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SonicBlue goes bust
March 24, 2003 3:49 AM   Subscribe

SonicBlue, the folks who bought out ReplayTV (previously discussed here) announced that they are going bankrupt. What does this mean for the DVR "revolution?" What happens with your $250 box and your $250 lifetime subscription fee when you can't get their content any more? SonicBlue tries to allay fears by saying that they are innovating and will continue to work on the project, but I don't see how that can be guaranteed with a buyout or bankruptcy. Does this mean that TiVo is it? Would you still purchase a ReplayTV today? (Apologies for the popup on the last link.)
posted by ajpresto (12 comments total)

 
innovating. heh.
posted by quonsar at 4:25 AM on March 24, 2003


Tivo gave up on the UK market recently, too. But it looks like Microsoft is moving in.
posted by rory at 4:32 AM on March 24, 2003


Supposedly the ReplayTV assets will be picked up by the Japanese holding company that owns Denon (that's what I read on Gizmodo anyway). Now if I can just find a way to convert all of my saved shows into VCDs (stupid GOP errors).
posted by yerfatma at 4:44 AM on March 24, 2003


The linked article states that SonicBlue Proposes to Sell ReplayTV and Rio Business Units to D&M Holdings. So it isn't so much - Goodbye ReplayTV, but more ... Hello Brushed Aluminium Denon styled ReplayTV.
posted by seanyboy at 4:45 AM on March 24, 2003


Maybe D&M will be improve the pricing and really move some PVRs. I have a second generation ReplayTV device and it's a wonderful piece of technology; I use it for 95% of my TV viewing. I do hope that the new owners continue the TV schedule service. If they don't, I'll have to switch to another device. I really preferred the Replay functionality to Tivo's when I bought, but any PVR is better than straight TV.
posted by Songdog at 5:33 AM on March 24, 2003


Given that ReplayTV has been sold twice now... It's kinda scary, I guess is my point. Nobody seems to be able to hold onto it for long.

Is this a viable kind of thing for a company to keep producing? What about those fancy-schmancy cable boxes that Time Warner is rolling out?
posted by ajpresto at 5:36 AM on March 24, 2003


I love my empeg! I hope that all that code doesnt get swept into a corner of denon / marantz.. and i hope all our rio car dev team friends keep their sweet employment.
posted by shadow45 at 6:08 AM on March 24, 2003


Until people try a DVR, they don't realize that it's a technology that no tv fan can live without.

Tivo should sell a bunch of 14 hour machines at a loss, for the cost of a vcr ($75?). And bundle 6 months worth of free tivo service in with it. After 6 months, offer new users $50 off on a larger disk drive unit if they'll give their 14 hour unit to a friend without a tivo.

that's the way they'll take over the world.
posted by crunchland at 6:24 AM on March 24, 2003


Time Warner Cable provide a DVR of their own for their digital subscribers for about US 5.00 per month. It has too many bugs to list here, but it is a nice entry into the DVR 'experience'.

I would never purchase their DVR but I am enjoying renting one. Surely they will upgrade ther DVR and provide a nice exchange for those of us who have their current one. *in a pig's eye*
posted by DBAPaul at 7:15 AM on March 24, 2003


Crunchland, as one of the first buyers of a TiVo and multi year enthusiast, I totally agree with the first part of your post, that people don't get the PVR value until they really sit down and spend some time with one. However, the cost factor is pretty daunting. Someone inside TiVo once told me that they lose two hundred dollars per box at the current retail rate. So, to discount an additional two to three hundred dollars, and up the take rate by an addtional (conservative) 500,000 units, the company would need cash reserves of $200,000,000 to weather the storm. Making back that $400/unit debt at $12.99/month or whatever it is for monthly service would take over 30 months - make that 36 months if they give away the first six months of service. That's three years, on a junky 14 hour box whose bottom of the barrel hard drive may or may not live that long (mine has, but my co-worker's didn't). And heaven forbid the customer just buys out the monthly service rate - then they're $200 bucks in the hole per customer indefinitely. There's no ongoing value proposition for TiVo, that's their problem. It's a loss leading hardware hook into a montly recurring revenue model, but with no monthly recurring revenue. World's greatest consumer electronics product or not, I fear for the future of my little TiVo...
posted by jonson at 9:11 AM on March 24, 2003


They're struggling like a goldfish out of its bowl to come up with some way to become profitable. But until they overcome the sticker shock, and get the initial investment lower than a VCR, they'll never convert the masses.
posted by crunchland at 4:50 PM on March 25, 2003


I've had my Tivo for over 2 years now (1st generation box) and I love it. Went on a business trip, and I so missed it being in the hotel room, not being able to rewind or pause. They have a second generation box, but nothing to incent people to buy it.

I recently bought a DVR box for my Mac which I use to capture things I want to save. Sort of gives my Mac the abilities of a Windows Media machine, but at a cheaper rate (amazingly enough).

DVRs really do change how you watch television, but I still don't know many people who own them. The money is what puts them off. Putting $200 into a TV Recorder isn't on the top of everyone's list.
posted by benjh at 5:05 PM on March 25, 2003


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