CNet Executive Editor Molly Wood (one of my favorite tech journalists) interviewed TiVo CEO Tom Rogers. The 22-minute interview is embedded below, but Rogers didn’t go into too many specifics. There apparently will be a DirecTV model, as Rogers stated the rift in the relationship between the two companies has been mended. What features it will have, when it will be released (“2nd half of 2010”), and other details are hazy. Either they don’t want to share, or they haven’t figured it out yet. He also spoke about the Comcast New England trial, but it sounded like a half-hearted attempt. In the end, TiVo would like us to purchase the TiVo Premiere while they continue to update the UI through firmware updates. Also, the reason they didn’t include Wi-Fi or the QWERTY remote control as standard is because they had to keep the production costs down.
Personally, I like TiVo. I’ve seen and used the Comcast Scientific Atlanta (purchased by of Cisco?) and the Verion FiOS DVR cable boxes, and the OS and UI both leave much to be desired. Both are slow, erratic, and not user-friendly. Unfortunately for TiVo, the consumer market made the same choice we did. Consumers like TiVo, but they liked having a single unified set-top and DVR box more.
In addition, customers don’t want to pay a monthly subscription fee for the right to have separate boxes. Problems with the cable company UI? Of course, but you learn to live with it. If and when TiVo can convince potential customers that the new TiVo units work just as good or better, and they can have a single box with no loss of features, TiVo might just have a chance to come back.