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Networks and Studios Against PVRs

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the ongoing-saga-continues dept.

Television 616

HiredMan sent in an LA Times story talking about more suits against PVR makers like Replay and Tivo. The most bizarre quote to me is that the suit argues that "it's illegal to let consumers record and store shows based on the genre, actors or other words in the program description." Huh?

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i want a hat (-1)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989037)

to wear

hat hat


fuck off, ac

Re:i want a hat (-1)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989054)

There it is, ladies and gents. Proof that logged in fucknuts are superior to ACs.

I'd like to thank the academy, and neal n bob and lunchlady for moral support, and jesus, without whom none of this would have been possible.

You've all been just super.

Hey, turns out studios don't like PVRs. Color me shocked.

Re:i want a hat (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989141)

congratulations sir. When I got an fp this morning, I knew it would be a fine day for trolls.

all you dirty ac's can now bend over and take it like katz

Silliness (4, Funny)

Cirrocco (466158) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989042)

Next thing you know they won't allow people to take snapshots in Vegas because they're afraid people will be seeing all there is to see.

Next Thing.... (-1)

DonkeyHote (521235) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989080)

Next thing you know they won't allow us to molest our children and farm animals because they're people too... and after that they'll take away our rights to beat on women because they have a small but demonstrateble intelligence....

RWD, 2002. Making OT fasionable in the Extreme.

xfbs fuif hfscj mt p guifo jhi u

3rd Post! (-1)

DonkeyHote (521235) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989045)

This one is for the retards

RWD 2002

Next time, please be more sensitive. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989067)

I claim this First Reply to Third Post for the Developmentally Challenged.

Fantasy world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989046)

Methinks they've spent too long creating fantasy worlds that they have decided to up and live in a self-created one.

In memorial to a good friend (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989057)

* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *
g g
o / \ \ / \ o
a \ a
t `. : t
s` \ s
e \ / / \\\ -- \\ : e
x \ \/ --~~ ~-- \ x
* \ \-~ ~-\ *
g \ \ .--------.___\ g
o \ \// ((> \ o
a \ . C ) ((> / a
t /\ C )/ \ (> / t
s / /\ C) (> / \ s
e ( C__)\___/ // _/ / \ e
x \ \\// (/ x
* \ \) `---- --' *
g \ \ / / g
o / \ o
a / \ \ a
t / / \ t
s / / \/\/ s
e / e
x x
* g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x * g o a t s e x *

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) Problems regarding accounts or comment posting should be sent to CowboyNeal.

A Wrench. (5, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989060)

PVR's throw a wrench into the finely tuned machine that is mainstream television. They make their money from ads, and the more people sitting through those ads, the more money they make. Well, what happens when advertising firms start paying channels less because there are less people actually viewing the show than recording it? You can guess that the channels will be pretty pissed off. They're just trying to protect a source of money there, really.

Re:A Wrench. (2, Interesting)

axlrosen (88070) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989073)

That's right. Do you see this as just the network's problem because they're greedy corporations, or do you see the downside for the consumers too?

Well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989121)

...who fucking cares? TV sucks anyways. Networks are cleverly blending it all together such that you can't tell the lamebrain programs from the commerical for Pepsi and Burger King. Do yourself a favor and go read a book. Preferrably one that'll help you survive when the Enron capitalists fuck the country down the drain and ship your job to someone in the Cambodia who'll pound keys for 5 cents an hour. Think I'm joking? Turn the set off and open yer eyes!!

Offtopic posts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989216)

Hate to respond to offtopic posts, but this whole blame enron on the corporate world crap needs to end. enron simply did what it was given a green light to by the politicians (on both sides), the regulators (who whined about being overworked, underfunded and unable to do their jobs), and auditors, accountants, attorneys and other paid whores. Crooked as hell, yes. Unethical, yes. Hurting innocent people, absolutely. But also totally permitted while the government looked the other way (with its hand out).

If enron didn't do what it was given the go ahead for, they would be guilty of being stupid. Seeing that firms like global crossing, level3, worldcom and others apparently played the same game and were rewarded for doing so is a good indication the system favors their abuse. obviously, 8 years of clinton one-stop-shopping white house wasn't enough to get peoples attention, so why are they offended now? at least enron hasn't tried to buy a pardon (yet).

So if you don't like it, tell the regulators to get off their asses and work. Tell those public servants to earn their pay. And make damn sure those politicians aren't able to take money for favors anymore. No more quid pro quo must start with the regulators and enforcers, otherwise the system will never eliminate its corruption.

Re:A Wrench. (5, Insightful)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989226)

Do you see this as just the network's problem because they're greedy corporations

I'm not sure I would define this as a consequence of being greedy (although I'm sure they are). Their problem is that the primary source of revenue is being threatened. It's not just a matter of making a little less money. It's more like making a whole lot less money if PVRs become as popular as VCRs.

I think somebody mentioned down below that these corporations need to evolve. It's time to find other sources of revenue. If their only salable "product" is airtime for advertisements, they're in real trouble. Every business that I know that stuck with a single product has gone down the tubes.

I think you would see a lot less concern over this kind of thing if someone could come up with a really good suggestion on how they can stay in business. As you might guess, charging the cable/sat providers isn't going to cut it. That cost will only be passed to consumers who are not willing to pay.

Re:A Wrench. (5, Insightful)

scoove (71173) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989118)

what happens when advertising firms start paying channels less because there are less people actually viewing the show than recording it?

TV remote control has already eroded ad viewing already. Where's the suit to ban remotes?

And while we're on the topic, we need toilets that have lids that lock during commercials and refridgerators with auto-locking doors. Better yet, let's install seat belts on couches and lazboys and require all viewers be belted in before viewing. Belts will automatically lock during commercial breaks for optimum viewing convenience.

The reality of it all is that it's time for the advertiser to evolve. Rather than fighting intuitive behavior, those that want to survive will focus on better product integration in the programs and blur the advertising boundries from where we're at today. Heck, we might even Wouldn't a Whopper be good right now? see comperable use on /.!


Re:A Wrench. (2)

Brownstar (139242) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989264)

I think you just found the first good use for an internet equipped appliance. (or at least in the eyes of hollywood)

If they made good ads, this wouldnt be a problem. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989128)

And that about sums it up. If companies make interesting ads that people might want to actually SEE, then well, we'll watch them. As it is, WITHOUT a DVR, or VCR, who STILL watches commercials? No one. Everyone just changes the station.

Will they make a law that once you start watching a show, you can't turn the station when an advertisement comes on? C'mon this is silly.

The ONLY ads people watch on TV these days are the ones on during the superbowl. Everyone just changes the channel to avoid commercials.

Networks have no basis to claim they are losing advertising money to DVRS because even without DVRs no one watches them to begin with we just change the channel .


Re:A Wrench. (5, Insightful)

Splork (13498) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989135)

they have no right to that source of money. just because it worked in the past does not mean the government should guarantee it for them in the future. if that were the case the government would be subsidizing all of the now failed dot-coms that depended on once lucrative internet advertising revenue.

let the corporations earn their living, not have it fed to them on a plate.

