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  #1  
Old 12-01-2009, 06:03 PM
FIN745 FIN745 is offline
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The future of Sagetv?

So I just got into all of this(Using a computer to DVR) and I've been using Beyond TV(Sorry) and then I read they're jumping off the consumer bandwagon and going Enterprise.

I don't want to spend my cash and in a few years end up with nothing.

So, I'm thinking of using and buying Sage TV software, Is there anything on this end I need to be worried about with Sage TV?

Thanks.

Last edited by FIN745; 12-01-2009 at 07:09 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-01-2009, 07:04 PM
eric3a eric3a is offline
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I made the jump too with no regret.

If I could read the future I'd play the lottery rather than predict Sage's status.
But realistically:
-Seems like a program that's well alive with a good strong community around it.
-Worse case scenario what you get now will work for years already anyway, as it, even if there were no updates ever.

Eric
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  #3  
Old 12-01-2009, 07:27 PM
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davephan davephan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIN745 View Post
So I just got into all of this(Using a computer to DVR) and I've been using Beyond TV(Sorry) and then I read they are jumping off the consumer bandwagon and going Enterprise.

I don't want to spend my cash and in a few years end up with nothing.

So, I'm thinking of using and buying Sage TV software, Is there anything on this end I need to be worried about with Sage TV?

Thanks.
Welcome to the SageTV forum.

There's nothing to be sorry about, Beyond TV was just another computer based DVR choice. The SageTV forum isn't censored the way the Beyond TV forum was censored.

I've been using SageTV for over five years, starting with version 1.4, and it still seems to be going strong. Nothing in life is really guaranteed, so there's no way to know the future. Also, there are many people who used to use Beyond TV on this forum.

You might want to start off by letting people know about your provider, OTA, cable, satellite, DVDs, etc. Also post your system specs and tuner cards if you want help.

SageTV has improved drastically in the past five years. The improvement is not just from SageTV, but from all the associated programs that improve SageTV, such as Comskip, the web server, and hundreds of other associated applications. During the five year run that I have been using SageTV, there has been only one small upgrade fee.

I strongly recommend deploying disk imaging of your C drive as you build up the SageTV system and periodically. You system then can be recovered quickly and easily if you have a system problem.

The Windows SageTV trial is free, but there isn't a free Linux trial. You could image your computer, then install the trial. If you don't like SageTV, then you can always recover back to the image taken before the SageTV trial. If you don't own a disk imaging product, and don't want to purchase one, you could use PING, Partition Image is Not Ghost, which is free.

If you run into problems or have questions, there are many people here just waiting here to help you.

Dave
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  #4  
Old 12-01-2009, 07:27 PM
Brent Brent is offline
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I honestly don't know SageTV's financial situation. But I know they've been doing quite well on the sales side of things. They've brought in many new users from Media Center, BTV and some of the freeware HTPC software over the past few years and they've sold quite a few extenders/media players.

I think they are small enough & have lower overhead than even Snapstream that they don't have to have huge sales numbers to make it worth it for the company. Their #1 focus is HTPCs and Media Players for enthusiasts and it shows - lots of regular updates, hardware innovation (extenders), focus on the customers wants etc. I've put my hat with SageTV for my HTPC setup and I didn't do it lightly. I am a former Snapstream/BTV user and I've never ever been sorry for making the switch.
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  #5  
Old 12-01-2009, 08:39 PM
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mayamaniac mayamaniac is offline
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The last few years have been difficult times for the economy, so to see SageTV still going strong is a good sign. As with what Brent said, as end users, there's no way we know their financial situation. Having said that, even in this troubled economy, not only do I think SageTV survived, but they grew more profitable during these bad times. Of course, had the economy been better, they might've grew even more profitable.
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  #6  
Old 12-01-2009, 09:35 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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I think I'm far more pessimistic. We know Sage is a very small company with a small customer base. We don't know exactly how small the company is, or how small the customer base is though. We know this is a relatively tough market. Snapstream went out of business, and WMC has never lived up to its hype. In the more general consumer side of things, we know TiVo is having problems making ends meet, and more enthusiast-oriented CE companies like Moxi are having even bigger problems since they don't have the same IP licensing revenue coming in.

