Can TiVo Compete?

According to USAToday, Tivo failed to anticipate how quickly its customers would fall in love with HDTV—and out of love with TiVo.

“We’re at a turning point in the retail environment,” said CEO Tom Rogers. HDTV growth “progressed at a pace that surprised many in the industry, including us.”

Now people are wondering if TiVo has what it takes to compete with the cable and satellite DVRs. From USAToday:

Rogers was upbeat about deals with Comcast (CMCSA) and Cox. Comcast is about to roll out a long-awaited offering of TiVo as a premium service for its HD DVRs. It will begin in the next few weeks for systems in Boston, southeast Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Comcast has funded development of TiVo software that runs on boxes with different technologies.

Still, TiVo shares dropped 4.2%, to $5.94 in after-hours trading following its posting of a $17.7 million loss in the quarter, compared with a $3.5 million loss in the same period last year. Revenue was $62.7 million, up 5.9%. TiVo had predicted a loss of as much as $8 million.

TiVo also hopes that the “CableCard” technology will help its DVRs compete in a world where a cable box is no longer required. We hope so. Our readers seem to heart their TiVos.

Which DVRs do you like the best? What are you looking for in a DVR? Do you want one branded by your cable company? A separate one? A media PC? What’s up?

TiVo takes hit from HDTV growth [USAToday]
(Photo:rcrowley)

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  1. balthisar says:

    I was an early adopter of Tivo, and fell in love with it almost instantly. I retired it about two years ago, though, in favor of a MythTV system and distributed network of XBox front ends. Still can’t do HD because of the slow XBox processor, but it surpasses Tivo in every other way.

    If Tivo were *open* I’d seriously consider going back. There are inherent advantages to commercial solutions.

  2. axiomatic says:

    Well in truth the Replay TV 5000 series and under from SonicBlue were better than the Tivos of today. But since Denon are a bunch of “yes men” to the MPAA ReplayTV units are a mere shadow of functionality from their SonicBlue days.

    I use a Tivo S3 now and I do look forward to the Comcast Tivo units as the SARA interface on the SA8300′s was obviously created by Josef Mengele, The Angel Of Death.

  3. liquisoft says:

    I personally have a DVR setup at home, and have had one for several years. Although the functionality of a DVR system is nice, I’ve never really cared for the system on the whole due to its poor interface, the quality of the hardware, and the lack of relevant updates.

    I would rather get a mac mini and an Elgato EyeTV hookup, but that costs money. :(

  4. Ickypoopy says:

    I want an OCUR device to use CableCARDs on a media center PC. There is no other reasonable solution. These integrated STBs with no way to save the shows externally, or stream to another TV or PC is ridiculous.

  5. davidaegger says:

    If the cable and satellite companies weren’t being so anticompetitive, Tivo would be thriving. People love great software – the success of iPhone, iPod and Mac OS X are proving that. I would have a Tivo if Comcast didn’t essentially make cablecards nearly impossible to get, and disable most of the HD programming through the whole switched digital video thing.

    In a perfect world, I could have the cable box and use the firewire port on the back of it to plug into a TiVo and TiVo could control the cable box via the firewire port.

  6. homerjay says:

    I was an early adopter of ReplayTV (7 years ago) and LOVED it. When I was forced to switch to Tivo because of DirecTV (not so much forced as left with few options) I did so kicking and screaming. I spent 6 months recently with the DirecTV DVR and it tought me one thing– there is no better DVR in the world than Tivo.

    You’ll have to pry my peanut remote FROM MY COLD DEAD HAND!

  7. happy scrappy hero pup says:

    Yep, feel like we had a tivo pretty early on (either 00 or 01) but had to retire it last year when we went with HDTV via DirecTV. Hated DirecTV’s HR-20 initially, but haven’t had an issue in about 5 months (after initially going through three units).

    All things being equal, i’d love to have a TiVo, but now the DVR is more of a commodity, as long as it works, I can make due with any minor annoyances.

    Sad that they pioneered the industry, but couldn’t work out a deal to remain relevant.

  8. djtripp says:

    I was blown away with my first Sony TiVo. Then i had to get the Series 2 TiVo when they allowed lifetime transfers. So naturally, I jumped on the Series 3 HD recorder when they allowed the 1 time $200 transfer of my lifetime subscription. Naturally, TiVo is much much better than the HD/DVR that my cable company provides. And I think the new TiVo HD is a welcome addition to the TiVo family. Now my brother and sister may upgrade to HD because of the cheaper HD box, since they too cannot live with out TiVo. Keep integrating with other companies, like you’ve done with Amazon, and I think they will go further (YouTube?)

