AVS Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,093 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
time to play a game.


let's say you're the big shot at D&M Holdings who is in charge of taking in the company's recent acquisitions, ReplayTV and Rio.


you know that both brands will merge under a subsidiary company called DNNA (Digital Networks North America). you know that you will keep replaytv subscriptions going by providing guide data and software updates to current and future customers.

what decisions would you make about the products bought from the now bankrupt sonicblue?


check the checkboxes on the poll and post anything else you might have to add.


answer this optionally: what would you do to improve the company's bottom line?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
I would immediately hire the old engineers. Nobody knows the product like those who designed it originally.


One option I don't see here is to majorly wine and dine Comcast and try REALLY hard to sell them on an integrated unit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Improve bottom line: (note these things will annoy me as a customer!)


1) get the lawsuits out of the way

2) drop the 1-time payment option; market Replay as a service with a monthly fee, selling the hw as cheaply as possible (take a small loss on each one)


DirecTV once sold for $700+ (I was an early-adopting victim), now you can get a receiver for free or nearly free with a service commitment. The early box didn't cost that much to make and the current ones aren't free to make. A constant revenue stream from monthly fees seems likely to net more in the long run than selling hardware. The markup on the monthly is proportionally much greater over costs than hardware could ever be.

:cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by kb2tdu

2) drop the 1-time payment option; market Replay as a service with a monthly fee, selling the hw as cheaply as possible (take a small loss on each one)
Who here pays a service fee to use their VCR?

Who here doesn't know that you can buy a computer for under $300?


Service fee based DVR companies are going to get thier ass kicked in this market by the other hardware mfgs over time. The ONLY magic to the ReplayTV unit is the software to parse and use guide data. Everyone here thinks this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. For a database programmer it's less then a day's work to duplicate the current functionality. MPEG encoding? it's done by a 3rd party chip ReplayTV buys, they didn't have to code it. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is, in the short term, expect to see more and more low cost/ no monthly fees "stupid" DVRs coming to market, probabaly being buit into cable boxes and TVs themselves, and expect them to get "intelligent" guide software just as fast as they can get around any patents that ReplayTV or TiVo have*



*Don't even get me started on the silliness of being able to patent computer software processes!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
744 Posts
One thing I'd like to see is D&M make some deals with cable box and satellite receiver manufacturers (like, er...Dish Network) to integrate RTV technology with those units. Cleaner picture and Dolby 5.1, baby!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
FreeBrian,

The vcr comparison isn't valid in that a vcr is strictly manual recording. I can have my rtv record shows while I'm at work using downloaded guide data. That costs money to produce, and the bandwidth to download it costs money.


Now, if you would like a no-service fee manual recording rtv that's one thing, but comparing vcr's to rtv's and not including full functionality of both isn't fair.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by rugby

The vcr comparison isn't valid in that a vcr is strictly manual recording. I can have my rtv record shows while I'm at work using downloaded guide data. That costs money to produce, and the bandwidth to download it costs money.


Now, if you would like a no-service fee manual recording rtv that's one thing, but comparing vcr's to rtv's and not including full functionality of both isn't fair. [/b]
OK, but my point is, that's exactly what Middle America is GOING to buy, because that's what Walmart's going to sell them when Apex starts to make dumb DVRs for $150. And when people start to buy them, they aren't going to be buying Replay TVs. (or TiVos) So fundamentally both businesses will have to change their business model.


And the Guide Data Argument is getting pretty old too. Anyone want to guess what guide data costs per user? My guess is 3 cents per user per month. Maybe less. If it cost more then that, Yahoo wouldn't be giving it away. (tv.yahoo.com) In the days of dialup, Replay had an additional cost per user. Don't feel sorry for them, they bought connectivity in bulk, what national ISP doesn't want to hear "We need 250K accounts that call in at 2:30AM for 3-5 minutes". Said ISP probably charged $1/account/month or less to get that deal! Think about it, if they would have charged more, could Replay have been sold for what it was (back when they bundled the service) I mean, they had to estimate the "life" of the unit and it's monthly expense into their pricing.


These days, most of us are switching to broadband, and by hooking it up to Ethernet, we cut that expense for Replay. They run some webserver providing XML data. I run webservers, I can tell you that that isn't a lot of traffic or expense.

Anyone who thinks this costs a lot of money? Wrong. The technician that runs it costs more per year.


And the "magic" guide software

a) sucks (current version)

b) is easily duplicated and will be when Apex wants more market share.


