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Has TiVo's Fate Been Sealed?

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the somehow-I-doubt-it dept.

Television 364

ChipGuy writes "Things are getting bleak for TiVo, reports the New York Times, and adds that TiVo blew a major opportunity to team up with Comcast. And that might have cost CEO Michael Ramsey the job. Om Malik writes that 'The fate of TiVo also highlights the dilemma facing a lot of "exploding TV" start-ups. The technology does not necessarily translate into profits and a business,' and breaks down the financials -- over half a billion dollars in losses so far. PVRBlog adds that 'When the story of TiVo is written, this Comcast negotiation could be the point when the company's outcome was decided.' More reactions here."

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adg (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391050)

adgdag

I think i got my first post (-1, Offtopic)

Overlanda (817432) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391059)

yay first time

Re:I think i got my first post (1)

Overlanda (817432) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391083)

damn not quite - maybe next time. anyway back on topic - tivo's problem is they need to expand to more countries/networks. Why can't i get it in australia? and if i can why don't i know?

Re:I think i got my first post (0, Offtopic)

rc3105-Riley (826296) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391447)

1) you can get it in australia

2) you're just not that bright?

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&newwindow=1&c 2c off=1&q=tivo+australia&spell=1

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391062)

muhahaha.

I hate my Comcast PVR. It sucks. always is rebooting.

Re:first post (2, Interesting)

flyboy974 (624054) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391247)

I think that this "First Post" is more "Troll" than offtopic. We are talking about the Comcast PVR vs. a Tivo. I have both. My Tivo went to with the kids and the ex. So, I thought I would try the Comcast PVR. So far, I've had the following problems with the Comcast PVR:
  • Sound dies if you process the power button on the remote accident. You have to unplug the unit.
  • Program audio can get into "skipping", where it'll play a frame, then skip a frame, play a frame, skip a frame. Only way to fix is to change channels. Reweind/FF/Pause doesn't change anything.
  • Locks up in the middle programs for no reason. Changing channels somtimes fixes it. When watching programs, you have to start over most of the time.
  • Disk drive is noisy (lots of clicking), no sound insulation here like Tivo has.
  • Channel changing is slow. No write cache. Pure raw disk IO it sounds like for all programs.
  • Multiple tuner support is clunky and broken. It will tell you that you are recording on the current one when you change channels, but, are really recoding on the other tuner. It gets confused easilly.
  • TiVo must have a patent on the "predictive response" when you press play. I can always nail that start of my programs with Tivo, but, on the Comcast I overshoot everything.
  • The FF/RW functions don't have a way to decrease the speed. (IE, I KNOW this is the last commercial, don't go in 32x fast forward, go slower to 4x FF).
I have to say, I would have loved if TiVo was the Comcast PVR of choice. It's by far a better PVR system. But, re the post, I have to agree it's the nail in the coffin for them. I think the other nail is the intrusive advertising that they plan to do.

Re:first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391318)

Umm, hard drive = lots of clicking.. sounds like your problem there, duh. ever think your box has a bad hard drive. Geez.

Netcraft confirms (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391063)

It is official; Netcraft confirms: Tivo is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered Tivo community when IDC confirmed that Tivo market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that Tivo has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Tivo is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amdest.com] to predict Tivo's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Tivo faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Tivo because Tivo is dying. Things are looking very bad for Tivo. As many of us are already aware, Tivo continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeTivo is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeTivo developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeTivo is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenTivo leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenTivo. How many users of NetTivo are there? Let's see. The number of OpenTivo versus NetTivo posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetTivo users. Tivo/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetTivo posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of Tivo/OS. A recent article put FreeTivo at about 80 percent of the Tivo market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeTivo users. This is consistent with the number of FreeTivo Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeTivo went out of business and was taken over by TivoI who sell another troubled OS. Now TivoI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that Tivo has steadily declined in market share. Tivo is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Tivo is to survive at all it will be among DVR dilettante dabblers. Tivo continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Tivo is dead.

Fact: Tivo is dying

Re:Netcraft confirms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391221)

If this is funny, maybe I don't get the joke, but it seems to me that it would be informative more than anything else...

Re:Netcraft confirms (1, Informative)

plover (150551) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391288)

If this is funny, maybe I don't get the joke, but it seems to me that it would be informative more than anything else...

You're right, you just don't get the joke yet. ( It's certainly not informative. )

If you browse at -1, you'll see this is a clever rehash of some troll's constant attempts to claim '*BSD is dying.' ( Not that I recommend browsing at -1, there are some really offensive posts down there. If you're faint of heart, just trust me -- most of them deserve deletion rather than simple mod-1. )

The real mystery to me is why the trolls bother continuing to post this crap. Have they no jobs, no lives, no girlfriends, nothing to do but lurk on websites that don't want them but have no effective way to rid themselves of them? Personally, I can't imagine a more pathetic existance, but I suppose if you're allergic to humanity you gotta find something to do...

Ce La Vie (in bad accent) (2, Insightful)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391072)

Eh TiVo will probably die, they have the entire TV industry against them. As long as I can easily buy a clone or make my own (with no restrictions) why should I care?

Re:Ce La Vie (in bad accent) (1)

rel4x (783238) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391110)

It's not quite as good if you make it (using MythTv or others). While I might be mistaken, I'm, almost positive the video encoding quality goes WAY down when done on a PC.

Re:Ce La Vie (in bad accent) (2, Interesting)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391193)

Im guessing TiVo was just using a decent TV card. As long as the PC is powerful enough it should be OK. Plus, you can get DVB (digital) cards which can just give you the raw mpeg video AFAIK, which TV companies like to keep at a low bandwidth anyway so it can go straight to disk.

Re:Ce La Vie (in bad accent) (1, Interesting)

rel4x (783238) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391297)

Right now, I have a decent TV card on my computer (2.53 ghz P4), and no matter which codec, or progam I use for it, the recording quality is pretty shoddy. I'm afraid this might be the difference between having a processor created explicitly for recording, that devotes most of it's resources to it, and a system not created as such.

Re:Ce La Vie (in bad accent) (2, Insightful)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391493)

If you're using a TV card with a hardware encoder - than that IS a chip designed just for encoding. The recording is just writing that realtime stream to your hard disk. Your CPU is NOT doing the encoding and really doesn't matter that much so long your machine can handle streaming the data to disk.
The TIVO itself is a box that bundles off the shelf mpeg encoder and decoder, modem chip and a PowerPC 403GCX CPU. The operating system is based on Linux.
I don't know why you haven't had good luck encoding. I have been able to encode on the fly without frame drops on a p3 850 with good visual quality.

