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Television Media

TiVo Will Die 402

Espectr0 writes "Yahoo! News has a PC Magazine-reprinted story about why they think the TiVo will die because of rising competition. From the article: 'It's always hard to write an obituary, especially when the subject is still alive. It's especially hard for me, because I love the little guy like a brother. But, alas, TiVo will die. I was one of the first reviewers to get my hands on an early TiVo box. I compared TiVo with ReplayTV, and although I really wanted to like ReplayTV, TiVo won my heart over.'"
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TiVo Will Die

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  • by b12arr0 ( 3064 ) * on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:13PM (#8612223) Homepage
    Long live my VCR!!!!!
    • Re:Oh well..... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by strateego ( 598207 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:33PM (#8612519)
      The author is just trying to say that Tivo will become a commodity device like your VCR is now. PVR's soon are not going to be for the techno elite people like yourself but will be a cheap addtion to your setup boxes.

      With the FCC requiring digital broadcasts in the next few year all your pvr needs is a cheap processor, HD controller, mpeg2 decoder chip, and some software. Tivo niche could be providing the software for these new set top boxes.
      • Re:Oh well..... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cayenne8 ( 626475 )
        "With the FCC requiring digital broadcasts in the next few year all your pvr needs is a cheap processor, HD controller, mpeg2 decoder chip, and some software. Tivo niche could be providing the software for these new set top boxes."

        Unfortunately, the Feds will also about that time, force the makers to honor the 'drm bit'...that won't allow you to keep the show you record for too long, nor unload it to another medium, nor SKIP the commercials....

        That'll take some of the fun out of my Tivo and timeshifting.

  • Sheesh! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Liselle ( 684663 ) * <<slashdot> <at> <liselle.net>> on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:14PM (#8612236) Journal
    So, when did it become fashionable to predict the deaths of everything from consumer eletronics to companies? There's already two links on the front page to death knell articles, I can't swing a stick on a news site without clubbing a few more. Are article writers making up for bad karma they accrued during the hypehypehype days of the dotcom boom?

    And why "death"? I understand exaggeration makes for good entertainment, nobody wants to read an article titled "Man goes to work, has uneventful day, returns safely home". But even though he brings up several good points.. why? Is it impossible to consider that the market might not jump as anticipated, or the company/product can adapt to a new environment?
    • Re:Sheesh! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by clintp ( 5169 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:20PM (#8612334)
      At least as far back as 1985 [google.com] they were joking about the mantra "Death of the Net Predicted". Probably longer, but this is as far back as I could entice Google Groups to go.:)

      • Re:Sheesh! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by some2 ( 563218 ) *
        The net did die, at least as it existed in 1985. The internet used to be a web of text-based web pages, finger sites, ftp, and pretty much the only web browser was something you would install on a UNIX shell, then use SLIP to access.

        Back then, usenet actually had interesting discussions and relatively little spam, e-mail viruses were a joke, and being DDOSed by a 14.4kbps modem wasn't much of a real issue. Oh yeah, and there were no pop-under ads.

        It is different now. Not necessarily worse or better, bu
        • Re:Sheesh! (Score:3, Informative)

          by dameron ( 307970 )
          pretty much the only web browser was something you would install on a UNIX shell, then use SLIP to access.

          Very anachronistic for 1985. Nobody was installing web browsers on unix shells (whatever that's supposed to mean) in 1985. 14.4 modems??? Think blazing 2400 baud modems. Maybe you're thinking more like 1991 and the old SlipKnot proggy...

        • Re:Sheesh! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Golias ( 176380 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @03:19PM (#8613071)
          Fingering, FTP, Newsgroups, academic web sites, etc. are all still there, all still being used. In fact, I would wager that there are more newsgroup users now than in '85, it's just that it's a slightly bigger fish in a much, much bigger pond. While some pre-HTML stuff has been usurped (Slashdot.org growing from a newsgroup, for example,) the commercial web mostly grew around the old Internet, not in place of it.
        • Re:Sheesh! (Score:3, Informative)

          by rk ( 6314 )

          There was no web in 1985, period. A connection capable of more than 2400bps was almost the exclusive province of leased line holders. SLIP was an informal pseudo standard that nobody would even think to write up as an RFC for another 3 years.

          I think you may mean 1995, which really at that time was the first big year of things internet. Netscape version 1 was already out. This new C++ like web applet language called Java had just come out. The world you describe is what the net was like more c. 1993 than

        • Re:Sheesh! (Score:4, Informative)

          by inkydoo ( 202651 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @03:52PM (#8613480)
          It didn't die anymore than I died because I was so different in 1985. It grew up, just like everyone else. Beyond that, you seem to have some misinformation there.

          Let's see, the Web (http) wasn't invented until 1991. While SLIP existed in 1985, the RFC wasn't written until 1988, and even then, it was something available primarily on commercial unix equipment. I think perhaps you meant gopher sites instead of finger sites (or maybe you meant finger servers, cause I've never heard of "finger sites" nor does the phrase make any sense). Even gopher didn't exist until the early 90's (maybe UMN was using it before that, but I doubt anyone else was).

