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TiVo Time Warp Judgment Affirmed

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the when-patents-beat-sense dept.

Patents 107

zapakh writes "A federal appeals court this week upheld a lower court decision that accused DISH Network and EchoStar of continuing to infringe on TiVo patents.' This is a follow-on to a Slashdot story from October. Despite a 'Herculean effort' by EchoStar in redesigning its DVR software, the ruling agrees with the district court that that was not a major redesign of the software. The patent in question is titled 'Multimedia time warping system.' TiVo is pleased with the ruling."

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Frosty piss ? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31380012)

sux0rs

Re:Frosty piss ? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31380040)

Fuck you, man! FUCK you!

Fuck patents. (1, Informative)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380034)

n/t

Re:Fuck patents. (1)

bmecoli (963615) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381794)

Oh hey look, a patent troll.

Dump TiVo for MythTV (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31380038)

Pinch more pennies and ditch TiVo for MythTV:

http://www.mythtv.org/ [mythtv.org]

If you're a geek and don't know about it, check it! We need more devices with MythTV preloaded on them.

Does mythtv (3, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380080)

Automatically search the listings and record stuff I might like? It didn't the last time I looked.

 

Re:Does mythtv (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380114)

Some of us are not predictable enough to have things recorded for us by some algorithm, you insensitive clod!

Re:Does mythtv (4, Informative)

TheJokeExplainer (1760894) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380144)

"you insensitive clod!" is, of course, a reference to the 1986 Valentine's Day Calvin & Hobbes strip [uclick.com] or The Simpsons episode Last Tap Dance in Springfield [wikipedia.org] , wherein Frink exclaims to Homer, "I was merely trying to spare the girl's feelings, you insensitive clod!"

Re:Does mythtv (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380952)

If you are not a very small shell script, I am very disappointed.

Re:Does mythtv (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31381532)

His name says it all...

Insensitive clod ... (1)

kbahey (102895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31382684)

That is the original reference for it.

But for long time slashdotters, this has been one of the recurring jokes from the Slashdot subculture [wikipedia.org] .

Here are a few others [slashdot.org] .

So, let me ask, "you are new here"?

Re:Does mythtv (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31383390)

Some of us are not predictable enough to have things recorded for us by some algorithm

Don't flatter yourself.
 

Re:Does mythtv (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381358)

Wasn't that feature the butt of everyone's jokes at one point?

OTOH, a simple widely defined wish list is just as effective and probably less likely to generate strange results.

Re:Does mythtv (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31382184)

That is why I like the new Windows 7 Media Center. It automatically downloads the guide every night and any show I want I can right click on and choose "record all" and it will record every time it comes on. Pretty simple to use really, plus the new Internet TV where all the major channels like CBS and FOX online load their programming just like the regular guide is a nice touch. I just picked up a $25 ATI capture USB stick off of Woot! and all was golden. No muss, no fuss, no hassles.

For those still on XP I would heartily recommend mediaportal [team-mediaportal.com] as it is free, has the ten foot interface, with plugins can add all kinds of extras like Internet Radio, pretty easy to customize,can download guidea automatically, all around just a great piece of software to turn a PC you had lying around into a Media Center. Either choice works quite well for a DIY DVR.

Re:Does mythtv (1)

Doctor Faustus (127273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31382212)

Automatically search the listings and record stuff I might like? It didn't the last time I looked.
I've had a TiVo since 2003 and never gotten any serious use out of that feature. Even when our second unit, with 215 hours, was new, it only took a couple of weeks to fill so that it never suggested anything, anymore.

Do you just set fewer season passes (my wife, my son and I each have several set), or do you go out of your way to delete old shows?

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380112)

Pinch more pennies and ditch TiVo for MythTV:

Yes, the MythTV software is free, but how much would you pay for the equivalent TiVo hardware (including remote control) ? I'll go out on a limb and posit that you can't match the TiVo package price for the same form-factor and functionality.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (5, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380138)

I don't think you're going to convince anyone here.

TiVo Premiere XL is $499 ,and has about the recording capacity you would expect if you plugged for a middle of the curve HD.
Now for service. $12.95 per month? How long do I intend to use this thing? Let's go for $399 which is for "life of the box" and assume that Tivo never go out of business.

So I get $898 to play with. I need to spend a premium on quiet gear, and slimline cases, PSU etc. Then I can keep it forever, upgrade incrementally, and all the geek chicks will want to come to my place to admire my e-penis.

Not a difficult choice.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (3, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380162)

But wait, there's more.

