So, will there be a NON-HD Series 3?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Jasoco, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. Jan 11, 2006 #61 of 117

    kjmcdonald New Member

    Sep 8, 2003
    Boston, MA


    Once you include an digital (ATSC or Cable Card) tuner, one of the things I think makes a series 3 a series 3, then you get HD by default. You won't save any costs by only outputing SD really. Though as someone else posted, you may be able to use a smaller disk drive.

    But really you won't have the choice of recording quality when recording digital channels. There's no digitizing and compression done by the Tivo, instead it just writes the digital data from the tuner directly to the disk drive, so I don't know the the disk could be as small as it is today (40hrs on 40GB.) It'd probably be like recording on 'highest' quality today. Still smaller but not on the same magnitude.

  2. Jan 11, 2006 #62 of 117

    kjmcdonald New Member

    Sep 8, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Probably was a mistake on thier part on your line or account all along. Or if you recently signed up it was a promo period?

    I mean if you don't nee dthe box then you can watch it without paying for it. Why would they let you do that? (Even if you were paying for it, it would have been there even if you weren't.)

  3. Jan 11, 2006 #63 of 117

    Jasoco New Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    We do get Digital Cable. We have a box. But it's in the Living room. But for some reason, all other TV's were able to get just those channels. (Not any of the higher numbered 200+ ones of course. But basically wnat people used to have before Digital Cable came along and they added 1000+ extra channels. You know, movie channels that were in the regular lower numbered set. (2-125)

    I assume it was a mistake. Forgot to turn it off. But now I miss it. And I don't want to put up with the same crap my friend dows having a Digital box as well as his TiVo and having his TiVo control the box. No damn way. I'm not about to do that stuff. I'll live without the movie channels for now until TiVo gets its act together and releases better boxes.
  4. Jan 11, 2006 #64 of 117

    MickeS Active Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    No, it was probably treated the same way "extended basic" line-up is treated, meaning they switched it on outside his house when he paid for it, instead of having it encrypted and decrypting in a box. It worked like that at my house too, until they decided to force everyone to use a descrambler box for movie channels instead.
  5. Jan 11, 2006 #65 of 117

    kjmcdonald New Member

    Sep 8, 2003
    Boston, MA


    What benefit would this updated S2 box be? No Cable card tuner? no ATSC (to tune in the digital SD OTA broadcasts?)

    So it might have an builtin ethernet port. I don't see that as a selling point. It might have MPG4 decoder to decode broadband video... That's a little better since this seems to be an avenue Tivo is persuing. Neither of these to me make it worth it. Maybe it's a slight incremental upgrade to the S2, but nothing to run out and buy.

    It might have more memory and faster processor to handle the HME stuff that's starting to take off, but that means it's closer to an 'S3 lite' then a 's2 plus'. The new processor alone means a true platform change.

    While I aggree there will be many mandy SD television sets and viewers left out there, I don't think the S3 is useless on an SD set. I actually think it has advantages once NTSC broadcasts disappear.

    You're right that people would be able to use a standalone ATSC tuner, or a digital cable box with this new 'S3 lite' Tivo, but who wouldn't really rather get rid of those and simplify their systems???
    So I can't see an 'S3 lite' without the ATSC/CC tuner. If the only thing it's missing from the S3 is true HD output... Well I really don't think that will save enough on manufacturing to make up for development, testing, marketing, and the price difference they'd have to seel it at.

    Then again, the way you keep repeating yourself like this, I wouldn't be surprised if you were maybe privy to some info you're not supposed to share??? ;) inquiring minds want to know???

  6. Jan 11, 2006 #66 of 117

    kjmcdonald New Member

    Sep 8, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I don't know that you will have any choice.

    Analog NTSC SD broadcasts are going away. Period.

    Analog Cable channels will disappear too (though the cableco will say when no the FCC). The Cable Co's need teh bandwidth from the analog channels to make room for more digital channels, plus they need to stop DirectTv and Dish from running ads that scream 'Not all the channels on digital cable are digital'.

    That doesn't mean you'll have to buy a new TV.

    You'll have to either:

    1. Buy an ATSC set-top box for your TV and go Over the air.


    2. Switch to digital cable (though when it's the only thing the cableco offers the price might come down.) If you don't want to rent the box, there will probably be cablecard digital cable boxes that you can purchase.

    ATSC is going to be the only choice for over the air. It will still be able to tune in a (digital not analog) *SD* picture for your SD TV set. Digital cable won't be that far behind as the only cable choice in many areas also I beleive.

    Actually if you don't want to rent a digital box, buying a new SD (or ED) digital TV with a cablecard slot might be cheaper than buying a digital cable box with cablecard slot.

    Especially with the FCC mandate that every device sold with an NTSC tuner has to have an ATSC tuner, I just can't see the resonaing behind another S2 NTSC only Tivo box.