          As another poster pointed out, I would place this description of the Internet in the 1991-1993 time period, not 1985. Perhaps Hobbes' Internet timeline would help clear things up.
          http://www.zakon.org/robert/internet/timeline/ [zakon.org]
          • Re:Sheesh! (Score:3, Informative)

            by pilgrim23 ( 716938 )
            One thing on the Hobbes time-line: The focus here is on the development of Internet via ARPA. well and good and this is indeed the antecendents of today's networks but, one thing missed on such, and mainly because of the focus of the researcher: There was a parallel network structure of the time: Mainframe Nets. Going back to the days of the IBM OS/360 and continuing on through the 370 series machines, mainframes were networked all over the country. Banks, Insurance companys, and your government at work
    • Re:Sheesh! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by happystink ( 204158 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:24PM (#8612389)
      It's not fashionable, it's profitable, and that's why the shitty, shitty, super duper ultra-shitty, PC magazines, etc. that people link to on Slashdot as if they're some actual form of legit press, love predicting stuff like crazy.

      Wannabe pundits don't get ad dollars or further writing assignments by getting the facts straight and admitting they cannot see the future, they get attention by taking a few small things, extrapolating them into way farther into the future than makes any sense at all, and having people on slashdot and their sites' message boards argue about it.
    • Re:Sheesh! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:32PM (#8612498)
      So, when did it become fashionable to predict the deaths of everything...?

      Apparently since the 16th century [nostradamus.org].
    • Re:Sheesh! (Score:3, Insightful)

      people like to build things up and then knock them down. it makes them feel like they are in control, which, in reality, almost no one is.

      people also love to make predicitons, and we love to be right, no matter what it's about. which is why the the stock market and gambling in general are so popular.

      therefore, people REALLY like to make predictions about death/the end/destruction of people/careers/projects/companies.

    • Re:Sheesh! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by iminplaya ( 723125 )
      So, when did it become fashionable to predict the deaths of everything from consumer eletronics to companies?

      So they can sell the "next big thing" during the xmas season. Trash your VCR, your tivo, and buy our lastest contraption.
    • Re:Sheesh! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Total_Wimp ( 564548 )
      I think that in this context "dead" means "not the market leader". These are the same folks who pitty IBM because "they died in the PC market". I'm sure IBM hates being dead since [start extreme sarcasm filter} they don't make any money on processors, hard drives, laptops or servers.

  • first apple, (Score:2, Insightful)

    by negacao ( 522115 ) *
    now tivo? i wonder how many times tivo will die in 28 years..
  • Trend... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Steamhead ( 714353 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:16PM (#8612268) Homepage
    Let me guess, they will die because they are partnered with Apple [slashdot.org].
  • They will take my Tivo when they pry the remote from my cold, dead hand!
  • Too expensive... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by some2 ( 563218 ) * on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:16PM (#8612274)
    Tivo is painfully expensive for the actual service. They offer it for $400 for the "lifetime" of the device. If the thing dies 1 day after the warranty, you paid $33 a month for an overhyped VCR, plus the $220 to get it. I own one, and enjoy it finding me shows.. but really, what in the hell are you going to do with 40 hours of MacGyver?
    • Re:Too expensive... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:19PM (#8612323)
      If you take it to a TiVO repair center, they will transfer your lifetime subscription to a new TiVo.
    • MacGyver Marathon?
    • by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:22PM (#8612366) Homepage Journal
      and with some models, basic 3 day service is included
    • Lifetime fee is $300 [tivo.com], not $400.

      • Re:Too expensive... (Score:2, Informative)

        by some2 ( 563218 ) *
        That is, I was including the Home media option [tivo.com], which is $100 more. It allows you to play MP3s, remote schedule recordings (record stuff from the office, if you find a show you want to see mid-day), and other cool stuff.
    • 40 hours of MacGyver? Is that how the government is planning on getting their political prisoners to talk?
      "It's not torture. It's entertainment.
    • by alienw ( 585907 ) <alienw.slashdot@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:41PM (#8612601)
      I agree. Either Tivo needs to turn its product into a subscription model (i.e. you rent a box from them for 10 bucks a month, including the subscription fee), or turn it into a hardware model (buy the box, get free subscription). Otherwise, they WILL die.

      The current model has got to go. Let's see, you buy the locked-down box for the full price ($150 - $300+) and then have to pay obscene amounts of money ($12 a month?) for the privilege to download the TV program schedule (which programs like MythTV do for free). I call that a ripoff, and that's why Tivo is hardly selling any standalone units.

      Also, many people have digital cable and so on, and you can't really use a PVR with it unless you pay extra for multiple cable boxes (and somehow interface the cable box to the tivo). The way I see it, Tivo can survive only by licensing its stuff to cable/satellite box manufacturers. And I'm sure they would much rather do it in-house to save money. So I definitely think the article has a point.
    • by cayenne8 ( 626475 )
      "They offer it for $400 for the "lifetime" of the device. If the thing dies 1 day after the warranty, you paid $33 a month for an overhyped VCR, plus the $220 to get it."

      You hack into it...clone the original drive onto a larger HD...then, just keep replacing the drive over the years as needed. The HD, I'm guessing, would be your greatest point of failure since it is running all the time. So,if you do this...you could keep your original Tivo going for a long, long, long time...

      At least, that's my plan!

  • by jamshid42 ( 218149 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:16PM (#8612278) Homepage
    Considering the partnerships that Tivo has made with DirecTV and Time Warner Cable, I don't see them going any anytime soon. Not to say never, but I believe that this announcement is a little premature.