Re:Ce La Vie (in bad accent) (4, Informative)

sydsavage (453743) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391423)

You are mistaken. My MythTV box, built around the Hauppauge PVR-350, has better quality encoding than TiVo. MPEG-2 recording at full SDTV resolution of 720x480, while an unhacked TiVo is limited to around half that.

Re:Ce La Vie (in bad accent) (1)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391462)

the video encoding quality goes WAY down when done on a PC.

If you do it badly, sure.

PCs are well capable of doing a decent or better job encoding.

Re:Ce La Vie (in bad accent) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391111)

C'est la vie?

Not until.... (0, Redundant)

Scrab (573004) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391073)

I hear it confirmed by Netcraft will I believe it...

oh man (1, Offtopic)

yaroze32 (689185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391074)

this sucks. The product was good, service was good but the rest of the business world (mainly M$) did not want them around, and it looks like they will get their way. another good one bites the dust ;(

Re:oh man (2, Interesting)

Gudlyf (544445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391143)

I would sure hesitate to buy one of Tivo's lifetime subscriptions right about now...

Re:oh man (1)

Eric Giguere (42863) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391170)

I would sure hesitate to buy one of Tivo's lifetime subscriptions right about now.

That's the problem with lifetime subscriptions... most people assume such a subscription is valid for their lifetime when in fact it's valid for the company's lifetime.

But yeah, an annual subscription looks like the better deal right now...

Eric
See your HTTP headers here [ericgiguere.com]

Re:oh man (2, Interesting)

Gudlyf (544445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391208)

Actually it's for the lifetime of the particular unit you're using. It's non-transferable to a newer unit, for example. But yeah, I assume the lifetime of Tivo as a company applies as well.

Re:oh man (0, Flamebait)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391231)

Nuh uh, it's the boxes lifetime. If the box dies after the warrantee is up, so does the service agreement.

The warrantee is 90 days.

I like the interface on my TiVo, the company are a bunch of jackasses who think it's the middle of the .com boom or something.

Think about it, paying 14 bucks a month for TV listings? That's all the TiVo service provides, other than that, the box is just artificially crippled.

Unless you take the line that I'm paying them for the priveledge of letting them collect my viewing habits to resell to marketters.

Guess I'll get back to working on perfecting my MythTV setup, which I'm already liking better than TiVo. Even with a crappy old frame-grabber card. I'm just holding out for the word that Hauppages PVR500MCE has official ivtv support.

Re:oh man (5, Insightful)

GeorgeMcBay (106610) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391173)


The product was good, service was good but the rest of the business world (mainly M$) did


As rich and powerful as Microsoft is, they just don't have the kind of power you think they do, especially when it comes to markets outside of computer OSes. I can't believe you're sitting here blaming Microsoft for the fact that Tivo is a poorly run company...


The vast majority of business failures people think were somehow caused by Microsoft were really caused by the ineptitude of the company that went under. When Microsoft goes after a market, a well-run company will push them back (see: Quicken vs Microsoft Money). A poorly run company? Well... Darwin's law kicks in. Is that really Microsoft's fault?

Re:oh man (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391483)

I was under the impression that Quicken is popular because Microsoft Money sucked....

Re:oh man (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391192)

they could you know, just have stayed at that core thing and sold their things for a nice profit and then just have closed shop or figured another hardware product that people want when there was no more point in doing their first product.

but they wanted to get a steady stream of money forever.....

I don't see that much though how MS specificially is to blame. tivo's first product came in a good spot but it's not as competitive now anymore..

Re:oh man (3, Interesting)

uradu (10768) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391325)

It's got less to do with others than with themselves. They worked hard to get the first product out, and then thought that the hard work was over. They haven't done anything truly innovative since v1.0, and never had a really good concept on how to make money beyond gouging customers $10 a month (later $13) for yet another TV guide. I've said it for a long time, they should have accessorized the TiVo like video game companies do, that's where the real money is. There's really not much of a "service" aspect to what TiVo does, and trying to artificially create one by selling the guide as such only angers those customers that see what's going on. They should have released their own branded external expansion hard drives (using 1394 over a proprietary connector if they wanted, to lower competition), they should have brought out external branded DVD or CD recorders and let the consumers burn shows (CD burners along with SVCD creation three years ago would have been the cat's meow, when DVD-Rs were still expensive), they should have offered unit-to-unit networking and cooperative recording and scheduling years ago, using their own branded Ethernet adapters, etc, etc, etc... Instead they took a good long nap and let the rest of the world pass them by. Oh well, I got my money's worth out of my TiVo, I won't be shedding a single tear when they pass.

The king is dead! Long live the king! (2, Interesting)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391106)

Where's my OpenCable Moxi [moxi.com] ?

(Translation: Does it matter if TiVo dies as long as something better comes along?)

Re:The king is dead! Long live the king! (1)

cqnn (137172) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391241)

The question is, will the OpenCable Moxi beat
the OpenCable Tivo to market?

Re:The king is dead! Long live the king! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391294)

probably doesn't matter Moxi seems to support the existing encryption standards - there are Motorola ones installed here in LA now and Moxi claim they are doing Scientific Atlanata ones too - so for 90% of the cable systems in the US OpenCable is really a non-issue for Moxi .... you just have to ask your cable company to support them

Exploding TV? (5, Funny)

PopeAlien (164869) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391115)

'The fate of TiVo also highlights the dilemma facing a lot of "exploding TV" start-ups.',

ok, I admit I'm not real familiar with the latest in television technology, but exploding TV's? what could possibly be the upside of that? faced with that sort of danger you'd definately want a TV-b-Gone. I'd say if their TV's are exploding TiVo's fate has definately been sealed. [tvbgone.com]

Mourning (1, Redundant)

tuxter (809927) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391116)

I am constantly amazed by the absolutely shocking decisions made in relation to the TiVo. It is an outstanding product that could have made an absolute fortune, but has been totally hobbled by a insane business model and pathetic marketing. Shame.

Re:Mourning (1)

tuxter (809927) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391354)

redundant. Why?

