Archives For TiVo

Dave’s Holiday Cheer: Freebies!

Dave Zatz —  November 23, 2005

One kind reader blessed me with a TiVo Rewards referral. I’ve taken that reward and cashed it in for 15 TiVo ornaments that I’d like to share with my readers. After all, it is the holiday season.

Comment on any post old or new 11/23 through 12/7 and you’ll be entered to win a few of these guys in a random drawing – at least three lucky people will be selected. While thoughtful comments are appreciated, there are no restrictions other than please keep the spam and profanity to a minimum. Though, you should let me know somewhere within the comment that you want to participate – I don’t want to contact someone without their permission, dig? The comment box lets you enter your email address which is kept private and will not be shared, so double-check it for typos before you submit.

If the winners choose to pose their little TiVo friends frolicking on a Christmas tree, Chanukah bush, or fruit cake I’ll gladly post any photos and links.

The recap…

  1. Comment on any post
  2. Indicate you want to be entered to win
  3. Leave email address so I can contact you

US addresses only.
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Wow, this sure came out of left field. TiVo has applied for a patent allowing customization of remotes and PVRs based on personalized preferences provided via RFID. They describe a variety of scenarios and hardware such as providing customized hotel television viewing and adopting the technology within mobile multimedia devices. No telling when or if this will ever make it to market.

US Patent Application says: A multimedia mobile personalization system provides a remote control that detects a user’s electronic tag, e.g. an RFID tag. The remote control notifies a multimedia device of the user’s identity. The multimedia devices tailors it operations to the user’s preferences stored locally. Multimedia content such as broadcast or recorded television programs, music play lists, and the like could be sorted, displayed, or restricted, depending on the user identifier.

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Yes, we’ve heard it before… but we haven’t heard it lately. According to Bob Poniatowski of TiVo Product Marketing, the new PSP and iPod conversion/sync is expected in February. More importantly, he reiterated TiVo’s commitment to the Mac platform and is hopeful we’ll see TiVoToGo support mid-2006.

Official TiVoToGo on iPod, PSP

Dave Zatz —  November 21, 2005

iPodTiVo has announced software facilitating the transfer of shows from Series 2 units to both the iPod and PSP. While many techniques already exist (VLC, Videora, PSP Video 9), an officially sanctioned method along with tech support is a welcome addition. Unlike the currently supported conversions to Microsoft portable devices, this new method will embed a watermark within the video to identify the owner. Various news outlets are reporting the software may carry a $15 – $30 fee.

The cottage industry that has sprung up to support conversions and the lack of lawsuits has obviously emboldened TiVo to move in this direction. While they’re a bit late to the dance, this is an exciting to development. Throw in as many digital watermarks as it takes, just give me a quick and easy method of massaging content for playback on my various devices.

TiVo says: The enhancement will include exclusive capabilities such as TiVo auto-sync that will allow subscribers to choose if they want new recordings of their favorite programs easily transferred to their portable devices via their PC. Every morning the devices can be loaded with new programs recorded the night before.

“The increasing popularity of mobile devices for viewing video such as Apple’s iPod and the PSP device demonstrate the enormous consumer demand for entertainment on the go,” said Tom Rogers, CEO of TiVo. “By enhancing our TiVoToGo(TM) feature, we’re making it easy for consumers to enjoy the TV shows they want to watch right from their iPod or PSP — whenever and wherever they want.”

Subscribers will need to purchase certain low-cost software to facilitate the transfer of content from the PC to these portable devices. To discourage abuse or unlawful use of this feature, TiVo intends to employ “watermark” technologies on programs transferred to a portable device using the TiVoToGo feature that would enable tracking of the account from which a transferred program originated.

[Tip via megazone]

Red TrousersTiVo is moving beyond short advertising clips (see Navy football and CNET) into feature length films. While the Netflix deal may have died, TiVo seems to be pressing forward with acquiring content and building out their movie distribution technology.

The new trial involves requesting the 96 minute Chinese film Red Trousers by entering your email address and TSN on a TiVo web page. The movie will then be scheduled for download on November 23rd. Ultimately, I would hope for a TiVo-based movie selection interface and a more immediate download. However, free is good as are public trials!

TiVo says: Enjoy a FREE advance screening with broadband!

TiVo and Tai Seng Entertainment are pleased to present RED TROUSERS as part of the TiVo Video Download trial program.

In this dazzling combination of documentary and short film directed by and starring Robin Shou, star of MORTAL KOMBAT, and which Los Angeles City Beat called “a must-see for Hong Kong action fans” and the LA Times called “pure delight,” the death-defying feats performed by the world’s greatest stuntmen (nicknamed “red trousers” for the pants they wear during their training at Chinese opera schools) are profiled through interviews and clips that showcase their work. Intercutting with the documentary footage is the short film LOST TIME, a futuristic martial arts adventure in the style of Alex Proyas’ DARK CITY, where one can appreciate the stuntmen’s extraordinary achievement in their final cinematic form.

RED TROUSERS is presented through TiVo Video Download in its unrated version, in widescreen letterbox, with English and Cantonese soundtrack and English subtitles. Parental discretion is advised. Running time is approximately 96 minutes.

TiVo’s CNET Content Downloads

Dave Zatz —  November 14, 2005

CNET on TiVo

TiVo’s latest opt-in content downloads are a series of weekly 15 minute product reviews during the holiday season. I find this material far more compelling than the random Navy football clips last month. This seems to be a win-win situation for TiVo: another method of generating advertising revenue while hopefully entertaining us subscribers. As with other recent TiVo innovations, this is limited to networked Series 2 models.
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TiVoTiVo continues to experiment with their pricing model. In September they began requiring a one year commitment or face a $150 termination fee when activating a new or used box. Now they’re running a promotion which offers a free low-end TiVo without requiring a rebate. While that sounds appealing, notice that the monthly rate has escalated from $12.95 to $16.95. It doesn’t appear that the rate drops to standard (for now) $12.95 after the first 12 months of service. Even more painful, this “deal” prohibits adding additional TiVo boxes at the $6.95 multi-unit discount monthly rate.

Having multiple rate plans only serves to confuse consumers and if the ultimate goal is to raise rates across the board while dropping multi-unit discounts, TiVo will surely see cable company DVR defections.

TiVo says: GET A 40-HOUR TIVO® SERIES2™ DVR AT NO ADDITIONAL COST when you sign-up for TiVo service at a monthly price of $16.95 for at least one year.

TIVO SERIES2 DVRS AND TIVO SERVICE SUBSCRIPTIONS PURCHASED AS PART OF THIS OFFER ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR INCLUSION IN THE MULTI-SERVICE DISCOUNT AND DO NOT QUALIFY ANY EXISTING OR ADDITIONAL UNITS FOR MULTI-SERVICE DISCOUNT.

Upgrades to Product Lifetime Service are not permitted.

[Thanks to Cassidy Napoli for catching this on late night TV!]