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The Next Generation of PVR has no Hard Drive

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the its-only-a-matter-of-time dept.

Television 189

William Kucharski sent us a story about the next generation of PVR (Tivo) device. This time there will be no hard drives. Instead the content will be stored at your cable company and streamed in real time to the reader. The upside is that this effectively removes many of the limitations of existing PVRs and could make all media available on demand all the time... eliminating the concept of "Channels" entirely. The main downside is that control is moved out of your home, returning PVR users to the dark ages where they had to watch commercials.

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the future is bleek (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#155508)

A friend of mine and I were discussing this sort of thing this weekend. Why is it as technology progresses and things become easier, we must sacrifice or privacy more and more? VCR+ allowed people to quickly and easily tape shows, that progressed into TiVo which took that a step further, only downside is, MS or whomever now knows every show you watch/tape. We talk about having microwaves hooked to the web, our TVs, pretty much any appliance, but once you start doing this, what's stopping people from tracking and selling this information.
We have articles discussing CDR recording and companies attempting to keep track of who's songs you are burning.
We already have our little supermarket coupon devices which track every piece of food you buy. So basically in the near future, someone will know every phone call I make, every show I watch, every song I listen to, every game I play, every piece of food I buy, and the list goes on.
1984 is scarier then ever since it's happening ever so quickly and ever so subtle and its become beyond the governments control and the people are too lazy or comfortable to stand up for their rights.
The future looks bleek and I'm actually becoming frighten for what appears to becoming our way...

Re:the Linux VCR Howto (2)

Yarn (75) | more than 13 years ago | (#155511)

I suspects this limits you to the ~300x200 res supported by the BTTV capture driver. I don't think this resolution is sufficent.

I have a Hauppauge card with built in mpeg2 compression, but the linux driver for it is still deep within development, and with no help from hauppauge.

I pretty much expected this, so I'm not bitter ;)

Re:No more Blockbuster? (2)

jbrw (520) | more than 13 years ago | (#155513)

There's a company here the UK, recently launched, called Homechoice [] that does VoD, based on BT's ADSL network. According to their FAQ, "[y]ou can pause, rewind, or fast forward it and even watch it as many times as you want over your 24-hour rental period."

A friend of mine has it - apparently one month they got their on-demand charges to over £100 because of the sheer convenience of clicking a button to get a movie they (more or less) wanted to watched streamed to them instantly.

The biggest problem with HomeChoice, from what I hear, is their range of content. And this comes down to business issues, rather than technical. I believe a lot of the TV channels they have show older re-runs than you would expect to get on a normal cable/satellite/digital terrestrial service.

No idea what HomeChoice's back-end looks like. I pressume the infrastructure costs have come down significantly since the Time-Warner (?) trials in Florida in the early '90s - the trials that get quoted so often as to how VoD will never catch on (and I guess that's the what Wired was talking about in the above comment).

Homechoice also does a bearable always-on 'net connection, although with some pretty significant limitations (128k, NAT, etc) - but I imagine it's quite attractive to your ma-and-pa style home users. ADSL Guide [] probably talks about their net services. You'll probably have to dig around their message forums to find some users of the service.

As far as Blockbuster goes, I thought I read something recently about them doing a JV in the UK to provide VoD-style services. Can't find a link to that story, but here's something about them doing a JV with DirecTV [] in the States. Blockbuster thinks, probably correctly, that their brand is worth something in the PPV/VoD market.

Contradiction (2)

Have Blue (616) | more than 13 years ago | (#155514)

This is at the same time desirable and undesirable for various reasons.
  • Cutting commercials: Sure, I'd love to do this on the face of it, but give it five seconds of thought and you see that a) the content providers will give you this feature when hell freezes over b) the alternatives to commercial breaks are even worse. The article suggests that commercials could be replaced with either split-screen (wtf! that's already bad enough when they run promos over the credits of the previous show), logos (Not sure exactly what they mean... if it's anything bigger than the station emblem in the corner it will get annoying) or product placement (read as: give significant control of content to advertisers). None of those are preferable to commercial breaks.
  • Profiling: [blah blah blah corporation blah blah blah big brother blah blah blah paranoid ravings blah blah blah]
  • Not to mention the technological issues: At the worst case, every single person orders a different movie at once, so they lose all the advantages of distribution. Even with digital cable I can't see how they can stream more than a few movies at once, in which case the meaningful choice (any movie whenever) is gone and this is no different from current premium cable.

Re:not fair (3)

Dicky (1327) | more than 13 years ago | (#155515)

TiVo launched in the UK in October last year, and I've had one since December. They're not the same boxes as in the US, the UK ones being made by Thompson, but the service is substantially the same. The usual dollar-to-pound conversion applies, meaning that both the hardware (and there's only one box available, with 45Gb of storage) and the service cost 40% more than in the US.

The biggest issue you'd have to overcome to provide your own service would be the hardware. You could probably use a UK TiVo without to much problem (has the right voltage and TV standard), but you've have to get the guide data from somewhere. I spoke to people at LinuxWorld in New York back in January who were using TiVo boxes in Australia, and had hacked up the box enough that they could get the guide data from a local web site with local TV listings. I'm not sure if they've released that software, or if it crosses the line regarding the community support of TiVo, meaning that the hacking community will not try to undermine the TiVo service, which would cause financial damage to TiVo - the company. If the software to get guide data in Australia existed, it wouldn't be hard to write similiar software for the US and UK, meaning that people could get full functionality without paying

All we need now.... (1)

SiliconJesus (1407) | more than 13 years ago | (#155516)

Is for M$ / AOL / @Home / Sony to get together and decide what *they* want you to watch. All they ads they see fit.
Secret windows code

no, previous generation... (1)

kevin lyda (4803) | more than 13 years ago | (#155521)

i remember reading about this. it was a huge array of sgi boxes with a fiber ring connecting them. people would request a movie and one box in the cluster would stream it to them. in addition you could fast forward it, rewind, etc. it was available in orlando, florida. here's a link to a news letter that has a blurb on it [] .

the year? why it was 1994 (and i think i heard about it in 1993, but i'm not certain).

granted what the /. story covers is more than movies, but the principle is the same.

Why not both? (3)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 13 years ago | (#155526)

I'd just get this service and stick a hard-disk recorder, or plain VCR, on the other end.

Re:probably flamebait but.... (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 13 years ago | (#155527)

Or in other words, it is just a glorified vcr, but that's a very good thing.

Unlike this new POS, which says "you can have your neat new features, but you have to take this stick up the behind along with it."

Re:probably flamebait but.... (1)

sdw (6809) | more than 13 years ago | (#155530)

A VCR is a useless piece of ancient junk compared to a Tivo, for time shifting.

Try subscribing to a show for the season, no matter when it's on, and having the device manage recording, aging, automatically deleting, and other features. 30+ hours of these shows with perfect fast forward/reverse, pause, bookmarking, etc. You can't do any of that automatically with a VCR.