TiVo want $59.99 for wifi. You're going to want wifi FFS!
Then you will want a range of fanboi merchandise such as the $9.99 Tivo plush, $14.99 TiVo Folding Chair for watching your Tivo, $24.99 TiVo Slippers because you're not leaving the house.

Finally at $24.99, the TiVo Duffle bag is large enough to bag up all this shit, take it to the dump, and realise what you really wanted was the MythTV with geek chick gang-bang.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380200)

So I get $898 to play with. I need to spend a premium on quiet gear, and slimline cases, PSU etc. Then I can keep it forever, upgrade incrementally, and all the geek chicks will want to come to my place to admire my e-penis.

Not a difficult choice.

I'm curious, how is your cablecard support done in this solution?

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (3, Informative)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380242)

Cablecard? Is that some sort of DRM device? I'm not familiar with US cable TV.

I have a DVB-S PCI card for UK Freeview. There are currently no Freesat cards on the market, but I'll grab one when they become available. Freesat is unencrypted so I don't have to worry about that.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380286)

Cablecard? Is that some sort of DRM device?

Yes it is a DRM device. Although cable companies seem to be trying to kill it. It is basically a roughly PCMCIA sized card that slots into a (non cable company owned) device for decoding "premium" digital cable streams. Where "premium" basically means anything from the cable company.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (0, Flamebait)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380416)

Ok I read up a bit on wikipedia.

It's a Conditional-access module. Is it roughly pcmcia sized, or actually a pcmcia card?
Freesat specifies a pcmcia slot for CAM, as well as an ethernet port for future use among other things.

If you scroll right to the bottom of the EPG, there are a few ghetto channels that need a CAM, but I can't imagine anyone caring about that.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (2, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380476)

there are a few ghetto channels that need a CAM, but I can't imagine anyone caring about that.

If you are a cable company in the US then you care a lot about people stealing your product. And while by law they have to distribute the free to air channels (maybe 10 or so channels) via cable for a nominal fee ($15/mo in my case - which represents the entry cost into getting cable TV), my provider (Comcast) only does that in SD. If I want to see those channels in HD I need to either sell my soul to Comcast or have a CableCard enabled device. I could theoretically get HD over the air, but my local geography is such that I wouldn't get decent reception from the transmitters.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380812)

If you are a cable company in the US then you care a lot about people stealing your product. And while by law they have to distribute the free to air channels (maybe 10 or so channels) via cable for a nominal fee ($15/mo in my case - which represents the entry cost into getting cable TV), my provider (Comcast) only does that in SD. If I want to see those channels in HD I need to either sell my soul to Comcast or have a CableCard enabled device. I could theoretically get HD over the air, but my local geography is such that I wouldn't get decent reception from the transmitters.

I guess you consider the "Basic Digital" to be selling your soul.

I'm on Comcast and I don't have any CableCard or Comcast boxes. I just plug in my EyeTV and get the regular networks ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, CW and various independent feeds in HD. Only the cable networks are in SD.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380942)

Because I do not watch 90% of the cable channels I opted for "Limited Service". Under that service level, networks shows are only available in SD (Although Fios actually has them in HD for the equivalent price) .

Oops I just realized that I misremembered the need for CableCard - it is to do with the fact that while Comcast does transmit network shows in HD in Basic Cable, Tivo can't see the advanced programming information for those channels unless you have a CableCard. From what I understand this is a technical limitation/decision of how Comcast identifies digital channels. Its a stupid situation where I think that Comcast is exploiting a loophole in the law - yeah they have local networks in their "limited service" package (as legally required), oh but you want to see them in HD? Thats $$$ please.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (2, Informative)

click2005 (921437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380336)

There are currently no Freesat cards on the market, but I'll grab one when they become available.

http://www.hauppauge.co.uk/site/products/data_novahds2.html [hauppauge.co.uk]

I bought one about 6 months ago but never got around to installing it (no dish).

Freesat is unencrypted so I don't have to worry about that.

I think the BBC is planning to encrypt their HD broadcasts. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/sep/29/bbc-hd-encryption [guardian.co.uk]

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381376)

You don't bother with cablecard. You record HD channels directly and don't bother with any of the side effects of DRM.

That means I never have to worry about whether or not a DRM flag will prevent me from watching a show in the bedroom.

That sort of setup is nothing new to Tivo.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

supun (613105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31383192)

It doesn't.

Most US cable boxes have firewire, which by law should be enabled, which will allow you to record over the air channels, including local HD. However if you wanted to record HD HBO, you have to spend more for some really experimental equipment. Pretty much all of the non-over air, over 100/analog, are 5C encrypted. Basically you need a HD PVR to connect to your STD's component out. If you don't have component out, then you need to get a DVI to component converter (cheap). If you only have HDMI, then you need an HDMI to component converter (not cheap, and may be blacklisted). And if you want to record two streams, you have to double all the equipment. That will get you close to functionality of the HD TiVo.

