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TiVo and DVRs in general are slowly dying

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Ted Todorov, Jan 9, 2020.

  1. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Producer

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    TiVo lately has been disgraceful (I say this as a TiVo user for many years). They no longer even sell a 3TB TiVo - just ones with smaller capacity. If my TiVo Roamio dies, I'm screwed. The TiVo iPad remote app went from being very good with occasional bugs to close to unusable. Gone is the one VITAL feature it had was the ability to slide back and forth to any spot in a recording - say you were looking for a specific play in a sporting event, or a specific guest on a talk show, etc. - you could get there almost instantly on your HDTV via the iPad remote.

    Basically the only way I watch TiVo recording now is by downloading them to my Mac via cTiVo and watching them via the Infuse Pro app on my AppleTV.

    Latest - they are ditching development for an AppleTV app: https://www.macrumors.com/2020/01/08/tivo-apple-tv-app-limbo/

    Sad, very sad. What with both EyeTV and TiVo essentially dead, the DVR era is over. I certainly can’t thing of another alternative, and the DVRs coming from the cable companies are uniformly awful.
     
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    I am not quite sure how this could be true.

    How else do all of us have the ability to record our programs?

    No, I still think DVRs are very relevant.

    Tivo? That's a different matter. They have been going through multiple changes over recent years. They aren't doing well and have been trying to rebrand themselves.

    I am *guessing* their smaller capacity models are a solution to their high pricing. I mean, for me to get a top-end Tivo it will easily cost me upwards of $500-$600 with a lifetime membership. If they run a special promotion I can get it for $400.

    Tivo is so desperate for money that they are rolling out ads on their new machines in addition to the exorbitant pricing.

    The only sad thing is, Tivo is generally the best DVR out there.
     
  3. Message #3 of 16 Jan 9, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
    Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Producer

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    That is the point - if one considers TiVo barely usable now (which is only going to get worse as they lose users/income) and they are *still* by far the best DVR on the market. The alternative is going to a completely different approach than DVRs to watch TV.

    Sooner or later most major OTA TV stations will be available via streaming, hopefully with going back to full seasons and without advertising if you are willing to pay more (see CBS All Access with or without commercials).

    I agree, far from the same as a DVR and not something that will happen tomorrow or next year. But, IMO by the end of the new decade, DVRs will be gone.
     
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  4. atcolomb

    atcolomb Screenwriter

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    I hope my Panasonic dvd recorders will last as long as possible. I still record programs off my Directv satellite receiver.
     
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  5. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    Couldn't live without my two DVRs. I only watch TV "live" when there is absolutely no alternative.
     
  6. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    I think, if and until we become a totally streamed "on-demand" society, DVRs are going nowhere.

    Another argument I have in favor of DVRs is broadcast television which you can't get "on-demand" and as far as I can see, is not going anywhere.
     
  7. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Producer

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    What is going away is the percentage of people watching broadcast TV. "Cord-cutters" are a real thing, more and more "live" TV is also available online, so if there is some big news story it can be seen even without cable or antenna TV. Eventually the audience won't be big enough for companies like TiVo to stay in business, at least not in the DVR business.

    Again, I am not suggesting this will happen soon, but it will happen.
     
  8. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Yeah, Ted, we may eventually get there. We are heading in that direction for certain.

    My situation is that I have Verizon Fios. I use Tivo instead of their box. So, I can't even get their "on-demand" programming.

    I have HBO. Yes, I could go to the HBO GO app and use it for the shows I watch, but right now, it's just so much easier to DVR it.

    The fewer inputs I have to switch to get to the programs I want the better.

    But you are correct that we are becoming more of a cord-cutting society. There are just too many different devices to deal with and I am still at the point where I would rather deal with cable and recording rather than on-demand apps.
     
  9. Message #9 of 16 Jan 10, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
    Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Producer

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    My is situation is exactly the same with Spectrum - no cable box, I can either view via TiVo or the Spectrum TV/Apple TV apps on my AppleTV or iPad.