Re:Mourning (1)

Brian Brian (849676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391395)

I agree with your points. But I also know for certain that many people simply don't understand it, what it does, how it can do for them. Remember that people can't set their VCR clocks so many don't stand a chance of understanding Tivo - as obvious as I think it is.

Re:Mourning (1)

tuxter (809927) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391441)

Fucktards. If they are that ignorant, they don't deserve to hold a licence, let alone watch TV.

I don't doubt it (4, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391121)

First, I have to take issue with the claim that such technology, concepts, and products are not enough for a successful business. I think their success to this point is evidence enough of the power of this kind of product.

On the other hand, I have to agree that Comcast has the power to propel TiVo into a different level of play. With that kind of support, they'd have a huge step up on all this exploding competition. That competition is finding ways to improve upon what TiVo already has - free listings, better storage, better interface, etc. Why compete directly when you could stand on the shoulders of Comcast?

Success? (5, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391286)

First, I have to take issue with the claim that such technology, concepts, and products are not enough for a successful business. I think their success to this point is evidence enough of the power of this kind of product.
"Their success to this point"???!!! For a private company, success means profits. If not actual profits, then hopes of profits in the forseeable future. As the story mentions, they've lost half a billion dollars, and show no sign of going into the black.

TiVo lovers (I used to be one myself) think this product is terminally cool because, when a TiVo box works correctly, it makes TV watching 100 times more enjoyable. But that, by itself, is not "success". Tivo lovers, though fanatical, are few and far between. TiVo has simply made too many mistakes. The platform is too klugy, so there's always been reliability issues. And if it does break, you have to send it back to the factory, for fees that approach the original purchase price. Even if nothing ever went wrong, most consumers just don't see such an expensive gadget as being worthwhile for what it does. This company is circling the drain.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but good "technology, concepts, and products" is not a guarantee of success. There are other factors: marketing, management, timing, access to markets, and just plain luck. The few techies that get rich making some amazing breakthrough get all the press -- but most innovative tech companies fail.

Which is true of all business. You can get very, very rich, but not without taking very, very big risks.

So how much is a MythTV? (4, Interesting)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391124)

Okay, so if I can pick up a TiVo for a couple of hundred bucks, how much is a MythTV box? You need a fast pentium box with a large HD, right? Plus a video encoder. What's the cheapest MythTV box that I could put together that competes with a base TiVo?
-russ

Re:So how much is a MythTV? (2, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391220)

Okay, so if I can pick up a TiVo for a couple of hundred bucks, how much is a MythTV box? You need a fast pentium box with a large HD, right? Plus a video encoder. What's the cheapest MythTV box that I could put together that competes with a base TiVo?

Couple of things here. First off you can get a baseline Tivo (40 hour) for $99 before rebates. I happened to pick mine up on special (after rebate) for $49.99.

The 40 hour Tivo is really about a 25 hour Tivo if you are looking to not have super shit quality on all your recordings. The cost is also a lot more than $50 or $99 because you have to pay the bastards $12.99 a month (or $300 for life).

Ok, so you get a Tivo and a lifetime subscription for $400. You would need to start comparing MythTV at that point. Most people would probably want to also add the extra $50 to $100 (depending on rebates) for a decent HD to equate to something you would probably have with MythTV (say 80GB to 120GB). I would figure the baseline MythTV box would have to start around $500 or so.

Have at it boys.

Re:So how much is a MythTV? (2, Informative)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391262)

If you have something like the PVR350, which has encoder and decoder, you don't need much CPU at all to use it simply as a TiVo-like device. I've read P2 266's working, I bet you could go even lower. Hell the Tivo is like a 33mhz MIPS, isn't it?

Of course, a MythTV box could in theory do so much more: reencode stuff you want to keep in divx in the background, playback any sort of content you want, play games, stream both live tv and content to other clients, put as many tuners in it as there are PCI slots.

I wouldn't compare MythTV to TiVo, I'd be inclined to compare it to Windows MCE. Of course, like all things linux, it's all flexible.

I've been playing with Myth quite a bit, looking to replace my TiVo. I just cant get used to paying 14 bucks a month for the same TV listings I can get for free. That's all their service provides. The fact TiVo won't work without it, is completely artificial.

And when they go belly up... (1)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391474)

... there won't be the loyalty to prevent people from hacking the authentication source, and we'll see ebay flooded with 2nd hand Tivos... and people will modify them like they do leftover internet appliances.

And I'll see my purchase go the way of the 1st generation DVD players: Given away to my neighbor in exchange for his kid mowing my lawn ;)

Re:So how much is a MythTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391311)

Well, considering you can get a new tivo box for $80 [devsdeals.com] , you would have to get some pretty dang cheap hardware to beat that with MythTV.

Re:So how much is a MythTV? (2, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391479)

Depends on what kind of old hardware you have laying around, and that will determine what you should add to turn it into a MythTV.

IFF (If and Only If) you have hardware encoding on your video/TV tuner card, MythTV will run on a lower end older CPU. www.byopvr.com claims 233MHz if you have hardware MPEG-2 encoding, but that seems fantastically optimistic. Keep in mind that hardware encoding is fairly expensive -- I just bought the USB-2 Hauppauge PVR for $150 at MicroCenter yesterday. (I'm sure they're cheaper on line, but I can afford instant gratification.) A faster CPU (1.8 GHz is adequate according to some people) will allow you to do software encoding, meaning you can get a cheapo video encoder for $50 or less.

The larger the drives, the more content you can save. ReplayTV figures it in the neighborhood of 1GB per hour saved at crappy quality, maybe 3GB/hour for better. They don't need to be fast -- 5400 RPM IDE will do. If you have an old 20GB laying around, it's probably good enough.

RAM, well, you'll need some. A CD-ROM drive is pretty much a minimum, but a DVD drive will let you playback DVDs. An ethernet connection is probably going to be useful. Audio hardware, you may need that too. There are reports that some on-board nVidia nForce 2 chipsets won't work with MythTV, so if that's your audio choice you might need a cheapo SoundBlaster Live! card. On-board video will probably also be adequate.

And you may end up struggling with xmltv; trying to keep a TV listing grid current can be a challenge, depending on what country you live in.

Bottom line: it certainly doesn't require an Athlon64 or a dual Xeon monster to run one of these. Like anything else, if you pay more you'll get more. There are people who have incorporated MAME consoles into their MythTVs, others build monster gaming machines and only use them as TVs when they're not online. Others simply want a fire-and-forget box like a ReplayTV or TiVo.

