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>>> 800# Info/Dial-Up Transition <<<

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TiVoPony is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 09:29 AM
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TiVoPony
Good TiVo, Good.

Registered: May 2002
Location: Alviso, California
Posts: 1190

Dial-Up Transition

Well, my honeymoon is perhaps over. It's time to share some news with you, and I'm going to err on the side of giving you more information rather than less. A
transition is coming in how we provision the TiVo Service, and this change will effect a few of you. Certainly not everyone, and not new customers at all, but it will
result in a change for a small number of our existing customers.

TiVo will no longer be providing access to a toll free 800 number for standalone systems connecting to our service. This will be true for all standalone customers,
whether new or old, and will be implemented in roughly 30 days. More information has already been mailed to those subscribers effected by this transition.

Combo box subscriptions are not effected for now, they will continue to have 800 number service available. POP access numbers are also supported for the combo
products.

I know that a similar transition was implemented in August of 2001, which discontinued 800 number service as an option for new customers. At that time existing
customers using the 800 number service were grandfathered. During this discussion Richard was clear that the grandfathering decision may be reversed in the future.

We have not made this decision lightly. It's true that on a percentage basis the number of subscribers who currently use the 800 # is rather small. When taken as a
total annual expense though, the financial impact for supporting those systems is quite large.

As a company we have made several improvements to our service and systems that we believe will help ease this transition.

Some of you have noticed the datacasts we've made during TeleWorld Paid Programming - that is part of a new distribution method for program guide data. It'll
come into it's own with version 3.0 of the service. But the important thing is that it dramatically reduces the length of the service calls.

We've also created a page on our website which provides a number of tips on minimizing your phone expense - it's at www.tivo.com/phonetips/. You'll also find a
link to a POP # locator, making it easier to determine if you have a local number.

And our list of local POP access numbers continues to grow - we currently offer over 1,500 access numbers. We're adding more quite regularly. If you didn't have
a local number available when you first subscribed to the TiVo service, you should take another look. You may well have a local number available now.

You may be thinking, "Ok, but what I really want is the ability to tweak the frequency of calls, or to use an existing ISP account to dial-up"... Neither of these are
supported in the current software, and each present unique challenges. Reducing the frequency of calls only delays the inevitable...if you only call once every five
days, your download time is then increased by 5x when you eventually do call in. This helps those on metered local call plans, but not those who have no local
number at all. And the use of existing ISP accounts unfortunately requires significant new UI, as well as complicates what some subscribers already find to be a
challenging process. You may agree or not, but neither suggestion is an option today.

I wanted to let you all know about this here first. This is an important step for TiVo to take financially, but still not a trivial decision for us to make.

Thanks for your continued support -

Bob Pony

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TiVoPony is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 09:31 AM
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TiVoPony
Good TiVo, Good.

Registered: May 2002
Location: Alviso, California
Posts: 1190

Sorry about the line breaks, I'm still learning the tools...

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FourOhFour is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 09:41 AM
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FourOhFour
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Registered: Apr 2001
Location:
Posts: 325

15 cents a minute or part thereof times 7 days a week times 4 weeks a month... assuming each call is one minute or less... equals I don't use TiVo anymore... (about $4.20 a month, and I doubt each call will be only a minute)

[Edit: And before anybody thinks I'm crazy complaining about less than $5 a month, the TiVo was a gift - with lifetime service. And if the call is between 1 and 2 minutes, it'll be $8.40 a month.]

[Edit 2: I'm not as angry as I originally sounded. Edited to reflect that.

Also, I don't think I could configure the TiVo to work with my school's phone system... I have to dial 8, the number, wait for a prompt and enter a security code thing... I don't remember being able to set something to be dialed after the number.]

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Last edited by FourOhFour on 05-17-2002 at 10:15 AM

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Kaokulk is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 10:21 AM
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Kaokulk
Member

Registered: Feb 2002
Location: Indiana, USA, Earth
Posts: 121

Ponydude...

Any chance Tivo could change the time of the Teleworld Paid Programming?

Comcast plays their own programming during those times. When I asked them about it, they said there was nothing they could do... "Discovery Channel allots a portion of its PPA time to allow cable providers to show their own programming. You need to call Discovery Channel and have them show it at a time that local affiliates DON'T have the option to show their own programming."

(There are SO MANY THINGS wrong with the above statement, I would not know where to start!) I have heard others complain about this same topic.

BTW, I hope you have your flame-retardant keyboard ready!

