Archives For TiVo

Inside TiVo Rebates

Dave Zatz —  November 27, 2005

TiVo LogoIt’s no secret that rebates are a great tool for a variety of retailers and manufacturers. Rebates generate buzz and sales, yet not all are redeemed adding to their bottom line. BusinessWeek (subscription required) describes the phenomenon and profiles TiVo, which appears typical in paying out only 50% to 60% of potential rebates. BW suggests rebates are a “tax on the disorganized” but a “bonanza to retailers and suppliers.”

The article mentions one frustrated TiVo customer who felt he was given the run-around before finally receiving his rebate check 14 weeks after submission. In fact, the gist of the article is that many consumers are frustrated by the difficulty of rebate redemptions and that regulators are getting involved.

Of the five TiVo’s I’ve owned, two came with rebates which were received within the specified time frame.

BusinessWeek says: The impact on a company’s bottom line can be startling. Consider TiVo Inc. The company caught Wall Street off guard by sharply reducing its first-quarter loss to $857,000, from $9.1 million in the same period last year. One reason: about 50,000 of TiVo’s 104,000 new subscribers failed to redeem mail-in rebate offers, reducing the company’s expected rebate expense by $5 million. TiVo says it generally sees lower redemption rates during the Christmas shopping season, when consumers may be too distracted to file for rebates on time.

More TiVoToGo iPod, PSP Details

Dave Zatz —  November 23, 2005

Like most folks, I’m excited by TiVo’s recent announcement of upcoming support for both the iPod and PSP. So I had to find out more… I hit up Bob Poniatowski of TiVo Product Marketing, who shared a few more details of the project with me.

The new syncing, conversion, and watermarking features will be built into a future release of the TiVo Desktop. TiVo Desktop downloads will continue to be free, as will current functionality. However, the iPod and PSP enhancements are dormant options that can be activated through purchase. Many folks have wondered about the “low cost” and “small fee” that keeps showing up in print… Instead of using the free ffmpeg to perform conversions, as Videora and others do, the fee will partialy cover licensing of the commercial codec TiVo is using to perform the heavy lifting. They have no plans of bundling the TiVo-branded media player, first seen during TiVo Desktop 2.1 beta testing, into this release.

As previously reported, beta testing of the new software is expected to begin shortly with a target release of February.

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

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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.