TiVo Premiere Q Headed To Retail As Premier Elite

Dave Zatz —  June 24, 2011 — 62 Comments

tivo-premiere-elite

Looks like the FCC’s possibly antiquated analog compatibility requirement has led TiVo to out the retail version of the quad tuning Premiere Q, that was recently announced at The Cable Show. From TiVo’s June 7th FCC filing:

TiVo Inc. (“TiVo”) is prepared to bring to the consumer retail market an exciting new four tuner, all-digital digital video recorder (“DVR”) that promises customers increased recording capability, increased capacity (300 HD hours), reduced power consumption, and a space-saving design. This device – the Premiere Elite – will provide a new option for consumers that currently can obtain an all-digital DVR only from a multichannel video program distributor like their local cable operator. TiVo already is taking orders for a version of the Premiere Elite from cable operators for deployment later this year to customers served by digital cable systems, but TiVo also seeks to offer it directly to consumers served by such systems.

To bring retail consumers the Premiere Elite, however, TiVo requires a waiver of the Commission’s “Digital Cable Ready” certification, marketing, and labeling rules (the “DCR Rules”). Under the current rules, CableLabs cannot certify, and TiVo cannot verify, a unidirectional cable product (“UDCP”) such as the Premiere Elite for retail sale unless it includes ananalog tuner. This requirement made sense when it was proposed and adopted years ago, but today it threatens to stifle innovation in the navigation devices market by preventing companies like TiVo from serving customers that receive all their programming in digital format and have no need forlegacy analog tuners. Maintaining an analog tuning requirement for the TiVo Premier Elite would increase production costs and the price to the consumer by $80-100, increase the device’s power consumption by one-third, and increase the device’s size in an electronics market where reducedsize often influences consumer decisions.

So there you have it. Timing would be dependent on a number of factors, most importantly a waiver by the FCC. Also, TiVo acknowledges the challenges I foresaw in terms of sales venue and marketing of a DVR that handles only digital cable:

TiVo will market the Premiere Elite primarily to customers that subscribe tocable systems that offer all their services, including basic tier signals, in digital format, i.e., to subscribers to all-digital cable systems and systems that offer adigital simulcast of their analog signals.Second, to avoid any customer confusion, TiVo plans to market the Premiere Elite primarily through its custom install, high-end retail, and TiVo.com channels. Custom installers are highly trained and will verify that customers have all digital service or digital simulcast service before recommending the TiVo Premiere Elite. TiVo also will train its high-end retailers (e.g., Magnolia) to ensure that customers have all-digital cable or digital simulcast service before selling them a Premiere Elite model.

TiVo expects a response from the FCC within 90 days of the filing. Which would give them enough time to get this into retail before the holidays. But, don’t take my word for it. Check out the doc below:

 

(Thanks for the clue, Davis!)

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62 responses to TiVo Premiere Q Headed To Retail As Premier Elite

  1. Do Want. Already have FiOS so I can’t get analog stations if I wanted to. Hopefully the FCC will grant this waiver though you never know with the FCC.

    Of course if it comes with only the 500gb drive I would have to look into building a NAS or WHS for storage of the recordings, since all my TiVos use 1TB drives and are constantly full. I can’t imagine having less space and more tuners and I imagine just like the Premiere there would be no guarantee an upgraded drive would be possible.

  2. “I imagine just like the Premiere there would be no guarantee an upgraded drive would be possible.”

    Last I checked, it’s a relatively simple project (for an end-user with moderate tech skills) to open up a Premiere and stick in a 2TB drive, once you have the appropriate tools in front of you.

    That’s one of the reasons I’d like to give TiVo money for a Premiere if they’d ever fix the SDUI 10 minute hang bug.

  3. What did Moxi do? Didn’t they have an all digital box? And if you wanted an anlog tuner, you had to buy a USB add on to give analog tuning capabiltiy

  4. This is good to hear. I’m interested what the prices/plans would be for the Preview boxes, if those will be available at all.

  5. Since the Preview is also a cable card device, would it need the same type of waiver? If so, I wonder if this means that a). it is not being introduced to retail or b). If it is being introduced, perhaps it’s a CableCard-less device and to be used only as a streaming box.