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TiVoPony is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 10:42 AM
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TiVoPony
Good TiVo, Good.

Registered: May 2002
Location: Alviso, California
Posts: 1190

quote:
Originally posted by FourOhFour

Also, I don't think I could configure the TiVo to work with my school's phone system... I have to dial 8, the number, wait for a prompt and enter a security code thing... I don't remember being able to set something to be dialed after the number.]



Hi FourOhFour,

Yes, I think you can configure it to work with your school's phone system. It's not too difficult at all. Here's what you do:

Go into Messages & Setup, and then go into the phone setup section.

In the phone section, you'll see a menu item that lets you change the dialing options. Click on that.

One of the dialing options you can change is the "dial prefix". That's the one you want. Click on that, and then enter the following: 8,,localpopnumber,,securitycode,,

The commas are entered by pushing the pause button on the remote. All they do is insert a delay into the dialing string.

By doing this, your TiVo will dial an 8, wait a second, dial the POP number, wait a second, then dial the security number, and then pause another second or two. It should be ok if it tries then to dial the POP number a second time (after the prefix)...the POP modem should already be answering the phone.

The commas (pauses) at the end should allow the system to connect to the POP number during the delay. You may have to add a few extra pauses if your phone system doesn't dial out right away. Careful though, too many pauses and the modems won't be able to establish a connection.

This should work, I've done it before in a pinch. It may take a little trial and error to get the timing worked out with your school's phone system. And more pauses may be necessary in the middle as well to make the TiVo system wait for the prompt from your phone system.

Good luck with this, and check again...you might have a local number available now. We've added a lot recently.

Cheers,
Bob Pony

[edited, quite a bit actually, after I thought about this a bit more and re-read his post]

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Last edited by TiVoPony on 05-17-2002 at 12:12 PM

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modnar is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 11:23 AM
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modnar
Senior Member

Registered: Oct 2000
Location: Conway, AR, USA
Posts: 263

I guess it's time to order a TurboNet card or get PPP over serial working on that TiVo.

Thanks for the heads up!

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BuggyBoyVT is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 12:22 PM
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BuggyBoyVT
Sirius Nutcase

Registered: May 2001
Location: New York City
Posts: 323

Bob,
Is TiVo still just using UUNet for dialup POPs, or do you guys have several companies providing POPs?

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DS1997 is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 12:40 PM
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DS1997
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Add me to the list of soon-to-be former users too. We have 4 SA units and 2 DTiVo units. The SA calls always last at least 2 minutes -- usually longer. Using figures similar to yours, we'll realistically be looking at an extra $50 a month. Since we use our free cell phone minutes to make most calls, we don't even spend $50 a month on long distance to talk with family. I'm sure not going to spend it for TiVo service. And I'm sorry, but we shouldn't be expected to either.

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BuggyBoyVT is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 01:14 PM
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BuggyBoyVT
Sirius Nutcase

Registered: May 2001
Location: New York City
Posts: 323

Just as a suggestion, you might want to look at changing your dialup number to a number out of state. State-to-state LD is usually cheaper than in-state (except California, you *******s!).

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aciurczak is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 01:55 PM
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aciurczak
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If it would cost a user $50 a month for their Tivo calls, how much would that user expect those 800# calls to cost tivo? Is $20-$30 a good estimate? Should a company pay that $240 - $360 per year in order to keep a customer who paid $200 once? No company that wants to stay in business can ever make wrong choices forever. It was a great deal for a long while, but people had to see this coming. Yep, it would suck hard if I had to make a choice between that amount of money and tivo, but I can certainly sympathize with the company. It will certainly force people to be a bit more diligent on checking if they have local numbers (but I'm sure there are still people who are out of luck, some of whom who might post below).

Flame away. But think rationally about what you'd do in Tivo's position. 800# access was always just a kludge before they got decent national coverage. Try and find a single ISP anywhere that allows free use of an 800#.

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DrStrange is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 04:56 PM
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DrStrange
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Two things.

1. Sure, this is probably something Tivo needs to do to get their finances straight. Of course that's easy for me to say since it doesn't affect me, but if keeping the 800 number hurts their chances of being around to provide service at all, to anybody, then certainly they should dump it. Better pricey service for a handful than no service for anybody.

2. Lecturing those who complain that Tivo service is no longer cost effective for them thanks to this about how they should accept it isn't appropriate either. Toll free service may have been a stop-gap measure to get market share, but I doubt it said that on the box when these people bought it. Toll-free now=toll free forever wasn't an unreasonable assumption, and people are entitled to be pissed that it wasn't so.