  7. Jan 11, 2006 #67 of 117

    audiocrawford New Member

    Oct 19, 2005
    I agree with all of your statements - my situation is quite similar. I have a 27" Sony Wega, a 140-hour TiVo, a DVD-recorder, analog cable, and a home wired network set up so I can stream between the office and the living room. And that's enough for me, media whore that I am (at least among my peers).

    The DVD thing is probably the most signifigant thing that is keeping me from caring about watching/recording broadcast and cable TV in HDTV. All of my favorite shows, save a few 80's sitcoms (and most of them are finally coming out as well) are available uncut on DVD. I love TV on DVD collections - I buy an average of two of them for every theatrical film I buy (and I'm including those cheappie $7 Wal-Mart buys in the latter category as well).

    I don't need to watch The View, Larry King, or the Tonight Show. in any better quality than I do now. Although I watch Lost every week, I know at the end of the season I'm going to pick up the DVD set and watch it all over again, so I'm just fine watching it in High or Best mode in regular old analog cable quality. For the stuff I do archive digitally (TV movies that aren't on DVD, classic films on TCM), they won't look any better in HDTV anyway.

    I honestly can't think of one compelling reason to shell out the money now, or in the immediate future, to "upgrade" my experience. I watch a lot of TV, but for what I watch I am totally satisfied with my one-tuner SD TiVo and my current set-up. I have more TV than I could ever watch at my disposal each day, so even the prospect of multiple tuners doesn't excite me. And if they can't convince me, I know they are going to have a hard time convincing Joe Public he needs it too.

  8. Jan 11, 2006 #68 of 117
    Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

    Mar 29, 2005
    33% of the viewing public is analog cable. That's 36 million fricking households, so show a little respect. SDTV is also going away in the future, so is my 7 year old refrigerator- someday....

    If Cable puts the ball in motion to them getting a box, then the consumer will also look at Satellite- Will cable force the issue on them? Not unless they are out of their minds- bandwidth constraints or not.

    However fast you calculate the Cable analog transition, it is still a huge segment for the next 7 years of CE products- maybe longer. Even if Tivo gets a fraction of that piece of the pie (where by the way there is virtually no DVR competition), they will be sitting pretty.
  9. Jan 11, 2006 #69 of 117

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

    Dec 3, 2000
    Part of my argument here went somewhat unstated and just implied.

    These people have existed for as long as there's been a TiVo capable of working for them already, so why suddenly do all the people who haven't bought a TiVo yet suddenly become interested in buying one just because a series 3 unit was for sale?

    They're not buying a TiVo now.

    It's time to move on to the higher end customers who've shown they're more than willing to spend extra money on unnecessary things. ;)
  10. Jan 11, 2006 #70 of 117

    MickeS Active Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    The problem is IMO that they haven't even understood what TiVo can do for them, other than "pause live TV", which is about the only thing TiVo has advertised...

    I'm one of the 33% who only have analog cable, and I have it BECAUSE I have TiVo.
  11. Jan 11, 2006 #71 of 117

    brenrher Registered? Really?

    Nov 22, 2003
    I suspect the S2 will survive in parallel with any S3 for quite a number of years. There's a large potential subscription base in rural America for whatever the least costly and most available option is (for example, ATSC SD). Many rural areas suffer from either lack of TV quantity as well as quality some of the time. Urban areas offer competitive entertainment choices to TV; rural areas do not. People make decisions about "quality" time in part based on how far they have to drive to "sample" alternatives to staying at home. ATSC alternatives will be appealing due to lower costs as will TiVO S2s...timeshifting allows the control of "quality" shows as well as time.

    As for why I didn't keep a Comcast DVR, quite frankly, I don't know after having it and using it for several months. It seemed, limited. No where near as much fun as TiVo. But nothing I can put my finger on.
  12. Jan 12, 2006 #72 of 117

    tgibbs New Member

    Sep 22, 2002
    Here in Boston, Comcast has already greatly reduced what you can get without a box. So people with analog TVs will get a digital cable box, which will have the option to output SD RF for legacy TVs. It will be another selling point for cable. Don't want to have to buy a new TV? Get cable!
  13. Jan 12, 2006 #73 of 117

    interactiveTV New Member

    Jul 2, 2000
    I'm not sure that number is right, Justin.

    I show (
    110 million US TV Households
    73 million are cable
    26 million of those are digital cable

    So I get about 42% of TV households HAVE analog cable (a percentage of those also have DBS but iirc, the overlap is something like 2%)...

    and simple subtraction gets me 47 million analog cable households

    These are the latest numbers I know of. If you have newer, please share.


