TiVo Loses 163,000 Subscribers In October ‘08 Quarter

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by TampaDon, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    you siad that was more than the Tivo fee and 1.99$ cable card fee. My direct question is were there are other fees such as the digital outlet fee others have just posted about? Not until this post did you say directly there are no other fees.

    but yes this was a general warning for all to check the cable bill and see what all fees they put on the bill.
     
  2. Jan 1, 2009 #102 of 131
    F. Jones

    F. Jones Gorilla at Large

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    Here's how TiVo lost me as a subscriber...terrible customer service. I have a Series 1, which I realize is old, but I've been paying the monthly fee and TiVo has not lived up to their end of the bargain. First Suggestions stopped working and now the programming data isn't being downloaded properly.

    I thought, "Well, the box is old, and I'm going to upgrade to HD, so let's just give them one last chance (despite the fact that they don't deserve one based on their antagonistic treatment of their most loyal (and previously fanatic) customer base), and see what the new tech has to offer."

    Apparently, I can't go HD and continue to use satellite. "Well, OK, I need to get that upgraded anyway to go HD, I'll go with the new AT&T bundle and maybe save some money."

    Buuuuut, it doesn't work with that either.

    So, while I have dearly loved TiVo for years and gone on about it endlessly to bored friends many times, they've just made it too difficult (and economically unfeasible as well as morally indefensible) to continue to feed them money to make my life more unpleasant.

    If they had some convenient and/or reasonably-priced means of continuing with them, I would seriously consider it, but they can't treat me like garbage and make things more difficult for me at the same time. I'd have to be a nut to stick with them.

    So, I'll be getting some crappy DVR and my friends will have to listen to me moan about how it blows compared to my old TiVo, but at least I'll save time and money.

    Just providing an anecdotal account of one out 163,000.
     
  3. Jan 1, 2009 #103 of 131
    wkearney99

    wkearney99 Bill Kearney

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    Put the blame where it belongs, with the carriers. Use a content carrier that supports CableCard and you're set.
     
  4. Jan 1, 2009 #104 of 131
    F. Jones

    F. Jones Gorilla at Large

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    I'm not assessing blame on this particular issue, only explaining why I'm dumping TiVo. TiVo could have built up a reservoir of good will in me that might have forced my allegiance towards TiVo when it came to upgrading to HD, but since they didn't, this was the potentially camel-paralyzing straw, even if it wasn't technically their problem.

    I suppose the larger point I'm making is the obvious one...good customer service breeds loyalty, while terrible customer service minimizes patience. If I'd felt they weren't trying to push me away, I'd jump through whatever hoops were necessary to stick with them.
     
  5. Jan 1, 2009 #105 of 131
    wkearney99

    wkearney99 Bill Kearney

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    They built up plenty. Now that HD is available they did chose to make a unit that wouldn't work with set top boxes. Given the complexities and costs involved that's not a surprise. There's no way to translate that into some sort of 'loyalty' argument. That's just nonsensical.
     
  6. Jan 1, 2009 #106 of 131
    F. Jones

    F. Jones Gorilla at Large

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    Not with me. They've been purposely irritating since last August and that tends to wear a person down.

    Why is it any more complex that doing what they've been doing for years? Not trying to be snarky, just asking the question. Also you're completely missing the larger point, but since you don't seem interested in it, I'll just let it drop.
     
  7. Jan 1, 2009 #107 of 131
    samo

    samo New Member

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    On the bright side of things, since you are satellite user you will be pleasantly surprised how good of the DVR you will be getting. Both DSS providers have DVRs that put series 1 TiVo to shame. DirecTV's DVR HR-21 is at least on par with series 3 TiVo if not better. Dish's VIP722 is the best HD DVR on the market today. I think TiVo CS did you a favor by forcing you to use cheaper and better alternative.
     
  8. Jan 2, 2009 #108 of 131
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Exactly how did they fail in this respect? Indeed, although I am not suggesting it was an altruistic move, they made a very dangerous and ultimately costly decision to engineer and release the S3 when they did. Admittedly, not to have done so would have been tantamount to suicide, but having done so they are now in a very difficult situation which might have been much more economically favorable had they NOT released the S3 class TiVos. OTOH, they would have missed out on 3 years worth of revenues and a lot of marketing momentum, which would very likely have been fatal.

    Technically? What are you suggesting they should have done? AT&T's U-Verse is proprietary. Had they produced a DVR without a signed contract from AT&T, then AT&T would have sued them out of existence, and not a single box would ever have been allowed to carry service. In addition, even had they gotten away with making an AT&T U-Verse compatible box, it would ONLY have been compatible with AT&T's U-Verse. It wouldn't work with any other system. Making a multi-syste box would have resulted in a box considerably more expensive than the S3, and you are already complaing about how much the S3 costs.