So, I'm back to my original thought that both Replay and TiVo will have to change significantly, and probably as soon as the next two years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
THe rapid spread of cable company boxes like the SA 8000, as well as DirecTivo and Dishplayer, will render ReplayTV and standalone Tivo subscriptions obsolete possibly by this years Holiday season. Still MAY make it as a niche product but it will be very hard to survive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,143 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by kb2tdu

DirecTV once sold for $700+ (I was an early-adopting victim), now you can get a receiver for free or nearly free with a service commitment. The early box didn't cost that much to make and the current ones aren't free to make. A constant revenue stream from monthly fees seems likely to net more in the long run than selling hardware. The markup on the monthly is proportionally much greater over costs than hardware could ever be.

:cool: [/b]
But years later you could have sold you access card for several hundred dollars to a hacker for almost a full return on investment. =)





BRING ON THE HDTV!!!! Although I've just about given up, I'm getting a $160 HDTV tuner card for my PC. The choice isn't as "nice" as a replay, but I will be able to use it for $160.


And keep the old engineers away, the seem to have a dislike of new technology like HDTV. If this weren't the case you'd of seen a HDTV version already. The TL chipset can handle HDTV decoding, and VGA/YPrPb out on the 4000 could handle it.... so what's the problem? I'm thinking the old engineers, Mike seems to be the only one who even embraced HDTV.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by Jeff D
And keep the old engineers away, the seem to have a dislike of new technology like HDTV. If this weren't the case you'd of seen a HDTV version already. The TL chipset can handle HDTV decoding, and VGA/YPrPb out on the 4000 could handle it.... so what's the problem? I'm thinking the old engineers, Mike seems to be the only one who even embraced HDTV.
Nah, it's not the engineers, it's sales and marketing. HDTV takes, hmmm, idk, 5x the disk space to record, so a 40 gig HD (20 hours of useable quality) drops down to 5 hours or less. Replay would have to use 200gig HDs just to get a decent record capability, thus pricing the unit at $599 (?) for a 40 hour. Not very competitive to an already cash strapped American consumer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
742 Posts
More integration with the PC on my Lan gets my vote. Oh that's not on the list :p


More open MPEG format for record and playback (of home videos).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
744 Posts
Wish list:


1) Standalone and Integrated version featuring RTV software (I just like it for some reason)


2) Encoding support for Dolby Digital 5.1


3) Integrated DVD-burner


4) Ability to record HDTV


5) Keep internet show sharing. I rarely use it, but it has come in handy when I missed an episode of a show I watch


6) Commercial advance: I can live without it, but keep it if D&M has the cajones to fight the TV networks


7) PCMCI card slot for wireless card support and photo memory card adaptors


8) Web browsing from your TV (hey, its got an ethernet jack!)


9) Some kind of picture minimization feature so you can watch TV live/recorded when performing searches and navigating menus.


10) Drop the subscription fee (or substantially lower it) if you use broadband


11) Firewire/USB 2.0 ports for connection to external drives or inputs from DV cameras


I'd be willing to pay up to $2000 for a box that could do all that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by FreeBrian


And the "magic" guide software

a) sucks (current version)

b) is easily duplicated and will be when Apex wants more market share.


So, I'm back to my original thought that both Replay and TiVo will have to change significantly, and probably as soon as the next two years.
... but paying SB to provide a guide that merges all my sat, local, and cable channels, and 1-touch (or less) records shows with few errors, is up-to-date w/in 24h (usually), all that is worth $10 /mo to me (almost). Should be sortable!.

I dropped TV Guide. I don't buy tapes anymore. The services are what RTV guide means to me and I can't piece the same functionality together for any reasonable investment in time or hw. I'd rather pay $4.95/mo ala a DirecTivo (on top of reg mthly) but $10 a mo is tolerable. If RTV/D&M thrives I'll spring for the lifetime. Like you say the hw is nothing special and cheaply cloned. Like the HiDTV card I'm getting to Replayize my PC exc for digital tv.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
463 Posts
I'd do all of those things, except, perhaps the Linux one. The poll is actually difficult to respond to because the questions are formed in such a way as to have multiple elements. For example, one of the items reads "make a High Definition ReplayTV priority, with a goal to ship by the holiday season." How do you vote if you think that HD RTV should be developed as soon as it can be, but don't want it rushed out by any particular date but would prefer that DNNA take their time and do it right?


