TIVO: The slow but virtually certain death of a great brand...

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by hhempel, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. hhempel

    hhempel New Member

    Sep 30, 2008


    I have been fan #1 of TIVO from day #1. Ask any of my friends & family...

    I have happily purchased more than 20 TIVOs with the expensive lifetime subscriptions (many as gifts). I was even one of the apparently very few that recently bought a new "TIVO Premiere" with a lifetime subscription.

    I think that the TIVO DVR programming (especially web-based) is fantastic and I love the UI particularly in comparison with most "cableCo" DVRs.

    I have blindly stuck with both Charter Cable AND TIVO (in lieu of better programming on DirectTV) for the last 5 years hoping/believing that TIVO would take advantage of the enormous marketing lead that TIVO enjoyed as one of the first movers in the DVR/Digital Media space. I fully expected that TIVO would "lead the revolution" and evolve it's products ahead of the others.

    Reluctantly, I have finally admitted to myself that nothing could be further from the truth.

    TIVO products (and the company) are stuck in a rut and I am dumbfounded by the HUGE opportunity that TIVO has apparently squandered while more compelling products and strategies make TIVO increasingly irrelevant...

    Recently, TIVO announced their "biggest, boldest box ever"... After 12 months of waiting, we get a bigger hard drive (duh) and 4 tuners (digital only)! Whoopidy F'ing Dew! For $500 PLUS $300 lifetime service! Completely ridiculous!

    There are 100s of examples of obviously missing product/service features in the current TIVO lineup that support my recent conclusions about the ill fate of TIVO;

    The mere fact that TIVO is still "transferring" the files between it's machines in my home to allow me to watch shows in multiple rooms is the most blatant and obvious example of how truly out of touch the TIVO engineering group has become.

    It is technically trivial to enable LAN attached TIVOs with the ability to stream to each other and "pause in one room to resume in another room"... While rumors abound that this feature is "coming soon", the feature is already at least 2 years late.

    And don't get me started about the ability for my TIVO box to support multiple codec’s to allow me to stream my various homemade digital content from my media server to my TIVO boxes. It is truly incomprehensible that TIVO has not added this functionality.

    REALLY!! How is it possible that some product mgr at TIVO can't simply download the product specs for Roku, Popcorn, XBMC, AppleTV, etc. etc. etc and GET A CLUE???? And oh by the way, those well rec'd products are typically under $100!

    Seriously, can someone at TIVO do a Google search for UpnP or DLNA??? The shear arrogance of TIVO ignoring these standards is indefensible.

    The best way to insure that I remain a TIVO customer is to make it SUPER EASY to watch my ripped DVDs or homegrown videos without installing ROKU! Because, frankly, once I own a ROKU, I am going to stop needing a TIVO...

    As a result of TIVO's lack of innovation, I am in the process of figuring out how to use KMTTG plus Py-Tivo to make one of my Tivos a "behind the scenes" DVR only with recordings stored on my media server. I will then use my media server to feed the recordings to my Roku/ATV/Boxee/PS3... I can then sell off my other 4 TIVOs... Voila'... Problem solved...

    Why the HECK would TIVO force me to do this??? I don't want to learn how to install/manage/use KMTTG. I simply want to easily share my media amongst my various televisions. I already have a TIVO on every TV and an industry standard media server. It should be simple!

    One only need to spend 10 minutes in the various AV forums to confirm that consumers (especially the technically savvy) are very disappointed by the failure of TIVO to stay current and innovate... The "new" Premiere interface is acceptable at best and SLOW SLOW SLOW... Especially compared to the fast and compelling interfaces on AppleTV/XBMC etc.

    ALL of these product shortcomings have been WELL documented for years. Take a read of the "premiere" review on CNET dated (March 2010) 18 months ago!

    TIVO always infers that they are hamstrung to deliver these features due to some "content industry" fears of piracy" blah blah blah. Pure BULL...

    That train left the station long ago...

    TIVO has allowed the content providers (cable companies) to limit TIVO functionality and therefore dictate the terms of TIVO's long term success and as a result TIVO is essentially clinically DOA.

    This is SO ironic since the very first TIVO box enabled it’s users to skip commercials from Day 1 and therefore essentially initiated the need for the reinvention of the old broadcast business (advertiser based) model back in 1999.

    In Silicon Valley, you can always tell when a previously innovative company is about to become irrelevant. They start suing their potential partners to protect their "intellectual property" instead of innovating.