Basically if you have basic analog cable, MythTV is the way to go. If you have digital cable, with HD packages, and want non-over air HD channels, then TiVo is the way to go. That is unless you want to mess with a lot of stuff. I just wanted to watch TV.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380234)

Forgot to add .. wives don't care about e-penises

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31380248)

I'm sure they'll appreciate the $400 saved to spend at Chico's.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380308)

So you get all your scheduling data free with MythTV? Forever?

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380376)

Yes.

Well no, I have to pay the BBC licence fee, but MythTV can extract EPG data.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380538)

That's not really the problem with MythTV. In some countries the scheduling data is completely free, in others, such as the US, you can get low quality crap scheduling info for free or pay a relatively small amount (compared to TiVo) to get higher quality scheduling information. As my Myth set up is not my primary DVR, I use a combination of the free OTA EPG information (urgh) and the XMLTV DirecTV feed (which is free but lacks some critical information preventing you from avoiding recording repeats, etc), but if it became my primary feed then I believe the cost of Myth's recommended service is $15 per *year*.

No, the problem with Myth is that it's just awful. Configuration is a PITA, the various UIs all have largely the same faults, you need to hunt around for documentation to find out simple stuff like what keys do what, you get cryptic error messages, and my experience of the developers thus far (albeit it was one developer, but apparently he was typical of the group) was extremely negative, with the team being defensive and, actually, rather proud of the fact that the product is barely usable.

"It's by programmers for programmers", said the developer in question, extremely annoyed that I hadn't read the obscure page on the Wiki that explains that this is the project's motto. No, I'm serious, THAT'S MYTHTV's MOTTO.

Alas the other alternatives I've seen are either not free, or they're written in Python. The last refresh I saw of Myth on Ubuntu looks a little better, but it's a long way off being a "just works" DVR tool. Despite being a free software enthusiast who almost always recommends the free software version of whatever tool anyone is looking for, from Firefox to The Gimp, I cannot find it in my heart to recommend Myth to anyone. And I'm surprised people are posting here that setting up a Myth box is some kind of solution to TiVo's patent fascism.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380686)

No, the problem with Myth is that it's just awful. Configuration is a PITA, the various UIs all have largely the same faults, you need to hunt around for documentation to find out simple stuff like what keys do what, you get cryptic error messages, and my experience of the developers thus far (albeit it was one developer, but apparently he was typical of the group) was extremely negative, with the team being defensive and, actually, rather proud of the fact that the product is barely usable.

Yes, configuration is a pain. That's hard to avoid given the diversity of hardware MythTV supports. The UI seems perfectly competent for use as a DVR, though, once you have a remote control set up (which is also a pain, but it's a "do it once" kind of thing). My non-techie wife can use it, anyway. And I haven't seen cryptic error messages in quite a while. You're right about the team, though. Bug reports (complete with detailed information on how to reproduce) get closed/no action, and feature requests just get a "no" (the latest one I submitted was one for a jump point -- something which works anywhere in the frontend-- to return to idle, so the system will shut off. It's less than a 10 line change; IIRC two lines of code and a row in the database. Rejected because there's a kludgy (read: less reliable) way to do it with irexec).

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31382120)

I guess it's because I am a programmer type person that I love MythTV. I even converted my packrat dad to use it instead of his multiple aging VHS VCRs. Now he's got a little mini-tower PC near his TV, with several $40 USD digital tuner dongles hanging out of its rear USB ports, allowing him to record the majority of his clear QAM encoded digital cable channels while the set top box remains unimpeded for him to use for the few premium channels that he cares about and which are encrypted. These digital recordings are much better to look at than the seriously fuzzy analog rebroadcast he gets piggybacked on his digital cable service.

As a bonus, many of his clear QAM signals are actually in high def, even though he doesn't subscribe and doesn't have a high def set top box. And this includes rebroadcast of the local ATSC OTA channels that he'll never be able to receive due to geographic features blocking his view of the broadcast antennas.

And oddly enough, he prefers the "made for programmers" mythweb GUI via his laptop, rather than trying to do all his scheduling and archive management via the IR remote control. Not sure if it's more to do with his old hands or his eyes, but he finds the web pages much easier to manage.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381802)

As usual with FOSS, your plan only adds up when your time is worth nothing.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

pseudofrog (570061) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381872)

If the amount of time it would take to set up a MythTV box exceeds the equivalent of $900, then it is not a wise decision if your goal is saving money.