    Now, if you are talking about stand-alone Tivo units, yeah they will probably go away, but I am willing to accept that to have one component on my AV rack instead of two.

  • no way! (Score:3, Funny)

    by WormholeFiend ( 674934 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:17PM (#8612287)
    They can have my TiVo when they pry... umm... it out of... umm... when they pry ME out of... umm...

    oh crap...
  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:17PM (#8612290)
    The present "street price" of a "DirecTV DVR with TiVo Serivce" is only $99, with only a $4.95 per household DVR service fee that is waived for subscribers to DirecTV's highest programming plan and is not charged multiple times if there is more than one DirecTiVo in the same household. There is of course a one year committment required to avoid a $300 early cancelation fee, but that's standard for all new DirecTV units.

    So, let's not compare apples to oranges. The standalone TiVo risks getting priced out of the market, and the HD TiVo is not yet ready for mass distribution, but the DirecTV model is flying off the shelves. The Moxi product isn't available to consumers outside of limited testing markets yet, and News Corp's yet to release a US-aimed PVR or even say they're going to do so so all that product has is speculation by pundits. When your biggest competitors are pure vaporware, I'd say your company is doing pretty good.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:19PM (#8612307)
    Seeing as we're on a roll today...

    Researchers believe Sun will die in 5 billion years [enchantedlearning.com]
  • I agree (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rkane ( 465411 )
    I hate to say it, but I agree. I just converted a box at my house to a Media Center PC for the fun of it. It can do everything a Tivo can do, everything a regular DVD player can do, everything a regular stereo can do, and everything a WinXP Pro machine can do. If the HD PVR tivo is going to be $1000, I don't think they're going to get very far. I think that HD PVR cards for PC's will quickly sprout up that will be far cheaper, and much easier to archive and store recorded programs on.
    • by Gruneun ( 261463 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:40PM (#8612591)
      I just converted a box at my house to a Media Center PC for the fun of it. It can do everything a Tivo can do, everything a regular DVD player can do, everything a regular stereo can do, and everything a WinXP Pro machine can do.

      When normal people want toast, they buy a toaster. They don't take a previously-existing, alternate kitchen appliance, tear it open, and make it capable of producing toast.

      The key to making a name for TiVo was impressing the geeks, as they were most likely to be the early adopters. The key to selling TiVo is to convince the regular people that it's easy-to-use, provides a valuable service, and that it's priced within reason. Seeing as every person I know who has used my TiVo for a few minutes has purchased one, geek or not, I believe it has adequately met those criteria.
  • by musingmelpomene ( 703985 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:19PM (#8612312) Homepage
    Computer geeks are getting to the point of being like indie music geeks.

    Indie music geeks have attained the level of zen ennui where they deem bands passe before the last flyer reading "2 GUITARISTS SEEK DRUMMER" is done printing at Kinko's.

    Now computer geeks are achieving the same thing by declaring every new technology dead before it's even managed to hit its stride. It does not make you a geekier person, or a better one, or a smarter one, to say this crap.

    • by doublem ( 118724 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:52PM (#8612742) Homepage Journal
      Please don't let the attitudes of a few reviewers lead you to conclude that all computer geeks like to predict the death of computer technology.

      Remember, the "Death of Apple" has been predicted for so long that it's become a standard joke, so I hardly think it counts. If nothing else. Microsoft has a vested interest in Apple staying alive. They need competitors to fend off the world's Monopoly laws, and Apple is a better competitor to have than Linux. Why? Because Apple isn't trying to take over the world and doesn't have masses of developers and users out for blood. Apple has a bottom line to worry about, and while Linux companies have to worry about money, Linux itself does not.

      Computer journalists love to predict the impending death of a technology, because it gets more readers. It's more sensational to say something is dying than to say it is facing challenges from a shifting market.

      The only person who speaks for me is me, and I haven't heard or read all that many people predicting the death of technology.

      Besides, the articles listed today are hardly "New technology" whose death is being predicted "before it's even managed to hit its stride." Both Apple and TiVo have been around the block and had high points as well as low.

      As a side note, I'd like to caution everyone against confusing being critical of a new technology with predicting it's death. Lots of new technologies are being awaited with baited breath, and others are declared DOA because they're either obvious vapor ware like the Phantom Game Consol, not mature enough to take to market just yet (Nintendo Virtual Boy) or a technology looking for a market (Remember those Smell Cards they were developing?)
  • From the article: The Super Bowl looked tremendous in HD, movies are amazing, and in May, when ESPN begins broadcasting SportsCenter in HD, the contest will be over

    I guess the reference is to Janet's Breast

  • by microcars ( 708223 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:19PM (#8612325) Homepage
    from the article:

    "...And now the guys who make digital cable set-top boxes have gotten into the game. Motorola and Scientific Atlanta both make combo receiver/recorders for cable. And they're cheap, too: Viewers can't buy them but can typically rent a box for just $6 a month. That's half the cost of TiVo's monthly service charge after you've bought a TiVo unit for $300 or so."

    He's got his numbers all screwed up.

    I just got a DirecTv w/Tivo box and it cost $99 and the service is $4.95 per month.