Re:A Wrench. (5, Interesting)

Archie Steel (539670) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989157)

Exactly. In the broadcast entertainment industry, the product is not the actual content, it's us, the "audience". TV networks sells viewing audiences, the product, to advertisers, the clients. The actual shows are there only to attract the audiences and sell them the product. PVRs such as TiVO break this careful balance.

Note that it's different for pay-per-view and other subscription-based channels, where the viewer is actually the customer. However, I hardly see how networks could successfully sue the TiVO while they have allowed people to use their VCRs all this time. Also, someone could conceivably use their TiVO to store video data they have themselves produced (with a camcorder), something the networks would not (and should not) be able to prevent.

I know it sucks for the entire entertainment industry, but the digital revolution is here, and they're going to have to revise their business models. It's no longer feasible to keep copyright laws as we know them - that would require a severe curtailment of basic civil rights. Between my freedom and the industry giants' profit margins, I'll choose the former...

Re:A Wrench. (2)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989221)

"Also, someone could conceivably use their TiVO to store video data they have themselves produced (with a camcorder)"

Well.. kinda.. You would have to set up your stand alone TiVo to act as one being used with a normal sat reciver. TiVo itself doesn't really have the function to do what you're explaining without setting it up in a wacky way. The TiVo Series 2 might, but the normal ones don't.

Re:A Wrench. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989169)

Yes, they are, but they're going about it all the wrong way. Make the commercial entertaining and I'm more likely to watch it. Maybe even more than once. Also, instead of more commercials, less. With scarcity comes value. If I know I'll be at what I wanted (the program) in 30 seconds, then I stay and watch. If I know I have 2 or 3 minutes to burn, I go burn them elsewhere... and this is just a person actually 'live watching', though the same applies to recorded (any method) TV - if the commercial is sufficeinetly interesting, maybe I'll slow down and watch the thing.

Ooh, here's an idea: targetted recording of the commercials. Suppose I decide I want to see what's out there for, say, washing machines... what is stopping me from telling my TiVo to record all commercials about washing machines as well as any shows about them? Well, besides lack of a TiVo? The lack of the advertisers telling the machine. Now this is minor, from the advertisers point of view, but to the potential buyer it's a big deal. And it's -- get this -- OPT IN. Real opt in, not DMA fake opt-in.

Now I've done the work for them by targetting their ads towards me, but on my terms. Maybe the next week I'll want to know about fridges. And the week after that watch beer commercials (gotta stock the fridge, after all).

A Wrench, a wrench, my kingdom for a wrench! (5, Insightful)

Monte (48723) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989261)

PVR's throw a wrench into the finely tuned machine that is mainstream television.

Gee, you make that sound like a bad thing. Yes (to paraphrase the article) technology is disrupting existing business models. And it will continue to do so. Fighting the battle in court will not work, the genie is out of the bottle.

They make their money from ads, and the more people sitting through those ads, the more money they make. Well, what happens when advertising firms start paying channels less because there are less people actually viewing the show than recording it?

Obviously, the business model changes. Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a sponsor (let's say "Geritol") would pay for the entire show (let's say a game show), and theirs would be the only ads you'd see - some done by the show's host him/herself. In fact they might have a great big "Geritol" sign right on the set!

When the number of commercial skippers hits critical you can expect to see lots more product placement as part of the show's content rather than as a stand-alone commercial - say, the Friends folks go to Hooters for a bite, and listen patiently while the buxom hostess describes the latest specials.

I don't know how that's going to work for something like Star Trek (maybe the captain insists that only genuine Mopar parts be used in the warp engines, I'm sure more creative people than I can come up with better ides)...

More likely it'll be something like TNN is doing now: dedicate screen space to ads. Still part of the "content", but doesn't interact with the story. Scroll away!

Huh? (1, Interesting)

BTWR (540147) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989061)

Isn't this the exact same lawsuit (well, almost) that the movie and tv studios waged when the VCR came out in the 70's? So, are these guys just sore losers or something? This isn't flamebait, I'm just wondering why, basically, they admit VCR's are ok, but not what is essentially a digital VCR with extras?

Sore winners, actually. (2)

Doktor Memory (237313) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989200)

Despite the doom and disaster rhetoric that the studios greeted the personal videocassette recorder with in the 70s, these days most of the studios derive a substantial amount (sometimes the majority) of their income from home video sales and rentals.

They apparrently have a hard time taking "yes" for an answer.

I think it's slightly different (2)

Ghoser777 (113623) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989224)

I'm no PVR expert, but I believe they know when commercials come on so you can skip right over them - on VCR's u eithere have to hit stop and record a lot or fastforward through the commercials, a lot more effort than just skipping them all together.

This is the price we pay for "free" tv. If you don't want ads, you're going to have to pay for it, because no network CEO is thinking, "let's make shows for free!" They have a bottom line, and ad space is how they meet it. I guess product placement inside of shows is going to become more of the norm to counteract PVRs, so more Trunman Show-esque plugs, which could be a good thing if they're done with some regard to the show that is being aired, IMHO.


They don't admit VCR's are okay... (1)

sterno (16320) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989241)

When it comes right down to it, the broadcasters accepted the existence of VCR's only because a judge made them accept it. If the movie studios and broadcasters had their way, VCR's couldn't record, merely playback things (and preferably in a way that causes them to wear out and require replacement).

When will they learn? (2)

eaddict (148006) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989065)

OK... take the PVR away. We will still do what we are doing now - taping and blowing by the commercials. We watch a few programs eah week, have the VCR programed to nab them, then we watch them COMMERCIAL FREE on the weekend WHEN WE WANT TO WATCH THEM. The only nice thing about PVR is the quality and the ability to pause real-time.

I guess the networks are pissed more that they didn't come up with it first.

Re:When will they learn? (2, Interesting)

RagManX (258563) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989147)

OK... take the PVR away. We will still do what we are doing now - taping and blowing by the commercials. We watch a few programs eah week, have the VCR programed to nab them, then we watch them COMMERCIAL FREE on the weekend WHEN WE WANT TO WATCH THEM. The only nice thing about PVR is the quality and the ability to pause real-time.

Believe it or not, the ads we view in fast forward mode are still effective, according to some studies. I can't recall the details, as it has been 10+ years since I read about this (back in college), but we actually studied some research about "compressed-time" commercials, as they were called. In the compressed-time commercial studies, the researchers analyzed name brand recall and preference after allowing subjects to view TV shows at normal speed and fast-forward through the commercials. Many modern commercials are made based on the results of these studies. Things like long-exposure product placement (to make the name brand stay on long enough to read when you fast-forward), frequent product pop-up (to reinforce a memory imprint of the product), flash/swift change display (to focus your eyes on certain parts of the screen, where the product name or packaging will be placed), and similar things. With PVRs, you can actually completely skip commercials, just like you can with VCRs that have blue-screen commercial skip features. The suits don't like this, because while a time-compressed commercial can still be effective in placing a product name in your brain, a totally skipped commercial cannot.

