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Hall Of Fame
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
TiVo Inc. likes to brag that the company has shaped the nation's vocabulary, at least in discussions of personal video recorders.

Consumers use TiVo as a generic noun, replacing PVR, much as Kleenex replaced tissues.

In fact, says TiVo, consumers even use it as a verb, as in "Let's TiVo this movie and watch it later."

But language continually evolves. And depending on TiVo's fate in the merger between Littleton-based EchoStar Communications Corp. and El Segundo, Calif.-based DirecTV, the business world could find an entirely new use for the word TiVo.

TiVo and Microsoft's UltimateTV, which supply DirecTV customers for $10 per month, face an uncertain future in the event of a merger of the satellite-TV giants, because EchoStar provides its own PVRs to customers at no monthly charge.

Some experts see no place for TiVo and UltimateTV in a world controlled by EchoStar. Ultimately, companies that merge to create operational efficiencies might be said to "TiVo" the vendors who no longer fit into the new strategy, dispatching them from the process very TiVo-ously.

Asked recently how a merger might affect distribution of PVRs, EchoStar Chairman Charlie Ergen said the new company would honor the contracts with TiVo and UltimateTV, giving customers a choice between PVRs that cost $10 and PVRs that cost nothing.

"I don't believe TiVo will have a place in Charlie Ergen's world, unless TiVo is acquired by Charlie Ergen," said Sean Badding, an industry analyst for The Carmel Group.

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Hall Of Fame
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This is just my opinion but I think UTV will eventually die merger or no merger. TIVO on the other hand will not only survive but thrive, merger or no merger, however I would not putt it past Charlie to eventually buy TIVO. I think there is room for both the in-house PVR501/508/522/721/921 type pvr as well as the D*TIVO in a merged DBS company. I think their will be a choice, spend more money up front for a New D*PVR522 or lifetime subscription for New D*TIVO or spend less up front and pay monthly subscription fee for New D*TIVO.
 

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Hall Of Fame/Supporter
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The bigest problem TiVO faces is the lack of acceptance of PVRs by the TV-viewing public. I personally am sold on PVR technology. I don't understand why there is not moer excitment about it. When I show my neighbors, they say "its nice" but they don't seem to want to run out and buy one. I just don't understand it. Maybe folks are simply afraid of buying the wrong PVR. Certainly Microsoft hasn't done anything to instll consumer confidence in PVR products.
 

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I think advertising is missing something.. Something to get the American consumer to sit up and take notice. I don't know what it is but these things just aren't catching on ... yet. I, like RichW, can't understand it. I'm not sure if most folks(non techie types) just don't understand it and are 'afraid of new technology'.
:confused:
 
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I think ppl are put off by the initial cost of the unit AND the monthly fee on top of it...or the huge one time payment in Tivo's case in lieu of the monthly fee.

I can't see E* buying Tivo. I think they'll just continue to upgrade their software and offer the PVR service at no monthly charge. They could do that until Tivo/UltimateTV is priced out of the market and then....institute their own monthy fee ;-)
 

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I don't think the subscription fee business model will survive, but Tivo as a company will... cable tv will always exist.

I say that about the subscription fee because of services such as VCR Plus... that feature comes on nearly every vcr now, and simplifies the taping of a show down to entering a number out of a magazine. Sure, you have to buy the magazine, but you get something tangible for your money.
 

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Godfather
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Isn't that exactly what DBS and Cable are? We subscribe to the service and pay them a monthly fee diligently every month!
I know many cable subs who frown upon paying "extra" to use a product they already "bought". I remind them of their land based and wireless telephones, but they'll never see it our way.

Originally posted by Neil Derryberry
I don't think the subscription fee business model will survive, but Tivo as a company will... cable tv will always exist.
 

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Cool Member
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It seems to me the biggest barrier to mass acceptance is explaining what a PVR is in a 30 second sound bite. I have tried several time to define what a TiVo is, and it's not easy. It always takes more time than the duration of a commercial.

It isn't until people see one in action that they realize that they NEED it. Early adopters buy them and then evangelize to their friends. It spreads from there.
 

