot of people bought analog TVs within 3 years of the digital rollout. I promise you, no TV manufacturer gave them their money back or a discount on a new TV. The government offered a discount on a converter box... that's it.

This is how technology works. Some people haven't been touched by this (*waves*) some people have.

Expecting that a 200-300 dollars piece of technology will support all standards forever is naivety at the best and a gross case of the "gimmes" at the worst.

I bought a Sprint cell phone that was supposedly 4G and before 4G came to my town, they canceled the entire WiMax rollout and switched to LTE. The 4G feature of my phone never happened. They had no obligation, moral, ethical or economic, to do anything about that.

Anyone buy a PS3 in the last 3 years? Guess what? PS4 games don't run on it. Is that planned obsolescence? It literally is.

If you don't like these kinds of situations, I suggest you don't ever buy any technology ever.
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Old 09-26-2013, 01:55 PM   #22
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From the UCC (Universal Commercial Code act)

It is the merchantability and fitness clauses.

I did mis-speak.

The 3 year parts are part of Massachusetts consumer law

And, no, they were not within their fitness for use. They IMPLIED that they can received 'all' subscribed channels with a cable card. The could not and can never support H.264 channels, even though they did start to appear BEFORE the TivoHD was phased out. I had 2 H.264 channels on comcast in 12/2009. (HBO-HD DISCOVERY SCIENCE-HD). I had a tivoHD at the time and got a cablebox from Comcast for Video on demand and to watch these 2 channels
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Old 09-26-2013, 02:06 PM   #23
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And, no, they were not within their fitness for use. They IMPLIED that they can received 'all' subscribed channels with a cable card.
There were millions of CableCARD ready TVs sold back then as well, that also did not have the hardware to support H.264. In fact I remember there being a bit of a debate as to whether it would even be legal for cable companies to deploy H.264 channels. But then when Time Warner proved that they could get away with basically anything with the whole SDV rollout that opened the flood gates.
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Old 09-26-2013, 02:06 PM   #24
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Sure sounds pretty definite, since Cisco was advertising it.
While interesting that this was offered, this does not show the market accepted it as a standard or that the market was shifting to this as a wide-spread move. That product is a "build it, they will come".
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Old 09-26-2013, 02:17 PM   #25
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Cisco also offers a CableCARD that supports 8 tuners. However the current industry standard is still 6 and according to the FCC the providers are only required to support 4 unless they offer a 6 tuner DVR of their own for rent. So just because Cisco makes something doesn't mean it's a standard.
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Old 09-26-2013, 02:18 PM   #26
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There were millions of CableCARD ready TVs sold back then as well, that also did not have the hardware to support H.264. In fact I remember there being a bit of a debate as to whether it would even be legal for cable companies to deploy H.264 channels. But then when Time Warner proved that they could get away with basically anything with the whole SDV rollout that opened the flood gates.
I will give you this one. I do remember the H.264 rollout problems with uncompatible cable boxes. No one got in trouble for that one.
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Old 09-26-2013, 02:37 PM   #27
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While interesting that this was offered, this does not show the market accepted it as a standard or that the market was shifting to this as a wide-spread move. That product is a "build it, they will come".
Alright, I couldn't find the direct OpenCable thing, but this article about a testing framework from April 2008 is pretty damning.
http://www.sri.com/newsroom/press-re...eams-opencable
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Sarnoff Corporation today announced the public launch of the new OpenCable H.264/AVC Suite, a cable version of its video decoder testing suite that provides real-time and automated compliance testing of next-generation H.264/AVC digital video decoders in digital/high definition television (DTV/HDTV) receivers and cable converters.
Used by CableLabs® to test decoders for Host 2.1 Compliance, the H.264/AVC Suite features accelerated validation and patent-pending visibility enhancements that make errors obvious even with filtering or post-processing. Tests are completed in minutes rather than the hours or days needed by traditional methods. - See more at: http://www.sri.com/newsroom/press-re....RaXM7y8e.dpuf
This also refutes those who suggested Tivo didn't have a way to test it ahead of time. It also shows that for Host 2.1 compliance it was needed.
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Old 09-26-2013, 02:47 PM   #28
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Who's to say they didn't test it and it failed? The S3 platform was developed back in 2005. You're basing your assumption that it could support H.264 via a software update on the fact that the Aus/NZ TiVos support it and are based on the same platform. However the S3 OLED units and the TiVo HD units are based on the same platform and yet the HD units support M cards and the OLED units do not. My point is there could have been a minor hardware tweak in the Aus/NZ units that allows it to do something the S3/HD units can not. We don't really know why TiVo chose not to add support for H.264 to the S3 platform. I'm making just as many assumptions as you are in that regard. I assume it's because the time it was needed the S3 platform had long since been replaced. You assume it's because of "planned obsolescence". We could both be wrong and it could actually be that it's impossible due to hardware constraints.
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Old 09-26-2013, 02:54 PM   #29
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I have said for a while that I think TiVo should bite the bullet and update the software to support h.264 on the S3 models.

With that said - expecting some dramatic discount on a Roamio isn't reasonable and seems more then just a little self serving. If they were to do that, then I would be all in with my two S3 units. I might even try to drag the S2 unit out of the closet and upgrade it as well! No, that option would put TiVo out of business in a minute!!!

However, the h.264 does hurt the secondary market on TiVo's and I do think that market brings value to TiVo. It gives hesitant people an opportunity to get hooked on the environment and more likely to upgrade their TiVo's in the future.

It goes to opportunity cost for TiVo, what value does upgrading the S3's bring them? Good will of existing customers? Bah... They don't even count the lifetime S3's as part of the financial install base any longer. A secondary market feeder that can bring future revenues and sales? Maybe...

But just because I can make a case for it, doesn't mean they will move forward with it - and by the middle of next year I will have retired all of my S3 models anyway, so the impact is minimal to me.

So, if that is planned obsolescence - so be it.

btw - I think it was pretty nice of them to offer you the Premier upgrade discout. I wouldn't take it either, but it was at least a resonable gesture.

I am putting my two S3's onto ebay soon, if I can get $250 - I will be pretty happy with the overall investment. (I have fios, and I haven't actually experienced a channel I can't tune yet - don't know why.)
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Last edited by bradleys : 09-26-2013 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 09-26-2013, 02:58 PM   #30
socrplyr
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan203 View Post
Who's to say they didn't test it and it failed? The S3 platform was developed back in 2005. You're basing your assumption that it could support H.264 via a software update on the fact that the Aus/NZ TiVos support it and are based on the same platform. However the S3 OLED units and the TiVo HD units are based on the same platform and yet the HD units support M cards and the OLED units do not. My point is there could have been a minor hardware tweak in the Aus/NZ units that allows it to do something the S3/HD units can not. We don't really know why TiVo chose not to add support for H.264 to the S3 platform. I'm making just as many assumptions as you are in that regard. I assume it's because the time it was needed the S3 platform had long since been replaced. You assume it's because of "planned obsolescence". We could both be wrong and it could actually be that it's impossible due to hardware constraints.
Maybe maybe not. Don't forget the Netflix is H.264. Also, H.264 decode would pretty much be solely decided by the SoC. I am pretty sure the one from the TivoHD supports it. Netflix is a lower bit rate than cable H.264, so maybe there is a rate limitation on it. It is possible, but in all likelihood, Tivo did not make the effort to put in support. When their next product came out, they abandoned the S3 and and never added it.
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