    While I agree that AT&T/Motorola/etc. have ripped TIVO off and should be held accountable, it is TIVO that has allowed these slow moving entities to make market strides by failing to innovate and "change the rules”.

    I have limited sympathy on the patent disputes. They are a distraction to the success of the TIVO brand.

    I am truly sad to be walking away from TIVO as a company... I feel like a close friend has died (committed suicide actually)...

    I am also REALLY MAD on behalf of both shareholders and customers that TIVO has failed so miserably to deliver real innovation given their early entrance into the market.

    Recent comments (you will need to Google it since this forum prevents me from adding links) by TIVO CEO Rogers are proof positive that a management change is way overdue.

    With all due respect to Mr. Roger's successful career and obvious intelligence, I believe that when it comes to getting TIVO positioned for long term success Mr. Rogers simply doesn't get it.

    TIVO should stop sucking the teet of the cable providers (Mr. Rogers' failed strategy) and lead the charge for the cable cutters...

    At this point, since TIVO failed long ago to secure major deals with the cable companies, TIVO mgmt really have NO CHOICE.

    It is patently obvious that the cableCOs (at least in the USA) are only going to be interested in TIVO partnerships through relatively uninteresting low-margin embedded technology licensing deals for their own private label boxes. These type of deals certainly won't support TIVO's current $1B+ market cap. That's if the cableCOs are interested at all!

    Instead, with some concerted effort, TIVO could OWN the “cut the cable” HW/SW/Services market which is currently filled with a hodge-podge of un-integrated and poorly supported products that are frequently lacking in the “ease of use” that was once the hallmark of TIVO.

    TIVO could easily accelerate the adoption of IP delivered content (including streaming movies/TV) into the Living Room and combine it with OTA DVR for the ultimate “no-cable” experience. This idea is SO OBVIOUS and yet TIVO appears to run away from it! I assume this has to do with sucking teet...

    The current TIVO product offerings (OTA services especially) are wholly inadequate and there appears to be almost no interest on TIVO’s part to put forth a compelling IP+OTA+DVR line-up. All of the pieces of that puzzle are already part of the technology portfolio at TIVO and yet they simply fail to execute.

    It is possible that it is too late to save the company as we know it, but I firmly believe that a takeover (perhaps hostile) of the TIVO Board of Directors in order to install new energy and a new strategy is viable. I am certain that this is the only way that the TIVO brand can be revived and its stock value maintained (much less grown).

    Otherwise, TIVO is a certain winner as a long-term stock short...

    Just one man's $0.02

    ps: Just so that I don't get flamed for "unfairly ranting" here, I believe that I have done everything in my power to communicate my concerns directly to TIVO via surveys, emails, and support requests over the 12 years I have been a devoted customer... I believe that TIVO either does not listen and/or cannot execute. I am no longer willing to be "quietly supportive" of an organization that clearly does not respond to it's customers. 99% of my observations here have been regular forum subjects for months/years.

    pps: Here is the relatively short list of "features" that the next TIVO box requires in order to insure it's long term viability:
    • Simple TIVO-TIVO Video Streaming
    • True Gigabit Ethernet (built-in wireless too!)
    • UPnP support & DLNA support
    • Updated Netflix player(s)
    • Full support for 1080p video formats: MKV (H.264), MP4 (H.264), MOV (H.264), WMV/ASF (WMV9/VC-1)
    • Interchangeable OTA/Digital tuners
    • Improved accuracy/support for OTA programming (localized)
    • 30% improvement in menu responsiveness
  2. TolloNodre

    TolloNodre En Fuego

    Nov 3, 2007
  3. djwilso

    djwilso Member

    Dec 23, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    When a Roku box can record 4 HD channels at the same time, I'll believe you.

    Why would you no longer need a TiVo if you got a Roku? I have 2 Rokus already, and they don't obviate the need for my TiVo.
  4. jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    You are clearly frustrated with Tivo, but it's also clear you don't understand the patent and business issues you mention nor do you understand how unfriendly and hostile the cable companies have been to Tivo or the restrictions imposed by Cable Labs (owned by the cable companies) that the cable companies don't have to follow themselves.

    AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cox and all the others sat back and said "as long as Dish is fighting Tivo over the key patents (six+ years) that we are probably infringing", we're just going keep doing what we are doing and hope Tivo gets crushed and we can keep on stealing/using their technology.