If not, then you can buy a TiVo. Which of course is based on Linux, so it's a FOSS solution anyway.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31387718)

With FOSS, letting the world improve the source provides immense leverage potential.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

Doctor Faustus (127273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31382260)

Now for service. $12.95 per month?
DirecTivo service only went up from $5 to $6 over the basic DirecTV rate a year or two ago. I suppose they could charge more for the HD when it comes out (supposed to be sometime this year), but the basic satellite rate is already higher for HD.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31380148)

Tivo are dying, all the cable companies will let you have a box that records simultaneous HD streams, allows you to access the recordings anywhere in your home on TVs or PCs, provides real TV on demand and manage your media, plus do all the widgets crap people think is so neat these days.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (2, Informative)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380214)

Tivo are dying, all the cable companies will let you have a box that records simultaneous HD streams ..

So you are saying that even MythTV is a waste of time because the cable company lets you do all that stuff? You do realize that the cable companies offer you that stuff because you pay for it, and you don't pay cheaply

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381396)

If you want cheap and easy, just get what the cable provider wants to give you.

If you want flexible and powerful, then Tivo's not the option.

No amount patent trollery will change the fact that Tivo's place in the market is rapidly vanishing.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31386802)

If you want cheap and easy, just get what the cable provider wants to give you.

If you want flexible and powerful, then Tivo's not the option.

No amount patent trollery will change the fact that Tivo's place in the market is rapidly vanishing.

Problem is, if TiVo dies, they will be bought by a patent troll. Who will go after everyone.

Right now, TiVo's only going after Echostar, who willingly violated TiVo's patents (TiVo left Echostar a TiVo series 1 back in the days when it was demonstrating its technology. Hughes then licensed it, but Echostar refused and they brought out their own. ReplayTV (now DirecTV) and TiVo own the majority of patents in the area, and have cross-licensed each other.).

At least TiVo's still trying to remain relevant. Once they're gone, their patents will be ripe litigation resources against everyone.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380292)

Tivo are dying, all the cable companies will let you have a box that records simultaneous HD streams, allows you to access the recordings anywhere in your home on TVs or PCs, provides real TV on demand and manage your media, plus do all the widgets crap people think is so neat these days.

And you think the cable companies are developing all of this hardware and software themselves?

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381410)

Once you have video capture hardware, a PC and a database this stuff sort of writes itself.

You don't even need to be aware of other products to replicate their features. This is simply a side effect of competent practitioners taking advantage of the state of the art.

can MythTV do cable card? pay sat tv? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381138)

as alot of people need that.

Re:can MythTV do cable card? pay sat tv? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381476)

Sat TV doesn't use cablecards.

So that means that no Tivo will be able to record the HD channels off of Dish or DirecTV.

MythTV and Sage can. Tivo can't.

PC based solutions support more tuner options than Tivo does. More countries too.

Re:can MythTV do cable card? pay sat tv? (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381900)

So that means that no Tivo will be able to record the HD channels off of Dish or DirecTV.

None of the normal TiVo boxes will record HD from DirecTV, but the HR10-250 can record HD from DirecTV.

Until they converted many of their channels to MPEG-4 only, it really was a perfect "it just works" device, and is still light-years ahead of the new DirecTV branded DVRs in terms of reliablity and features (and still does a better job with OTA HD than MythTV).

There is supposed to be a new version that supports the MPEG-4 channels coming soon...hopefully it won't be too expensive, because the TiVo UI and reliability really is worth it.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (3, Insightful)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381698)

Pinch more pennies and ditch TiVo for MythTV:

http://www.mythtv.org/ [mythtv.org]

If you're a geek and don't know about it, check it! We need more devices with MythTV preloaded on them.

After several years of MythTV, the final straw was the removal of device support for my PVR-350. My time is simply worth more than the 20+ hours I probably spent over the years upgrading my MythTV box, hand-building device drivers, and dealing with other issues such as loss of audio.

If you value your time, I would suggest MythTV is not for you. I finally retired the box and got a 3-tuner DVR [moxi.com] . Proprietary? Yes. (Actually, Linux under the cover, but good luck hacking it.) But it works consistently.

Re:Dump TiVo for MythTV (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31387702)

How long will it take TiVo to use this decision as a hammer agaiinst MythTV?

more patent silliness (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380048)

Frankly, this strikes me as just more evidence of how broken the patent system is. TFA is just a blurb, here it is:

A federal appeals court this week upheld a lower court decision that accused DISH Network and EchoStar of continuing to infringe on TiVo patents.

