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Could Tivo make a comeback with Directv


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#1 OFFLINE   Araxen

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 03:29 PM

With the Liberty Deal looming, does anyone think Tivo could make a comeback as the DVR choice again if Liberty does buy the company?

I really want to get Directv HD next year and a HDTV, but the Directv brand DVR is really putting me off on making the switch. I love my dual tuner Philips Tivo and I am very hard pressed to give it up for Directv's offering.

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#2 OFFLINE   tunce

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 03:32 PM

No, there was way to much capital laid out to switch to Directv's brand. Also the DVR fee we pay now is 100% cash income to D* with TIVO this was not the case.

#3 OFFLINE   bonscott87

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 05:00 PM

No chance. And personally I don't want Tivo anymore.

#4 OFFLINE   bwaldron

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 05:54 PM

With the Liberty Deal looming, does anyone think Tivo could make a comeback as the DVR choice again if Liberty does buy the company?

I really want to get Directv HD next year and a HDTV, but the Directv brand DVR is really putting me off on making the switch. I love my dual tuner Philips Tivo and I am very hard pressed to give it up for Directv's offering.


I think that bridge has been burned. But I'd love to be wrong.

#5 OFFLINE   Wolffpack

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 06:43 PM

So all of you folks are confidants of Malone? You speak as if you are.
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#6 OFFLINE   Herdfan

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 06:43 PM

I think you would see a better chance of the SD version coming back vs. the HD version. The R15 is based on the NDS engine which is owned by RM, so depending on how much he would want for his IP, it may be cheaper to go back to the R10. It would also be faily easy to do so since no changes would have to be made to the box.

The HR20 is based off Ucentric code which is not owned by RM and seems much more robust than the R15 code. TiVo would have to do a major overhaul to make an MPEG-4 capable box. As it is, they haven't even gotten the 6.3A code for the HR10 right.

I agree it is a long shot, but one I would welcome from a stability standpoint. Although I like the HR20 UI for the most part.

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#7 OFFLINE   untouchable

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 06:51 PM

I do think that if Liberty gets D* like everyone is thinking, then there will be a lot of changes...like no more crappy NDS software...If I were Malone, when I got control of D* I would buy TIVO too.

#8 OFFLINE   Herdfan

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 07:21 PM

If I were Malone, when I got control of D* I would buy TIVO too.

Malone is getting $550M in cash. TiVo has a market cap of $541M. Hmmmmm!;)

Plus your main competitor would owe you $90M and counting.:money:

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#9 OFFLINE   Wolffpack

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 08:02 PM

One would imagine that upon acquisision of DTV, any responsible business person would look at the "problem areas" of the organization they just acquired. Receivers/DVRs would pop up as well as the installation fiasco with the HSPs and such. As far as the receivers/DVRs you then look toward your development staff and ask them the important questions. At that point, you make a decision as to your movement forward.

I don't know about the HR20 platform. But I know the R15 chipset will run Linux. With a port, rewrite a few drivers, my guess is....with the right priority, Tivo software could be running on the R15 within 6-8 months. Maybe sooner. More memory and a much more powerfull processor than any Series 2 or 2.5 DTivo.

Remember the bridge that was burned was between Murdock and Tivo, not Malone. Hey, for all we know, Malone has already been talking to Tivo about fixing this problem RM created. Again, we can't speak for Liberty or Malone.
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#10 OFFLINE   Wolffpack

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 08:06 PM

Malone is getting $550M in cash. TiVo has a market cap of $541M. Hmmmmm!;)

Plus your main competitor would owe you $90M and counting.:money:

Something DR Evil would love. :grin:
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#11 OFFLINE   Clint Lamor

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 08:51 PM

One would imagine that upon acquisision of DTV, any responsible business person would look at the "problem areas" of the organization they just acquired. Receivers/DVRs would pop up as well as the installation fiasco with the HSPs and such. As far as the receivers/DVRs you then look toward your development staff and ask them the important questions. At that point, you make a decision as to your movement forward.

I don't know about the HR20 platform. But I know the R15 chipset will run Linux. With a port, rewrite a few drivers, my guess is....with the right priority, Tivo software could be running on the R15 within 6-8 months. Maybe sooner. More memory and a much more powerfull processor than any Series 2 or 2.5 DTivo.

Remember the bridge that was burned was between Murdock and Tivo, not Malone. Hey, for all we know, Malone has already been talking to Tivo about fixing this problem RM created. Again, we can't speak for Liberty or Malone.


