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TiVo and DVRs in general are slowly dying (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

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This is a tough predicament.

Tivo seems to be a dying brand. That being said, it truly is the best DVR out there bar none. They do hold sales throughout the year that bring a purchase and lifetime subscription to under $500 (it could be $400 if I remember correctly).

But that doesn't help you now

Here is what I would do...

First, I know they offer a discount on hardware for current owners. It's not generally advertised on Tivo's site. Send an email to support and tell them your Tivo died. Tell them that you are not in a situation to pay $800 for a new one with a lifetime subscription. Ask them if there is a current deal for owners. You may get some help from customer support on that side.

Otherwise, I would say wait for one of their many sales, but that's not a great suggestion when you need a DVR now.

The other thing to consider would be cutting cords altogether. Go exclusively to streaming and buy a box that records OTA content. Now, this part is not my specialty. This is something I plan to do, however, once my Tivo dies. There is an entire thread on HTF about cutting the cord and what to buy. Of course, this means divorcing your cable company and buying individual streaming services but in all, it may be a lot cheaper in the long run than continuing with a very expensive combination of Tivo and cable.

Please let us know how your communication with Tivo goes and what you do from here. I trust we are all going to be in this predicament at some point. Good luck.
 

Doug Pyle

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This is a tough predicament.

Tivo seems to be a dying brand. That being said, it truly is the best DVR out there bar none. They do hold sales throughout the year that bring a purchase and lifetime subscription to under $500 (it could be $400 if I remember correctly).

But that doesn't help you now

Here is what I would do...

First, I know they offer a discount on hardware for current owners. ....

Please let us know how your communication with Tivo goes and what you do from here. I trust we are all going to be in this predicament at some point. Good luck.
Thanks for you suggestions! I did decide to replace it and bought a TiVo Edge for Cable - used a discount sale that ended yesterday - total cost $749.98 including "all in" (AKA "Lifetime") service. This was the hardest and least enthusiastic home theater purchase decision I've made! And, I have 30 days money-back return policy time to change my mind....

I researched in a day as much as I could about alternatives. And talked to TiVo tech support as well as customer sales support. The factors that tipped the decision toward getting the new TiVo:
- the price drop helped a little (still expensive)
- pausing live TV or cable stations (some streaming alternatives can get cable stations, but with limited pausing, and I miss that already)
- ad-free live TV / cable (I'm already impatient with "-go" streaming versions of cable or network stations that have countdowns of "1 of 6" unskippable ads)
- another ad-free consideration: Though the new TiVo software does insert pre-roll ads in recorded shows, and I almost didn't buy because of that, it was easy to request these ads be disabled on my account (tivo customer service was very good and prompt with this request)
- I was nervous about their 90 day labor+parts limited warranty, but I learned buying direct from TiVo includes a no-upfront-cost extended "continual care" service - $49 pay only when needed to replace a defective TiVo within 5 years of purchase (after the original warranty, which is too short)
- and, having TiVo is a hard habit to break!

Factors that made me hesitant:
- expensive
- clunky tuning adapter needed from cable company
- I use cable less and stream stations more than I did when I first bought TiVo 9 years ago
- cable image (no 4K) and sound are not keeping up with streaming alternatives
- nice that TiVo now offers streaming along with cable in the device, but Roku and other stream-only devices are much better priced if you don't need cable subscription. I expect to continue using Roku for most streaming.
- picture and sound quality better when streamed instead of viewed via cable

I really came down to: pausing live TV and skipping live TV ads. How much is that worth? I have 30 days to change my mind.
 

DaveF

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I really came down to: pausing live TV and skipping live TV ads. How much is that worth? I have 30 days to change my mind.
Did you compare the cost to paying for ad-free and/or live-TV streaming services?

Ad-free services are relatively cheap.
Live TV streaming is expensive.
But against an $800 TiVo plus $5/mo cablecard, they might be worthwhile.
 

Doug Pyle

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Did you compare the cost to paying for ad-free and/or live-TV streaming services?

Ad-free services are relatively cheap.
Live TV streaming is expensive.
But against an $800 TiVo plus $5/mo cablecard, they might be worthwhile.
Yeah I agree with that in general and it's a good point I considered. But my condo association provides cable, including cablecard charge, so the cable service is entirely free (or prepaid in my association dues) so the only expense for me is the TiVo and the lifetime TiVo plan. I think if I also had to pay separately for cable, I'd cut the cord and not get a new TiVo. Or, perhaps get the OTA version of TiVo.