Unfortunately, people can't seem to get over the price tag, even though it's fairly cheap now ($300 + listing subscription).

Go buy a Tivo and buy the lifetime subscription (just went up?). Best video entertainment purchase you'll ever make.

I bought one of the original units directly from Tivo when the first /. story on them appeared, long ago.


Re:I detest comercial television (1)

Art Tatum (6890) | more than 13 years ago | (#155531)

I assume that ABC is different in Australia? Here, it's one of the big commercial networks.

That's right, they're not cheap. (2)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 13 years ago | (#155534)

Well, I don't like to break this to you, but... $200 is not cheap. That's more than an average VCR costs.

For a Tivo-like device to become useful and cool to the home user (i.e. be able to filter out ads, etc...) the manufacturer has to be able to make a profit on the hardware *alone*. Oh, and it really ought to cost $150 or less for most people to buy it. So, manufacturing cost would have to be about half that at most - $75. You've got to remember all the compression and decompression hardware on there as well, so I'd guess you'd need a hard drive that costs about $30.

disk approaching $2 a GB (3)

peter303 (12292) | more than 13 years ago | (#155538)

Last time I looked at the local computer rag
some 70-80 GB disks had fallen below $200.
One gig holds a 30-60 minutes of compressed video.
The early PVR systems were pricey at $15 / GB,
but there are hack web sites that tell you how to
add your own disk cheap.

I would not be surprised in the near future you
could get a hundred hours of video storage for
a hundred bucks. Then why rent the remote disk?

Re:Roll your own... (1)

School Bully (14200) | more than 13 years ago | (#155539)

And in Europe, we get Digital Terrestrial TV, so we don't need to encode the signal.

Aren't Nokia doing a Digital Terrestrial box with Linux on it?

TiVO is expensive, even before you put the subscription stuff on (and I would refuse to pay for that)


Back to the Future(tm) (used without permission) (5)

Smitty (15702) | more than 13 years ago | (#155543)

"The upside is that this effectively removes many of the limitations of existing PVRs"

By reintroducing all of the limitations and annoyances of existing cable TV (commercials, network outages, etc.).

I won one in a contest. (2)

raygundan (16760) | more than 13 years ago | (#155544)

I won a 14-hour model in a wacky 200-word essay contest they were having. (mine was something like "I want a Tivo. Please send me one.") I never would have purchased one on my own, but after having used it, I can safely say that I would certainly buy one now.

The biggest difference between it and a VCR, is that I can't tell my VCR things like:

-"Record every episode of the Simpsons, regardless of when the network schedules or re-schedules the episodes"
-"Record every show with Actor X in it"
-"Fill your remaining space with shows you recommend based on my viewing habits"
-"Let me watch a recorded show while another is being recorded"
-"Record at a sensible resolution, not that lousy VHS stuff"

Even without everything but the first item, the Tivo is much easier to use. Just select from the menu or type in the name of a show, and record every episode ever with just another click. Sit down at the TV later and pick the show you want to watch from a menu of 20 or so shows that you are much more likely to enjoy than just channel surfing.

the Linux VCR Howto (5)

raygundan (16760) | more than 13 years ago | (#155545)

Is right here: []

All you need is a cheapo $50 winTV card and the patience to get it all set up.

Other alternatives include using bttv-grab and mpeg2encode, rather than vcr and avifle+divx as outlined in the howto. I have yet to get it all working quite the way I want it to, but I expect it will be done in a week or two.

Re:I detest comercial television (1)

Shadowlion (18254) | more than 13 years ago | (#155548)

My guess is that's it's the Australian version of the BBC.


Re:Not tivo (1)

Scutter (18425) | more than 13 years ago | (#155549)


Personally, I love my TiVo and I'm happy to see that it has such widespread name-recognition that it's considered the "standard" in PVR's.

I don't throw a flying disc.
I don't blow my nose on a tissue.
I don't get rid of headaches with acetylsalicylic acid.
I don't time-shift my Cinemax soft-core porn with a PVR.


Devil's Advocate.... (1)

Ensign Nemo (19284) | more than 13 years ago | (#155551)

Television costs money to produce. Where does that money come from? If people can completely cut out the commercials what incentive do companies have to fork over money for show?
We can't have our cake and eat it too. What are better alternatives to commercials? (This is a serious question.) Please thing about that. Complaining doesn't do any good unless you generate an alternative.

Re:no, previous generation... (1)

angelo (21182) | more than 13 years ago | (#155552)

Damn. This is one of those times that I HOPE FOR a company having a patent on the concept so it never sees the light of day..

Sometimes process patents are a good thing, go figure.

Re:Use a downstream PVR on the upstream PVR's outp (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | more than 13 years ago | (#155554)

Two problems:

Your recorder at home might be difficult to program. As it is now, the Tivo gets a TV schedule and I select what I want to watch. It knows when everything is on and records for me. Depending on how the upstream feed is set up, you might have to manually instruct the Tivo to record a specific channel for a specific time period. If I wanted to do that, I would use my old VCR.

I don't know about you, but I would rather not pay for two nearly identical services every month. Obviously nobody knows what the pricing on this new upstream stuff will be, but it could get expensive.


Surveys (1)

ianezz (31449) | more than 13 years ago | (#155557)

The main downside is that control is moved out of your home, returning PVR users to the dark ages where they had to watch commercials.

The company streaming out the content will also be able to gather tangible information of the tastes of its users, following the principle that "if you are willing to time-shift it to watch it later, you are really interested in it". This should be by far more accurate than everything done until now (i.e. surveys done on a limited set of people).

It would be possible also to tell if the content met the expectations (i.e. lots of people recording something, but then few watching it for more than 10 minutes or so).

This kind of surveys could be either a real boost to producing better quality content, or the grave for every idea not strictly following well-known successful formats... I'm not sure if I really want to know the answer.

Use a downstream PVR on the upstream PVR's output (2)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 13 years ago | (#155558)

The main downside is that control is moved out of your home, returning PVR users to the dark ages where they had to watch commercials. Unless, of course, you still have your PVR at home, and use IT to record the video that comes from the upstream PVR. Then, you've got all the features you want. Chances are, that an upstream PVR will be PPV like. If that is the case, I'd still use the downstream PVR in my home for the majority of recording, but only use the upstream PVR for recording conflicts, or niche programming. In any case, the PVR at the home isn't going away.

Get your hands off me you damn, dirty Ads! (3)

schmack (32384) | more than 13 years ago | (#155559)

What are you people crazy? Ads are here to stay. Fact: Television exists because of advertising. There is no way Tivo will be allowed to attain a significant market share without some safe-guards in place to make sure viewers are force-fed their daily dose of advertisements.