So you're saying he would be in a rush to give away money? Unless he buys TiVo he would have to sign a contract such as the one they had before and he would have to pay them every month for every unit in use.

I just don't see it making financial sense to me. Heck I would look at buying the remains of RePlay first. Maybe he can make a harder push with the dev team he would have to improve the product. In the end it's all about what makes him the most money.
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#12 OFFLINE   HDTVsportsfan

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 08:57 PM

But I know the R15 chipset will run Linux. With a port, rewrite a few drivers, my guess is....with the right priority, Tivo software could be running on the R15 within 6-8 months. Maybe sooner.


I'm not a programmer, but 6-8 months seems awful ambitous. IMHO Wouldn't you basically have to start from scratch, code wise?
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#13 OFFLINE   Wolffpack

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 09:14 PM

So you're saying he would be in a rush to give away money? Unless he buys TiVo he would have to sign a contract such as the one they had before and he would have to pay them every month for every unit in use.

I just don't see it making financial sense to me. Heck I would look at buying the remains of RePlay first. Maybe he can make a harder push with the dev team he would have to improve the product. In the end it's all about what makes him the most money.

Versus the giant sucking sound that's currently being heard with $$$ going into the failed development of DTV's own DVR? Versus the giant sucking sound of unhappy customers leaving DTV for cable or E*?

We don't know what the costs for Tivo were, we don't know what the costs to resurrect Tivo would be, we don't know what the current DVR+ development costs are. All we know right now is that the current DTV DVR+ development effort can't produce a DVR that works. R15 over a year old and doesn't work. HR20 over 3 months old and doesn't work and also doesn't have OTA. What does all that cost?

Any responsible business person, upon the purchase of DTV, would look at all those costs and make a decision not based on NDS and not based on past Tivo experiences. The decision would be based on the ability to provide customers what they want. A DVR that works. Currently DTV does not have that capability. Sad but true!
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#14 OFFLINE   Staszek

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 09:18 PM

Versus the giant sucking sound that's currently being heard with $$$ going into the failed development of DTV's own DVR? Versus the giant sucking sound of unhappy customers leaving DTV for cable or E*?

We don't know what the costs for Tivo were, we don't know what the costs to resurrect Tivo would be, we don't know what the current DVR+ development costs are. All we know right now is that the current DTV DVR+ development effort can't produce a DVR that works. R15 over a year old and doesn't work. HR20 over 3 months old and doesn't work and also doesn't have OTA. What does all that cost?

Any responsible business person, upon the purchase of DTV, would look at all those costs and make a decision not based on NDS and not based on past Tivo experiences. The decision would be based on the ability to provide customers what they want. A DVR that works. Currently DTV does not have that capability. Sad but true!


Both my R15 and my HR20 works perfectly.

#15 OFFLINE   Araxen

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 09:19 PM

If they are just porting it over. 6-8 months would be reasonable.

#16 OFFLINE   Earl Bonovich

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 09:22 PM

Versus the giant sucking sound that's currently being heard with $$$ going into the failed development of DTV's own DVR? Versus the giant sucking sound of unhappy customers leaving DTV for cable or E*?

We don't know what the costs for Tivo were, we don't know what the costs to resurrect Tivo would be, we don't know what the current DVR+ development costs are. All we know right now is that the current DTV DVR+ development effort can't produce a DVR that works. R15 over a year old and doesn't work. HR20 over 3 months old and doesn't work and also doesn't have OTA. What does all that cost?

Any responsible business person, upon the purchase of DTV, would look at all those costs and make a decision not based on NDS and not based on past Tivo experiences. The decision would be based on the ability to provide customers what they want. A DVR that works. Currently DTV does not have that capability. Sad but true!


Where do you see or hear a large sucking sound?
Even their latest quarterly reports hadn't show a "decrease" in membership...

The HR20 is back ordered in most areas...
Every day we have new members here... owners of the HR20... an more and more are stating that they prefer the HR20 to the TiVo...

We seen maybe a handfull of "I'm Leaving DirecTV"... pretty much balanced, between the "I'm Leaving EchoStar"... and "cable-co's"

You go over to TCF... you see a fair amount of posts of people "extremely" dissatisfied with the TiVo Series 3, and Cable-Co's.

The Comcast TiVo unit was "announced" 2.5 years ago... and doesn't look like it will be available until April 2007... stuffed into hardware that is already 3-4 years old.