Having had to suddenly decide whether or not to rely solely on streaming with new subscriptions, versus replace my TiVo, raised for me the implied question in the thread title: how slowly are cable, TiVo and DVRs dying?

In my case I think there will be a few years left of usefulness and the cost balances roughly either way, so I renewed by replacing. But I don't receive the new box until next week. I'll see then if I am happy with this decision, or return it.
 

Doug Pyle

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I should add: I do think TiVo will need to adjust its pricing and/or services to survive long into the streaming era.

For now, the ad-skipping is really about time-saving, and tivo still does that best. An hour program with ads may be only 44 minutes without ads. That's what I'm paying for really.

But I wouldn't consider TiVo pricing competitive now if you also pay separately for cable service, and less so if ad-free services become more available at more reasonable cost.
 

DaveF

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Makes sense. If my TiVo died, I’d be calculating cost of cable and cost of TiVo against streaming services. And I think now TiVo + cable would lose out.
 

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I have 4 DVRs which work just as well as they ever did. My cable company is fazing them out. If this coved thing ever ends, the cable technician is coming to replace them all with some sort of gizmo which uses the internet and saves everything on “the cloud”. It is called “Rogers Ignite”. . Apparently that will be the only way to receive and record TV through this “cable” company.
 

Doug Pyle

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FWIW I have had the new TiVo for more than a week up and running and it is really a nice upgrade from what I had (an old Premier Plus). It's a keeper but I don't know that I'd say so if I didn't also get free premium cable included in my condo association. It would be too expensive to pay cable fees on top of the initial purchase of the TiVo. I don't know what I'd recommend to anyone else, it would depend on your situation. This works for me. I like the six tuners (the premier had 2) and the software on the Edge for Cable does a good job predicting the stations I regularly tune to and buffers them so I can skip ads when I tune in. So it does what I was used to, better than before.

I'm using it frequently enough to justify the cost. But all the pros and cons discussed above are perfectly valid and I still think TiVo will have to get very creative if it is going to survive as cable cutting and streaming are becoming more common.
 

DaveF

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The TiVo Stream was a complete failure.

I can’t fathom how TiVo released a streaming device that can’t watch TiVo. The streaming dongle as a TiVo Mini that was also a competent streaming device could have sold to a big block of the existing customer base, while it worked at getting traction with the Roku and AppleTV crowd. If it did the job of the Mini and managed to bring TiVo’s formerly-great UX work to streaming, I’d have bought two if only to simplify my system and not have to bounce between my Mini and AppleTV.

But TiVo as a streamer per se? Who cares? No one, that’s who.
 
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jcroy

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(Going back further in time).

I encountered a similar dilemma when the tivo unit abruptly died many years ago. I looked at other tivo units as a possible replacement.

Though what completely turned me off from Tivo forever, is that at the time I learned that the "old Tivo" company was bought up by the insidious macrovision company. If one is familiar with hollywood history, one would know macrovision was infamous as a drm company, where their drm was encoded on many VHS tapes and later became a standard part of the specification for standalone dvd players. I was not willing to buy any further products from macrovision with "new makeup" or "lipstick on a pig" as the "new TiVo" company.

In the end, I just abandoned any notion of buying a tivo or any other similar dvr box.

The times I had cable since then, I just rented out the standard dvr box from the cable company. In hindsight, I am glad I did this after two cable company dvr boxes have already died, where the cable company just swapped them out for a newer dvr box model with no additional fees.

It seems like the quality control of some dvr boxes has went down the toilet over the years. In contrast, my old tivo box seemed like it was built a lot better and lasted longer than any of my recent/current dvr units.
 

jcroy

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My cable company is fazing them out. If this coved thing ever ends, the cable technician is coming to replace them all with some sort of gizmo which uses the internet and saves everything on “the cloud”. It is called “Rogers Ignite”. . Apparently that will be the only way to receive and record TV through this “cable” company.

Frankly at this point, this ^ is the solution I would prefer when I am living with folks who are tech/computer illiterates. (Or such folks who are in my local social circles). Much less headaches and personal problems to deal with.

(Long story).