VCRs are tolerated by the Television industry because their impact on ad-aversion is thought to be minimal. Face it, most people don't know how to use the timer-record features of their VCRs - the vast majority of television people watch is live-broadcast. Thus, ad-watching remains a huge part of television viewing.

Tivo and similar PVRs can change this - through integrated electronic programme guides, they make it easy for people to record shows regardless of their air-time. Large built-in storage make them even more attractive. Your average Joe Remote can now actually negotiate the smorgasboard of TV in their own time, and therefore easily skip ads. Once these devices become as ubiquitous as the VCR free-to-air networks are in real trouble.

Unless... well, you work it out.


No more Blockbuster? (4)

hawkestein (41151) | more than 13 years ago | (#155560)

Could this sort of thing wipe out the video rental business?

I never watch pay-per-view movies (and I don't know anybody who does), because I like being able to watch a movie at a time that's convinient for me, pause it to go to the bathroom, etc. These outweighs the disadvantages of actually having to go to the rental store.

But, with video on demand, these disadvantages are gone. Bye bye, Blockbuster?

Re:probably flamebait but.... (1)

bdrago (42295) | more than 13 years ago | (#155561)

For everything I've read about Tivo, there's nothing yet that has convinced me I want one. Can it get to the 100+ digital channels I have now? (not that my VCR can, but if the Tivo can't, then it's no better.) Just curious.

Yes. My old 14-hour Tivo controls my brand new digital cable box flawlessly. I've even set it up to record the digital channels instead of analog if both are available (like HBO).

For DirectTV users, there's DirectTivo which combines a Tivo and your DirectTV unit, so that you only have to have one box. Or you can just connect your Tivo to your current satellite box with a serial cable, and it will control it from there.

Re:TIVO Question for owners : (1)

tm2b (42473) | more than 13 years ago | (#155563)

I don't know either of those particular boxes, but if it's the same as a cable converter or a Dish Network controller...

There are two possible leads out of a TiVo - serial and tethered IR emitters. The TiVo has a huge database of possible controls codes, and you cycle through them on startup.

Hope that helps,

Re:PVR (1)

grytpype (53367) | more than 13 years ago | (#155569)

It would need some integration with the TV Guide website to get an on-screen programming guide, too. But I think there's a perl script knocking around out there that will get the data from that site in some form.

And is there any good way to get the video output from your box to the TV? I'd rather not have to watch TV on a monitor!

Re:probably flamebait but.... (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#155570)

> And a Tivo is a useless piece of junk compared to a VCR, for archiving. Six of one, half-a-dozen of the other.

Eh? A Tivo will let you get a good-quality MPEG2 stream of whatever video you want, and with recent hacks, the files can be backed up as required.

30 hours of MPEG2 stream = $200 worth of hard drive. Equivalent to 20 DVDs' worth of movies. With DVDs costing ~$15-20, it's price-competitive to just buy a new hard drive every time the old one fills up.

2 years from now, $200 worth of hard drive will archive 60 hours of video. Or more. DVDs, of course, will still cost $15-20 apiece.

10 years from now, $50 will buy a magic cube that'll hold your last 8 years' worth of MPEG video. Another $50 will buy you an identical cube that you can stick in a safety deposit box in case your house burns down and destroys the first one.

15 years from now, you'll be watching copies of those MPEGs from your "Tivo emulated on your headband 23-GHz megaputer and projected directly onto your retina", while the NTSC-quality images on your VHS tapes have silently gone the way of magnetic flux loss, oxide-flaking-off, and all the other afflictions that magnetic tapes suffer from. (Or you'll be watching fourth-generation analog copies of your VHS tapes, which will be just as bad.)

I don't own a Tivo, hell, I barely watch TV anymore. But if I were interested in archiving video, I'd take a Tivo over a VCR any day.

Re:Use a downstream PVR on the upstream PVR's outp (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#155571)

> I imagine if anyone provided this service, they would have it chock to the gills with next generation Macrovision style copy protection.

True. Your old PVR probably won't record the video-on-demand your cable company offers.

So you hack the ever-lovin' hell out of it until it will. (Or more likely, you wait until someone else does, preferably in a non-DMCA country, and you download the hack yourself ;-)

Re:Filtering commercials (2)

RedX (71326) | more than 13 years ago | (#155578)

I'm assuming you're referring to the hack that allowed you to add this capability in pre-2.0 versions of the TiVo software since this capability never officially existed on a TiVo. The newest software version (2.0.1) effectively disabled this hack, and so far no other hacks have been found to reintroduce this capability. I know that there are ways to change the speed of the 3 steps of Fast-Forward, but don't know the particulars.

Re:PVR (1)

motardo (74082) | more than 13 years ago | (#155580)

here's the script. de.php

i got it up and running at if you wanna check it out


probably flamebait but.... (1)

JEDi_ERiAN (79402) | more than 13 years ago | (#155581)

... what is the fascination w/ the tivo? and why are there so many articles on /. about it? it's just a glorified vcr, right? someone please explain what the big deal is over tivo, thnx.



They don't get it (1)

Gunzour (79584) | more than 13 years ago | (#155582)

The summary is a little misleading because this really has *nothing* to do with Tivo. It's another company trying to compare themselves to Tivo (although it's kind of strange that neither Tivo nor UltimateTV are mentioned in the article).

But if you read the article, it's clear this company just doesn't get it.

PVRs are revolutionary because they free the viewer from the normal constraints of television. They give the viewer control. It lets you see an entire show without having to ignore the phone or your need to go to the bathroom or your spouse. It lets you make your own schedule, without having to rush to get home by 9pm on Sunday to watch X-Files. This article, though, is basically about providing a PVR without giving up control, and that eliminates the major benefit of PVRs.

In the article they talk about restricting viewers from fast forwarding through commercials! I mean, how stupid are they? The advertising industry KNOWS we don't watch commercials NOW, even watching live TV (without a PVR). We get up. We go to the bathroom. We go to the kitchen. We talk to our family members or friends.

With a Tivo, we probably pay more attention to commercials than without -- when I am watching a show on Tivo and a commercial break comes up, I hit fast forward. BUT, I am watching the screen very closely to see when the commercials end.

If you remember the Max Headroom movie, in that movie the advertising industry created blipverts -- 30 second ads compressed into 2 seconds in order to not lose your attention. Well, guess what -- Tivo has created blipverts for the advertising industry! And here are people trying to get rid of it thinking they are going to benefit the ad industry by *forcing* people to watch ads at normal speed.

The ad industry needs to get a clue -- ads are supposed to *sell* something. Ads that people are *forced* to watch cause resentment, and are more likely to make the viewer think "Dammit, I'll never buy from these assholes" than sell anything.