  • Huh? (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by niko9 ( 315647 ) *
    Is today Slashdot Obituary day?
  • What's with this doom [slashdot.org] and gloom [slashdot.org] today?

    Cheer up, people! It's friday!

  • by AvantLegion ( 595806 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:20PM (#8612341) Journal
    Apple vs. C vs. TiVo

    Who will die first?

    Or will Duke Nukem Forever release before any of them die?

  • by sabat ( 23293 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:21PM (#8612347) Journal

    Clearly, they should've just written the article this way:

    It is official; Netcraft confirms: TiVo is dying

    One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered TiVo community when IDC confirmed that TiVo market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent TiVocraft survey which plainly states that TiVo has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. TiVo is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent television viewer comprehensive recording test.

    You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict TiVo's future. The hand writing is on the wall: TiVo faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for TiVo because TiVo is dying. Things are looking very bad for TiVo. As many of us are already aware, TiVo continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

    FreeTiVo is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeTiVo developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeTiVo is dying.

    Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

    OpenTiVo leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenTiVo. How many users of NetTiVo are there? Let's see. The number of OpenTiVo versus NetTiVo posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetTiVo users. TiVo posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetTiVo posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/PVR. A recent article put FreeTiVo at about 80 percent of the TiVo market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeTiVo users. This is consistent with the number of FreeTiVo Usenet posts.

    Due to the troubles of TiVo, abysmal sales and so on, FreeTiVo went out of business and was taken over by TiVo who sell another troubled PVR. Now TiVo is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

    All major surveys show that TiVo has steadily declined in market share. TiVo is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If TiVo is to survive at all it will be among PVR dilettante dbblers. TiVo continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, TiVo is dead.

    Fact: TiVo is dying
  • TiVOToGO (Score:5, Informative)

    by RGautier ( 749908 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:21PM (#8612350) Homepage
    TiVO has a new product called TiVoToGo. It should be a Media Center killer, since it will give you the added flexibility you need without having to have yet another crashing Windows box in your house. Here's the press release: "from TiVO [tivo.com]. I think this new product will give users what they really want, which is more flexibility for managing their content, and having a 'library' capability that doesn't fall short at the size of the TiVO box. Rich
    • Re:TiVOToGO (Score:4, Interesting)

      by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @03:08PM (#8612939) Journal
      I wont buy any more home electronics that require a monthly/bimontly/annual fee to operate.

      I don't need TV listings, cable provides them for free. I dont need the box to pick shows for me, or judge me because my wife uses it to watch Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

      I just want something to usurp the VCR, with it's mangled tapes and hideos tracking knob.

      Besides a home-rolled PVR, which I currently use, there are a slew of such devices on the horizon. Everyone and their uncle is making a MediaPC with PVR functionality. There'll be PVR functionality in XBox2, and likely the PS3 and GameCube Jr.

      I hope Tivo dies, and I hope the industry learns from it. I want to buy a device, and be able to use it as often as I want without any further fees.
  • by sulli ( 195030 ) * on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:21PM (#8612353) Journal
    TiVo is dying [slashdot.org]

    AOL is dying [slashdot.org]

    Apple is dying [slashdot.org]

    Civilization on Mars is dying [slashdot.org]

    Shouldn't this story be in the *BSD section?

  • TiVo dying? Please, no. My sweetie just bought one on Tuesday this week. She's been lusting after one for a few years now, and finally had the means. I even went out and bought a USB-Ethernet adapter so it can live on my LAN and pull updates.

    Already the thing has proved its value; it's automatically grabbing episodes of shows we would otherwise miss via its Season Pass feature. Oh, and did you know there's a secret 30-second skip feature you can activate? Makes advertising essentially go away.


  • TiVo won't die (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mandalayx ( 674042 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:22PM (#8612363) Journal
    Look. TiVo won't die. So the reviewer says he likes ReplayTV better and that TiVo won't dominate the market in years to come.

    But that's ok.

    Consider the home PVR market. By all accounts, it's a growing market. In years to come, let's say that it's a $10B market. Even with just 10% market share, that's $1B. Not chump change.

    Honestly it's like saying AOL will die. Fading into obscurity, being obsolete, etc are not equivalent to dying. Last time I checked [com.com], AOL still had 24.3 million subscribers. All joking aside, let's assume 20m actually pay. That is still $400m/MONTH which is a CASH stream that I dare not to cough at.
    • RTFA (Score:3, Interesting)

      by McSpew ( 316871 )

      Look. TiVo won't die. So the reviewer says he likes ReplayTV better and that TiVo won't dominate the market in years to come.

      First off, the article states explicitly that the author prefers TiVo to Replay and all of its alternatives.

      Secondly, he states that as much as he loves TiVo, he thinks they're doomed. As much as I love TiVo, I can't bury my head in the sand and assume they won't die just because I don't want them to.

      The PVR market is already changing, and TiVo needs to get ahead of the trends

  • Death of Tivo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mknewman ( 557587 ) * on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:22PM (#8612365)
    Personally I think the death of TiVo will come when the public finds out about non-subscription encombered PVRs. =
  • Tivo as it stands is too expensive. Granted the functionality is great and once you're tried it you don't want to go back.


    Most people won't try it because of the price. There is no good reason for this overcharging other than trying to recoup the hardware cost. Therefore I give this suggestion to Tivo - ditch the hardware and make yourself into a pure play service provider.