  9. ARP says:

    That’s my issue. I loved TIVO, but was forced to give it up when I dropped my land line and couldn’t activate it (they’ve since fixed that issue). I got a Comcast DVR and it sucks. If I get a TIVO, I still need a separate cable box, which is annoying and my TV is not Cable Card ready. Also how do you work the in-demand? Where is the licensing of the Tivo interface to Comcast? Shouldn’t we see something from that soon? I think my issues are indicative of others, there are so many tiny hurdles that the mediocrity of Comcast DVR’s wins. Much like Starbucks, Windows, etc.

  10. IndyJaws says:

    I bought the first TiVo (12 hour, how did we cope?). Since then, we’ve bought 3 more. I would rather give up my 73″ HDTV, surround system and digital cable than part with our TiVo’s. Unfortunately, we’ve had to use a Comcast HD PVR for the big set, since I didn’t want to spend that much money on the Series 3. The new cheaper box is tempting; however, we really enjoy On Demand, and until bi-directional CableCards are available, it’ll be a no-go. I really hope that TiVo survives. The music streaming, program sharing between devices, web programming and podcasts are great features they’ve added over the last few years and something that we use quite a bit (especially the program transfers).

  11. Slack says:

    2 ReplayTV 5000s Networked (copper)
    Main RTV=300gig, Analog cable + OTA Samsung HD Tuner
    OtherRTV=80gig, Analog cable
    HTPC: SageTV two digital tuners
    Main XBOX (XBMC): 300gig
    Other xbox (XBMC): 120gig
    ReadyNAS NV+ 4x400gig.

    I have no time to watch TV.To busy tweaking this or that.

    For true HD I have the Sage box, for the convenience of room-to-room streaming I have the RTVs and XBMC. Never gonna have a cable box in my house.

  12. gruffydd says:

    I received my first Tivo in a Tivo -sponsored contest, probably back in 2000-2001. I was the first person I knew that had a Tivo, and all my friends and family were amazed with the device.
    After that, I’ve owned a variety of Tivo’s supplied by DirecTV…I’ve never owned the cool boxes that allowed remote recordings, transfer between units, etc.
    Now I have the DirecTV HD-DVR with Tivo HR10-250 and a DirecTV+HD-DVR. I won’t record anything on the DirecTV+HD-DVR, the interface is just so ugly and NOT user-friendly. I just use it to pause and fast forward. All my programs that are recorded are set up on the DirecTV HD-DVR with Tivo HR10-250.
    Long live TiVo!

  13. Murph1908 says:

    Ours is a 2 TiVo household.

    I once used my sister’s DVR, which was supplied via the cable company. It was clunky, hard to navigate, and slow. It was like going from a Porche to a Peterbuilt.

    My wife streams music from the laptop when she exercises. I use TiVo to Go to take shows with me on my laptop for business trips.

    The only thing that has kept me from upgrading to the HD TiVo is the loss of some of this functionality.

  14. Trai_Dep says:

    I’ve heard the Tivo software is much better than the knock-offs. Anyone that’s used both care to comment? And I also heard there were hacks available (one of the most popular Tivo hacks was a skip-30-seconds one, which would be worth the price of admission on its own).

    I tend to be sentimental to innovators. I hope Tivo gets through this (although GEEZUS considering their product is a high-end, early-adopter one, they should have figured that their customers would be WAY ahead of the HDTV curve: stoopid!)

  15. scoopy says:

    Tivo rules FTW

  16. teamodell says:

    Now I’m all confused. I have a Tivo that I loved, but had to retire in favor of the cable DVR, so that I could record two programs at once, and have HD. When I saw that Tivo was finally releasing an affordable HD recorder, I was all excited, and had planned on purchasing one. But now you tell me that Tivo is entering a partnership with Comcast, my cable carrier. What to do? Wait until they roll out Comcast Tivos here in Texas which could be the year after never, or just buy another Tivo and cross my fingers and hope that they don’t go under?

    My two cents? The cable company DVR hella sucks compared to Tivo. Clunky, hard to navigate, search features are terrrrrrrible. I miss my whoop-whoop every day.