You can look at that in a couple different ways. If you're optimistic, you can can say look at all those companies having problems while Sage keeps going like normal. That must mean there's really something to it and its success will continue. Or, you can say its a doomed market and Sage is bound to fail at some point.

Various people have been saying Sage is "thriving". I think that might be a bit of an overstatement. It seems to have kept going pretty consistently since 2003 when I first started watching the company. But, if anything it looks like the company has probably shrunk. In 2005 the company had 10 employees. We know Dan left to do other projects. And, it seems like there's only three people with the company that ever seem to post here. That's not necessarily a problem- it's great the company does so much with so little. But, if the company really was selling more and more licenses and products, I'd expect to see it grow in a more noticeable way.

I think the problem with really small companies is the threat that they can pretty easily just disappear. It really seems like Jeff does the vast majority of the technical work behind the scenes, and probably a fair amount of the administrative work too. I doubt he's getting rich of the company. He's clearly a talented technical person. Could he decide one day that he'd rather use his skills on some other project? Sure he might. Maybe the company would get handed off to someone else, but I doubt it would really be the same.

In spite of the recent lack of betas, it seems like there has been pretty steady work on Sage over the last year. We've seen the HD200, some degree of blu-ray support, closed captions, and wireless support on the HD200. I might start getting worried if we start seeing progress slow down more. For instance, I might be a little worried if we go another 6 months and all we see are little bug fixes in software and firmware. I'd probably take that as a sign Jeff's interest is waning. But, I don't think that's what's happening. I think Sage is pretty stable right now.

But, I think it would be very dangerous to assume Sage will be around in, say, 5 years. I'm not even sure I'd say TiVo will definitely be around in 5 years (at least, when it comes to actively developing CE products). If the thought of Sage disappearing in 5 years is that troubling, then I'm not sure Sage is really right for you. But, at the same time, I'm not sure any of the alternatives would be either.
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  #7  
Old 12-01-2009, 09:45 PM
FIN745 FIN745 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davephan View Post
Welcome to the SageTV forum.

You might want to start off by letting people know about your provider, OTA, cable, satellite, DVDs, etc. Also post your system specs and tuner cards if you want help.

If you run into problems or have questions, there are many people here just waiting here to help you.

Dave
Thanks for your welcome. I've got putty much got everything done here(Recording set up and tuners working*), There's just a few thing that I need to learn about the Sage system.

A few questions:

When the Live TV is buffering it shows that in the list of Sage TV recordings. When you looking at the list or in the Web Interface you think..I didn't set that to record! When it's just the buffer.

Is there anyway to hide that or change it?

When I click on a recording I don't see any clear way to delete it. Any help with that?


That's it for now, Thank you very much.


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  #8  
Old 12-01-2009, 09:57 PM
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GKusnick GKusnick is offline
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Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
But, I think it would be very dangerous to assume Sage will be around in, say, 5 years.
Very dangerous? As in what, your computer will explode if they go out of business? Seriously, what are the actual risks here? That your investment in this particular piece of tech might be obsolete in a few years? You might have to resort to XMLTV for EPG data?

Conversely, what happens in five years if they're wildly successful? Our HD200s will be just as obsolete, and we'll still be spending money to replace them.

Obviously I want SageTV to stay in business. But I'm really not seeing much of a downside for users if they fail. Your Sage-based system will probably continue to work for years until you decide to replace/upgrade it with something newer and shinier, Sage-branded or not.
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  #9  
Old 12-01-2009, 10:26 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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Originally Posted by GKusnick View Post
Very dangerous? As in what, your computer will explode if they go out of business? Seriously, what are the actual risks here? That your investment in this particular piece of tech might be obsolete in a few years? You might have to resort to XMLTV for EPG data?
That's not really quite what I meant. 'Dangerous' has connotations that I didn't mean to convey. I just meant its a pretty big assumption to say Sage will be around in 5 years.