EchoStar did not significantly alter its digital video recorder (DVR) software in order to comply with an injunction, according to a Thursday decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The battle dates back to 2004, when TiVo accused EchoStar's Dish Networks of violating its patent for "time warping", or allowing users to watch one program while recording another on their DVR.

TiVo prevailed in 2006 with a $104 million judgment, and EchoStar was ordered to stop distribute infringing DVRs. The appeals process dragged on until June 2009, when TiVo was awarded another $190 million in damages after a judge found that EchoStar was indeed continuing to infringe on TiVo's patents.

EchoStar, which changed its name to DISH Network Corporation in 2007, again appealed, but the federal court was not convinced.

"EchoStar contends that it undertook a Herculean effort in redesigning the DVR software in its receivers so that it would no longer infringe the software claims in TiVo's patent, [but] we agree with the district court that that was not a major redesign of the software," according to the ruling.

"We are pleased that the [court] fully affirmed the district court's finding of contempt against EchoStar, including both the disablement and infringement provisions," TiVo said in statement.

"This ruling paves the way for TiVo to receive the approximately $300M in damages and contempt sanctions awarded to us for EchoStar's continued infringement through July 1, 2009," TiVo continued. "We will also seek further damages and contempt sanctions for the period of continued infringement thereafter. We will continue our efforts to protect our intellectual property from further infringement."

"We are disappointed in the Federal Circuit's split decision, but are pleased that Judge Rader agreed with our position," DISH Network said in a statement. "Therefore, we will be seeking en banc review by the full Federal Circuit. We also will be proposing a new design-around to the district court for approval. At this time, our DVR customers are not impacted."

Re:more patent silliness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31380930)

This is Slashdot. If I didn't RTFA, what makes you think I'm going to RTFC?

Re:more patent silliness (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381568)

The same foolishness that makes me imagine most people wouldn't actually be proud of their willful ignorance? I know, silly me...

Re:more patent silliness (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 4 years ago | (#31383340)

Because people don't RTFA to avoid giving advertising money to the sites linked, since it isn't uncommon to have the poster have a conflict of interest with the site being linked to...

Re:more patent silliness (1)

kfsone (63008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31387904)

Read the patent itself and not just the abstract, and frankly it strikes me as a case of the patent system actually working, for a change. The patent system is broken and needs fixing, but this isn't a case in point.

What is a TV? (0, Offtopic)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380056)

The 80s called. They want their mass medium back!

Maybe I'm not getting it right... (3, Insightful)

Deorus (811828) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380060)

But I kinda recall doing that with my VHS, which had a button on the remote specifically designed to disable its transmitter thus allowing me to watch other TV channels as it recorded a specific channel back in 1990... How come this wasn't used to invalidate the patent?

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (1)

crazycheetah (1416001) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380074)

I would hope their "time warping" has something that separates it from doing it with VHS, specifically in the patent. Otherwise, I don't get how the USPTO didn't think about the VHS days when they let the patent by...

someone else is probably better than me at finding the patent in question... and I'm just too damn tired at this point to care.

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (1)

zapakh (1256518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381152)

someone else is probably better than me at finding the patent in question... and I'm just too damn tired at this point to care.

It's linked [google.com] ! I linked [google.com] to it!

Granted, since I'm not actually going to read it, I wonder if a MythTV box would infringe?

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (2, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380078)

Probably because this patent had the phrase "using a computer ". :(

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380188)

Ah, but how does the VHS recorder keep track of time and channel information, in order to record those shows? Hmmm? Hmmm? I'll bet there's an embedded processor, aka, a computer, in there, isn't there! (And yes, even something as archaic and simple as an RCA 1802 counts)

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381486)

There were VCRs that did this with barcodes back in the day. You would scan them in from TV Guide.

This was a feature in the last generation or so of VCRs before the tech was eclipsed.

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380168)

Firstly, because it does a different thing (this is about watching a recording while recording, not watching live TV while recording), secondly it does it in a different way. Patents are for implementations. The title is just a description.

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380478)

Patents are for implementations. The title is just a description.

I read claim 1, and many of the following claims, but gave up because I could not find anything that could help anyone wanting to implement the idea of inputting and outputting different streams at the same time. IMO, this is a patent of an idea, not of an implementation, and should be invalid.

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381660)

Of course, the duel deck VCRs could watch a recording and record something different at the same time.

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31384912)

I'm sure they could, but they achieved this in a completely different way. The patent is on the implementation, not the problem.

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31385608)

So, what was the implementation? I also happen to know that ATI was selling All-In-Wonder cards before the Tivo, and they could record and playback at the same time.

