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Old 07-19-2014, 02:40 PM   #1
IRJ
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What can a TIVO Mini do without an epg?

I am curious as to how a TIVO Mini works.
Let's say I have a Romaio Pro with a Lifetime EPG contract and I buy a Mini for another TV.
What do I get and what would I not get if I do NOT pay for the monthly EPG or Lifetime?

Would the Mini simply be an ornament?
Or would it allow me to look to the Romaio Pro (via internal cable coaxial) and play any and ALL shows recorded on the Pro?
Would it also play Live TV via the Pro?
I am certain that the Mini would not allow me to set up new programming of shows and that this would have to be done on the Romaio.

After paying for the EPG on the Pro it is unclear to me what extra I get on the Mini for another EPG.
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Old 07-19-2014, 02:43 PM   #2
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Without service, you could still use the Mini as a paperweight.
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Old 07-19-2014, 03:16 PM   #3
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Without service, you could still use the Mini as a paperweight.
I think it would also make a good doorstop due to the shape

OP, a mini requires service to operate since you can't use any networked features without service and without networking the mini is useless
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Old 07-19-2014, 03:18 PM   #4
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I think it would also make a good doorstop due to the shape
...and its little rubber feet.
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Old 07-19-2014, 03:21 PM   #5
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You are paying for the TiVo service, not the EPG.
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Old 07-19-2014, 04:48 PM   #6
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You mean you ay $100 for a Mini and it does absolutely nothing?
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Old 07-19-2014, 05:04 PM   #7
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You mean you ay $100 for a Mini and it does absolutely nothing?
Not nothing, it allows you to subscribe to the TiVo service.
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Old 07-19-2014, 09:53 PM   #8
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You mean you ay $100 for a Mini and it does absolutely nothing?
TiVo offered a subscription service from day one (except for one Series 2 product) you purchase the hardware then you must get TiVo service before the hardware is useful, this goes for any TiVo or Mini. A Mini cost about $240 to $250 for a lifetime working product.
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Old 07-19-2014, 10:27 PM   #9
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You mean you pay $100 for a Mini and it does absolutely nothing?
Yes, similar in concept to a cell phone. You pay $50 or $100 or $200, and it does nothing. You've bought an electronic device, now you subscribe to some sort of service to use it.
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:38 PM   #10
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Yes, similar in concept to a cell phone. You pay $50 or $100 or $200, and it does nothing. You've bought an electronic device, now you subscribe to some sort of service to use it.
Not a great analogy. I just turned on my Palm Treo and it still works great for everything except email/text/calling. Those things add up to about 50% of the value of a smartphone, give or take.

It's more like making a down payment on a new car... you surrender a big chunk of change that covers a portion of the cost and lowers the ongoing monthly payment. Tivo's service is nearly pure profit, so the monthly fee is mostly recouping their losses on discounted hardware sales.
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Old 07-20-2014, 12:33 AM   #11
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Not a great analogy. I just turned on my Palm Treo and it still works great for everything except email/text/calling. Those things add up to about 50% of the value of a smartphone, give or take.
It's actually an excellent analogy. He said "cell phone" not "smartphone". If you buy a basic cell phone at verizon for $100 that all it does is make phone calls and texts, and has no wi-fi capabilities, then it is pretty much useless without paying for service from verizon.
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:41 AM   #12
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Except one has already bought a full fledged TIVO AND (in my case) 2 Lifetime TIVO services for them.
I thought that at the least I might be able to mirror replay from the full fledged TIVO Romaio Pro. I could understand the logic of being made to pay another $150.00 (Lifetime) to access to forward looking EPG and make programing changes from the Mini.

Re Cellphones I have an unlocked Nexus 5 I use for international travel and I presently have no SIM card in it. I can switch it on at home and get WiFi connections at home and use non voice services etc. I was supposing that in a similar fashion I would get some small functionality out of a Mini and NOT absolutely zero.
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:43 AM   #13
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The TiVo service is not the EPG.
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Old 07-20-2014, 12:28 PM   #14
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The TiVo service is not the EPG.
I BUY a TIVO service into my house with a Lifetime payment for a FULL TIVO service. Then I pay full price for a Mini and get zero functionality, until or unless, I am allowed to unlock it with further service payments.
I had hoped that some basic replay, on my own home network, of programs recorded on the Romaio Pro would be available through the Mini. Apparently not at all.

TIVO is a company I have negative thoughts about for the way in which they do business. There are other solutions around such as the SiliconDust HDHomerun Prime and WMC (both of which I also use) which are equally functionally as good (IMHO). I use TIVO because the wife cannot get to grips with the extra steps in using my other system.
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Old 07-20-2014, 12:32 PM   #15
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I BUY a TIVO service into my house with a Lifetime payment for a FULL TIVO service. Then I pay full price for a Mini and get zero functionality, until or unless, I am allowed to unlock it with further service payments.
I had hoped that some basic replay, on my own home network, of programs recorded on the Romaio Pro would be available through the Mini. Apparently not at all.
Considering NO Tivo unit can use any networking functions without a valid subscription you're making assumptions about what a Mini can do, and those assumptions are incorrect. You've already said you have multiple Tivo's in the house so the requirement of service for any network connectivity shouldn't be a total shock at this point.