When the old Tivo box died, the then-gf didn't understand that the cable company was not responsible nor obligated to repair/replace the dead Tivo box. (She actually purchased the Tivo box many years earlier). IIRC, the cable company didn't use any Tivo models as their generic dvr units.

Even after yelling and screaming numerous times on the cable company's phone customer service line and making a loud scene at the local shopping mall where the cable company had a retail storefront (ie. selling phones, dealing with dvr/cable/cell phone customer service issues, etc ...), the clerk at the mall finally offered to cancel the cable tv service outright without any penalties. (ie. Just to get rid of her).

She was finally convinced that renting out the dvr box from the phone (or cable) company was easier to deal with technical problems, where the phone (or cable) company will fix or replace a malfunctioning/dead dvr unit. (I can't help her anymore with her tech/computer issues, since she moved to another city which takes more than a day to drive to one way).
 

Doug Pyle

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Thanks for you suggestions! I did decide to replace it and bought a TiVo Edge for Cable - used a discount sale that ended yesterday - total cost $749.98 including "all in" (AKA "Lifetime") service. This was the hardest and least enthusiastic home theater purchase decision I've made! And, I have 30 days money-back return policy time to change my mind....

I researched in a day as much as I could about alternatives. And talked to TiVo tech support as well as customer sales support. The factors that tipped the decision toward getting the new TiVo:
- the price drop helped a little (still expensive)
- pausing live TV or cable stations (some streaming alternatives can get cable stations, but with limited pausing, and I miss that already)
- ad-free live TV / cable (I'm already impatient with "-go" streaming versions of cable or network stations that have countdowns of "1 of 6" unskippable ads)
- another ad-free consideration: Though the new TiVo software does insert pre-roll ads in recorded shows, and I almost didn't buy because of that, it was easy to request these ads be disabled on my account (tivo customer service was very good and prompt with this request)
- I was nervous about their 90 day labor+parts limited warranty, but I learned buying direct from TiVo includes a no-upfront-cost extended "continual care" service - $49 pay only when needed to replace a defective TiVo within 5 years of purchase (after the original warranty, which is too short)
- and, having TiVo is a hard habit to break!

Factors that made me hesitant:
- expensive
- clunky tuning adapter needed from cable company
- I use cable less and stream stations more than I did when I first bought TiVo 9 years ago
- cable image (no 4K) and sound are not keeping up with streaming alternatives
- nice that TiVo now offers streaming along with cable in the device, but Roku and other stream-only devices are much better priced if you don't need cable subscription. I expect to continue using Roku for most streaming.
- picture and sound quality better when streamed instead of viewed via cable

I really came down to: pausing live TV and skipping live TV ads. How much is that worth? I have 30 days to change my mind.
Yeah, quoting myself but just to update some points after nearly a year since upgrading to the Edge for Cable.

I'm happy I kept TiVo after many years of using the Premier, which died of old age last year. The Edge has also proven to be a big upgrade from my trusty old Premier.

The Edge streams, so not sure why they would put out a streaming-only device without TiVo (unless it is very cheap). The Edge incorporates both streaming and Cable results in program searches, which would be nice except I use my Roku for streaming.

Some updates from my original pros/con list from my prior post:

- this is SO satisfying: ad-free live TV / cable (I'm already impatient with "-go" streaming versions of cable or network stations that have countdowns of "1 of 6" unskippable ads). If a cable station has a streaming version (-go, for example) and I haven't upgraded to an ad-free version, I will always choose the TiVo to watch rather than the streaming

- I find I don't actually have to use the Tuning Adapter from Spectrum. I think I lose about two or three obscure stations I never watch anyway, and the TiVo functions much better without having to communicate with the unreliable tuning adapter

- its season pass (searching and recording based on key words, titles, directors etc) works a lot better than the old Premier that died. I'm never missing my favorite NBA basketball team games.

The one annoying thing, minor issue really: the microphone button on the remote. I'm used to it now but for awhile I kept accidentally hitting it, because it is so prominent under the OK selection button.

While it streams I never explored this feature because Roku does that better.

I'm enjoying it and glad I stayed with TiVo, despite the high initial cost. At least it doenst have recurring bills monthly. Since I still have cable, a DVR is useful to me in ways no other device can be, and the TiVo does DVR well. With cable cutting, the market is drastically shrinking but for me it works well.
 