    Tivo only has so many resources available; whether we like it or not, stand alone users in the US aren't top of the priority list. As a Tivo user, I don't like that. As a significant stock holder, I would be upset if that wasn't the case.
  5. smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

    May 24, 2003


    As a stock holder, I'm concerned that the flagship product has floundered for 18 months with obvious flaws, incomplete menus, half the cpu enabled, outdated netflix and amazon plugins, etc. Some of these items, like completing the HDUI menu structure, are neither difficult nor time consuming. It shows a lack of ability or lack of desire to make a quality product. As a shareholder, you like to see growth, and you like to see the company staying ahead of the competition. Instead, we see a stagnant product and the competition continually gaining (and sometimes surpassing).

    There may be many things Tivo can't do due to the cablecard fiasco, but there are also many things they can do, and they aren't doing them.
  6. mskvarenina

    mskvarenina Member

    Jun 24, 2002
    I too have been a TiVo customer since day 1 and still have a Series 1 working today. My biggest problem with TiVo is they don't offer the ability to transfer your lifetime subscriptions to new TiVos.

    Recently 2 of my Series 3 units were destroyed by a lightning strike. I asked if I could transfer, even for some reasonable fee and they answered no....
  7. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

    Sep 21, 2004
    Can this thread be merged with the same ones that come up every few weeks for the last few years? All of this has been re-hashed so many times.
  8. Rob Helmerichs

    Rob Helmerichs I am Groot! TCF Club

    Oct 17, 2000
    Few years? I've been seeing them since I first signed up here! If TiVo's death is as imminent now as it was then, TiVo has many, many years ahead of it...
  9. caddyroger

    caddyroger New Member

    Mar 14, 2005
    Some where...
    If they did that they would have go out of business. They not making much money. You are only pay for 25 months at $20.00 a month now if you pay the $499.00 lifetime
  10. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    But you knew, or at least SHOULD HAVE KNOWN, that when you bought them.

    It has been clear since at least ~Jan 20, 2000, that lifetime goes with the box.
    (I say that as someone with a dead S3 & dying TivoHD, both with lifetime...)

    Also, Tivo *has* had a few lifetime transfer options over the years.
  11. nrc

    nrc Cracker Soul

    Nov 17, 1999
    Living in a...
    Sorry, lost interest four paragraphs in. But I think you should totally go buy a box that does all that stuff that you want.
  12. jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    +1 :up:
  13. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Well-Known Member

    Apr 27, 2002
    I made it a little further than four paragraphs, maybe halfway through the post before giving up. I see similar complaints often and I don't think the product these people want exists now and I haven't seen any indication it is coming anytime soon from TiVo or any other company. Why not get the best DVR and a separate best internet streaming/application box and concede this all-in-one box is either impractical due to cost or improbable due to technical reasons?

    As far as the streaming between TiVos, from what I have read I believe that is coming to the Premiere at some point soon. For me, I can plan ahead and just transfer a show from one TiVoHD to the other and live with that. For my limited internet TV needs, I just use an inexpensive Logitech Revue Google TV and there are other choices if that isn't the best option for someobdy else. I don't have any complaints at all and TiVo has exceeded my expectations when I purchased my first TiVoHD.

    I do see that TiVo continues to struggle and can't operate at a profit and I certainly hope something can change that situation.
  14. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    Exactly. Accept that Tivo is not competent enough (or doesn't care enough) to be the 'one box' that marketing lies about, and you're good to go. It's still the best DVR you can buy.
  15. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    Interersting that after all these years of being fan #1 and having nothing to contribute to this forum, your second post on this forum is a huge rant. I feel used. :p
    "technically trivial"..... "truly incomprehensible" ..... "simply ... GET A CLUE?" .... "shear arrogance" ... "indefensible".

    Clearly you need to hire in to TiVo, or even better start your own company, since making a better TiVo would be so easy for you.
    TiVo has "allowed" ? Get serious ... like they had a choice better than CableCARD and Tuning Adapters?
    There you go again. Everything you want TiVo to do is "easy" or "trivial" or "obvious".

    You have some valid points, all of which already have been plastered all over this forum for months (years?). The only thing new in your post is the hyperbole and rhetoric, which actually undermiine your case IMHO.
  16. hhempel

    hhempel New Member

    Sep 30, 2008
    In retrospect, I must admit that much of this is a rehash...

