AVS Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
35,967 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcs4
This was in today's USA Today.

USA Today link
(At the bottom of the link posted by dcs4 is a comparison chart of the DVR's features)

DirecTV Poised To Take on TiVo


By David Lieberman, USA TODAY Wed Aug 24, 6:48 AM ET


DirecTV CEO Chase Carey sounds sincere when he says he has "no bone to pick with

TiVo." But that isn't stopping him from turning the No. 1 satellite company - until recently TiVo's most important ally - into the digital video recorder (DVR) pioneer's potentially most dangerous rival.


For the first time since 2000, DirecTV has stopped encouraging its 14.7 million customers to buy receivers equipped with TiVo DVRs, which can record and pause live TV. In October, it will urge them instead to snap up units featuring a product developed in-house: the DirecTV Plus DVR. The new DVR "is at the center of a lot of DirecTV's strategies and plans," Carey says. (Related item: How DirecTV, TiVo DVR services compare)


The new DVR is designed to blend in with his company's new interactive features, including those that let users view local weather reports and maps, watch several channels simultaneously on one screen and call up a day's football highlights. It also will make it possible for DirecTV to offer pay-per-view movies on demand.


"We want to create a DirecTV experience," he says. "In the past, there've been too many variations."


DirecTV, which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., had hoped to have its DVR on the shelves in the spring. Even now, with the company tweaking the software, Carey says that "October is not a precise date" for the launch, although he adds that he doesn't think he'll miss the target.


There's no doubt he takes this DVR offensive seriously. He plans to introduce in early 2006 a model that can record in high-definition, can instantly transfer shows to other TVs in the house and can hook up to home computer networks.


Big impact for TiVo


This DVR is a big deal for DirecTV. But it may affect TiVo even more.


About 64% of TiVo's nearly 3.3 million subscriptions are through DirecTV. The satellite service accounts for 77% of TiVo's new sales. Without DirecTV's help, TiVo's subscriber growth now "is likely to dwindle down to a trickle," says Friedman Billings Ramsey analyst Alan Bezoza. As cable companies roll out their own DVRs, "TiVo has some significant challenges ahead so it doesn't become a dinosaur."


TiVo declined to comment before its quarterly earnings report on Wednesday.


TiVo long has pointed to its DirecTV-fueled subscription numbers as evidence of its popularity. It also has said that its growing audience will entice advertisers to pay for special services, including data about subscribers' viewing habits.


So it's no surprise that TiVo's new CEO, Tom Rogers, is scrambling to interest cable operators in a deal like the one with Comcast. Beginning in late 2006, Comcast will license and offer TiVo service to customers for a premium over Comcast's in-house DVR service.


In fact, DirecTV's decision to go its own way could "pave the way for more partnerships with cable companies" looking for an edge in DVRs, First Albany Capital's Richard Baldry says in a report.


But others are less sanguine.


"It comes back to this equation: Do operators want to give up revenue (to TiVo) if they don't have to?" says Leichtman Research Group President Bruce Leichtman.


To be sure, DirecTV's D-Day won't immediately blow a hole in TiVo's income statement. Most of the $116 million in revenue TiVo recorded in the year that ended Jan. 31 came from its independent customers who pay about $12 a month, or a one-time charge of $300, for each of its 1.2 million stand-alone DVRs.


TiVo gets only about $1 a month from the $5 a month (raised in August to $6 for new customers) DirecTV charges each of its customers with a TiVo subscription.


And DirecTV isn't pulling the plug on TiVo. Current customers still will get the programming data they need to make their TiVos work. The satellite company also still will sell TiVo subscriptions to customers who ask for them.


Yet DirecTV doesn't appear to expect many takers: It stopped ordering TiVo-equipped receivers. "We have an inventory that serves our purposes," Carey says.


DirecTV's marketing muscle will be behind its new DVR. It will offer rebates enabling DirecTV subscribers to pick up receivers with its DVR virtually for free.


The rebates also will apply to TiVo-equipped models, but the older receivers don't handle DirecTV's interactive services; the new ones do.


Renewal of TiVo deal in doubt


That discrepancy raises doubts about whether DirecTV will renew its five-year contract with TiVo that expires in February 2007.


"It doesn't make sense to have a third party providing something core to our experience," Carey says, although he rules nothing out.


If the agreement is not renewed, the contract stipulates that DirecTV can continue to provide TiVo's service to customers who've been getting it without any payment to TiVo. It can no longer, however, sell new subscriptions.


For now, DirecTV will simply try to get people to switch to its DVR by touting it as faster, easier to use and more versatile than TiVo's. "(TiVo) is a great interface for watching what's been recorded," Chief Technology Officer Romulo Pontual says. But, he says, it's "not so great for live TV," because it frequently tries to switch channels to record something it thinks the viewer wants - and makes the viewer take action to stop it.