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31387530)

I have absolutely no idea how specific the patent is but the patent is freely available online, so if you are that interested, you can look it up.

As another person pointed out, if it was prior art, I'm sure the lawyers would have found it and one of the two courts would have agreed with them.

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31390666)

As another person pointed out, if it was prior art, I'm sure the lawyers would have found it and one of the two courts would have agreed with them.

I find your faith... disturbing.

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (2, Informative)

dj961 (660026) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380174)

From the patent, in the prior art section "However, a VCR cannot both capture and play back information at the same time."
While your button allowed you to watch and record, you couldn't rewind and record at the same time, which is what the patent claims. Things like instant replay are impossible with a VCR.

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31380908)

the lack of instant replay is just a consequence of the outdated tape media, not a valid point... as media evolves so does the time till playback diminish. and since the patent isn't for the media inside the device but instead for the idea to use the media efficiently it is invalid; the concept involved is too common place, and came long before TIVO.

dual tape VCRs were capable of both recording live material while playing either other live material or recorded material via the second tape. and you could from that assume that two dual tape VCRs--or one single and one dual, in line, would allow for one to record one station while relaying another station to the second, where it would record while also relaying a third live broadcast or recording to the TV. and so on...

so if i was to hook up multiple VCRS, in line, and record multiple stations at once while also watching a film or live TV, would i then be infringing on TIVO's patent? sure i'd have to rewind for a minute and move the tape up the line of VCRs to watch the recording while still recording on the other VCRs... but let's not nitpick unrelated details.

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (2, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381324)

> Things like instant replay are impossible with a VCR.

True, but all of the TIVO patents fall out as a self evident use of a non-linear storage medium like a hard drive. They didn't invent ANYTHING. They didn't invent computerized video capture, they didn't even exist when MPEG was standardized and they didn't create the all in one encoder/decoder chips they used. I saw ALL of that in the early 1990's when I first saw a video capture board in use, it was only a matter of having big enough hard drives to make capture and storage of video practical.

So fuck TIVO directly in the mouth for their crime of attempting to game the patent system to hold up progress.

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381442)

That's an incremental and obvious improvement based on new technology, not something that should've ever been considered "non-obvious" enough to be patentable.

That aside from the fact that software should never be patentable in any case, for the reason of scenarios exactly like this. These "Now done ON A COMPUTER!" patents are extremely disruptive, in most cases.

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31380264)

No, you're getting it right, really.

It's EchoStar, a Federal District Court, a Federal Appeals Court, and dozens of lawyers and technical experts who have been doing their jobs for years who haven't appreciated this brilliant insight because you're JUST SO SMART. With EchoStar on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars, they cheaped out once they couldn't find an old Magnavox VCR manual in their local library.

Not.

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381518)

Yes I am so smart and you're a moron.

When I saw my first capture card in 1998, I saw the potential of using a PC to drive automated recording. Of course I also saw how small hard drives were and how big recordings were. Video compression hardware was an obvious requirement as well to allow for playback and efficient storage.

The fact that all of this is pretty obvious once the necessary tech is in place is why there were PVRs created with nothing more than shell scripts back in the day.

Once the necessary MPEG acceleration hardware became commonplace, PC based solutions exploded.

Tivo was granted a patent for "cat /dev/video0 > tivo-sucks.mpg; mplayer tivo-sucks.mpg &".

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381810)

Tivo was granted a patent for "cat /dev/video0 > tivo-sucks.mpg; mplayer tivo-sucks.mpg &".

To quote Groucho Marks: "You missed a Hungadunga. And the most important one, too." B-)

Tivo was granted a patent for "cat /dev/video0 > tivo-sucks.mpg&; mplayer tivo-sucks.mpg &".

(And have I just added "Hungadunga" as hacker jargon for "amperstand"? If so: You saw it here first!)

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381862)

Corrected quote - still apropos: "You've left out a Hungadunga. You left out the main one, too."

Still apropos - perhaps even more so than it was in the original skit, as the amperstand that was left out was the one necessary for the parallel functionality intended, while the one that was present just makes the difference between getting your shell back after you kill mplayer versus getting it right away. B-)

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31381938)

>When I saw my first capture card in 1998, I saw the potential of using a PC to drive automated recording. Of course I also saw how small hard drives were and how big recordings were. Video compression hardware was an obvious requirement as well to allow for playback and efficient storage.

A prime example of the uselessness of /. posters. "OMG! I had an idea 12 years ago! This patent can't possibly be valid!" (While a few posts up, we have another guy bitching about TiVo because you can't patent ideas, only implementations.)