The Cox version hasn't even "come-up" for air.

So do I think TiVo could make a "come-back" on the DirecTV platform.....
Only if becomes "part" of DirecTV...

I just can't see it last much longer as a "third" party.


Both my R15 and my HR20 works perfectly.


As do mine... Glad I am not alone in this world... :)

But that doesn't mean they are "perfect"....

DirecTV is still working on them... HR20 is still getting updates on a "semi-regular" basis.
And the R15 is being worked on (even though they have done a national release in a while).
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#17 OFFLINE   Wolffpack

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 10:20 PM

I'm not a programmer, but 6-8 months seems awful ambitous. IMHO Wouldn't you basically have to start from scratch, code wise?

That may be ambitious but if we're talking about Liberty re-assigning priorities in the business unit, not so much.

Tivo runs on Linux. The core of the Tivo code 90%? can be recompiled/ported to a new Linux version/new processor with very little work. The real work is in porting the hardware drivers. Interfaces between the existing Tivo code and the processor/decoders. My gut feeling is if you assigned the same number of developers that currently work on the R15/HR20 to this port, it could be accomplished in 6-8 months or less.
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#18 OFFLINE   Wolffpack

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 10:26 PM

Both my R15 and my HR20 works perfectly.

My R15 also works "perfectly". Aside from the fact it likes to record partial recordings (Modern Marvels I get the first 30 minutes of it because the show that starts at the 30 minute mark has a higher SL priority) and aside from the fact it still can't tell the difference between a first run and repeat show on many channels that my Tivos can tell the difference. Is that "perfect"?

Are you saying your R15/HR20 doesn't have these problems or are you saying you maybe haven't pushed you units like others have and have not yet run into these problems? The word "perfectly" is a pretty definitive word but also subjective in that it relates to your expectations of perfection.
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#19 OFFLINE   Wolffpack

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 10:32 PM

If they are just porting it over. 6-8 months would be reasonable.

Exactly! The R15 can run Linux and there has been mention that the HR20 does run Linux. So if a new owner reviewed the current situation and wanted to make a steering change both the R15 and HR20 hardware could run Tivo software. No loss in hardware/design/inventory investment.

Or, the customer could have a choice. Here's our SD DVR, would you like that with our DVR+ software or our Tivo software? Same with the HD DVR. Ultimate customer choice. If you don't want interactive channels or showcases but want Tivo reliability, you have that choice. Isn't choice what we all want?
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#20 OFFLINE   Wolffpack

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 11:10 PM

Where do you see or hear a large sucking sound?
Even their latest quarterly reports hadn't show a "decrease" in membership...

I don't recall directly, but from the last quarterly didn't DTV mention a higher voluntary churn rate then they expected?

The HR20 is back ordered in most areas...
Every day we have new members here... owners of the HR20... an more and more are stating that they prefer the HR20 to the TiVo...

Why is the HR20 backordered. DTV knew that once released these things would fly off the shelves. What would be the reason for DTV to throttle the production of the HR20? Why would they limit the number of units of their flagship DVR being manufactured? Only response I can come up with is they knew it was half baked. The guy that made the decision of how many of these units to order from Pace had been warned that they may need to make hardware changes. DTV didn't want to get a ton of units in the field and have to recall them but at release, no one could guarantee that.

Why else would there be a short supply of HR20s? Earl you, I and DTV new that this baby would fly off the shelves. So why didn't they make enough in the first manufacturing run? Is this yet another instance of poor management or was it by design?

You go over to TCF... you see a fair amount of posts of people "extremely" dissatisfied with the TiVo Series 3, and Cable-Co's.

I'm not talking about the Series 3. I didn't mention it. What I'm talking about is the possibility of Liberty reassessing DTVs DVR position if Liberty were to acquire DTV.

The Comcast TiVo unit was "announced" 2.5 years ago... and doesn't look like it will be available until April 2007... stuffed into hardware that is already 3-4 years old.

Yep. And your point? Are you saying that Komcast has paid Tivo the $$ required to port the software and Tivo hasn't been able to do it? I'd guess they have a contract but Komcast hasn't made it a priority and hasn't put up the $$$. Plus Tivo is shoehorning their software into Komcast's existing equipment versus the newer design of the R15 and HR20.

The Cox version hasn't even "come-up" for air.

