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TiVo Wins Appeal On Patents For Pause, Ffwd, Rwd

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the satellites-descending dept.

Patents 215

Lorien_the_first_one writes "After years of wrangling, TiVo has won its day in court against Dish Network, formerly known as the EchoStar, when the Supreme Court declined to take up Dish Network's appeal, forcing the satellite television company to pay $104 million in damages. According to the article, 'TiVo originally won a patent infringement case in 2004 against Dish, which was then named EchoStar Communications. It charged that Dish illegally copied its technology, which allows people to pause, rewind, and record live television on digital video recorders.' Despite an injunction, Dish continued distributing its set-top boxes in the belief that the work-around they had implemented avoided infringing TiVo's patents. Now the case goes back to the lower court for review to determine if they did indeed steer clear of those patents."

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215 comments

Fucking patent trolls (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25298007)

Oh yeah, second person to post blows goats.

Re:Fucking patent trolls (2, Funny)

bconway (63464) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298137)

But TiVo runs (and contributes to) Linux. And these were defensive patents. That makes them okay, right?

Re:Fucking patent trolls (1, Informative)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298529)

they were specific circuit implementations. i.e., hardware patents. It wasn't just patenting 'a vague method of recording and replaying live video' so yes, they're okay.

Re:Fucking patent trolls (-1, Troll)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298757)

No, it's not ok. It's a patent designed to limit market competition and creativity. Besides that its completely obvious. It should be thrown out.

Re:Fucking patent trolls (2, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298821)

Did you even read the post you replied to? Their specific implementation is patented, not the concepts in general. Notice how Comcast, DirecTV, et al have not been sued, despite having set top boxes with those features?

Re:Fucking patent trolls (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298883)

If the specific implementation is not novel or new, then its not valid. I highly doubt that Tivo invented a completely new non obvious method of recording MPEG video streams.

Re:Fucking patent trolls (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299187)

This coming from someone with little to no ideas that need protection from others.

Guess when you have NOTHING to lose, screaming about patent process and law gives you meaning, right?

TiVo, if they did in fact, come up with "something new", deserve the fruits of their efforts.

I call bullshit, myself, since I had a "tivo" device based upon WinTV cards and linux years before TiVo was around.

Still, screaming patent patent patent just because your board (yes, like the piece of wood is stupid. Intelligence levels (pun intended) get lumped (again, pun intended) with like entities.

Don't like it, learn.

--Toll_Free

Re:Fucking patent trolls (5, Insightful)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298675)

Yes, topposting because the knee-jerk patent-troll comments below are annoying.

The patent: Multimedia time warping system [google.com]
Talks about circular buffers for viewing and recording at the same time, maintaining audio synch, running the clock FWD and back while moving through the data. (borrowing from BLKMGK's comment below [slashdot.org] ) Combination of software and hardware (circuit implementation) to get the function working.

NO, your VHS/Betamax player did not have this first, unless it could record the show and play it back at the same time, allowing you to watch different segments of the show while it kept recording. IIRC, Tivo was in negotiations with Echostar/Dish before Dish released a DVR. Tivo let them see a demo unit under NDA. Dish suddenly broke off talks with Tivo, and shortly after came out with their own DishDVR hardware. Sure enough, components infringing on the Tivo patent were found in the hardware.

This kind of crap is exactly what the patent system is supposed to prevent, or at least provide recourse for. The system is working correctly in this case. I'm a Dish subscriber, and love using DVR (even though DishDVR is far inferior to Tivo) because the TV service is the least expensive available where I'm at. It'll be interesting to see if prices change when this settles down.

Re:Fucking patent trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25298733)

It would be impossible with a VCR but quiet trivial with a hard drive.

Re:Fucking patent trolls (0, Flamebait)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298837)

MythTV, or just get the thing to take the video feed from cable to your PC and record away (they're like 50$ cards IIRC). Infinite recording, and no monthly fee. Why pay Tivo to do it free?

This is why people make home theatre pc's anyway...and given you are an intelligent slashie I'm sure you know how to do that.

Re:Fucking patent trolls (1)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299209)

MythTV, or just get the thing to take the video feed from cable to your PC and record away (they're like 50$ cards IIRC). Infinite recording, and no monthly fee. Why pay Tivo to do it free?

