FCC makes decision on carriage of Analog Cable signals

September 12, 2007 by

The FCC made a decision to allow TV stations (OTA) to demand the carriage of analog versions of their signal for up to 3 years after the digital switch over in Feb 2009.

http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6477713.html

While this does not clarify the entire picture for analog cable, it does decide terms that OTA signals are carried in analog form over cable networks.

Its not clear how this reconciles with Integration Ban waivers issued to cable cos. commiting to all digital carriage, since this in effect allows a local OTA station to force an analog signal onto the system.

Regardless, the decision impinges particularly on S2DT users who are threatend with the loss of the functionality of one (the coax input) tuner by the digital cable transition.

A Fool About TiVo

September 12, 2007 by

This article popped up today by Rick Aristotle Munarriz. Normally I am not at that site, but this is worth reading and I don’t mind mentioning it because it is not about TiVo as an investment, but rather making a TiVo worthwhile to pay for.

Unlike his conclusion, maybe at this point TiVo should have a few people on duty for live sporting events sending signals to broadband connected boxes about games going into overtime. Its not that big a software update, would not cost much, and TiVoes check in every few minutes anyway. 

Heck, maybe they could just build a real cool sports bar at their office and give out free beer to their sports fan employees (assuming they have any.)

Or more realistically, align with someone already doing something similar like they aligned with Tribune for guide data.

When you ask your TiVo to record the show, the live event buffer option would have options for further extention based on realtime events, and subject too not cramping any recordings. Afterall, they now have that whole warning screen for live events that’s mostly empty. Let the user know that if the game were to go beyond X then something might be deleted early or not recorded. User can set a max variable overtime limit or give game top priority.

Folks at TiVo Sports Central send out a signal which pads 15 mins each time when a game looks like it could go over the previous end time. Middle of the nineth, game within two runs, send pad signal.

When you talk about Service, that’s Service. That’s value added. Despite TiVo’s delusions, they don’t sell a service – or at least they didn’t until adding some recent elements like TiVoCast which is worth about $.03 a month out of the $13 they charge on average to new subs.

Suppose last XMAS they were charging the upper classes $599 for that sweet 😉 looking S3 and the $13 “service” came with that Sports Concierge diddy.

The other thing I want to mention is DTV. There’s your example of what TiVo’s “service” is worth and its potential subscribership. TiVo is going to have to come to grips with the realities of its service and its pricing, and rationalize that into a larger, more profitable sub base. Its doable, but right now TiVo is virtually clueless about how to get there.

Ramsay Exit Details

September 12, 2007 by

San Jose Mercury News has some details on Ramsay’s exit and future consulting fees. – Yes, he’s still collecting.  :down:

A few quick observations on the TiVo 2Q

September 11, 2007 by

I am in the middle of going through the results, but I have a few observations so far:  

Comcast is rolling out about a month later, in September, so it will be miniscule for Q3.

Inventory is surprisingly high after $11.2M writedown. Looks like there are plenty of finished S2 boxes and a good number of S3s in the warehouse. It sounds like the writedown still leaves them at a high book value, leaving only modest room for margin improvement or price reductions.

TiVo was surprised by shift to HD. Not that different from prior statements since Q4, but the huge writedown shows they really just kept on going with SD parts/product commitments in the face of the SD decline. TiVo claims “others” were also surprised. I don’t know who they were, but I’m sure there are “others” as totally clueless as TiVo. For a year you couldn’t find an SD TV in a retail store unless you went through a maze into a corner where they keep the dusty, sad looking TVs with the broken chasis. :sarcastic:

Progressive download (streamloading) will only be available on HD platforms. This was a shock, but interpreting literally what Rogers said, that’s it.

The DVB-T international effort has the potential of reaching 100M households, making it a small factor in TiVo’s future. You don’t really believe they are suddenly going to succeed in 30 different foreign countries where they’ve flopped in the U.S., do you?  😉

Cablevision to distribute in Mexico this month. Don’t expect much, but maybe they can dump some S2s on some Mexicans before they get moldy.

My view of the patent litigation is that its going to fall short of the very lofty hopes many have. I think TiVo’s decision to drop part of the case and speed up the whole thing is an effort to preserve as much of the preliminary victory that they have. TiVo will probably get some money eventually, but don’t look into the 9th digit.

