Tivo gets it right with new Roamio Pro model

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Sam Posten, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  2. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  3. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I need to read reviews, but I'm excited. All rumors were showing 6-tuner, whole house solution this Fall, and here it is. I also expect a new Fios 6 tuner DVR, so I'm waiting to hear about that.I've been noodling and waffling on a Ceton-based HTPC for a while. And I want a DVR upgrade from my pair Tivo HD's. I see myself picking the TiVo 5 vs rolling my own DVR. But of there's a Fios solution coming, I need to consider it. Not having VOD is sometimes annoying, especially against the TiVo option of buying TV episodes from Amazon at $3 ea.
     
  4. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Hooray for fast performance, 6 tuners, integrated TiVo Stream, support for the mini.Unsure of RF Remote: will my Harmony One no longer work?Boo on remaining SD menus, no Amazon Prime support.Pricing is typical for TiVo. I'm inclined towards the basic 6 tuner and a mini, with lifetime contract.
     
  5. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Yeah what's up with that bullshit SD menu stuff?
     
  6. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Mossberg not impressed:http://allthingsd.com/20130820/new-roamio-tivo-on-the-go/
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Note the Mossberg review is specific to the out-of-home streaming, which is unreleased and not due for a few months.
     
  8. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    HD + HD (Current) Roamio + Mini Sub Roamio + Mini Lifetime
    Hardware $0 $500 $500
    Subscription $22 $19 $0
    Duration 36 36 36
    Lifetime $0 $0 $550
    TiVo Service Cost $792 $684 $550
    Cable Card $10 $5 $5
    Total $1,152 $1,364 $1,230
    (sorry for formatting. Previously I could copy/paste nicely formatted tables from Numbers. It doesn't work any more, so I had to go with a unformatted paste. And since "tab" doesn't work in online text editors, spacing is goofed)

    (Note: These reflect my MSD prices and local Fios cablecard price)
    Breakeven is about 2.5 years (30 mo) between month subscription and up front lifetime purchase. In hindsight, I should have bought Lifetime my two Tivo HD's, since I've had them for four years. But since I didn't, buying new h'ware and paying Lifetime makes sense assuming a reasonable 3 year use.

    I would likely be ok with the 4-tuner basic. We've got 4 tuners total, and generally need 3 during Fall prime time. So 6 may be overkill. And I've got 40 hrs HD recording time total right now, so a conslidated 75 would also be a big upgrade. But, I can't upgrade the 4 to a 6 tuner later. So if I buy, I'll get the Plus and hope its $200 well spent overall.

    The irony here is I'm also looking down the road, in 18 months when my Fios contract is up and wondering if I can cancel cable and switch to Netflix or something. My wife's Amazing Race and Survivor say "unlikely", but still.

    The real question is whether Fios has a big whole-house DVR upgrade coming soon. I like Tivo. But a Fios DVR could save me $10/mo on cablecards and give me VOD, making it easier to catch up shows missed and the occasional failed or pre-empted recording.
     
  9. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    I love Tivo. Have two premium units in my home...

    ...that being said, I hate being faced with yet another
    upgrade even with the discount that current Tivo owners
    would receive.

    Sidenote: Just bought the second premier unit three
    months ago during a nice sale on Tivo's site. No wonder
    they were selling them rather cheap knowing that a newer
    unit was on the way.

    To buy the hardware and lifetime subscription is a very
    hefty investment. Furthermore, In past years I have had
    Tivo models with hard drives that have gone bad in the first
    two years. You see pixelation errors running rampant.

    As expensive as the hardware and lifetime subscription
    is, you still see advertising on their top menus from time
    to time which has me baffled. Why is there advertising on
    a service that I am paying for?

    Overall, I have a positive opinion of the Tivo experience
    though it's not perfect. They have this great HD interface
    on the front end but once you start digging around in settings
    it switches to SD.
     
  10. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    This is an upgrade I want: 4+ tuner, whole-house DVR with centralized programming. This is a big jump from a pair of Tivo HDs. It's not a question of whether I upgrade, but which 6-tuner solution I buy. And they're all $1000 systems, whether it's Tivo, a rumored Fios DVR, or a custom built Windows 7 DVR.