I've got both a sweet MythTV system and Tivo (actually two Tivos) and I have to say, I still like the TiVo better. It's worth the $20 I pay for the two of them. Plus, pretty soon, Myth TV users will be paying *something* per month for listings, which have become harder and harder to come by for free.

Re:Fucking patent trolls (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298857)

...and was patented by David Rafner of Honeywell, before TiVO existed .... ...or you could get a PC based PVR and pay nothing for a tivo alike with more features no restrictions and nor subscription required?

Re:Fucking patent trolls (1)

locofungus (179280) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299095)

NO, your VHS/Betamax player did not have this first, unless it could record the show and play it back at the same time, allowing you to watch different segments of the show while it kept recording.

I wrote software to do this with a couple of Pioneer magneto-optical laser video disk recorders back in about 1996 (I can't remember the exact date but beyond any doubt it was before October 1998).

My implementation actually only allowed a delayed playback (of up to 30 minutes) but it would be trivial to have had the playback non-linear. Also, with the setup I was using there was a limit of playback only over the last 30 minutes of broadcast video.

It wasn't for home use, in 1996 prices the equipment was 50,000GBP per recorder. I also think the recording was analogue rather than digital but I'm not 100% certain on that.

Tim.

Re:Fucking patent trolls (2, Interesting)

locofungus (179280) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299267)

Found a link to the device I was using:

http://www.laserdiscarchive.co.uk/laserdisc_archive/pioneer/pioneer_vdr-v1000/pioneer_vdr-v1000.htm [laserdiscarchive.co.uk]

So it was half the price I remembered.

As well as being able to use both heads in playback mode you could use them in record/playback, playback/erase and erase/record.

My system started with both machines with erased disks. It then started recording on machine 1. Once the disk was full it continued recording on machine 2. Once the second disk was full it returned to machine 1.

Additionally, as recording started on disk2, erasing started on disk1. This cycle uses one head on each machine and can, in theory, continue indefinitely. In order to avoid any dropped frames, I actually started recording on machine 2 a few seconds before machine 1 disk was full so the system could only be run for a finite (but very long) time before needing to stop and erase the disks to start again.

The other head on each machine was then used for playback.

Tim.

Re:Fucking patent trolls (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299153)

Nope.

I guess Sony, et al, better be running for the hills, since Fast Forward on the Betamax and original consortium of VHS players will now have to defend themselves against a company holding a patent for things that where thought of before the company was.

And no, you can't bitch about the patent process, then just because TiVo runs linux, say it's OK, and defensive.

That argument is just, offensive :)

--Toll_Free

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25298015)

All your buttons are belong to us!

STOP WITH STORY TAG (4, Insightful)

Arimus (198136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298085)

For $DEITY sake stop tagging stories with story tag or the gets it!

To tag a story with story once is misfortune, to tag a story with story twice is annoying, to do it three its enemy action!

Re:STOP WITH STORY TAG (1)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298109)

For $DEITY sake stop tagging stories with story tag or the gets it!

To tag a story with story once is misfortune, to tag a story with story twice is annoying, to do it three its enemy action!

You're right. Obviously, they should tag stories with the "comment" tag and vice versa. Fucking ingenious!

Re:STOP WITH STORY TAG (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298683)

Story tagged comment.

Re:STOP WITH STORY TAG (1)

lloydchristmas759 (1105487) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299011)

In Soviet Russia, stories tag YOU!

Re:STOP WITH STORY TAG (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298117)

Or at least fix the damn options to turn tags off. I turned them off when they first came on the scene but now they return even though I haven't changed any options.

Re:STOP WITH STORY TAG (1)

EL_mal0 (777947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298465)

I'll second that. I went in and turned them off again yesterday, to no avail. I think it has to do with tags being out of beta.

Re:STOP WITH STORY TAG (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298373)

If you are looking at the front page, which only shows stories. There's no point displaying the story tag. Similarly if you are filtering submissions on the firehose by any other specific tag.

Re:STOP WITH STORY TAG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25298935)

For $DEITY sake stop tagging stories with story tag or the gets it!

Well I accidentally a whole coke bottle! I accidentally the whole thing!

