An open letter from an 11-year TiVo customer: The Premiere is the final straw.

Discussion in 'TiVo Premiere DVRs' started by agitprop, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. agitprop

    agitprop New Member

    Oct 28, 2003
    San Francisco


    I bought my first TiVo 11 years ago, and I loved it. Since then, I have bought something like 9 of them. I have even encouraged family, friends, employees, and co-workers to buy tens of them. But. . .

    . . .after a year of using it, I can say categorically that the Premiere is an absolutely dreadful, further step back from the wonderful consumer experience that we enjoyed with the first TiVo generation. Others have spoken eloquently to the Premiere's failures; I won't bother to repeat the laundry list here.

    However, what I would like to say is that TiVo the company is the most shockingly tone-deaf technology producer today. TiVo has not rolled out a significant improvement to my experience since the dual-tuner, and I am frankly stunned that they have the balls to release marketing-product update after marketing-product update to the service--while not updating and/or fixing the core service's issues. In fact, the core service is slower, harder to use, and definitely less fun than on that first TiVo I bought many years ago.

    So, I am done. As soon as this Premiere is dead, I will be jumping ship to something--anything--else. I also have cable DVRs; I know they are bad, but they are getting better--which is something I can't say about the TiVo service. And, even though the cable companies are appallingly bad at customer service, I have found in the past year that TiVo's customer service is just as bad. I frankly don't see any indication that TiVo cares about my business or about honoring either the implicit or explicit commitments that TiVo's management has made to Premiere customers over the past year. Why reward them with more business?

    Finally, I should say that I have loved dealing with Weaknees. They have been nothing but awesome. God help TiVo, if Weaknees ever decides to walk away and focus on another technology. . .
  2. TheWGP

    TheWGP Hmmm...

    Oct 26, 2007
    Some will probably say "good riddance, don't let the door hit you on the way out" - I'd like to apologize in advance for those folks. Insular fanboyism and vitriol has been part of this forum's response to challenges in Tivo products & service.

    I'd also like to say it's always sad to see another customer go, especially one with as long a tenure as you (joined the forum in 2003, nice!) but the choice for what works best in your household is yours to make. That said, the Tivo Premiere works well for my household - well enough that we purchased an additional Premiere XL, though we would not have done so without a shockingly good deal presenting itself. Future potential users reading this thread would be wise to note that times change, situations change, and your household needs are what are most important.

    Your comments regarding Tivo's tone-deafness are preaching to the choir... we all hope posts such as this one attract some attention somewhere, in the aggregate, and Tivo starts to realize ignoring customers completely and not finishing software they start does not pay in the long run.

    Finally, Weaknees does rock - I haven't had them replace my drive, I do those myself, but have corresponded about other things and they're one of the nice things about this community IMO. Glad to hear you had a good experience there. :)
  3. vurbano

    vurbano Member

    Apr 20, 2004
    My 3 premieres work better than any box I have owned. I am especially impressed by the fast file transfer, free PC software(try that with cable or satellite) and the Ipad app is the bomb. And some threads here indicate they are working on streaming. I guess he's going to Cable for one of their stellar locked down inventions? Or satellite so he can miss 5 minutes of the superbowl from cloud cover?

    And weaknees? I guess you like paying a lot more than its worth. I made that mistake as a rookie but for a veteren to continue it boggles my mind. It can all be done yourself a lot cheaper.

    Of course the OP has only made 2 posts in his 8 years. Very strange.

    good luck
  4. SugarBowl

    SugarBowl Member

    Jan 4, 2007
    north carolina
    With the Ipad, iPhone apps, and multi dvr streaming, the premier has turned the corner in my mind.
  5. ncbill

    ncbill Well-Known Member TCF Club

    Sep 1, 2007
    Western NC


    My Premiere rebooted quite a few times initially but has settled down.

    Since I got it for $60 from woot and managed to add lifetime for $199 I can't complain too much.
  6. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    Jan 31, 2002
    That was a sweet deal. Much better than the $500 it cost for my launch units with lifetime.(that was after my Fatwallet rebate)
  7. jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

    Feb 4, 2008
    All issues this poster (cross-poster) has aside- I find these kinds of posts somewhat fishy. How many times are we seeing someone slam tivo with their first post ever, even though they have joined years and years ago (and always previously loved their units and have gobs and gobs of them)? Often these have no details as to the true problem, which could have a resolution.

    Who would even remember their login or have bothered to become a member?

    Puzzling behavior at best.
  8. lessd

    lessd Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I agree with jrtroo, and how is the information that somebody (you) are leaving TiVo useful to anybody on this form, I doubt there has every been a product made and sold that did not disappoint somebody at some time.
  9. TheWGP

    TheWGP Hmmm...

