Archives For TiVo

VCR HeadstoneI managed to corner some more TiVo folks here at DigitalLife and take some interesting photos.

What I conveniently called system software 7.3 yesterday turns out to be 7.2.1, for those of you keeping score. I looked closer at the “Overlap Protection” feature and while it may be overdue, it’s a very welcome enhancement. Basically if the network schedules a show to end at 9:01, your 9:00 show isn’t recorded. With “Overlap Protection,” on by default, both shows will be recorded with the higher priority show gaining the extra time. As seen in the picture below, you can manually change which show gets priority.
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TiVo LogoTiVo still has a few (minor) tricks up their sleeve this year…

Within the next month or so we can expect a Series 2 software update, which I’ll conveniently call 7.3. It enhances HME functionality, adds show overlap prioritization, and contains the requisite under-the-hood tweaks and bug fixes. In hardware news, a TiVo branded wireless adaptor will be available for sale.

As previously reported Tivo-hosted server-based HME applications will go live. Many of the initial TiVo-produced HME apps will provide similar functionality as Galleon, but without the need for running Java programs on your PC. I got to see a few in action… While I can’t say I was impressed with the little games (TiVo is no XBox), the Podcasting feature is useful and well executed for a first generation widget. TiVo has identified, categorized, and linked to quite a few Podcasts, but you have the ability to manually enter the location of any others you might fancy. The audio content is streamed via your broadband connection through the television.

In order to programmatically compensate for the networks’ strategy of staggered start and end show times (9:01 for example), TiVo will be introducing a configurable “Overlap” function in 7.3.

First spotted this summer in Vegas, I can now provide a few more details on the mysterious dongle of 2005 (not to be confused with the presumably abandoned 2004 TivoToGo dongle shown at CES). TiVo will begin selling a branded wireless G adapter which should result in fewer networking hassles, such as hardware compatibility. Nice enough, but not so exciting… The much bigger news is this dongle “offloads” some of the “heavy lifting” currently performed by Series 2 hardware – meaning both Multi-room Viewing (MRV) and TiVoToGo (TTG) will be noticeably quicker.
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Live From DigitalLife

Dave Zatz —  October 14, 2005

Both TiVo and I are here at the Javits Center in NYC! Bob Poniatowsky, of Tivo Product Marketing, graciously answered some of my intrusive questions – stay tuned for the details. Additionally, Netgear has a new media device on the horizon which I’ll be reporting on. Akimbo, Orb Networks, and some of the Slingbox folks are also here – so we’ll see what else I can dig up.

And yes, I did see TiVo’s VCR coffin. The mortuary music is definitely over the top, though it hasn’t discouraged the decent sized crowd from picking up free boxes.

TiVo
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TiVo Goes To War

Dave Zatz —  October 10, 2005

TiVo LogoDirecTV starts peddling their new DVR this week, but in the long run will it be competition or commission for TiVo? If TiVo is able to prevail in defending their “time warp” patent versus Dish Network, with court proceedings beginning this week, they should be able to work out royalty arrangements with other DVR providers… in or out of court.

Rocky Mountain News says: The question of who owns the rights to technology that revolutionized the way people watch TV goes to trial this week in a Texas courtroom.

TiVo Inc. alleges that EchoStar Communications Corp., operator of the Dish Network satellite- television service, infringed on a patent central to digital-video recorders, devices that allow viewers to pause live TV and skip commercials.

At stake for Douglas County- based EchoStar are unspecified monetary damages and the risk that it might be forced to modify many of its receivers. That’s if the company is found liable for infringing on TiVo’s “time warp” patent, which allows viewers to record a program while replaying another. For TiVo, which pioneered the DVR technology – only to see satellite and cable companies create their own versions – the case could set a precedent as to whether it can sue other companies that have introduced competing products.

DirecTV R15As Michael Buffer once said, “Let’s get ready to rumble!” DirecTV will begin pushing their own DVR next week with no guarantees, though certainly more leverage, of extending their contract with Tivo past 2007. Features of the forthcoming R15 DVR were previously disclosed on TV Predictions.