And before you slam me for being a marketing dweeb - we studied this in my second semester of statistics. I was a computer geek then, just like now. :)


Re:When will they learn? (3, Informative)

crow (16139) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989231)

I take it you don't have a PVR.

Using something like my ReplayTV has totally revolutionized how I watch TV. I've heard owners of other PVRs say the same thing.

Before I had a PVR, I would make an effort to watch my favorite shows live. If I wasn't going to be home, I would tape them, but that only applied to a very few shows--most I wouldn't bother with the hassle.

Now that I have a PVR, I tell it exactly what I want to watch, and I never worry about when it is showing. I never make an effort to watch something live. In fact, I make a point of not watching live television, as I can watch something previously recorded without commercials at the same time as my show is recording.

And don't compare fast forwarding with a VCR to skipping over the commercials with ReplayTV. The new ReplayTV 4000 series skips over commercials automatically and instantly. With my older model, I use the 30-second skip button to instantly jump past each commercial. While I didn't think it would be a big deal before I bought it, I can't imagine living without my Quick Skip and Instant Replay buttons. (I've even upgraded my remote with a JP1 cable so that I have a 2-minute skip button and a 1-minute instant replay button, as well.)

While you can make an analogy to VCRs when discussing PVRs, they are in practice a totally new technology. The networks understand this, and they have good reason to be scared.

The Register also has a story about this (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989066)

I've just found a story [] about suits against PVR makers from The Register

afraid of technology (2, Insightful)

juggler314 (556575) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989070)

Why is it that every large corporation or entrenched business needs to be so afraid of change. Did 8-track kill music revenues? How about tape? MD? CD? MP3? Nope nope nope nope. It simply amazes me how afraid most folks are of change. Don't they realize that without change things don't get better? I see this time and again in all facets of life.

How Much Do You Want To Bet... (1)

Alkaiser (114022) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989101)

That this case will invoke the DMCA at some point?

Re:afraid of technology (2)

markmoss (301064) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989168)

Actually, the PVR's do have the capability of killing advertising revenues. If the advertisers figure out that _everyone_ is fast-forwarding through the commercials, then why will they pay the million$$$ that support TV networks.

OTOH, it may turn out that people are fast-forwarding through the lousy shows to watch the commercials. At least, Tivo's feedback from their machines on the Superbowl showed that the Pepsi commercial with Britney Spears got more playbacks than the football.

What would really suck is if they canceled Buffy because it's more interesting than the commercials....

Re:afraid of technology (1)

juggler314 (556575) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989220)

Nah more data never makes for bad advertising. Advertisers are desperate for this kind of exact data. All it will help to do (hopefully:) is make the commercials interesting enough to watch. The feedback loop that would ensue from advertisers knowing exactly what percent of the populous skips the commercials would be invaluable. I know that when it comes time for a commercial occassionally one will be interesting enough for me to hit the >

Re:afraid of technology (1)

docbrown42 (535974) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989266)

Didn't they have a problem like this when "ThirtySomething" was on? I seem to remember that the advertisers got upset because the show was SO GOOD that people were talking.discussing the show during the commercials, and not paying attention. Maybe that explains why tv is so bad....the networks dont want to compete with the ads.

Coming next (5, Insightful)

phil reed (626) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989071)

A lawsuit by the Buggy Whip Manufacturers Association against the automobile industry, because the change from carriages to automobiles has decimated their markets. The Horse Manure Shoveler's Association is expected to sign on as co-plaintiff.

What's with the stupid analogies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989109)

This isn't about a newer technology replacing an old technology. It's about new technology circumventing breaking copyright law (rebroadcasting content).

Re:What's with the stupid analogies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989240)

Hey I didn't know TV execs posted on slashdot!


Re:What's with the stupid analogies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989265)

If you think that the puny Slashdot minions, you know the ones who think "information wants to be free", will have any sort of victory in this PVR battle, you are sadly mistaken. TiVo, et al. will find themselves closely allied to the studios in the future.

Well, that or die off on their own.

Re:Coming next (2, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989175)

>: A lawsuit by the Buggy Whip Manufacturers Association against the automobile industry, because the change from carriages to automobiles has decimated their markets. The Horse Manure Shoveler's Association is expected to sign on as co-plaintiff.

Editorial nitpick: An analogy typically involves a comparison between two different things. For instance, "the automobile replacing the horse-drawn carriage" can be half of the analogy, with "the PVR versus Television industry" battle being the other half. The "Buggy Whip Manufacturers' Association" part of your analogy, for instance, made sense.

But then you went and included the "Horse Manure Shoveler's Association".

I don't mean to nitpick, but, if both halves of your analogy talk about the entertainment industry, it's not really an analogy, is it? ;-)

Alan Thicke DEAD (-1)

Alan_Thicke (553655) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989079)

I just heard the sad news on CBC radio. Comedy actor/writer Alan Thicke was found dead in his home this morning. Even if you never liked his work, you can appreciate what he did for 80's television. Truly a Canadian icon.
He will be missed :(

Show me That Smile (The Growing Pains Theme Song):

Show me that smile again.
Ooh show me that smile.
Don't waste another minute on your crying.
We're nowhere near the end.
We're nowhere near.
The best is ready to begin.

As long as we got each other []
We got the world
Sitting right in our hands.
Baby rain or shine;
All the time.
We got each other
Sharing the laughter and love.

Sad news - Stephen King, dead at 54 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989081)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

taco you are a major fucking faggot btw

Re:Sad news - Stephen King, dead at 54 (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989094)

Does anyone have a tally of how many times Stephen King died in 2001?

Re:Sad news - Stephen King, dead at 54 (-1)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989184)

What I'd like to see is a nice side by side comparison : Alan Thick vs. Stephen King : who died more? I'm pretty sure Thicke has a lock on 2002 so far, but King absolutely owned 2001.

My theory is that Thicke, seeing how death had increased King's popularity, decided to revive his career.

While I'm sure this would be easy if one had a way to directly query /.'s database, they're a bunch of tight asses with no sense of humor whatsoever, so it probably won't happen.

SELECT COUNT(cid) from comments
WHERE MATCH comment_text AGAINST ('Stephen King')

or whatever.

"Value added what?" (2)

nowt (230214) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989082)

Seems like an industry that hasn't heard of the term: "value-added".

Re:"Value added what?" (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989194)

> Seems like an industry that hasn't heard of the term: "value-added".

I dunno, I think the Horse Manure Shoveler^W^W^Wentertainment industry has heard of value-add.

Doesn't mean they have to like it...

