Why the Cable and Satellite Companies are Idiots for Not Buying TiVo — John Battelle on Why Comcast’s DVR Sucks

John Battelle’s Searchblog: Rant: The Comcast HD DVR Is Simply, Terribly Awful:

John Battelle is out with a rant — and boy is this a good one.

John is a former TiVo user but recently bought a HDTV and so he switched to a generic box from Comcast and found that it did not quite live up to his past TiVo experiences:

“Good Lord, it doth suck. The interface is simply abominable. Unintuitive and careless, it copies the major features of Tivo’s approach but fails at every single detail – and in UI design, everything is in the details. No surprisingly, it utterly misses the core purpose of a DVR: to treat television as a conversation instead of a dictation. Without a doubt, this is an interface built either by Machiavelli’s cohorts, or by graceless bureaucrats, or both. No, wait, it’s worse. This is a product built by people who fundamentally don’t understand the computing paradigm. That’s it – they really don’t get television as a database. Imagine the folks at DEC trying to build a Macintosh. That’s Comcast’s DVR.”

It’s great to see someone use the word “doth” in a blog post.

It gets better:

“The Tivo is like an Audi, but the Comcast drives like a 1972 Gran Torino Station wagon. And the remote? My God, what a piece of sh*t!”

So John basically eloquently says what we’ve all known for quite a while, that the cable and satellite supposedly feebie cheapo DVRs (if you actually do the math and see how many hidden reoccuring fees they can slip into your new HDTV DVR they are a hell of a lot more expensive than you might think) aren’t worth it.

Which goes back to the age old question that those bus/dev M&A; types are good for, build vs. buy.

TiVo undoubtedly has the best name brand PVR in the business. If you check out the latest Test issue of wired their Series 3 PVR wins as the number one PVR. TiVo has a beautiful and elegant design and form factor to their software. TiVo owns a library full of valuable patents (that they just used to squeeze Echostar big time). Yes they have a poison pill in place and probably think they are worth a lot more as a company than they are. But my God, why oh why doesn’t some smart little bean counter over at Comcast do the math and just buy them already.

Every public company has a price. And rather than have people like John Battelle blog about how much your product sucks, why not just buy instead of build crap.

TiVo’s market cap today is at a mere $535 million vs. Comcast’s market cap of almost $10 billion. This seems like such a no brainer to me.

“Those cheap bastards. Those unholy blasphemers! It took me about ten times as long as Tivo to use their crappy search to figure out how to program the damn thing to record my favorite shows, and in one five-minute power outage, I lost every single episode of Battlestar Galatica! Every Rescue Me! Every goddamn Daily Show, every Gray’s Anatomy, every random movie I thought “hey, I’d like to watch that sometime.” (I was halfway through The Guns of Navarone, for God’s sake! Oh, the humanity!!!!)

And when those programs were lost, Comcast, you lost me. I will never, ever use your box again. Tivo HD, here I come. And not a minute too soon.”

By the way TiVo, if your listening, you might want to send John Battelle over a bottle of wine or something. :).

Thanks, Davis!

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2 Comments

  1. Greg says:

    I work at Comcast, and even I hate our damn DVR!!!!!!!

  2. I hate the Comcast DVR too.

    A few peeves:

    – Having to scroll through the alphabet
    – Remote does not control DVR at times
    – You can’t take a look at a list of your scheduled recordings
    – You have to press FF more than 3 times to go fast

    TiVo and Comcast tdo haev an agreement, so I’m hoping to get TiVo software on the Comcast DVR at some point.

    http://www.pvrblog.com/pvr/2005/03/comcast_and_tiv.html

    Been waiting a while for something to come otu of this…