It's time to take it to the next level, TiVo...

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by dtphonehome, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. dtphonehome

    dtphonehome Member

    Dec 26, 2006


    I'm sure I'm about to rehash a lot of stuff that was said in many different threads, but I felt I needed to vent...TiVo, it's time to take it to the next level.

    What do I mean? Well, look at the core product. The TiVo experience has barely changed since it was unleashed on the world in 1999. Sure, HD was added, and networking was added in, but the interface hasn't changed that much, and the whole "Tivo-feel" hasn't felt new in 10 long, long years. This is the consumer electronics world! People expect new and shiny every so often!

    Here's what I feel TiVo has to do to revitalize the product and draw in new subs. Please feel free to add to this list.

    1. HD Interface. I suspect the tivo search beta is what Tivo has in store for the future as the primary Tivo interface, but it's too slow and buggy right now (it is a beta). They need to polish this feature, speed it up BIG TIME, and make it the standard TiVo interface. I suspect the majority of tivo users are hooked up to an HDTV, so now is the time to make it the standard. (They could still allow for an SD interface as an option, however, for older TV users)

    2. Smarter networking - I hate that the tivo in my bedroom sees the tivo in my living room and in the den, for a total of 5 tuners, and all you can do with that is pull shows from one tivo to the other. TiVo, it's time for smart scheduling! If you have 4 or 5 tuners in the house on all the networked tivos, there should barely be any conflicts! Let the tivos figure it out for themselves which one is going to record the shows! Which brings me to my next point:

    3. The meta-Tivo - If you have multiple tivos, they should all stream to each other invisibly... meaning that when I go to the "What's Playing" menu, I should simply see ALL the shows that are on my network. It shouldn't matter if it's on this Tivo or that Tivo... if it's on the network, it should go into one master list, and all tivos can play it back at anytime.

    4. Better hardware - Hard drives are so cheap right now, it's pathetic that 160GB is considered acceptable for an HD DVR. 1 TB drives should be standard. Support tru2way so we can finally get PPV and on-demand. And it's time to integrate 802.11n networking... this should allow for HD streaming with minimal buffering delays, and allow "normal people" who don't have ethernet jacks all over the place to use the device.

    5. Give it away - Yes, crazy, I know, but Tivo is a subscription-based company, and they need more subs to survive. Cable co DVRs are getting better all the time, and people see no need to buy another box, and then pay a monthly fee for it, too. Plus, people have to go through the hassle of getting and installing cable cards, which add cost and complexity. Advertise how much better the tivo experience is, give the hardware away for free or cheap, and watch more people sign up.

    6. Overhaul Tivo Desktop - Let tivo desktop be a glorified Tivo. Just like Apple's FrontRow, you should have a 10-foot interface that you can control with a tivo remote that allows any PC with the tivo software installed act as a tivo. Allow easier syncing of recorded shows to an iPod or iPhone (I know it can be done now, but it's a hassle...make it seamless)

    These are a few things that have been annoying me lately about the state of Tivo... it feels that very little is happening to advance the platform. It's nearly 2010, and Tivo needs to step it up!

    Let me know other ideas you guys have, and see if we can catch tivo's ear!
  2. marrone

    marrone Phased Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Melbourne, FL
    I know I'm waiting for better integration with the cable company.
    (Brighthouse serves my area) The only thing holding me back from leaving DirecTV is the fact that the DirecTivos work so well.

  3. spocko

    spocko Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    1. I agree that Tivo search and the like are too slow. They need to find a way to move more of this functionality into the box.

    4. I'm not so sure about true2way. It adds a lot of complexity (and presumably cost), and I really have no interest in having cable company software running on my Tivo. On the other hand, SDV has to be accommodated, and having access to cable VOD/PPV would remove one barrier to Tivo adoption. It's a mixed bag in my opinion. If they can access cable VOD through other means, such as the Seachange deal that's been discussed, I'd be inclined to say that tru2way may not be worth the trouble.

    Also, 1TB drives are not THAT cheap. Especially if you want them to give the box away cheap/free, it's an unreasonable expectation. I agree that 160gb is too small, but simply upping that to 360 or 500 would be plenty for a basic system.

