In rapid succession, TiVo has pushed out a couple of updates for its Premiere series of DVRs (14.9, 20.2) with another significant one in the wings for the spring. Last year, as TiVo announced new functionality including their new Netflix client, I wondered if the Series3 (or “TiVo HD”) platform would also be updated. TiVo did provide some updates to the Series3 in 2011 including the release of Pandora
and Hulu Plus. So, I recently posed the following question to @TiVoDesign, Margret Schmidt, who is in charge of TiVo’s user experience:
In response, @TiVoDesign asnwered:
Now, the only place I would expect to see updates is in the form of bug fixes. I don’t even think we’ll see new services come to the box. As reporeted by our friend MegaZone at Gizmo Lovers, TiVo recently released a developer SDK for third-party developers that will only work with the Premiere. Based on the language on TiVo’s page describing the platform SDK, it appears the API is directed at partners who build apps and services such as VUDU or Pandora for the moment ( a “select group of third-party developers” ).
Last year, while I was firmly in the Series3 needs updates camp, things are different now. It’s a year later and the Series3 will be six years old this September. I realized last year it was time to make the switch to the Premiere. (My Series3 found a good home powering our kitchen TV, so I don’t have to pay for a cable box!). It’s time for customers to cut over to the Premiere. If TiVo is going to keep this stream of updates for the Premiere going and enhance the iPad app, they won’t have the resources to also update their legacy platforms. Focus is important. It would be great for TiVo to focus its energy on getting as many existing customers on the Series4 or Premiere platform as soon as possible. What would be nice is if TiVo put out a new incentive for existing pre-Premiere customers. An improvement over the current incentives to date would be to let those customers simply transfer their Lifetime subscription to a new Premiere. To make the numbers work, TiVo could charge a bit more for the hardware than it normally costs (and it’s not much now). Growing subscriber numbers is one of the keys to TiVo’s success. This is critical as TiVo pushes into a world where they sell advertising space on the DVR and are attempting to become the DVR of cable companies.