New York Times says: DIRECTV, the satellite television operator, is introducing a $30 million advertising campaign on Monday to promote its highly anticipated digital video recorder.

The campaign, created by the New York office of BBDO Worldwide, is DirecTV’s first widespread public effort to distance itself from TiVo. Of DirecTV’s 14.7 million customers, 2.3 million now subscribe to TiVo. DirecTV, which pays TiVo a monthly fee of $1.13 per TiVo subscriber, hopes those users will switch to its own service.

DirecTV’s standard DVR, originally set to be released this past June, will be introduced in late October, and another model featuring high-definition service will be introduced in mid-2006. The standard DVR will feature up to 100 hours of recordable space, compared with TiVo’s 70 hours.

DirecTV will continue to support the TiVo service without marketing it, and both services will be priced at $5.99 a month. The company’s current contract with TiVo is set to expire in early 2007. DirecTV has not said if it will continue the contract after that.

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Tivo’s New Beta, Hosted Apps

Dave Zatz —  October 5, 2005

TiVo LogoTivo is beginning to test hosted Home Media Engine (HME) applications as described in this recent email correspondence. FYI I did not receive the email and I am not part of the Beta group.

Hi there!

Thanks for filling out the beta application at www.tivo.com, we appreciate your interest in TiVo’s Beta Programs!

When you received the latest software update from TiVo (sw version 7.2.0) recently you probably noticed the addition of the word “More” in the Menu Item “Music, Photos and More”! You may have been wondering what on the earth the “More” was going to be. Well….over the next few months we will be rolling out some interesting applications, but first we need your help! We need to “load test” the servers that will be hosting these new applications and we’d like you to help us do that. What’s “load testing”? It’s where we get you all to access some sample applications to see if you can break the servers!

PLEASE NOTE: You will NOT receive NEW software on your DVR if you sign up for this program. This program is ONLY to test the servers that will be hosting the new applications.

What do you need to participate?

* Be a regular user of the TiVo service
* Own one or more Series 2 DVRs that are hooked up via a Home Network to a Broadband Internet connectionPLEASE NOTE: this program is NOT available to Series 1 DVRs or DIRECTV DVRs with TiVo Service
* Have access to a computer at home to be able to receive and complete small homework assignments
* Available for testing until around the end of October
* Like playing games!!

So, if you’re saying “sign me up!” all that’s left to do is for you to complete the TiVo Beta Participant’s Agreement. And what on Earth is that? It’s a statement that says you do not work for the competition; that you are not a member of the press; that you really CAN keep a secret, i.e., you won’t tell anyone about the new features or communications resulting from the program; etc. It’s just what you’d expect from any beta program that allows you access to new features ahead of everyone else! But remember, it is a legally binding agreement, so please take it seriously.

TiVo Field Trials Group

(via Digg via 8bit_Hero)

TiVo LogoTivo continues their trend of interesting promotions. Next week they’re hosting a long-overdue funeral for the VCR in New York City. By contributing a video cassette to the casket, you’ll be rewarded with a free Tivo (and a one year service commitment).

Tivo says: As the curtain rises on one of the country’s ultimate consumer technology and entertainment shows, Digital Life, TiVo will bring down the curtain on the VCR. In a ceremony celebrating the demise of the VCR as a household necessity and commemorating the passing of this venerable, but clunky analog technology, TiVo will encourage consumers to trade in a VCR tape for a free TiVo(R) box. The event will feature a mock funeral, including an eulogy, witness speakers sharing their personal memories of the VCR and a casket overflowing with VHS tapes.

TiVo will give away hundreds of its pioneering DVR boxes while supplies last as VCR replacements to every consumer who joins in the commemoration of the VCR’s passing by “Tossing a Tape” in the commemorative casket carrying a VCR with a venerable flashing 12:00 and activating TiVo service on their free TiVo box at the “Passing of the VCR” event.