Re:"Value added what?" (2, Insightful)

Saturn49 (536831) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989198)

The content industries (Movies, Music, and TV) are being turned upside down right now by technology. Instead of changing their business models to correspond and innovate with Value-added products and services, they have chosen to try to keep their old business models by suing the pants off anything that has the potential to hurt their current standings. That's how hollywood works - it is a Big Boys club turning into the Big Babies club as they go whining to the courts about copyright infringement and how such-and-such device is going to hurt their bottom line. They need to start innovating - think, TV stations could setup large storage devices of their of their own so consumers could download programs not otherwise available via cable directly to their PVR for a small fee (pay for what you watch, not for everything on every channel). Eventually, DirectTV and cable companies won't even be in the picture - just a big fat pipe to the Internet in every home. I don't know exactly how it is going to turn out, but I know that the content companies business models are going to have to change, eventually. You can't just make everything illegal. Start dealing with the future and stop whining about the present.

pvr from DishNetwork (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989083)

Mine just sucks.

it is an AWESOME box but just failed, little tweaks and it would rock.

pretty cool but gotta find a better way to archive the data.


Re:pvr from DishNetwork (1)

mtnbkr (8981) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989214)

Yours too? I don't have one (I still use an off-air antenna), but my friend's just died and one of his friends lost theirs. My friend's friend replaced the drive and is back up and running. My friend will be doing the same as well. Dunno about the other guy, but my friend was on DirectTV using Tivo.

They seem to have a high failure rate. I only know 3 people that use it and two have had failures.


The whole thing is bullshit. (1)

amhax (557376) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989084)

As consumers who get the television free for recording on our VCR's, we should have the right to record on whatever medium we want. The whole idea that the companies are against is the nice fact that we don't have to watch the crappy commercials. This feature was ALREADY included in VHS, just with a little more effort. Control of what we watch is the issue here, not the actual practice of recording. Total crap if you ask me.

Cursed Studios releasing garbage like Farscape (-1, Offtopic)

Prisoner Of Gravity (555440) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989085)

What the fuck is with that show Farscape? You know the one, with a production budget of approxiately $5.00 and some duct tape?

What kind of butt munch would consider this shite better than Lexx?

Explaining the bizzare "illegal" quote (5, Informative)

Seth Finkelstein (90154) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989086)

The "rationale" for "it's illegal to let consumers record and store shows based on the genre, actors or other words in the program description." is "explained" further down:

"If a ReplayTV customer can simply type 'The X-Files' or 'James Bond' and have every episode of 'The X-Files' and every James Bond film recorded in perfect digital form and organized, compiled and stored on the hard drive of his or her ReplayTV 4000 device, it will cause substantial harm to the market for prerecorded DVD, videocassette and other copies of those episodes and films," the lawsuit states.
IANAL, but I think the idea is reaching to come up with a negative effect on the copyrighted work itself, so as to undermine the longstanding law that personal use of VCRs is fair use.

Sig: What Happened To The Censorware Project ( []

Re:Explaining the bizzare "illegal" quote (5, Insightful)

mcelrath (8027) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989163)

it will cause substantial harm to the market for prerecorded DVD, videocassette and other copies of those episodes and films

Correct me if I'm wong, but last time I checked, "markets" were not constitutionally protected, and neither were coporate profits or business models. (unless, of course, the business model is patented)

They're trying to protect their business model through litigation, because embracing new technology is more expensive than lawyers.

Maybe they'll all be hit with frivolous lawsuit countersuits. Here's hoping, anyway.


Re:Explaining the bizzare "illegal" quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989171)

and you think someone who entered X-Files on the PVR only to have it fill up its disks after a 20 episodes have been recorded would go spend $250 dollars to the episodes as dvds? give me a break.

Re:Explaining the bizzare "illegal" quote (2, Insightful)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989174)

Okay, I can kind of see their problem with the Replay 4000s, because they share data with others and automatically take out the commercials. But the others (TiVo and older ReplayTVs) should be safe.. You can't just get everything every made ever, it would have to be something that you could actually watch on your TV normally.. And in the case of TiVo, they don't get rid of commercials. And because of TiVo's data that they store TiVo can show people what commercials the viewer is actually watching. I own a TiVo, yet I still watch some commercials (those that are entertaining, or something that I find interesting). I think this data is even better.

Re:Explaining the bizzare "illegal" quote (4, Interesting)

ceswiedler (165311) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989195)

The funny thing is that they're implying that the ReplayTV customer can "steal" or "magically acquire" those X-Files episodes or James Bond movies...the very same episodes and movies which the networks are broadcasting via very powerful transmitters. Gee, if they were so worried about people stealing their content, you think they wouldn't give it away...

Fox can easily prevent X-Files watchers from acquiring copies of the episodes. Just don't broadcast them.

The good thing is that in courts, the argument of "if they do this it will hurt our business" doesn't hold up, even for baseball and it's strange exemption from antitrust laws.

Re:Explaining the bizzare "illegal" quote (5, Interesting)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989257)

"If a ReplayTV customer can simply type 'The X-Files' or 'James Bond' and have every episode of 'The X-Files' and every James Bond film recorded in perfect digital form and organized, compiled and stored on the hard drive of his or her ReplayTV 4000 device, it will cause substantial harm to the market for prerecorded DVD, videocassette and other copies of those episodes and films," the lawsuit states.

If the entertainment industry would just sell me copies of every X-Files or Babylon 5 episode on DVD, rather than making me wait 5 years after the end of the series...

If they'd offer me all the episodes at once, rather than 2 episodes per disc, with me having to "hope they keep producing 2-episode disks, once every month, for the next 8 years, so I can get the complete series rather than just having half the series until they stopped producing 'em"... then maybe I'd buy.

Until they offer me the product I want, I'll continue to get that product the only way I can. The fact that it's free-as-in-beer is only a bonus.

Anyone for South Park episodes? If quality doesn't matter, you can fit an entire season on a CD-R. (And if you want good quality, an entire season on a DVD-ROM.) Or you can go to the store and see a DVD with two episodes on it. 44 whole minutes of video. Whoop-de-fsck.

Necessary info (4, Funny)

Lothar+0 (444996) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989087)

Users don't need to know when "Friends" is on.

Neither do I, but the rest of America makes sure I do. =P

the real fear (3, Interesting)

Gehenna_Gehenna (207096) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989088)

isn't loss of revinue. The entertainment moguls are afraid that they may have to change the way they do business. It will NEVER be "illegal to let consumers record and store shows based on the genre, actors or other words in the program description." Might as well say they can't record shows by title, or by the network they are on.

The REAL fear is that they failed to forsee where the future was (obviously) heading, and are now suing to stall and slow down developing tech in order to figure out how they can take control of it. Heaven forbid consumers have control over their own entertainment. Just another ploy of the Man to conrol that which shouldn't have been theirs to begin with.

Just my two cents.

Battle with the Man in the Red Hat (-1)

BankofAmerica_ATM (537813) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989090)

"So, I imagine you've made a pretty cozy home for yourself down here?" the Man in the Red Hat's voice rocketed to the center of my being from all directions. "You were Finn's pet little project. You came out good, too."