Rogers sounds as bad as always. I don’t know how the company lets him get away with his snow job to the outside world and horrendous performance within TiVo. Please, please, please…lose this guy…and this time don’t hire someone worse! TiVo: you are a complete joke and embarrasment to the outside world (esp. financial); get your reputation back with a solid leader.

As you can see, my review of this part of TiVo is not going so well; but could you expect anything else?

Recent Positive Developments at TiVo

September 10, 2007 by

While I was enjoying a few weeks of summer a number  of developments occured worth writing about. I’ll focus on the positive developments here first.

He who’s name I shall not mention (Ramsay) leaves. Ramsay was horrible for TiVo, being responsible for much of its failure to thrive in the marketplace in TiVo’s early years, but he has been largely irrelevent in recent times. His departure is welcome symbolically, but Rogers’ departure would be positively electrifying (at least until we find out if his replacement is yet another lame dog.)

SDV solution likely. Some device to allow one-way cable devices to at least request and get tuning data for SDV channels will be available before all hell breaks loose. This is a major development for these one-ways which were threatend with some level of obsolescence. Now Hi-Def TiVoes can be bought with the confidence that they will be adequately useful down the road; considering the several hundred dollar capital investment required for an HD TiVo, this is extremely important.

MRV/TTC&G coming. Once DTCP-IP was settled with CableLabs, this seemed inevitable; TiVo claims November, but it could slip a little bit. MRV for late season/playoff NFL action likely 🙂  🙂 . TiVo is offering the most functionality anyone could hope for (only copy flag restrict – that needs to change to allow transfer/delete.) TiVo says no transcoding, which means a major opportunity is lost re: Viixs chip which apparently does not have the transcoding capability some models in that line have.

Official eSata functionality on the foreseeable horizon. Little by little we are seeing more signs of eSata; people do it unofficially already. This is not a major feature, but its general availability is a positive.

The TiVo HD, initially rushed out too early, is now ready for prime time with software updates. With hard drive upgrades available, SDV/MRV/TTC&G and MSD pricing, this unit’s costs can be justified by many more buyers.

TiVo now has a product and feature set they could sell in decent numbers, if only …

… they deal with issues I’ll review in my next (?) post.

Back from the Summer

September 7, 2007 by

Hi folks, I’ve been away resting and doing that summer thing for about 5 weeks. In that time quite a bit has happened to/at TiVo and over the next week or so I’ll catch up with some comments.

Several positive developments have occured, in addition to the ones just before August. Over the same period, horrible looking financial results have been reported and my confidence in the TiVo/Echostar case has declined. Of course, I’ll be going into some detail on the financials, and comment on the things that are new; and I’ll be writing about subjects beyond TiVo as I have in the past.

While I have not caught up on everything nor done much analysis, I’ll give away the end anyway. 😉  While TiVo looks to be in the best position I have seen in years on several fronts, it remains very far from being able to achieve business success.

It so happens I ordered a TiVo HD today, only to find out tonight that MRV/TTG is coming in November, restricted only by the copy flag and the physical incapability of the S2s re: Hi Def. I ordered because I had gained confidence that MRV/TTC&G and eSata would come in some reasonable time, hard drive upgrades became available, video issues had been resolved by a software update, an SDV solution looks likely, and because I just need more HD in more rooms what with fall sports and programs.

One thing I don’t remember thinking about before is that it looks like I could substitute the Tivo HD for one of my old month to month $6.95 S2s; in other words, no 3 yr commit – this is practical because there is no rebate. However, fact is I am not taking anything out of service, so I am just doing the 3yr $6.95 commit. One way or another one of those 6 TiVoes will be around for 3 yrs, and if not I’ll eat the money. If all goes well with SDV/TTC&G/MRV, a few months from now I may be replacing some S2s with TiVo HDs and doing the month to month substitutions.

No decision on hard drive upgrade yet, but it will be at least 400GB.

A note on cost:  I am using a cable co DVR with a $9.95 DVR fee and $7.95 box fee. The TiVo HD alone will drop the $9.95 part and if the S2 I am also using were dropped the $7.95 box could also go. With $3.50/mo in CableCARD costs, there is no monthly savings now, but future S2/cablebox replacements with TiVo HDs would save about $7.45/mo which goes a long way towards paying back the $299 for the TiVoHDs.