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Originally posted by RichW
The bigest problem TiVO faces is the lack of acceptance of PVRs by the TV-viewing public. I personally am sold on PVR technology. I don't understand why there is not moer excitment about it. When I show my neighbors, they say "its nice" but they don't seem to want to run out and buy one. I just don't understand it. Maybe folks are simply afraid of buying the wrong PVR. Certainly Microsoft hasn't done anything to instll consumer confidence in PVR products.
Not to start a flame war, but Microsoft has a fantastic PVR on the market - UTV. I know they royally messed up the Dishplayer, but they definitely learned their lesson before releasing Ultimatetv. It is a great product. True, nobody really understands what it does, but I can't imagine not having it. As corny as it sounds, UTV has totally changed the way my family watches tv.
 

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Isn't that exactly what DBS and Cable are? We subscribe to the service and pay them a monthly fee diligently every month!
I wasn't talking about paying for programming in general... let me clarify..

The TiVo sub entails paying for a second program guide. Cable or DSS already give you a program guide, but TiVo can't get that information.. somebody has to re-enter that guide so the TiVo unit can work its magic. I compared that data entry process to VCR Plus... somebody has to code all that programming with a number, and by typing that number into a vcr plus enabled vcr, the program will record. You don't have to pay for the redundant data entry. That's the subscription fee I speak of.
 

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I suspect I'll always have some form of TiVo in the house as long as it's a viable option, even if the merger goes through and the DirecTV TiVo is no longer supported.

I have a 501 and a Dishplayer, a standalone TiVo, and 2 DirecTV TiVo receivers, and the TiVo software meets my needs better than the Dish Network receivers do. In fact, I'm not using the Dishplayer to record anything any more; it's being driven by the standalone TiVo.

If Echostar receivers were the only ones available from the merged companies, I'd have at least one standalone TiVo in the setup. The TiVo software is so far ahead of what Echostar offers, and it meets my needs much better. To be honest, I have only a vague idea of when my favorite series are broadcast and on what network because TiVo has managed all that for me. When "Ed" moved from Sunday night to Wednesday night, I didn't even realize it had happened for more than a month.

I also appreciate the way TiVo will fill its empty space with suggestions. When you have as many channels as a satellite dish brings you, it's very nice to have TiVo search the listings for you to find things you'd like. And it's discovered for me several programs that are now Season Passes.

As far as the subscription fee, I usually explain to friends that I used to spend $8-10 per month for the TV Guide. I don't need those any more. The "TiVo version" even reads itself for me.
 
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Charlie has said that if the merger goes thru they will keep the contracts with TIVO and Ultimate tv. It would very stupid not too.
 

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Legend
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I usually explain to friends that I used to spend $8-10 per month for the TV Guide. I don't need those any more. The "TiVo version" even reads itself for me. [/B]


This justification doesn't work when you can get a free television guide, complete with VCR+ codes, in your Sunday newspaper. I, for one, would love to have a UTV, or DirecTivo, but don't think it's worth $10 to $13 per month for a SAT fed program guide. Since there is already a program guide that comes with D*TV service, why does that not work with UTV, or DirecTivo?
 

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I will not pay a monthly sub fee for a pvr, however I do want a satellite receiver/pvr combo of some kind. When I do get around to replacing my old E* 2000 receiver(probably post merger if aproved) it will either be one of the DISH PVR501/508/522 or a DirecTIVO with lifetime subscription, I am willing to pay more up front to avoid the extra $10 every month. Having said the above I think as people begin to relies the benefits of a pvr, the market will support both lifetime and monthly plans. Their was also a press release somewhere recently that announced that Sonic Blue was now going to offer both a monthly and lifetime plans for future RePlay pvr’s to bring the up front costs down on hardware to become more competitive with TIVO.
 

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Legend
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I know TIVO has some functions that are operable without the subscription. What about UTV? Does the 50x require a subscription? Are there any DVRs that will work without a subscription, just using the SAT service's program guide to record by?
 