  6. Dave I have been thinking if this would happen for the past two weeks. Awesome. Any thoughts on pricing for this bad boy? And if they are charging 20/mo for the premiere right now I can’t even imagine what the monthly will be for this thing.

  7. aaronwt, Yep, Moxi was digital only until they changed course with a pricey analog add-on tuner. But there’s more digital now than there was then and it’s safe to say Moxi had no success in the retail space. So I’d say they’re a cautionary tale.

    The Hub, The original Premiere can tune analog cable, digital cable, and digital OTA. The Premiere Q as described can only tune digital cable. The more tuners you add, the most expensive the product is to manufacturer.

    Marcus, hard to say. At least as much as Premiere XL. Tuners are probably more pricey than hard drive space. Also, given the Magnolia and custom install references, you could expect it to be a higher end product.

  8. “Last I checked, it’s a relatively simple project (for an end-user with moderate tech skills) to open up a Premiere and stick in a 2TB drive, once you have the appropriate tools in front of you.”

    It is now. When the Premiere launched, no one knew if you could upgrade the drive. It then turned out you couldn’t use the MFSlive tools either. It took a while before someone figured out how and then finally it made its way to the forums. I don’t believe it is as easy as on the TiVo HD for example, but I haven’t tried it since I bought the XLs.

  9. They mention 300 HD hours so it would have a 2 TB drive.

  10. I know if I can sell two of my Lieftime Premieres and get one of these quad tuner boxes for very little or no out of pocket cost, i will get one.(And I would also need to be able to stick at least a 2TB drive in like I have in one of the Premieres I would sell)

  11. I missed that. If it has a 2TB drive than that would be great.

  12. No OTA digital tuners = no interest from me. Too bad this requires a cable subscription in addition to a TiVo subscription (or lifetime upgrade.)

    I thought this might replace my SageTV setup somewhere down the road, but I know now it definitely won’t.

  13. Wow completely missed the 300 hours, thanks for pointing that out.

  14. “It is now. When the Premiere launched, no one knew if you could upgrade the drive … It took a while before someone figured out how and then finally it made its way to the forums.”

    Yup. And that’s actually how I lucked out into missing the SDUI 10 minute hang bug.

    I didn’t want to upgrade to the Premiere until the Weaknees upgrade method had been reverse-engineered. And once it had been, that was right around the time that TiVo managed to push out the software upgrade that created the SDUI 10 minute hang bug.

    So the timing explains why I’m still happily using my TiVo HD, rather than unhappily using a Premiere.

  15. Dave – ‘The Hub’ said Preview, not Premiere. ;-)

    I’m still wondering if the Preview is digital only or not. It makes some sense that it would be, since it is primarily for the Q/Elite. But if it is intended for retail to pair with the original Premiere as well, maybe… They could so something like Live TV analog support without trickplay – just tune it and output it without encoding/decoding – to avoid including that HW.

    I suspect it is digital only and we’ll see a waiver for it too.

    Hmm – did Moxi have a waiver? I don’t remember mention of it at the time. And they were digital-only when they launched, with the analog adapter coming later. Unless they got away with it because the adapter was always planned or something.

  16. Hm, yeah reading too fast. Moxi’s extenders have no tuners at all – live TV is piped from the main DVR. Not sure if TiVo is considering that, or maybe no retail Preview at all. Or their Preview waiver request is depending on getting the Premiere Elite one first and market a whole home solution.

  17. One thing I think TiVo gets wrong a little is the idea that people want a smaller form factor. While I agree somewhat, I almost feel like the Elite should be a little bigger to differentiate it from the Premiere. I wouldn’t complain about an Elite the size of a receiver.

    Then again I have never been a fan of this new push for everything being paper thin. I feel like I might break some of these phones when I pick them up.

  18. Great scoop, Dave!

    I hope Preview is compatible with “old” Premiere units (use my XL just for OTA).

  19. I’ve had a few exchanges with TiVo… First, I doubt this box will come to retail unless they get that waiver. In my estimation, they justified it well using the FCC’s own guidance in making their case. Second, they emphasized that this would be a high end offering and that the original Premiere isn’t going anywhere. So hopefully completing the HDUI will be on the schedule at some point. ;)

  20. well TiVodesign did respond to someone that yes they plan on finishing the HDUI. http://twitter.com/#!/tivodesign/status/84013915683561472

    Any word on when your followup questions will be answered by TiVo? I know you were waiting for after the cable show.