All this really only works for us MSD TiVo users, but that’s lots of folks that can justify the TiVo HD price when its other features/benefits are factored in.

Thanks to those who have been poking around the blog while I was away. I hope even 5+ week old info was useful to you.  🙂

What’s Happening?

July 31, 2007 by

7/31

Verizon FiOS video and internet service is hot. Multichannel News

Progress toward expanding the TiVo HD – TiVo Lovers

Small cable operators can offer turnkey VOD service via Comcast Media Center. Up to 1,200 hours of VOD available.

Previous Stories

TiVo Bulking Up

July 29, 2007 by

I thought I had covered this more explicitly than in a comment, but Multichannel news has a full article about TiVo’s concentration on cable.

First, TiVo’s development is all going toward cable:

“All of TiVo’s product development right now is oriented toward cable,” said Jeff Klugman, senior vice president of TiVo’s service-provider and advertising engineering division. “As a company, we are focused on supporting the cable industry.”

Added Klugman: “None of our product development is going to satellite.”

Second, TiVo is bulking up on supporting CableCARD users itself:

TiVo also has established a dedicated CableCard-support group, which will field front-line calls from customers who have questions or problems installing CableCards  …

TiVo has established procedures with big operators about escalating technical-support issues. These are not technically reciprocal support agreements; rather, TiVo has identified the appropriate customer-service contacts at each operator. (Klugman declined to say how many employees are on the TiVo CableCard-support team.)

CableCard has been a politically charged issue, and many operators are still adjusting to the Federal Communications Commission’s fiat that they use the cards in their own set-tops starting July 1.

But Klugman said TiVo wants to fix CableCard-related issues collaboratively with operators. “We’ve been a very good actor,” he said. “We could have gone to government agencies and complained. Instead we’re saying, ‘Let’s work together and get this to work right.’ ”

And, of course there is TiVoSoft – the TiVo UI on the cable box.

TiVo has hired a new SVP and CMO, new positions which probably implies more spending. TiVo is also spending big (for TiVo) on advertising this year, and the ads don’t look good. Some of that advertising is geared toward supporting the brand, and therefore the TiVoSoft initiative. The TiVo HD looks like a subsidized box, and reduced hardware subsidies have proven disasterous. 

MSD is now offered at TiVo.com and Lifetime deals have been appearing. DirecTV Subs will fall rapidly. TiVo couldn’t hold the $19.95/mo contract and can’t get more than the seemingly permanent $299 special for the 3yr pre-pay.

What TiVo has going for it are the Comcast (August) and Cox (late 2007) TiVoSoft rollouts and the TiVo HD.

TiVo is going to have to sell a huge number of boxes to make the advertising spend pay off. Box subsidies are variable, but ad spending is fixed. At $300, its doubtful TiVo’s Gross Adds can offset the SAC cost.

Allocating some ad spending to TiVoSoft creates a meaningful SAC in that low revenue segment.

TiVo still has tremdous challenges to meet before become a successful company.

The few good moves lately need to be followed by many more.

Broadcast.com Retrospective

July 29, 2007 by

Mark Cuban was the pioneer/entrepreneur in the use of the Internet to transmit multimedia.

His blog contains a look back at Broadcast.com, the entity which propelled him to fame and billionaire status, when a billion $ was really money.

I used to read Mark’s columns years ago, starting before Broadcast.com. He was a visionary who truly got it. Today he is a little myopic about the Internet, but he is still very stimulating to read.

Remembering Broadcast.com

All VOD all the time?

July 28, 2007 by

In All VOD, All the Time, Tom Steinert-Threlkeld writes about Jeff Bewkes’ desire to forestall the DVR by offering everything via VOD, making the cable system a virtual DVR.

But Bewkes wants to control viewers through his method, which won’t work well. His primary concern is to preserve the existing ad based economic model, and he believes cable can build these systems easily and leave satellite out of the running for customers, while having several years advantage waiting for Telco buildout nationwide. I agree with the latter.