You don't want MD (1)

Jus'n (85372) | more than 13 years ago | (#155584)

MiniDiscs are NOT good for archiving. I've been using MD for music ever since the price of Sony's original consumer audio desk fell to $300 (roughly 5 years). Many of my original recordings are now deteriorating, and need to be re-recorded. Yes, I DO take care of them (most of that time, they've been sitting in a box in my closet -- I got bored with MD when the price of CD-Rs came down, 'cause no one else could listen to my mixes!). Yes, MD is a cool medium, but it's not good for archiving. What would be great (As I dream) is a TiVo with MD for small recordings (as they only hold about 150MB if I'm not mistaken), and CD-R (or dare I dream, cost-effective DVD-R) for archiving. Come to think of it, I don't have any 5+ year-old CD-Rs -- can anyone vouch for their resitance to deterioration? Obviously, CDs are great for archiving, but I suspect CD-Rs might be less permanent.

Re:stories like this remind me: (2)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 13 years ago | (#155585)

I don't know why you'd be stocking up on Win2k, unless you're planning on some sort of mass infestation ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H instalation program to get back at the companies.

Re:probably flamebait but.... (1)

stang (90261) | more than 13 years ago | (#155586)

And a Tivo is a useless piece of junk compared to a VCR, for archiving.

Yeah, but Tivo has a "save to VCR" function -- it's very easy to archive stuff you've Tivo'ed.

It's hard to explain in just a few words how cool Tivo is. The season pass that catches stuff whenever it's on, aging of old shows, filling up unused space with shows you might like (but always at a lower priority than stuff you've picked) -- Tivo is the best thing to happen to tv since the remote control. Or cable, take your pick.

Tivo is an evolutionary product that has revolutionized the way I watch tv.


Re:probably flamebait but.... (3)

bobwoodard (92257) | more than 13 years ago | (#155589)

Sure, it records like a VCR, but the thing that snagged me was the ability to schedule season passes and not using VCR tapes. I did the HD upgrade and I now have 30 hours of "best quality" recording, which would be a mess to work with, if I still had a VCR & 15-30 tapes laying around. So, for me it's been the combination of ease-of-use/convenience and the ability to go in and add capabilities to the base product.

Re:probably flamebait but.... (2)

cworley (96911) | more than 13 years ago | (#155593)

Everybody I know with a TiVo no longer surfs realtime TV. At all.

When you sit down to watch TV, you look at the current list of what's recorded, and select from the list.

You get to see the shows you want, when you want; it's very convienient.

I know a few folks who are very disiplined with there VCR library. They're good at setting the schedules, shuffling the tapes in and out, and labeling them for their library. They don't need a TiVo. I'm not that disciplined. I've got hundreds of tapes, and haven't a clue what's on any of them, and I never watch them.

The TiVo makes it easy for the undisciplined viewer.

Roll your own... (2)

Dr_Cheeks (110261) | more than 13 years ago | (#155596)

So, how difficult would it actually be to make your own Tivo? Way I see it, get a basic PC (something like a PII 500 should do fine), stick in a TV card, graphics card that can do MPEG compression (don't ATI make combined TV/graphics cards) and a big HD. Then hack at it a bit and bingo - you've got your own Tivo to use as you see fit. Maybe I'm grossly simplifying things (especially saying "hack at it a bit"), but if people are prepared to try and do that in-car MP3 player that was up here a couple of days ago, then surely this wouldn't be too tough.

Though frankly I don't expect to see them laying the sort of bandwidth to support something like this any time soon here in the UK (hell, BT's still dragging it's heels over DSL while not exactly making it easy for others to compete).

And what's to stop someone downloading a show on demand, then re-broadcasting (time-delayed and advert-less) it themselves for say 5% (per subscriber) of the price it cost them? I know I'd pay for a pirate TV network with no ads that came cheaper that the regular one.

OK, I'm kinda all over the place cos it's past quitting time at work and not thinking too straight, but I'm just trying to provoke some discussion : )

What would this mean to existing customers? (1)

SpookComix (113948) | more than 13 years ago | (#155597)

I don't have a Tivo, but I suspect I will very soon. I'm struggling with the decision to go month-to-month, or just do the lifetime subscription. However, with this kind of thing coming down the pipeline, would it be insane of me to spend $200 (the equivilant of 20 months) on a lifetime subscription?

This may be a tad off-topic, but how have some of you been able to sleep at night after giving $200 to Tivo, not knowing if they'll be around, at least in their current capacity, long enough for your investment to have paid off?


Re:probably flamebait but.... (1)

ebh (116526) | more than 13 years ago | (#155598)

Tivo is a useless piece of junk compared to a VCR, for archiving.

That's why the Sony TiVos can drive Sony VCRs. Want to archive something TiVo recorded? Throw in a blank tape, select the program from The List, and do a "save to VCR".

(Too bad it only works for Sony VCRs, though.)

Re:Too optimistic (2)

pouwelse (118316) | more than 13 years ago | (#155599)

The bandwidth of the last mile of cable is shared amoungst many other users. 212 compressed digital channels are probably not sufficient to support the video needs of all users that share the same cable in the 'cable cell'.

If you have the hardware to do 'video/TV on demand' it is hard to avoid not getting hit by lawyers. This kind of infrastructure costs more than users are willing to pay for every month. Internet access would be a better way to use the bandwidth.


Too optimistic (4)

pouwelse (118316) | more than 13 years ago | (#155600)

The bandwidth of current cable infrastructures is often limited to the broadcast of about 25 - 40 video channels at the last mile. In the near future I seriously doubt if this sort of infrastructure is capable of competing on cost and service with a $299 Tivo box. Besides Tivo, if you provide users with a 1 Mbps Internet connection it is possible to stream video in real-time, in my opinion users would go for this option.

Who want's inserted adds or other stuff inserted in their video stream? If a company offers hassle free Internet capable of video streaming, a subsription based video server could be more cost effective.

What do users want?

Just my 5 Eurocents Johan.

stories like this remind me: (1)

Argylengineotis (118734) | more than 13 years ago | (#155601)

...remind me to stock up on today's technology, like win2k, hackable tivos, high end athlons with PC133 RAM, etc. so that when the seige being currently waged against the consumer is finally won by the big corporations, I'll still have an easy time of pirating intellectual property. :)

Re:Too optimistic (2)

demaria (122790) | more than 13 years ago | (#155604)

"Just my 5 Eurocents Johan."

Cable systems may be better here in the US then.

I get about 60 channels, and digital cable offers up to 212.

The rest of your post I cannot understand.

Could mean more commercials (1)

regen (124808) | more than 13 years ago | (#155605)

What scares me is that this could mean more commercials. Once the cable companies can insert commercials at will, and we aren't tied to a fixed start and end time then there is very little incentive to keep the commercial time so breif. Right now if cable companies are limited to how much time that they can use for commercials due to the length of the content and the need to fit the content in a fixed amount of time. If cable companies don't have to fit the content into a fixed amount of time, then the commercial can run longer. Already the local cable company cuts off the end of CNN Headline News to insert extra comercials.

