To TiVo or not to TiVo. That is the Question.

A little over two years ago, I purchased a condo out in suburban Seattle (in Issaquah on Cougar Mountain with a view of Lake Sammamish, for the curious and geographically inclined), and one of my first purchases was a modern TV and a matching TiVo. Yes, until then, a TV was not really a part of my life. I mean, I had the INTERNET; why would I ever need the TV? Well actually, it was more because I had lousy bunny ear reception of the local channels being on the side of the mountain and all, and it was only $15/month more to get Basic Cable since I already get Internet from Comcast... but that's beside the point...

Anyways... I purchased the lifetime subscription to TiVo, and now it has finally broken even cost-wise. Which means that it is a good time for me to survey the DVR landscape and make some decisions about my next step should the opportunity arise.

Now I have to admit, for being someone in the technology industry who loves computers, science, and technology in general, I am incredibly conservative when it comes to electronic gadgets, gears, and gizmos. For example: Cell phone... 4+ years old and still monochrome. USB Flash drive... never had one. PDAs... how about the Palm III. Digicam... three years old and three MP. Stereo/SoundSystem/DVD/CD-Deck... never had one. iPod/MP3 Player... never even used one. Laptop/Desktop is about the only thing I update frequently, and even there I am usually on the trailing edge.

Yup... you can say that I am not a bleeding edge person at all; my life remains very simple, and I want it to stay that way. 🙂

For the most part, TiVo has completely changed how I watch TV. The ability to control when I want to watch TV and then select from several pre-recorded shows of my liking - absolutely brilliant. I used to schedule around certain TV show airtime, or ignore it completely, or just watch whatever happened to be playing when I actually had time... but all that inefficiency went out the window with TiVo.

Yea, I have a hard time imagining the next "killer application" in this space. As far as I am concerned, freeing oneself from the TV airtime schedule to watch TV whenever, watching only shows one likes, and ability to ignore commercials... is good enough. Maybe there is a good way to get the shows to-go or portable for vacations... but that is such a side-market. TiVo already has me watching more TV shows, not less.

I was looking at the LG LRM-519 over the holidays since it happened to have a display next to the TiVo, and it looked nifty - mostly upgraded components and connectors - but from a "hmm" perspective, it did not seem ground-breaking since it introduced no new concept but instead refined existing ones. And at $599 retail and $250 for lifetime subscription, I am not certain I would ever go for it. I seriously hope this is not the trend... because I may sit on the sidelines for another 3+ years while they sort it out...

So, just curious about people's thoughts in the space... or not. 🙂


Comments (6)

  1. TiVo has announced a dual-tuner HDTV version they hope to be releasing second half of the year, if you can wait that long.

  2. David Wang says:

    Chris – Thanks for the info.

    No worries, I can wait a long, long time (from the electronics sense)… in terms of years if need be. 🙂

    What matters more to me is getting the right "killer app" that gets me to do something that I cannot do without.

    Like control when and what I watch.


  3. Donny Cruce says:

    Hi – I have the HDTivo – and love it.  Would not be able to watch ‘Battlestart Galactica’ or ‘Medium’ without it ( I have a two hour commute each way )

    I also have HAL ( Home Automated Living ) which lets me ‘tell’ my computer to turn on the tv and switch to channel X.  Very nice 🙂

    For Chritmas I scored a PSP – and and looking forward to picking up a Sony ‘Location Free’ box so that I can watch my Tivo content wherever I encounter wifi ( which is more and more in hotels/airports)  THAT is Tivo on my schedule.

    Excellent blog!

  4. David.Wang says:

    Donny – nice! TiVo content on the go… yup, that is entertainment “when and where” you want…


  5. Donny Cruce says:

    Unfortunately DirecTV is abandoning the Tivo in favor of the own version of DVR. So no-more friendly Tivo face if I choose to stick with the big DTV.  One upside to DTV is they will be offering DirecTV2go – which is a method for ‘dumping’ content onto portable media players – like the Archos or IPod.   Still enough to keep me interested.   Maybe.  ; )

  6. David Wang says:

    In two weeks, I will be heading off to Europe for a three week vacation touring Denmark, northern Germany,…

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