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For the First Time, More US Households Have Netflix Than a DVR (variety.com) 70

For the first time, U.S. households with the Netflix video-streaming service outnumber those that own a digital video recorder (DVR), a dramatic rise from just five years ago, according to new data. From a report: About 54% of U.S. adults said they have Netflix in their household -- while 53% have a DVR, according to Research Group's annual on-demand study. It's the first time that households with Netflix have surpassed the level of those with a DVR in the history of LRG's studies. In 2011, according to the research firm, 44% of TV households had a DVR and 28% had Netflix. Netflix has now eclipsed DVR usage despite the latter having a years-long head start. TiVo's first digital video recorder shipped in 1999, while Netflix debuted its video-streaming service in 2007 and started the shift away from its DVD-by-mail business. As of the end of 2016, Netflix had 49.4 million streaming subscribers in the U.S., up 10.5% year over year.
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For the First Time, More US Households Have Netflix Than a DVR

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  • DVR is expensive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @12:22PM (#53993365) Homepage Journal

    How much of this is because TiVo charges $750 for the DVR, comprising $200 for the hardware and $550 for the required program guide subscription? That could buy several years of Netflix.

    • netflix was the wifes idea, i just live here, after all, under this roof, she is the boss :)
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not as much as the number of people who think their DVD player is a DVR.

      And there's even a few people who think their VCR is a DVR.

    • by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @01:03PM (#53993657) Journal

      How much of this is because TiVo charges $750 for the DVR, comprising $200 for the hardware and $550 for the required program guide subscription? That could buy several years of Netflix.

      And the DVR doesn't come with content. You are either limited to what is over the air, or you have to get cable.

      However, you get what you pay for. A DVR and cable allows you to watch far more content than Netflix. I think many people have determined that the larger volume of content isn't worth the extremely higher cost.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        More households now have Netflix than have electric toothbrushes. Why is this not also reported?

      • I have it both ways. I have cable and a hard drive attached to the cable box, and I also have Netflix. I look at Netflix as a huge DVR in the cloud. Whatever is on Netflix is something I don't have to schedule to be recorded on the DVR. Believe it or not I haven't watched every movie ever made and some of those old movies on Netflix are pretty damned good.

        The cable box has a built-in DVR, but I bought a much, much larger drive and attached it. Hard drives are ridiculously cheap.
      • by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @08:07PM (#53996591)

        And if you use something like a Roku to get your Netflix, DVR content seems totally insignificant by comparison. Because if Netflix isn't enough, there are dozens of other popular channels at (mostly) reasonable prices.

        DVR+cable is not only atrociously more expensive than Netflix, but Netflix can deliver anything in its online library any time you want it (allowing for library turnover). With a DVR, you have to set up the capture in advance, and you're limited to what someone else chooses to push your way. Many of the most popular cable channels have only a handful of programs a month - they simply cycle through them. Plus the cable bundling deal means that you end up having to pay fat fees when you maybe only want to watch one or 2 of the offered channels.

    • How much of this is because TiVo charges $750 for the DVR, comprising $200 for the hardware and $550 for the required program guide subscription? That could buy several years of Netflix.

      A 4 tuner Tivo Bolt with 1 TB of storage is $300 and includes the first year of program guide subscription. After that, it's $150/year or $600 for a lifetime (of the box) subscription -- Note that the yearly option includes "continuing care" (like an extended warranty).

      Yup, it's a bit expensive, but it's cheaper (and a better product) than renting a DVR from your cable provider in the long run. I had a MythTV system (with analog tuners) for about 10 years and was entirely satisfied with that, but Cox d

      • by Anonymous Coward

        My cable provider bundles the stupid DVR with the service, if i wanted to get a TiVo i would have to rent a cable card to go in the TiVo AND keep paying for the DVR or unbundle and end up paying as much anyway. And then theres the $25 or so a month (depending on how you amortize that $300 upfront and $550life/$150yr/$15mo fee) so sometimes it doesnt pay for itself.

    • Don't think TiVo makes a big different here. Most companies like Netflix will offer the ability to see things at any time of day. Plus most people the convenience of just selecting their show rather than manage a DVR. DVR's are somewhat expensive (I can build one for around $300 CAD). While I can get onto free TV web streams (people can get more using worldwide VPNs to other TV stations) legally getting much selection of movies is not really doable. People sometimes borrow DVD's from libraries these days s
      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        DVR's are somewhat expensive (I can build one for around $300 CAD).

        This is for a DVR that can record only free-to-air channels, correct? Because now that Microsoft has removed Windows Media Center from Windows 10, I'm not aware of any current PC operating system that is certified to record from a CableCARD tuner.