If you bought a 2nd Roamio it couldn't talk to anything else on the network without service either, Mini and Roamio have the same service requirements so I fail to see how this is that big a surprise since a Mini is a Tivo sans tuners or local storage.

You're not going to get many folks to be outraged here since the service requirements for a Mini are pretty plainly stated on its pages and documentation.
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Old 07-20-2014, 01:02 PM   #16
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One way to think about it is list price for the Mini is $250, but if you would rather pay monthly you can have it for $100 and a monthly charge (minus discounts and sale prices).

I think TiVo does it for two reasons: one is reduce the entry cost of a Mini as stated above. The other is to maintain the number of subscriptions for retail TiVos (since people are getting rid of TiVos with full subs as they buy Minis.) That's important for TiVo to keep investor interest and stock price, which is not as crucial as it once was, but is still important going forward.
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Old 07-20-2014, 01:13 PM   #17
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One way to think about it is list price for the Mini is $250, but if you would rather pay monthly you can have it for $100 and a monthly charge (minus discounts and sale prices).

I think TiVo does it for two reasons: one is reduce the entry cost of a Mini as stated above. The other is to maintain the number of subscriptions for retail TiVos (since people are getting rid of TiVos with full subs as they buy Minis.) That's important for TiVo to keep investor interest and stock price, which is not as crucial as it once was, but is still important going forward.
I think they do it to "make money".

In the streaming world makers such as Roku offer fully functional devices similar in manufacturing cost to a Mini for between $50-100.00. In the TIVO world they seem to believe that hitting customers many times for their service within a single home is a sustainable business model over the medium long term.

I am a TIVO customer (for over 4 years) and am re-upping for a Romaio Pro with Lifetime, but am shocked at the egregious cost of using a Mini in my house.
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Old 07-20-2014, 04:33 PM   #18
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I think they do it to "make money".

In the streaming world makers such as Roku offer fully functional devices similar in manufacturing cost to a Mini for between $50-100.00. In the TIVO world they seem to believe that hitting customers many times for their service within a single home is a sustainable business model over the medium long term.

I am a TIVO customer (for over 4 years) and am re-upping for a Romaio Pro with Lifetime, but am shocked at the egregious cost of using a Mini in my house.
The cost of a Mini is $250, too much money, don't purchase one, simple or it should be, I am sure there are people that would purchase a new Rolls Royce if it was not for its high price.
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Old 07-20-2014, 08:13 PM   #19
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The cost of a Mini is $250, too much money, don't purchase one, simple or it should be, I am sure there are people that would purchase a new Rolls Royce if it was not for its high price.
Whether or not the Mini costs "too much money" is subjective. If I want to watch cable TV and recordings on a second television what are the options? I could buy another Roamio, which would be a lot more expensive than buying a Mini, or I could rent a crappy cable box that has no streaming capabilities from my cable company for $12/month. The Mini seems like the best of those options to me.
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Old 07-20-2014, 09:37 PM   #20
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Whether or not the Mini costs "too much money" is subjective. If I want to watch cable TV and recordings on a second television what are the options? I could buy another Roamio, which would be a lot more expensive than buying a Mini, or I could rent a crappy cable box that has no streaming capabilities from my cable company for $12/month. The Mini seems like the best of those options to me.
I agree as I have two Minis, no extra cable cards, no having to active anything with the cable co. With MoCA built in the 4 tuner TP and all the Roamios, no MoCA adapter is needed for my setup. Is $250 too much money ?? to some it is, to me its not, that life.
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:00 PM   #21
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The cost of a Mini is $250, too much money, don't purchase one, simple or it should be, I am sure there are people that would purchase a new Rolls Royce if it was not for its high price.
You say it's simple, buy it or not. But you left out a third option... whine about it, beat your head against the wall, and piss uphill.

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It's actually an excellent analogy. He said "cell phone" not "smartphone". If you buy a basic cell phone at verizon for $100 that all it does is make phone calls and texts, and has no wi-fi capabilities, then it is pretty much useless without paying for service from verizon.
Thank you. I was very specific when I said cell phone and not smart phone.
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:15 PM   #22
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It's actually an excellent analogy. He said "cell phone" not "smartphone". If you buy a basic cell phone at verizon for $100 that all it does is make phone calls and texts, and has no wi-fi capabilities, then it is pretty much useless without paying for service from verizon.
Good point. I concur.

