Thursday, October 27, 2005

Looking a gift TiVo in the mouth

It should not be this difficult to watch TV.

D bought her Mom a TiVo box for her birthday, which box we're going to deliver this weekend when we visit. D also wanted to include a gift subscription, so she went online and placed an order. However, the order confirmation didn't give her the redemption code needed for activation.

After more than half an hour on the phone with agents both unhelpful and clueless, "Megan" finally told us that TiVo doesn't distribute those codes online or by email anymore. A visit to the web site confirmed this sad fact. My emphasis below

That was then:
After you purchase a TiVo service gift subscription directly from, you'll be given a 9-digit redemption code... During checkout, you can choose to send the recipient an e-mail with the 9-digit redemption code automatically included.
This is now:
The gift certificate with the 9-digit redemption code will be shipped to you directly... If you want, you can also have TiVo send the gift certificate directly to your recipient--just enter their address as the shipping address!
Yes, I might think that was convenient, if I didn't know how much easier the old process was. For a company that wants its customers to do everything online-- including activation-- they're sure doing their best to screw things up. I mean, they don't even offer support by email. You'd think that a company still struggling to be profitable would look to do something more cost-effective than running a call center.

I love our TiVo, but I have a bad feeling that the company is going to wither and die slowly, just as Palm has been-- by starting out with great technology, but later squandering their goodwill with users by running the business badly. And now that I have an HDTV, I'm just waiting to see whether DirecTV or Dish Network wins the race to upgrade to MPEG-4 transmission and produce a non-lame, integrated DVR receiver, so I can get all my channels-- including local-into-local (LIL) stations-- off the same cable.

It should not be this difficult to watch TV.

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