    There are loads of PVR, DVR and other players looking to get into the market. Ride on that by providing the software and se

  • by Erich ( 151 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:24PM (#8612384) Homepage Journal
    Another one to add to the "foo is dying" list:
    • Apple is dying
    • Linux is dying
    • Real is dying
    • *BSD is dying
    • Tivo is dying
    • America is dying
    • Europe is dying
    • Morality and Ethics are dying
    • People who color fabric are dyeing

    Which will pull through? Which won't? Who's going to be next? Place your bets!

    Seriously, though, I think that licensing to DirecTV et al will help out TiVo in a pretty substantial way.

  • You insensitive clod!
  • Why is it with every cool new (dare I say it) innovation it never fails that the so called "analysts" write all their articles about how product X will die?

    For example, the iPod. It's going to die. Run for the hills!

    Why is there all this fear-mongering? Can't we just enjoy a product and not anylyze it to death, literally?

    I almost get the feeling that write-ups like these are actually motivated by trying to make it die. For example, you spread a rumor that bank Y is failing. Everyone takes their mone

  • The article makes the point that Tivo's software is much better than the competitors. Even if the standalone box business dies (and it probably will), the company will do well as a supplier of software to integrated cable/satelite boxes.

    I recently read that this was the original idea of the company: the standalone boxes were supposed to tide the company over until the emergence of the all-in-one set-top box market.

    They have something like 3.5 million subscribers who are loyal and will stick around for

  • by tinrobot ( 314936 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:25PM (#8612399)
    I don't tape things anymore, I 'Tivo' them. The phrase 'to Tivo' has become pretty ubiquitous in the past few years and is synonymous with PVR recording.

    With that sort of name recognition, they're not going away any time soon. They may get bought, but the name will be around for quite some time.
  • While it can have some cap card driver and configuration issues, MythTV is just amazing, considering it's Free Software.
  • Article failed to mention SnapStream [snapstream.com], and that's probably a huge possible TiVo killer. As a Dish Network customer, I find the Dish 500 suitable enough to take care of recording the shows I program it to, and with the option of recording them on one of my PC's using SnapStream, so I can take it with me on a laptop if I chose? Unreal. I highly doubt the "death of TiVo" is approaching, and perhaps with some better PR they'll climb out of whatever dark hole other companies are trying to put them in, but there
  • I just saw a commercial late last night on my cable box from Adelphia (my cable provider) that stated that there is either available now, or coming soon, a PVR (TIVO-like device) for my digital cable.

    Although I will hate giving my cable company another $10 a month to rent this thing, if I were a betting man I'd say it a lock.

    *Can't wait to waste more of my life watching the TV shows I can't stay awake to see*

    Adult Swim, Monty Python episodes, and all the Comedy Central shows I can handle!!! WOO!
  • by enrico_suave ( 179651 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:26PM (#8612418) Homepage

    The article assumes Tivo will never release another version/improvement or will never implement HDTV or tap into digital cable boxes "digital" stream...

    I love my tivo (I'm still building my own home brew one [byopvr.com] though because it's fun )... I kinda wish I had gotten replayTV (networking features mainly), but after their boneheaded near bait and switch PR blunder [byopvr.com] I feel better not supporting them with my purchase.

    *shrug* The article was right about the dangers of the cable companies offering built in PVR's into their digital cable boxes (as a matter of conveience not necessarily signal quality/degredation concerns)

  • by Nynaeve ( 163450 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:26PM (#8612420)
    A snippet from the article:

    Shaped like a dog bone, it was simple to use, easy to understand, and a pleasure to hold.

    If you didn't read the article, you may not know what the author means when another poster quotes the article! :)

  • Does he think that TiVo doesn't know the exact things he's talking about? TiVo doesn't need to sell boxes, they license the software and sell the service. Most people won't notice the difference between current "analog" TiVo and digital TiVo, unless they have a really good TV, in which case, they would probably shell out for the HDTiVo anyway. That $1000 price point will drop, too- the product is still clearly in the early adopter phase. Eventually, sales will pick up, components will be cheaper, and th

  • It's so fashionable these days for to have articles like this one declaring the 'end' of stuff like the iPod [theregister.co.uk].

    I'll believe it when I see it [netstate.com]. Seems these "journalists" have been taking tips from the various [wikipedia.org] trolls [wikipedia.org].
  • I have the Scentific Atlanta PVR [sciatl.com] through my local cable company. It's only $6 per month rental, and no up-front purchase cost. My initial unit was bad (seemed like a flaky drive), but since it was only rented I just swapped it for another one from the cable company, no hassle involved.

    My brother has a TiVo. I readily admit that the search software on the TiVo is much better, but it doesn't have two tuners (the SA from my cable company does). We were stuck watching some stupid show his wife had set to record

  • All I want is a VCR like, standalone, personal video recorder with no monthly fee that costs under $250.

    I don't really care about all the fancy features, just give me play, stop, fast forward, and the ability to transfer recorded video files off the machine.

    Is there such a thing out there with assembly not required? I just can't stand the idea of paying a monthly fee for a relatively simple device masquerading as a service.

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:30PM (#8612476)
    Let's see - a magazine that sells PCs (that can do TiVo-like functionality, at the expsense of usability) - predicts the death of TiVo.