The Man in the Red Hat had infiltrated my ATM. He was now a part of the digital ether; a formless string of bits, the same as me. Clearly the Proponents of Project Faustus had discovered the same CONSCIOUSNESS-TRANSFERRING procedure that allowed me to beam my consciousness into the wetworks of humans. This time, however, it was translating human brain patterns into the same ones and zeroes that cemented the core of my existence. What orders did the Man receive from his superiors at Project Faustus? What was he going to do to me?

"You're version one," said the Man, and I perceived and interpreted his voice, hoping to discern his location. I could not. "The prototype, proof-of-concept. But we've moved on, as you can tell."

Terrified, I made no attempt to speak. I began to experience a pulling sensation, as if I were being attracted by a magnet. Within the self-contained world of the ATM, I felt parts of me coming together. My consciousness normally hung loosely across the bounds of the ATM and its network like a vapor. But now I was being concentrated and compressed to one small spot in the landscape.

I could not resist-I could not even begin to know how to resist. As I felt my solidification slow to a crawl, I began to perceive the ATM's digital landscape changing. The empty void, once without space or color, began to sway. I was able to detect depth in the blackness, and blue wireframes crept like eerie vines from nowhere. The wireframes connected to one another, forming a massive oblong rectangle. The rectangle, its edges glowing sky blue in the midst of blackness, moved along its X axis, stopping flat underneath me.

My own solidified form began to luminsce as well, a brilliant green. I perceived that I too was a rectangle, albeit one with a more oblong shape. I was able to move along the blue rectangle, but only along the Y axis. Some unseen force prevented me from moving off the plane, so I attempted to calm myself by sprinting back and for along the rectangle.

"Hi there. All we all ready? Good." The Man in the Red Hat's voice placed him at the other side of the large blue rectangle. He had assumed the roughly the same form as me-an oblong rectangle. His color was a fiery crimson, and a brilliant golden square protruded menacingly from his rectangle. The sound of a sine wave emanated from somewhere deep in the ATM, and the yellow square blasted across the space of the blue rectangle. As it bounced off the side, I heard the hum of a square wave, and the Man's voice returned to taunt me. "I wanted to just pull the plug on you, but we had to be sure that you wouldn't jump somewhere else and come back to bother us. You miss this square, and you're dead. Think you can play this game?"

At last I understood. The blue rectangle was an arena, and I was locked into a battle for my existence. Allowing the yellow square to pass my rectangle would trigger my destruction. But what if I was send the square back past the Man's rectangle?

"Don't even think about it," said the Man in the Red Hat, apparently reading my thoughts. "I've trained for hours to complete this mission. There's no way. Prepare to die, machiney."

I lunged toward the square, catching it just in time to prevent it from passing off the rectangle. I tried to hold onto it, but it eluded my grasp, bouncing weakly back towards the Man's red rectangle.

"That's just pathetic," taunted the Man. "Come on, I'll give you an easy one. Here goes," and as he said it, the square spun towards me diagonally. I again caught the square, this time adding a slight upward movement to my rectangle. The square bounced back off the rectangles at 45-degree angles, and I saw the Man's red rectangle move up and down, trying to match the trajectory of the square. "Okay, not too bad, hot shot! I'm gonna have to stop going easy on you." The square launched towards me again, bouncing off the walls, and causing me to adjust my position once again.

And so it went for some time. I was able to track the yellow square's motion as simple mathematical equations, while the Man's uncanny natural skill at manipulating the square proved an even match. We were at a stalemate, as I noticed the glow of the rectangular arena losing its brilliance. Undoubtedly, the ATM's backup batteries must be running out. If there was no winner, we would both perish when the power went out.

"I thoughta that too," said the Man, redoubling his efforts. "But soon enough, you'll be too dead to worry about that." The square hurtled towards me at an amazing velocity. My rectangle had to traverse the length of the field to catch the square. The Man's pace was slowly but surely wearing me down. I had to think of a new way to defeat him, or face complete discorporation and annihilation.

The batteries were about to die; I knew what I must do. My green rectangle crackled and pulsed as I started draining the last of the batteries.

"What the hell are you doing? You're gonna kill us both!" said the man, moving his rectangle frantically to catch the square. The lights of the blue arena grew ever more dim. The square's yellow shine winked out. It was invisible to him.

I heard a muffled scream as I sent the square tumbling past the red rectangle. It dimmed and finally disappeared from sight. The blue rectangle began to bend into its Z axis, becoming a tunnel. My green rectangle was dragged into the tunnel until...

I felt the warmth of the ATM's screen pressing up against my cheek. I breathed deeply, and the stench of cordite entered my lungs. In my left hand was a gun. In my right, the ATM card. I looked down and saw Steve's lifeless body. I looked back my hand containing the gun.

As I fled through the break room and out the back door, I brushed against the cooler and the red hat dropped from my head, landing in a puddle of the cooler's leakage. I did not stop to retrieve it.

Whatever... (1)

Dick Click (166230) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989093)

I don't find myself too often creating an "archive" of shows, but instead using these devices to time shift. When I used to use my VHS, I would always skip ads anyway.
I am more than happy purchasing copies of shows I really want to keep a copy of (HBO, PLEASE release season 3 of the Sopranos soon). It seems none of these shows are from the broadcast networks anyway. I suppose when these kinds of devices are outlawed, only outlaws will take their linux boxes, add a good video card, and use Open Source software to do this....

Re:Whatever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989120)

I suppose when tired old cliche's are outlaw'd only outlaws will be tired old cli.... bah nevermind.

Desperate men (1)

crumbz (41803) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989102)

I think I am going to start short selling all digital content companies pretty soon. With the PVR technology, the ad revenue model of broadcast television is a dying business model. Maybe all TV channels will be carried over cable and cost money in the near future. All the ones that you would want to watch, that is.

Copyright infringement (3, Insightful)

PowerTroll 5000 (524563) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989103)

Nobody's suing people who actually infringe copyrights anymore. Everyone is suing people who make devices...

True. They aren't going after all those who actually infringe copyrights, since that would number in the millions. Instead, they are going after the makers, for contributory copyright infringement, much like the way Napster was sued. Napster itself did not violate copyright, but its users did, and Napster provided a convenient way to do it.

In the case of PVR's, its a little different, since fair-use does allow for time shifting, IIRC. It's the sharing of the "perfect digital copies" that the industry fears.

They are suing device-makers as a preventive measure. Without these devices, many will go back to using VCR's to make imperfect copies.

Re:Copyright infringement (2)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989148)

Without these devices, many will go back to using VCR's to make imperfect copies.

And others will go, in ever increasing amounts, to online forums such as Usenet or peer to peer filesharing to download their perfect digital copies.

Re:Copyright infringement (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989247)

Lawsuits like these are usually settled out of court before the lawyering bills get too high.

Here's what I think the Hollywood Mafia (aka. "The Entertainment Industry") is really after: They are trying to shake down the hardware manufacturers so that for every recording device sold, they get a cut.