If you want to be a productive member of geek society, at least make it to the abstract of the patent:

>The use of digital computer systems to solve this problem has been suggested. U.S. Pat. No. 5,371,551 issued to Logan et al., on Dec. 6, 1994, teaches a method for concurrent video recording and playback. It presents a microprocessor controlled broadcast and playback device. Said device compresses and stores video data onto a hard disk. However, this approach is difficult to implement because the processor requirements for keeping up with the high video rates makes the device expensive and problematic. The microprocessor must be extremely fast to keep up with the incoming and outgoing video data.

Remember, at the time, PC capture cards were expensive things that thrashed the shit out of general purpose PCs. TiVo's Series 1 machines did everything on a 54 MHz processor and *made it look easy* because of their (gasp!) patented architecture.

Go ahead and show me the device -- the implementation -- that did everything TiVo was doing in this patent back when it was invented. Maybe you'll come up with some hard evidence that ReplayTV got to some of these ideas first, but I expect you're mostly just dead set on whining about something today and this was your opportunity.

Re:Maybe I'm not getting it right... (1)

kfsone (63008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31387932)

No, you're not getting it right. "TimeWarp" refers to TiVo's ability to let you pause/rewind either the show being recorded or live tv. In effect, both are being recorded, but TiVO devised - and described in some depth in the full patent - a way to interact with both recording streams.

Say the live TV show pans out to be rubbish and you now want to watch the show you were recording? With a VCR you can either watch it live as it records, or you have to stop the recording to rewind.

With a TiVo (et al), you can switch to the recorded channel and jump to anywhere in what has been recorded: You can watch the intro, then skip forward past the opening commercials up to any point in the recording stream.

Couldn't do that with a VCR, and the TiVo spec covers a very specific way to implement doing it on a low-cost system.

This just proves one thing to me: (-1, Troll)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380072)

I want nothing to do with those TiVo assholes.

Thank goodness the UK is different (2, Informative)

DaveAtWorkAnnoyingly (655625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380096)

I'm so glad the system in the UK is different. We have a whole raft of time warping products available including the excellent Sky+. Now, i'm sure there are patents on much of the technology, thus protecting companies IP and encouraging innovation, however people are very free to come up with the same idea but implemented in a different way, or buy a licence and save on development costs and time. It's like Dyson and the hoover. The patent is on the cyclone technology, not on "the ability to suck dust up off the floor". Or have I missed the point and just continued the long and quite frankly boring by now patent argument?!

Re:Thank goodness the UK is different (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380648)

Happily you can't patent software here either (yet).

Re:Thank goodness the UK is different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31381878)

That would be the difference you missed:

Happily you can't patent software here either.

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31380100)

The patent in question is titled 'Multimedia time warping system.' TiVo is pleased with the ruling."

Why don't DISH and EchoStar simply project their media on the main deflector dish, entangled with a quantum subspace pulse? The resulting fractal verteron particles would properly time-shift 1940's novels in the holo emitters for Captain Picard. (provided a graviton wave in the primary phaser banks isn't accidentally induced. If that happened, engineering would need to ionise the positronic charge to the optronic relays to initiate localized harmonic interference to the warp reactor.).

Re:Hmm (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380184)

Because every time that happens the safety protocols fail, and Echostar don't want to be held liable for people getting shot by gangsters.

Re:Hmm (1)

SirWinston (54399) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381458)

>Because every time that happens the safety protocols fail, and Echostar don't want to be held liable for people getting shot by gangsters.

Don't worry, Wesley Crusher always finds a way to fix everything that the adults were too bull-headed to think of--usually involving tachyon fields and repulsor beams. That's why Wesley Crusher gets all the space chicks wet.

Good (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380322)

I hope the judgment comes in the form of ass cancer for the entire company so that the blight that is EchoStar will, slowly and painfully, be wiped from the face of the planet.

Re:Good (1)

malelder (414533) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381344)

Sean Penn, is that you?

MPEG (1)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380494)

With all those references to MPEG in the patent, couldn't they simply use Ogg Theora (or some other codec) to circumvent the patent?

The quoted patent does not seem overly broad to me (there's hardly an inventive step involved, but that's another matter). Are there other patents EchoStar is infringing?

Re:MPEG (2, Interesting)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380746)

With all those references to MPEG in the patent, couldn't they simply use Ogg Theora (or some other codec) to circumvent the patent?

Probably not as a practical matter. For ATSC (and DVB), the stream comes in as MPEG, which would mean you'd have to transcode to use another codec.