Re:Too optimistic (1)

Gigs (127327) | more than 13 years ago | (#155606)

First off where did you get that number? 25-40??? Maybe if you live in a cable system that hasn't been rebuilt since the mid 80's.
Second if you live in an area covered by one of the top 20 cable systems( which 95%+ of all cable subscribers do) you have, or will have with in the next year or two, capacity in the 500+ channel range. Current rebuilds are building 2GHz systems, with a 6Mhz channel thats 333 analog channels. Add in digital cables average of 12:1 compression and that number jumps to 3996 channels. Now thats all good on paper but let just cut that number in half to deal with real world issues like ingress and amp tilt that still almost 2000 channels. Now I haven't even mentioned that the average fiber node feed 125 homes and so each node now has a 2000 channel capacity to feed 125 homes. So now you have 16 channels just for your house. You plan on watching more than 16 different programs at the sametime??? Most people only have three tv's in their house.

Now the cost issue: current digital set top boxes are selling for around $300 a pop without any PVR ability. A new service like PVR/On Demand Programming(ODP) is a new revenue stream, which means we can justify a higher unit install cost. When cable modems were first launched in they cost $700+ a piece. The cable company I work for gladly ate this cost and has been smiling ever since.

Finally the issue of commercials: Hey I hate watching them as much as the next guy but there are only three options here. First you must understand that it cost big money to make a tv show! Don't even think of makin a pilot for less than a million(if you can even do that anymore) and if the show is a hit the actors will demand ever more money. So season after season your cost will increase. How is that paid for? One word: ADVERTISING!!! But lets say for the sake of argument that we don't want to do advertising. Well then you have the HBO model, where you have no commercials but the subscriber fronts the cost of all production. So lets say an average price of $10 a month per channel you want. The average viewer watches 9 channels. So theres $90 a month... Not so cheap, considering you can get that now for under $40 a month! The other option is the PBS method, where they stop and beg for money every 15 minutes for 15 minutes... NO THANKS!!

The idea here is that the model you have now is here because it gets you the most value for the buck. If you have a better way of doing it great start up a business doing it and good luck. But don't fall for the Marxist/Liberal crap being pushed on you, telling you that all corporations are evil and want nothing but your money. Sure they are out there, but do be so quick to judgement...

Re:PVR (1)

fl1t (129930) | more than 13 years ago | (#155607)

Actually, that's a damn good idea: an open-source software project that allows you to build your own PVR.

Assuming you can get your hands on the additional hardware required, it shouldn't be that difficult. All you'd really need is a cheap TV decoder/video I/O card. Stick that in a Celeron-level box with a big HD, running Linux and the PVR software, and away you go!

PPV without limits (1)

EvilAlien (133134) | more than 13 years ago | (#155608)

That will be a boon to cable providers branching into digital cable services includng Pay Per View. Currently, PPV events or movies go through a rotation and you have to wait for a movie to pop up in the schedule (at least in the cable system I'm in) in order to watch it.

Being able to select whatever you want to watch when you want to watch it will do more than just quash the concept of channels... it could seriously decrease the profitability of video stores if not mode them out. Of course, the same argument has been made for years about print media and the Internet, and print media is still around (but I think it can be argued that it is in transition and "downsizing").

Re:probably flamebait but.... (2)

aozilla (133143) | more than 13 years ago | (#155609)

And a Tivo is a useless piece of junk compared to a VCR, for archiving. Six of one, half-a-dozen of the other.

Until they add a tape drive. 20 gig tapes cost about $30. Sure, it's not random access, but if you're able to plan ahead a little you could preload the show. You could probably even preload it on the fly.

Not only is this good for archival, but also for transportation. I could record something at home, but view it at my friends house. Of course, to be truly universal you'd want to make sure it was an open standard, similar to the way VHS works. Yeah, it's probably a pipe dream in today's monopolistic patent crazy world.

That's my biggest problem with Tivo. Sure, you can hack it to add extra devices, but it would be a lot nicer if the company supported it.

Re:Am I just stupid? Why not a VCR? (1)

a42 (136563) | more than 13 years ago | (#155611)

Q. Why not a VCR?

A. Extrememly crappy picture quality.

Also, TiVo does have a feature that allows you to dump a recorded program off to VCR if you need to keep it.

Re:The more things change... (1)

a42 (136563) | more than 13 years ago | (#155612)

Your chain of events is somewhat faulty. The article is *not* about TiVo -- they are not the ones doing the "on demand PVR."

Also, #3 has been in the works for a long time. I saw a demo at NAB in 1999 of a similar service. I seem to remember that Larry Ellison was involved somehow, also.

Nokia is setting up a service in Europe (1)

LazyGun (138083) | more than 13 years ago | (#155613)

Nokia is setting up a service in Europe

check out the Nokia Media Terminal []

Q: How much will the Nokia Media Terminal cost and when will it be available?

The Nokia Media Terminal will be priced competitively. The first Nokia Media Terminals will be available in Sweden in the middle part of 2001 and later on in the year in Europe and North America.

Do it yourself (2)

hardburn (141468) | more than 13 years ago | (#155616)

While this may not be a good idea for the non-technical, most of those on this site could make their own [] .


Not in a million years.... (1)

martijnd (148684) | more than 13 years ago | (#155620)

One national cable modem company where I live just decided that trying to convert millions of miles of outdated cheap junk wired cable TV installations owned by hundreds of small time operators who make their money by broadcasting illegal localized advertising wasn't worth their money and they never even got close to their targeted number of customers. (And thus missed their target quarter after quarter)

So now instead they are leasing telephone lines from the telephone monopoly and started offering ADSL lines. Bit late to that party though.

Irony is of course that until recently they have spend $$ in advertising the negative aspects of ADSL as compared to cable modems.

So cable TV on demand (who wants it?) might take a while to be introduced around here. Happily there are plenty of movie rental places.

Deep in the Microsoft Bat Cave... (2)

Lizard_King (149713) | more than 13 years ago | (#155621)

An executive scratches his chin and ponders, "... Now that control of this content has moved out of the home, I wonder if we could embed SmartTags somehow...". A thin smile cracks on the executive's face as he massages the backside of his hairless kitty.

Pay-per-view TV, and what about premiums? (3)

Boone^ (151057) | more than 13 years ago | (#155622)

Well, anytime my cable provider (Charter Communications) changes my schedule, my fee goes up. A few months ago they removed TNT and replaced it with another 'local access' station... and the fee went up!

So, what happens when the TV-on-demand thing hits? Fees will easily double if it's unlimited viewing. If the entire country went to this model, "Must See TV" could occur at 2am so as to not trip over anything else. Moving new programs to Friday night wouldn't mark their death. Moving NYPD Blue to Wednesdays directly opposite Law & Order for fall 2001 wouldn't cause people like me to hate ABC, because they could put Blue after Letterman instead and I'd watch it the next day... you get my point. Suddenly the words "Prime time" lose their luster.