Carey blasts that as an example of TiVo's "Big Brotherish interface." He adds that DirecTV will "focus on making it easy and friendly to use and not junk it up."


DirecTV's dual-tuner receiver and DVR are supposed to work together seamlessly. For example, both use the same programming guide and on-screen menus. There's also a page with all of the information about the system that a repair person would need to know when there's a problem.


DirecTV will reserve about 60 hours' worth of disc space for its own purposes, leaving consumers space for 100 hours of shows. The DVR has an on-screen bar showing how much recording time is left.


The company will load some of its reserved space with pay-per-view movies so they're available any time viewers want. There is no charge unless they watch the flick.


DirecTV also will make available special programming, including collections of highlights from all of a day's NFL football games. During a game, viewers will be able to call up scores from other matchups, as well as player statistics.


TiVo will undoubtedly give DirecTV's DVR a close look to see whether it might violate any of its patents. TiVo has already challenged EchoStar's DVR in a case that goes to a federal district court in Texas this fall.


Pontual says, though, "We don't think we're doing anything that infringes on a patent."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
430 Posts
After looking at the block diagrams and PCB pix of the R15, I'm not sure about some of those claims. Granted, it's not the only new box coming out in their lineup.


That reservation of 60 hrs for VOD will piss some people off. What I find odd is the implication that these are still primarily purchased boxes. I don't see much lean toward the lease program.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
955 Posts
anyone have any idea what hte policy will be on these new boxes for anyone who paid for the lifetime tivo subscription? I have 5 TIVO's and currently pay no monthly fees for the DVR service - I don't want to suddenly be paying $30/month.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
35,967 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobm
That reservation of 60 hrs for VOD will piss some people off.
Well, if you look at it from the point of view that it's space above and beyond what you're paying for then it really doesn't matter. IOW, if the market accepts a price of $X for X-amount of recordable space then the space added on top of that for DirecTV's benefit(sell you VOD) then it doesn't matter. But no doubt, people will be pissed off about not having that additional space for their own use anyway.

Quote:
What I find odd is the implication that these are still primarily purchased boxes. I don't see much lean toward the lease program.
It does say that with rebates subs will be able to get the boxes for virtually nothing, so I would think that would be better than paying a lease or rental every month. Their more expensive HD and HMC solutions may be a lease program though...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
35,967 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Dail
anyone have any idea what hte policy will be on these new boxes for anyone who paid for the lifetime tivo subscription? I have 5 TIVO's and currently pay no monthly fees for the DVR service - I don't want to suddenly be paying $30/month.
My guess would be that the $6 charge would cover all boxes per month, I can't imagine they would charge that for every box.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
430 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan
Well, if you look at it from the point of view that it's space above and beyond what you're paying for then it really doesn't matter. IOW, if the market accepts a price of $X for X-amount of recordable space then the space added on top of that for DirecTV's benefit(sell you VOD) then it doesn't matter. But no doubt, people will be pissed off about not having that additional space for their own use anyway.
It's the Tivo guys that will be in an uproar. They go to great lengths to add capacity. If VOD is important to them, it may not be as much an issue, but I see a new ***** topic in the future.

Quote:
It does say that with rebates subs will be able to get the boxes for virtually nothing, so I would think that would be better than paying a lease or rental every month. Their more expensive HD and HMC solutions may be a lease program though...
Since I don't have a D* bill, I'm at a disadvantage, but wasn't it mentioned the other day that there are monthly costs(call it mirror or whatever) that are over and above the purchase price? That's no different than the cable cos. and the lease fees. If I recall, the difference in cost between a purchased D* 2 box setup and a leased 2 box Comcast HD setup was only $4/mo. Takes many months for the savings to cover your purchase price and by then, it's obsolete hardware.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
430 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan
Carey blasts that as an example of TiVo's "Big Brotherish interface." He adds that DirecTV will "focus on making it easy and friendly to use and not junk it up."
As the saying goes, one man's junk is another man's treasure.


I hope this guy has a good handle on what the existing Tivo base prizes in terms of features. Cut out the wrong features and the backlash will bite you on the a**.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
212 Posts
The ad skip thing has me worried. I mean, I do the FF thing instead of hte 30 second skip anyway, but the thought of not being able to bypass the ads at all has me worried.


