TiVo Survives For One Reason: Customer Service

Last week my three and a half year TiVo box started showing signs of dying. Programs would not record and playback properly, video was constantly freezing and it was starting to affect the live TV signal as well.

I put in a call to TiVo this morning expecting to have to pay to get a new DVR since mine was over three years old and I was not under a contract, which apparently means the DVR is not under warranty. After telling me I had to pay $179 to get a new unit, I figured I should probably cancel my TiVo service since I will be switching from Cablevision to FiOS TV in the next few weeks anyway and would want a Verizon DVR. After harassing my local town board, calling each week for the past three months, I’ve learned that they have come to terms with Verizon for a TV license in my town and should be offering the TV service later this month. (I’ve had FiOS Internet service for almost two years now and love it.)

After telling TiVo it would be best to just cancel my service, I was transferred to someone who didn’t try and sell me anything, flat out said they didn’t want to lose my business and would just send me a new DVR at no cost. They didn’t give me the run around, spoke English, was friendly and understood the situation and was honest and upfront. The sad part about this for TiVo is that while I didn’t cancel my service, they can only get another month or so of my business as once FiOS TV is available, I can’t come up with one strength TiVo has over the Verizon TV DVR. The Verizon DVR can record in HD, can record two shows at once, can playback recorded shows in multiple rooms at once with only one DVR and can record up to 85 hours of standard definition. Even the new TiVo box they are sending me can’t do HD, can’t record two shows, can’t playback video in more than one room and only records up to 40 hours.

The only thing that TiVo has over Verizon that I can think of is the TiVo VideoToGo feature which while cool, I’ve never used once. I’ve always liked TiVo for their customer service and how easy their product is to use. And to date, it’s their customer service that keeps me as a customer. But I’m afraid that pretty soon, that won’t be able to keep me much longer. I wish Verizon would have licensed the TiVo software for their DVRs, but they ended up building all of that on their own. Just don’t see how TiVo can survive in the long run, even though I wish they would.