Go TiVo (3, Informative)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298087)

As someone who still owns two Tivo's (not being used presently), this is a good day for them. At least they will get a bit of cash. Unfortunately my move to DirecTV, and TiVo's change of focus to Cable and OTA only, I have been forced to use the DirecTV DVRs. While adequate, other DVRs are in NO WAY as feature complete.

Re:Go TiVo (0, Flamebait)

OhPlz (168413) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298157)

I'm sure it's difficult for other brands to be feature complete when TiVo has patented those obvious features.

Re:Go TiVo (3, Informative)

zeoslap (190553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298189)

Tivo invented the DVR, period, and Dish infringing on their patents almost put them under. This is the whole reason we have patents, to let the guy that came up with the idea profit from it without being put under by big pocketed copycats. I'm really glad TiVo won this case.

Re:Go TiVo (2, Interesting)

onecheapgeek (964280) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298281)

And yet when anyone else patents a PAINFULLY OBVIOUS feature they are evil. But because it's TiVo they get a pass? I had thought about getting one. I'm passing now. TiVo = geek-friendly patent troll.

Re:Go TiVo (2, Insightful)

zeoslap (190553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298399)

Not at all, but the DVR was not an obvious invention.

Re:Go TiVo (0)

onecheapgeek (964280) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298421)

They didn't sue because they made a DVR. They sued over Pause, Rewind, and Fast Forward. Once you have a recording device, those aspects ARE obvious. In fact, they existed on another recording device. So yeah, that's pretty trollish.

Re:Go TiVo (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298545)

you = fail. they were specific circuit implementations. i.e., hardware patents. It wasn't just patenting 'a vague method of recording and replaying live video'.

Re:Go TiVo (4, Informative)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298765)

"In 1985, while working at Honeywell's Physical Sciences Center, David Rafner first described a drive-based DVR designed for home TV recording, time-slipping, and skipping commercials. U.S. Patent 4,972,396 focused on a multi-channel design to allow simultaneous independent recording and playback." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_video_recorder [wikipedia.org]

Looks like Tivo was just copying somebody else's idea.
- They can not claim it to be their own.

Also of note: ReplayTV was released the same year as Tivo, and it too can pause or rewind live television via "independent record and playback". Once again, Tivo can not claim first implementation.

Re:Go TiVo (1)

DigDuality (918867) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298469)

Software patents = fail. If the Dish copied some copyrighted code or something, fine. Sue them. But they didn't. They infringed on an idea. Whoopee shit.

Re:Go TiVo (2, Informative)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298555)

no, it was a circuit implementation to enable realtime record/replay. read the claims before you make invalid ones.

Re:Go TiVo (0, Redundant)

onecheapgeek (964280) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298755)

And that existed long before TiVo came into existence in 97. My college roommate had a tuner in his Mac in 96 that could pause live tv. TiVo simply patented the already-in-existence. Tivo = troll.

Re:Go TiVo (1)

mzs (595629) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299119)

If it is the same tuner that was offered in the 5500/6500 yes it could pause but when you unpaused it went right to where the TV show was at that moment. It was like the still button on a TV, there was no recording to the HD and then playing back from where you were. The only way you could record put-up a big window where the image no longer moved and the sound cut out. Then when you stopped the recording or ran out of memory (which was measured in minutes) the window would show each frame of what you recorded as it saved it to a quicktime file with cinepak encoding for the video. This was only slightly faster than real time. Then you could open that file in Quick Time and play it back. If you had VM enabled while you were recording you would notice all the times that pageouts occurred as dropped video and audio. It was crap.

Re:Go TiVo (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298705)

DVR is not an obvious invention?!?!? You have to be kidding. It's basically just a MiniDV VCR, but instead of digital tape, they use a digital hard drive. That is a frakking obvious application, and I have no doubt that someone, somewhere already had a 1980s-era Amiga recording live television to their HDD.

>>>Tivo allows people to pause, rewind, and record live television

I'm sorry but I don't see how this is any different than a DVD-recorder. It too has pause buttons, rewind buttons, and fast-forward buttons.

Re:Go TiVo (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298811)

I'm sorry but I don't see how this is any different than a DVD-recorder. It too has pause buttons, rewind buttons, and fast-forward buttons.