    The same is true of Satellite services. If they ever manufactured a box compatible with Dish or DirecTV without a signed contract, the company in question would sue TiVo for their last red cent, and would refuse to turn on even a single one of the boxes.

    How are they trying to push you away? They've made the most broadly supported DVR available to anyone - even more broadly supported than Scientific Atlanta and Motorola DVRs. The S3 class TiVos work with virtually every CATV system in the USA, and work with every single OTA broadcast station.

    Again, what do you suggest they shoud have done differently? There was nothing - repeat NOTHING within their power they could have done to support even one single additional subscriber.
     
  9. Jan 2, 2009 #109 of 131
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    How have they been "purposely irritating"?

    How have they been not "doing what they've been doing for years"? About what change are you complaining?

    I don't know whether he is (missing the larger point) or not, but I certainly am. I have no idea what behavior of TiVo's customer support has changed so radically for the worse since August, so I have no idea what your larger point would be.
     
  10. Jan 2, 2009 #110 of 131
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    'Not from what I have heard. How easy is it to replace the internal hard drive on a Dish or DirecTV DVR with a larger one? How easy is it to copy the programming across one's home LAN to a video server or to copy to Blue Ray or DVD? How easy is it to hack the internal drive and add 3rd party applications? What is their substitute for Suggestions,and how does it work? What is their substitute for Wishlist searches and how does it work? How easy is it to schedule recording for a program not in the guide? How easy is it to schedule programming without using the stupid On Screen Guide? When searching for content, how fine-grained are the filters? Can one include a specific director while excluding a specific actor? Can one search by keywords from the guide data? How easy is it to serve music, pictures, and video from a local server? What about local weather reports, local traffic alerts, RSS feeds? What online video services (i.e. Netflix, Amazon On Demand, etc) are available? Can one browse You Tube? Can one order Pizza from them?

    Oh, wow! They have devices which are more powerful and sophisticated than one designed 11 years ago. Be still my heart. What's more, I'm skeptical of the statement. Even TiVo was not able to really outshine the S1 until the introduction of the S3.

    'Not from what I've seen. By the way, how much does it cost to buy the Dish VIP722, and how good is it's CableCard support? What 3rd party applications are available to load on the VIP722?
    I think TiVo CS did you a favor by forcing you to use cheaper and better alternative.[/QUOTE]
     
  11. Jan 2, 2009 #111 of 131
    samo

    samo New Member

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    LOL! No. But if your intent is to watch and record TV they work better than TiVo. I'm not going to address line by line all the garbage that TiVo added to what used to be clean interface at one time nor will I point out that some of the features that you consider unique to TiVo have been implemented long time ago on DSS DVRs, but one of the TiVo features that you accidentally omitted - additional ads is definitely not present.
    OP will be switching from Series 1. He is not used to ordering pizza from TiVo. So he will be pleasantly surprised how nice DSS DVRs are as to compare with what he had for all these years and was paying $13 monthly for.
    OP has satellite. No need for flaky cable cards. As for the price, for the new users both DSS providers will give you HD DVR for free, old users need to call and perhaps negotiate a little, but generally you can get them for under $200.
     
  12. Jan 2, 2009 #112 of 131
    berkshires

    berkshires New Member

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    While TiVo did add many marginal things over the years, I expect the addition of Netflix (and youtube)* will change calculations for many people.

    * Generically - streaming and mp4 capability (incl. HD) ... coupled with an all you can eat type subscription model...

    I see Netflix as the AOL of internet video in that, if you can remember AOL vs Prodigy or Compuserve, AOL pioneered the subscription models that ultimately led to its own explosion and ultimately the internet's.
     
  13. Jan 2, 2009 #113 of 131
    fallingwater

    fallingwater New Member

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    Dish's scheme for unlimited exchangeable outboard HDD storage for $40 makes hacking essentially an obsolete hassle.

    How easy is it to record DVDs on a standalone recorder not part of a computer? Will it ever be possible to record Blu-ray discs on a standalone Blu-ray recorder?

    ReplayTV offered a HDD sized recording buffer instead of Suggestions. IMHO, a far better option. (YM of course V!)

    LG offered a 6 hour rolling recording buffer which isn't dropped when changing channels and from which any part can be recorded to HDD and subsequently edited and then recorded on a DVD. MUCH better than either ReplayTV's (undeveloped) capabilities OR Suggestions. (YMV!)

    Manual works without even a Green Card! (YMV!) :D

    What's stupid about an EPG? ReplayTV's was always easier to use than TiVo's and offers more options even now. Why can't TiVo search from the EPG while a program is playing instead of making a viewer interrupt a program? THAT'S STUPID! :thumbsdown::thumbsdown::thumbsdown: (YMV!)