    6. As a variation of #6, I'd just like to see Tivo Desktop provide access to the full Tivo menus, as if I was sitting in front of the Tivo. (Playback need not be supported, but if slingbox-like functionality was built in that would be extra cool!) I would NOT expect the PC to act like a Tivo, that's what Nero LiquidTV is for, I just want remote control of the Tivo. I'd also like to see the same level of control through, so that it would be possible to fully manage a Tivo remotely.
  4. dtphonehome

    dtphonehome Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    Cable cos offer a lot for free, ie, HBO on demand if you get HBO. So it would be nice to get those free features that are in your package. As far as it adding costs and complexity, Tivo HAS to support cablecard right now for HD, so why should it cost more for tru2way?

    As for HD cost, I'm sure Tivo could procure 1TB drives for less than $50 in quantity (they retail for about $70 now when you catch them onsale). But yes, a 500 or 750 would be a big step in the right direction. The larger point I was tring to make about hardware costs is that there may have been a time when the parts of a tivo were costly (HD, video encoders, wifi, etc), but the cost has come down tremendously and if they were to give away the box (or "lend" it to you to give back if/when you cancel service), they would secure a much better revenue stream in the larger sub base.
  5. lew

    lew Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2002


    I doubt tivo could procure an av hard drive for $50. Manufacturers need a reliable supply of components. They don't want to "stock up" when a hard drive mfg is running a sale. They don't jump from one mfg to another whenever there is a "sale" going on. I suspect the number of hard drives tivo uses is substantially less then the number of hard drives used by other computer companies.

    Subsidizing hardware would require higher monthly subscription costs. What does phone service for an I-Phone cost? $100/month? The cost to ship an I-Phone is lower then cost to ship a tivo. I don't think tivo would do well if they doubled the subscription cost but reduced the price of hardware. I'm confident tivo did extensive market research on this issue.

  6. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004

    TiVo HD XL is a 1 TB TiVo DVR, you can buy it now. Or I can buy the 160 gig, get the 1TB drive on sale for 70$ and expand the TiVo myself and have a backup drive in case of new drive failure. This has worked well for me and no other DVR lets it be so easy to upgrade the drive.

    tru2way is being worked on, but it is not just TiVo making it happen. To tell TiVo to get tru2way out the door is like telling the tire plant to get Ford to put cars out faster.

    the new tivo search is a HME app on some set of servers - the series 4 with tru2way will have access to better hardware and also be designed for HD screens and incorporating the TiVo search. Frankly the longer they take over series 4 the better off we are.

    My TiVo HDs serve me well and do things they did not do when I bought them. To say TiVo is standing still cause it has the same menus is like saying car companies are standing still cause all their cars still use 4 tires for moving and steering. Some parts just work right
  7. jkalnin

    jkalnin Baad Spellor

    Jan 8, 2003
    Warrington, PA
    And some parts like the UI are badly falling behind, are totally under TiVo's care not some third party, and should have been upgraded one-two years ago. The fact that there are any SD screens on a TiVo HD is quite sad based on the price tag.
  8. dtphonehome

    dtphonehome Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    Not suggesting they "stock up" when there's a sale at Best Buy... just that the cost of components is low enough now that they can do much better than 160GB. Fine, I'll grant you that point, maybe 1TB is too expensive right now. But 500GB certainly isn't.

    As for the sub rate, I think you made my point by bringing up the iPhone. How many iPhones did they sell when they sold for $599? Not very many compared to the amount they sold when they went to a subsidized model. $12.95 a month x 24 months = $312. Get a million extra subs because the entry bar is so low, and that's a nice shot in the arm for a company worth barely a billion dollars, even when you factor in hardware costs (which are quite low now given the ubiquitous nature of video encoding hardware and PC components in general).

    Saying you can go and buy a bigger drive is useless when you're talking about the larger consumer electronics world. By virtue of posting on this message board, you already know more about electronics and computers than probably 95% of the TV-watching audience. Grandma isn't going to go out and buy a bigger drive, and then be pleased that she has a backup. (which, incidentally, is a big reason that tivo was a bigger phenomenon when you didn't have to go through the rigamarole of calling the cable co, getting the cards, installing them, and setting up the system, which still takes many expert users multiple phone calls in some cases)

    I agree, tru2way isn't ready for primetime yet, but it will be soon, and hopefully Tivo is incorporating it into the next gen tivo. They can at least brag about being ready, which can put pressure on the cable cos to get out their tru2way cablecards.

