Four Times the TiVo

By  |  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…


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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Chris Karr Says:

    As a TiVo user since 2003, I'm still amazed that I can't stream my recorded content to my tablet devices. It's maddening how much TiVo seems stuck in their own private bubble.

  2. Mark Hernandez Says:

    I loves me TiVo HD too! Because TiVo is 3rd party, it's got it's hands tied in so many ways that the customer is unaware of.

    On Cox Cable here in San Diego, I can't buy a second TiVo and watch content recorded on the Living Room TiVo in the bedroom because Cox puts the CopyProtect flag even on shows like I Love Lucy, and TiVo, by law, cannot share it's content. Same with content shared on tablets.

    They have things locked up and they have TiVo by the cojones.

    AT&T's U-Verse, on the other hand, is just like Cox's own cable boxes, and they are free to allow inter-room sharing and streaming to tablets if they so desire.

    The complexities and legal strangleholds of the cable system and the studios are not known to the average person, and they think that there's something wrong with TiVo and their "lame technology."

    It's the same effect if Flash were available on the iPad — when the scrolling suddenly shudders and becomes unsmooth, and people are poking repeatedly at Flash content on a web page and nothing happens, they will not know any better and blame Apple and their crappy tablet, when it's actually Adobe's problem. Apple made the right choice.

    TiVo, on the other hand, has to take it on the chin when people complain that they can't stream to their iPad or iPhone, finish watching Lucy in the bedroom, or buy a new box and move their already recorded material to the new box.

  3. Chris Karr Says:

    Mark, as an avid TiVo watcher (of the company as well as the device), I'm well aware of the legal situation surrounding TiVo and how the company basically wasted 5 years of product development trying to buddy up to the networks. Aside from it's belated entry into the HD market, there's not too much different from my original 2003 TiVo and my 2008 Series 3.

    In terms of sharing content, if TiVo is prohibited from broadcasting to tablets, why does EyeTV get a pass:

    For a company that began as a shining example of customer friendliness and innovation, TiVo doesn't seem to be agitating too hard to deliver a modern experience to their customers.

  4. sasha grey Says:

    I went there and i saw this myself and i must say it is quite well worth the money. I am currently using TiVo HD Player and i think it is quite good ~

  5. Dale Dietrich Says:

    I dumped cable 2 years ago and have been happily using my Series 3 Tivo to record everything I want off the 30ish digital broadcast stations I receive in Toronto. I didn't have a choice really since Canadian cable companies do NOT support cablecard. The only thing I miss is breaking news and wall to wall grand slam tennis. But I'm saving over $100 a month on my cable bill. I'll never look back

  6. jltnol Says:

    I'd buy the box but not the $19.99 a month fee. NO MORE SUBSCRIPTIONS!! I cut the cable cord about 2 years ago… don't miss it much…. Yeah.. there are times when I wish I had it but really… until the cable companies offer me either:

    1. to let me choose the channels I want to pay for
    2. bill me for only the shows that I watch

    they have lost a customer!