  21. Shit happens, unfortunately. After a weekend of pain, I found out on Monday that I needed surgery on Tuesday. Today is my first day tuning in online really, although I’m still not 100%. So I haven’t yet compiled our questions or followed up with TiVo in any detail. Obviously, this changes things a bit and we know at least one answer.

  22. Crap my bad, I forgot you were going into surgery. This whole not having Twitter on my phone right now sucks. Hope everything went well.

  23. I would be interested if it could record OTA broadcasters. Today, people are leaning towards streaming and OTA for their TV diet. While I understand the economies, and can understand the elimination of an analog tuner, it is still foolish for TiVo not have the Elite with OTA tuners. How “Elite” is a box that ONLY provides for digital cable? And the high-end customers WILL want OTA tuners, as well. Will this recent FCC really grant a waiver to a box that does NOT receive digital OTA? Meaning it does NOT support “free” broadcasts as part of its function while offering the desired ability of quad tuning. It appears no such innovation for the growing OTA crowd. How innovative is that?

    As it is now, the Elite is designed as a “brown nose” to the cable cos. Forget the economies argument. Lately, TiVo has been crawling further up the cable cos. colon than ever before as TiVo sees it as its only way to survive and seems to barely care for its retail end these days.

    This is not the same FCC that was there a few years ago. Will the current FCC grant a waiver for a device that is clearly designed to cut out the OTA “free” option that would make cable TV less desirable? I would support a waiver if the Elite had OTA tuners, but do not support the waiver if it does not have OTA tuners, and more people are discovering and relying on OTA when going the streaming and “cutting the cord” route. I suppose we’ll know in 90 days.

  24. First off, glad you’re back Dave. Hope surgery wasn’t too bad and that your recovery is quick and relatively painless.

    Sign me up for one of these four tuner beasts. I can give my daughter my TiVoHD. Damn, this box sounds sweet….

  25. Ouch. Hope you heal up fast Dave.

    This waiver request makes no mention about MOCA, but I wonder if the Elite would retain it. At least from the sound of it, they’re almost building this up like another “Series 3″ type premium unit. Maybe they’ll leave it in?

  26. Hi Dave hope your feeling well!

    This is an interesting thing now that the Tivo and Echostar case is over we finally see some movement from Tivo. Hmm…

    This looks like a pretty compelling unit with the extra storage and quad tuners. Will it contain the same CPU/Clock speed and RAM? I think there are some people who would like to see some speed improvements. If getting the dual core multithreaded code up and running is so hard, maybe they should just double the clock speed of the CPU and keep it on a single core. You’d have twice the performance and then one day when the second core can be utilized, you would have 4 times the performance of the regular premiere.

    I guess your SOL as far as Cable VOD though, as expected with any retail box. I’m still hoping my local cable co sees value in the MSO version of this, as they are a little too small to have their own in house development staff writing ITV apps, mobile apps, multiroom stuff, etc… So far communication with them (via e-mail) has been positive… but who knows, they could just be trying to make me think highly of them (it’s good PR).

  27. jon the heretic June 24, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Chucky, I basically had to give up on the SDUI when I got my Premiere (I believe I was the one who brought the bad news about the 10 sec remote bug here, right after I first experienced it and found confirmation in the TiVo forums).

    Several months into a HDUI only existence, overall my Premiere seems more stable than my Tivo HD was (except for when TiVo brought the remote freeze bug to the HDUI with 14.8, but that I only had to suffer with it for a week). What I like the best about my Premiere is the iPad app…I use it far more than I use the HDUI for season passes, search etc…it is so much faster. It is a bit ridiculous they can’t bring it to the series 3 and I don’t believe it is a real hardware limitation, but on the other hand, it is my second favorite feature of the Premiere.

    My favorite? The 2TB hard drive!

    After I sold my old lifetimed Tivo HD with 1TB and upgraded to 2 TB on my woot Premiere with lifetime, I only spent $25 more overall. And a whole lot of hassle and time. But for just $25 more out of pocket, I definitely do have a more stable Tivo with massive storage and a very cool iPad app. It ain’t perfect — I too want teh snappy back — but with my iPad app not sure I care as much as I used to.