Would that break Sage systems right away? No. It would be pretty annoying to lose guide data though (I hated using XMLTV before Sage provided guide data). And, there would be no guarantee Sage would run on new operating systems, or that it would always play nice with driver updates. If it completely disappeared, as opposed to just mostly stopping active development, newly identified bugs wouldn't get fixed. Collectively, those sound like a pretty serious problem.

Even with the extenders, Sage has never been a turnkey solution. There are some systems that work well enough that you can just lock them down and never change anything. I don't think Sage is at that point, and even if it were there would still be problems. You're going to find bugs over time as things outside the software change. I ran into problems with my HDHR apparently because it didn't seem to play well with Comcast after they started reusing old analog channels. It was working perfectly before that, but because of a change by Comcast I discovered a problem with the HDHR. A firmware upgrade fixed that problem. And, in practice, probably a lot of problems could be fixed outside of Sage without breaking compatibility. But probably not all of them.

Quote:
Conversely, what happens in five years if they're wildly successful? Our HD200s will be just as obsolete, and we'll still be spending money to replace them.
Will they? If I'm still using Sage in 5 years I expect to still be using my HD200 if its still working. I'd still be using my MVP if my HD100 didn't die (I replaced it with an HD200 and then had it fixed).

Quote:
But I'm really not seeing much of a downside for users if they fail. Your Sage-based system will probably continue to work for years until you decide to replace/upgrade it with something newer and shinier, Sage-branded or not.
Part of me is inclined to agree. But, people (including the OP, apparently) have been pretty upset over Snapstream ceasing active development of the consumer project. Because the extenders only work with Sage, I think Sage users have more money invested in a Sage-specific infrastructure. So, I think that Sage users have more to lose from Sage going out of the business than Snapstream users have from Snapstream changing focus. And, its potentially a bit worse. At least Snapstream had the option of moving to the Enterprise market and keeping some support going for the consumer product. I'm not sure Sage can do something similar.

Mainly, I just think its probably silly to count too heavily on any enthusiast-oriented DVR product being around in 5 years. I'm not trying to only pick on Sage here. I think that's just a risk you have to be prepared to accept when you play around in niche markets like this.
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  #10  
Old 12-01-2009, 10:46 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIN745 View Post
When the Live TV is buffering it shows that in the list of Sage TV recordings. When you looking at the list or in the Web Interface you think..I didn't set that to record! When it's just the buffer.

Is there anyway to hide that or change it?
I don't think so.

Keep in mind Sage treats live TV like it does other recordings. There isn't a particular buffer file like other DVRs. Sage is recording the show to a show-specific file and automatically deletes it (when it deletes it varies depending on configuration settings).

Quote:
When I click on a recording I don't see any clear way to delete it. Any help with that?
I don't have this problem. When I click on a recording a pop-up window comes with with the option to 'delete this recording'. I don't think you see that option if the show is currently recording.
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  #11  
Old 12-01-2009, 10:47 PM
Brent Brent is offline
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This might read like I'm picking apart Reggie's comments, but instead is intended more for me to add my thoughts/opinion:

Quote:
Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
I think I'm far more pessimistic.
Yes you are Not necessarily a bad thing though.

Quote:
We know Sage is a very small company with a small customer base.
I think small is good as long as they keep up the sales. Cash flow is everything as long as the debt is low and smaller in this case probably means less debt... I guess I've been working at my very-small company job for too long --- can't help but see the parallels. Snapstream forced itself to go for bigger margins because their costs were much higher. That's all I'll say about that one.

Quote:
Snapstream went out of business
Um, no it didn't. They changed their product to enterprise and I think are doing very well thanks to that change. BeyondTV is withering, but the company has taken the product, changed the way they sell it and has been a success.