    As you yourself said :p:
    Apples are shinier than oranges. TiVo S1 & S2 are still fine for recording analog standard-def using a cable or satellite STB and are (figuratively) dirt cheap. :)

    ReplayTV's 5XXX was 'better' (more TiVolike in its search and prioritizing capabilities) than 4XXX (and earlier) ReplayTVs, but 4XXX has capabilities that neither RTV5XXX or TiVo offers. Ultimately it all depends on what a user wants. One size does not fit everybody! (YMV!) :up::thumbsdown:
     
  14. Jan 2, 2009 #114 of 131
    F. Jones

    F. Jones Gorilla at Large

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    Thanks for giving me some hope and direction, samo. I've been reading stuff for the past couple of days, and I'm as confused as ever. So much of this is completely subjective (who would want to order pizza from their TV?) that it's difficult to figure out what to commit to...and it tends to be a pretty big commitment.

    It used to be easy. I wanted TiVo, so I'd just adopt a plan that worked with that. Now I'm looking for the inverse of what TiVo offers, and while that gives me a lot more in the way of options, options require a lot of knowledge I don't have. I'm not a video- or audiophile, so I don't want to learn a bunch of acronyms or crack open the case (although I'm technically savvy enough to do this, I don't consider the ability to tinker with a box to be of any value...it's just TV, so I set a priority on convenience)...I just want basically what I had before, only in HD. I'll check out the Dish DVR, thanks.

    lrhorer, my beef with TiVo is based on their recent horrible customer service for Series 1 users. Suggestions stopped working in August (so updating to a DVR without them is a zero sum game at this point) and rather than acknowledging the problem, TiVo went into denial/stealth mode and sent people on wild goose chases and refused to answer whether or not they were going to fix the problem, or even think about the fixing the problem.

    It took going to the BBB, contacting other outside consumer sites and letters to the CEO before the phone reps would even admit there was a problem. In my case, this was (after months of banging my head against the wall) resolved in a satisfactory manner, but right after that, guide data downloads started failing and TiVo's stance is the same place as it was when Suggestions failed. Suggestions are still not working, by the way, but I was given a partial refund. Actually, Suggestions would be slightly less important if there a free space indicator on the box, but that's another sore spot for me and also ancient history.

    Now, I understand the Series 1 is old tech and there are problems with legacy hardware. I cut TiVo slack for months because I had previously been such a fanboy. My beef is with the customer service aspect, more so than the technical one.

    This was a perfect opportunity to tell their Series 1 users "Look, we know you've gotten a lot of good years out your machines, but it's become a burden for us to maintain them, so here's a coupon/deal/whatever to help bring you into the 21st century and some information about the way the television world has changed since you made your last purchase."

    They could have laid out a bunch of options and eased our way out of the Stone Age. Instead they give us the runaround and insult us. That's the kind of thing that drives people off, which is why I posted in this thread, as an explanation.

    As for the tech, if the output going to the TV is standardized, then I don't understand why running that, from any source, through a third party device wouldn't work. If the TV can see the picture, then TiVo should.

    Is the problem with satellite legal or technical?
     
  15. Jan 2, 2009 #115 of 131
    doug6501

    doug6501 New Member

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    that is crazy. i've tried time warner's, cox's, and the latest AT&T and hate them all. the tivo system is clean and to the point. get me my shows and get there fast. neatly organize my shows and keep all the stupid slow menus. cable dvr's get kudos from people that have never touched a tivo - that's all.
     
  16. Jan 3, 2009 #116 of 131
    ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    TiVo has presented opportunities to upgrade by moving lifetime subs at many instances already. There were more when the series 2 first came out as well. How many times do they need to offer deals? As for the runaround, if TiVo had no idea what was going wrong, how could they give any info other then "We have no idea". Not much of a script for the CSR. I poked around in those threads and noted that TiVo employees had a distinct presence in them and were getting info and doing what they could to recreate the problems and look for the cause. So why call a CSR when you have a higher level TiVo employee posting what they know and where they are in troubleshooting the issue in a forum you know about?

    Yes - the legal problem of needing the permission of DirectTV or Dish before getting access to their unencrypted digital stream or else the technical hurdle of making a DVR that could record from component output instead plus having to control the DBS receiver for less than 1,000$ kept TiVo or anyone from making a 3rd party marketable DVR. If you can not see that then there are still high level aspects of how a DVR works that you need to have a deeper understanding of. Displaying that picture and recording that picture to a hard drive in a digital format that can be used later are two very different things.
    Plus no matter how well you engineer such a component recorder it will always be second best to the DBS DVR that simply writes the original digital stream right to the hard drive.

