CNET writer publicly ditches TiVo and "half-baked" Premiere

Discussion in 'TiVo Premiere DVRs' started by curiousgeorge, May 12, 2011.

  1. curiousgeorge

    curiousgeorge Member

    Nov 28, 2002


    Pretty on-target article published two days ago from one of the CNET columnists talking about saying goodbye to TiVo because TiVo has said goodbye to its customers with the crappy Premiere and lack of fixes:;Molly Rants

    (The video podcast at that link starts talking about TiVo at 10:00 - worth a listen beyond what's in the print)

    All I can say is, bring on more of this. Maybe if TiVo gets the public lashings they deserve they'll start putting a high priority on CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE like they used to. There's NO excuse for the sad state of the Premiere more than a YEAR after launch.
  2. theidiot

    theidiot New Member

    Sep 4, 2009
    wow, I'm pretty concerned as a long time Tivo owner - finally purchased an HDTV and am planning on getting the Premiere so that I can record HDTV shows since my Series 2 can't handle it.

    I've read mixed bags about the new box, not sure if I should bite the bullet again seeing all these issues...:(
  3. morac

    morac Cat God TCF Club

    Mar 14, 2003
    Molly Wood was a fairly adamant TiVo supporter, she even used to make a podcast just for TiVo users. It must have taken a lot to get her to ditch TiVo, though considering she switched to AT&T Uverse which TiVo doesn't support, that might have been the main reason. The N17 error she was getting was likely a problem with her home network or ISP.

    She did make some good points, but personally I love my Premiere.
  4. h2oskierc

    h2oskierc I'm a 2-Tuner

    Dec 16, 2010
    The link doesn't work for me. Lawyers get involved maybe?
  5. belunos

    belunos New Member

    Sep 18, 2002


    How did we get to arm chair lawyering in 4 posts?
  6. orangeboy

    orangeboy yes, I AM orangeboy!

    Apr 19, 2004
    East Moline, IL
  7. curiousgeorge

    curiousgeorge Member

    Nov 28, 2002
    Still works fine for me. Here's the text of the article:

    The last straw broke last month, when, after a DSL outage, I could no longer connect to the TiVo service.

    I got the dreaded N17 error message that says, "Failed while negotiating." The only support guidance TiVo offers is (I'm not joking) to unplug the TiVo and plug it back in. Nothing helped. I trolled forums, restarted my modem, changed my router DNS settings, rebooted over and over, even switched to another TiVo, and connected to a Sprint Overdrive, just to troubleshoot and get guide info. I just couldn't get it working. I tweeted TiVo for help: no response. And every time I called tech support, they told me they only had one solution for the problem: just keep restarting that TiVo.

    Ep. 1465: I left TiVo because TiVo left me

    So, after 10 good years together, I told TiVo goodbye. I had AT&T Uverse installed this week. I'm using the Uverse DVR and while it lacks certain TiVo amenities (like the ability to schedule a recurring manual recording, apparently), it's easy to use, the remote is nice, and actually, its tabbed menu structure makes it easier to navigate than TiVo's stacked navigation scheme.

    But this breakup didn't have to happen. I'll never love a DVR like I loved my TiVo, but you can only beg someone to love you back for so long before it's time to move on. It wasn't just that TiVo couldn't fix my N17 error (and couldn't even try). It's that I think TiVo gave up years ago, and not just on me.

    This week, Comcast and TiVo announced that their six-year flirtation with putting TiVo software on Comcast set-top boxes is officially over. Comcast will instead offer its XFinity on-demand library to TiVo Premiere boxes.

    Now, that's great news for Premiere owners. They finally get access to Comcast's impressive VOD library--the one thing they were losing by sticking with TiVo and CableCARD instead of the stock Comcast box. Well, the VOD library and the fun of hurling the Comcast DVR remote through various windows in a frustrated rage. But if you look a little closer, it's bad news for TiVo overall.

    For one thing, TiVo gets VOD, but the firehose of potential new Comcast customers squeezes back down to the same old trickle it ever was. TiVo's share of the DVR market is small and shrinking--it lost nearly half its subscribers from 2007 to 2009, and had less than 3 million subs in October 2009. By contrast, the subscription-free Roku, which offers many of the same Web video features of the TiVo with no monthly fee, has sold 1 million boxes and just expanded into Best Buy.