But you can't use them while recording, thus the patent.

Re:Go TiVo (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298997)

The ReplayTV could pause or rewind live television, and it arrived on the scene the same time as Tivo.

Tivo can not claim exclusivity over the idea.

Re:Go TiVo (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299415)

ReplayTV actually beat Tivo to market. But the patent in question was applied for about a year before that. And the patent itself references the IDEA being conceived by another party in 1994.

Tivo and Replay TV each had patents on various parts of the DVR and IIRC they sued one another early on, but ended up settling with a cross-licensing agreement.

The patent is just for one method of implementing this IDEA. In fact, it suggests that another implementation could be pulled off by using 3 VCRs - though it would suck.

Re:Go TiVo (0)

OhPlz (168413) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298377)

Invented? It's a solid state VCR. VCRs have always had fast forward and rewind. This sure sounds like an "obvious" feature to me, and not something that merits a patent. Fast forward and rewind existed long before TiVo. Enabling it on a different box isn't really inventing something.

Re:Go TiVo (2, Informative)

zeoslap (190553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298415)

They didn't patent rewind/fast forward, and if you think that's what this is about perhaps you should actually read the patent.

Re:Go TiVo (1)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298719)

It's not solid state; it's a hard drive.

I always assumed the pause/rewind/etc. stuff was a software layer (apparently it is not). I attributed Direct TVs lack of the few second jump back when pressing "play" from fast-forwarding as part a patent issue. I wonder...

Re:Go TiVo (1)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298867)

IIRC, TiVo invented the PVR; DVR with schedule set by show name, not by time. Tim S

Re:Go TiVo (1)

I'm not really here (1304615) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298937)

Yes, but who invented the VCR? The Tivo's pause, rewind, and fast forward features are simply a completely obvious feature. The ability to time shift was available (in a limited rudimentary way) with VCRs that had the ability to have their record functionality scheduled.

Honestly, the only "new" functionality in the Tivo was the "guide", and I'm not sure, but was Tivo really the first to offer a digital guide to channels?

From my point of view, everything about the Tivo was obvious and simply a migration from Tape and one recording channel to Hard Drive, two recording channels, and an electronic version of the TV Guide.

Nothing new here... why did they get a patent on this concept?

Re:Go TiVo (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299219)

WinTV cards had DVR functionality at least a year before TiVo.

TiVo just mass marketed the device to the consumer.

Congrats to them on patenting common sense.

--Toll_Free

Re:Go TiVo (1)

lowlymarine (1172723) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298167)

While adequate, other DVRs are in NO WAY as feature complete.

How can they be? If you include such radical features as a "pause" button, TiVo will sue you!

Re:Go TiVo (5, Insightful)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298293)

Much of this DVR technology is "obvious" now but when TIVO first began building these boxes there was no one out there doing it. some of what they do isn't really obvious either - like if you are running FFWD and hit play it will rewind just a bit to take care of overshoot. Not an obvious feature but a VERY nice one and I'm pretty sure patented.

Whenever this story is talked about, and this has been a long running battle, everyone says the patents are "obvious" but honestly I do not think they simply patented something so obvious as the buttons found on a VCR. Instead they patented their circular buffer, the ability to watch while recording and pause without losing anything including audio\video synch. I mean really, if it was so obvious and simple why is it that every other damned commercial DVR out there sucks ass? DISH, FIOS, Direct, and all of the cable DVRs BLOW compared to the TIVO. Why is that if this is all so darned easy and obvious?

TIVO ain't perfect but they pioneered much of this and it's pretty good software. Time they got paid by all those companies that simply copied (poorly) what they did.

P.S. Yeah, I owned one of the competitor boxes that had auto-commercial skip too. A shame THAT got creamed :-(

Re:Go TiVo (5, Funny)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298579)


like if you are running FFWD and hit play it will rewind just a bit to take care of overshoot. Not an obvious feature but a VERY nice one and I'm pretty sure patented.

Actually it has been obvious for a few decades now:

$man rewind

int fseek(FILE *stream, long offset, int whence);
long ftell(FILE *stream);
void rewind(FILE *stream);
int fgetpos(FILE *stream, fpos_t *pos);
int fsetpos(FILE *stream, fpos_t *pos);

Re:Go TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25298793)

Are you stupid?