    P.S. "customer" counts the household, not the installation. Some people have one digital cable install and analog on other TVs which are primarily used for VCR or DVD viewing. I had found that percentage once but can't locate it now. At least one digital cable install in the household = "customer"
  14. Jan 12, 2006 #74 of 117

    mec1991 Cranky old coot

    Nov 5, 2004
    Back home...
    My point, such as it was, was that our government cannot (will not?) do anything about fixing the public school system in this country nor ensure that citizens (you know, the legal residents) have basic health care without being forced to tie up the ERs, but they can make sure everyone has access to crap like Survivor. Economy or not, it just seems like our priorities are all wrong.
  15. Jan 12, 2006 #75 of 117

    kjmcdonald New Member

    Sep 8, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Woah. Sorry if anything sounded disrespectful. I could be wrong, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I didn't mean any disrespect.

    First 'SDTV' isn't ever going away. Not any time soon. NTSC analog SDTV is. but there will always be 4:3 480i digital SDTV out there.

    From what I've read here the main reason cited for people to not have digital cable, was 1) it wasn't offered, or 2) it costs more. It will take time for Cable to fix #1. But in my area at least I've seen the cable company regularly make 'standard' things that used to cost more. When the cable companies decide they don't want analog in areas where digital is available (probably when they get a certain percentage of customers to pay to switch themselves) then I think they'll convert everyone else, and 'Basic Cable' will just be digital - note that's not to say the price won't increase over time also but that will probably happen anyway.

    I'm praying that things like FiberTV from verizon will put some control on cable rate hikes. Similar to how DSL (and now fiberDSL) has kept cable internet prices pretty stationary (even though bandwidth has increased. cost per Mbit has dropped isn't competition great?)

    I don't know why it is, but there is a significant cost for a company to not only design, but build stock, track inventory, and support an additional model of a product. Each additional part number on the price list has a cost. and while I'm sure there is a market for a Tivo that costs less than what the S3 will start at, I'm not sure that it's worth it to Tivo to make a third model. Not when 1) they can keep the S2 around, 2) they know they'll be dropping the price on the S3 eventually anyway.

    I guess I could see an S2 with a very minor refresh to add ethernet, but using the same processor and hardware. Since the network guided setup has been added that makes sense. I just don't see that as an amazing change. A model like that would definitely just replace the S2.

    If there were any more significant changes than that, I can't see how it would be valuable to base it on an S2 at all. It seems easier to strip an S3 down. but I don't see much that can be removed that will generate much cost savings. 'HD' isn't an expensive thing to add... Digital Television is.

    When people ask for the HD to be removed, do you interpret that as asking for the all the Digital Television technology (including Digital SDTV?) to be removed? That could save costs. A box like that would need to have more inputs which would increase costs some but it would cost less still. I wonder about few things though:

    Why would Tivo do this if in a little more than a year from now they won't be able to sell it?
    If it does have the ATSC Digital TV tuner required to be sold for more than a year, how much less could it really be sold for?

    If Tivo knows that in a year the S3 (which will work fine for all these same potential customers.) will cost say half what it starts at (or less - leaving less room on the price list for a middle
    machine, why bother?

    When the S2 will still be good for that year, why bother doing the development unless it's extremely trivial (and therefore no big advantage?)

    Of the 36 million potential customers, how many would be interested in tivo? how many of those could afford it? How many of those would be willing to buy a box this upcoming year that they know will be not just obsolete, but *useless* at some point in the future? Even if that future is very far off, when the sales person says "yep you can get that one, but it's not going to work some day, or you could get this one for a little more and it will work for much much longer" many people will either not buy it at all, or will scrape together the money for the higher priced one. On a purchase this big it's been my experience that people don't like do it if they know or think they could be throwing their money away. And those customers who would buy it anyway, wouldn't they rather buy a $49.95 S2 instead?

    Please don't' get me wrong. I'm not saying there aren't a lot of potential customers. Or that these customers are any less deserving, or that for some reason these customers deserve to be forced to pay the same higher price that the other customers who need the new stuff are willing to pay.

    All I'm saying is I'm not sure it makes sense for Tivo to spend the money, and do the work. I don't see that the benefits for Tivo outweigh the risks.

  16. Jan 12, 2006 #76 of 117

    lajohn27 Fanboi.. So what?

    Dec 29, 2003

    I can tell you I'm not privy to anything.. That's for sure. :) But it only makes sense, the box is already spec'd out, the engineering is done.

    Ask yourself this - Why did TIVO change from the earlier 240 series S2 to the 540 series S2 (with nightlight)? For one I imagine that lower manufacturing costs played a part, re-energizing the product line with a vibrant new design.. ok sure..
    But the basic guts are the same.

    The TGC Taiwan box only makes sense in the North American analog market. The engineering is already done. The southeast Asia production means lower costs. And besides, it will control a cablebox just as well in 2009 as it does today.