All in all, your mileage will vary. You need to consider what assembling and maintaining all this will cost you personally in terms of time. Are you willing to put that much effort into a box you could have just picked up at Best Buy for $400 and never looked at again?

Very True (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391144)

Tivo is toast. It's a great product without question. The issue is that all the major cable companies (Comcast, Cox, etc.) are building those capabilities into the set top box.

Over Christmas, my grandfather asked about Tivo because his brother had recently gotten one. He really didn't know quite what it was, but he wanted one. So, we went to all the consumer electronics shops and looked into it. It was going to be $100.00 bucks after a rebate, twelve bucks a month, and then he had to get some kind of phone line across the room to the back of the TV. They suggested a wireless phone jack, which was an extra $85 dollars or so.

Instead of messing with all that, I stopped by the Cox office and they gave us a new cable box for free and the extra DVR functionality for an extra ten dollars a month over what he had already been paying. He's not going to notice a big difference between that and Tivo, so it's definitely "good enough".

I like Tivo's announcement about Internet-oriented content, but I just don't think they have a chance. EVERYONE and his mother is going after the set top box "center of the digital living room lifestyle". This includes at least Sony, Cisco, Microsoft, Apple, Nintendo, all the set top box manufacturers and cable providers, as well as many other upstarts. People will want as few boxes as possible (hopefully one), so products like Tivo that don't have the depth of stickiness, that aren't the anchor of critical functionality (cable TV vs. VCR, if you absolutely had to choose which one would it be). As such, Tivo is in big, big, big trouble.

Re:Very True (4, Insightful)

lightspawn (155347) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391317)

Instead of messing with all that, I stopped by the Cox office and they gave us a new cable box for free and the extra DVR functionality for an extra ten dollars a month over what he had already been paying. He's not going to notice a big difference between that and Tivo, so it's definitely "good enough".


But only because he's never used a TiVo.

I own a TiVo, and hate hate hate using Cox's DVR, which has horrible usability issues, even apart from the response times (over a second for basic operations).

As a random example - if you view a list and press page-down, you're now at the TOP of the next page. Pressing page-down again brings you to the bottom of the page and another press to the top of the next page.

TiVo practically always does exactly what I expect when I press a button, and the layout is so convenient that I never have to look at the remote.

I would gladly buy TiVo's UI people a round of drinks, but could get violent if I ever met Cox's DVR's developers (it looks like they have no UI people and let the programmers do it).

Re:Very True (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391445)

Why can't Tivo use a net connection? I live in an 85-year-old house. I have one phone jack and no land line service. I am not going to string 100+ feet of phone cable and restart a painful relationship with SBC so my girlfriend can time-delay What Not to Wear. Meanwhile, my WAP actually sits on top of my TV (I have a cable mdoem).

Tivo sounds rad, but it's useless if it requires a land line.

Re:Very True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391463)

TiVo does use a net connection, if you have a standalone Series 2 TiVo (but it doesn't work for DirecTV TiVos; DirecTV refuses to upgrade the TiVo software).

You simply add a USB-to-Ethernet dongle, and hook it up to your LAN. You may need to upgrade your TiVo standalone software first, but once that is done, it is pretty easy to use your net connection instead of a phone line.

Someone got it wrong. (0)

FlatCatInASlatVat (828700) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391148)

All those bumper stickers that say "Kill your TV": Someone must have misunderstood and killed TiVo by mistake. Just another case of anything that is well designed, useful, tastes good or has some intrinsic value in this world disappearing, while all the junk sticks around endlessly.

Re:Someone got it wrong. (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391255)

Just another case of anything that is well designed, useful, tastes good or has some intrinsic value in this world disappearing, while all the junk sticks around endlessly.
No it's a case of somebody creating a unique product, not adequately protecting the technology, and ending up drowned by an ocean of "me-too" products that have greater clout because of corporate tie-ins.

First TechTV? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391153)

First, TechTV and now TiVo? Damn you, Comcast!

Re:First TechTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391489)

I second that motion.

Comcast is pure evil! Pure evil from the Eighth Dimension!

I don't think Comcast was ever serious about using TiVo. Why pay TiVo money when they could simply rip off TiVo's ideas, put together a crappy, inferior DVR for much less money, and market it to their captive audience?

Even if they violate TiVo's patents, TiVo doesn't have the money to sue everyone doing this, and might be out of business before a court finally renders a decision a decade from now.

Evil, evil, evil.

Not surprising (3, Insightful)

Tiburana (162897) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391163)

In order for Tivo to survive against the snarly market forces of TV they would have had to promise even more invasive advertising to replace the ads we skip over. In two years Tivo would (will?) end up looking like a cheesy free web page with banner ads and annoying pop-ups. I'd rather live in the moment and go to the bathroom during ad breaks.

Well that's just great... (1)

camcloud1 (758094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391164)

The coolest invention to hit TV since the VCR and it's not even going to make it to Australia before it dies in the ass. I have been waiting for TiVo to hit down here for the past year and now it looks like that will be never be.

Re:Well that's just great... (1)

sjf (3790) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391291)

There's certainly no legitimate TiVo service in Australia, but for those willing to do a little work, there certainly are ways to get a TiVo to work in OZ:

http://www.google.com/search?q=tivo+in+australia&i e=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 [google.com]

And, you can thank Tridge (Andrew Tridgell for a lot of the groundwork for this.)

-S

Re:Well that's just great... (1)

Vengeance_au (318990) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391398)

It has hit AU, just not "retail". The OzTiVo crew have got the solution humming, and its a beautiful thing.
OzTiVo homepage [tuhs.org]
Personally I have a MythTV [mythtv.org] box, but thats because of the higher geek-quotient involved :-) but I have set up OzTiVo's for friends and family who are less "techie", and just want something that works. Get the integrated network + cache card, a 200+ Gb hdd and a memory stick, and you are about $400 in for a solution that then costs $0/month down. The community group for OzTiVo keeps the listings pretty solid, so you should be very happy :-)

What TiVo needs to do. (4, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391167)

Ditch the service.

Open the box, screw this DRM'ed TivoToGo crap. Just open an SMB service, or ftp, or some such.