Re:Go TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25298609)

Ummm...maybe because Tivo has patents on those features and the others aren't allowed to implement the obvious?

Re:Go TiVo (2, Insightful)

shock1970 (1216162) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298707)

DISH, FIOS, Direct, and all of the cable DVRs BLOW compared to the TIVO. Why is that if this is all so darned easy and obvious?

Maybe they blow because they didn't use TIVO's patented technology?

Re:Go TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25298739)

Actually, TiVo wasn't the first one out there doing this. ReplayTV was. I worked for them long before TiVo was on the market. And yes, it is a shame that commercial skip got creamed. Ah well.

Re:Go TiVo (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298769)

Hey, I loved my TiVos too (and prefer them to the DirecTV injustice I have to endure).

Seriously, though, the reason TiVo did it first is because back when they did it, 10GB of hard drive space was both huge and expensive. They happened to implement these features _on a hard drive_ first. VCRs could do everything a TiVo could do except during live TV. It's not for lack of want or idea, but the simple fact that they area sequential access medium. One might say that the 7 second tape delay used in radio stations was a precursor to just about anything TiVo did.

They may, indeed, have unique items in their patent portfolio, but I'm not sure FF, pause, and Rew "on a hard drive" makes it to the level of patent protection.

Re:Go TiVo (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298829)

Much of this DVR technology is "obvious" now but when TIVO first began building these boxes there was no one out there doing it.

It was called a VCR - it's been around for years

like if you are running FFWD and hit play it will rewind just a bit to take care of overshoot. Not an obvious feature but a VERY nice one and I'm pretty sure patented.

Again, VCRs did this for years. The intent was to rewind past the point where you hit the button, and the tape that kept going due to the spinning reel inertia.

NOTHING in that patent is new or novel. Changing from analog tape to digial media is an obvious enhancement to the VCR and should never have been granted as a patent.

Re:Go TiVo (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298833)

>>>if you are running FFWD and hit play it will rewind just a bit to take care of overshoot.

That's not a Tivo "feature" but an MPEG2 bug. Since MPEG2 only captures a full frame every few seconds (on low-bitrate EP mode), the Tivo can not start playing immediately. Instead it must travel backwards along the bitstream until it finds a full frame. This is what causes that slight rewind motion.

My Panasonic ReplayTV does exactly the same thing. Ditto my DVD recorder. Ditto my D-VHS tape, albeit in a different direction (it moves forward until it finds a full frame).

It's a limitation of MPEG encoding.

Re:Go TiVo (1)

residieu (577863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299315)

They don't have to, they could still go back, find the last full frame and then reconstruct the requested frame and go from there. And if they're fastforwarding and showing the video as it goes (just faster), they're still building the frames from the previous full frame, so they should have everything they need to keep going if they want to.

Re:Go TiVo (2, Insightful)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299363)

No it's not. Every other DVR I've used just stops for a moment when you hit play, and starts from that point - It's physically impossible to get the Time Warner DVR to stop when a show starts back up coming out of commercial.

The process ends up looking like this: FF->FF-> wait a few seconds, oops, it started, hit Play->Rew until you get back to the black interstitial, then Play again.

On the Tivo, when your brain registers "Okay the show's back on", you hit play, and it snaps back about 5 seconds before starting to play, which is almost always right.

It has nothing to do with MPEG encoding and everything to do with a fantastic user experience.

Re:Go TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25298835)

Whenever this story is talked about, and this has been a long running battle, everyone says the patents are "obvious" ...

Gee. I wonder why?

Fanboyism is never pretty to see up close.

Re:Go TiVo (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298911)

P.S.

This is slightly offtopic, but still related: If you use your TiVo or other DVR to record off-the-air television, they will stop working on February 18, 2009. You either need to upgrade to a new ATSC-compatible recorder ($$$$), or buy a digital-to-analog converter box (~$20), or subscribe to cable (ouch).

Thanks Congress.

Re:Go TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25298933)

How did you get modded insightful?