  28. If Elite makes it to retail, Preview will have to also. Elite doesn’t make as much sense without extenders.

  29. IMO, flash on Tivo is a failed experiment. If I were Tivo I’d consider scrapping the Flash UI and save it for apps (like Hulu). Instead, I’d update the old interface with HD menus. This is the best chance of getting back “teh snappy” or at least “snappy enough” without extra-beefier hardware. Maybe then the second core could get used as well. While flash remains single-threaded, it’s not going to happen. A smarter software approach would be cheaper than a hardware one, imo.

  30. Is the waiver for a single product, or a blanket waiver? If they can get a blanket waiver, then this opens the doors for the Preview too.

  31. It will be interesting to see how TiVo tries to price this also. Looking at math others have posted two premieres with lifetime run $1000-$1100 as a result hopefully this means they will aim for $399 or less and lifetime and monthly will remain the same. This would bring the TiVo elite in at $800 to $900 with lifetime.

  32. Bobby – OTA has no bearing on the FCC’s decision at all. The regulations are concerned solely with cable and CableCARD and the DCR labeling. There is no OTA requirement for such products at all. The only thing the FCC can base their decision on is if they should allow a cable product which only tunes digital cable and not analog & digital cable. Note a product that tuned analog & digital cable and had no support for OTA would be perfectly fine and require no waiver.

    There are no FCC requirements for OTA support in a product. The only requirements are that if you *do* support OTA you must support ATSC post-transition.

    Note Moxi already sold a retail DVR with no OTA support – from their FAQ:
    21. Can I record HD signals “Over The Air?”
    No, Moxi is meant to work with cable access and will not be able to record digital programming over the air or through an antenna — even with the digital converter box.

    The FCC’s own rules mean they can’t consider OTA support in deciding this waiver. Basically the FCC can’t force vendors to support a given market – they can’t tell OTA tuner makes they must support cable & CableCARD, and they can’t tell someone making a cable STB they must support antenna. Well, maybe they could try, but it would almost certainly be struck down as overreaching.

    Though, since so many digital tuner blocks support ATSC/QAM, I have to wonder if the Elite has any OTA support – even if latent.

  33. Dave – About Moxi, I was referring to the DVR and not the MoxiMates. The DVR is digital-only, so wouldn’t it require the same waiver? They didn’t have the analog adapter at first. I wonder if having the analog adapter in the pipeline gave them an out in compliance without having a waiver.

    If the FCC denies the waiver (personally I think it will be granted, TiVo makes a logical argument about progress), maybe TiVo could offer a similar adapter. Even if it is crazy expensive – say $200 on top of the Elite to cover all the material costs of producing it as well as recoup development costs, it could be an out. They may not sell many, but it’d be a way to get it out there.

    I think the Elite will be a major part of TiVo’s efforts with Cox & Comcast as a ‘retail’ product.

  34. Brennok, I’m going to take a WAG and say $499 for the Elite. The Premiere is $99 and the Premiere XL is $299, and the only physical difference is the drive. The XL has THX software and the glasses.

    The Elite seems to have a 2TB drive and two more ‘tuners’ – though they save a lot by dropping the analog stream paths. And it is a premium product, positioned above the XL. I can see them tacking another $200 on. It’d make it $1000 for new buyers, $900 for MSD buyers (with lifetime). I don’t think they’ll charge more for monthly fees.

    I hope we do see discount bundles with the Preview, and while I think there will be subscriptions for the Preview I hope it is much less than the ‘normal’ fee.

  35. carroca, yeah, you’re probably right. So do they file a follow-on waiver for the Preview, does it already or will the retail version have analog tuning capabilities, or would they make it into a MoxiMate with no tuners at all? Hm.

    MZ, not sure on Moxi’s waiver status or the rule in general. Might have to do some research. Regarding pricing, given its higher end positioning, I think they could decide to take higher than $500. But bring back a front display and build in the better networking (802.11n, Bluetooth, MoCA).

  36. Megazone oh I don’t disagree, I guess I am just hopeful. I don’t see them exceeding the $499 price point though.

    The hope is with the big drop in storage prices they could drop the XL another $100. This would allow the Elite to be priced at $399 which would still be a $200 cost over the XL. I also think just like the PS3 it would move better at $399 over $499. I mean I just bought an oem 2tb drive for $59 so I can’t imagine TiVo’s price is that high these days. 3tb drives are down to $115 or so.

