Friday, January 06, 2006

Feeling the pain all the way from Vegas

Sometimes it hurts to be a geek.

CES is one of those times. Over in Vegas, dozens of companies show off their newest toys, and the materialistic little kid in me cries at every gadget I won't own.

For example, I thank my newfound home-buying debt for stopping me from trying to buy Dell's new 3007FPW monitor (while not-so-patiently waiting for the dust to settle and the price cuts to come on the legacy models ... if they ever do).

The real heartbreak is in the TiVo Series 3 unit, however. Here are a couple blog posts for you on the subject.

If you haven't heard me rant about DVRs before, you're lucky. I love my TiVo more than is probably healthy for a piece of consumer electronics, but it just can't compete with the features handed down by the cable company DVR. I hate the cable company software, I hate their interface, and I hate their remote ... but HD-capability, direct connection (no IR blaster to digital cable box), and two tuners wins out over all the nice things TiVo does (season passes that actually work, intelligent prioritized conflict management, TiVo suggestions, better in-progress viewing of recordings, network streaming of media from PC or other TiVos, and much more).

All that should change with the Series 3 TiVo. It'll use CableCard 2.0, which allows your cable company to give you a PCMCIA card instead of a cable box to decode their digital signal. You slap that into your TiVo, and you get the best of all worlds -- no cable company box, awesome TiVo software, and all the dual HD tuner love you can handle. It's got a lot more going for it too -- networked out of the box and ready for additional storage, no hacks needed.

In other words, it's everything I want in a DVR. Prices and release dates haven't been announced, but the rumor mill is suggesting a $500 - $1000 price towards the end of '06.

Can I really justify buying something that costs as much as my TV to help me watch it, considering how little TV I actually watch?

Rumors are also flying that Comcast's partnership with TiVo might extend to this kind of hardware. That would certainly be interesting (especially if, say, Comcast were to buy Charter and get me as a customer).

Hey, a materialistic little boy can dream, can't he?


Jim Hirsch said...

Like it or not, It's probably inevitable that TiVo will face some tough, if not crippling, competition from the cable operators. They've already pushed TiVo into a profit crunch by bundling and aggressively marketing DVR units to the public. The cable operators already have those customers, and can sell them on an iPod/iTunes-style integration of product and service - something TiVo can't match.

Dave said...

No doubt, Jim. I'm excited about TiVo's future products but have trouble picturing it being enough to take them out of the slump. Cable companies will always be able to offer a cheaper solution that integrates easier.

Thanks for the links, they were enlightening if depressing :).