    Oct 26, 2007
    I don't really find it puzzling - I did that myself. I joined in 2007, lurked even before that. Posted three times in 2007, a handful in 2008, then nothing at all until July 2010 - and maybe a post every couple of months until the beginning of 2011, when I decided to become a bit more active.

    I've had Tivos that entire time - but I've only posted much here for approximately six months. Doesn't mean the entire time I've owned Tivos just became irrelevant - it just means I chose to do other things than talk about them.

    Also, people who are happy with products generally don't seek out forums. I was once active in forums (and on AVSforum) in topics about my 7.1 setup and various TV's - but have had no reason to visit in quite awhile. Doesn't mean I've changed my opinion on those units, or that my opinion is any less relevant.

    What's more, this forum has actually done very well (compared to many places) at getting people to search - many real-world end-users come here searching for some information, find it, and then leave. That's what I've done, even before I had a membership. Some places are deluged with the same repetitive simple questions daily - TC doesn't have that, for the most part, at least not to the same degree, which I'm thankful for!

    Anyway, I guess I don't find it particularly "suspicious" that he didn't post. And if he's like most end-users, his login and password are probably the same he uses for other websites, or one of a handful - or even worse, it's written down - so remembering them might not be an issue. It's just a forum, after all, not your bank login or something! ;)

    Oh yeah, and not to brag, but I still want to find anyone who didn't win some contest that got a better deal than I did: Premiere XL + lifetime for $241 total. Even cheaper than my Woot+199 regular unit. :D
  10. crxssi

    crxssi Veteran TiVo User

    Apr 5, 2010
    Speaking for myself. I don't any any "I"stuff, and have only one DVR. Plus the multi DVR streaming is *not* available yet... it is a hack/secret and neither stable (based on people's postings) nor supported.

    I want a rock solid, fast, and feature-full Premiere. In the 1+ year I have owned the Premiere, I have had to completely replace it once, reboot it dozens of times, frozen boots due to slide remote or TA, been frozen for 1 to 20 min many times waiting for control to return during unexplained lockups, forced to endure many hours on the phone with the cable company trying to resolve repeated cable card and tuning adapter issues, and stuck with the old SDUI to get acceptable usability and performance.

    Not that much has changed for me over the year, it is even LESS stable than before the last few updates, performance has improved only slightly, and they added some useless features (to me) like Hulu+ and I-stuff. It did not live up to my expectations, at all.

    It is still better than my cable company's DVR, but not by a lot. Perhaps other cable companies' boxes are much worse. And many people are perfectly happy with the Premiere- Kudos to them. I still have hopes for TiVo, but I can *certainly* understand and sympathize with the original poster's disgust.
  11. smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

    May 24, 2003
    I misread the title as ".. from an 11-year old Tivo customer".

    /sigh, I was expecting to find something interesting or at least unusual.

    While I am one to point on the Premiere's faults often enough, I find a post such as the OP's to not be very useful. It lacks any significant detail as to what these show-stopping issues are with the Premiere that are so onerous that he wishes to abandon the product. Is he upset about the HDUI incompleteness? stablity/reboots? what? Without detail, it just reads like a useless rant.

    Specifics would have made this useful.
  12. agitprop

    agitprop New Member

    Oct 28, 2003
    San Francisco
    Thanks crxssi. You and I seem to have experienced many of the same issues.

    First off, it is very entertaining to discover that I might somehow have planned this back in 2003 and just waited for the right moment to stick it to TiVo. For those of you who are eager to see a conspiracy, let me try to assure you that I have been through the full TiVo era, from the very first series, to a DirecTV box for a while, to several cable Series II boxes, to several Series 3 boxes. I have loved some boxes and liked some others. That said, I despise the Premiere XL with a passion, and I am disgusted with the TiVo company's failures over the past few years.

    For all of you who genuinely wonder what the Premiere issues are, just read your own forum. I won't bother with a full recitation, but. . . The Premiere has a terrible and SLOW user-interface, tons of added "features" that are just revenue-bumps for TiVo, and the company is either unresponsive (at best) or outright unwilling (at worst) to be honest with us about the true horizon to fix the product. They have effectively walked away from significant product engineering improvement on the core service (i.e., time-shifted TV) and spent that effort on rolling out loads of features that duplicate features on your computer/DVD player/Xbox/PS3/AppleTV/you name it. Some of you may like that stuff--hell, I like a few of the options--but, I am not saying that stuff is bad. . . I am saying that regularly rolling out new revenue-generating features when you are not honoring your product commitment on your flagship box and service is not fair pool.