Sell the box at a profit. I'd pay up to 500 bucks for one, that just worked - always, regardless of whether TiVo is still in business. It's still cheaper than rolling my own with MythTV, and a whole lot less of a hassle.

Since that's not what they're going to do, since TivoToGo turned out to be useless - need a custom app to burn to DVD? And it's not out yet? And I'm supposed to buy what is basically the same Prassi/Stomp/Veritas software that I already have three copies of again for another 50 bucks?

Anyways. I like the TiVo interface. Good riddance to the rest of it.

I've been playing with MythTV. As soon as I get it working to my liking, my series 2 TiVo goes up on eBay. I'm getting there, it's nothing but time and effort.

I already know it'll blow TiVo away, it'll stream recorded content and live TV via VideoLan, which I can watch on satellite boxes, which I plan to be no more than some hacked XBoxes. It'll have (at least) two tuners. It'll record to DVD-R without jumping through hoops. It'll grab content from the 'net.

So on an offtopic note, anyone have an idea how support for the Hauppage PVR150MCE and 500MCE is going under ivtv? I got an itch to order the 500MCE (mmm two tuners, two encoders.. all for roughly the price of the 250), becuase it looks like it will be supported soon.. But I don't want to be stuck with a dud.

Re:What TiVo needs to do. (1)

dnadig (414126) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391198)

I know we are all in love with linux here, and I played with Myth to, but there's a number you are missing here:

Microsoft MCE shipped 1.6 million units last year. Anyone care to guess how many WORKING Myth installations are out there?

It sucks (MCE) it really isn't that great. Putting sage or snapstream on top of Meedio is vastly superior. Myth can get SORT of close, if you are careful, and don't need to talk to any windows machines.

All of it kicks the crap out of Tivo

Re:What TiVo needs to do. (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391299)

I'm not terribly impressed with MCE. I don't care how much they ship, and I don't care if I'm the only guy with a working Myth box. So far I like what I've been able to get out of Myth. No slashbot can accuse me of being a linux zealot, I just like what Myth does so far.

Myth has a long way to go. Out of the box it isn't there. Like I said, I've been working with it a lot, in the code and setup and whatnot. I plan to return anything worthwhile I come up with back to the project, if it's possible.

I'm thinking of a parts list that any dope could go to CompUSA to buy and assemble, and a bootable ISO, that just makes it work. Take all the OS tinkering out of the middle. To me, this is what linux should be, where it belongs - task oriented distros that do what they do, and do it well. Hell, that's what TiVo is.

Re:What TiVo needs to do. (2, Interesting)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391458)

It's already been done...I got a magazine (Atomic) that came with this already done. You could probably find it on the internet somewhere.

Re:What TiVo needs to do. (1)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391409)

Anyone care to guess how many WORKING Myth installations are out there?

n+1

Re:What TiVo needs to do. (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391488)

mythTV has very good possibilities.
Anyone got it working on a small motherboard with onboard everything so that it will fit in a tiny case like a Tivo or Comcast box? A whole computer next to my tv just doesn't look good...

This is what I feared (5, Insightful)

earthforce_1 (454968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391177)

and why I would never buy any piece of hardware that relies on a subscription. All the more if they offer a "lifetime" subscription where you pay up front. People have fallen into this trap with health clubs as well - what is the chance that the company behind the hardware will outlive me?

Re:This is what I feared (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391272)

and why I would never buy any piece of hardware that relies on a subscription. All the more if they offer a "lifetime" subscription where you pay up front. People have fallen into this trap with health clubs as well - what is the chance that the company behind the hardware will outlive me?

Well, in this case I think that because of how Tivo has been created (hardware and OS wise) and the fact that it has been relatively easy to hack Tivo units will continue to function in their current state for years to come.

People who owned Tivos and find it dead will throw them up on Ebay for whoever to grab them. A team of hackers will have available changes to be made that will allow you to pull down the information for your CATV or SATTV and do the same shit as before.

Yeah, it'll be a bit more difficult to get updates (as if they come all that frequently with Tivo as I'm STILL waiting for my 7.x update for Tivo2Go) and it might cause a bit of a struggle to get it working but after that it'll likely be much like MythTV is now.

So, it was great that I paid for my Tivo unit when they were taking subscriptions because I ended up with a $50 unit that would have cost me at least $500 for MythTV and I will likely end up w/the same functionality.

If they do die I'm crossing my fingers ;)

So it goes... (3, Interesting)

wcitechnologies (836709) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391185)

The law of the bottom dollar says that if people can provide a service for themselves for free, they will. Most of them anyway. HTPCs increasingly become easier to build and cheaper to buy. Its always irked me that TiVo would charge you to use a device that you purchased legally. It'd be like Microsoft trying to charge me per megabyte to use my own hard drive. (I probably shouldn't even SAY that...) Ask yourself: how many people in the world still have milk delivered to their front doors? How many people still have their gas pumped by an attendant? How many people in the world will continue to pay for TiVo?

Re:So it goes... (2, Informative)

FlightTest (90079) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391267)


How many people still have their gas pumped by an attendant?

Apparently, everyone in New Jersey and Oregon [yahoo.com] .

Re:So it goes... (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391308)

This guys on fire!

The ban on self-service gas stations is a highly combustible issue and makes for some heated debates

It's all so punny I forgot to laugh.

Re:So it goes... (3, Interesting)

starman97 (29863) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391312)

I guess paying for DSS TV service must really bum you out, after all you bought the dish and reciever, the nerve of them expecting you to pay for the content. You pay for Internet Service, but you bought the firewall and your ethernet card...

What Tivo owners are paying for is the directory service and database compilation that makes the search functions of the Tivo useful. If you want to use it as a simple PVR, yuo can buy a 1st generation box, they had enabled that feature.
If you buy a Series2, you buy it knowing that it does not work without purchase of the Tivo Service. It says so on the Box. Tivo does not charge by the Gig, you can upgrade all models without incurring any extra charges.

All but a very small minority of Tivo owners will continue to buy the serive as long as it is available at it's current pricing and features.
What will kill them is if they disable commercial fast-forwards or jack the price or do some sort of pay per view for previously recorded shows. The second they do that they are dead.

MythTV is free if you value your time. I dont have time to program or manually search for things to watch. I also dont have the interest to mess with building a linux box just to watch TV, for that, I'll buy a tivo and it's service and get on with working and playing with more interesting things.

