Archives For TiVo

Tivo Makes You Lazy and Stupid

Dave Zatz —  September 27, 2005

PC Magazine’s John C. Dvorak blames societal problems on large hard drives and TiVo. After all, it couldn’t have anything to do with ranting and raving columnists… right?

DvorakPC Mag says: With the TiVo, you don’t have to pay close attention to your TV anymore. If something happens, you can simply go back to watch it in detail, and then fall back into the zombie-like state abetted by this convenient tool. […] These devices are perfect for putting the public in a stupor. […] It’s difficult to prove that hard-drive technology in both the computer and TiVo is directly responsible for this. Yet laziness and global stupidity are not driving these developments. Rather, these developments are driving laziness and global stupidity.

Misquoted On Boing Boing

Dave Zatz —  September 24, 2005

Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow and I exchanged a few emails regarding Tivo’s ability to honor Macrovision copy protection as a service update in light of Tivo’s new early termination fee. Unfortunately, something was lost in translation and I wanted to set the record straight:

Hi Cory,

I definitely think the new $150 termination fee is worth mentioning and appreciate the link back. But I wanted to clear some things up… I didn’t just buy Tivo, in fact I’ve had boxes for many years. Also I didn’t call to cancel, but I have noticed the modified service agreement indicating a cancellation penalty.

The scenario you describe is entirely conceivable (someone could buy a Tivo this month, receive a system update which adds the Macrovision copy protection restrictions, try to cancel, and get hit with a cancellation fee) but it didn’t happen to me and I’m not aware of anyone documenting it.

I hope you can make the necessary modifications to your article.

Thanks!
Dave Zatz

MeedioPC Magazine (10/04/05 issue) reviewed five DVR software packages as alternatives to MicrosoftÂ’s Windows Media Center Edition (MCE). All were deemed good values and worthy competitors of Tivo… assuming you have an extra computer with decent specs. Meedio Pro earned an Editors’ Choice award and was followed closely by Snapstream’s BeyondTV bundle. Bill Howard preferred Meedio’s level of customization and sound effects over the competitors, while he appreciated SnapStream’s inclusion of the Firefly remote.

PC Mag says: If you’ve been longing for a media-centric PC for the living room but haven’t wanted to buy a new Media Center PC to get it, you’re in luck. Media-player software packages you can load on an existing PC have gotten much better, giving you a TV-friendly interface to access your music, photos, DVDs, videos, and (with the right hardware) even live and recorded TV. Some tasks are demanding of Windows resources, so don’t expect to run one of these MCE workalikes on your three- or four-year-old PC without a hiccup. But if your PC is up to it, the DVR functions of all the products here are just about on par with TiVo – only without the monthly subscription fee.

PC Mag also handed out an Editors’ Choice stamp to the HP z555 running Windows MCE, proclaiming it “nears perfection.” I find the praise a bit high considering they complained of regular reboots due to sluggishness and average system speed.

HP z555

Marketing With Tivo, Dockers?

Dave Zatz —  September 24, 2005

The positive buzz surrounding Tivo is leading to some strange marketing synergies. The recent iRiver PMC deal makes sense as an option for watching Tivo To Go, but the JCPenny Dockers promotion is way out in left field.

Dockers says: Buy $100 of Dockers Men’s Qualifying Apparel and/or Accessories Between September 25th and September 28th, 2005 and Receive a Free TiVo Series2 40-Hour DVR and 3 Months of Free Service.

TiVo LogoFirst Macrovision DRM, now this… Tivo has gone the route of most cell phone providers with their updated service agreement. They’ll sell you hardware at a loss, but guarantee themselves service revenue to recoup those expenses. If you cancel service within a year of activating your unit, you’ll be penalized $150. No caveat for multi-Tivo homes has been posted or explained, though Tivo did use the word may in the new policy.

Tivo’s definitely learning how to become profitable, but at what cost? New ads and fees like this will likely alienate a percentage of customers.

Tivo says: WITH RESPECT TO ANY NEW TIVO SERVICE SUBSCRIPTION ACTIVATED ON OR AFTER SEPTEMBER 6, 2005, YOU AGREE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE TIVO SERVICE FOR NO LESS THAN 12 MONTHS (THE “SERVICE COMMITMENT”). IF YOU FAIL TO MEET THE SERVICE COMMITMENT BY CANCELLING YOUR SUBSCRIPTION TO THE TIVO SERVICE (OR IF TIVO TERMINATES YOUR SUBSCRIPTION TO THE TIVO SERVICE DUE TO A BREACH OF THIS AGREEMENT), YOU AGREE THAT TIVO MAY CHARGE YOU A $150 EARLY TERMINATION FEE, AND YOU AGREE TO PAY ANY SUCH EARLY TERMINATION FEE.

Tivo Advertising Campaign Stymied

Dave Zatz —  September 23, 2005

TiVo TV AdAnd I thought this month couldn’t get any worse for Tivo… First they’re hammered with bad press due to Macrovision DRM. That was followed by Metron, the company handling Tivo’s phone and web orders, folding last Friday. Little did we know Tivo had a television and web advertising campaign beginning this week.

Sadly, Tivo is still unable to receive web or phone orders. They did list a new phone number, though I received a message stating the line is out of service. 1-877-BUY-TIVO has an updated recording indicating they plan to reopen for business 9/26.

Tivo says: Sorry, but we’re unable to take your order online at this time. Please order by phone now: Call 1-800-698-3530

Tivo Halts Sales

Dave Zatz —  September 18, 2005

TiVo LogoIn a strange turn of events, Tivo is no longer accepting orders for DVR units via phone or web. Unconfirmed posts suggest the company they outsource sales duties to has folded. Upon calling 1-877-BUY-TIVO a recording informed me, We are currently experiencing technical difficulties. Please visit our website. However, potential web customers are being directed to Order at Best Buy and informed that we are temporarily unable to offer gift subscriptions. Furthermore Tivo no longer has an outlet to sell Tivo-branded accessories, such as replacement remotes, and is unable to fulfill TivoRewards.

TiVo LogoA year after announcing a partnership with Netflix, Tivo quietly updated their online account management tool this week allowing us to Enable Video Downloads.

Tivo says: Use this setting to enable a DVR to download TV shows, movies, and other video content from the TiVo service over your broadband Internet connection. Specific program offerings will vary from time to time and may not be available to all subscribers. You can turn this setting on or off at any time without charge. Changes to this setting take up to 24 hours to take effect. Your TiVo DVR must be connected to the Internet via broadband in order to download video.