  17. Goatweed says:

    is a cablecard a must for tivo? Since you still need a STB for programming, cant you just use tivo like a VCR? Why can’t I access & request On Demand programming via the STB and just record non-OD programming with the Tivo?

  18. mac-phisto says:

    AWWW, poor tivo. it’s not exactly easy to make a fast buck when you can’t copyright copyleft, is it?

    so, will we be paying our developers this time around?

  19. hollerhither says:

    Love my TiVo. Right now it’s still the Series 2 (lifetime sub) cobbled to the new high-def tv. I had to disable TiVo recommends recordings — too disruptive with the current setup — and I have to use the less-than Comcastic high def cable box. Not ideal, but I’m not yet ready to invest in a Series 3 (and new subscription). If prices go down some more it might be worth the $ and tussle with Comcast over the cable card, but for now I’m working around it.

  20. RobUsdin says:

    TIVO is the Mac of DVRs. It just plain works with an amazing interface, and all the hardware attached to it (network adapter, getting on your home network, transferring shows) just plain works as well. It’s easy to setup, and easy to use. However – like the Mac – it suffers from lack of market penetration. People will settle for mediocre quality until they are showing how something superior works better, and even then they still aren;t convinced because cost is always a factor. $10 a month through my cable company or a $200 box AND $13 a month for TIVO? Which would they choose?

    Until you’re actually SHOWN the feature set of a TIVO as a demonstration – you’ll likely not understand why it is superior. There’s a reason Comcast is licensing TIVO’s OS for its DVR boxes. Hopefully that will step up TIVO penetration.

    –*Rob

  21. TheName says:

    Combination of TiVo S2 with a QAM tunered TV is a winner in my house. When there’s really something we want to watch in HD we switch over (Planet Earth springs to mind) to the TV otherwise just flick on through the TiVo. Visits with my brother and his Comcraptic DVR box and its severely short bused interface make my eyeballs bleed and my neurons scream. Yet to find any of the 10,000,000+ HD channels we don’t get worth the hassle of dealing with Cable Cards.

    I’ll stick with my bee-boops and 30 second skips and suffer through SD episodes of The Venture Brothers thank you very much. As long as they stay afloat anyway!

  22. bluwapadoo says:

    Tivo is too much money especially compared to the cheaper cable boxes. I’m sure Tivo is better but you have to get people to try it to get them hooked. Right now there is no incentive, in fact a disincentive, to try Tivo. They should make their hardware free. Even the “cheaper” HD cable box is 300 bucks (compared to 800). No thank you.

  23. atarisuicide says:

    TiVo has the best product now, but they really need to be enhancing their technology more quickly to stay ahead of the curve. They gained their current market share because they were first to market and had a superior product. Now they are tremendously slow to market with HD, and the cable/sat provided recorders have caught up.

    I was a loyal TiVo subscriber until I bought a hi-def TV 2 years ago. I stuck with the product even though it integrated terribly with my HD setup. Finally after a year they came out with the ridiculously overpriced Series 3, and I cancelled. I wonder how many other people did the same.

    The future of TV is going to be the media PC. Convergence, convergence, convergence. Will TiVo be the company to really take this next iteration to the mass market, or will it be someone else? My money is on the latter.

  24. rbf2000 says:

    @trai_dep: It’s not a “hack”, just more of an undocumented feature. You can actually set it to jump any amount of time that you want, 30 seconds just happens to be what most commericals are.

    I had a series 2 TiVo and I loved it. Then I got an HD TV and used Comcast’s HD PVR. It sucked, I hated it, I couldn’t wait until I could afford a series 3 TiVo.

    Then TiVo came out with the TiVo HD and I jumped on it. However, I have had some problems. Getting Comcast to send out cable cards was not incredibly difficult, the difficult part is getting them to charge me correctly for those cable cards.

    They are trying to say that each cable card is like having a separate cable box, so while the first cable card is free, the second card is going to cost $12 a month.

    However, in their literature there is a specific charge for people that have two cable cards in the case of having a HD TiVo – that chare is $1.95. Even though it’s in their pamphlet Comcast doesn’t want to acknowledge it. So until I get this billing thing straightened out, my bill is the exact same now that I have a TiVo with 2 cable cards than it was when I was renting the Comcast PVR.

    I even talked with the rep and explained about the multi-stream cable cards (which do the job of 2 single stream cable cards). They said that if they gave me one of those I wouldn’t be charged any extra, but they don’t give out the multi-stream cards to customers…

    Additionally, there are issues with the Scientific Atlantic cards that they gave me and the TiVo HD, although I have been assured that those problems (artifacting and dropped audio) will be fixed with a future firmware update.