    • by jthulin ( 766465 )

      Huh? The only way we can get TiVo in Sweden is with an all-inclusive package (DVR, EPG, DVB-C, and streaming) from $20/month (18 SD + 3 HD channels) to $44/month (57 SD + 29 HD channels). Netflix places somewhere inbetween content-wise, but is cheaper at just $10/month. To include some hardware, add a $250 HTPC (e.g. mITX Athlon 5350) and amortize it over 24 months, or a smart TV (e.g. LG 43LH570V) over 48 months.

      We have a 7-day EPG over the air in DVB-T, and some TV models can record to USB hard disks and

    • I use my Tivo box to watch Netflix. :p

  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @12:24PM (#53993381)

    I *watch* Netflix on my DVR (Tivo)

  • Simple Math (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Netflix: $8 a month

    DVR Rental: $12 a month

  • by Anonymous Coward

    For us cord cutters - You have to spend hundreds of dollars on them and also have to create an account with the company for marketing reasons. And some also charge an annual fee on top of it.

    Fuck'em. Anyway, if there is something I want to binge on, my library has it. I've been bingeing on Game of Thrones at no extra cost.

  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz ( 883997 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @12:33PM (#53993447)

    Since I already subscribe to Prime, I just stick to that for video content for now. I had a DVR for a while that my cable company snuck into my home (and then began charging me for it later) and I never used it. Hopefully, Amazon begins to catch up with Netflix on number and variety of available titles.

    I use the latest Roku box to consume video these days.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2017 @12:52PM (#53993601)

      I have Amazon Prime as well - and Prime Video sucks enough that we don't even look at it anymore.

      It's not a question of "catching up" to Netflix or Hulu. Amazon's model is to offer just enough episodes of a particular show where they hope you'll pay additional money to watch the rest of them. This is probably a bit of an exaggeration, but it seems as if every time we tried to watch a series on Amazon, there were only 4-6 episodes which we weren't going to be charged extra for watching.

      No thank you, Amazon.

      • Combine this with Prime's horrible interface (at least the web interface, have no idea if a Prime "app" even exist) which so easily falls into mixing Prime content with Pay-Us-More content....

        ...yeah.. prime is only worth it if you frequently take advantage of the free shipping, with Prime Video just being a "bonus" to that....
        • We've got an Amazon fire stick and the interface is dookie. They remove things from lists all the time, or even rearrange them. You know, like Netflix does, only moreso. Netflix had a period where they did this a lot as well, but they seem to have put that behind them. Now the problem with Netflix is that they have rashes of corrupting their local cache (or something) so you have to clear data and it loses your login info. This is not a new problem, and I've seen it on every non-browser platform I've used N

          • Have you considered just re-purposing an old desktop to run Kodi + plugin of choice? It will cost you (almost) nothing and if arent ashamed to pirate, some of those plugins put netflix/prime/etc to shame.
            • Have you considered just re-purposing an old desktop to run Kodi + plugin of choice? It will cost you (almost) nothing and if arent ashamed to pirate, some of those plugins put netflix/prime/etc to shame.

              My internet connection is pretty rinky-dink, so I'm pretty happy to have some reasonable sources with overcompressed video to watch. I have a pretty small cap per month (90GB) so this is fairly relevant. And we wanted something small and quiet that would sit behind the TV. I do run Kodi on it to watch local media. It's "fine" at that, although it never turns off its video output which means I have to turn the TV off manually. It leaves a blank VGA-resolution output on the HDMI interface when sleeping.

              • With the Exodus plugin on Kodi, the 720p movies on offer seem to run between 1GB and 2GB, most at the low end of this range.

                Of course you dont have to select 720p movies (usually marked simply "HD") or the 1080p movies (usually marked "1080P") ... the standard def movies seem to all be under 1GB/each.
        • by nwf ( 25607 )

          We use the Amazon apps on our Tivo and PS4 and their interfaces are HORRIBLE. I won't even watch Amazon Prime video anymore. I want to tell it "never, ever show me non-free content" but it "forgets" that constantly. There are no good discovery tools, basically just search. It's pathetic. They have a long way to go in order to be competitive. I think their chief concern is to get you to purchase something. Prime Video is an afterthought. I wouldn't even pay $3/mo for their service.

          Amazon also offered free ph

      • The problem is Amazon mixes 5 different types of videos in the same lists, with nearly no way to filter them:

        1) Free, Gratis with Prime
        2) Partially Free, some seasons are available; current season becomes free 6+months after the air date. 3) Taster Sampler, a few free shows, must buy remainder of the season.
        4) Time-Limited Rental.
        5) Highly overpriced older films (10-20+ years) for $10 - $20.

        At least Amazon's "Fire" device searches now also return results for Hulu, but not Netflix.

    • I have Prime and Netflix. Honestly, the content isn't great on either one. However, Netflix does win between the two.

      In terms of streaming, the "OnDemand" service offered by Comcast seems to have the largest selection. However, that is not a viable option for cord cutters.
    • Really - there's not much of a comparison.