Quote:
Or, you can say its a doomed market and Sage is bound to fail at some point.
I'd say as it stands now it's such a tiny, niche market that only three products can survive:
1. A beheamoth who hangs out with a product and inches forward with new features every few years or so just to be there in case things take off. This would be Microsoft and on a much smaller part Apple.
2. Freeware. XBMC and MythTV are the winners in this realm and rely entirely on those donating their free time. This will always exist even if the market vanishes
3. Extremely small, focused companies who know their market is a niche and serve that niche without spending so much they fail. This is where I think Snapstream struggled and SageTV has at least maintained - possibly successfully so. This is probably the one most impossible to predict a future for.

I wouldn't say SageTV has been "thriving" - shoot as I said earlier I have no idea honestly, but I do know where the crowds are and therefore the customers. It's Windows MediaCenter (cause it's free and pretty), SageTV (cause they serve the enthusiast niche well) and XBMC cause it's free and cool. The others are there, but I personally think these are the big three. And I think SageTV hangs in there pretty well. Will it be here tomorrow? I'm guessing yes. Am I sure? Heck no but nobody knows that - I don't even know if my bank will be here tomorrow
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  #12  
Old 12-01-2009, 11:24 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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Originally Posted by Brent View Post
Um, no it didn't. They changed their product to enterprise and I think are doing very well thanks to that change. BeyondTV is withering, but the company has taken the product, changed the way they sell it and has been a success.
Right. I mentioned that later in my post, despite making an inaccurate summary earlier in my post. I actually think that was a good thing for BeyondTV users. A different company may have had to shut down entirely. This way BeyondTV users get some limited support.

Quote:
3. Extremely small, focused companies who know their market is a niche and serve that niche without spending so much they fail. This is where I think Snapstream struggled and SageTV has at least maintained - possibly successfully so. This is probably the one most impossible to predict a future for.
I agree. I think small, focused companies can succeed. But I also think there probably ends up being a limit to how long these sorts of companies can survive. I think Jeff is a single point of failure here. And he's part of a generation that tends to change not just jobs, but careers, frequently. Are there enough fun and exciting challenges to overcome to keep him interested?

And, at the same time, I think we're getting close to a time where the PC-based DVR market will start to shrink. Maybe we're even there already. DVR seems to be a technology to bridge between old broadcast-style TV and on-demand TV. People are starting to rely on streaming video like Hulu, Netflix, etc., rather than cable TV and DVRs. And, I think there's a great deal of overlap between the people likely to be early adopters of online streaming video and adopters of PC-based DVRs. No, they're not equal sets, but I suspect the intersection is quite large.

And there are disadvantages to being small. This is just a stream of consciousness thought, but I wonder if small companies are at a disadvantage when the environment they live in changes. Sage isn't big enough for companies making big changes to work around. Sage probably can't get the attention of companies like Netflix doing online streaming. Sage isn't terribly well-suited for the transition to digital cable (yes, I agree there are workable solutions here, but we're no longer talking about popping in an analog tuner card and quickly getting things working reliably).

Again, I don't actually think Sage is going anywhere soon. There doesn't seem to be any evidence that suggests Sage is running into significant problems right now. But, at least to me, this really doesn't seem like the sort of product that is here to stay. The OP was wondering about things a few years from now. I don't know about you, but I think a lot can happen in three years. I think we already know what's going to supplant it; it's just a matter of when. Should that be troubling? I don't know. I think that depends on whether or not you think you'll be an early adopter for whatever is the next big thing. I think its most likely the case that if Sage goes down they'll probably be something pretty cool available to replace it.
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  #13  
Old 12-02-2009, 07:26 AM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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I'm just going to jump in here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
I think I'm far more pessimistic. We know Sage is a very small company with a small customer base. We don't know exactly how small the company is, or how small the customer base is though. We know this is a relatively tough market. Snapstream went out of business,
Snapstream didn't go out of business, I think they just decided a different market would be more profitable.

Quote:
...and WMC has never lived up to its hype.
That's due to nothing more than Microsoft having different vision for the product than the enthusiasts who are the ones who actually use it. Thus causing them to make "bad" decisions on it's future.