Again. Is that the fault of COX or Tivo. You, and others keep bringing up the fact the Komcast and Cox have Tivo agreements but have not produced. Do you know why that is? Do you know that Tivo can't do it or that Komcast/Cox hasn't paid for it. Again I didn't bring up Komcast/Cox.

So do I think TiVo could make a "come-back" on the DirecTV platform.....
Only if becomes "part" of DirecTV...

I just can't see it last much longer as a "third" party.

There is alot of truth in that. I think Tivo knows that also. In the end, we're just out here speculating, guessing, wishing and hoping. But in the end, the DVR+ development team (R15 and HR20) will have their hands full after a Liberty buyout defending themselves. Trying to convince the new management that their plans and processes are sound and that they can turn the problems they currently have around.

DirecTV is still working on them... HR20 is still getting updates on a "semi-regular" basis.
And the R15 is being worked on (even though they have done a national release in a while).

Yep. And you know, us R15 folks are starting to feel a little left out. What, 4 months since an update? Has the R15 development staff just been having a great party since August or are we really in for a ton-o-fixes in the next update?
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#21 OFFLINE   lewah33

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 11:38 PM

Where do you see or hear a large sucking sound?
Even their latest quarterly reports hadn't show a "decrease" in membership...

The HR20 is back ordered in most areas...
Every day we have new members here... owners of the HR20... an more and more are stating that they prefer the HR20 to the TiVo...

We seen maybe a handfull of "I'm Leaving DirecTV"... pretty much balanced, between the "I'm Leaving EchoStar"... and "cable-co's"


well, I sent back my HR20 because of the sound drops, crashes, native resolution issues and more. I'm waiting to find out who provides the most HD Extra Innings coverage for the 2007, and will make my decision as to leave D* or go with another provider. So, while I haven't posted in a while, I am not one of those more and more who prefer the HR20.

#22 OFFLINE   dodge boy

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 07:06 AM

With the Liberty Deal looming, does anyone think Tivo could make a comeback as the DVR choice again if Liberty does buy the company?

I really want to get Directv HD next year and a HDTV, but the Directv brand DVR is really putting me off on making the switch. I love my dual tuner Philips Tivo and I am very hard pressed to give it up for Directv's offering.


I'd rather see something like the Ultimate TV receivers, internet through the dvr on the screen, if D* could offer broadband and digital phone through a land line company and maybe move to a FIOS type service.
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#23 OFFLINE   Earl Bonovich

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 07:17 AM

Why is the HR20 backordered. DTV knew that once released these things would fly off the shelves. What would be the reason for DTV to throttle the production of the HR20? Why would they limit the number of units of their flagship DVR being manufactured? Only response I can come up with is they knew it was half baked. The guy that made the decision of how many of these units to order from Pace had been warned that they may need to make hardware changes. DTV didn't want to get a ton of units in the field and have to recall them but at release, no one could guarantee that.


From what I have been told... simply put... demand seriously exceeded their expectations... It happens.

It wasn't "held" up because of "expected" hardware changes.


Yep. And your point? Are you saying that Komcast has paid Tivo the $$ required to port the software and Tivo hasn't been able to do it? I'd guess they have a contract but Komcast hasn't made it a priority and hasn't put up the $$$. Plus Tivo is shoehorning their software into Komcast's existing equipment versus the newer design of the R15 and HR20.


Based on the "leaked" information in the forums (for what they worth), porting the software to the Motorola box, has not been as "easy". Hence why I brought it up, in the context on what it would take to port it to an existing piece of hardware.


Again. Is that the fault of COX or Tivo. You, and others keep bringing up the fact the Komcast and Cox have Tivo agreements but have not produced. Do you know why that is? Do you know that Tivo can't do it or that Komcast/Cox hasn't paid for it. Again I didn't bring up Komcast/Cox.


From best I can tell... other then the "announcement" of the partnership, nearly no information has been "leaked" or anything, so hence why I said they haven't even "come up for air"

Yep. And you know, us R15 folks are starting to feel a little left out. What, 4 months since an update? Has the R15 development staff just been having a great party since August or are we really in for a ton-o-fixes in the next update?


I do know they have submitted a version to the testing teams as the release candidate, so hopefully... very soon, the R15 crowd won't feel as left out.
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#24 OFFLINE   Staszek

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 08:06 AM

My R15 also works "perfectly". Aside from the fact it likes to record partial recordings (Modern Marvels I get the first 30 minutes of it because the show that starts at the 30 minute mark has a higher SL priority) and aside from the fact it still can't tell the difference between a first run and repeat show on many channels that my Tivos can tell the difference. Is that "perfect"?