Bewkes is wrong to want to cripple FF; people want that feature to save time watching content so they can watch more content. Offering commercials that are dynamically targeted temporally and individually to viewers can enhance the commercial based business model, even without changing the existing contractual relationships. People will want to see these ads and even when FF’ing they will pick up the gist.

There is a better way:

Combine the DVR and VOD. All Download on Demand (DOD) all the time. Much better end user functionality; less burden on the network to transmit content (content is transmitted only once over network – trick play occurs on DVR.) Ads can be dynamically replaced depending on original download time and updated depending on viewing time; ads can be targeted to household, not neighborhood.

All digital HD DVRs could be made relatively cheaply in the next couple of years. They wouldn’t need two tuners to avoid recording conflicts in a DOD world. They would  just need to write a stream of bits off one tuner to the hard drive as content is released (ala TiVo Season Pass) or the viewer requests it. Eventually, IP based HD DVRs could eliminate even the tuner and act like a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, and solid state memory based DVRs could reduce manufacturing costs as well.

New Rebate on TiVo DT?

July 28, 2007 by

Update:

Amazon probably made an error yesterday as it now shows the rebate at $150. See comment. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Amazon is showing the TiVo S2DT80 with a $170 rebate. I think this is new. Combined with a price of $208.99 vs $249.99 MSRP, your net cost is $38.99. Quite a drop.  🙂 

The rebate of $150/170 (540 only) was to expire today, 7/28. No indication yet at TiVo.com of a new rebate. Boxes prices are still the same at TiVo too, and no rebate is indicacted on the DT180 at Amazon.

List Price: $249.99
Price: $208.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping. Details
You Save: $41.00 (16%)
Rebate: $170.00
Price After Rebate: $38.99

Unbox on TiVo Giving Away Free Movie

July 27, 2007 by

This week’s specials includes a Mexican movie, El Callejon de los Milagros, which can be purchased FREE. Or you can conveniently choose to RENT it for $2.99.  😮  Its not TiVo unless its a … oh, well. 😉

You can find the movie under the Special Deals category right on your TiVo.

Not sure why in the world this movie would be offered as a free bee. Free downloads coould indicate tough going for TiVo on Unbox or just good marketing, but this?

Enjoy!

VeohTV Beta more open?

July 27, 2007 by

I received an email from Veoh today with a link to

 http://www.veoh.com/veohTV/getStarted.html

It looks like it is generally available to those who sign up. I am not sure though.

More surprising is a link to a Mac version I had not seen before. It might be just a signup sheet though.

http://www.veoh.com/downloadFlow.html?ver=mac

What’s Happening?

July 26, 2007 by

7/27 

TiVo, Minus the Tangle – Business Week reviews TiVo HD

The new TiVo HD isn’t quite the set-top box of my dreams, but it comes pretty close. And it is a harbinger of better things that will be here soon.

7/26

DTV Transition Scares Missouri Senator – 😮 

Too few consumers know that their analog-TV sets could go dark in February 2009 as a result of the government mandated conversion to digital broadcasting, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said Thursday.

“Frankly, this scares me, politically,” she said at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing that included the Commerce Department official overseeing a key program. “I mean, there is no anger that comes close to the anger of an American who can’t get television.”

–  😮 –

Mark says the Internet is dead – Cuban is promoting Intranets as the future for HD video delivery. Maybe he’ll resurect Prodigy. 😉

 “The Internet’s for old people.”

“I was wrong,”

Progress Toward Comcast National SDV Rollout

July 26, 2007 by

Comcast will use the Arris D5 Universal Edge QAM which offers flexible bandwidth allocation to SDV/VOD to allow expansion of SDV service as needed.

D5 Specs

 Comcast Lands on Arris Edge-QAMs

Such universal edge-QAMs can provide bandwidth for multiple services, including switched digital video and video-on-demand, whereas traditional QAMs require channels to be dedicated exclusively to one service, like VOD.

Separately, French electronics-maker Thomson earlier this week announced that Comcast has picked it as a supplier of voice-enabled cable modems, in addition to the MSO’s current deal with Arris for such devices.

Yahoo Ad Exec Becomes Veoh CEO

July 26, 2007 by

Veoh Taps Yahoo Executive As CEO As It Pushes For More Ad Revenue – CNN

Advertising to become important part of Veoh business model.