Quote:
In the more general consumer side of things, we know TiVo is having problems making ends meet, and more enthusiast-oriented CE companies like Moxi are having even bigger problems since they don't have the same IP licensing revenue coming in.
The problem for them is, being in the hardware (including Cablecard ) business, it's much more expensive to operate. And fact of the matter is, the market for people who want more than a cable or satellite DVR is very small.

Conversely, Sage is IMO in a very good place. Being a software provider who relies on Hauppauge et-all to do the "heavy lifting", it's much cheaper to operate, thus they can get by in that small enthusast market.

Plus the network media player is taking off these days with people wanting newer better ways to get their digital media into their living rooms (without a PC) and the HD Theater fits perfectly into that.

Quote:
You can look at that in a couple different ways. If you're optimistic, you can can say look at all those companies having problems while Sage keeps going like normal. That must mean there's really something to it and its success will continue. Or, you can say its a doomed market and Sage is bound to fail at some point.
It's a small market, there's no doubt, but I don't think it's doomed, but it is probably too small to support the likes of Tivo and Moxi and their much higher operating costs.

Quote:
Various people have been saying Sage is "thriving". I think that might be a bit of an overstatement. It seems to have kept going pretty consistently since 2003 when I first started watching the company. But, if anything it looks like the company has probably shrunk. In 2005 the company had 10 employees. We know Dan left to do other projects. And, it seems like there's only three people with the company that ever seem to post here. That's not necessarily a problem- it's great the company does so much with so little. But, if the company really was selling more and more licenses and products, I'd expect to see it grow in a more noticeable way.
When it started it was just Jeff and Dan. Since then _Demo_ and George have joined and had somewhat public faces, but that's been consistent since they joined. If either of them had disappeared I'd say you have a point. But most of their employees have never had a public presence.

Quote:
I think the problem with really small companies is the threat that they can pretty easily just disappear. It really seems like Jeff does the vast majority of the technical work behind the scenes, and probably a fair amount of the administrative work too. I doubt he's getting rich of the company. He's clearly a talented technical person. Could he decide one day that he'd rather use his skills on some other project? Sure he might. Maybe the company would get handed off to someone else, but I doubt it would really be the same.
But from his interview with Brent it seems he really has a passion for what he does and wants to keep going. It doesn't seem like SageTV was ever just a money making scheme, but more his baby.

Quote:
In spite of the recent lack of betas, it seems like there has been pretty steady work on Sage over the last year. We've seen the HD200, some degree of blu-ray support, closed captions, and wireless support on the HD200. I might start getting worried if we start seeing progress slow down more. For instance, I might be a little worried if we go another 6 months and all we see are little bug fixes in software and firmware. I'd probably take that as a sign Jeff's interest is waning. But, I don't think that's what's happening. I think Sage is pretty stable right now.
Which is exactly why we say Sage is thriving. In a niche market, stable ~= thriving.
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  #14  
Old 12-02-2009, 09:53 AM
wayner wayner is offline
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I think Sage is as solid a company as GM or Citibank. Err, wait a minute...

There is no way of knowing who will be around 5 years from now. Sage is the best option right now but things change quickly in this space and who knows where we will be in the future. In the last few years I have used TiVo, Meedio, BeyondTV, my cable company PVR, XP MCE and now Sage. Perhaps everything will be OnDemand with an HD-200 like box that connects to Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, etc. But the one thing that I don't like about that model is that you have much less control over your content. When I have PVred shows and they are stored on my PC without DRM then I know that I can permanently watch them. You can't make that assumption with onilne material.
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  #15  
Old 12-02-2009, 12:13 PM
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tmiranda tmiranda is offline
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OK, let's have some fun...

I just checked and there are 14,423 forum members.

Let's say half of them purcahsed Sage somewhere between 2002 and today. That's 7,211 licenses at $80 each for a total of $576,000. That's $82,285 per year.

Now let's throw in 5,000 extender/client/placeshifter licenses at $30. That's another $21,000 per year.

