11 thoughts on “How to Save TiVo?”

  1. Won’t work for two reasons: 1) having a TiVo is not a fashion statement or status symbol, so there is no way they can expect customers to pay more for less vis a vi competitor products, 2) TiVo does not have enough cash to support the R&D investment necessary to make it an elite product.

  2. Well, I completely disagree with Brian.

    1) TiVo could become a status symbol, but less because the person has a TiVo and more because of what they can watch on a TiVo. Once TiVo supports IP video downloads (later this year), they’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of any competing product (although I’m not sure if NDS will do the same). Moto and SA are not going to add this support quickly because it erodes margins for the cable guys and their proprietary network. Anyway, the point is not the device, it’s what you have access to via the device.

    2) As for the money, how much cash do you think it takes to innovate? TiVo already has a sizable R&D group and Strangeberry did a lot to improve the horsepower, but good R&D is not that expensive. As a matter of fact, being smaller and leaner can actually make you more productive. (I mean Microsoft spends how many billions/year on R&D and I wouldn’t exactly say they’re getting a lot for their money. I would say Apple has been outinnovating for some time with a fraction of the budget.)

    Anyway, my thought is that TiVo has a clear advantage over the other device providers. This strength is actually born out of a supposed weakness. THEY ARE NOT BEHOLDEN TO ANY SPECIFIC DISTRIBUTOR. As I said earlier, Moto and SA can’t piss off Comcast, TW, and the rest of the group. Echostar is Dish. 2Wire is about the only real competition out there once IP video takes off, and I think TiVo can still go head to head with those guys, no problem. The fact is, most of the device guys have tight relationships with distributors who have a vested interest in keeping centralized control over content delivery via their proprietary networks. Comcast loses if everyone starts downloading all their TV over open IP networks because then they’re just a broadband service provider competing with a dozen other similar services who don’t have the same infrastructure costs to amortize. Once wireless broadband really kicks into gear over the next 5 years, Comcast will be competing on price with people that also have a more versatile product that costs in the low tens of millions to deploy, not billions. That ain’t pretty for Comcast.

    I would argue TiVo needs to continue focusing on developing IP video integration. They need to work agressively to solve cable integration issues with the cablecard. They need to continue to to do things like open the SDKs up to the public. Things will work out if they can weather all this bad press that’s been building recently.

    My only real concern is that all this TiVo bashing could become self-fullfilling. If consumers start to think TiVo is going under and their subscriber growth slows and their AR baloons, they’re takeover bait. If they can get some of the respect that they deserve and hold the wolves at bay for the next 18 month I think a lot of people are going to be eating their words (like they did with Apple).

    Just my 2 cents.

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