Another Gadget We Miss - TiVo

Convenience trumped quality

Dr. Donna Murdoch
2 min readJun 29, 2013

I loved TiVo, and I am sure I still would if I had one. Having a DVR was a miracle after wrangling with video taping. And TiVo was special - not only did it capture what it was asked to record, it also gave “TiVo Suggestions” based on what you asked it to record in the past. If you watched any of their suggested recordings, it remembered. It had intelligence that would use what you had selected from its suggestions to build an even better, curated list of picks.

I remember when the cable company began to offer DVRs along with their service. The choice had to be made - should I take a DVR that easily connects to my television, or should I get an extra box (and remote control, or universal remote) to handle it all? I opted to try the cable - included (and integrated) DVR. The ease of integration and the simplicity of using one remote control trumped my TiVo - love.

I kept waiting. When will TiVo license its operating system to my cable company? It is obviously far superior. I began to make analogies to the great marketing mistakes of technology companies in days gone by and hoping it wouldn’t happen again. Apple - not licensing their OS to other hardware manufacturers while Windows was fair game for any. I think we all know - the story of Apple would have very different if they had allowed licensing (and they eventually did, but it was too late, and it was only with a manufacturer who we’d never heard of.) Sony and Betamax, same story (although Apple had a subsequent success story, Betamax not as much - although it’s possible that Sony’s CD technology was patented in some way.)

I believe that at the time, TiVo was willing to license their OS but it was too expensive and cable operators opted to use their own. It’s a shame. There are many who stayed with TiVo, but it seems the majority of us use whatever our service provider makes available, as opposed to adding another box. It’s the age of simplicity. Simple design, simple living, less of everything means less complication.

I miss TiVo, and I remember how much I loved it. If FIOS (my provider) began to offer a box with built in TiVo, I’d choose it in a second.



Dr. Donna Murdoch

Global learning innovation in the workplace. Faculty @TeachersCollege @Columbia @PennGSE. Opinions are my own..