They patented buffering, how is this NOT obvious, especially considering the application time frame? They convert incoming data to mpeg and then patent the ability to pause and not lose synchronization on mpeg streams? What the hell? Oh wait, they use _circular buffers_ to store data. How novel. I don't know how anyone could consider this patent worthy.

Even at the time, there were whole librairies and APIs (the Windows multimedia API for example) designed specifically to let people build what TIVO claims to have "invented" in their patent.

Manipulating digital audio & video programmatically is not patent worthy, even for 1998.

Re:Go TiVo (1)

knorthern knight (513660) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299387)

> Instead they patented their circular buffer

    Which was used by 90% of IO-interrupt-driven modem protocols ever since the early days of dialup modems

> the ability to watch while recording

    At the command line of any decent linux distro or unix implementation, enter the command "man tee", without the quotes. It'll mention...
"tee - read from standard input and write to standard output and files"

> pause without losing anything including audio\video synch

    ever heard the word "stateful" in reference to computing?

Re:Go TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25298213)

What's this? I still have both DirecTV and TiVO. It's a 3-year old TiVO, is that the issue? You can't get new ones?

Hang in there! (3, Informative)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298225)

Direct and TIVO have inked another deal and there will be new HD hardware for Direct from TIVO coming in a year or so. FWIW - I left DISH for Direct to get TIVO and left Direct to FIOS to keep TIVO. Now I'm stuck on COX but I've got my TIVO!

Anyway, hang in there - relief from that POS "DVR" they provided you is coming!

http://www.engadget.com/2008/09/03/hell-freezes-over-new-directv-hd-tivo-on-the-way/ [engadget.com]

Re:Go TiVo (2, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298863)

nfortunately my move to DirecTV, and TiVo's change of focus to Cable and OTA only, I have been forced to use the DirecTV DVRs.

That's DirecTV's doing, not Tivo's. Rupert Murdoch shut them out because he thought they could do better in house. Now that Murdoch's gone, they can admit defeat, and are actually working with Tivo to make an DTV HD Tivo, to be released next year.

Re:Go TiVo (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299205)

Send me your TiVo units.

I'll hack them to work on everything. :)

No, seriously.

--Toll_Free

USPTO Patent 6,233,389 (5, Informative)

alexhs (877055) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298097)

It's about the TiVo Multimedia time warping system [google.com] patent.

Something, Something, Dark Side... (0, Offtopic)

intothemiddle (1142025) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298119)

How can they patent fwd, rwd and record when they were present on Betamax/U-matic video recorders (1975/71).. Surely Gods patent on time pre-dates this Tivo one?!

What about all of the digital boxes like Sky/NTL/Virgin Media that have this?

I know this is /. but I hope someone reads the article for me soon!

Re:Something, Something, Dark Side... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298197)

They haven't patented fast forward, rewind and record. The result is not what's patented. The method it.

Re:Something, Something, Dark Side... (1)

intothemiddle (1142025) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298307)

Surely the competitor was using a similar but not identical method for doing this?

The result is to be able to ffw, rwd and record.. the method is to make that happen in any way possible?
"I don't care how you do it, just get it done"

Patents, teaching us; if it's been done before find a new way to do it. Repeat until fade.

Re:Something, Something, Dark Side... (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298753)

Surely the competitor was using a similar but not identical method for doing this?

I don't know. If Dish did just copy Tivo's method, then Tivo is in the right.

Re:Something, Something, Dark Side... (5, Insightful)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298383)

Simple - they didn't. Read the patent http://www.google.com/patents?id=IeoIAAAAEBAJ&dq=6,233,389 [google.com]

Talks about circular buffers for viewing and recording at the same time, maintaining audio synch, running the clock FWD and back while moving through the data. To say that they simply patented being able to pause TV is pretty disingenuous!

I short, summary is trolling crap per usual to get everyone up in arms. Real patent is a bit more complex. Granted much of this seems "obvious" now but back when TIVO first did it it was FAR from really obvious. It was going to get done by someone but back then on the hardware available it was pretty slick!

Re:Something, Something, Dark Side... (1)

MORB (793798) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298773)

I'm not sure when TiVo first had that feature, but I have a friend who worked as a software engineer on a Sagem DVR that had that feature back in 2000 or 2001, and they believed to be the first to do that at the time.