Are you saying your R15/HR20 doesn't have these problems or are you saying you maybe haven't pushed you units like others have and have not yet run into these problems? The word "perfectly" is a pretty definitive word but also subjective in that it relates to your expectations of perfection.


I am not seeing the issues that you are seeing with either box. I did have issues on the R15 at first but they are fine now.

My HR20 is one of the latest models, I have no idea whether that makes a difference or not but I have alot of recording on it, both mixed SD and HD includings some sports. I only had one short recording on a show because a football game ran long.

Since I have had it the R15 has missed one recording, the HR20 none.

Maybe I am not pushing it as hard as you, but I am probably pushing it harder then 80% of regular users in the US would.

We tend to forget sometimes that we are NOT the majority, I am on several other AV boards as well as car forums, its the same thing people get some problems and they assume that if a few 1000 have that problem its a major thing compared to the few million who do not have that problem. Most people are not techies and they want to record a show they like, and watch some things in HD. I bet that most of the people with the D* DVR dont even know how to use the prioritizer.

I am not saying there are not problems with this system but I bet that there are alot more people not having problems then there are that do.

#25 OFFLINE   jpl

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 08:43 AM

We tend to forget sometimes that we are NOT the majority, I am on several other AV boards as well as car forums, its the same thing people get some problems and they assume that if a few 1000 have that problem its a major thing compared to the few million who do not have that problem. Most people are not techies and they want to record a show they like, and watch some things in HD. I bet that most of the people with the D* DVR dont even know how to use the prioritizer.


That's absolutely correct. It's not even just a question of being a technical person - most people just want to watch TV. And unless they have an interest in pushing the envelope on their DVR, they won't ever come across many of the issues that people here have found. I'm a programmer, and I work with other programmers, a couple of whom also have the R15. We're all technical people - but I'm the only one who has any in-depth knowledge of what the DVR can/can't do. The reason isn't because these other guys aren't smart - they are. It's not because they aren't technical - they are. It's because they don't have the interest in finding every nook and cranny of the DVR like I do. I've become kind of a liason for these guys and this forum. Whenever I find something of interest to them, I pass it on. Heck, I ask one of them "which model of the DVR do you have?" The answer "I have no idea..."

For most users, the R15 is a good box. It does, generally, what it's supposed to. I'm lucky - I've never hit any of the major issues that people here see. I hit quirks, to be sure, but I hit quirks on my TiVo as well.

As for the question of the thread, no I don't see TiVo being put back into the picture. When assessing the weeknesses of a company, management doesn't look at something the R15 like a technical user might. They look at things from a very high level. They determine if their strategy is successful (moving to a new platform), and any decision made has to be measured against that total overall strategy. Pull out of the R15, and what does that do to the overall strategy for DirecTV? Not sure, but my guess is it ain't pretty. It's not just as simple as "change back to TiVo." It's much more complicated than that. DirecTV obviously has a vision of where they want the company to be in the next couple years, and TiVo obviously doesn't fit that plan. If it did, they would keep the platform.

Pulling the R15 and bringing TiVo back would totally upset those plans - costing many millions of bucks (think of all the R15s that are out there today). Not saying that that's never the right decision. But before a company makes that kind of change, there had better be a compelling reason. Look at how DirecTV has done over the last couple years. They're still ranked #1 for customer satisfaction... when I signed up 4 1/2 years ago they had about 11 Million subscribers. Today they have over 15. The company, overall, is doing well. There's no evidence that the R15 has hurt them at all. I just see no justification for them to change direction at this point. The cost of doing something like that has to provide a substantial benefit.

Also, and I've mentioned this elsewhere, I'm not ready to put all the blame of the contract with TiVo going away on DirecTV. If you have a strategic vision, and a company you're contracting with isn't being flexible enough to be part of that vision, well then you have a decision to make. My guess (and it's only a guess) is that DirecTV wanted functionality baked into the DVR that TiVo wasn't willing/able to do. For example, based on some of the info I've seen, DirecTV wanted to move to a consistent UI for all their receivers. How does that work with TiVo? It doesn't. Unless you get TiVo to dramatically change how it does things (e.g. PIG), you end up with an inconsistancy. That's just a small example of what I'm talking about.




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