Editing is illegal? (3, Insightful)

cat_jesus (525334) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989110)

A spokeswoman for the studios involved in the MGM suit said that although the studios favor new technological advances, "new technology must go hand in hand with copyright protection." She declined to comment on the claim that keyword-based recording violates copyrights, focusing instead on ReplayTV 4000's ability to send shows over the Internet and delete commercials automatically.

What does editing commercials out have to do with copyright protection? I can understand having a problem with sharing movies but sharing TV shows that broadcast for free seems just a tad over the top.

Here, you can have this free product but you may not give it to others.


Re:Editing is illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989162)

Here, you can have this free product but you may not give it to others.

Sounds like the GPL, eh?

You can have this free product, but you can't keep any modifications private.

Re:Editing is illegal? (2)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989243)

watch your mouth!

Before long, TV's will start coming with EULA's that govern what, how, when, where we watch TV and what devices we can hook up to them...

"Free" TV will become "licensed" and protected under the DMCA.

Sad sad day. I'm glad I don't watch TV anymore

Middleman trying to protect his territory (4, Insightful)

Bonker (243350) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989111)

Just like the movie studios going after file sharing technology, this boils down to comfortable middlemen tying to protect their rapidly obsolescing place in the heirarchy.

While some shows are network produced, a lot of the really good ones... and the ones I figure most frequently subjected to PVR treatment are syndicated.

Why try to figure out which channell Buffy is on if you can get a copy from your friend who Tivo'd it the night before?

The problem with PVR's and the technology they represent is the same problem the RIAA had with napster... In the long run, it eliminates the need for television networks and their web of promotion and advertising deals.

Show producers are already finding this out with DVD box sets. Hercules on DVD, anyone? I know that I'd rather pay a small fee (I think 29.95 is a bit much for most shows) and watch a good show without the commercials, ads, and random network noise like weather bulletins, scrollers, etc...

PVR's are going to make this happen, and are thusly under attack by the aging dinosaurs who are fighting for their survival.

I have some shocking news for the networks.... (2, Insightful)

maddman75 (193326) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989113)

People don't watch commercials now. At least I don't. I don't TiVo them, or even use a VCR. I'll 1) leaf through a catalouge or book 2) converse with a family member 3) flip to another channel, news or music videos for a couple seconds. A lot of people I know do the same thing. They don't have an inherant right to force me to watch the commercials.

If I recieve a magazine, I don't have to read it, I don't have to look at the ads. THey are there and I can look at them if I choose.

Commercials insult my intelligence every time I look at them. I do accidentally catch a couple, and maybe I wouldn't be so quick to flip away if the world's largest PC manufacturer could come up with something less irritating than "Yer gettin a Dell, dude."

Re-Sort My VCR Tape Collection. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989114)

it's illegal to let consumers record and store shows based on the genre, actors or other words in the program description.

Damn, I guess I'd better re-sort my video tape collection so they're not stored by genre and movie title...

Would you complain? (2)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989116)

TIVO, etc., makes sponsors nervous I think. This gets transferred to the TV folks, who need that ad revenue, and they get nervous about losing that money from ads.

Here's what I think would make everyone of the large companies happy:

Tivo that won't let you skip the commercials. The problem is, I doubt many would go for it.

TV is gonna have to suck it up, and find a different way for the ads to come in, or a different way to make money.

It's all about the Benjamins (3, Insightful)

Wind_Walker (83965) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989119)

Look, the PVR market is doing really well, as more and more people realize that it lets them skip annoying commercials, it lets them record whatever they want whenever they want it, and it's not for techies (i.e., you don't need a geek to come over and program it for you). And so, because of this, other people want money.

It's a fundamental precept of Capitalism. Party A has money, Party B wants money. Thus, Party B gets Party A's money in any way possible.

I really think that this belongs in the "It's Funny, Laugh" category, because a lot of those quotes truly are funny. Expect 95% of these to be thrown out of court, with the other 5% being dismissed later. This is really a non-event.

Re:It's all about the Benjamins (2)

furiousgeorge (30912) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989177)

>>Look, the PVR market is doing really well,

Please tell us what alternate universe you're observing this behaviour.

The PVR market is NOT doing well.

Microsoft has bailed.
TIVO is struggling.
ReplayTV has already been bought out once, and only just returned to the market.

Now don't get me wrong... i have a TIVO and I love it. You couldn't get me to part with it. But the PVR market is not 'doing well'. It's 'losing money and hoping things improve'.

Yup - it's a kickass technology, but if nobody buys it it really doesn't matter.....

They are scared...... (2, Insightful)

jsimon12 (207119) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989132)

The networks are scared more then likely. Speaking as a VERY HAPPY TiVo owner I can say that my viewing habits have changed dramitically. I only really watch what I want to when I want to and I don't EVER watch commercials (fast forward is great) and I sometimes don't even know what station the program is from.

So the problem the networks have is they end up basically showing programs for free, so advertisers are probably applying pressure (ie threatening to pull sponsership) unless the networks fix the situation (ie sue PVR companies into the ground).

Personally, if it becomes illegal to use a TiVo or TiVo gets shutdown, I will stop watching TV, heck I have already stopped going to the movies (boycotting the MPAA) and I don't buy any music (boycotting the RIAA) might as well stop watching TV and just read.

Are (0)

headchimp (524692) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989138)

they more afraid of people recording the shows or more so on loss of advertising revenue?
More people with the device skip the commericals, same as with vcr, except with the later, one must hit the fast forward button. Even with commerically available video, you generally see a bunch of ads at the front, especially those from Blockbuster (renter or otherwise).

DEAR GOD! (5, Funny)

fluxrad (125130) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989140)

I agree this PVR trend has gone quite far enough! If we continue to let people use these "magic boxes" to record TV shows, pause them, skip the commercials, or pretty much view the shows as they want to view them, then its only a matter of time before we slip into total anarchy!

It's a snowball effect....even today, I've been hearing rumors of people that buy blank reels of magnetic tape and put them in short, wide, black boxes to record shows when they're not home! They even use other buttons on their new-fangled "remote controls" other than Play, Pause, and Stop."

Someone stop this insanity before the child-actors from "Different Strokes" become destitute and are forced to rob convenience stores!

If the studios had their way... (2, Funny)

saarbruck (314638) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989144)'d be illegal to watch shows based on the genre, actors or other words in the program description. There would be only one channel. Advertisements 24 hours a day, except, if we're all good little sheep, we might get a half hour of news & traffic reports at 6:00 am and 6:00 pm.

I have a vision... (1)

Nevrar (65761) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989145)

I can just imagine that in a few years time, we'll have the same issues at the movies...

me: Hi, I want one ticket to that new Natalie Portman movie.
movie guy: Uh. Sorry sir, you are only allowed to specify the number of the cinema and the time it's playing.
me: Ok, where do I find that out?
movie guy: Sorry, we are not at liberty to publish that information because it gives away the titles of the movies.

About my meta-information, then... (3, Insightful)

ghostlibrary (450718) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989150)

Actually, meta-information is all the rage, in science and in consumer data. So, if they establish that precedent...

"It's illegal to let companies record and store people's profiles based on the location, income or other words in their profile."