  37. Overall I am glad to hear the possibility of this box coming out, but most talk of retail or subscription prices, size of the box, OTA, analog, etc doesn’t concern me much. What does matter to me –assuming it hits my market area at all– is the state of the software at launch. IMO the software needs to make a solid leap forward from where the Premiere is today to get me to upgrade from my Tivo HD. Given Tivo’s recent history I am no longer confident that they will reliably devote resources to bugs and stability after a product launch.

    To me, it’s all about the software. Make it as stable and snappy as the Tivo HD or I will not upgrade. If there is not stable software underpinning all the new features, they don’t do me much good.

  38. jon the heretic,

    “I definitely do have a more stable Tivo with massive storage and a very cool iPad app. It ain’t perfect — I too want teh snappy back — but with my iPad app not sure I care as much as I used to.”

    I very much hear you. I do want the iOS app, the 2TB drive, and the faster bandwidth the Premiere offers. I want those things very much, and I’d be willing to pay for them.

    But I’ve got a whole kttmg -> Mac Mini -> Plex workflow functioning nicely for me, with platters and platters of storage, so my TiVo is just a cog in the larger media playback machine. And ‘teh snappy’ on that particular cog is simply more important to me than all the other stuff I want for my particular use case. And I’ve never had any stability issues on the TiVo HD, FWIW, so stability is not an upgrade inducement for me.

    So I think I’ll just keep waiting until TiVo ships newer hardware or software to make the HDUI work with ‘teh snappy’. (Or wait until/if they ever fix the SDUI mode on the Premiere.) Seems the best solution for me. I’d like to give TiVo some more money, but they sure ain’t making it easy for me to do so.

    (And thank you for first bringing the SDUI hang bug to my attention, by the way. Your news was very timely for me, and saved me some serious grief.)

  39. “The hope is with the big drop in storage prices they could drop the XL another $100. This would allow the Elite to be priced at $399 which would still be a $200 cost over the XL. I also think just like the PS3 it would move better at $399 over $499. I mean I just bought an oem 2tb drive for $59 so I can’t imagine TiVo’s price is that high these days.”

    I disagree. TiVo should charge higher margins on large HD boxes. It’s the way Apple charges higher margins on large flash memory iOS devices. Half of Apple’s massive profits come from merely reselling flash memory at massive markups. (If you want to understand why Apple is worth more than oil companies, just imagine a third of the entire world’s supply of flash memory being resold at 100% markup by one corporation in Cupertino.)

    And for the “tinkerers” in the crowd, TiVo pleasantly makes it easy to upgrade your own hard drive. The tech skills and hassles involved means that only 1% or 2% of buyers will ever bother with opening up the box, so it doesn’t really impact TiVo’s bottom line, but if you’re reading this blog, you can probably manage to become enough of a “tinkerer” to do it yourself. So TiVo wins, “tinkerers” win, and rich folks get soaked. Sounds like a good all-around scheme to me.

  40. TiVo already charges a very high margin for the larger drives, $200. Now of course that includes THX certification which I don’t know anyone who actually cares about and a Glo remote Best Buy sells for $20.

    Apple charges $100 for double the storage on the iPad which is exactly what I am proposing TiVo do. Especially when you take into account they are buying storage over a year later. As a result their cost for the 2TB drive is the same as the 1TB was when they debuted the Premiere XL which came out $100 less than the HD XL.

    The TiVo Elite sounds like it will be a one off box and they won’t sell a 4 tuner box with less storage not that this is a bad thing. As a result entry at $499 I think will be a $100 too high, not enough to stop it from selling mind you, but I don’t think they will sell as many as they would have at $399. Of course I think at $499 if they included the slide remote it would make sense.

  41. Moxi isn’t the only one to skirt this requirement, albeit a bit diff, with a dongle. Both Ceton and SiliconDust had to come up with solutions to get CableLabs certified. In both cases extra money and time were wasted on for this antiquated requirement.

  42. Megazone is correct. This is absolutely geared towards comcast and cox subscribers. Now let’s see if comcast and cox hold up to their end of the bargain and promotes and markets the boxes. Not sure how much that will help if the boxes aren’t offered directly from them.

  43. Everything Tivo does lately is geared towards MSOs, not retail.

    Who would buy a 4-tuner retail box when Tivo’s still not fixed the software bugs on the existing Premiere?