They'd be smarter with having a few dedicated pay-per-view channels, and charging someone to watch a tape-delayed show. Watching it in real time incurs no extra charge, but there's a $1 dollar charge to watch the newest Friends on Friday night... or something like that.

But you know what? I still like my TiVo. Now if they could just enable that second tuner so I could record Blue as well as L&O on Wednesdays this fall...

they gotta sell it to the customers too... (2)

connorbd (151811) | more than 13 years ago | (#155623)

What this is is just an enhanced cable box. IMHO it's going to be the Divx to Tivo/ReplayTV/UltimateTV's DVD...


Presto, the media box... (2)

connorbd (151811) | more than 13 years ago | (#155624)

I've had this idea floating around for a while, but the level of functionality it provided didn't really measure up to the cost.

First take your basic Linux PC with an S-video capable video card and a DVD-ROM drive. With the right software you have a region-free DVD player, even if it's not quite legal. Slap on audio codecs for Ogg Vorbis (and MP3 and WMA playback if you want) and a CD burner and you also have a very nice digital music station (completely free and clear on top of it). Now all that would probably be worth somewhere in the vicinity of $400 as is, and I couldn't picture a mom-and-pop operator (realistically the only outfits who would be able to get away with selling these things) making enough of a profit off of these boxes to justify it. But... you put in a good-sized hard drive or something of the sort, you've got a PVR. To me, that does justify the likely cost (probably $600-$800US)...


DVDs (1)

RESPAWN (153636) | more than 13 years ago | (#155625)

This very much reminds me of what some production companies are doing with DVDs these days. As many of you who prefer to watch DVDs on set boxes (I don't know if PC based DVD drives have the same problem), many DVDs will not allow you to skip past the usual FBI warning and Liscensing agreements. Furthermore, I've come across one or two DVDs where some (rather unscrupulous, IMHO) companies have set it up so that you cannot skip past the preview trailers. Frankly, things like this piss me off, and I wish I had some kind of protection against stuff like this.


The more things change... (3)

Rackemup (160230) | more than 13 years ago | (#155626)

Step 1. Introduce recorders to home users so they can start taking control of what they watch, when they watch it, and what parts they want to skip (ie annoying commercials for feminine products during dinner time).

Step 2. Hope the broadcasters dont try to sue us out of existance because people suddenly dont HAVE TO watch said commercials.

Step 3. Start working with the cable companies to find a way to take control away from the users again. After all, we the cable broadcasters know what is best for our viewers. Now we can say "hey, if you want to watch teletubbies at 4:17am all you have to do is ask. Oh and we're going to keep track of everything you watch so we can pump in the commercials most likely to suck the money right out of your wallet."

I have to admit, I like the idea of "on-demand" television, the ability to select and view whatever show I want at any time is very appealing (especially since it means I wont miss a show because I forgot to set my VCR before I went out for the night), but the fact that they think they're "helping" by keeping track of what each user watches so they can insert the "right" commercials is REALLY annoying.

Now all I need is a TV that will show me pro-M$ advertising while in the background it can fight with the AOL commercial trying to install "the all-new AOL 27". Why spam your mailbox when we can take over your TV and send it directly into your eyeballs?

Planned obsolescence? (1)

BrendanL79 (164654) | more than 13 years ago | (#155631)

Does anyone know whether and/or for how long the TiVo service will be accessible with the current generation of devices?

Network will be bottleneck (1)

duvel (173522) | more than 13 years ago | (#155633)

This doesn't really sound like a good idea. The argument made in the article that saving the content in a central place will result in having more content available is of course correct. On first sight this looks like the customers will be getting a better service than they are getting now.

However it's one thing to have a giant (think Beowulf cluster) computer that stores everything that is being broadcast. It's a whole different story to get that content to a customer when that customers wants to get it. Distributing that kind of heavyweight (bandwith-wise) content on an as-you-request basis will quickly result in giant bandwidth shortages. It's just not feasible.

The cynic in me however does not think that improving the quality of service is the first target here however. I presume that this company has just smelled the money of delivering a pay-per-view to its customers.

Could be good (won't be, though) (2)

nagora (177841) | more than 13 years ago | (#155634)

If you had the option of paying per view to get an ad-free version or just getting the version with ads for "free" that might be quite good.

I can't see why this would either be difficult to arrange or be something the provider would not want to do.

Anybody have figures on the total cost of advertising per viewer per half-hour of programming in the US or UK? That's the figure the provider would have to charge us (per half-hour) to watch without the ads. Obviously the current rate varies but it would be interesing to get a feel for what it would cost.


Video and PCs (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#155635)

I am sure there will be a market for a video recording software that will fake this service out, and allow you to record it all to your hard drive. Especially since the size of hardrives are pushing past the 100 gig range, etc. let's face it, for most of what I want to do, analog output is fine.

Art level stuff I would probably go out and buy the DVD or something.

Check out the Vinny the Vampire [] comic strip

Re:Get your hands off me you damn, dirty Ads! (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 13 years ago | (#155637)

Fact: Television exists because of advertising.

Not in the UK it doesn't. We pay a certain amount of money towards the production of 7 or 8 free-to-air, advert-free *DIGITAL* TV channels.

through integrated electronic programme guides, they make it easy for people to record shows regardless of their air-time

I wonder what the funny clock thing on my VCR is for?

Re:Use a downstream PVR on the upstream PVR's outp (1)

ahrenritter (187622) | more than 13 years ago | (#155638)

It seems to me that the problem with this idea is that the cable companies will have likely thought of it. I imagine if anyone provided this service, they would have it chock to the gills with next generation Macrovision style copy protection.

not fair (1)

fons (190526) | more than 13 years ago | (#155639)

Over here in Belgium we don't TiVo or anything similar. why is that? How do you go about setting up a service like that?

Are there any other countries (apart from the USA) where you can get this service?

Not tivo (3)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#155640)

this is some other service, not TiVo. There will still be room for both in the marketplace .. and home-built PVR type devices as well!

Re:Get your hands off me you damn, dirty Ads! (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 13 years ago | (#155641)

VCRs aren't "tolerated" by the TV industry - the courts have upheld them as fair use. They're stuck with VCRs, but they'd like to make sure that newer tech doesn't kill their ad revenue.

Some scary ideas in this article (2)

phaze3000 (204500) | more than 13 years ago | (#155643)

Some experts have suggested that advertisers will focus increasingly on "imbedding" advertising in the programs, via a split screen, an unobtrusive logo, or product placement as a "prop" in the show.

This sounds morally repugnant. Imagine a TV show [] where there was little plot and just a whole lot of product placement. I for one hope this never takes off.


