By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 10:49 am
At the CEDIA home electronics show in Indianapolis, TiVo announced a new TiVo: the Premiere Elite. It’s a high-end upgrade to the company’s current DVR with four (!) tuners, 2TB of storage, THX certification, and compatibility with the MoCA standard for networking over coaxial cable. It’s $499.99 plus TiVo’s $19.99 monthly fee, and clearly aimed at the customers of the audio/visual installation pros who attend CEDIA. TiVo says it expects to ship it later this year.
It’s not surprising to see TiVo go upscale–unfortunately, the company has already lost the war for mainstream DVR users with cheap rental boxes from cable companies. Over at ZDNet, Ed Bott recently wrote an interesting post on the fall of the DVR which noted, among other things, that TiVo’s user base has fallen from a high of 4.4 million in 2007 to 2 million today. It makes sense for it to focus its efforts on the most serious DVR fans, but I’m still sad that TiVo–or its original rival, ReplayTV–never became the pervasive gadget that it seemed like it could be a decade ago.
Is TiVo quietly working on anything that’s not a beefier model of its current box but something all-new, and maybe designed for a world in which recording TV is less important than streaming TV? I hope so.
I’m still a happy owner of a TiVo Series 3 (the last generation before the current generation); about 90% of the cable TV I watch is really TiVo’d cable TV. It does the job for me. (I rarely want to watch or record two things at once, let alone four.) I paid for lifetime service for this box and plan to run it into the ground. And if the day comes when I’m in the market for another DVR, I really hope that I’m moved to get another TiVo rather than break down and rent a lowest-common-denominator cable-company DVR.
Then again, by the time I can’t get this TiVo to work, it’s at least conceivable that I’ll have dumped cable altogether…