    I can’t wait for Verizon FiOS.

  25. stopNgoBeau says:

    For everyone who isn’t understanding the Tivo Series 3 and Tivo HD functionality…

    Unlike previous Tivos, you cannot use it to operate a separate set top box. It becomes the set top box. You use cable cards to decode the digital stream coming from your cable provider.

    You lose On Demand functionality, since the Tivo isn’t bidirectional. Even with bidirectional cablecards (when they happen), the Tivo doesn’t have the necessary equipment to send signals down the line.

    If you dont have cable, or dont want to use cablecards, you can still record over the air (OTA) programming, in standard and high-def.

    Again though, you cannot record from a cable box. The Tivo can’t control the cable box.

  26. atarisuicide says:

    @stopNgoBeau:

    There’s another problem with TiVo – they are moving backwards with compatibility. Now that I’ve switched to satellite TV, I’m totally screwed and couldn’t use TiVo even if I really, really wanted to.

  27. mobilene says:

    I’d just like it if there were something on TV that I *want* to record for later.

  28. I would have done Tivo, except for their insistence on a land line (not sure if they still do this, it’s been 3 or so years). My cable company came out with a DVR-capable box, and I’ve been happy since.

  29. IndyJaws says:

    @trai_dep:

    I have both TiVo and Comcast box. No comparison between the two interfaces. The Porche/Peterbilt comparison is apt: quick and beautiful versus slow and clunky.

    To enable commercial skip, simply enter this sequence on your TiVo remote:

    SELECT PLAY SELECT 30 SELECT

    If done properly, you’ll hear 3 “dings” (same sound as the Thumbs Up button makes). This will give a 30 second skip each time you press the Advance button. If you want a different default time skip, change 30 to the # of seconds you want it to jump. 30 seems to work best, since most commercials are 15 or 30 seconds (but not all).

    S P S 30 S is right up there with Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right A B Start…I’ll remember both until my dying day!

  30. IndyJaws says:

    @umlaut75:
    You can use a broadband connection in place of a landline (either ethernet or WiFi).

  31. eds70 says:

    I love my Tivo, but also love HDTV. I am also a customer of Comcast…. SO…whats a person to do?? The Comcast DVR sucks, A Comcast tech has already told me they have trouble getting cablecards to work (which probably means they don’t want to) so the new HD TiVo becomes a problem, the TiVo won’t run the Comcast HD cable box, and so on, and so on, and so on… Somebody has shot themselves in the foot here, but I can’t figure out if it is me or them!!!

  32. xplosivo says:

    I was an early Tivo adopter with my s1 Sony unit (which I loved!). I eventually moved to an S2 unit and loved it as well. However, I eventually wanted dual tuner which tivo didn’t offer, and then I wanted HD which tivo didn’t offer. I really thought the TivoHD was going to solve my problems. However, the reality was VERY different. The UI was slow, the cablecard integration was TERRIBLE for me. The amount of macroblocking/pixelation was excessive. (every 5-8 minutes or more). This was just totally unacceptable. Not to mention the fact that TivoToGo and TivoToComeBack do not work on the TivoHD units. Needless to say, the box went back.

    I sincerely hope that Tivo can get things together and release a box that does “just work”. But right now, they just aren’t there.

  33. Buran says:

    Series3 user. I’ve tried cheap DVRs while at others’ houses. Lots on for me — no shortage of interesting documentaries and the occasional crime drama. Won’t go back, especially not with lifetime service on the unit.

    That said — Apple is still around even though people constantly say “Aren’t they supposed to be out of business by now?”

    Companies that make products that are that good that people love them that much tend to stick around.

    “Isn’t Tivo supposed to be out of business by now?”

    … no.

  34. Buran says:

    @homerjay: Try the Glo peanut (the one that comes with the S3). Even better. You can buy just the remote from tivo.com.

  35. Buran says:

    @ARP: No, you don’t need a separate box if you get one of the CableCard-aware TiVos. The TiVo IS the cable box. It can’t do Video On Demand, but it can do everything else, and someday even that limitation will probably go away.

  36. Buran says:

    @happy scrappy hero pup: Try and find a DirecTiVo on eBay. DirecTV with the TiVo goodness!

  37. Buran says:

    @IndyJaws: You forgot to note that you should be watching a recorded program while entering the code.