As to the discussion about subscription fees, one has to look and compare the business model of TiVo to any potential RTV business model. TiVo gets a small license fee on the TiVo software for every unit sold, and makes most of its money on subscription fees. So long as the units work with the software, TiVo doesn't really care about the price of the units, which is up to the various manufacturers/licensees. This model has never changed. Replay Networks had a much more tortured course of conduct. They initially started out selling the hardware directly with the software subscription bundled in. When that didn't work, they tried OEMing with Panasonic and selling to retail. That worked better, but had a flaw, which was that they didn't get full value for the bundled subscription. Then they announced that they would stop making hardware and only sell software licenses and service subscriptions, but that never panned out and didn't happen. Then came the sale to SonicBlue, who took things in an entirely different direction: the high-end. The idea was to make a really feature rich unit that could be sold at very high margins, the idea being that if the margins were high enough you could make a lot more profit selling fewer units than you could by selling many units at lower margins. That was, from what I understand, a very successful strategy, at least in the short term. The next step was to capitalize on the success of the 4xxx units by going back to retail. That produced the 45xx units where the software subscription was unbundled which was necessary to undo the Showstopper error and let SB receive the full value of the subscription instead of the wholesale value. This too was a smart move. If SB hadn't gone bankrupt, one would have expected the next step to be moving to TiVo's model and just licensing the software to all comers (assuming that there are comers) and selling service subscriptions.


If I were DNNA, I would take a multi-pronged approach: (1) I would continue to market to the Circuit City/BestBuy market with a Rio branded product. This would be called something like the RioTv or TV RioT. This item would not have music storage, but would have a companion piece that did do music storage, had similar cosmetics and name, would be much cheaper than Rio Central and could be linked up to the TV RioT to provide music and TV within an integrated interface. These units would require software subscription. I don't think that I'd market units that could hold more than 80 GB to this market. I'm undecided as to whether these units would have networking capability. (2) I would license the software to other manufacturers, who could build and sell units with whatever cosmetics and at whatever price they think they can make money from. These units would also require software subscription and would lack the ability to link to the Rio audio servers, which would be an exclusive feature of the TV RioT. One way I would try to expand this market would be to seek to get the technology built into TV sets and cable STBs in addition to stand-alone DVRs. (3) I would produce high-end units, probably branded as Marantz, that could do HD, have huge storage capacity, could act as client receivers to separate audio servers, could have small client units that would allow streaming to other TVs (though these clients might not themselves record), and would have all the sort of bells and whistles that one might expect from a really high-end product. I would market this as a system and stress its interconnectedness with other units, i.e., audio servers, TV clients and other DVRs both within and without one's home. These units would be priced with high margins and come with the service bundled in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,556 Posts
The 1st thing D & M has to do is get the 5000 software sorted out and the 4000s updated. They have to generate word of mouth and get units into the hands of legions of simpletons that can't set the clock on a vcr.


The HD stuff is wishful thinking. While it might be nice to design an advanced series for the technos and for future plans, reality says HD is a tiny market and will remain so until costs come down and the gov and lawyers figure out what will happen.


Heck I'd even put out a rebadged 3000 series with major software upgrades and slight hardware mods to gety units out there. $199 with 2-do-list, conflict resolution, 60 gig and status bars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
412 Posts
As much as the "subscription" model is hearleded as the end all be all solution to every new technologies problems, it is just the opposite. I can count at least half a dozen products I would have happily purchased at much greater prices than their list, but for a monthly subscription.


I think the main problem is that people look at the single product and say, "yeah, I'd pay 9.95 a month for that". Sure you would, but would you pay $200 a month for that. Once you add, up the 4 Replays ($40), 5 lcd picture frames ($50), a couple of email stations ($20), web browser for a couple of the TVs ($20), subscription to internet radio ($10), subscription to satallite radio ($10), Satallite/Cable TV ($50).


Your already up to $200 dollars a month for entertainment, and I'm sure that I'm missing a couple of items. What I would much rather see is ReplayTV make the channel guide data provided in a standard format, then sell the equipment at a nice profit. Then they wouldn't care where I got my guide data, and I could decide my monthly costs.


Look at your cars, you could lease your car, and pay a monthly fee. Do you?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,708 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by FreeBrian
These days, most of us are switching to broadband, and by hooking it up to Ethernet, we cut that expense for Replay. They run some webserver providing XML data. I run webservers, I can tell you that that isn't a lot of traffic or expense.

Anyone who thinks this costs a lot of money? Wrong. The technician that runs it costs more per year.


And the "magic" guide software

a) sucks (current version)

b) is easily duplicated and will be when Apex wants more market share.


The biggest cost probably isn't any of the stuff you listed above. The biggest cost is probably paying TMS for the guide data.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,670 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by adone36
...The HD stuff is wishful thinking. While it might be nice to design an advanced series for the technos and for future plans, reality says HD is a tiny market and will remain so until costs come down and the gov and lawyers figure out what will happen...
And how does Replay stack up against what you said about HDTV?


I don't know the exact numbers, but I know HDTV is bigger and growing faster than ReplayTV.


Tim
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top