    And your car analogy is silly; this isn't cars, it's consumer electronics. The iPod worked great when it had a black and white screen and a scroll wheel, but as competition heated up they made big changes. What if Apple insisted that the iPod "just works right" and didn't improve it over the years?
  9. reneg

    reneg Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    • Like Vista? Thanks, but no thanks
    • HD also means more room for ads.
    • Tivos don't know who's watching what shows on what Tivos while trying to be smart about it. Not sure I want my Tivo recording R rated material on the kids Tivo.
    • I agree that the Tivos should be able to stream to each other and maintain compliance with the CCI byte.
    • I really don't want a master list. I don't care what the kids are recording on their Tivo and I'm pretty sure they don't want to watch the same shows I'm watching.
    • 1TB drives are standard on the Tivo HD XL.
    • One might argue that the "normal people" already have ethernet jacks all over the place.
    • From what I understand, this is currently not a sustainable business model
    • Kind of like the Nero LiquidTV/Tivo PC only better?
    • I'd rather see Tivo Desktop made open source.
  10. lew

    lew Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2002
    There are some people, for a variety of valid reasons, use a S3 with a SD TV set. It would be stupid to ignore those customers. S1 and S2 units can't display HD menus. Standardizing the screens has some advantages. I'm glad tivo isn't jumping in. Does anyone remember trying to use a new monitor with an old PC? Sometimes the PC didn't have enough "horse power" to do a good job handling higher resolution modes. Changing the display resolution was a common suggestion to improve the performance of an old PC.

    I have no interest in HD menus, if the result is sluggish performance. We can't add RAM to our tivos. We can't "upgrade the video card".

    Tivo is already trying out HD menus in the new search.
  11. dtphonehome

    dtphonehome Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    Wow, I'm really surprised at how many people are so resistant to change.. I'm curious if they would have been satisfied with a VCR before the Tivo came out? Not everything Tivo Incorporated does is gospel, people.
  12. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    That trumps all other enhancements for me. The CABLECard/Tuning Adapter architecture is a design that invites trouble and the cable operators have no incentive to make it work for TiVo owners. My setup is all good according to the TiVo diagnostics screens but I get A/V glitches on most channels, much more than I did with analog Series 2 video (which was almost never). The Time Warner installers and CRS's consider TiVo's an oddity and barely know what a Tuning Adapter is. I've swapped for a new HD (on warranty) but I'm afraid to ask Time Warner to check my signal strength and cabling. I'm afraid they will mess around and make things worse. My signal strengths and SNR's are already good on all channels. What are they going to improve?
  13. jkalnin

    jkalnin Baad Spellor

    Jan 8, 2003
    Warrington, PA
    Since when does HD menus = sluggish performance? That is just a sign of bad programming. As for people using HD TiVo on an SD set, well they have their output set on the TiVo as non-hd. This should also signal the TiVo to make the menus SD.

    As a designer I know people are always upset with UI change, even when it is for the better. Most people just don't like change on things that they are comfortable using.
  14. That Don Guy

    That Don Guy Now with more GB

    Mar 13, 2003
    Benicia, CA
    This is asking for problems involving "TiVo did not record this because it was found on another of your TiVos' To Do or Now Playing lists", especially if it is set to record on another TiVo that, for whatever reason, doesn't end up recording it after all.

    Until TiVo includes the ability to be able to watch a show on a different box with the same efficiency as if it was on the "target" box (e.g. no lags; fast forwarding and reverse work as if the show was on the target box), this is more trouble than it is worth.

    Tell me what happens when the price of the box is less than the price of the hard drive inside of it, and people buy the box, take the hard drive out for their own use, and toss the rest of the box into the dumpster.

    I do agree that Tru2Way would be a good thing - at least until/unless the cable companies are willing to supply users with a free box just for accessing things like OnDemand and PPVs. (Unfortunately, where I live, the cable company demands $7/month for something like that.)