    TiVo finally has a contract with DirecTV again now that they are under new ownership. That new TiVo Hd recorder will likely be out in 2009 but no one knows what it will be like yet. So right now if you go DBS then your only choice is to use the DVR that they supply. I had a friend drop by this evening and he was thinking to dive deeper into HD. I told him I liked my TiVo HD and cable a lot and had no regrets, especially with all the added features of TiVo I like to use. I also told him that DISH likely would end up having the best HD selection nad if he went that route to simply get the DISH DVR and he would likely be happy with it. Seemed a more rational set of reasons then I called the CSRs and they could not tell me all about something TiVo Had no idea about as to what was causing the issue on their 2 versions ago hardware.
     
  17. Jan 3, 2009 #117 of 131
    nrc

    nrc Cracker Soul

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    The fact that you would claim that about a DVR with no dual live buffers and a 50 "series link" limit, along with other issues, suggests that your viewpoint isn't common or subjective. If DTV actually allows TiVo to implement something similar to the S3 a lot of DTV costumers will gladly pay extra to come back to TiVo.
     
  18. Jan 3, 2009 #118 of 131
    nrc

    nrc Cracker Soul

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    It's both, but ultimately it's really a business problem.

    Capturing digital output directly via HDMI is possible, but not allowed according HDMI licensing.. That means that you would have to digitize and compress the HD stream from your component video outputs. This is possible, but the hardware is expensive and the resulting files are still quite large.

    That means a very expensive DVR that you still have to connect to another set-top box with IR blasters. What Tivo has found is that even if people might prefer TiVo over a cable or sat company DVR, there is a limit to premium they'll pay or how much complication they'll tolerate.

    The bottom line is that TiVo doesn't think that there are enough customers out there who will pay for a non-integrated DVR to justify the cost to design, build, and support one.
     
  19. Jan 3, 2009 #119 of 131
    F. Jones

    F. Jones Gorilla at Large

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    That was then, this is now. The Series 2s and Series 3s didn't provide any desirable benefit to me, so I didn't upgrade. Simple capitalism.

    Speaking of which, note that TiVo has been getting "free money" from me for quite some time. I didn't take the lifetime service and I haven't made them eat any costs by buying their hardware at a loss. They've picked up their $13/month from me without complaint and only an imperceptible drain on their infrastructure.

    They should be treating people in this situation like kings. Or at least like human beings.

    You've misrepresented TiVo's response. The phone techs said "It's not our problem" and told people to chase down Sony and Phillips. That was their official response.

    There was no official word from TiVo about the problem itself, which is even less information than "We have no idea". There was no acknowledgment that they even knew the problem existed. Whether or not they were ever planning on fixing it, or even thinking about fixing it, they should have said so.

    If you have a contract with someone to provide a service and then they stop providing it without explanation, then it comes down to how much the customer is willing to take from the party in violation of the contract before they hit their breaking point. "We're sorry, we're working on it" would have been enough to keep me happy a good while longer.

    Because none of these people on the forum are speaking in an official capacity (and it took months before they said anything of interest). Their opinions on this topic are valueless. Additionally, if their customer service model is to leak a few cryptic, unconfirmed comments on an unofficial forum the vast majority of their customers have never heard of, they can't expect the results to be positive. Requiring their customers to fumble around in the land of "How is babby formed?" reflects on the kind of service a customer can reasonably expect in the future, and the quality of that service is part of the consideration when making a significant service-based purchase.

    Getting the phone techs to say one sentence instead of another would have been trivial, but they didn't think the customer base was important enough to do that. That gives one a pretty clear picture of the quality of their customer service.

    If you think my actions are irrational, then there are still low level aspects of how capitalism works that you need to have a deeper understanding of. But thanks for highlighting another reason to dump TiVo.

    Anyway, the point of the thread is to discuss the loss of customers. Poor customer service is a well-established reason for customer loss, which is sad, because it's one of the easiest things to fix.
     
  20. Jan 4, 2009 #120 of 131
    ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

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    so what did you want then. You could at any point pay the money to get a new TiVo and transfer the monthly sub over. But what the hey keep paying 13 a month for years versus a one time 199$ fee years ago and then complain about paying the 13 a month for old hardware because you never bothered to get the new hardware and simply switch the sub to it.

    so sure, irrational consumers are a hard component to fit into capitalistic models and that is a deeper experience of knowing the artful way of adding that to the spreadsheets used to determine the best business model.

    The TiVo employees in the threads said "we are sorry, we are working to figure it out" Too bad they did not take that 13 they got from you and others and raise it to 20 a month so they could spend money on the best CSR team in the World and add all those other irrational customers willing to pony up 20$ a month as well. Not doing sop was clearly their downfall :rolleyes:
     

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