  44. While I agree that TiVo has/needs to focus on MSOs the company has once again opened up a strategic direction that could be of great benefit to consumers. I have said all along that for Tivo to go beyond 2 tuners they need to drop analog. If TiVo gets this waiver then it opens up the digital bonanza many want,
    I myself was mulling over TWC signature service for 50meg internet and this idea of all digital DVR may get me to pull the trigger and finally go all Digital in my house.

    so nice to see a direction from TiVo again that includes retail!

    @Dave – any chance you can post the best way for consumers to show support for this waiver?

  45. @Bill — dropping the analog would likely go a long way on knocking a bunch of bugs off the list. once you only deal with digital stream copied straight to the hard drive it really simplifies things

  46. I’m rather interested in this box, but not at $499 or above. With Lifetime now up to $399 for MSD, that’s a total price of $798 — too much to invest in a DVR that might be obsolete in a few years, particularly given the hardware doesn’t hold its value.

    TiVo seems to be catching on to the fact that the box is their razor, and the service is the blades. Given that, I’d hope they’d be smart enough to simply increase the size of the disk in the Premiere, drop the XL, and position the Elite at the XL’s $299 price tag.

  47. I’m interested in this box, though honestly a little concerned with continuing to invest lots of money in Tivo when they are clearly going nowhere, something this box is unlikely to change. If they get a major MSO to offer these boxes then maybe that’ll reverse their fortunes and I’ll feel better about their future.

    Personally I’m more willing to spend up front money for this box and not so interested in paying a lot more per month for it…

  48. If the Elite can handle multiple streams the way the Premiere handles streaming to another Premiere, this really could be a big deal for TiVo. Of course it would depend on the availability of the Preview.

  49. “Apple charges $100 for double the storage on the iPad which is exactly what I am proposing TiVo do.”

    Step up from a 16GB iPad to 32GB iPad, and Apple charges you $100 for $12 worth of extra storage.

    But that’s not all. Apple is big enough to stock more SKU’s than TiVo, so that 32GB iPad is just an intermediate model. Go up to a 64GB iPad, and Apple is charging you $200 extra dollars for the privilege of reselling you storage at massive markup. Of course, that 64GB iPad is not only popular, but also has Apple’s highest profit margins of the product by far.

    And don’t forget that TiVo’s retail pricing on the Elite is constrained by what they need their retail pricing to be on the Premiere.

    In short, TiVo is in a position where they basically have to gouge on 2TB drives if they want to capture higher margins on the top end of the market, as well they should want to do.

  50. I agree analog cable is going away, likely dead (even for locals) at the end of the mandated 3 year period following the OTA conversion.

    But I don’t see how dropping analog tuners cures the 10-minute hang bug (when using the SD menus) with the current Premiere’s software.

    And after the recent decision by Replay’s owners I’m not sure I’d ever buy “Lifetime” again from Tivo.

    Unless one can be content with the period over which Tivo amortizes that ‘lifetime’ payment – 5 years, IIRC,

  51. “But that’s not all. Apple is big enough to stock more SKU’s than TiVo, so that 32GB iPad is just an intermediate model. Go up to a 64GB iPad, and Apple is charging you $200 extra dollars for the privilege of reselling you storage at massive markup. Of course, that 64GB iPad is not only popular, but also has Apple’s highest profit margins of the product by far.”

    And Apple charges a $100 more for the 64gb than the 32gb. They charge $200 over the base model and I am suggesting TiVo charge $300 over the base model rather than $400 especially since the lifetime prices and monthly prices now cost more than previously. Now if lifetime prices and monthly fees were what they were previously I would agree with you.

    All I am saying is TiVo gauging on the Elite may hurt them more than help them even with limited places to buy. Look at the poll up over at TiVocommunity, http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=471206 Of the votes 11 would buy at $499 compared to 19 at $399. While avoiding commenting on the state of TCF in general, this is a pretty significant difference. Of course most say they won’t ever support TiVo again until the Premiere is fixed.

    If the Elite comes out at $499 I won’t be surprised. I just don’t know that it will be a day one buy for me at that point.