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Cool Member
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Originally posted by Kenster
I know TIVO has some functions that are operable without the subscription.
TiVos that come with version 2 or higher out of the box will prevent you from recording. That includes all DirecTiVos (AKA combo units or DirecTV with TiVo receivers) and any stand alone TiVo less than a couple years old. All they allow is 'trick play', which means pausing & rewinding live TV.

Stand alone TiVos that started with a version prior to 2 can record but they will not have program guide information. That makes them little better than a VCR.
 

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Legend
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Originally posted by ToddHealy


Stand alone TiVos that started with a version prior to 2 can record but they will not have program guide information. That makes them little better than a VCR.
But why would you need the Tivo program guide when you have one coming from Dish or D*?
 

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Originally posted by Kenster


But why would you need the Tivo program guide when you have one coming from Dish or D*?
TiVo won't take advantage of the program guide information you refer to.

Without TiVo guide information you can only record by saying record from x:00 to y:00 on channel z. That's basically the same way you'd do it with a VCR.

With program guide information, you can search for program names and scroll through on screen guides and just click a button when the show you want is highlighted.

Shows you have recorded are also listed by program name and you can select them to view program description, actor lists, and other information. All of this comes from the program info and would be blank or missing if you don't subscribe.

I've been using a stand alone TiVo since 1999 and 2 DirecTivos for about eight monhts. For me $10/12 a month (or $250 for the life of the unit) is a bargain for what they let me do. If you are unwilling or unable to pay that much I think your only PVR option is the Dish model. I have no experience with them but a lot of people seem to have problems.
 
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Originally posted by Kenster


This justification doesn't work when you can get a free television guide, complete with VCR+ codes, in your Sunday newspaper. I, for one, would love to have a UTV, or DirecTivo, but don't think it's worth $10 to $13 per month for a SAT fed program guide. Since there is already a program guide that comes with D*TV service, why does that not work with UTV, or DirecTivo?
First, you are mistaken in your assumption that the $10 or $13 fee for TiVo or UTV is for guide data. DirecTiVos and UTVs use Directvs own enhanced guide data, downloaded via satellite 24/7, and they only need to call TiVo once a month to confirm service. SA TiVos use dial-up connections to a local UUNET for guide data so they call nearly every day, but it's the same guide data Tribune supplies to everyone, so for a SA TiVo your paying for the necessary download, not for the info itself (exactly).

Second, the extra $10 a month (or $250 one-time fee) is for use of TiVo software, a sort of licensing agreement. It is set up this way to get the unit into a store and sell it at a lower out-of-pocket price, then get the user to subscribe to the service that uses the hardware to make money on the back-end - the exact same way cell phones have been sold for years.

TiVo could have sold the units like RePlay does - $700 to $1000 covers hardware and subscription/software license costs in one shot. Nobody would have bought them at that price, so they cut the license cost out of the shelf price and sold them for $300 - $500, then gave people options - 1) Pay $250 once and use it until it dies or 2) Pay $10 a month (now $13 on SAs) and use it until you sell it or throw it away. When the DirecTiVos came out, they allowed ALL DTiVos on the same account to be used for a single $10 monthly fee or a single $250 "lifetime" fee since they dont require as much support from TiVo.

A TiVo is a helluva lot more than a glorified VCR, even one with the over-rated VCR+. R&D costs to make a TiVo do what it does have been/still are expensive (and it works damn near flawlessly). After using their system for 5 months, the $10 I pay to Directv to use my 2 DTiVos is the most satisfying part of my Directv bill - I feel I actually get my $10 worth. A year ago I thought paying $10 to record TV was ridiculous, but TiVo's Season Passes, Wishlists, tremendous search capabilities, commercial skip, live buffering - the list goes on, but all these have shown me that I never want to go back to watching TV the old way ever again .
 
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Great explanation, Spanishannouncetable. thanks a lot. I think I would be concerned about the $250 for life of the unit. It would hardly be a bargain if the unit crapped out after 9 months, or the day after the warranty runs out, whenever that is. At the current $12.95 per month, your unit would need to last at least two years for it to be worth the one time fee. Has anyone had a problem with that?
 
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