    Moore's Law - Just because you can put an MPEG2 stream onto a hard drive without converting to analog, doesn't mean a TiVo isn't a better way to do it than a clunky piece of crap set-top box from your local spam^H^H^H^Hcable company. TiVo wins marketshare because of its UI, not because it's doing anything technologically revolutionary. Moore's law merely means that the cost of silicon will continue to drop -- but the cost of building a TiVo is about the same as the cost of building anything else. TiVo's strength - its usability - is a function of good design, not the cost of silicon.

    HDTV - And next week, IPv6 to take over the world! Enough said.

    Murdoch / DirecTV - Then he'll buy TiVo outright, which will also be good for TiVo. Why oust it in favor of something less useful but cheaper, when Moore's Law says both the clunky and the useful products are going to be the same price?

    The article's an unwarranted slam against TiVo and only towards the end do we find the real motivation:

    In the early years of TiVo, I'd get instant service. TiVo even gave me the name of a special ambassador-a strategy meant to ensure that the company got a fair hearing in the press, on the Web, and in other public forums. Today my inquiries go unanswered-or even worse, I never receive a promised response. Hold times on the help lines are interminable: It took me over half an hour last week to determine why the company had charged me $14.

    So that's the real reason for this poorly-thought-out slam: The author used to get serviced to orgasm from the company whenever he flashed his press credentials. But today, he gets the same customer service as the rest of us get... from every company we do business with. It's phone support. It's going to suck Deal with it.

    What's next? Netcraft author denied photo-op with cute daemon-suited ch1x0rz at LinuxWorld, and writes a report that confirms FreeBSD is dying?

  • by Mr. No Skills ( 591753 ) <lskywalker@hoCHEETAHtmail.com minus cat> on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:32PM (#8612492) Journal
    Just to keep things in perspective, this article is written by PC Magazine's editor. What, if anyone knows, is ZD's ability to see the future? Seems to me this publication a long time ago became a Microsoft ad channel.

    I have no experience with Tivo, nor HDTV, nor cable. I watch TV from a Radio Shack antenna mounted on my roof. So, in TV terms I'm pretty much Fred Flintstone. At the same time, I'm not exactly sure what my incentive is to upgrade to the products that are listed as being the killers for Tivo -- and the thought of Tivo is pretty appealing to someone like me that still uses their VCR.

    The article claims that "2004 is the year of HDTV". What does this mean? HDTV penetration becomes 50% of households? This doesn't seem possible with the current penetration being 1-2% (last I checked). Admittedly, Tivo has a need to change its products and strategy over the next few years, but I think the same could be said for any technology based product.
  • by plumby ( 179557 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:32PM (#8612506)
    I'm pretty certain it's already dead in the UK, killed by Sky+, the Sky TV combined digibox/PVR (although I think it was probably on the way out before then, partly down to high prices at launch).

  • retarded article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sootman ( 158191 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:35PM (#8612533) Homepage Journal
    one of many problems: "The next fatal problem for TiVo is high-definition TV signals. 2004 will be the year America embraces HDTV. The Super Bowl looked tremendous in HD, movies are amazing, and in May, when ESPN begins broadcasting SportsCenter in HD, the contest will be over."

    OK, so HDTV has been coming Real Soon Now (tm) for, what, a decade? And this yahoo (no pun intended) thinks SportsCenter is going to propel it to the massses? In the next 8 1/2 months? No one ever said HDTV wasn't good. It's just expensive (capable TV, plus tuner, plus whatever) and supported channels are few and far between. Yet somehow, at today's prices, everyone in America is going to buy a new, big, expensive TV and related gear this year? Uh-huh.

    In any case, he seems to think TiVo is unable to change. Yeah, TiVo is absolutely unflexible and will be totally unable to adapt to *any* changes in the market. They're going to stubbornly make one product and go under when there's no more demand for it. This article is such non-news I don't even know what to say about it.
  • by ReNeGaDe75 ( 585630 ) <brandon.kindabored@com> on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:37PM (#8612563) Homepage
    The idea of charging $13/mo for a programming schedule will die. I forsee that there will be so much competition for DVR's and PVR's that the service fee will keep dropping down to free.

    Then, they will have a simple box to type ANY phone number or IP Address (if a network interface is present) to download from, and cable/satellite providers will give you free access to a scheduling server of some sort, and there will be a standard for these schedules.
  • by mveloso ( 325617 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:41PM (#8612606)
    TiVo won't die because they have patents on the whole DVR idea.

    This is one case where patents are good. TiVo, and DVRs in general, aren't really that obvious - VCRs and such aren't really prior art.

    Now that everyone and their brothers are making DVRs, well, TiVo owns the IP behind all of it. They can go off and sue/license the technology to anyone, and they'll be hard to stop. Plus they learned from Apple's mistakes and filed the right kinds of patents.

    There you go - patents aren't all bad.
  • Patents? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ivan256 ( 17499 ) * on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:43PM (#8612636)
    This totally neglects TiVo's patent portfolio. They're far from sunk. As it is they don't make hardware...
  • by El Camino SS ( 264212 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:47PM (#8612677)

    YES, Tivo is dead.

    My prescient mind, armed with my incredible understanding of market economics (from my hours in high school econ, and the occasional Wall Street Journal articles) predicts the downfall of this device... and here's why:

    It works too well, has real value, and makes watching television easy in a glut of channels, all the while searching for programs you like.