  38. Buran says:

    @Murph1908: Hopefully it will be back by the end of the year. I never used it (and the files transferred to a computer are not captioned. Unacceptable) but a lot of people did.

  39. Buran says:

    @umlaut75: No, they don’t. TiVos can now be set up initially using broadband. Give them a try, but get a new box.

  40. Buran says:

    @stopNgoBeau: Some TiVos can, using an “IR Blaster” that sends commands to the box in place of the remote. It can be problematic, but it does work if you mount the transmitter right in front of the cable box sensor port.

  41. Buran says:

    @rbf2000: I don’t think Tivos can use the multistream cards yet but they definitely are overcharging you. Try EECBing them.

  42. Phildawg says:

    I’ve use many DVRs from Timewarner’s Digital to DirectTV HD dvrs to other satelite dvr’s…


    Tivo is by far the best, and if you look around you will see most of the major brands still recommend Tivo. A good example is maxmimumpc as they would love to get away from saying Tivo is the best because they like things they control, upgrade, etc. but the simple fact is Tivo rocks and virtually no tivo user has ever seen their tivo lockup… yet they run 24/7/365.

    I had a series one tivo back when it was 600 bucks for the dvr + the lifetime subscribtion and now I have 2 additional series 2 dvrs. Tivo 4 Life! Gangsta!

  43. toiletduck says:

    I had TiVo for two years, when we moved we started using the DVR from DirecTV. I hate it so much. It really is like going from a speedboat to a rubber raft. The system takes what seems like forever to respond, sometimes it records programs at random, did I mention its slow as fuck!!!!!!???? Seriously I hate that piece of trash and I cannot wait for the rest of our stuff to get here so I can get rid of it.

  44. wolftrouble says:

    Lordy lordy, I wish I was a cable company. A government-protected monopoly that can screw over anyone who tries to work *with* me that I don’t make money off of. Even as cynical as I am about the FCC, I’m a little startled by how much cable (and cell phone) companies are getting away with.

    Anyway, that said, reports of Tivo’s impending demise have been around for years now. Seriously, it’s like every month some analyst somewhere says Tivo’s going to go under (read: get killed off through the herculean efforts of the cable companies). And yet they just keep chugging along.

    Are they right this time? I think it’s ultimately going to come down to whether Tivo’s willing to stand up to the cable companies, and if they win when/if they do. If they don’t take a stand at some point, or if they lose when they do, they’re history.

    How would that ‘taking a stand’ look? Good question. Most likely it’d require they offer some feature that seriously angers off the cable companies, then filed a lawsuit claiming their treatment at the hands of the likes of Cox and Comcast was in retribution for it. The best result (for Tivo) would be a ruling, either by a court of law or an FCC rule, that does to the cable companies’ control of customer premises equipment what happened to Ma Bell (for the enforced leasing of telephone CPE).

    But I think Tivo’s policy of appeasement, as implemented so far, is a long-term loser’s game. They keep getting life breathed into them by a public that actually wants them, but all the while the cable companies are nosing around the edges of their market share, trying to determine just how crippled and crappy an offering they can put out there that people will be pay an extra $10 a month for and ignore Tivo once they have it. Once they’ve found it — and they will — Tivo’s boned.

  45. Crazytree says:

    If I get one of those TiVo CableCARD boxes… do I still have to pay TiVo a monthly subscription fee for their program listing service?

    If so, why would I do such a thing when I can pay the same amount to my cable company and get VOD and PPV without having to shell out $500 for a new CableCARD box?

  46. Obtusegoose says:

    Sorry to disappoint the Tivo fanatics. I’ve got the high-def Tivo (HR-10) and the DirecTV (HR-20). The HR-20 is better. The on-screen display is easier to read. The fonts are bolder, larger and crisper. The interface is faster: The guide isn’t sluggish and it doesn’t take five minutes to update the Season Pass Manager. Setting up recording and “season passes” is simpler: press “record” once for “one time” recording, twice for “season pass”. It also shows you how much space is left on the hard drive.

    The only thing I don’t like is that the 30 second skip on the HR-20 fast-forwards through the commercials instead of actually skipping them. You can press the skip button multiple times and it displays the number of skips it will perform in a row. But it’s still lame compared to an actual 30 second skip.