[Edit]Ok, I see the part about being able to FF through commercials now, so that's ok, I guess.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
35,967 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobm
It's the Tivo guys that will be in an uproar. They go to great lengths to add capacity. If VOD is important to them, it may not be as much an issue, but I see a new ***** topic in the future.
That's a guaranteed certainty... :p



Quote:
Since I don't have a D* bill, I'm at a disadvantage, but wasn't it mentioned the other day that there are monthly costs(call it mirror or whatever) that are over and above the purchase price? That's no different than the cable cos. and the lease fees. If I recall, the difference in cost between a purchased D* 2 box setup and a leased 2 box Comcast HD setup was only $4/mo. Takes many months for the savings to cover your purchase price and by then, it's obsolete hardware.
DirecTV charges $4.99 for any additional receivers after the first one which is included in the programming package. Comcast charges $6.95 for additional digital outlets after the first.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
35,967 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobm
As the saying goes, one man's junk is another man's treasure.


I hope this guy has a good handle on what the existing Tivo base prizes in terms of features. Cut out the wrong features and the backlash will bite you on the a**.
I agree, that's quite a statement as I don't recall ever hearing about people complaining about how TiVo works, they all seem to love it. It's pretty bold to come out and say your mousetrap is better than a cultural icon.


I don't have a TiVo unit but I think what Carey is talking about is I believe TiVo has a function that can record programs based on what you have watched, similar types of shows or something along that nature. I think it's a defeatable function though...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
878 Posts
I hope it's faster than my HD Tivo. Sometimes the little hamster falls asleep in the wheel and I'm worried that "Please Wait" will be burned into my screen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
645 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan
I don't have a TiVo unit but I think what Carey is talking about is I believe TiVo has a function that can record programs based on what you have watched, similar types of shows or something along that nature. I think it's a defeatable function though...
TiVo has a function called Suggestions. In which the TiVo unit will record shows that match in various ways shows the user has either given thumbs up to or recorded (since recording a show gives it a single thumbs up). Suggestions can be turned completely off in the setup menus, but by default it is on. About 5 or 10 minutes before the TiVo is going to record a Suggestion it puts a message up on the screen saying that it is going to record one of TiVo's suggestions, and the name of the show. Two menu choices are displayed, basically 'go ahead' and 'no, stay on this channel'. If the user does nothing TiVo changes the channel and records the show, if the user chooses 'stay on this channel' then it aborts the suggestion. If the user does not choose anything within a certain amoun of time (a decent amount, IMO), then TiVo goes with 'go ahead'. It has to do this because it does not know if the TV is on or if the user is even home.


Note that this is also about the same process TiVo goes thru when it is going to record something the user has asked TiVo to record (via season pass or whatever). Allowing the user to cancel the recording if they want to stay on the channel.


(The above text applies to the single-tuner stand alone model, I do not know how units with multiple tuners work, if they work differently)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,926 Posts
I have no intention of replacing a TiVo with one of the new DirecTV DVRs until I have to. News Corp should have bought TiVo and used TiVo software in all PVRs worldwide. Why take a chance with something that may not work reliably for years? TiVo is a masterwork in PVR software. I just purchased a second HR10-250 HD TiVo and just don't want to mess with anything else.


Chris
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,690 Posts
I was looking at the new Sony OTA and CableCard DVR.........the 500gig version is $1000, has TvGuide for programing and has ONE tuner!!


If people are buying this..........they would buy an HD CableCard TiVo.......Sony HAS to be making money on the hardware, as they have no monthy fees. If they can do it, TiVo could come in under that........break even on the hardware at least........and have monthly income.


TWO tuners is what it is all about. I had SA TiVo..........then had D* TiVo.......tried to go back to SA, and could not do it. Now I have HDTiVo............If TiVo could build a SA with 2 tuners, they would have something.


Bring on CableCard and HD with it.............I would drop D* like a hot potato.......and shell out another grand or so for something I knew I would love, IF I could watch AND/OR record 2 channels at once.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
220 Posts
Tivo is going to be hard to out perform. Perhaps they think they can BS those who don't have Tivo into believing they have a better product but those of us who have stayed with DirecTV for years on the power of Tivo alone will be harder to convince. Without a solid PVR DirecTV can kiss this subscriber goodbye. I hope they know what they're doing. I do like the idea of being able to retrieve recordings from any room but I worry about loosing:


* Ability to set up recordings for a show by selecting the series rather than time slot such that if the date/time changes or it runs longer one week we don't miss the recording.

* Ability to only record new episodes. Prior to Tivo I'd have to track when the new season started on my shows and set up the subscription again to avoid recording reruns.

* Ability to set up wish lists - at least be able to say I want to record all hockey games where my team is playing.

* Pretty much never fail. My old PVR (DishPlayer is the one that made me leave Dish) had a tendency to miss shows and twice erased all my recordings.


-Greg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Shoot....Just when Tivo just out of the red last week. They posted a profit for the first time. Directv is going to put Tivo out.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top