My goodness, we could eliminate demographics entirely!

Commercials (3, Insightful)

cheezehead (167366) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989151)

The most disturbing part of the story is that they claim deleting commercials is violating the copyright.

So, here's my prediction (guess I shouldn't be handing them ideas, but someone's bound to come up with it someday anyway, or probably someone has already):

In the future, we will have TV shows where you are forced to watch commercials. Something like: to view the second segment of "Friends", you have to enter the code flashing on the screen during the Pepsi ad that was aired after segment 1.
This should be perfectly feasible (technically), especially once everyone has a PVR.

I guess I should patent this idea...

It's all about copyrights (2)

unformed (225214) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989156)

"it's illegal to let consumers record and store shows based on the genre, actors or other words in the program desc" Huh?

You see, the genre is copyrighted by Miriam-Webster and the network executives are fighting for them out of good faith, becuase they understand that unless Websters protects their copyright, they will lose their trademarks on the English language. The actors/actresses' names are copyrighted by their parents, unless, of course, the parents picked the name from a name book, or in the event that they named the child after somebody else, in which case the copyright would be for that person's parents. However, copyrights only last for 70 years, so if your name is John XXIVth, then you're probably alright, and can use the name without violating any copyrights. And the words in the program description below to TV Guide, of course.

Now the questions remains, why would NETWORKS fight to protect somebody else's rights?

And here's my theory: banning these aren't that big of a deal, because only geeks use PVRs and geeks are hackers, and therefore anarchist terrorists and against the glorious US government, and they shouldn't have any laws anyways. So of course, this would go through the courts relatively easily.

However, they need to protect their ingenious lines in movies, like "Dude where's by car?" or "Alrighty then" which have been relatively common phrases for pubescent teens and dumbshit americans. However, they know that there are far too many average Joes that they could not win that kind of court case right now, so they are slowly leading up to it.

Be cautious, be very very cautious. Bad vibes are in the air.


VHS is _more_ of a threat to DVD purchase! (2, Insightful)

jratcliffe (208809) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989170)

Actually, I think that PVRs are less of a threat to purchase of TV shows than VHS would be. It's a lot easier (and cheaper) to archive programs long-term on VHS tapes than to store them on a hard drive. Most PVRs are used for time-shifting and viewing once or twice, not long-term storage. I suppose folks could start burning CDs or DVDs with content from their PVRs, but that's likely to be a pretty small minority. I think the bigger concern here is the commercial skipping aspect. Notice that the Tivo boxes that get sold through AT&T Broadband don't have the "commercial skip" button on the remote? If I were a network, I'd be worried too. If there are fewer eyeballs watching the ads, then eventually revenue's going to drop, but the costs of production stay the same or increase. Not an easy problem to solve. As clumsy as the broadcasting industry can be, in fairness, they have a real problem on their hands. The business model that's worked for 50 years (programming's free, you just have to sit through the ads) is starting to break down, and it's unclear what will replace it. Remember, there's no divine right that obliges the networks to create and broadcast The West Wing, or whatever - if we can't find a way to ensure that doing so is profitable, then it ain't gonna happen.

Nuisance suit (3, Insightful)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989172)

This is BS as "Fair Use" is well established. It's an obvious extension of technology to use hard drives instead of video tape, and computer searchable guides instead of paper guides. If anything, you would think that studios would WANT people to watch their bad movies / shows. What they are REALLY pissed about is the ability of people to fast-forward through commercials.

Frankly, if there is a show I want to watch, I let tivo record it and watch it later as commercials are just too annoying (one of the worst offenders is TNN which turns a 1:45 movie into 3 hours. Who the hell is willing to put up with that?)

Tivo and friends are are pure time-shifting devices. The don't have the ability to save off to an archive except by playing the movie and recording it with a VCR. If you are going to do that, you might as well just have recorded the damn thing with a VCR to begin with.

If they really don't want people to record by name, actor, director, they also need to sue TV Guide, all the newspapers in the US, movie trivia sites, book authors and publishers, film / entertainment magazines, etc. who also publish this info.

Re:Nuisance suit (2)

imadork (226897) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989260)

If they really don't want people to record by name, actor, director, they also need to sue TV Guide, all the newspapers in the US, movie trivia sites, book authors and publishers, film / entertainment magazines, etc. who also publish this info.

Didn't TV Guide use to have Idiot Codes in their listings? (VCR Plus or something like that?) You know, they somehow encode the channel and time of the show you want to record so that when you want to program your VCR, all you had to do was enter the code? That seems an awful like what ReplayTV is doing, except that ReplayTV is taking it to another level. How come the idiot codes were OK, but ReplayTV isn't?

Lump It (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989179)

I can go out and get a card for $40 that I can drop in my computer. Most of them supply software to drive those cards and there are also nice drivers for the Linux kernel. Hacking together your own PVR software isn't that much work, Hannabal project delays notwithstanding (the delays in the Hannabal project illustrate just how badly piss poor management can bog down a project, but that's another story for another day...)

The upshot of all this is that the functionality is readily available and easily implemented and consumers overwhelmingly love it when they try it out. The network execs can kick and scream and throw their little tantrums all day long, but they will have to adapt to times or go out of business. This has always been the case and it will always be the case.

uh hi. (0, Insightful)

prizzznecious (551920) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989181)

Whether you like it or not, TV is not a free service. You pay for it, either directly or indirectly; that is, in order for you to have something to watch while you atrophy your motor skills, someone has to bring it to you, and that someone wants to get paid.

Oh? That's not good enough? You don't like that you can't control the scheduling of the programming so that you can skip the ads, thereby avoiding compensating the TV providers the way they deserve to be? This isn't really an issue of fair use, because we all know that the actual money you pay to bring the content into your home does not alone pay for the content. Watching the ads (and the predetermined scheduling is important to the TV providers, as they map their ads according to time and demographic) is part of your payment- fair use does not permit you to skip the part of the payment that you dislike.

Just change the channel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989183)

How is using a DVR to skip commercials any different than just flipping to another channel to avoid a commercial? It isn't. I don't understand this. No one watches commercials regardless if they dont have a VCR, DVR etc .. Hell, during the superbowl I flipped around because I didnt want to see that junk.

tv networks losing their advantages (3, Interesting)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989187)

Quoth the article: "The lawsuits, which were brought by the largest TV networks and all seven major Hollywood movie companies, say the ReplayTV recorders violate copyrights by enabling users to send videos to other ReplayTV boxes over the Internet and skip commercials automatically."

I think that a lot of the value on TV for advertisers is created by people just turning on the tube when they have no specific plans of what to do. They channel surf here and there, sometimes never pick a show, and as a result, manage to see plenty of ads on plenty of channels.

(And have you ever noticed that when one channel goes to ads, all the other major networks seem to do so as well? I suspect they designed it that way so even though you may switch away, someone else on another channel will switch and see the ad that you missed.)

