The TiVo Dilemma

I just sold my TiVo the other day. R.I.P. the TiVo.

Anyhow, I didn't sell it because I didn't like it — quite the contrary. I loved the TiVo. It worked (well, most of the time — the IR link stuff just didn't cut the mustard some times) and did a great job recording suggestions based on what we gave the old Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down to.

We sold the TiVo because we got a new TV. One that does HD. And our TiVo Series 2 doesn't do that.

For now, we're using a cable box with a built-in DVR functionality. It does a lot of what the TiVo did — records TV shows we program, etc. It doesn't do recommendations, which is a huge TiVo selling point. On the bright side, we don't have to deal with the IR link anymore.

So, TiVo is moving on with technology. Their Series 3 boxes will support CableCard/OCUR standards — which is great and long overdue (but will probably have a minimal monthly fee from the cable company, because the CableCard is their equipment, after all). The Series 3 boxes will have dual tuners, so it can either record two things at once, or record something while you watch something else. My Comcast DVR does that as well. The Series 3 TiVo will still have a monthly service fee — I assume $12.95/month just like my Series 2 did (random: when I called to cancel my S2 TiVo, they offered to drop the price to $6.95; maybe you readers out there [ok, all one of you] can save some money!). The DVR costs me money: $5.00/month. It's less, but negligible in the grand scheme of my bills.

Here's the crux of the issue: The TiVo Series 3 will reportedly sell for around $800 for the unit. I paid NOTHING for my Comcast DVR. I don't understand how TiVo can expect to be successful in selling their boxes. I loved the recommendations, but they are in no way worth a one-time $800 fee plus an approximate tripling of my monthly fees. $800 will probably get you an entry-level Media Center PC, with a lot more functionality.

Is anyone going to be buying this thing? Does TiVo actually expect people to be buying these? Do TiVo's shareholders and analysts expect this thing to go off well?

I just don't see it happening. What am I missing?