  47. I have a 1st-gen TiVO and it’s SO much better than my parents’ comcast DVR. But now I only have rabbit ears, and TiVO’s a little sad on rabbit ears. And hardly ever are there things I want to watch on. *sob*

  48. randomizer9 says:

    I have a Replay TV Showstopper, which still works, but I don’t use it as I don’t have cable and analog over-the-air reception stinks. The HDTV tuner in my Media Center PC, however, grabs the over-the-air digial signal and streams it to my Xbox360 to my HDTV which doesn’t have a digital tuner. (I jumped on that boat too early)

    I can watch the Cowboys, Spurs, and the news, I don’t really need much else.

  49. d0x says:

    In a DVR im looking for something that lets me record what i want when I want and lets me move the unprotected file to my pc where i can burn it to dvd so i can watch it in a room that doesnt have a DVR in it…

    I guess my only choice is to build my own dvr then cause that will never happen

  50. Buran says:

    @atarisuicide: Depends. DirecTV? Get a DirecTiVo from eBay.

  51. reykjavik says:

    TiVo is terrible. First their customer support kept me on hold for 2 hours and had nothing of value to say when the4y finally got on. Second, Tivo has been so slow and regressive when it came to adopting wireless internet. They only allowed certain models (most of which were so old you couldn’t even find them anymore). Third, tivo sucks because its expensive. I get basic cable of around 20 channels for 13 bucks a month. TiVo is 17 a month! for what? Basically nothing but a high tech tv guide. Its not like their giving me the box for free, I still have to pay for that. So then what the hell am I paying 17 a month for? Its a total rip off, their products are old and always outdated, their CSR are awful and they’re expensive. All of that equals out of business eventually.

  52. MercuryPDX says:

    I have two broadband connected Tivos with Lifetime Subs. I think they’re great. It sucks that they discontinued lifetime subs because I don’t think people will pay monthly for the service if their digital cable box does the same thing.

  53. William C Bonner says:

    Two weeks ago I got a TiVo HD. I’ve had a Sony branded TiVo series 1 since September of 2000, and with a hard drive upgrade it’s still pumping along. (I got the lifetime sub when I bought it)

    I dropped my cable about a year ago, and have been getting TV over the air. I got an HD receiver a year ago to see how it would work, and for the past year I’ve been torn between watching things in beautiful HD or time delayed convenience.

    I’ve been debating getting a media center machine, vs the series 3 since they released the series 3. While I still would like to have a media center machine to be able to easily play the divx files that I’ve downloaded from the internet, I decided that I didn’t want to deal with the “F*** with factor” of some media center machine, plus I made the assumption that the TiVo would be quieter and the remote would just work.

    I’ve been happy with the tivo for the past two week. I like my old sony remote better than the peanut remote, and the hard disk storage isn’t enough, but the $300 price point was just so much easier than the original HD series 3 price point.

    I’ve used cable company units in the past, and always had issues with the way they work, and really don’t like my experience with the on-demand stuff. It’s been a couple of years since I even tried that though.

  54. gtr225 says:

    I have a DISH DVR 625 and I have to say it’s my favorite DVR from all the ones I’ve tried. I was interested in a TiVo, until I found out that it doesn’t support digital recording on two tuners with Dish Network. To use it I would need two separate Dish receivers connected to the TiVo which for me was completely unreasonable (not to mention it was recording from an analog source). So far the 625 is good for me, it has a 100 hour capacity, dual tuners, digital recording and it’s all built into one box that i simply plug my satellite directly into it. If one day in the future Tivo can make a DVR that has (at least) those features (like the DirecTivos) , I’ll definitely give Tivo a try.

  55. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @gtr225: Tivo does not have the ability to receive or control satellite TV because of the satellite providers, with their proprietary networks.
    The S3 works. It kicks the snot out of the SA boxes I used to have and the Moto box my parents have (with all the ADS in the TV guide!).
    As far as the cable card problems, this is something the cable companies do pretty much on purpose to keep you leasing their crap.
    Also, anyone with EYES can look at the HD picture I get from the S3, it is an order of magnitude better than the SA boxes I used to have.

  56. maevro says:

    I have been very happy with my TWC DVR here in NYC.

  57. lestat730 says:

    Personally I love to use the media center software that comes with Windows Vista to watch my cable TV through a tuner card. I have a remote control for it and can set it to record whatever I want and store it on a 260GB hard drive. A great option that doesn’t have the subscription cost of Tivo.

  58. Employees Must Wash Hands says:

    @Buran:

    “Get a DirecTiVo from eBay.”