I don't remember the outcome of it though, I don't think it actually got released to the market.

Tomek Z. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25298129)

It's great nobody patented car turning right yet. Imagine all those left-turn only cars...

Re:Tomek Z. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25298269)

Also known as NASCAR...

Re:Tomek Z. (3, Funny)

LMacG (118321) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298379)

They call that NASCAR.

Re:Tomek Z. (1)

mzs (595629) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299451)

I know you are being funny about only left turns in NASCAR but there are typically two to four road courses a season. But you know how every third race or so there is some driver that crashes for inexplicable reasons? He got dizzy ;)

don't buy them (0, Troll)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298263)

TiVo is evil; just don't buy them.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25298275)

I thought ReplayTV came up with this stuff first.

Prior art? (0)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298329)

Come on. Every tape record and VHS recorder has had these facilities for donkey's years. So what if you can do it live. GImme a break!!!

Re:Prior art? (1)

bestinshow (985111) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298513)

Show me a VCR that can continue to record live TV and allow you to view, pause, fast forward and rewind it at the same time.

Re:Prior art? (2, Informative)

onecheapgeek (964280) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298791)

In 96, almost 3 years before the first tivo, I could have shown you a Mac that could do it.

How the hell?? (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298339)

How in the hell can you hope to patent this?

Is this really a novel technology, or a slapping together of a bunch of existing things in a fairly obvious manner. I mean, really, the very first applications on the internet that allowed streaming video and audio supported pause, rewind, and fast forward. I distinctly remember pushing pause on things to allow the buffer to fill up over a slow dialup line. Sometimes, the slow dialup line would enforce a pause for you. ;-)

Other than the fact that it's TV, I don't see this as being any different from real player or a bunch of things which predated it.

This patent really should be vacated, I just can't see how "a buffer with forward and backward access" is actually a novel invention. I'm of the opinion that if you can show any application which streamed multimedia ever had pause etc then the whole patent is invalid.

Cheers

It was novel at the time. (1, Informative)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298535)

Being able to pause a live video stream on the home TV? Then fast forward to catch up to the live stream? No one else was doing that in the late 90's.

Re:It was novel at the time. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298643)

Being able to pause a live video stream on the home TV? Then fast forward to catch up to the live stream? No one else was doing that in the late 90's.

If I was doing it with any form of media prior to Tivos patent, the ability to buffer and play an incomplete stream as a concept should be void.

You can't take something that someone is already doing, and add "with TV" to it, and expect that "with TV" is magically different from "with a video file on the internet".

If Tivo truly patented this before anyone demonstrated streaming media, then maybe this is a valid patent. If it had been done before on other forms of media, I fail to see how you can patent it for TV and have it be actually novel. I'm just not convinced we didn't have streaming media and video on the internet before Tivo came along.

Cheers

Re:It was novel at the time. (3, Informative)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298701)

As I understand it, if Tivo used a different technique of doing on TV than was used in other media, it's patentable. If Dish used a different technique of doing it on TV than Tivo did, Dish should be okay. But if Dish just copied Tivo's patented technique, then Tivo was right to stomp them.

Re:It was novel at the time. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298789)

As I understand it, if Tivo used a different technique of doing on TV than was used in other media, it's patentable. If Dish used a different technique of doing it on TV than Tivo did, Dish should be okay. But if Dish just copied Tivo's patented technique, then Tivo was right to stomp them.

Maybe, but without knowing the details, unless it is more than "patent for a circular buffer with random access", then I just don't get it.

Essentially, once the concept of a buffered stream with pause, rewind, fast forward exists .. patenting it for a specific media seems dumb.

It's like those patents which amount to "something done in the real world forever, but now done online" -- it's a commonly applied mechanism, which is only slightly differentiated by being online. IMO, not differentiated enough to be patentable.

Some of the specific technologies they used to do this could, in fact, be patentable. I'm just not 100% clear on what claims this patent is actually covering.

Cheers

Re:It was novel at the time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25299197)

They are actually claiming that Dish copied their hardware circuitry which Tivo owns the patents of.

Re:It was novel at the time. (3, Informative)

Klaruz (734) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299041)

What's the technique difference?

