Design Matters: Tivo Case in Point


Three weeks ago I dropped my Tivo service for Time Warner DVR box. Tonight I re-activated my Tivo account because, while $6 more expensive per month, Tivo is a better product.

In their quest for living room domination, Time Warner (or whoever put DVR together for them) created a DVR with a terrible interface. The remote is strange, it’s not clear how to navigate menus, and there was no manual (hint: if you need a manual, bad design).

As such, we thought we recorded programs and have missed two recordings so far. My wife has had to ask me twice how to access recorded programs. That alone is enough to pay $6/month!

So congratulations Tivo…you’re stock may have sucked wind for the past couple years, but looks like you’re on the comeback…perhaps from millions people like me that realize good design matters.

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2 Responses

  1. David Foster says:

    Tivo indeed did an excellent job with the user interface; however, they totally blew it with marketing. They failed to clearly explain to prospective customers exactly what it was that the box actually *did*, instead choosing to spend a large advertising budget on idiotic commercials featuring network executives jumping out of if anyone would care.

  2. Rob Deichert says:

    Sam – Great post, I’m just glad you had the chance to experience TiVo first. Most haven’t and they think the cable DVR is great.
    Regarding David’s comment – I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been trying to penetrate TiVo with marketing ideas for the last five years. I’ve blogged about them before:
    Whenever I explain what a TiVo does, I first start with, “imagine a VCR on steriods,” then I move onto the extra features. I need that anchoring statement.

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