TiVo, pending FCC approval because it's a requirement to have an analog tuner, is ready to push out a four tuner box, that's four simultaneous recordings, sans analog. Because analog is dead. Aren't we all watching some form of digital something or other whether that be OTA (over the air), cable or satellite? How behind the times is the FCC, right?

The New Tivo Premiere Elite

So TiVo has announced they've got a four tuner, $499 box just waiting for the FCC to catch up and realize that they already mandated digital TV signals and analog is dead. Well, they didn't say it exactly like that, that was all me. It's called the Premier Elite and it makes me wonder if they've been talking to Capcom, who names something like Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, about the naming of products. Will the next one have 6 tuners and then be the Premier Elite Hyper Edition? Maybe they'll just go with a simpler, Ultra Premier Elite.

Anyway, naming conventions aside, this seems like a way for Tivo to staunch the flow of shrinking subscribers as they're now under 50% of what they were back in 2007. Honestly, wouldn't you just rather get it straight from your cable company instead of having another piece of equipment on your entertainment center?

That might account for the massive loss of subscribers. Oh, and there's a fee, A FEE!

Now, I've got a ton of ideas on what they might do, but since I'm no longer the open source fount of free ideas that I once was (because I've moved back to the US and need fundage!), I won't give them all to you.

However, this is ReelSEO and so I need to tie this into online video. I can't really say that cloud-based storage would be the answer, because I would hate it. I can't say that tying into the online video services to stream through the box would be the answer, because they do that already. How about, doing away with the fee?

Check this out. My father, TechnoDad, has an awesome media center PC. It has something like, I don't know 10TB of storage...maybe 20. Anyway, he's got Time Warner, who is pretty cool. They shipped him a couple dual-tuners and a 4-tuner DVR CableCard. It was all a pretty big chunk of change if I remember. But now, he's got 4-tuner DVR and pretty much unlimited storage.

The CableCard? It's like $1 a month or something. I imagine the setup on the DVR equipment (sans the media center PC which I think he should start building and selling to people) was close in price to this 4-tuner TiVo. However, he's not paying $19.99 extra a month to DVR on top of his cable bill. Yet, if you buy a TiVo that is exactly what you need to do. So then my question is, why would you?

I have my desktop PC hooked into my cable as well and I can both watch Live TV and DVR with mine as well as watch Hulu, Cinema Now, etc because it's tied to the projector in the living room. Not nearly as cool as his to be sure (well my projector trumps his bigass TV) , I've got just a single tuner. I don't pay extra to DVR, at all.

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Check this out, from the TiVo site:

CableCARD Decoder. A CableCARD decoder is required for your TiVo Premiere Elite DVR to receive any cable programming. The TiVo Premiere Elite is designed for use only with digital cable systems. It does not receive analog programming, including over-the-air programming, and will not work with an over-the-air antenna. Most of the largest cable providers have "digital simulcast," which means they rebroadcast all of their analog channel programming on digital channels as well. This means that all programs available on analog channels are also available on digital channels when a CableCARD is inserted. Therefore, if your provider has "digital simulcast" you will not miss any of your cable channel programming with a TiVo Premiere Elite. Please contact your provider if you are unsure whether its service provides digital simulcast of all analog programming.

So, on top of their extra hardware and monthly fee, you need extra hardware for a monthly fee from your cable provider.

Here's what they need to do. Hmmm..should I? Alright, I didn't really tie this into online video yet.

The Solution For TiVo?

Say, I want to DVR oh, I don't know, Hell's Kitchen because I'm a massive Gordon Ramsay fan (true dat!). I've personally got Hulu Plus which means I don't really need to DVR it, I can just get it the next day.

But, if I were to have say...TiVo, which I pay a monthly fee for no apparent reason, I could get the exact show from my TiVo box just after it airs, without having to setup recording, make sure I've got space on my storage or anything like that. Plus, I should get it right from the source [FOX/Hulu], therefore the quality should be impeccable...and I should be able to get it without commercials.

Oh wait, that's going too far. OK, I get it [the show], with very few commercials which can be skipped while watching (because usually on Hulu and some VOD you cannot do that). Voila!

How about if I have my TiVo tied to some other online video subscription service which has a version of a film I'm about to DVR. My TiVo box could just tell me that I don't need to because I can get it instantly, any time, from a service I'm already subscribed to. Damn, that's a great idea actually.

Well that just wouldn't work now would it? Everyone needs their pound of flesh and that means they all need a subscription fee. Nope, sorry TiVo. I don't see a way for you to survive, at least one that I'm willing to share for free this time round.

  • Anonymous

    TWC is cool? You're delusional... They have the worst DVR tuners in existence. I don't think having a fee is unreasonable (the guide has to be populated somehow, crap changes, people needed to fix it), but the cost is unreasonable. That said, a 2TB 4 receiver DVR with no fee (lifetime plan) is still under $1000 ($900 with the coupon code everyone knows about). The UI and functionality blow TWC's cisco-based DVR's from hell away. The box really isn't that bad, and after the heavy buy-in you drop the rental cost of the DVR boxes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000393913055 Karen Engel

    We went with a Lifetime subscription HD Tivo Premiere. One fee, no monthly bills ever again....except for (optional) cable and that $1/month cable card. Record anything we want, for life, just to watch or push/burn/archive for longer term viewing on any medium we want on the local network or online. The price of admission may seem steep. But how much is a cable company DVR RENTAL again per month? That's also paying them monthly fees for your entire lifetime too (if one chooses that road). Do the math. The cost of the Lifetime Tivo would be amortized and paid for within ~3-4 years on average vs cable DVR rental. From that point you keep paying the cable company - for the rest of your life. You pay nothing going forward to use your Tivo.

  • Barry Elliott

    Isn't the value of TIVO that you can transfer recorded shows, novies, etc. across a network and burn them on blue ray? To my knowledge, none of the cable/satellite DVRs allow that to happen.

  • Timothy Paul Rick

    One more important thing WAF.......we are saving $30 monthly and this rig will pay for itself in NO time.

  • Timothy Paul Rick

    Yes I 've heard TIVO's trying to push the FCC in this direction.....by the way do you have an analog tuner I can borrow? ;-)

  • Dick Hildom

    I watch BBCA which is not HD will I still be able to view it.

  • Jon

    I bought TiVo and have two premiers because otherwise I'd need a full time IT guy living with me to constantly troubleshoot win media center. Been there and done that. I consider myself a tech guy, but when I only have one problem a year and can call a toll free number and get excellent support - I consider that priceless.