TiVo: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

Well, it had to happen – the company that has ensconced the idea of a DVR in the hearts of millions has lost its good will.

I’ll say it loud and I’ll say it proud – TiVo is the best thing that ever happened to my TV-watching experience. As a parent of an eight-month-old, my evenings are spent curled up on the couch waiting for our little angel to turn eighteen. TiVo has improved TV-watching immensely, allowing us to watch what we want when we want it.

OK. So now I’ve said my peace.

Unfortunately, TiVo got lazy. I know it’s hard to make an HD DVR. It’s apparently nigh impossible. But TiVo should have had one two years ago. I’m late to the HD game, but plenty of TiVo lovers were pissed as their cable companies offered HD PVRs for free while TiVo capered around like a Faulknerian man-child offering up SD content to the masses. Now that they have a dual tuner superninja PVR, the Series3, people want it. They pre-ordered. They became VIPs. They wiggled their bums and batted their eyelashes and wanted TiVo to love them.

And the result? Product not going out on time. False promises. Upset TiVO lovers. A small company that consistently squanders their good will.

The whole story of which I speak is pretty silly: some TiVoers signed up for VIP service which offers 48 hour TiVo shipping and the ability to transfer a lifetime membership to your new HD TiVo. It costs a bit more, but hey, that’s the only way you can transfer your lifetime, $199 membership, right?

So TiVo lovers became VIPs. They placed their orders… and waited. And waited… It’s been 4 days since VIPs were supposed to get their units and Series 3 devices are already in the big box stores and the big boxes let you transfer your lifetime subscription. So people who LOVE TiVo enough to spend more on a Series 3 than an average chump get the shaft, while any Joe can waltz into Best Buy, rock some boxes, and wander out a happy man (or woman).

If you want to make some money, PVR-manufacturers, create something as nice as TiVo, slap in some HD cards, and send it to our homes. Do what you must to keep it inexpensive. And please, please, don’t underestimate your audience.