    And have a box that can’t get any of the new MPEG-4 HD channels, leaving you with little more than HD locals and ESPN HD.

    I was a diehard TiVo user until I bought an HDTV and refused to use cable to get HD content.

    Honestly, the only thing I miss from the TiVo that isn’t on the DirecTV branded HD DVR is dual buffers, as that made it really nice for sports because I could watch something else for a while and then jump back to fast forward past all the TV timeouts in the game.

  59. ju-ju-eyeball says:

    I have not bought an S3 yet, though I am dying to. Why you ask? I want to use multi-room view, that’s why. Because of the DRM crammed into the Cable Card, this feature is disabled, along with Tivo To Go. Tivo can fix the multi-room viewing problem by just STREAMING the show to the other box and not copying the show. ReplayTV boxes did that, Tivo should copy. Oh well, guess I will keep my cash in my pocket. Way to go DRM for killing inovation. My only hope DRM breaks free its chains and kills its master, that would be a hoot!

  60. gtr225 says:

    @doctor_cos: I realize it’s not Tivo’s fault, I understand that. I’m just explaining why one isn’t for me. If they offered a Dish Tivo I would get it in a heartbeat. I doubt they would because apparently Dish Network stole the DVR idea off of Tivo anyway. To make a long story short, the creator of Tivo showed his prototype product off to Dish Network, they said they weren’t interested. The guy left the prototype Tivo at Dish Network HQ and miraculously a short while later Dish Network had their own DVR. Wonder where they got the idea from?

  61. hop says:

    i don’t use any of that crap….people that watch tv all the time should get a life……….

  62. gtr225 says:

    @hop: People that leave comments on cosumer blogs denouncing the subject matter of the story should get a life.

  63. jwissick says:

    Tivo lost me as a customer when they did an update and it slugged my tivo down to a crawl…. I waited 3 months for a fix… and I finally canceled and went to comcast dvr. Its not as nice but it works quickly and can record two things at once while I watch a third. No way tivo can do that.

  64. Dr_awesome says:

    Am I missing something here? I have a comcast HD dvr and I’ve never had a single problem with it. Not to mention that it’s cheaper than the tivo service as well.

  65. night_sky says:

    I can make a media PC for the cost of a Tivo with no subscription fees, and no need to hack it for accessing the media on it.

    If you’re smart enough to hack a Tivo, you’re smart enough to know you shouldn’t be paying for one or it’s subscription fee.

  66. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @Dr_awesome: Well, not entirely. If the cable companies would straighten out their billing (COMCAST!!) the TiVo would be less expensive.
    If you haven’t had problems with the cable DVR, more power to you, but the Tivo interface and operability is hands down several orders of magnitude better than the cable DVRs, either SA or Motorola.
    Not to mention, you can upgrade your Tivo to give you *more* storage space than you can possibly get with a cable box.

  67. Trojan69 says:

    Like a previous poster, I had mega issues with my DirecTV HR-20. Also like the previous poster, once I received a replacement (completely free to me) about 5 months ago, I have not experienced a single malfunction.

    At the time I switched to DTV, it would have cost me an additional $600 to buy a TiVO HD receiver.

    I still dread any and all system software updates that DTV periodically conducts as they are notoriously messed up. I also dread the coming upgrade of 100 new HD channels. But if they pull this off with minimal hassle, it is an absolute no-brainer for any discerning TV viewer – DirectTV will be the clear way to go.

    I say it already is, but there are valid arguments against at this point. That changes if the service expands at the end of this month as DTV says it will.

  68. Canadian Impostor says:

    Here’s the rub, Tivo wants to charge you a couple hundred dollars for their box, plus the monthly fee for their service, and you’ll need to pay your cable company to come out and install two cablecards which have their own monthly fee.

    On top of that, cable companies are switching to new technologies to maximize the services they can provide on their limited bandwidth and some of these technologies like SDV are incompatible with Tivo.

    That means that with a Tivo you probably won’t get all of the channels you pay for, you’ll spend more on monthly service and cablecards than you would renting the cable company’s crappy DVR, and you pay a large up front charge.

    This isn’t all Tivo’s fault, the cable companies are working pretty hard to make Tivo unattractive, but at the end of the day as much as I hate my cable company’s DVR and would like to own a Tivo, the Tivo costs about twice as much per month.

    That’s completely glossing over CableCARD installation horror stories.