Just because Tivo may have been right to do this doesn't mean people who's Tivos just became more expensive are wrong to be angry about it. Tivo chose to offer a serivce they couldn't maintain forever, and now they have to take their lumps in the form of cancelled subscriptions, some lost sales, and a bit of bad will.

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walters is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 06:45 PM
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walters
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Ouch. Well, here's TiVoPony's initiation someone was talking about a few days ago. Good luck, Bob! (wonder if Richard is watching)

For the record, I'm unaffected (combo box and local number in my area). I feel bad for those who are affected, and I know I'd be pissed too if I were one of them. But I can see how TiVo can't continue a daily 800 call policy that probably costs them more than the monthly fee brings in.

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woyton is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 06:49 PM
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Re: Dial-Up Transition

quote:
Originally posted by TiVoPony
Some of you have noticed the datacasts we've made during TeleWorld Paid Programming - that is part of a new distribution method for program guide data. It'll
come into it's own with version 3.0 of the service. But the important thing is that it dramatically reduces the length of the service calls.



Just to clarify, will the TeleWorld method for program guide data be an everyday occurance?

If that is true, then I am faced with paying for a daily phone call and my TiVo will be unavailable to record what I want to record at a certain time each day.

For the record, I have a lifetime subscription and live in an area that is not served by a UUNET dialup number.

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walters is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 06:58 PM
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walters
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Re: Re: Dial-Up Transition

quote:
Originally posted by woyton
If that is true, then I am faced with paying for a daily phone call and my TiVo will be unavailable to record what I want to record at a certain time each day.



No. If you record something at that time every day, then the Teleworld program will be ignored (and your calls will be longer).

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lew is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 08:08 PM
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lew
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You can get inter-state LD for under 5c /minute with pre-paid calling cards (COSTCO, SAMS CLUB...). That may be an alternative for people who for whatever reason don't have a decent LD service. I'm assuming Tivo will allow the extra digits you'd have to program in. Check you phone rates inter-state LD may very well be cheaper for you.
Many people have untimed local service (pay per phone call). Those people would benefit from only 1 or 2 calls per week.

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bsnelson is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 08:14 PM
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bsnelson
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Lightbulb

quote:
Originally posted by BuggyBoyCA
Just as a suggestion, you might want to look at changing your dialup number to a number out of state. State-to-state LD is usually cheaper than in-state (except California, you *******s!).
A point worth repeating. Don't set your access number to the next town over - try the next STATE over! It's crazy, even stupid, but that's the way it works.

Of course, TurboNet would help some folks, also!

Brad

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gleffler is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 08:20 PM
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gleffler
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Pony, prepare the flameproof suit.

/gleffler

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willmw is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 09:08 PM
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Add me and my parents (who I JUST gave a TiVo w/lifetime to as a gift) to the list of people NOT SERVED BY A LOCAL NUMBER!!!! For me, it's no biggie but for them (on fixed income) they don't even have long distance enabled on their phone line.

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Guyy is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 09:13 PM
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Guyy
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You can get a calling plan that charges you 5 or 7 cents a minute. So what that's maybe that's 5 bucks a month? Besides very few people do not have a local number, and if you do not have one maybe you should get a Dtivo that only needs to call Tivo once a month..

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pv is offline Old Post 05-17-2002 09:16 PM
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pv
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Logical

All the folks complaining that going to a toll call will cost THEM, need to remember that the toll-free call cost's TIVO the same amount. If you're on lifetime, that's nothing but a permanent money drain. Even on month-to-month $12.95 probably doesn't cover the costs on the toll calls alone.

If there's no local POP (you really need to recheck often, UUNET adds dozens a month), here's some options:

1) If you have broadband, an ethernet/USB link for the series/2 can be purchased cheaply. Some have reported seeing them for under $10!

2) Try adjacent area codes. Ask you phone company whether the number is in your local calling area. Just because it's in a different area code, doesn't mean it's a toll call. I have to dial ten digits for some phone numbers across the street from me! In fact, I have three different area codes that fall inside my local calling area.

3) Add the access number to your cheap long-distance calling plan. For the average call, you're getting ripped off if it costs more than $.15 per call. And you might be able to go for half that.

4) Unplug your tivo during the week, and force a call late at night on weekends. PV

P.S. Welcome to the land where we eat our own, Mr. Pony!

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