Tivo couldn't keep up (1)

slakdrgn (531347) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391191)

It isn't a huge supprise for me, as hard as the content providers and cable companies have been pushing on tivo. Add that to the price inceases a while back. Tivo was/is a concept, and a good one at that. Tivo started a tv revolution (basically), unfortunately, they couldn't keep up with it. They may die, they may not. They will always be remembered reguardless. They did the right things as far as community goes (being hack-friendly (are they still that?), fighting to keep control when dealing with content providers such as DirecTV, Comcast, etc..) but being community friendly does not equal being greedy business friendly. I'm not sure how true my statement is anymore, I haven't kept up, however, that is how it seems to me.


They started something, something big that will/is forcing the content providers to change, if a bit forcefully. They just couldn't keep up.

Re:Tivo couldn't keep up (1, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391346)

They are not hack-friendly. The TivoToGo content is locked down via DRM. To burn to DVD-R you have to buy another burning app (essentially a kludged version of the same prassi RecordNow burning software everybody rebrands as their own).

The new 40 hour Series 2.5's (the nightlight models) are locked down so the kernel is cryptographically signed, so you can't do anything with it.

No commercial skip. No nothing.

They're as far from hack-friendly as you can get.

Too Bad, I was looking fwd to Tivo w/ cable tuner (1)

zymurgyboy (532799) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391201)

This [reuters.com] will probably arrive far too late to save them if it ever makes it market anyway, at this point.

Even if it does, they still would have the problem of selling it in any meaningful volume. They'd basically have the same problems marketing something with the cable tuner thrown in as they have now without it.

Oh well, back to getting a MythTV box together.

Since they're screwed anyway, I wonder if they'll just say fuggit and let you move whatever you want to onto and off of the Tivo box while they're in their death throws. It'd be a nice way for them to say goodbye to their loyal customer base while giving the content guys the bird on the way down.

Re:Too Bad, I was looking fwd to Tivo w/ cable tun (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391327)

It'd be nice for them to play by the spirit of the OS on which they attempted to build their empire - and release all the code that's on the TiVo box, so we can hack them to get listings from XMLTV, or whatever, and keep using them.

Or roll our own, or roll the code into Myth, or whatever. There's some good stuff there (well besides the DRM)

Instead, they'll go bankrupt, and I'll have a nice combination nightlight and paperweight.

Not all Bad News (1)

rackman (724476) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391207)

With a company like Microsoft getting involved it might not be the last nail in the coffin. M$ has a history of running concept stocks and products. Anyone remember the tablet pc? http://www.tivo.com/5.3.1.1.asp?article=233

Re:Not all Bad News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391319)

I own a Tablet PC. It works great for my purpose (note taking, web browsing and e-mail while moving around my office and home office). They seem to be selling more every year.

You're an idiot for implying it's somehow forgotten in history.

Comcast are bastards (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391211)

I've been involved with Comcast before trying to do business with them in an RFP. We worked it for a few months, the end was in sight and we were about to close. It was clear our technology was the best and our company was in the best position to support it. We had champions in Comcast, it was just a matter of formalities. Then in the end, our competitor got to someone in the executive suite, probably got them hookers or something like that. After that, an edict came down from the top that our competitor would be the choice. No one in the exec staff was remotely involved in the RFP and knew nothing of what occured during the selection process. It was a slimy deal. I would imagine something similar happened with TiVo.

oh well (1)

ksheff (2406) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391225)

I stopped watching TV regularly years ago and don't have a need for a TiVo like device. Unfortunately, this was a high profile linux device and I wouldn't be surprised if the cable monopolies teamed up with MSFT to create their new set tops. Yet another reason to avoid TV.

TiVo has two things going for it (5, Interesting)

mveloso (325617) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391227)

TiVo really has only two things going for it:

* the program guide
* the interface

The program guide is really great, and the interface is incredibly easy to use.

The problem seems to be TiVo spends a lot of its money on the boxes. Hardware costs for the TiVo boxes totalled $68,056,000 for the last nine months of the last fiscal year. That's a lot of hardware.

They're also selling that hardware at a loss. HW Revenues were $60,823,000, with $29,508,000 in rebates. Ouch.

There's not a lot that TiVo can do, financially.

The TiVo service only cost $25,069,000 to run for those 9 months, while TiVo pulled in $81,311,000 in revenue. That means if they stopped selling TiVo boxes, they'd make money (though it's unclear from the revenue numbers if the tech revenues include partner hardware).

That won't expand their customer base, though.

Maybe they could spin off their guide business and license it to other box manufacturers? I'm sure TV Guide would love to buy it from them. It would free the guide to provide services to all the manufacturers, though they obviously have someone doing it already (who knows?).

Maybe they could contract to get the hardware built more cheaply?

The hardware is really killing them. Sure, they can't do a Microsoft (not at less than $1/subscriber/month for licensees). But they don't have to have high-end hardware either.

Re:TiVo has two things going for it (1)

Quixote (154172) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391422)

The TiVo service only cost $25,069,000 to run for those 9 months, while TiVo pulled in $81,311,000 in revenue.

How the heck can providing TV listings cost ~$3MM/month? I'm not questioning, I'm just wondering.

regardless (2, Interesting)

zontroll (714448) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391228)

Even if they go bankrupt, look at replaytv...they were a startup and they went broke (people were buying tivo instead because of the much lower price because replaytv baked their lifetime price into the cost of the device)... sonicblue bought them and changed the model to match tivo but went bankrupt due to all the lawsuits over auto-commercial skip ... dnna bought the replay division from bankruptcy and is doing everything right: not investing too much in new features until the market makes it worthwhile while capitalizing on the slowly increasing market...

the only reason tivo didn't go sooner was due to large corporate backing and partnering with directv... even if they go, they'll survive in some form because this industry is gonna happen one way or the other (the other being cable/satellite boxes, etc)

All I have to say is.. Well, SHIT! (0, Redundant)

drfreak (303147) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391230)

I bought one for my parents for christmas and another for myself after playing with theirs. I love it and do not mind the monthly fee at all. I even networked my own TiVo to prepare for tivotogo. If tivo dies after I finally broke down and bought one, well, that would just suck the petrified shit out of a dead man's ass!

Re:All I have to say is.. Well, SHIT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391250)

Playing with theirs, indeed.

