So I Guess TiVo CEO Mike Ramsay Was Just Bullshitting When He Said in TiVo’s Last Earnings Conference Call that TiVo to Go Would be Out By Year End

Update: TiVo to Go appears to be out this morning, 1-3-2005.

TivoTracker � Tivo-to-Go to debut at CES
So I Guess TiVo CEO Mike Ramsay Was Just Bullshitting When He Said in TiVo’s Last Earnings Conference Call that TiVo to Go Would be Out By Year End. I wonder what else he was bullshitting about in the call. Ok maybe I’m being too hard on the guy. CES is coming week after next after all. Still, it would be nice to hear something official from the company.

Tivo-to-Go to debut at CES. TiVoTracker points us to an article in the Las Vegas Sun where a VP of something or other over at the upcoming CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas is pumping the launch of the new TiVo to Go.

More significantly, when will it actually be available to all of us and will it be some weak limited offering only useable on TiVo stand alone Series 2 units or will they also support the DirecTV products (including the HDTV unit) as well as TiVo Series 1?

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  1. David says:

    Series 1? No way, never. Those are end of lifed and aren’t getting any more updates.

    DirectTivos? Probably not. DirectTivos dont have HMO, so they won’t be getting Tivo2Go either.

    It’s not that they technically can’t get it, it is that DirectTV won’t allow it. If you want to rant and rave at someone, do it at DirectTV, and not Tivo.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Considering it was an earnings conference call, maybe you would consider that he was referring to the fiscal calendar? Quarter 4 doesn’t end until January sometime.

  3. Thomas Hawk says:

    Ohhh the fiscal year. Nice trick on his part. Keep your eye on the birdie, keep your eye on the birdie. Oh look over there… it’s something silver and shiny.

    Anyone could get on the call and I’m sure many journalists were and it was widely reported to be out by calendar year end. If it was their fiscal year end they should have stated this.

    The problem is the lack of comunication from the company. Why not be more transparent regarding this product and their true intentions. What harm is there in this?

  4. David says:

    I agree with you on the lack of communicaiton. I do think that’s what’s driving people nuts. The not knowing. If Tivo gave people a solid date, people would be pissed, but would accept it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    So you’re mad at Tivo for not communicating properly and yet you’re someone running your own “digital connection” blog and you haven’t done the 30 seconds worth of research that would explain to you that supporting Series 1 units for TTG would be impossible since those units have no built-in networking?

    Or do you propose that Tivo spend time coding a feature that will work on the small percentage of units that people have modified to add a network card? Barring that, exactly how in the heck would you expect to get the video off your Series 1 unit – run it out over the phone line?

    As for DTV units – Tivo has ZERO control of that, something another 30 seconds worth of research would have made obvious. DTV has specifically not allowed the USB ports on their Tivo receivers to work from the beginning.

    So your comment about this being some “weak limited offering” is pretty silly if you think about it. Might as well get mad that Series 1 units don’t make coffee or display HDTV – since they don’t have the required hardware to do either.

  6. Thomas Hawk says:

    Yes, I in fact do think that TiVo should offer an upgrade path for Series One to have TiVo to go. These machines can be modified for use on a network. TiVo could see kits to do this. TiVo also could create another offer for Series One users to upgrade to Series 2. I love it when I hear that I can’t use a company’s product because of another company. I get this on tech support lines all the time. Look, TiVo negotiated with DirecTV and if they were too weak to negotiate TiVo to Go into this product then they still deserve the criticism.

    Look, no support or upgrade for Series 1. No support for DirecTV. This represents a majority of current TiVo users. So the only way I can get it is if i buy a lame single tuner Series 2 TiVo? No thanks. I have no problem pulling broadcasts off of my Microsoft Media Center PC right now anyway. Who needs this? I just think it’s a lot of hype that’s been going on for over a year for a product that won’t be able to be used by over half of their current customers. Good thinking on their part.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is rich. You think Tivo should offer a self-upgrade kit for Series 1 owners to add network support. I guess if you bought a gasoline-based Civic 5 years ago you’d expect Honda to sell you a kit that lets you upgrade it to be a hybrid as well?

    The Tivo units are sold as sealed boxes for a reason. The power supply in them, as in most consumer electronics that are not meant to be opened by the end user, are actually quite dangerous, and potentially fatal. Maybe some more of that research I suggested before would serve you well here – it might keep you from expecting Tivo to offer never-ending upgrade support for boxes they sold to people as sealed, complete units. The fact that a small percentage of users have chosen to open them up, void their warranties, and modify them on their own lends no credence to your argument that Tivo itself should produce such kits and support their installation.

    But even if they did this would be moot, because development of Series 1 software ended a long time ago. Series 2 units run a completely different platform – again, something more research would have clued you into.