    But, in fact that does mean I can get on-demand programing via the Apple TV for shows I didn't pre-record on the TiVo - unfortunately, with commercials.

    HBO/Showtime I never got via cable - I just subscribed on my iPad with their respective apps - so I only watch them via AppleTV or my iPad - never TiVo. When/if they bother to go 4K/HDR I won't be trapped into having to upgrade my 1080P TiVo box
     
  10. Message #10 of 16 Jan 11, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
    DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Still use daily, and love, my 2013 Roamio and the Mini. My DIY upgraded 3TB drive is never more than 20% full anymore, thanks to streaming. And should the Roamio die, I don’t think I’d replace it. I’d put the money into more streaming services and look to decrease my cable bill further with fewer or no channels.

    As Ron noted, I think the future is streaming subscriptions and TiVo isn’t part of that future.

    As a cable-co DVR, their 4K upgrades are pointless and a waste of money: there’s no 4K content via cablecard. As a streaming box, a $500 + $15/mo sub box is laughably stupid against a $50 Roku.

    And aTV app could have been great: that would replace my Minis and I could make the AppleTV the single device for my displays. But that’s a stopgap and wouldn't solve their existential crisis of being a subscription-based HD SDR DVR for live cable TV in the 4K HDR streaming era.

    I’ve wondered if there was an opportunity for TiVo to realize it’s not a “DVR” company but a “digital content delivery” company and to have become Roku before Roku. But they didn’t. Oh sure, there’s the new TiVo streaming dongle teased at CES. But who cares? Roku and Amazon for the masses, AppleTV and Nvidia for the technorati.

    It seems like for TiVo it’s just wringing what cash it can from patents and selling best-of-class DVRs to its dwindling customer base until the business is dead. Maybe, like point and shoot digital cameras and GPS devices, there will always be a small market that supports the company. It may not "die" but I don't see it growing and thriving going forward.

    As for me, I hope the Roamio hangs on for another year or two until I’m ready to fully ditch live tv and go streaming 100%.
     
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  11. David Norman

    David Norman Producer

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    Currently running 4 TIVO with Lifetime. I haven't noticed any degradation of services and the TIVO still stomp on the Spectrum DVR equivalents.

    Series 3 TIVOHD that I picked up for $100 with Lifetime several years ago. I use upstairs for an OTA Antenna

    Roamio 6 Tuner which is my wife's main TIVO again I got for transferring a REALLY OLD Series 2 Lifetime -- I upgraded the HDD for $50. I think I bought the Roamio off Ebay, upgraded the HDD and then transferred the Lifetime probably for a total of $200. She also has a MINI in in the bedroom

    A TIVO Bolt 4 tuner I use downstairs with the OTA antenna mostly as a backup for local channels in the opposite direction than the locals included in my normal Cable Package

    Tivo BOLT PLUS 6 Tuner i my main unit

    The Bolt's I picked during deals that allowed me to transfer Lifetime services for $99ea from my older 10yo TIVOHD and a Roamio that was starting to show signs of failing.

    I've looked into Streaming variations and figured with the increase Internet cost, Streaming device and subscription cost, and with what my wife and I watch -- every way I've run the numbers it would cost 30-40% more to Cut the Cord than what I'm paying Spectrum and TIVO and be less user friendly. The TIVO's basically paid for themselves by avoiding monthly charges from whatever company owned my local rights (I think my local is now on it's 4th Parent company in 30 years from a Local to regional owner to TimeWarner and now Spectrum).
     
  12. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Why four individual TiVo’s and a mini instead of a single TiVo with upgraded drive and three (much cheaper) Minis?
     
  13. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    I'll answer that question as far as it concerns me.

    I have five Tivos in my home. They range from the latest Bolt model to the Roamio, to Series 2 models.