Mitgang succeeds founder Dmitry Shapiro, who will become chief innovation officer.

Veoh names former Yahoo executive CEO

Mitgang was formerly a senior vice president with Yahoo working on its advertising services.Before joining Yahoo, he was chief executive of Carlsbad-based Web analytics company Keylime Software, which was acquired by Overture Services in 2003.

“I think we’re at a big transition point,” Mitgang said. “We’re going from really creating some magic around the application to turning this into a real business and becoming the video company for the Internet. Now we need to evolve our relationship with content holders. We need to evolve our relationships with advertisers or create (relationships).”

In addition to Mitgang, Veoh hired Jennifer Betka as senior vice president of marketing. She previously worked for Sirius Satellite Radio.

The anti-YouTube – Dmitry Shapiro on CNN demos VeohTV Beta App. I wonder if this video can be played via VeohTV?

TiVo News – New SVP & Rogers Video

July 26, 2007 by

TiVo Appoints Karen Bressner as Senior Vice President of Advertising Sales  – Press Release

New York based, reporting directly to Rogers. Looks like Rogers could be consolidating power with these additions (see CMO)

In other news, TV Squad has a link to a Market Watch interview with Tom Rogers.

Rogers says HDTV sales are 90% of TV sales at retailers he talks to. I estimate TiVo’s HD sales are 10% or less in unit terms since the Series 3 launched. TiVo HD should move that disparity in the right direction.

Rogers says retailers tell him that they think people would like TiVo HD as a companion product to their HDTV sets. No indication of any integration of a TiVo into another device or made by any other CE manufacturer.

When asked how profit is not hurt with lower price, Rogers says TiVo HD costs much less to manufacture. Even so, TiVo HD is probably a subsidized box; however the point is to get those very profitable Subs coming in at a respectable pace/SAC again, seeing ads and buying video downloads, all of which could happen with TiVo HD.

Rogers says TiVo’s Sub growth has been “hurt by their inability to offer “a popularly priced unit”

Cox TiVoSoft rolling out later in the year (2007 🙂 )

___________________________________________________

TiVo Hires Ex-Viacom Exec to Head Ad Sales – Ad VP Davina Kent to report to Bressner

S2DT Prices

July 25, 2007 by

Amazon is offering the DT80 for $79.99 and has the DT180 in stock for $124.88. Prices are post rebate.

That’s the tightest spread I can remember between the two models.

TiVo Q2 Estimate

July 24, 2007 by

I started estimating Q2 Gross Adds at 45-60K and took 55K as my pick. Slight optimism based on Father’s Day S3 deal and Lifetime S2DT deal.

I see no reason to change that, however I am not sure how TiVo reports Lifetime transfers in the GA/Churn numbers. I think TiVo did a decent number of these and if so, GAs and Churns could be slightly higher if they report it that way.

For the quarter, TiVo was stuck with the same problems it has had for some time. No boxes people want to buy, especially at the (all-in) price/terms. Too much uncertainty about the future usability of those units, though personally I downplay that issue a bit.

No Gross Adds are included for TiVo HD since TiVo says they won’t ship until August.

TiVo’s third quarter looks better to me. I think 65-85K gross adds are possible with the new TiVo HD helping offset some of the S2 declines. I am optimistic about the upper region of that range what with the launch at the beginning of the QTR and the initial (retail/box) price being reasonable. Still, all the same issues come up again; (all-in) price/terms, SDV …

A positive I haven’t fully factored in is the new availability of MSD monthly pricing from TiVo.com. Lifetime offers/sales could also help results.

If the new CMO turns out to be any good, he may be able to affect Q3 positively a bit. TiVo seems more active on the marketing front, and what I have seen lately is better than the past (but that doesn’t mean its good or won’t be a waste of money in the end.)

Another thing to consider is the availability of TTG/MRV (S3) which could happen during Q3. I believe there is substantial pent up demand for boxes pending S3 transfers, dependent of course on what is enabled, so I’ll update when whatever it is is official.

In the meantime, TiVo is loaded with all the S3s they are going to need through early 2008:

Jim Denny, vice president of product marketing for TiVo said he was unsure if TiVo was building new Series3 boxes, but believes existing inventory should keep the device available through the start of 2008.