    Furthermore, my Premiere XL has been a mess. It didn't talk to my other Series 3 boxes for months--and, when it did, it was glacial (over an .11n network). It rejected an external hard drive. It murdered several internal hard-drives. When I tried to talk to TiVo about it, I was bounced between people, hung up on, and just generally ignored. Not to mention, setting up the box was a nightmare when it first came out--there was little or no info about cable systems and cards, and TiVo was of zero help in ameliorating the issue. They did not seem to have done any legwork to assure positive consumer setup experience.

    Also, tangentially, I bought Roxio's Toast 10, specifically for the TiVo app. After a couple of months, the software updated and KILLED the TiVo app completely for all customers using that software iteration. No explanation. No refund. Now, you can make the case that that was Roxio's fault, but I wouldn't have even known about the app without TiVo marketing it to me via their website. In isolation, I wouldn't care, but this is about a series of bad experiences with TiVo.

    Finally, the TiVo system is needlessly opaque for 2011. There is absolutely no transparency about what is going on during startup, shutdown, and when there are problems. When the system shuts down suddenly or encounters an issue, it gives you close to zero info on what happened. You can't buy a third-party media hard drive, install it, and have the system format it for you. You can't attach a standard USB external drive. You can't run any consumer-friendly utilities. You are flying completely blind if anything goes wrong.

    Whew, it is exhausting to go over this stuff, and it is frankly depressing to look back over the experience.

  13. KungFuCow

    KungFuCow Thread Killer

    May 6, 2004
    You cant deal with these people with blind Tivo fanboi love. Im with you, dude. The Premiere leaves a lot to be desired.
  14. smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

    May 24, 2003
    You lost several internal hard drives within approximately one year of ownership? I'd be upset too. That kind of failure rate is quite unusual. Over my 12 years of ownership, I lose a harddrive no sooner than 3 years. My two Premieres haven't had any failures yet, nor any hint of failure.

    That was a good list of gripes and certainly satisfies my request.

    The biggest thing I wish Tivo would do is to let the community know what's going on -- what new features are being planned, timeframes, acknowledge known bugs, etc.
  15. crxssi

    crxssi Veteran TiVo User

    Apr 5, 2010
    Although I am not happy with the Premiere, my experience with TiVo customer support has been nothing but glowingly positive. I am quick to get someone. They are exceedingly nice and pleasant. They speak English. They have access to answers for most of my issues (except the design flaws and bugs, of course). They seem to geniunely care about me. They spend whatever time they need to make sure everything is covered.

    I talk to LOTS of support departments and customer services centers from LOTS of different companies. I would rate TiVo Customer Service an A+. Perhaps some of their POLICIES they are required to follow is a B.
  16. agitprop

    agitprop New Member

    Oct 28, 2003
    San Francisco
    Puzzling? You are like a slow-adult version of Sherlock Holmes.

    I signed up for the community ages ago, when I was upgrading a drive in an earlier model and needed some insight from more experienced hands.

  17. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    This is by far the #1 failing of Tivo - be upfront and honest with your customers and keep them in the loop with what's going on.

    Tivo, for whatever reason, just doesn't want to engage its customers in any meaningful manner. Yeah I can hear it now from the fanboys, it's because we're so negative and they don't want to take the heat. That excuse is a load of crap, IMO. You either care about what your customers think and then respond, or you don't. Pretty obvious which way they want to go given the state of the Premiere.
  18. smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

    May 24, 2003
    On the other hand, I wonder how such a conversation with a customer would go?

    Customer: "I just bought Premiere. When will the HDUI be completed?"

    Tivo: "A year, maybe a year and a half, maybe two years. Finishing the product isn't really important to us now that you bought it, and we have other work to do for our big corporate partners."

    Customer: "What about the second core?"

    Tivo: "Ummmm......"

    Although communication is a primary fault, there seems to be little desire to "get the product right". They seem to stop after they get it barely beyond the point where it is sellable. It goes hand-in-hand. If you aren't prepared to do the work to have the right answers, you might as well not communicate.
  19. BigHat

    BigHat Member

    Jan 25, 2004
    Arlington VA
    Well, bought my first TIVO back in 1999 and while I wish things were better, I'm generally very happy with them. Lots of Weaknees upgrades too.

    If you don't like the TIVO model please feel free to leave. For those that deem me a fan boy that's fine. I pay very little attention to TIVO good or bad. For me they just work. I've come here from time-to-time over the years to ask a question or two, but typically it's how to deal with a cable company's (FIOS mostly) support.

    So regarding my two Premieres, I wish I could use the HD menu scheme but it's awkward and slow. As the SD version works great though it's hard to get incensed about that.
  20. iceturkee

    iceturkee Member

    May 26, 2005
    it took me contacting a consumer affairs reporter i know to resolve the lack of customer service i was getting.

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