Realplayer (before tivo): video bits get sucked off the internet (which may be digitized in real time on the other end) and stuck into a ring buffer, pointer streams data off buffer, decodes and displays it. You can move the pointer around the buffer.

Tivo: video bits get sucked off a video digitizer and stuck into a ring buffer, pointer streams data off buffer, decodes and displays it. You can move the pointer around the buffer.

Dish (after tivo): video bits get sucked off a video digitizer and stuck into a ring buffer, pointer streams data off buffer, decodes and displays it. You can move the pointer around the buffer.

Maybe I'm dumb, but I fail to see how using a ring buffer to store video is worthy of a patent.

Re:It was novel at the time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25299189)

Yeah, no shit, and you know why? Because hard drives weren't big enough for it to be practical. It's not like the technology hadn't existed for the entire decade, it's that hard drives weren't large enough to store decent quality TV streams.

I mean, think about it, DVD players have always had rewind, pause, and fast forward, and they're doing the same damned thing Tivo does: playing back an MPEG movie. The difference between Tivo and a DVD is that the storage device (duh) and that Tivo is potentially recording the stream live. When playing back previously recorded shows, the difference is solely the storage device.

When hard drives finally got large enough to make a DVR practical, we got Tivo. The technology had been possible the entire decade, it just hadn't been practical.

Re:It was novel at the time. (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299459)

Home TV? TIVO is a computer, that happens to output to a TV screen, and has a unique input method. Outputting data to a TV is not trivial, but it's not exactly a meaningful distinction what sort of display you're using (though obviously the images will be layed out differently.)

It sounds like the really original stuff is some hardware patents that sound fairly legit. And I'd say TIVO probably deserves the money, getting rammed out of the market the second after becoming a household name.

Replaytv?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25298355)

replaytv came up with the idea first didn't they?

Fast forward? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25298405)

Erm, how does one fast-forward *live* TV anyway? I can fast-forward a live soccer game to see the result before they've finished playing it?

Re:Fast forward? (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299043)

You can't at first. What they are referring to is when you want to pause the game to go to the bathroom or something. When you return, you are watching a slightly delayed game while the live game continues to be recorded. You can then fast forward (a bit) past commercials, for instance, equal to the amount you've paused or rewound in the past (up until you hit live). It is a pretty neat feature. I would think that newscasts that show a slight delay of something live in case something horrible happens that they don't want to show the public (a beheading on prime time TV or something) could be considered prior art although they probably use different technology to do it.

Re:Fast forward? (2, Funny)

SlashBugs (1339813) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299241)

As everyone has already said, this is a hardware patent.

TiVo found a way to fit a flux capacitor inside their boxes.

Re:Fast forward? (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299319)

Think of the Forward button in your browser.

The idea is obvious, but .... (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#25298479)

Sure, the notion of fast forward, pause, and reverse is obvious, but the methodology and working device was, at the time, non-trivial it took some work to get it good, and dish network did "steal" their technique.

Now, are all patents bogus? I tend to think so. There is too much historical account of inventors "rushing to the patent office" to beat their competitor. Now, too me, that seems terribly unfair, one will get the benefit of their research, and another will not.

On the other hand, if you spend a good deal of time and money developing a technology for your business, and a better funded competitor comes along and copies your work and tries to put you out of business, there has to be a way to protect yourself.

Re:The idea is obvious, but .... (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299285)

there has to be a way to protect yourself.

Funny you bring that up. They call it a patent.

You don't agree with the word, but you think it's necessary evil, right? Just trying to actually figure out what and how you think.

Rape is OK, sex isn't?
Assfucking is ok, asking isn't? :)

I know, I know, it's not the same.

But it is. You can't say that you want to abolish the patent system because YOU don't like it, then say that we have to have a way to protect inventors and innovators.

Wait, they call that a patent (or to a lessor extent, copyright).

--Toll_Free

Re:The idea is obvious, but .... (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299317)

Or occasionally the better funded business makes up something and then those evil free software lovers come and STEAL the idea of close buttons, scroll bars, and a menu to access the software on a computer in one location. They even stole 'file managers' and 'media players' and 'email clients'.

Damn you GNUheads!

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