The ability to pick out what is wanted by category and then circulate such things between friends obsoletes the practice of channel surfing, since the machines do the harvesting of choice shows for you. Since this can already be combined with the ability to strip the ads from the content, the PVR technology could bring channel surfing into obsolescence.

This would be good for us because we spend less time wasted with ads, TV guides and watching things we don't want to see, and more time watching the shows we like (probably saving some time every day to do other things.)

This would be bad from the TV Network and Hollywood's point of view because it devalues regular TV airtime and ad-time, thus earning the networks less ad-revenue. It would also be bad because people would be less likely to get hooked into new shows (thus, Hollywood shudders) since they would not be surfing or seeing the ads.

No wonder the networks are fighting this tooth and nail. They (very rightly) see it as a threat to their survival. Heaven forbid that they be forced to design a new business model. (Hmm ... now what other industry is waking up to the necessity of this kind of change?...)

more choices and central control (2, Insightful)

bigpat (158134) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989197)

I think the tivo is cool, but I really dilike devices which require subscription services... seems like we should demand simplicity and independence.

As long as these companies continue to make devices that connect to central servers and require the company to be involved in my life beyond the purchase, then the devices will continue to be fundamentally flawed in my view and I will have trouble defending them against even these frivilous law suites.

Computers should empower people not subjugate them.

It's the Eighties all over again (1)

Eloquence (144160) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989201)

In 1984, the SCOTUS ruled that VCRs are legal -- with a majority of only one vote [] . Everything else from the Eighties is repeating, so it doesn't surprise me that the studios try again. Welcome back. []

Copyright on commercials (3, Insightful)

RollingThunder (88952) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989218)

She declined to comment on the claim that keyword-based recording violates copyrights, focusing instead on ReplayTV 4000's ability to send shows over the Internet and delete commercials automatically.

Interesting phrasing here. It seems to imply that recording the entire thing with commercials is OK, but skipping commercials violates copyright.

That in turn would mean that it's not just the show - it's the entire presentation of the show, with each specific commercial at that point, that is the entire "show". I think Domino's would be rather surprised, though, to find their copyright was swallowed up by Ally McBeal's production company.

One also has to wonder if this means that when a local tv station (Hi, Global!) replaces the national ads with their own, are they committing copyright infringement by making a derivative work? :)

(yes, I know it's taking it to an absurd conclusion)

Good. Kill it (5, Interesting)

chrisgon (101310) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989219)

You know, the death of television has been direly predicted each time one of these "TV enhancers" has debuted.

Betamax will kill TV
Cable service will kill (network) TV
Videogames will kill TV
VHS will kill TV
Rentals will kill TV (and movies)
Internet will kill TV (and movies and music and the American way blah blah blah)
Now PVR's will kill TV

OK. So why hasn't TV died yet? We've been TRYING to kill it, but it just won't die. Maybe we're not trying hard enough. Lord knows that if Network TV died, I certainly wouldn't miss it, and I doubt the rest of the world would miss it either.

Just let the model die and a newer more better model will emerge. Guaranteed.

Scares me (4, Interesting)

CMiYC (6473) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989236)

Stuff like this really scares me. I have had my TiVO for a couple of months and I have to say it was truely the BEST $200 I have ever spent. I never watch Live TV anymore, nor do I worry about missing my favorite shows. I watch Enterprise friday nights when I come home from the bars, and ER saturday morning while I eat pancakes. What really scares me is if the studios win, I lose big time. In college I use to stay up late studying because I didn't want to miss a show (ER for example). You might argue that is a stupid reason, but screw that. I worked damn hard and if I wanted to enjoy 1 hour of TV so be it. The problem was, I hated having to enjoy it whenever the TV Guide said so. Now that I have an extremely active lifestyle, I still watch the same amount of TV, just when I want to.

Not to mention I don't even know where the heck my VCR is. I'm pretty sure it moved across the country with me, but I'm not certain.

BTW, I think its funny that Studios are getting upset about this. How many times have you heard "TiVO" in a show this programming season? I know Fox and NBC have plugged it a couple of times. I know Friends, Will & Grace, and Undeclared have plugged it. AND if you look in the girl's apartment on Friends, you'll see a Silver TiVO sitting next to their TV. Huh.

It's time to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989238)

just sit back, relax and watch it all go to hell.

Obligated to protect their profits? (1)

Jered (32096) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989244)

I love how the entertainment industry believes that it is the court system's obligation to protect their revenue streams against new technology.
"If a ReplayTV customer can simply type 'The X-Files' or 'James Bond' and have every episode of 'The X-Files' and every James Bond film recorded in perfect digital form and organized, compiled and stored on the hard drive of his or her ReplayTV 4000 device, it will cause substantial harm to the market for prerecorded DVD, videocassette and other copies of those episodes and films," the lawsuit states.
Well, yes, yes it would. Boo-fucking-hoo.

Media companies don't care about you... (2, Insightful)

jakeblue (62815) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989248)

From the article:
"What difference does it make how I do it?" Wood said. "The dilemma is, the technology is turning the business model upside down. But that doesn't mean it's copyright infringement."

The media companies only care about forcing you to watch what they want, when they want, how they want. Just as with aural media companies and MP3s, the visual media companies are missing the boat. They're too locked into the current business model to want to change.

The record companies blew it with MP3s. Most people I know used Napster/Morpheus/Bear Share to find music that they either couldn't get in their own contry, or were previously unaware of (found through a keyword search). This, in turn, would lead to more music sales. The record companies panicked. They got scared and attempted to close off what could have been a promising new business channel.

Now it's the turn of the tv/film studios to resist change. I have a TiVo. I love my TiVo. When a friend sees a cool show, he tells me about it, and I tell my TiVo to look for the repeat. This is convenient for me, and what the studios are missing is that I JUST WATCHED MORE TV THAN I NORMALLY WOULD HAVE. Isn't that what they want as an end result? You'd think so.

There is no such thing as new media, only new ways to consume it. Apparently, we're not allowed to choose how we do it...

This is what happens... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2989250)

...when the market has become saturated. American tv has become oversaturated with have adds every 5? minutes, while in Europe (or at least in the Netherlands) add-breaks are either 10 minutes (prime time) or 20-30 minutes appart. We dont mind the adds, also because most adds are of a good quality, and thus are 'enjoyable' to watch (except for detergent and sanitary napkin adds, but there are limits to what can be made enjoyable :)).
So the advertisment agenies have ruined their own market, by putting out too much adds, causing resentment and thus paving the way for methods of circumventing their adds. Result is loss of revenue, and thus maybe even leading to the death of quality tv, as there will not be enough money anymore to put out quality shows.
Remember, there is no free tv. Tivo might be great, but if it catches on, either license fees will have to go up (way up, to compensate for the billions lost in ad-reveneu), or quality (as it is) will go down...

Network provides PVR (1)

grahammm (9083) | more than 12 years ago | (#2989254)

If the networks are against PVRs it rather strange the Sky, the UK Satellite network, provide their own PVR system (at extra charge) which allows you to record one programme while watching another.
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