Let's further guess that Sage has sold 5,000 extenders in the past two years at $200 each. That's a wild guess, but it seems plausible. The net margin may be 30% so that's 200 * 5000 * 0.3 = $300,000. Not too shabby.

So it all depends on how may people they need to pay.

If I were a VC or investor type I would say Sage is on pretty good footing. They probably make money, break even, or just lose a little and are cheap to keep going.
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  #16  
Old 12-02-2009, 12:24 PM
hufnagel hufnagel is offline
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I too occasionally wonder how long until *something* happens and my SageTV investment becomes endangered. I look at it like this though... if tomorrow SageTV went bye-bye as a company what would I need to keep my current rig going? really it's EPG data. I guess at some point I should look into a "backup" plan for keeping my guide fed and happy (it's fed by Zap2it right? I never really ever bothered to look or care because, well it just works!) but really as long as that keeps working I don't see any reason why my setup or anyone elses wouldn't continue to work for a long time after the company itself disappears. I mean hell, I was running version 4.x for the longest time when versions 5 and 6 were out! I didn't even bother trying to upgrade until 6.2 was available.
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  #17  
Old 12-02-2009, 12:37 PM
Brent Brent is offline
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The survival of SageTV is definitely not something I'm worried about.


If we didn't see an update to firmware/software/beta etc in the next 3 months, that's when I'd begin worrying (memories of Snapstream). But I just don't see that happening with SageTV right now. 12 months from now things can change and can change fast, but in the tech world we really have to focus on whats available now.

Bottom line, I'd be shocked if we weren't on this same forum in 12 months discussing fun stuff about our HTPCs.
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  #18  
Old 12-02-2009, 12:40 PM
hufnagel hufnagel is offline
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agreed. heck I was just editing my profile and just happen to see this...
Join Date: 11-04-2003

holy crap I've been here a long time!
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  #19  
Old 12-02-2009, 01:38 PM
FIN745 FIN745 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reggie14 View Post
Part of me is inclined to agree. But, people (including the OP, apparently) have been pretty upset over Snapstream ceasing active development of the consumer project.
I wouldn't say "upset*", but it is kinda hard to pay $100 on something that is putty much developmentally dead. I like both Sage TV and Beyond TV, but when picking one it seem like a no brainier to me when one of them is developmentally dead.

*Ok, a little upset that they don't let you know this upfront and not for me to have to go digging for it.
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Old 12-02-2009, 02:23 PM
reggie14 reggie14 is offline
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Originally Posted by tmiranda View Post
If I were a VC or investor type I would say Sage is on pretty good footing. They probably make money, break even, or just lose a little and are cheap to keep going.
Hmmm, when I look at those same numbers I have a completely different reaction. I have no ideas if your numbers are right, but let's just say they are for the sake of argument. The only thing I've ever seen that talked about the size of the company was an interview with Dan from ~2005 that said Sage had 10 full and part time employees. We know from Brent's interview that Sage has investors, and that Mike Machado is still the CEO. In that same interview Jeff said Sage added a "bunch of employees" over time, and mentioned that Sage has at least one investor besides the brothers. And, I think we know Sage has a (presumably small) office suite in Inglewood, CA.

If your numbers are right, then Sage has averaged about $150k of revenue a year since 2002. For that $150k a year, Sage has to pay salaries and possibly benefits to a mixture of possibly 10 full and part time employees. It needs to lease an office suite and pay for utilities, web hosting, etc. It needs to pay fees for guide data, and presumably the included mpeg2 decoder. Sage may need to throw some money at the investor too.

Now, certainly Sage hasn't had 10 employees since 2002, and probably didn't have office space at the very beginning. And, I strongly suspect almost all of Sage's employees work part-time. But, my thought is that anything in the neighborhood of $150k a year isn't very much.

But, keep in mind I spend all day thinking about worst-case scenarios, so maybe that just makes me extra pessimistic about things. That being said, I think your numbers might be a little low, though I don't necessarily have a good reason why.
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