      I've got Amazon Prime mostly for the free shipping deal, but I also keep the app installed on my Roku "just in case".

      It never, EVER gets used, and I still find it completely worthwhile to pay for Netflix separately.

      Netflix's library is better, and their interface is better - with the exception that Netflix recently has started this "feature" where anything you stop on for more than a few seconds starts playing a video preview in the background. That sounds like it'

  • Never had it, never will. And, as always, fuck Apple.
  • They have gone downhill the content flagging bs, all the issues with cable cards, 30 second skip hacks, and generally the runaround. Plex, Netflix, and prime get me all the media I would care to consume and without commercials. Why would people want a DVR today when they are so broken.

    • They have gone downhill the content flagging bs, all the issues with cable cards, 30 second skip hacks, and generally the runaround. Plex, Netflix, and prime get me all the media I would care to consume and without commercials. Why would people want a DVR today when they are so broken.

      You should give them another look. I've had a 4 tuner, 1 TB Tivo Bolt for about a year and have had zero problems (including none of the ones you mentioned). The Tivo systems now include one-button complete commercial skip for almost all prime-time shows. I understand there were cable-card issues in the past (and maybe still are in places), but I didn't have any with Cox and no content flagging issues. The system I have works flawlessly with the Switched Digital Video controller Cox provided (attached

      • by Maser ( 127138 )

        Agreed to the above. I had to buy a new TiVo about a year ago and got the Bolt (I had a Premiere previously). Everything about it works great (including the 30-second skip for most things.) As I like to watch (too many) shows weekly, the effort to consider pirating them is not worth it (time is money when it comes to my entertainment dollar...) No issues with my Comcast-provided cable card, either.

        And I use it with the built-in Netflix and Plex apps as well. It's a very solid box.

      • At this point, I cut the cord years ago and see no advantage of going back. Plex gets me everything I care to watch about 30 minutes after it airs. Well in advance of US airtimes if it's a British TV wich I watch a lot of.

  • I'm not bragging, nor am I whining: just stating a fact. I don't understand why people need a DVR when every show and its brother is available via OnDemand. NetFlix I could see as a possibility if I were suddenly laid off, deathly ill, and could do nothing but lie on a couch and watch shows.
    Since I'm not, I've got a job, books, the cello, tennis, and about a dozen other hobbies, leaving only a few hours a week for screen-eyeball time anyway. (and when the heck is Orphan Black coming on?)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't understand why people need a DVR when every show and its brother is available via OnDemand.

      If that were true, then there wouldn't be much of a need for a DVR except for live sports/events. But On Demand rarely works well. Most networks prohibit fast forwarding, forcing you to sit through the full commercials or a reduced set of 2 or 3 terrible commercials played over and over (I'm pretty sure that smug Chevrolet guy is really a serial killer and all of those "real people, not actors" have never been seen again), usually with the same commercial repeated just to make sure the message was properly

  • My family skipped right over DVRs into straight piracy, and then finally a little Netflix (which allowed us to finally dump cable).
  • I kinda have the same reaction as if the headline said "For the First Time, More US Households Have Netflix Than a FishTank".

    Putting aside that put are (usually) connected to a TV, how exactly are those two related? Especially when one is complementary to the other (and not exclusive).

    • by erice ( 13380 )

      I kinda have the same reaction as if the headline said "For the First Time, More US Households Have Netflix Than a FishTank".

      Putting aside that put are (usually) connected to a TV, how exactly are those two related? Especially when one is complementary to the other (and not exclusive).

      Netflix has no commercials and you can watch anything in the catalogue at any time. If what you want to watch is on Netflix, it is just as good as having a DVR but less trouble.

  • They've been doing everything possible to make DVR usage as miserable as possible. Third party DVR's are mostly blocked so you are left with expensive and buggy captive DVRs that you can't take with you if change providers. (So you lose all your existing recordings) Broadcast flags block some shows from being recorded at all. But people don't like commercials or watching on the broadcasters schedule so they dump the whole cable/satellite package and go Netflix.

    Of course, the qualify of Netflix's offerin

  • Netflix is a service, while DVRs are service delivery devices. Not only are they not mutually-exclusive, but they can be complimentary. I watched Netflix on my TiVo for years. When I cord-cut, I had to go shopping for a new device for the TV (tried Chromecast, settled on Roku).

    Comparing the two directly would be like comparing the number of people with gmail accounts with the number of people who own cable-modems. They are nearly orthogonal things.

  • Here in NZ we've had TiVo for the last 9 years but we just had an announcement that the company managing the service will cease operations in October. No replacement EPG so both my TiVo boxes will become useless bricks at that time. There are some people looking at getting the S3 box working with locally produced EPG like they did with the S1 boxes personally imported, but it is unlikely that it will work out so I'm here with a couple of DVRs and in 6 months they will stop working. Since I've got Netflix ev

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