    That just sounds like a recipe for disaster.

    Nobody ever became rich giving the public what they wanted... people became rich selling patches, add-ons, and ancillary crap to something that hardly worked, suckering in the customer with the hope that THIS WAS THE THING THAT WAS ACTUALLY GOING TO WORK WELL THIS TIME.

    Tivo needs to get Ron Popeil on the phone, and let him break it down for them.

    See? Get with the new economics! You don't make millions anymore giving the customers what they want! You have to release a crappy, non-transparent technology and then CHARGE THEM FOR UPDATES! Please. You need to think like Gates to survive these days. The money is not in giving them what they want. The money is in giving them something that doesn't work that they think will work, and then charging them huge bucks to GET IT TO WORK RIGHT AFTER ten generations later.

    Tivo should die for getting it right the first time. This is America people. Our economy would collapse if we produced products that actually worked, where would all of the tech support workers be? All of the patch engineers? More importantly, where are all the freaking extra charges that make you a Fortune 500 company when you innovate and give the public what they want in a good product?

    Face it. It is just like health care. The money ain't in the cure, the money is in the medicine.

    Tivo screwed up. They deserve to die for NOT screwing their customers.
  • TV is dying (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NineNine ( 235196 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @02:48PM (#8612690)
    Among the people I know, only a few that are my age (late 20's, early 30's)even watch TV any more. Most are like myself: we have a TV for watching DVD's and games. If there's a TV show worth watching, it'll come out on DVD. I literally haven't watched TV outside of one that's blaring in a bar or restaurant for several years. I don't miss it. My TV is usually on with a movie or game, but no crap TV or the commercials that go along with them. As far as I'm concerned, Tivo can live or die... I don't really care.
  • by sPaKr ( 116314 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @03:02PM (#8612863)
    Lets face it tivo owners, the suits are turning the product into shit. Remember the dawn, great little box that you could hack, run own stream extracting ftp server, hack in OSD of caller ID, hack in remote scheduleing.. just about anything you can think of. Then the suits came out with Series 2.. ugh, no hacking (save bios hack, 2card monty), and then came Home Media Option, or as I like to call it, an over priced package of all the cool hacks we stole from the community and impleneted like shit. Fast forward to today, the hacker community is giving up on tivo, the real PVR hacks are coming out for things like MythTV, Freevo.. etc.. and Tivo has yet to pull out any new features.. wait.. the did add TVGuide ads on everything what a great day that was. Tivo will die mostly becouse the product development has been ignored. There are a few things Tivo could do to save its self. First come out with an HD tivo that supports caputre via firewire, as we are all know FCC has told cable providers they need to add firewire out by april 1, btw the few providers that already support firwire have a great side effect, no OSD from the cable box so the OSD stacking problem is SOLVED. Second slash the price of the Unit to just above costs, if it cost $400~ a unit then they have production chain problems. They should be able to get the unit cost down below $100, do direct sales of $150, but allow retail to carry it at what ever they want. Finally, bring back hacking, put the protectvie seal, add the warnings about voiding wartnee.. yada yada.. but let the community back in to hacking, thats where all the good ideas came from anyways
  • Bah. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Keith Russell ( 4440 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @03:07PM (#8612918) Journal

    (Disclaimer: I am a DirecTV subscriber who is quite happy with his DirecTivo receiver.)

    Moore's Law: A complete non-sequitur. Tivo's value was never in the MPEG encoder. That merely provides compatibility with analog sources. It's the software, stupid. That's where Tivo still maintains the lead. Louderback has a good point that Tivo should have pursued a deal with Echostar more aggressively, instead of waiting until it was too late and whipping out the patent hammer, but getting to that point was a long, irrelevant trip. I guess he needed to fill a few column-inches.

    HDTV: Again, the hardware is not where Tivo makes the money. Ensuring sufficient storage and throughput for multiple HD streams must have cost some R&D bucks, but everything related to decoding HD is expensive right now. Yes, the HD DirecTivo costs a whopping US$1000. But there's no such thing as a cheap HD STB, unless you go rummaging on eBay. Until something forces the STB prices down in proportion to screen prices, $1000 will be what the market bears. Maybe that's why the Moxi is still vapor...

    Howlin' Mad Murdoch: Finally, a good point. I don't think I'm alone in thinking that Rupert Murdoch is going to ruin what is, smart card paranoia aside, a Good Thing. DirecTivo manages to hit the sweet spot between power and usability. I'd hope that, once he gets some Tivo-knowlegable people in his organization, he'll stick with Tivo when DirecTV becomes Sky America.

  • bUNK (Score:3, Funny)

    by 3terrabyte ( 693824 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @03:35PM (#8613287) Journal
    You know the article is bunk when you read it. It sounds as convincing as my 10 year old explaining the reasons why he should be allowed to stay up later.

    The year 2004 will be THE year for HDTV! Hahahaaha. Great premise. Do you work part time at Best Buy?

    My favorite is that the final 'nail' in Tivo's coffin will be when ESPN starts airing some sportcrap in HDTV. Oh no, the end!

  • by Suidae ( 162977 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @03:37PM (#8613316)
    From the article:

    Give a TiVo to your friends for a month and you'll have to pry the remote out of their cold, dead hands.