    I've been wanting a significant upgrade for two years so the cost isn't a particular problem. I wanted to upgrade two years ago, but the Premiere was, by all accounts, unimpressive and slow. And I've been noodling on an HTPC for two years, but it has the same cost, huge uncertainty in WAF and reliability, and can't serve as both a DVR and movie system (for my purposes).

    Now, if you've got a Premier or two, maybe with a Mini added last year, the Roamio does require some thinking. It might not be enough to upgrade for.


    The biggest risk with Lifetime apparently, is you're betting on the hardware. My pair of HD's have worked without issue for four years. The S2 I had before that worked fine for a couple years. So I'm inclined to take the risk now. (and if I built my own HTPC, essentially the same worries of putting in a $1000 and hoping it all works, worry free for a few years.)
     
  11. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    On the phone with Verizon, activating cable card in new Roamio Plus. Got a TiVo mini for the bedroom. Did lifetime. Also paid $99 lifetime for my HDs, and hope to make a profit off eBay. Off to a good 3 day weekend :)
     
  12. Chris Gerhard

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    I have been using TiVo for about 13 years, the reason we see ads, TiVo hardware is sold at a loss and subscription fees alone are not enough to allow TiVo to operate profitably. Therefore additional revenue sources are necessary. If there was an alternative as good without ads, I would use it, there isn't so I accept ads as a better option than even higher fees. If this was easy to do profitably, there would be other companies competing with TiVo. Other companies have tried and lost a fortune.

    I am using two TiVoHDs with lifetime service for OTA and have no plans to upgrade, the internet options TiVo has offered historically aren't very good so I use Google TV and Roku to cover internet streaming. I think the TiVo Roamio is going to be a big improvement over the TiVoHD and TiVo Premiere for internet streaming but still of no interest to me, I will stick with what I am using. As far as a DVR, there isn't close second best to TiVo in my opinion.
     
  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    CableCard transfer successful. Took only 10 minutes on the phone with Verizon.The typical hour-long TiVo setup still applied. It had to go through its inscrutable machinations to set itself and connect to the mother ship. But now it's working.The Roamio is quite zippy compared to the HD, and the HD interface seems like a real improvement. Of note, in menus, video keeps playing in an inset corner in the upper right. Very nice.The remote is shorter, but same width. The design changes will take some getting used to, but at first use, all seem sensible improvements. Most importantly, my wife loves it. She's immediately impressed and has completely sworn off the HDs after an hour of use.
     
  14. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Dave,

    Great to hear your very positive experiences with the new Tivo Roamio.

    Keep the posts coming.
    True, Chris....
    ....but I wonder how well Tivo is doing.
    For most people, it is very hard to justify the cost of buying one
    of these things when most all the cable/satellite companies are
    offering a basic DVR at a low price point.
    ....I know, I know....unless you own a Tivo you don't know what
    you are missing. I wouldn't go back to a standard DVR, but I have
    to admit, there is a lot of initial regret plopping down about $600
    every few years for a new Tivo unit and lifetime subscription.
    I am going to be meeting with the Tivo team in about two weeks
    at a trade show in Denver. Looking forward to checking out the
    Roamio for myself.
     
  15. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    That's the question I ask myself when debating between Tivo and a Mac Mini. I feel like I get to do more by having a computer attached to my TV, even though I am missing out on the superior interface of the Tivo.
     
  16. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Screenwriter

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    It is hard to justify the premium for TiVo for cable and right now TiVo isn't the best DVR available for DirecTV subscribers. There is a small market willing to pay the price to use TiVo with cable, I don't know how TiVo can increase that market size. If lower price is the only option, that won't help, losing money on each subscriber adds nothing to the bottom line. Cable companies provide lesser DVRs at a loss to get customers that will buy profitable services, TiVo doesn't have the option.

    The OTA market is just so tiny, TiVo doesn't really have much competition, but it just isn't big enough to mean much. The licensing fees from companies making cable DVRs, mostly as a result of lawsuits, is certainly a big piece of the business plan and it all comes together making TiVo a company that has survived for 14 years. I guess more of the same is the only option for the future.