DaveF

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TiVo Edge is a $950 DVR (lifetime cost).

TiVo Stream is a $40 streaming dongle like a Roku.
 

DaveF

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As a TiVo user and enthusiast, I just hope my Roamio keeps working. I’m super glad I paid lifetime back in 2013 when I bought it. That $1000 DVR has paid for itself against the monthly sub and against the alternate of renting the cable-co DVR.

But circa 2021, no way I can justify $1000 for a DVR with a 4 year breakeven on the subscription cost. And no way I can justify a $15/mo monthly subscription adding to cable. I think when my TiVo dies, I’m canceling cable and going streaming only.

TiVo is in a death spiral. No sensible person is spending TiVo money for a DVR. But TiVo can’t afford to sell its boxes for $199.99 and no subscription. So, they’re done, when-not-if.

And so, I whisper sweet nothings to my TiVo every night, to keep its spirits up, so it won’t quit unexpectedly.
 

Doug Pyle

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As a TiVo user and enthusiast, I just hope my Roamio keeps working. I’m super glad I paid lifetime back in 2013 when I bought it. That $1000 DVR has paid for itself against the monthly sub and against the alternate of renting the cable-co DVR.

But circa 2021, no way I can justify $1000 for a DVR with a 4 year breakeven on the subscription cost. And no way I can justify a $15/mo monthly subscription adding to cable. I think when my TiVo dies, I’m canceling cable and going streaming only.

TiVo is in a death spiral. No sensible person is spending TiVo money for a DVR. But TiVo can’t afford to sell its boxes for $199.99 and no subscription. So, they’re done, when-not-if.

And so, I whisper sweet nothings to my TiVo every night, to keep its spirits up, so it won’t quit unexpectedly.
Yes I would do the same except my condo provides premium cable subscription included, no additional cost to me. So the TiVo purchase was my only cost. Wasn't an easy decision but now I'm glad I got it. If my condo stops providing cable I would make a different choice.
 

Rodney

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The TiVo Stream was a complete failure.

I can’t fathom how TiVo released a streaming device that can’t watch TiVo. The streaming dongle as a TiVo Mini that was also a competent streaming device could have sold to a big block of the existing customer base, while it worked at getting traction with the Roku and AppleTV crowd. If it did the job of the Mini and managed to bring TiVo’s formerly-great UX work to streaming, I’d have bought two if only to simplify my system and not have to bounce between my Mini and AppleTV.

But TiVo as a streamer per se? Who cares? No one, that’s who.
As one who purchased a couple of TiVo 4K streams, I agree with you. I was hoping (and maybe foolishly still hope) that they would build the capabilities of a mini into the unit, so you could have all the advantages of TiVo and the advantages of streaming.
 

jcroy

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As a TiVo user and enthusiast, I just hope my Roamio keeps working. I’m super glad I paid lifetime back in 2013 when I bought it. That $1000 DVR has paid for itself against the monthly sub and against the alternate of renting the cable-co DVR.

But circa 2021, no way I can justify $1000 for a DVR with a 4 year breakeven on the subscription cost. And no way I can justify a $15/mo monthly subscription adding to cable. I think when my TiVo dies, I’m canceling cable and going streaming only.

TiVo is in a death spiral. No sensible person is spending TiVo money for a DVR. But TiVo can’t afford to sell its boxes for $199.99 and no subscription. So, they’re done, when-not-if.

And so, I whisper sweet nothings to my TiVo every night, to keep its spirits up, so it won’t quit unexpectedly.

Even after the market for Tivo premium quality dvr units has died, most likely the "Tivo" name will live on as something to market future generic tv set-top boxes with a "Tivo brand name" on the front panel of such boxes.

Similar in spirit to how brand names of yesteryear are used today, such as: RCA, Zenith, etc ...
 

TJPC

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I was convinced (really dragged kicking and screaming) by my new cable company — Rogers, to give up my DVR and accept Rogers Ignite. Some how we now get all the cable channels we want plus being able to stream Netflix, Amazon, and Crave. Each TV has a box about 4” square attached to it, and we get almost unlimited recording with the ability to program and record as many shows as we want at the same time. Oh yes, what ever is recorded can be played back on all 3 of our TVs.
 

Rodney

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From your description it sounds to me like Rogers ignite is an IPTV solution which TiVo is going to have to add if they want to stay in business.
 

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