Monday, March 21, 2011

Are DVR's a Dying Business?

photo by Nesster

Recently Business Week reported that TIVO recorded a major 4th quarter loss. It got me thinking, is TiVo and DVR's in general a dying business?  The way I see it, DVR's and TiVo specifically have 3 major issues:

  1. Hardware Costs - the cheapest TiVo costs about $300, while the cheapest Roku device costs $59. Your other option is to rent a DVR from a cable company, and pay a small monthly fee now until forever.
  2. Technology - Both DVR's and internet TV appliances (ex. Roku, Boxee, Google TV, Apple TV) provide TV entertainment on demand, but with the TiVo you have to manage what shows you want to record, while with an internet TV appliance, you have access to thousands of movies and TV shows.  Both have their benefits, but you can easily see how a DVR can be substituted with an internet TV device.
  3. Subscriptions - Why does TiVo charge a subscription fee?  Sorry TiVo, but I would never pay to subscribe to your directory service.

When I started my quest to replace Cable TV with other options, I seriously considered buying a DVR.  I'm really glad I didn't!