TiVo Bringing MSD to Bundles?

July 23, 2007 by

TiVo may be bringing MSD pricing to its own Web site bundle sales. This evening when I click on the Price Plans I am told

Congratulations-you qualify! Prices below reflect monthly fee after Multi-Service Discount.

The usual monthly prices are struck out and the MSD (less $6) prices are next to them on the 1,2 & 3 year plans. Of course, the pre-pays are not adjusted.

If this is real, then I am quite impressed with the changes I am seeing at TiVo in a short time. Let’s look forward to more!  🙂

TiVo S3-Lite and MRV/TTG

July 23, 2007 by

Update:

TiVo HD Platform Wild Spec Thread – Some very interesting things are under the hood… 😉

Well the S3-Lite came out sa expected. However, eSata is schedule for late 2007, and MRV/TTG look like they are nowhere in sight. Zatz thinks they are going to use coax instead??? 😮 Good lord!

_____________________________________________

It looks like TiVo will begin taking orders on its Website for the Series 3-Lite (TiVo HD) starting tomorrow (Tuesday) and have the boxes in store by early August; the price is $299.99. (AP)

The box is pretty much just what we have been expecting recently.

Maybe today’s revamp of Buy TiVo was an omen?  😉

Rumor has it that some aspect of MRV/TTG functionality is also around the corner. Then again, it may not be. 😦

Mike Lang over at TCF will have the full specs after midnight (whenever that is 😮 ) for us.

_______________________________________

Articles:

Zatz

TiVo Debuts $299 HD DVR for Cable

TiVo to sell trimmed down premium TV video recorder

Q&A with TiVo’s Jim Denney about TiVo HD on Engadget HD

TiVo gearing up for HD fight – SF Chronicle

“Will this give them a new life they haven’t had? I think the answer is no,” said James McQuivey, principal analyst with Forrester Research. “It’s a wise response to current market conditions, but it’s not going to turn the tide.”

It’s Here – The New TiVo HD DVR – The Ultimate HDTV Companion at a Price Consumers Have Been Asking For – TiVo Press Release

What’s Happening?

July 23, 2007 by

7/23

TiVo to debut a lower-priced HD video recorder – Orders to be taken on website tomorrow. In stores early August.

VOD’s Growing Pains – Getting from here to there is a set of incremental steps.

Cable operators and competitors aren’t facing a full-scale swap-out of existing infrastructure, but instead incremental upgrades and expansions. As a benefit, some of the network upgrades for VOD can also be used to deliver more linear HD channels and faster high-speed data service.

This upgrade investment will be far less than the massive infrastructure buildup in the mid-90s. “On an order of magnitude, we’re talking hundreds of millions” of dollars, says Ferris Baker Watts analyst Murray Arenson, who covers leading vendors SeaChange, C-COR and Concurrent.

Opening A Network – Will a TV set stay a TV set?

A TV set is a TV set is a TV set, able to take signals pretty much from any distribution network out there. Over the air broadcasting, satellite broadcasting, cable system, telco system.

You take it for granted. Just as you do — now — your ability to plug any phone you buy at Best Buy into any phone jack in your house

TiVo enlists Ruder Finn – Firm replaces Rogers & Cowan which had worked on TiVo’s consumer efforts. Along with the newly created CMO position, it looks like TiVo is making serious efforts to change their marketing approaches.

Dingell Seeks FCC Answers On Set-Tops, Spectrum Auctions – Why the waivers?

Samsung Targets Early Adopters Wth Set Top Boxes – The cost of those little boxes for analog hold outs.

Redstone Feud Heats Up – No sign of the school teacher in this one.

Previous Stories

Buy TiVo

July 23, 2007 by

TiVo has revamped its Buy TiVo pages.

TiVo is showing the DT180 out of stock.

The three year pre-pay is no longer ‘Limited time offer.’

The refurb S3 is now bundled with a free refurb wireless adapter.

What TiVo and Others Could Learn from iPhone

July 23, 2007 by

What Your Next Launch Can Take From the IPhone

Lesson Three: Simplify pricing.   …

In Apple’s case, the choices were boiled down to one question: How many minutes do you want?   …

For instance, TiVo missed the opportunity here, said Golvin. “TiVo sells the box and the service separately, and TV customers aren’t always clear on what they are paying for.