    -- Don
  15. Hokie Soup

    Hokie Soup New Member

    Sep 13, 2005
    Washington DC
    I completely agree with the original post. I want my guide and all of the menus in high def. I realize Tivo will have to spend money to make this happen, but they really need to stay cutting edge. I will discontinue my month to month Tivo subrisctions if another DVR comes along with similar features, improved networking, and a slick HD interface. I love you Tivo, but step it up!!!!
  16. dtphonehome

    dtphonehome Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    So the Tivos can ping each other regularly to ensure that the recording is happening as it should. Really, most of the objections people are bringing up are quite trivial to resolve.

    Simple, take a payment equal to the value of the box when you sign up (ie, $100), and you get it back when you cancel service and send back the box, even if it's 10 years later. What's stopping anyone from tearing apart their cable co DVR and taking out the drive, even though they pay nothing for it?
  17. lew

    lew Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2002
    Tivo has a limited amount of resources. Some posters would prefer tivo spend those resources in other areas.

    Some of your suggestions have been around for years. Automatically use other tivos in your network to resolve conflicts is a suggestion/request that's been around for years. Sounds good until your kid decides to delete the show he didn't request. Sounds good until you realize recordings requested by an "alternate tivo" might be given a lower priority. The show you requested might get trumped by a show scheduled by your kid. The idea has merit. But there is another side of the issue.

    Increasing the size of the hard drives in new tivos, as the price of hard drives goes down is a given. Some posters are making speculations regarding the price tivo pays for drives. Tivo can't really increase the drive size in existing units unless the inventory of existing tivos is reduced and/or tivo is willing to have big sale on existing units.

    Tivo tried higher subscription rates in exchange for increased hardware subsidizes. I'm sure they wouldn't have changed if it worked. Tivo isn't really making money from operations. Posters who think tivo can increase the hardware subsidy, to furnish nearly free DVRs, without increasing the subscription rate are living in another world.

    Thread like this get started when a poster has some features they'd like to see implemented. Those posters aren't happy when other don't think those features are on the top of their list.

    HD menus might be nice but not if the resources spent could have gone to something more important. Improving the reliability of the external DVR expander for example. Solving the issues with analog signals with the S3 units. Some customers would rather tivo spend the resources on QAM mapping so they can use their tivo without cable cards. Other customers would like a MRV alternative that uses streaming or a "move" command so copy flagged channels can be handled.
  18. lew

    lew Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2002
    I'll give you an idea that makes sense but can/will never be implemented. Let tivo handle cable cards. One of the questions on guided setup will be if you need a cable card. That will result in tivo or the cable company (probably a fulfillment house) shipping the card. Tivo will take care of registering/activating the card with the cable company.

    I wonder how much cable cards cost (wholesale). Could tivo just ship a SA and a motorola card with the unit. Run guided setup and tivo would tell you which brand card to insert and would upload the required information to your cable company. Some systems a tivo employee might have to call a contact person at the cable company.

    Tivo wouldn't want to spend the money and the cable companies probably wouldn't agree.
  19. innocentfreak

    innocentfreak Well-Known Member

    Aug 25, 2001
    I definitely agree with most of the ideas.

    If you opt your Tivos in just like you have to for transfers, you should be able to browse and play shows off another Tivo as if they were on the same drive just like you can do the same thing on a networked drive on a computer.

    As far as handling scheduling conflicts, I agree but I would much rather have a higher tuner box with less season pass managers to resolve. At this point I would happily settle for a 4 tuner box even though I would prefer higher options.

    Tivo Desktop should be an extension of the Tivo and yes better than the liquid tv version. I agree it should work similar to an additional Tivo for playback similar to extenders on Windows Media Center. Instead I am looking at other options like WDTV 2 and building additional HTPCs.

    As far as increasing drive space this should be done incrementally every year even if they only jump to the 320gb drive like the RCN unit is supposed to be. At the same time it would be just more of a buffer if you were able to playback shows from any Tivo without waiting for Transfers.
  20. lessd

    lessd Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Thief, as you don't own your cable box, you rent it in this country.

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