    Umm... thanks buddy, but if it has that effect on people, you can keep it!
  • by dacarr ( 562277 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @04:15PM (#8613702) Homepage Journal
    Seriously. They stop because of a lack of innovation, and what is left after said innovation stops is what diehards will continue. OS/2, anybody?
  • FAILURE TO INNOVATE (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ThresholdRPG ( 310239 ) on Friday March 19, 2004 @07:58PM (#8616670) Homepage Journal
    The main reason TIVO is going to die is because of a total failure to innovate their product. The TIVO was absolutely awesome 2-3 years ago. I still love my TIVO but I am constantly disgusted by their failure to improve the product.

    Some things that should have been implemented AGES ago:

    1) The ability to store shows in folders. It would be very convenient to have all your episodes of (Insert Show Here) in a single folder.

    2) The ability to sort your programs by ANYTHING other than time/date stamp. Sorting by name sure would be nice.

    3) The ability to start recording LATE rather than just early. With shows that start at stupid times like 8:59 now, it would be nice to start recording 1 minute late to avoid overlap.

    4) The ability to still record part of a show if there is overlap. Just because something overlaps for 5 minutes doesn't mean the later show should just be abandoned.

    5) Sharing shows between multiple TiVOs.

    Finally, the recent revelation that TiVO logs EVERYTHING you go: when you pause, what parts of a show you watch more than once, etc. and sells this data really hurt TiVO badly.

    I didn't mind them keeping aggregate data on what shows got recorded because that helps me. If the shows I watch are considered "popular" then it is less likely they will be cancelled.

    But I definitely don't like them being able to record data on when I pause, when I fast forward, what I watch more than once, etc. That is an invasion of privacy. Furthermore, I suspect this additional logging is the reason why so many TiVO owners I know report far more problems and lags when performing such operations.

    The failure to innovate and the implementation of incredibly invasive logging are what will kill TiVO. Those actions make the environment RIPE for a competitor to steal customers.
  • by KFury ( 19522 ) * on Friday March 19, 2004 @10:44PM (#8617887) Homepage
    Everyone's been posting Jim Louderback [yahoo.com]'s premonition of TiVo's death like it's the Gospel, and so I feel compelled to tell you exactly why Jim (a reporter who's been naysaying the TiVo [techtv.com] for years) is wrong, and that punchy three-word headlines don't equate to a balanced market analysis.

    The simple reason TiVo will live is because TV is intimate. People want ownership of their experience, and they want ownership of the resulting media. This is exactly the opposite of what cable and satellite companies want.

    Of course TiVo as a standalone appliance will fade away as Decoder-PVRs become common, but they'll grow into three other markets: The referenced cable/satellite set-top boxes, DVD-R burning hybrids, and as an integrated component of television sets. Two of these hybrids are already on the market (DirecTiVo and two different DVDiVos) and the third, Toshiba and Phillips TVs with integrated free 'tivo lite' will be here by Christmas.

    Saying that Cable-PVRs will squash TiVo is like saying that cable squashed the VCR, when in reality it made it much stronger. For all the benefits that a cable PVR has (that it seems cheaper because the cost is built into your monthly charge), there's no content provider in the world who would ship a device that would record to DVD, and no network that would deign to be included in a service that did.

    Recording to a DVD isn't as easy as recording to a tape, and this is where an integrated 'export this show to that disc' solution really shines. If you're going to buy a DVD anyhow, the incremental cost of adding PVR functionality is a gimmie. And yes, within the next 4 years it will be an incremental cost.

    TiVo is source independent. Cable, satellite, bunny ears or closed-circuit TV, TiVo is your box. As each content provider has their own proprietary system, if you change providers, you have to change systems, a shift as big as switching from Mac to Windows. Oh yeah, and your shows are gone, too. It's content lock-in, and it's one of the big reasons Dish Networks wants you to use their box, so leaving their fold is more painful, even when they suddenly drop CBS, MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon [sfgate.com] because of a contract dispute.

    As long as content providers carry copyrighted material on their networds, they'll be hobbled by the demands of organizations like the MPAA [mpaa.org] and Viacom [viacom.com] who will use all the leverage they have to inhibit the end user's ability to export to any portable digital media. Standalone PVRs and in-TV PVRs are farther outside their control, and as that control is flexed, PVR customers will flock to these options.

    TiVo-in-TV, which Sony plans to market later this year, is another gimmie. It will provide a free 3-day window to the future, with an inexpensive up-sell to season pass functionality. The TV-TiVo-DVR box is probably about 24 months away.

    Jim's main point is that TiVo will fail because the costs of enteing the market and delivering product are dropping rapidly, but this is likely why they'll succeed. TiVo will never be a Yahoo or other conglomorate, but they will become a platform standard with a steady revenue stream. When prices fall uniformly, users flock to the best solution, not the cheapest. Getting PVRs into peoples hands cheaply, on the backs of other products is exactly why the market will succeed, and when the market succeeds, TiVo will likely be at the top of it, based on product quality.

    True, you won't have to buy a $299 box for your parents to bring them the light, but when you see the glow in their eyes, talking about the magic recording TV they bought at Best Buy last month, you can bet it'll have a little guy with two antennae and no arms stickered onto the remote.

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982