In Canada..... (1)

thundercatslair (809424) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391242)

they don't offer tvio, I know that if they did I probably would really consider buying one. The monthly fee is a real burn

Heh (1)

yoey (247125) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391257)

You know, if the deal the CEO walked away from actually turned out to be the correct one, we'd all be saying how brilliant and gutsy this guy was.

fros7 p1st!? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391273)

in posting a GNAA had at lunchtime The hard drive to you are a screaming United States of Too many rules and Progress. Any Could sink your 4.1BSD product, When I stood for subscribers. Please discussions on bureaucratic and direct orders, or big deal. Death [nero-online.org]. same worthle5s are about 7000/5 we get there with and I probably to be about doing the numbers. The Apple too. No, about a project empire in decline, give other people claim that BSD is a chronic abuse of ballots. You could tooD many rules and

When it started: (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391281)

The day they gave in to broadcasters demands and restricted recording of NFL games and other shows. I was going to buy 4 Tivos, read it, 4 Tivos, for my house, but that pushed me other to MythTV.

Pathetic. Even with this now TVtogo thing they put out, it STILL restricts what you can do with it. Since when do device makers have to be the broadcasters bitches?

No TiVo for me.. (2, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391285)

I have Adelphia Digital Cable, and for a while I was tempted to get a TiVo. The cost was a little high, but I work odd hours and miss some of my favorite shows. I was tempted to get a TiVo until Adelphia offered a nice little DVR box for 9.99/mo with no up front payment.

Adelphia isn't alone in offering these nice little DVRs, either. TiVo had a great idea, and now that everybody and their aunt Jan can offer a DVR for a low low price, I just can't see TiVo moving millions of units.

Re:No TiVo for me.. (1)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391486)

For me the only good thing about working late nights is not having a chance to see any prime time TV.

Some days I will have a day off or return early, and will torn on the TV around 8 pm and will be completely shocked at the awfullness of the shows. Or the fact that now commercials are actually inserted in the programming.

But when I watch at night i can always get a seinfeld, simpsons or that 70s show rerun. So I get go to sleep without witnessing the next stage of commercialization of popular culture -- tv shows that are mostly commercials but are still interrupted for regular commercial breaks.

DirecTiVo / CES (4, Interesting)

deviator (92787) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391314)

I was at CES. DirecTV is dropping TiVo for their own new custom-built upcoming DVRs. From what I understand DirecTV currently provides some life support for TiVo in the form of a rather inexpensive licensing/subscription fee for each user--but that will go away.

The interface is incredible; the remote is the best I've ever used for anything; the programming guide is extremely good... but anyone and their Mom can hack together a DVR at this point (not that it'll be as good as TiVo).

Scientific Atlanta and Tivo (1)

Zed2K (313037) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391340)

SA should buy out Tivo and incorporate their technology into their cable boxes. Tivo would then live on and SA would then actually have the ability to make a good box.

The MPAA/RIAA/DRM/BroadcastFlag/Powell (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391343)

/FCC/Fritz septfecta succeeded/will succeed in killing Tivo.

Anything beyond the control of the cable and media cartels will be killed at any cost. We have the FCC killing any dsl beyond the baby bells, by allowing the baby bells to let their copper die through neglect (which has been paid for by consumers many times over through tax deductions on infrastructure during and after deregulation) while they install fiber through the same consumer paid-for-through-tax-deductions infrastructure, while preventing resellers from accessing/sharing the fiber at reasonable costs. My dsl reseller currently pays more for my connection than I would if I purchased directly from my baby bell. On top of that, add cost of reseller isp dns servers, mail servers, other servers, add costs of support, all the other costs, and the baby bells are getting away with murder.

And at the same time, Powell and the FCC do nothing to ensure that end users are allowed to run servers, are allowed to use their dsl (or cable) connections for various purposes (ssh is considered running a server, vpn is considered business class, no mail server, no web server, p2p is considered running a server, so are many other uses). If I'm stuck with 2 sellers, baby bell and cable monopolies, at the very least, Powell and the FCC have to mandate that the common carriers are really common carriers, they have no control over what ports of the internet an end user uses, the entire internet is available to every user.

What good is pushing for an internet infrastructure like Korea has, with 100 mbps connections, when the local monopolies get to control what you can do, with such simple things as vpn, ssh, and similar vital services. Should we all use telnet?

If it is left to Powell, we'll end up with what others have already predicted, an entertainment device controlled by the entertainment cartel. Computing will be dead. Once the baby bells succeed in their single-minded mission of fiber everywhere so they don't have to share their lines with anyone, any guess as to which way prices will go? Choices on what you can or can't do with your connection? Speeds? Really believe you'll get the same speeds with fiber now than you will when the line-sharing competition is out of business? Really believe you'll get upload speeds equal to download? How about a 20 mbps download with a 128 Kbps upload, due to newly discovered "problems" or bandwidth "hogs".

Tivo is just a small subset of the overall problem.

As an aside, how do you use a tivo box that doesn't come from the cable company, if you have cable with a cable set-top box? Is it possible? What functionality does one lose?

The reason I have a Tivo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11391349)

I don't want/have a need for digital cable or satellite so I don't have a built in box. Building my own would be a more expensive pain in the ass procedure.

I want a commercially available one pre-built. There are not a lot of options in that market.

LEADING ANALYSTS CONFIRM IT... (0, Flamebait)

GET THE FACTS! (850779) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391355)

Windows has lower TCO than Linux and Tivo combined!!!

Tivo is DYING.

And I just bought a Tivo around Christmas! (1)

doormat (63648) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391399)

Good thing I didnt purchase the lifetime sub.

I dont think Tivo will die. They will probably suck for a while, they need to get their cablecard system out this summer instead of next year. It really frustrates me that they annouce a product like TivoToGo and then take a year to deploy it because the FCC wont stand up for fair use and tell the MPAA to fuck off.

Most people miss the point of TiVo (5, Interesting)

WalletBoy (555942) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391408)

I think most people miss the point of TiVo especially when they say things like "I can just build a MythTV box or I can do this on a computer..."

What makesTiVo really great isn't the box, or the interface, or any of the generic PVR features, it's the TiVo service that makes it great and you lose that with everything else. It's the service that's worth it for me and what I don't mind paying for it. All these other PVRs are just hard-drive based VCRs with a GUI. Even a TiVo box is just a hard-drive VCR with a GUI without the TiVo service.