You can say that again. Also realize you are not in the cell phone business unless you are in the cell phone business.

Lesson Four: Don’t be afraid to charge for quality. At launch people will break out of ingrained thinking and pay a premium price if they believe the product offers superior experience and beautiful design …

But don’t forget to get realistic when your remaining customers do too; and don’t raise prices as your products’ value diminishes.

iPhone’s launch was phenomenal. Not only was the build up fantastic, but the advertising at launch was stunning – jaw dropping.  I sat in awe watching iPhone commercials that would work beautifully for TiVo while considering throwing my wallet at an AT&T or Apple store – like a 17 year old throwing her panties at the Beatles.

What’s Happening?

July 21, 2007 by

7/21

Verizon TiVo programing adjusts price to $1.99 – Now that is a price I could live with. Nice video by Shanan too.

Can anyone get the connected home right? – The sorry state of affairs after decades of promise; but does anyone have a vision?

While each of these products has a lot of promise, the reality is collectively they are just too complex for the average person to use and, in terms of cost, outside of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates few folks cold afford to buy all the parts to make a complete solution.  

No wonder consumers are confused, the best offerings don’t talk to each other, are often way out of their price range, and collectively so complex that you’d need a degree in engineering to both understand and use them.  Microsoft has the breadth but not the focus, Apple the skills but not the breadth, Sony the capability but not the will, and we are left waiting for the one company which can pull this all together and create an iPhone like moment that could transform this space. 

CBS Eye-lert Tells You When TV Shows Run Late – If only TiVo can integrate this; no more missed endings. 🙂

How the DVR Extends TV’s Prime Time

Don’t fear the web or TiVo. They aren’t nearly so scary as previously thought, particularly for advertisers on broadcast TV. Sure, broadband is growing quickly. “Fully connected” households — those with digital TV and broadband — leapt to nearly 30% from 25% year on year. Web crawling during prime time is up 28% among adults. But the web’s growth hasn’t negatively affected how much time we spend watching the tube. Indeed, Mr. Poltrack’s research found that 73% of us watch the same amount of TV as we used to, and 16% of us watch more TV in prime time.

YouTube won’t replace the boob tube. According to Mr. Poltrack’s CBS Vision research, 63% of us watched video on the internet last year, while this year that number leapt to 85%. In addition, whether someone has viewed a show online seems to positively affect whether they’d watch the show again on TV. Twenty-one percent of adults said they would watch a show more after they’d seen it online, while 69% said they’d watch the program the same amount.

DVR users sometimes notice ads. By the time next year’s critical upfront TV advertising sales period arrives, digital video recorders such as TiVo will be in one out of every four American homes. The good news for advertisers? While TiVo is certainly used for ad zapping, it’s done not with the regularity one might think. Mr. Poltrack said more than half of the time, DVR owners polled “sometimes notice ads,” while 15% of the time they “always notice ads.” Moreover, those DVR owners were able to recall specific brands advertised 44% of the time while watching live TV, compared with 41% of the time in playback — hardly a massive drop in awareness.

Prime time just got longer. Just as Taco Bell has profitably invented the gut-expanding “fourth meal,” it should come as a delight of advertisers that TiVo and its clones seem to be expanding prime time into a “fourth hour,” from 8 p.m. to 12 p.m. Someone who might have watched an evening of CBS’s “Big Brother” and “CSI” might then also watch ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” in the same night instead of simply watching their affiliate’s nightly recap of fires and crimes and tomorrow’s weather. “Thirty percent of [DVR owners] are doing this on a regular basis,” Mr. Poltrack said with a slight grimace. “We know because it’s affecting our late [local] news and our morning shows.”

DVRs In Nearly Half US Homes By 2010 – More from the Carmel Group study. TiVo to share 2% of DVR market in 2010

NAB: Feb. 17, 2009, Means Nothing to 60% of Consumers

CBS Aims to Spread Web Content – 400 Sites!

“CBS is al about open, nonexclusive partnerships,” CBS Interactive president Quincy Smith said. “Just CBS.com is not the answer” to reaching viewers, he added, so the network is devoted to going out where the viewers are, not forcing them to CBS.com.

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