    I guess you just like blowing all this hot air about business realities and technical systems you obviously don’t understand. That Tivo, a relatively puny company, was not able to negotiate through DirecTV’s demands for disabling the USB ports and all that comes with them, makes Tivo “weak” – sure, they’re weakER than DirecTV. But they’ve made a boatload of money from the DTV deal and both sides seem satisfied. To “blame” Tivo for this is pretty stupid – DirecTV is licensing Tivo’s product in a manner IT sees fit for ITs customers. Tivo is fulfilling its obligations to its customer – DirecTV, while DTV is ignoring the whining of some small percentage of its customers – you and me.

    And yes, no support or upgrade for Series 1 – which no thinking rational individual who *understands* the situation would expect.

    And no support for DTV – at the express demand and requirement for the entity actually paying Tivo for the service and product. Makes perfect business sense for Tivo – just happens to annoy some number of DTV DVR owners.

    So yes, the only way you can get it is if you buy a lame single tuner Series 2 Tivo. Boo-hoo. Imagine that – we sometimes have to pay for the products that do what we want instead of whining and wishing the products we have did something else.

    You’ve got your Media Center box that you spent a crapload of money on – enjoy it. You have your HD DirecTivo, that you spent a crapload of money on – enjoy it. You have an old Series 1 Tivo (possibly with lifetime service?) – keep enjoying it, sell it on eBay, or give it to a friend of family member. If you’re sweating the $99 after rebate for a 40-hour Series 2 and the monthly service charge or $299 lifetime fee that bad, maybe you should reconsider your HT hobby. That giant plasma you mention in your blog wasn’t cheap, the Media Center box wasn’t cheap, and the HD DirecTivo sure as heck wasn’t cheap – what’s the big deal?

    How about directing all this whining and energy, along with maybe a teensy bit of research, towards trying to convince DirecTV to allow HMO and TivoToGo on their units. ‘Cause you can whine all you want and badmouth Tivo all you want – and you might think you’re proving something other than you have an opinion and a little blog on which to express it – but at the end of the day you won’t do one thing to make Tivo enable TivoToGo on your HD DirecTivo – they *can’t* do it.

  8. Thomas Hawk says:

    Look. Other than the HD DirecTV the only significant thing that TiVo has done in the last year is promise this TiVo to Go thing. They have not expounded on it, or clarified it, or explained it in any significant detail. And while most enlightened users can probably accurately conclude that Series 1 and DirecTV units will not be supported TiVo has been light on communicating this.

    I’m not sure the best strategy this year was to spend all their time and money developing a product that is available to less than 50% of their current users while avoiding things like developing a dual tuner stand alone box or a stand alone HDTV unit.

    A comparision with a car is the wrong comparision. It’s an operating system, not a car I bought. Imagine if Microsoft said that we are providing an upgrade to Longhorn, but only if you bought a Dell. If you bought a Gateway or an HP or a Sony or any other PC you cannot upgrade without purchasing a new PC. People would go crazy. Yes TiVo is the tiny David to Microsoft’s Goliath but nonetheless I’m not buying that everything that could be done was done.

    How much goodwill would they build at no cost to them to let you swap out your Series 1 box for a Series 2 complete with lifetime subscription? Why shouldn’t they do this? Because I won’t then go out and pay top dollar for a Series 2? I wouldn’t anyway. I might spend a little money on this. I certainly won’t spend the money buying a whole new unit and lifetime subscription. Getting some of my money is better than getting none of my money for TiVo. They are practically giving the boxes away anyways. Transfering the subscription makes sense.

    Yes, I did spend the money on the Microsoft Media Center PC because I wanted the TiVo to Go like features not in 2005 but in 2002. I paid a premium to have these features early and loved it. Watching Law and Order on BART, watching Training Day on a flight to New York, catching up on missed television shows while at my parents for Christmas — very cool.

    At this point though I’ve disconnected the television portion of my MCE machine and moved that to the HDTV TiVo unit (also well worth the money, simply an amazing picture). I was hoping to be able to use TiVo to Go (notice hoping, not expecting though) on either the old or the new unit but am sure that I will not be able to.

    It’s not all lost though, I’m rehoooking up my MCE machine with another feed from the satellite and will once again use it for the TiVo to Go chore.

    I’m just disappointed in the communication from the company on this as well as the strategic direction of their initiatives more than anything.

    And don’t worry. I’m equally pissed at DirecTV for deactivating my USB port on the new unit.

    TiVo Series 1 in 200: AMAZING. Wow this thing records and pauses live tv. Check! Very cool and worth the money in 2000.

    The 2002 Media Center: AMAZING, all my music, pictures and media in my living room plus a PVR with the ability to burn to DVD or move files to my laptop for remote viewing. Check! Very cool and worth the money in 2002.

    The Pioneer 43″ Plasma: AMAZING the way the image comes to life. Breathtaking. Check! Very cool and worth the money in 2004.

    DirecTV HDTV TiVo: AMAZING. You have not lived until you’ve watched time shifted HDTV. Check! Very cool and worth the money in 2004.

    Series 2 TiVo with TiVo to Go in 2004: Eh??? yeah right. Not worth spending money on but might be nice if it worked with one of my other TiVos.

    Playing with electricity by the way is always fun except when you touch one of the wires that you are not supposed to and get one of those ouch! that hurts!