We Like TiVo, Just Don’t Want To Buy It

A lot of Americans know about digital video recorders, aka TiVo-type devices also referred to as PVRs, except they don’t want to buy them, according to Ipsos-Insight research. The number of americans who know about digital video recorders stands at 77%, up from 70% in 2004. Only 8% of Americans are likely or very likely to purchase a digital video recorder in the next 12 months, consistent with last year’s results, which showed only 9% purchase intent.

So what does this mean? Early adopters don’t make the market, and a lot of investors fund a company based on early adopter reactions. A lot of people laughed at Steve Jobs when he introduced a hard-drive based music player nearly three years after the competitors introduced theirs. But his timing was right. It is the same issue at work here – TiVo and its ilk came out too soon. The Ipsos study finds that people would rather get a DVR from their cable or satellite (or soon telephone) company than buy a standalone product.

“We typically see purchase intent scores above 20% when technology products are ready to go mainstream. With purchase intent in the single digits for DVRs, we expect it will be a few more years before this technology is as widely penetrated as DVD players or digital cameras,” report says. This is reflected in the sharp increase in the total number of PVR shipments from Motorola and Scientific Atlanta.