    What set me off was receiving yet another "survey" from TIVO asking for my opinion... After years of responding constructively to these surveys without apparent impact, I blew a bit of a gasket...

    The mere fact that so many of these issues have been rehashed for years is proof enough that TIVO:
    A) Doesn't listen and/or
    B) Simply can't execute and/or
    C) Is focused on other priorities outside of the stand-alone consumer in the USA​

    As for the replies that suggest that the feature requests are too challenging for TIVO to undertake, I submit that since all of those capabilities are already being provided via TIVO hacks and/or available in sub $100 devices with similar hardware, the technical challenges are in fact largely "trivial". I stand by my statements and would be more than happy to deliver the proposed features in 12 months or less with a $modest budget (for SW engineering) and access to the TIVO source.
    I am more than able/willing to combine TIVO with a separate media player (already have) but it feels so wholly unnecessary and redundant.

    More importantly, despite enormous effort with Harmony Remotes etc. the addition of new "sources" in the AV cabinet only further exacerbates an already confusing situation for my family members who struggle mightily to figure out how to use the system (e.g. 4 devices on which to watch NetFlix).

    My goal is to REDUCE and SIMPLIFY my AV sources and I submit that there is a huge opportunity for the company that makes that possible (TIVO?).

    This observation was perhaps the most enlightening to me. Selfishly, I had not considered that TIVO was essentially prioritizing it's ongoing effort to secure CableCO deals (especially outside the US). I am not in a position to assess the likelihood of success, but I certainly understand that sometimes the "stand-alone" buyer is not the best path and I would respect TIVO for making necessary biz decisions accordingly. Maybe the Int'l CableCo's will be more friendly?

    Thanks to everyone for the candid feedback and I apologize for the rehash.

    Feel free to move this post into the trash bin of numerous other posts from dedicated TIVO customers simply wishing for more...
  17. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    Do you only see things in black and white? There is a HUGE gap between a feature not being "too challenging" or having been implemented in another product, and its being "trivial" as you stated.

    If someone here wants to invest in this enterprise, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like them to consider. :D (At least based on your apparent over-simplification of technical development tasks as shown here.)
  18. takeshi

    takeshi Member

    Jul 22, 2010
    Is it? What development work have you done for Tivo in the past that makes you qualified to make such a statement? It sounds as if you're confusing "competitors offer the features I want" with "it's technically trivial to enable this with existing Tivos". The two statements are very different. I don't disagree that Tivo has offered too little too late but don't assume that something is trivial when you know nothing about the details. Anything seems simple when you're blissfully unaware of the details (which is why "How hard can it be?" are famous last words).

    ^ This. No need to post the same thread over and over and over. I can understand being frustrated with Tivo but it's just as frustrating to have to read the same threads with no additional insight. At least indicate what product on the shelves can accomplish what you want. As far as I can tell there's no such thing.
  19. hhempel

    hhempel New Member

    Sep 30, 2008
    OK... I relent... I hereby recant ALL of my use of the word trivial... Nothing in technology development is ever "trivial" and I would be better off to temper my "hyperbole"...

    That said, there are currently numerous people enjoying streaming videos (from a Media Server) on existing hacked TIVOs using a wide variety of CODECs. How hard can it be for TIVO to integrate those features when the work (at least in prototype form) is already complete/tested/deployed fairly broadly? The reality is that TIVO chooses (for unknown reasons) to invest in features like 4 tuners apparently at the expense of improved streaming/networking...

    I fully appreciate that just because the functionality exists in another cheap piece of HW it does not insure that it can exist in already shipped TIVOs since there are HW/SW limitations.

    But the existence of ALL of the media player features that so many have requested in these forums in a $50 box certainly supports the idea that Premiere Elite (for example) could have addressed whatever HW/SW limitations may exist in previous versions of TIVO...

    Had TIVO chosen to invest the time/$$$ to include those features, I would already own 3 Elites...

    To look at it another way: Even if the technical challenges to create a new box that combines the best of TIVO with the best of ROKU, XBMC, ATV etc. are enormous, TIVO is well advised to get started now...

    I remain certain that the demand for such a combination will be significant and that the overall affect on the TIVO business incredibly positive.
  20. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    Well, maybe you should get on Roku forums and suggest they should add digital cable TV reception with at least 2 tuners to their boxes. ;) Start with a real barn-burner post with plenty of extreme exaggerations, just to get their attention. :p

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