It may not be a fair pricing model, but buyers know the deal going in. If you want a no-monthly-fee product then those are available too.
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:20 AM   #23
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You say it's simple, buy it or not. But you left out a third option... whine about it, beat your head against the wall, and piss uphill.
.
OK you got me there, I will have to look into those other options to get my RR
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Old 07-21-2014, 08:40 AM   #24
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In selling a product the price is a huge consideration.
1) On the one hand if you price it HIGH you sell only a relative few but on those you make a large profit margin.
2) On the other hand you price lower and you sell far more and at the right price while you make less profit per sale you actually make MORE money because of the numbers you sell. You may even sell more base Romais as the whole package becomes more competitive.

TIVO is aware of this price equation because they "offer" discounts on a very regular basis for their base units. So why not just price Minis competitively and be done with in.

Frankly I just bought my second TIVO, A Romaio Pro, on a discount offer. However because I wanted to add two Minis also that's an additional $500.00. I am lucky enough that I can afford it, but it does give me reason to ponder the value equation. And wonder whether I might just move from a 3 tuner CC (SiliconDevices Prime unit) with WMC to a Ceton 6 tuner (around$200) and add a second XBox360 ($100.00).
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Old 07-21-2014, 08:48 AM   #25
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Each mini partially erodes additional revenue from a second box. They need to factor that into the equation, folks wanting two tivos, or a mini at all, require someone already invested in the infrastructure. Losing the margin between the two boxes is a big deal when figuring out the pricing strategy.

So, they are priced competitively, against another full-fledged tivo. There is no other competition once you are in the door. In your example you adding 2 minis at $500 is a big difference between adding two roamios or even premiers.

Tivo discounts most often stink, on a regular basis.
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:13 AM   #26
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Other things to consider when comparing Roku to the Mini
  • Roku sells 20-30 times more units than the Mini - much greater economies of scale
  • Roku has never made a profit (neither has TiVo really, except for legal patent settlements. Hard to say they charge too much)
  • For a normal cable customer, Roku offers greater opportunities, but doesn't replace a cable box at a TV. The Mini does, offering a savings of $7/month and up to most cable customers over a cable company box.

Edit: Forgot one of the big ones: Roku gets a substantial amount of money from some of the stream providers it offers. TiVo doesn't.
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Old 07-21-2014, 04:37 PM   #27
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I think they do it to "make money".
So? They are a commercial enterprise, not a non-profit organization, so pretty much their whole reason for being is to "make money."
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Old 07-21-2014, 04:53 PM   #28
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In selling a product the price is a huge consideration.
1) On the one hand if you price it HIGH you sell only a relative few but on those you make a large profit margin.
2) On the other hand you price lower and you sell far more and at the right price while you make less profit per sale you actually make MORE money because of the numbers you sell. You may even sell more base Romais as the whole package becomes more competitive.

TIVO is aware of this price equation because they "offer" discounts on a very regular basis for their base units. So why not just price Minis competitively and be done with in.

Frankly I just bought my second TIVO, A Romaio Pro, on a discount offer. However because I wanted to add two Minis also that's an additional $500.00. I am lucky enough that I can afford it, but it does give me reason to ponder the value equation. And wonder whether I might just move from a 3 tuner CC (SiliconDevices Prime unit) with WMC to a Ceton 6 tuner (around$200) and add a second XBox360 ($100.00).
Contrary to what most people think, the free enterprise system always guarantees that you will pay the highest price the market will bear for everything.

TiVo used to sell their hardware at deeper discounts than today and charge less for service. They almost went out of business. Today, they sell the hardware at about break even, and charge much more for the service, yet (excluding the phased recognition of damages from lawsuits) they still barely break even. So, low prices didn't drive any economies of scale. The retail TiVo, compared to a cable company's DVR, is really more like a high end vehicle like a Lexus or BMW versus a Fiat or Kia. They all do the same basic things, but the TiVo, like the Lexus, costs more because it is "better" than the alternative, in some peoples' opinion. Is there a "value equation" for buying a Lexus instead of a Kia? Perhaps, perhaps not.

The simple story is that without the Mini the only way to get its functionality is with a full TiVo DVR. The cost for that is much more (both for hardware and service) than the costs associated with a Mini. Rather than looking at it as "$100 for a Mini and it does nothing without service" I would submit it would be better seen as "it does everything a TiVo DVR does at half the price or less, and costs less than half as much for the service."
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Old 07-21-2014, 05:30 PM   #29
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the free enterprise system always guarantees that you will pay the highest price the market will bear for everything.
That's kind of a ridiculous statement, as for it to be completely true it would require that we live in a world where everyone always has perfect information, which we don't.
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:18 PM   #30
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That's kind of a ridiculous statement, as for it to be completely true it would require that we live in a world where everyone always has perfect information, which we don't.
The statement also leaves out the questions of sales that products have, like the flash sale of the Roamio Plus with Lifetime for $600, retail $400 for the Roamio +, and $500 for Lifetime Service = $900. I don't know how many people pay the $500 for Lifetime Service but I have to assume some people do or the price ($500) would be eliminated.
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