    Then there's the question of who would buy a TiVo. As I mentioned, Roku, game consoles, and other set-top boxes are compelling offers for delivering Netflix, Pandora, and other Web content. Plus, the TiVo Premiere is, as many have pointed out, a pretty half-baked effort, and a very incremental upgrade over the TiVo HD. Still. A full year after its launch, its incomplete HD UI has yet to be upgraded, and promised firmware updates delivering hoped-for DLNA support and the enabling of the box's second processor core have yet to appear. (To be fair, it did get multi-room viewing and Pandora.)

    Meanwhile, the Premiere still has no built-in wireless, only two tuners, and the category-killing QWERTY remote is still an $80 add-on. And with DVRs like the Uverse box starting to deliver a decent UI, TiVo's one advantage--one which hasn't changed significantly in these past 10 years--may be slipping away. And TiVo isn't helping its cause with an utter lack of communication (will DLNA support ever appear? Hello?) and an increasingly lackluster approach to customer relations.

    As TiVo's sinking subscriber numbers show, CableCARD and a $300 standalone set-top box is a hard sell, especially when it comes saddled with an additional monthly fee. TiVo's attempts to subsidize the cost of the box take the sting out of the initial outlay, but $20 a month is a tough pill to swallow when cable costs easily creep into the hundreds of dollars. TiVo's only saving grace is the same as it ever was: to become the de facto set-top box for the cable and satellite operators. This boutique shop has run out of customers.

    The Comcast deal may prove to have been a life or death moment for TiVo, but it had other chances at salvation. After all, what in the world happened with the DirecTV TiVo? These two companies announced a deal three years ago, CEO Tom Rogers looked me in the eye and promised a DirecTV TiVo by the end of 2010, and yet, the latest reports peg it to, maybe, the end of 2011. Trust me: don't count on it.

    I can't imagine another company, other than maybe Apple, with enough customer goodwill to tolerate three, four, and five year delays on promised products. It's a testament to the real love people had for their TiVos--myself included--that the company has survived at all. But it's an unacceptable way to treat your customers.

    And sure, maybe TiVo's patent licensing side business will give it enough of a war chest to fix the Premiere, put out an innovative new box, and get things moving again. Once again, though: I wouldn't count on it. After all, Dish's one-time $500 million payment to TiVo just means Dish gets to keep delivering Dish set-top boxes to its customers. It doesn't buy TiVo a single new subscriber, and I can't imagine what else could. It breaks my heart to say it, but TiVo, I've lost the faith. I just can't wait anymore.


    Read more:
  8. curiousgeorge

    curiousgeorge Member

    Nov 28, 2002
  9. orangeboy

    orangeboy yes, I AM orangeboy!

    Apr 19, 2004
    East Moline, IL
    Where does she say what model of TiVo she even has? I imagine she mentions the Premiere because it's currently the only model available as a new purchase, and the Series 3 platform is pretty much old news.

    I would think the majority of the reason for leaving TiVo is this statement: "I had AT&T Uverse installed this week." That would be a showstopper for any HD TiVo.
  10. Philmatic

    Philmatic Member

    Sep 17, 2003
    Wow... GOOD, TiVo isn't going to wake up until the mainstream tech media starts tearing them apart.

    WAKE UP TiVo!
  11. curiousgeorge

    curiousgeorge Member

    Nov 28, 2002
    Watch the video. She has the Premiere. She agrees that Premiere was the final straw at about 9:29. Closes the TiVo segment in the video with "'s too little, too late for a lot of customers."
  12. kturcotte

    kturcotte Active Member

    Dec 8, 2002
    Portland, ME
    Unfortunately, I don't know of another NON PC based cable AND OTA DVR (That records by name and isn't basically a digital VCR).
  13. aadam101

    aadam101 Tell me a joke

    Jul 14, 2002
    That may be true but the future of television is On Demand (streaming) content. There are already numerous devices that handle this much better than TiVo. TiVo does a lot of things but it doesnt do anything exceptionally well. The cons of Tivo are outweighing the pros more and more. TiVo has been bleeding customers for a long time. They cant keep that up forever.

    They may still be the best DVR on the market....but who cares if nobody wants/needs a DVR?
  14. kturcotte

    kturcotte Active Member

    Dec 8, 2002
    Portland, ME
    I don't want to go searching for my shows though. I want them ALL delivered to me in ONE nice little group.
    Even if EVERYTHING was being downloaded and coming from online for free, I'd still be willing to pay Tivo to gather it all for me.
  15. TheWGP

    TheWGP Hmmm...