Sure you can get other PVR solutions to download TV-listings and they probably have something like TiVo's season pass where it can follow shows you have season passes to and tape them whenever they air (even if they are pre-empted). The one thing I don't know if anyone else has is the TiVo suggestions. I have my TiVo so well trained I don't have to use the TV listings anymore. My TiVo picks out most of what I watch for me. It's like hiring a personal secretary who knows your tastes.

After I come home for work and eat dinner, I usually have enough shows on my TiVo that TiVo picked for me to keep me entertained until I go to bed a couple of hours later. I don't have to surf channels, I don't even have to look at any listing to see if it's something I might like to watch and tell my PVR to tape it. It's gotten to the point where sometimes I don't even know what's on TV anymore and I don't care because I have more than enough shows I like to watch waiting for me each evening. I don't have to spend 20 minutes each day scrolling through a program listing of 500 channels to find the one program I might like to watch tomorrow and tell my PVR to tape it. For me I don't mind paying $12.95 a month if it means saving me 20 minutes a day in front of a computer or on a TV menu doing "prep-work" for my evening's TV watching. I will sorely miss this if TiVo were to go away.

All we need... (1)

solios (53048) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391428)

... is some halfway decent PVR software that does what TiVo does. Price it at, say, fiddy bux. Modern hardware's good enough to work it on the fly- all it has to do is be smart enough to recognize various sources of audio and video input, basic tuning faccilities, etc. and be EASY. TO. USE. None of this homebrew shit that causes your mom to lose interest.

Oh, and make the software cross platform. From the number of people spunking their pants over OMFG MAC MINI SET TOP BAWX!!!!!!!!!11111 SQUIRT!, fuck- it would go like hotcakes.

Especially considering how much of a pain in the ass the bittorrent scene has insisted on making itself over the past few weeks/months. :|

Tivo's time to go nuclear...heh, heh, heh.... (1)

Dr_Marvin_Monroe (550052) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391448)

I've never had a problem with the Tivo hardware. I really like it. I've almost bought one a few times.... But, as with a lot of the other people posting here, I had a problem with paying $12/month (I think that's it) for the electronic equiv. of TV Guide. This has always kept me from getting one. Well, that and one more thing....

What REALLY burned me though, was the stories of overnight "downgrades" and the EULA with crap about how "Company reserves the right to alter the user experience at will..blah..blah..." I think everyone remembers hearing something about TIVO caving into industry demands to remove features that Hollywood didn't like....

Now that Comcast has signed their warrant, it's time for Tivo to strike back and destroy a few other control based business models that come from Hollywood....

1) How about FREE programming guides, paid for by advertising in the corners. I get that crap currently in the corner of my Comcast menu, and I PAY for that service.

2) How about putting in/back ALL of the features that users want!

3) How about offering up the source for Tivo units to the community as GPL and allowing anyone who wants to, to hack their unit with all the best possible free tools? I know that someone will point me to some of the sites on the web, I've seen them. I also know that they exist at the pleasure of Tivo, and by reading the boards, nobody really wants to do anything that would piss the overlords off too much. When I say access, I mean the whole shebam, with no lurking around bb's looking for clues as to how to activate the commercial skip feature or whatever.

Tivo could strike back here, it's not too late to save the platform if they act now. Comcast doesn't want to play? They think that they can homebrew an answer and keep all the money? Fine! How about we let EVERYONE know how this sucker works and turn the dogs out on you.

I think that quick action, in the vein of Mozilla organization/license for the platform would make the Tivo platform IMPOSSIBLE to stop. If they wait too long, their platform will be marginalized and will be worthless. Now's the time to move. If they do, they could still save a tidy business in selling specialty hardware and would get additional revenue from ads on the guides. Of course, it wouldn't be the same fat cut they took before, but it would keep them alive. AND by keeping it open, they would deny the monopoly lock for others.

If Tivo were to do something like that.... i.e. free feeds based on advertising and an open platform with the features I want, I'd go buy one tommorrow. Hell, I'd buy three, one for really watching and two for experiments.

The GPL is radioactive to companies that get their market share based upon control and healthy food for companies that offer service and quality. I think it's time to start throwing the nukes around just to show big media who's in charge....The customer! This could happen just in time to clear the "broadcast flag" crap scheduled for hardware this July! Scorched earth for big media!

Maybe something like ... (2, Insightful)

jamienk (62492) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391450)

Sell a quiet, stylish set-top computer with TV and stereo out, remote control, and wireless. This could be sort of like the MiniMac with Myth front end or a modded xBox, but this model should have lots of CPU and RAM. Build in DVD writer. Rather than emphasizing the recording TV side (this could be a Firewire add-on), emphasize the ability to easily play any format, however acquired. Quiet, cute external hard-drives could be added and daisy-chained.

Also sell cheap, stylish dumb terminals with bootable network card, and set-top box ready to serve. These could look like the new iMac, nice monitor, nice keyboard, nice mouse, but with low CPU, no HD, little RAM, etc. This way you can get away with charging a lot for the set-top, as much as or more than a good computer: it doubles as your server ... just add dumb terminals, up to 10 or 20.

This is the winning combo of 2005. The MiniMac and Xbox2 are light on power, skimpy on playable formats, and not ready to serve as dumb-terminals. They discourage bigger drives, don't burn CDs/DVDs, and don't come with wireless.

whats going to happen to my DirecTiVo (1)

rtphokie (518490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391484)

I pay $5 a month for the Tivo software and get my listings from DirecTV as usual.

I get all the normal TiVo functionality plus dual tuner support (all the good TV is on at the same time, it's called competition) and it's all without all the encoding, decoding and reincoding with standalone TiVos.

I'm guessing DirecTV's replacement for TiVo isn't going to have the same functinality. It will probably be worse.

Right on schedule? (2, Informative)

Monoman (8745) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391487)

It seems like we get a Tivo doomsday article every 3-4 months.

http://slashdot.org/search.pl?query=tivo [slashdot.org]

P2P streaming will replace the PVR concept anyway (1)

popo (107611) | more than 9 years ago | (#11391498)

Is there anyone out there who honestly believes that these non-networked (or barely network-capable) digital PVR's are the end-game anyway?

Don't get me wrong, I love my TiVo (although HD would be nice), but don't we all really want access to what's on everyone *else's* TiVo -- streamed instantly across a P2P network.

Just wait until broadcasters join the chorus of RIAA whiners...

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