    For the vast majority of consumers who have a settop box (cable or satellite) hooked up to a standard definition television - the existing S2 platform works today and will continue to work well past 2009.

    There is a deadline of March 2007 to put an ATSC tuner in new TIVOs on store shelves. But I wouldn't expect to see a low end TIVO with ATSC till next year's CES. [And in theory, TIVO could get out of that requirement by just removing all tuners from their device and making the analog box an S-VHS/RCA In/Out box.. that would require a STB.]

    In the meantime, offer the updated S2 platform in North America, energize the product line.. realize some economies thru the TiVO Greater China deal... .. thus lowering production costs thru the end of the S2 platform lifecycle. (Lets say January or February 2007...)

    Recently higher capacity TIVOs (140hr, 300 Hour Humax, 80 hr DVD Humax units) have been discontinued. That might be because they are streamlining the product line and leaving higher capacity boxes to the aftermarket.


    The last time we saw the higher capacity boxes discontinued was just before TIVO changed from the old design 240 series S2 to the 'nightlight style' 540 series. So this could be preparing the sales channels for new product in Q1 / 2006.

    It makes some degree of sense. Admittedly.. not all things that make sense.. 'happen'.

  17. Jan 12, 2006 #77 of 117

    kjmcdonald New Member

    Sep 8, 2003
    Boston, MA
    True. Remind me again what the changes were other than ethernet onboard?
    How much do we know?

    Exactly the guts are the same. There's ethernet. cool. but it's not faster or more powerful or has any other features that I know of. So all I've been saying is that it's not going to be the 'step-up' I've gotten the impression some people are looking for. Noone reading this forum who has a tivo is likely to go out and buy a TGC? or am I missing something?

    Yes but they won't be able to sell it for more than 14 months or so in the US. Assuming it really isn't changed much, and has the same hardware as the current 540 plus ethernet, then I could see them importing them as a replacement for the S2 for the nest 14 months. I mean if they're that close and you're going to make TGC's anyway don't keep the old S2 around?

    On the other hand if the software is really different, and your time limit is 14 months. Is it worth it?
    If there's a market for a low end model, then I'd suggest spending that time figuring out what to leave out of a S3 to make an S3-lite, and doing the software for that (which wouldn't be much software I'd imagine if it's basically the S3 platform). You'd probably get that ready to ship just in time to stop making today's S2's.

    I totally aggree that Tivo can benefit from the Asian and south american manufacturing. I wouldn't be surprised if S3's end up being made there. Getting the manufacturing advantage doesn't require selling TGC's does it?

    It will work. But so will today's S2. How much better will a TGC be than an S2?
    How many people will spen dthe money on something that they know has an end of life coming?

    The deadline I've talked anough about. I think it leaves enough time to either let the S3 price fall, and save the expense of any development, or to develop an S3 lite version that will support all the HME processing and Broadband content that Tivo's revenues are going to rely on in the future.
    Tiv wants to add even more of this local processing stuff I beleive, and it's going to be in ther best interest to get as many boxes out there with the power and memory require to make sure the consumer has a good experience.

    The No-Tuner Tivo, is on the surface an interesting idea. But it wouldn't be good for anyone who is using an NTSC antenna today. Or anyone who even has a New digital tv with the ATSC tuner built-in. I mean they got the tuner built-in to the tv so that they wouldn't need to get an ATSC STB right? Even the majority of the analog cable customers I would think wouldn't want it, I be tthe majority of them get along with no cable STB at all today, and they don't want one either.

    So who would want a tivo with only basic inputs, and IR/serial controls. I mean it wouldn't even have an RF input because that would require an NTSC tuner. How many old analog cable boxes even have composite outputs?

    And I bet some of those will make enough sense to make them happen. The S2 may quietly get an ethernet port. The S3-lite, or S3 for external tuners, maybe developed. The manufacturing probably will be outsourced to asia and south america, and the savings will benefit Tivo.

    I'll just have to aggree to disagree with you on wether 14 months is worth the effort of productizing it for North America.

  18. Jan 12, 2006 #78 of 117

    MickeS Active Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Sure. But that's another matter for another forum.
  19. Jan 12, 2006 #79 of 117

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    That was about the percentage TiVo had on their pie chart on that inverstors powerpoint in which they said they would be going after the analog market (edit)in 2006, especially since there was no competition to speak of in the analog DVR market.

    We might see the TGC design here but only due to lower cost to TiVo or some other type of deal. not because just adding an etehrnet port is going to significantly boost sales. two tuners is what would boost sales on a series 2, I think, but is it worth the work considering they could not use the current tuner hardware for very long.
  20. Jan 12, 2006 #80 of 117

    MickeS Active Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    I really hope you mean 2006 and not 2007... ;)

    Why has it taken them this long to decide to focus more on the analog market?

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