    Absolutely, Dave, much cheaper to get the minis

    However, they require an ethernet connection at each junction. That I do not have. Why they could not incorporate WiFi into those models is beyond me.
     
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  14. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    They support MOCA, if you don’t have ethernet.
    https://www.tivo.com/support/how-to/what-moca

    And TiVo sells WiFi adapters.
    https://www.tivo.com/shop/detail/wifi-adapter

    I had two TiVo HD units previously. Managing the recording of just two separate TiVo’s was annoying. I can’t imagine managing my recording and viewing across three or four or five separate TiVo’s. For me, a single six-tuner TiVo and satellite mini’s solved all that.

    If multiple master TiVo’s works, Cool. But I can’t figure out how it’s easier or cheaper than Mini’s (even with expense of WiFi adapters).
     
  15. Message #15 of 16 Jan 12, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
    David Norman

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    Well, if I was starting from scratch that probably would be true strictly from a financial aspect, but these were bought at different times over the last nearly 20 years starting with several Tivo 2 units which were essentially being turned off at least from any useful function. Some of those older S2 and 3 units were picked up 2nd hand for less than $50 expressly for setting up cheap lifetime transfers on upgraded units. A $99 transfer fee vs $500 Lifetime seems pretty nice. I could have tossed the older units and lost their lifetime fees completely or tried to sell them on Ebay which I just didn't want to mess with

    100-150 for a Tivo Mini vs $200-300 for a full Unit with Lifetime service (the Bolt Plus was a little more) wasn't that much of a reach and honestly I could probably sell 3 of the units for more than I paid so it's not even lost money.

    Also functionality and flexibility: the Roamio and Tivo Bolt 6 tuners can't do OTA at all. TIVO Series 4 and up can't do OTA and Cable simultaneously like the Series 2 and 3 could do -- while I may not need both, I do want both. The 2 independent units allows us complete control his/her TIVO -- no arguments on whose archived shows need to be purged to allow new recording. The last is certainly far less meaningful now than it was a few years ago when my kids were also at home.

    The OTA units don't actually get a lot of use, but since they are set up to receive different local channels than Spectrum provides it can be nice to avoid Local Preempted shows, alternate Live Sports offering esp for college football and NFL. The Spectrum supplied Charlotte Networks often show different games than the 180 degree opposite Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville networks that I have my antenna pointed at. I'm situated pretty much in the middle of those overlapping OTA regions.
     
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  16. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    When we first got the TiVo Roamio, I recorded the Breaking Bad and Mad Men series marathons, and for while we were at 80%+ full (and that was even doable thanks to the easy 3 TB DIY upgrade). But we don't otherwise "hoard" shows and haven't since had any conflict over whose shows stay. And with steaming making up a greater proportion of what we watch, the TiVo usage is less than even the original 1TB drive size.

    The Roamio's big feature for me initially was transfer of shows to the iOS app. That almost literally paid for the TiVo. I watched 13 seasons of Mad Men and Breaking Bad via transfer. The cost of buying those shows on iTunes circa 2013 would have been close to the purchase price of the TiVo.

    I'd done monthly sub with the prior pair of TiVo HD units. So I bought lifetime service for the Roamio. That paid for itself compared to a cable-co DVR in about three years, and has been money in my pocket since about 2017.

    Lifetime service is a big reason for staying with cable and TiVo, for me. It's cheaper to pay for cable TV and use my TiVo than to "cut the cord" and buy Hulu Live with Cloud DVR (whatever it's called). Now, if the Roamio dies, I don't know what I'd do. But I'd look hard at the cost of a new TiVo compared to the cost of streaming services or even cable-co DVR for the duration that I think I'd still be using cable TV.

    But for someone coming in needing new hardware: If they have good internet, it seems hard to recommend a TiVo over just buying the streaming services that fit their needs. Now, if I didn't have good internet, one of those places with <5Mbps service tops, I'd buy the biggest TiVo I could with the biggest cable package. (and I'd also be spending even more money building my media PC library)
     

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