  52. @Brennok,

    Sure. People always want things to be cheaper. I’ll just remind you that Tivo is on the verge of going out of business with their current approach… Not saying that means people will buy the unit if it costs too much, just saying that should enter into your calculations of what is ‘fair’. Personally I think we’ve passed the point of no return for Tivo in retail and it doesn’t matter what price they put on the Q. But that’s just my opinion.

  53. Glenn, They’ve got plenty of cash and enforceable patents, so they’ll never go out of business. They may give up on retail or be acquired at some point, but TiVo won’t fold.

    Zeo, yeah you can comment TiVo’s FCC petition for waiver. Details are below and realize official comments will be available online:

    http://www.fcc.gov/document/media-bureau-seeks-comment-tivo-incs-petition-certain-cable-ready-requirements

  54. @Glenn

    Trust me I am the last person who wants TiVo to disappear or leave the retail space.

    The thing is to me I am adding in what I consider fair, but also what seems smart based off the limited knowledge we have.

    The XL model never sold well due to the extra markup and the fact TiVo didn’t make it worth it. The problem was they didn’t price it where the people who wanted the space felt it was worth the cost/time compared to upgrading it themselves.

    The question just becomes how much are people willing to pay for 4 tuners and 2TB and how many does TiVo expect to sell.

  55. I actually would be likely to get a 2nd 2TB drive and do an image copy after I have setup the TiVo elite and have my season passes/wishlists in place.

    In this way I have a true backup drive on the shelf and ready to put in. I would do this after the 90 day period is up and the TiVo has been running without glitches that would make me RMA it.

    of course first it has to be available and then I have to have the upfrint cash.

  56. “The XL model never sold well due to the extra markup and the fact TiVo didn’t make it worth it. The problem was they didn’t price it where the people who wanted the space felt it was worth the cost/time compared to upgrading it themselves.”

    I assume TiVo has precise numbers on how many of their customers have done self-upgrades on the HD, and I’d suspect it’s a very low percentage in recent years. I said 1% to 2% upthread, and I was guessing a higher number than what I really thought. Most TiVo customers aren’t visiting Tivocommunity, and aren’t technically advanced.

    As things stand, TiVo and its customers get the best of both worlds. TiVo gouges the wealthy end of the consumer base with the XL, and still lets the small fraction of tinkerers/enthusiasts (whose enthusiasm benefits the company) stay on the platform and avoid the extra fee by investing sweat and educational equity.

    It’s pretty much exactly how I’d do things if I ran the company.

  57. Or to think of it another way, I own a MacBookPro precisely because it’s been engineered to make it very easy to open up the box and work inside. But how many MBP customers actually do you think actually unscrew the screws themselves?

    Again, I’d guess 1% to 2%, and replacing a Mac HD is much less complicated than doing a TiVo HD upgrade.

    Most tech consumers aren’t techies.

  58. How hard is a drive upgrade when you can buy replacement drives already imaged with the correct software for your particular Tivo model off ebay?

    The already imaged 2TB drive for my Premiere cost me all of $100 delivered.

  59. Bill,

    Sorry, but agree with Chucky here. You don’t speak for the typical user. Personally while I’m entirely capable of doing these upgrades, I’m just too busy and so I buy my units off weaknees these days. And I’m not typical either.

  60. “How hard is a drive upgrade when you can buy replacement drives already imaged with the correct software for your particular Tivo model off ebay?”

    Meh. Where’s the fun in that? If you’re going to do it, do it proper.

    Buy a bare HD and image your own drive yourself. The whole kit and caboodle is actually an oddly fun couple of hours spent.

    And DIY gives you a warm feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.

  61. “And DIY gives you a warm feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.”

    Do you change your own oil in your car?

    And even if you do, you are in the vast minority for the same reasons as those who upgrade Tivo hard drives.

    BTW – I have upgraded all my Tivo’s. The cost is well worth it, plus I have configurations you simply can’t buy from Tivo. But I also realize I’m in the vast minority.

  62. “Do you change your own oil in your car?”

    I did when I was 16, and enjoyed it. But it got boring after a few years.

    “And even if you do, you are in the vast minority for the same reasons as those who upgrade Tivo hard drives.”

    I’m in total agreement.

    But I will say that if you’re already going to the hassle of opening up the box, why not do the extra hassle of doing the disk imaging yourself? Once you’ve already decided to go on an excursion, you might as well spend a moment to take in the nice view.

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