Re:Too optimistic (1)

cprael (215426) | more than 13 years ago | (#155646)

Interesting story from one of the earlier ITV deployments. A number of years ago, BT bought the software behind nCube's new PVR. They deployed a "classic" ITV system, and once they'd finished their trials, decided it was cheaper to loft a pair of satellites just to transmit video streams than it was to try to wire the last mile.

Re:Video on Demand, so early '90s (2)

cprael (215426) | more than 13 years ago | (#155648)

I hope this dies an early death in the marketplace.

Actually, it did. The software that drives the nCube PVR is ... Oracle Video Server. Which Oracle tried (and failed) to push for a number of years, before quietly smoking the whole division last fall and pushing it over to nCube and another company whose name escapes me for the moment.

We talked about 2 years ago about using OVS to drive a video jukebox (30 hours? pfui - we were looking at a couple hundred, on hi-capacity IDE-RAID). Part of the idea was that you'd have a thin STB on each TV, and you could stream to each one individually. Never quite got off the ground, though.

Another reason to Kill your TV (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 13 years ago | (#155650)

As a non-cable subscriber I'm subject to offers frequently (through the mail and phone [um.. how do have my number and know I don't have cable?]) latest offer (at insanely low prices[!]) was 29.95 for basic. Maybe when I get my knee worked on...

So add to your cable bill the fee for this kind of service, probably billed like your long distance, right?

July Statement:

All episodes of Gilligan's Island: 7.00

Last episode of Seinfeld: 0.15

Max Headroom: 0.25

3 M*A*S*H episodes: 0.45

Then there's always the issue of Sports. Recall those "this broadcast is intend only for home viewers, any rebroadcast is prohibited etc. etc. etc." Will this yield yet another cash cow, reviewing sports events, when you pay to see the game again/later?

All your .sig are belong to us!

Re:yeah right. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 13 years ago | (#155651)

Executives at networks that rely more heavily on advertising for revenue are far less enthusiastic about the concept of putting the viewer in control. Translation: They think it sucks the way it is now. Remember Max Headroom's Network 23? Ratings were followed real-time, and depending on the ratings of a show, it might be pulled without a moments notice. The only thing to fear is learning the new paradigm, people familiar with the old one will want to preserve even to the point it drives them under. I think there's enough creativity that the future would be lie somewhere in the middle.

All your .sig are belong to us!

Re:probably flamebait but.... (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 13 years ago | (#155652)

And a Tivo is a useless piece of junk compared to a VCR, for archiving. Six of one, half-a-dozen of the other.

Who says you have to give up your VCR for archiving? You can dump from your TiVo to your VCR easily, there's even a menu choice to do it "clean" (without the TiVo splash bar).

For everything I've read about Tivo, there's nothing yet that has convinced me I want one.

Like everyone who owns one says, it will change the way you watch TV. Mainly, you'll never watch Live TV again. It's not the digital VCR capability that makes TiVo great, it's the software. Unfortunately that's where TiVo fails (the marketing, not the unit). I've never been able to explain to someone why a TiVo is so great, but just about everyone who comes over and sees it wants one.

Can it get to the 100+ digital channels I have now?

Of course it can. It goes inline after your cable box and before anything else (receiver, TV, whatever). It controls your cable box with an IR blaster, or your DirectTV box with a serial cable.

Re:Another reason to Kill your TV (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 13 years ago | (#155653)

As a non-cable subscriber I'm subject to offers frequently (through the mail and phone [um.. how do have my number and know I don't have cable?])

They don't. I get those same ads even though already I subscribe to Cox@Home and a fairly expansive digital cable package.

Re:TIVO Question for owners : (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 13 years ago | (#155654)

How does a TIVO interface with either ONDigital or a sky digi-box ?

While I'm not familiar with those exact two models, it doesn't really matter. If it's a satellite box it will most likely work with the serial cable. Worst case sat, or for a cable box, you use the IR blaster. I don't think there's a box made it doesn't work with for at least channel changing (which is all it needs to do).

Re:Filtering commercials (2)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 13 years ago | (#155656)

They most certainly did, it was just undocumented. You enabled backdoors and used a remote code to reassign one button to be 30 second skip. It only worked with the 1.3 software, it was removed in 2.0 (at least, no one has figured out how to reenable it).

Re:Video on Demand, so early '90s (2)

MCZapf (218870) | more than 13 years ago | (#155658)

I hope this dies an early death in the marketplace.

What's wrong with video on demand? That's exactly what I want. That's exactly what PVR provides, in a sort of backwards, silly way. Instead of just broadcasting shows, why can't networks also make them available for download/streaming?

This already exists in radio somewhat. Let me give you a specific example: I like to Listen to Car Talk on NPR. It comes on once a week, but I don't worry about being near my radio to hear it. If I miss it, I can just go to The Car Talk website [] and listen to the RealAudio version of the show whenever I want. It's great. There aren't even commercials in the web version (not that there are many commercials on NPR anyway).

Video on Demand, so early '90s (1)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | more than 13 years ago | (#155659)

I hope this dies an early death in the marketplace.

On the other hand, hacking into the cable company sounds a lot more enticing. We can find out which of our neighbors are ordering porn like "Lonely college coed seeks horny middle aged married man"

Bad idea because... (1)

Spackler (223562) | more than 13 years ago | (#155660)

the other name for this device is a digital cable box. This would allow the cable company to show what they want at the time they want. In other words, the value is gone. So much for fair use!

Note to self - Don't buy this.

yeah right. (2)

canning (228134) | more than 13 years ago | (#155663)

The advertising implications are significant, but they're not all negative.
Translation: We'll make alot of scratch.

But advertisers might actually grow to like nCube's PVR, he said, because the central control over distribution of the product will allow a cable operator to inject "targeted" advertising.
Translation: Viewers will hate it but we'll have money coming out of our hoo-hoos.

Some experts have suggested that advertisers will focus increasingly on "imbedding" advertising in the programs, via a split screen, an unobtrusive logo, or product placement as a "prop" in the show.
Translation: This will be annoying as hell but we'll be rolling in dough.

Executives at networks that rely more heavily on advertising for revenue are far less enthusiastic about the concept of putting the viewer in control.
Translation: They think it sucks the way it is now.

Murphy's Law of Copiers

Is it just me, (1)

Kalabajoui (232671) | more than 13 years ago | (#155666)

Is it just me, or does the concept of pay-per-play and commercials seem like double dipping. That's the kind of greed that has lead to commercials on cable and satelite tv (both expensive services) in the first place. Streaming movies on demand is a good thing, but spoiling a movie that you paid your hard earned money for with a bunch of commercials is just asinine. The same thing goes for DVDs and the fifteen minutes of previews that they wont allow you to skip. (At least that's what I have heard; not owning one and all.) I guess you are not forced to watch them because you can always play the movie fifteen minutes before you plan on watching it. What a convenience. And speaking of convenience, why do advertisers seem to think that they have the right to insinuate themselves into your personal space and every aspect of your life? It seems to me that with this pay for play + commercial business model that the social contract betweeen advertisers and consumers has been broken, and I hope that any pay per play scheme that includes commercials dies a quick death in the marketplace. Though it would be interesting to see if you are given the option to pay a little more for the priviledge of seeing a non-commercial interupted program.

