Just got a few TiVos to replace my cable company provided DVRs. I was a TiVo user before but have been away for a few years...so I figured I would play with the new TiVo Premiere.
After using it for a few hours, here are my thoughts:
I really think the design and product is fantastic. The problem is, it hasn't changed much since I last used it.
TiVo is slow. Well, it's not that bad, but its not where it should be. Booting can take more than 5 minutes...and you don't even know what's going on. The menus and guide could be much snappier. Loading program information (the guide) is extremely slow, and technically, I'd love to know why. These are all things that should not be happening in today's age, I think the software on TiVo is to blame.
Its a closed platform. I'm interacting with my TV all the time and I'd love to write an app to run on it, or interface with it remotely. Beautiful 1080p display, remote control for input, and a state of the art DVR ala TiVo - the possibilities are endless. Unfortunately, the only thing I can come up with for developing on TiVo is a sad project named HME: http://tivohme.sourceforge.net/
, which is...a bit old. Where would the iPhone or Android devices be without apps and app developers. TiVo really needs to embrace developers more.
TiVo just announced a new software update that brings HD guides and more. This is great, and a no-brainer, I'm glad its finally done. My problem is that TiVo apparently rolls out the update to devices over a period of time, of which I've heard is about a month. This is ludicrous. Consumers demand more from vendors. I applaud Apple in this regard -- they can push a new major iOS release out to all devices at the same time. Not to mention, Apple is dealing with carriers, which have very strict policies and processes for pushing software updates to phones. Of course, Apple negotiates well with carriers (What Apple wants, Apple gets). TiVo sells directly to end users and I would be surprised if they were at the mercy of any cable companies (with respect to pushing software updates).
Overall, I think TiVo is a great product but it hasn't reached critical mass and there aren't any secrets as to why. Yeah, CableCARD's aren't very friendly, but still, that's no excuse. Your TV and living room is a goldmine.