    Oct 26, 2007
    She switched to Uverse BECAUSE of Tivo abandoning her. She was pretty explicitly clear on that point.

    To be honest, the trend on this forum of "Tivo apologists" blaming any and all issues on departing subs is getting old. The bottom line is - if someone as tech-savvy and someone who's had Tivo for as long as she had is leaving, just think how Joe Average from Anytown USA is doing.

    Tivo has a serious problem, and they don't seem to be taking any serious steps to solve it. Even something like Hulu Plus at this point is akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titantic. That's the most valuable takeaway from this article IMO. Issues like N17 or TA's or Premiere lockups scare away customers, even ones who have dealt with Tivo for years.

    I'll use my Tivo's until the guide data shuts down or cablecards are no longer supported or I can no longer get spare parts... BUT there's a reason I never got a Premiere until I literally got deals I couldn't refuse ($250-260 for lifetimed P & PXL) There's also a reason I do not have high hopes for any Series 5 to make it to market.

    As a relevant aside, here's the story about my Premiere XL - came with the plastic cover still on the front, not a scratch, all original paperwork, THX glasses, etc, etc, etc - and I found it in a thrift store for $40. Perfect working condition. Tivo told me somebody subbed that box, paid out the nose for it, paid out the nose for a sub, and then paid out the nose for a cancellation fee not long after. Looking at the way channels were configured, and the recorded programs left on the Tivo - some didn't even match, and some showed blank / error screens - I figured out, I'm pretty sure, that they had TA issues, and rather than try to hassle with it and solve the issues and read the forums and and and... they donated it to a thrift store. Didn't even try to sell it on Ebay, just chucked it. That says something pretty serious for Tivo - though I'll be happy to use the PXL until I can't anymore!
  16. rahnbo

    rahnbo Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2010
    Greenville, SC
    Sounds like she went easy on Tivo to me. I've been working on my own home brew that will replace the next failed Tivo Premiere. The 2 I have and the remaining S2 will stay as long as they last then there will never be another Tivo in my house. To justify some of the things I've been buying and my time investment I came up a list of over 20 reasons I want to dump Tivo. Most stem from the fact that they just dumped the thing on the market and abandoned it and when you call for support they point the finger at everyone but themselves or deny a problem exists. Nothing gets fixed, upgraded, or supported.
  17. Phantom Gremlin

    Phantom Gremlin Active Member

    Jun 20, 2002
    It's not just the fanboys that are apologists, it's the employees also.

    E.g. here is a post telling us (and me personally) how TiVo has mostly USA based engineers (not outsourced to Elbonia) and that it's a great place to work.

    It appears that he's right. It probably is a great place to work, because you apparently don't ever need to accomplish anything.
  18. AbMagFab

    AbMagFab What happened, TiVo?

    Feb 5, 2001
    And people using DOS and WordPerfect 5.1 didn't want to change either.

    But the world is changing to streaming-only. Once you try it out and adjust how you think of watching shows, you'll get into it. It's actually a lot better and more efficient.

    There are lots of cheap options to try this out - Roku, Apple TV, and others. Don't do Boxee Box though, it sucks.
  19. kturcotte

    kturcotte Active Member

    Dec 8, 2002
    Portland, ME
    And I still want it in 720p/1080i/19Mbps DD5.1 lol
  20. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    Frankly I find it interesting. She has problems with her DSL provider, then her TiVo has network problems and her solution is to switch pay TV providers to a provider that you can not us a HD TiVo with.

    So this must mean she was also unhappy with her pay TV provider and her DSL provider because she could have continued with both with or without a TiVo.

    I find it funny that the old DSL and pay TV providers were not mention by name. And what she effectively did was promote switching to AT&T Uverse and eliminated the road block of not being able to use a HD TiVo with AT&T Uverse by being upset that the Premiere didn't do the Internet as well has she wanted it to and that TiVo hadn't produced a new Direct TV Tivo. Interesting does her new AT&T Uverse DVR have access to Internet streaming like a Roku or even like a Premiere? Does it work with Direct TV? Is it really a better DVR than a TiVo?

    While I think TiVo has major issues I recommend people read between the lines here.

    Either she wanted to switch to AT&T Uverse and felt the need to justify not being able to use a TiVo or someone did or did not pay up. In the media world it is always about the $$s so I am guessing that is really what it is about.

    For people who are thick either TiVo wasn't paying cnet enough/any advertising $$s or AT&T was paying them more.


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