Interestingly, MythTV doesn't seem to infringe this patent. The essential claims have steps where the streams are disassembled into video and audio, stored, and re-assembled on playback. MythTV doesn't work this way; it stores the program streams with the video and audio still interleaved, and disassembles on playback. I'm not sure why EchoStar couldn't use a similar technique; unfortunately, it's possible that the courts interpret the patent broadly and figure that difference doesn't matter.

Re:MPEG (1)

zapakh (1256518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381270)

I'm not sure why EchoStar couldn't use a similar technique; unfortunately, it's possible that the courts interpret the patent broadly and figure that difference doesn't matter.

Such an interpretation seems probable. From the fine ruling, as linked from TFA (look for "2. Infringement of the '389 Patent"), emphasis mine:

EchoStar argues that because TiVo failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the redesigned devices infringe, it is not in contempt of the infringement portion of the injunction. ...[A]t the very list, the claim limitation "parses video and audio data from said broadcast data" is not met by its new software. It argues that the district court improperly found infringement based on the simple fact that the software includes a PID filter [a mechanism designed to distinguish between various television programs] that parses some data. The filter, however, EchoStar argues, looks only at the header of a data packet, not the payload where the video and audio are contained. Therefore, EchoStar urges, its modified software does not parse any audio and video data.

TiVo responds that the district could has previously construed the term "parses" broadly to mean "analyzes," a construction that has never been challenged, and all that is required for the modified software to meet this limitation is a component that analyzes video and audio data. TiVo argues that EchoStar's attempt to differentiate header data from the packet payload is improper because both are part of an MPEG packet, and the whole packet is video and audio data. Moreover, TiVo argues that experts for both sides testified at trial that PID filtering meets the parsing limitation under the court's claim construction.

The ruling is a great read, and great fodder for at least one aspect of what is wrong with software patents, even when they verge on hardware. EchoStar provides a DVR feature that is found to infringe a patent. In response to an injunction, EchoStar implements around the infringing idea by doing something it called "Indexless DVR". Now they're found in contempt of the injunction, essentially, because they found another way to implement the same feature.

This patent is, in effect, not being interpreted as covering an implementation. Or rather, the implementation being covered is so effing broad ("analyze this data and provide this functionality") that it may as well be covering something more broad than a single implementation.

This business of the container format being interpreted as part of A/V data is one thing that broadens the interpretation so.

Re:MPEG (1)

kungfuj35u5 (1331351) | more than 4 years ago | (#31381350)

It's likely that they don't want to store the butt tons of mpeg-2 video without compressing the streams first.

Meh... more patent trolling (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 4 years ago | (#31380946)

So their patent is based on the ability to record one video stream while watching something else? Multi-tasking isn't exactly rocket science; computers have been doing it for decades. Furthermore, you could accomplish the same "time warping" effect as far back as the 1970s without even using a computer; all you needed was a VCR and an RF splitter.

IMO TiVo should not have been awarded this patent in the first place; it is yet another example of how the patent system in this country is broken.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31381540)

Seems that TiVo's patent would be invalid as prior art because watching one program while recording another has its roots in VCR.

Duh - stupid judge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31381616)

The only problem is that patent listed isn't valid for Dish...

"convert to mpeg"...
dish records the digital signal *as is* - it's already digital, it just records the stream.
it doesn't convert digital to analog, then to mpeg - as the patent would show - since it's all about converting analog signals to mpeg.

To anyone who thinks this is trivial (2, Interesting)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 4 years ago | (#31383466)

To anyone who thinks TiVo's patent is trivial: go read it.

Implementing simultaneous recording and playback, with quick seeking to any point in the stream, and doing so with a very low-cost system (in TiVo's case, originally a 50MHz PowerPC) is not at all trivial.

There's more than one way to implement such functionality in hardware, but TiVo found a way that was cheap and effective before Echostar did, and Echostar didn't bother to license TiVo's patent or find another method.

Re:To anyone who thinks this is trivial (1)

kfsone (63008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31387896)

The "blurb", as people are referring to it, is just the abstract from the patent. Scroll down and view the 23-page PDF describing in fairly exacting detail how their specific methodology works.

And for those saying "I could do it on my VCR": no, you couldn't pause live TV on your VCR while recording a show on a different channel.

The patent actually covers how TiVo splits up the separate components of the incoming sources (Video, Audio, CC, etc), and buffers them up without having to decode the MPEG stream of the video - which means potentially storing partial screen frames, but doing so in a fashion that doesn't require a lot of CPU to subsequently reassemble in a frame-based random access order, allowing you to press a rewind button or a skip-back button on either the live tv or the show being recorded.

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