So - just what is the monthly service charge FOR?
Oct 18, 2007 at 4:02:01 PM | #1
I've looked at Tivo and find it interesting. Yet one facet escapes me.
The monthly service charge.
For the life of me, I can't figure out what the base charge is for. Just what does one get for paying a recurring charge? Sure, there's a search engine and listing but that's hardly worth anything. I would just as well be happy without such a perk.
What if we want to buy a Tivo system and just use it as a digital update to a VCR? Can we use the hardware alone without a service plan? Because there's no point in paying a service plan just to use the hardware we've purchased.
So please, explain to me the value in the service plan, and is it necessary to use the Tivo unit itself?
Oct 18, 2007 at 4:30:29 PM | #2
What your subscription buys:
--Daily program guide updates
--Software development and the addition of new features and capabilities
--TiVoToGo - save shows to PC/MAC/iPOD/Windows Media Player
--TiVoToComeBack - Play downloaded video on the TV
--Multi-room viewing - record on one DVR, watch on another
--Automatic Season pass recording
--Automatic Wishlist recording - (everything by Spielberg for example)
--Automatic recording of suggestions based on your viewing habits
--Home Media Applications:
----Play MP3 music and JPG photos stored on a computer
----Photobucket slide show sharing
----home video sharing
----LIve 365 radio access
----Rhapsody Music Access
----and many more
--Kidzone: parental controls that work
--Guru guides with suggestions for good viewing
--Remote scheduling from the web or certain cell phones
In the last two years, the capabilities of my TiVos have more than doubled.
Without service your TiVo is a doorstop. There are non-subscription based DVRs out there with limited feature sets and capabilities. One of those would probably be more to your liking. Either one of those, or a cable company DVR. Of course you pay a recurring fee there too, they just hide it in the programming fee so you feel like you are getting a better deal.
Wait, there is one option you should consider. Find an old Toshiba or Pioneer (i think) DVD burner TiVo. Some of these units had a TiVo Basic service which has no monthly charge. It provides 3 days of guide data (instead of 2 weeks worth) and no other features, but perform well as a digital VCR that can burn a DVD.
For those of us who have the plan and use all the features and like that the units just keep getting better and better, going to a non-subscription option is nearly unthinkable.
Oct 18, 2007 at 10:17:37 PM | #3
Thank you very much for the response.
Ironically, most of those features aren't really "monthly services", but just features inherent to the hardware itself.
For example, saving the videos to computer or other media device, playing downloaded video, multi-room viewing, media playing on computer, etc are features which aren't a "service" provided to us but just features of the unit.
I understand there's SOME value to the scheduling info and and special media access which comes with it, but I really have little interest in those things and, personally, don't find them worth $16 per month.
I appreciate the suggestion for an older unit and am considering that. It's just too bad to have to go to such an older unit just to not have to pay recurring fees just to make the hardware of use.
Why more standalone DVRs are not available (from various mfr's) is a mystery to me, but I imagine they will soon be. I can use DVR capabilities on the computer but what I really have an interest in is a nice, home-theater adjunct to replace my old VCR for good.
I believe it would behoove Tivo to have a unit that is an autonomous stand-alone. If some people find being without subscription "unthinkable", then let those people pay for it. Yet for now, Tivo is missing out on a VERY LARGE market of people who want a decent piece of hardware without being FORCED to pay for a recurring fee we find to be of little value to us.
Oct 18, 2007 at 10:25:45 PM | #4
> Tivo is missing out on a VERY LARGE market of people who want a
> decent piece of hardware without being FORCED to pay for a recurring fee
Not that long ago, there were a number of 3rd party units that had "basic" service, much like what you describe. The fact that they are no longer available speaks to the viability of your suggestion.
Oct 19, 2007 at 12:10:39 AM | #5
No, it speaks to the viability of the particular units, features, "strings attached", pricing and marketing of the systems which are not in service now.
I know MYRIAD people who would gladly buy a Tivo-esque unit if there was not the monthly plan.
I presume it has something to do with the patent holders not allowing competetive units to be developed just yet. Think about it - if Tivo really believed the SERVICE they offered was so valuable, they wouldn't FORCE the users to buy the plan just to get the machine to provide basic functionality. Else they would make Tivo units which would work with OR without the service plans - that way those who found the plans valuable would naturally pay... and the one's who didn't, wouldn't be forced to.
Oct 19, 2007 at 9:59:26 AM (Updated: Oct 19, 2007 at 10:06:05 AM) | #6
The monthly fee licenses technology TiVo has worked hard to develop, as well as the guide data and online content, and infrastructure to deliver that content.
A box the class of TiVo that has no montlhy fees (or more accurately would have pre-licensed some of the TiVo software features built into the sale price), would be economically unpalatable to a lot more potential customers than the current model for selling the hardware at or below cost, for an expectation of service fees after the fact.
Plus, as with those aforementioned Toshiba and Pioneer TiVos, if you were to choose to subscribe to the full TiVo service, you would in effect be licensing the "features" twice.
Oct 19, 2007 at 3:18:49 PM | #7
>>>Ironically, most of those features aren't really "monthly services", but just features inherent to the hardware itself.
Actually those are features of the software, not the hardware. Many of those features were not on my DVRs when I purchased them, they were added by software downloads from TiVo. Had there been a no fee unit available, and had I purchased it instead, it would still have the exact feature set I bought it with.
That is just fine for many people, their stereo receivers don't change feature sets on them and they are ok with that. So I suspect you would be fine with a DVR like that. Such exists, but they don't sell well, they tended to be expensive to amortize the sunk software development costs.
Guide data would still need to be paid for somehow. It takes infrastructure, people and effort to collate it and provide it to using devices. It is buried in your cable bill to the extent that it is provided to your cable boxes. People building home theater PC boxes will now have to subscribe to it since the free service is going away. But you are correct, guide updates only would be much less expensive than what TiVo service costs. (which is as low as an equivalent of 8.31 / mo for 3 years of prepaid service)
For me the biggest value of the service is the upgrades. I pay 13/mo for one of the DVRs and 7 for the second on Multi-Service Discount.
I do think if TiVo came out with a limited capability unit at a very low cost, more people would be brought into the experience and could then choose to get premium service, if they wanted, it might win more people. Hmm, the new comcast TiVo is just that. It may work for you if you are in Boston.
Nov 9, 2007 at 6:46:44 PM | #8
So why cant I get photobucket to work? Thats suppose to be part of the service
Nov 10, 2007 at 2:06:22 PM | #9
TiVo's Photobucket HME app is likely not quite ready for wide public release.