All this is moot to me anyway, as I no longer watch tv unless I am at a friends house.
If I were to patent an invention for a time wasting machine that worked by the means of making addictive, colorfull, and loud noise with few redeeming qualities, I'd call it a TV. Huh, I could probably call it a computer too, for that matter. At least a computer makes you think once in a while. END RANT

TV & ADS: Peanut Butter & Chocolate? (2)

grovertime (237798) | more than 13 years ago | (#155668)

Well it would seem that the two are intertwined, television and advertisements, so logically some force in the universe would be trying to keep them together depsite our attempts to never see another OBEY YOUR THIRST Sprite commercial. If TiVo is to survive what surely will be a heavy blitz from content producers and distributors (ie. network television), they had to do something to make their product more palatable and I think this is a step in the right direction for them. As much as I like HBO, I don't want to have to pay for each channel individually, at least not under the current system.

  1. is this for REAL? []

TIVO Question for owners : (1)

rixster (249481) | more than 13 years ago | (#155671)

How does a TIVO interface with either ONDigital or a sky digi-box ? Does it have some kind of magical lead that controls ? (Please don't offtopic me yet - I'm curious coz I might get one...)

I detest comercial television (1)

noz (253073) | more than 13 years ago | (#155672)

In Australia, I watch everything on the ABC [] and SBS [] (which recently won an international multicultural exposure award.

Sadly, the commercial stations do have The Sopranos, and Voyager & DS9, so I tape these (it's analogue I know, but hey).

But The Bill (greatest show in the world) in on the ABC ( :

pricing (1)

BCGlorfindel (256775) | more than 13 years ago | (#155673)

It won't be having to watch commercials that will be the problem with all programming being setup on-demand. I'd figure that a system like this would enable cable companies to start pay-per-view like setups for most programs, with the extra control they would have customers will probably see all new payment plans that would likely result in higher pricing in the end.

Buy one and see (1)

jrwillis (306262) | more than 13 years ago | (#155680)

I thought the same thing until I bought mine. Now, I can't imagine tv without it. It allows you to watch whatever you want whenever you want. Besides, show me a vcr that can record 30 hours, in digital quality, without having to change tapes. That's not to mention the fact that with a HDD upgrade you can get up 100+ hours. Especialy with the DirecTivo units, you'd be amazed the programs that you'd like that you don't even know come on. When watching a show on a regular tv, I still try to fast forward through the commercials. (: Anyway, while I'm sure they're not for everyone, a Tivo is just one of those things that you have to have to understand it's value. (and besides, it runs linux. (: hehehe)

Hard disks ain't cheap?! (1)

jrwillis (306262) | more than 13 years ago | (#155681)

I would love to hear your rational behind this statement. In a day when a 75GB 7200rpm drive can be had for a little more then $200, I can't imagine someone saying that hard drives arn't cheap. Also, I hope you realize that the PVR makers don't pay retail for the HDD's. Also, Tivo has nothing to do with the hardware end of things. The only thing Tivo provides is the service. All hardware is provided and sold buy Sony and Panasonic. I don't think they'd be selling these units if they wern't making money on them. Of course that's just my opinion. (:

PVR (1)

AX.25 (310140) | more than 13 years ago | (#155684)

I guess this removes the P from PVR. Guess I'll be waiting for the howto to make my own tivo.

Re:probably flamebait but.... (2)

tb3 (313150) | more than 13 years ago | (#155685)

A VCR is a useless piece of ancient junk compared to a Tivo, for time shifting
And a Tivo is a useless piece of junk compared to a VCR, for archiving. Six of one, half-a-dozen of the other.

For everything I've read about Tivo, there's nothing yet that has convinced me I want one. Can it get to the 100+ digital channels I have now? (not that my VCR can, but if the Tivo can't, then it's no better.) Just curious.

Want I rally want is a random access digital recorder with removeable media, mayabe a Sony miniDisk?

"What are we going to do tonight, Bill?"

Re:No more Blockbuster? (2)

tb3 (313150) | more than 13 years ago | (#155686)

Video on demand was market-tested years ago (there was a write-up in Wired about it at the time.) It bombed. The conclusion was that people liked going to the video store to browse the aisles, and maybe rent something they hadn't planned on renting.
As for pay-per-view, my cable company offers an 'all-day ticket', you pay $3.99 and it unlocks the channel for a day. That's relatively convenient. PPV must be making some money since it's still available.

"What are we going to do tonight, Bill?"

It's simple... (5)

jasonk3 (313457) | more than 13 years ago | (#155687)

If there's no way to fast-forward through the ads, no one will buy it. They'll have to pry my Replay from my cold, dead fingers.

I can see it now... (3)

BIGJIMSLATE (314762) | more than 13 years ago | (#155688)

I can see it now...

One of three scenarios:

[1] The network sucks
"Honey, let's watch that episode of the Sopranos we taped last night"

"Ok! Wait a sure you taped the Sopranos?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Nothing, its just been saying 'buffering' for the past twenty minutes!"

[2]All your rights are belong to us

"Honey, let's watch that movie we taped last night off HBO."

"Ok! Wait a sure you taped that movie?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Nothing, its just saying that we're violating section 1201(a) of the DMCA, and the authorities are on their way..."


"Honey? Why does Regis look like a bunch of pixels?"

Bandwidth (1)

$hotgun (449276) | more than 13 years ago | (#155694)

How would even cable handle the necessary bandwidth to give everyone two way communication and what would amount to their own channel? Will this boil down to what DTV does with their movies ("your movie will be starting in 15minutes")? And if so, won't this be a blow to what makes TIVO so attractive (watch what you like, WHEN you like)? How would the pause and rewind work (a few megs of local storage)?

I just don't see how this could get far. Media companies keep thinking that they can make a business of NOT giving people what they want. They're doomed.

(of course, I didn't read the article. How am I supposed to get modded up if I take time to read the article?)

Filtering commercials (1)

Krelboyne (451082) | more than 13 years ago | (#155695)

Unfortunately I bought a Sony TiVo unit after the 30-second skips were eliminated from the remote. Can anyone direct me to a good HOW-TO on reintroducing this function to my disadvantaged unit?


Re:Filtering commercials (1)

Krelboyne (451082) | more than 13 years ago | (#155696)

Thanks for the information. I'll hunt around and see what I can dig up on the Fast-Forward.


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