    The upfront costs for TiVo are certainly significant but my experience over 13 years, buying 3 lifetime subscriptions and always having at least 1 working TiVo connected is I can look back and the overall cost has been acceptable for me, I would say very affordable. I purchased one lifetime DirecTV TiVo subscription, one used Series 1 TiVo with lifetime subscription and in 2009 a TiVoHD lifetime subscription. The Series 1 lifetime was transferred to a second TiVoHD, using the one time transfer for the early TiVo lifetime subscription and both of those are still running fine. I discontinued my DirecTV subscription in 2009 so that lifetime subscription that cost $200 is no longer being used but I did use it for over 8 years. I have never paid a penny of TiVo monthly fees and I can't imagine I ever will. The only hardware failures have been hard drives and I have replaced those my self.

    I think the TiVo Roamio will be a good seller, the loyal TiVo users ready to upgrade will buy it and some small cable market segment willing to pay a premium for a better DVR will buy it as will some small percentage of cord cutters to use with OTA. I think Roamio is a stupid name, not sure how that was the choice the company agreed on.
     
  17. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    For the first three years of TiVo HD use I was OTA and that was pretty great. $22/ mo and no cable cost. It was financially, pretty much a no brainer for my interests. There was no other competition, except home brew media centers. New job, new location, OTA isn't practical. So cable. In for a penny, in for a pound. I've taken a quick look at the Fios and Comcast DVR whole house options and they aren't impressive. The TiVo hardware is pricey, but the tivo service cost is comparable to a Fios DVR, with more storage and better whole-house features right now. Fios is rumored to have a big upgrade coming this fall, but I didn't want to wait. I feel about TiVo the way I feel about apple products. There's some premium cost, but I get my money's worth. And it works so well, and is so easy to use,TiVo made my wife an enthusiast. At the end of the day, its a $1000 device to enable you to watch TV easily. If watching TV is a priority for you, you should get a TiVo. It is, and I did. If it's not, I don't know what you're doing at the HTF :)
     
  18. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Transferring recordings from old tivos to new TiVo was easy. I had about 20 episodes unwatched. From the Roamio, I did a transfer of all episodes from the two tivos to itself. It added them to a queue. I left for the evening and this morning all shows were transferred. If I'd had hundreds of shows, I'd have looked into tools like pytivo to transfer first to my computer, easily, and then later to the the Roamio. It's not built to facilitate massive transfers. Tivo HD self destruct sequence initiated. Restoring to factory defaults for eBay sale. I'm really hoping to get $200 or more for each of them. That would really take the sting out of the Roamio purchase. Also need to get the bedroom TiVo cleared out so I can setup the mini. High hopes for the little guy.
     
  19. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Really? It costs Tivo $200 to manufacture their units?I am in no position to know for certain, but I would think
    that they are making some kind of profit on their hardware
    not to include advertising across the top menu.
     
  20. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    What I've read at TCF is Tivo sells the hardware at a loss and make it up on subscriptions. (Except the high-end box, which people say is profitable.) I don't believe that advertising is what pushes them over the edge into profitability, since their ads are so modest and certainly of low revenue compared to the $15/mo standard fee.

    We can try a little analysis:
    The Tivo Plus is $400.

    Ceton InfiniTV 6 is $300
    http://cetoncorp.com/products/infinitv-6-ethernet/

    An "Enterprise" class 1 TB hard drive is $100
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148784

    So the basic hardware could be close to $400 for the device, with small or no profit. That leaves the subscriptions to make the bulk of their money.

    The Roamio is obviously designed to cost less than the Tivo HD. They removed the flip-door on the front and the push button, soft-eject Cable Card slot. It's now a basic, push-to-insert slot on the back, and the card sticks out a half inch so you can grab and yank it out to remove. They also only support a single M card instead of having an additional S slot. The box is also a bit smaller. And the packaging is relatively streamlined.

    At the same time, the remote seems more expensive, and supports RF communication. So maybe that eats up the cost savings from the box itself.
     

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