TiVo announced its fourth-generation DVR with much fanfare at a March 2 media event in Manhattan--at the top of Rockefeller Center, to be specific. Media invitations to the event included the teaser: "The DVR was just the beginning."
What TiVo delivered was...an incremental update of its existing product. If you look beyond the slick new enclosure, the biggest improvements were an improved interface (using, for the first time, Flash-enhanced HD graphics and the full range of the wide-screen real estate); an enhanced search system (it simultaneously searches TV listings and Web-based video sources); and the addition of Pandora's music service.
The backlash was swift: "It's a big pile of disappointment and missed opportunity," said Matt Burns at CrunchGear. "[G]iven TiVo's inaugural role and leadership in [the] space, not to mention the tens of millions spent annually on R&D, I have to say I'm somewhat underwhelmed," proclaimed tech blogger Dave Zatz.
"It may be too early to say TiVo's dead, but it's not [too] early to see it's bleeding from a self-inflicted foot shot," tweeted Gizmodo's Wilson Rothman (though the Gizmodo coverage was decidedly more upbeat). CNET's Molly Wood (see embedded video) says she'd like to buy one, but she cautions: "I don't know that this is going to save TiVo."
Is the TiVo Premiere really that bad? To be clear, we won't know for sure until we can conduct a hands-on review (the product ships in April). Even the live demos at the TiVo launch event weren't really enough to draw a conclusion: with a DVR, you need to live with it for a few weeks (minimum) to fully experience its ups and downs. Still, we can draw some early conclusions from which features TiVo chose to include--and which the company omitted.
Here's the primary grievance list against the new TiVo:… Read more