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Interview with SONICblue's CEO

CmdrTaco posted more than 11 years ago | from the don't-envy-this-guy dept.

Technology 135

An anonymous reader writes " has an interview with the current CEO of SONICblue Greg Ballard where he fields questions on subjects including: the future of the DVR, the current litigation with Hollywood and how he sees ReplayTV PVR stacking up against Tivo this upcoming holiday season."

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$3.49 footlong subs for Troll Tuesday!!! (-1)

Trolling Stones (587878) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453323)

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c to the izzex
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MOD PARNET UP!!!11 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453438)

Subway I5 T3H R0x0r!z!!11

Mody! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453325)

Mody first post

none (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453333)


Post number one (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453335)

Post number one

how are you this morning? (-1)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453342)

I'm tired as hell and I don't want to be at work and all that beer is really churning my bowels this morning.


Microsoft? (-1, Insightful)

Trusty Penfold (615679) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453353)

My question to Greg Ballard would have been; how do you keep you work as CEO of Sonicblue and CEO of Microsoft seperate? It is becoming increasingly dangerous for an independent company to be associated with Microsoft since the anti-trust laws that Microsoft broke also extend to partners.

Duh. (3, Informative)

crow (16139) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453455)

Greg Ballard is the CEO of SonicBlue. I believe he is the former CEO of 3dfx.

Steve Balmer is the CEO of Microsoft.

Re:Duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453547)

Yeah, really. DUH! Everybody knows that Greg Ballard is the guy who raised the Titanic.

Re:Microsoft? (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453462)

Greg Ballard...Microsoft CEO? Honest mistake? Or are you trying to pull a fast one with the similar names?

How can that be? (5, Funny)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453359)

"...against Tivo this upcoming holiday season."
I don't understand. Microsoft, uh, I mean Slate, told me that TiVO was dead.

Good article (-1, Flamebait)

Bob Abooey (224634) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453365)

I don't have time to read the article but I have to wonder why the "geek" community doesn't just stop with all their complaining about their digital rights and start taking some action. Why not put your money where your mouth is, so to speak, and perform some deliberate acts of civil disobediance. This is the best way to effect change if that is what you are really concerned with doing.

Quite frankly I don't think that most of you are really that concerned, beyond getting stuff for free and not geting caught that is.

Replay vs. TiVo? (5, Insightful)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453377)

how he sees ReplayTV PVR stacking up against Tivo this upcoming holiday season

The only way ReplayTV can get a heads up over TiVo is to sell the software to digital cable companies to use it in their cable boxes.
TiVo has a bigger following, and a partnership with DirecTV. It just has a foothold over all other DVRs.

Re:Replay vs. TiVo? (5, Insightful)

crow (16139) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453434)

TiVo has the advantage of having better name recognition. Most of the numerical advantage TiVo has is due to their integration with satellite receivers. If you only look at the stand-alone units, TiVo and ReplayTV are much closer.

The real issue is advertising. The one message they've gotten out to consumers is "pause live TV." That's nice, but not something you pay hundreds of dollars for. Automatically skipping commercials is probably a better message, and one that TiVo won't have.

Re:Replay vs. TiVo? (3, Informative)

troc (3606) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453560)

TiVo can add that feature to their software whenever they want to - it's actually quite a common hack amongst TiVo hackers.

So unless ReplayTV have a patent on one button ad. skipping......... *smirk*


Re:Replay vs. TiVo? (3, Informative)

Pii (1955) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453588)

It's hardly a hack, which implies (in the Tivo community) the addition or modification of software on the system.

Tivo 30 Second Skip

  • Press Select
  • Press Play (Not the Yellow Play/Pause button)
  • Press Select
  • Press "3" and then "0"
  • Press Select
Three Tivo tones indicates that the feature has been enabled.

Re:Replay vs. TiVo? (3, Interesting)

jacklf (214580) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453694)

Current ReplayTV boxes automagically skip the commercials--no button pressing is required.

Re:Replay vs. TiVo? (3, Interesting)

Pii (1955) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453724)

Which is why ReplyTV is catching more flack from content providers, and Tivo is catching almost none.

Re:Replay vs. TiVo? (3, Insightful)

danielobvt (230251) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454117)

Take a look at the major investors in Tivo. This option will never be available from Tivo. However, it does make them on heck of a less likely target for lawsuits.

Re:Replay vs. TiVo? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4454169)


Parent poster is a troll. Please take this to a forum where you and those like you can finish circle jerking on a stack of hacked TIVO pictures.

You're a tool. You give Tivo owners a bad name. Try to get the 99% of Tivo owners (who aren't technical and aren't ./ readers) to implement a hack in their Tivo.

So how do THEY get a 30 second skip?

Re:Replay vs. TiVo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453836)

Also, as far as I know, Replay TV (nor did UltimateTV) didn't screw thousands of customers with a bogus software upload, and charge their customers $150 smackers to fix it! However I have a dead Tivo in my basement as a testement to Tivo's sorry customer service. ME: Last night my tivo updated it's software and today it is dead TIVO: That is a known issue with Sony Boxes, you need to talk to them. Friend: My Phillips Tivo updated it's software last night, and this morning it is dead. TIVO: That is a known issue with Phillips hardware, you must go through them. I hope they fall... TROY MORVANT

Re:Replay vs. TiVo? (3, Informative)

dubiousmike (558126) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454067)

At a certain point, both PVRs have emulated each other pretty closely. I think the parent positing is a bit of a Troll.

Tivo has a heads up over Replay because it had more marketing dollars (by initially charging their customers a monthly or one time fee). Tivo is also owned by Phillips.

Tivo willfully shares your Tivo data with others. []

Tivo has violated their privacy agreement with you a number of times. They changed their privacy policy to allow them to share your data without notifying their customers. The link they provided in their manual still made you click through on about 3 or 4 links before actually getting to the policy. I know of many Tivo owners who were concerned about their privacy were in an absolute uproar about this.

Replay TV refused to share your private information and were almost forced to do so. They paid lawyers to keep my information to themselves [] .

Though Replay now charges a monthly fee like Tivo on NEW units, I have a unit that did not have this charge. I paid $300 for a 20 hour Replay TV and have never spent a dime since.

Replay TV has allowed for me to access my Replay TV from anywhere with an internet connection [] . I have heard that Tivo has also adopted this. Not sure though.

Replay TV gave me the 30 second skip [] so that I can easily bypass commercials. I believe Tivo has also snagged this feature as well?

One thing that Tivo has over Replay is that it was the first to let you can hack it to add larger drives. (1 [] , 2 [] , 3 [] )
ReplayTV does now too. (1 [] , 2 [] ) Tivo has historically been easier to do so, but I'm not sure about these days.

Overall, features on both are very similar, though the methodology to record shows is a little different. Replay gives you more pause time as it isn't just recording things it THINKS you MIGHT like. Replay makes you be specific about what you want to record, though they have theme recording channels. Tivo is programed to make certain assumptions about what you want it to record in addition to what you specifically specify.

I know folks who own one or the other. Regardless of brand, they are both extremely happy with their new options for watching TV. For those of you who say, I barely watch TV, its likely because you think there's too much crap on. There is, but with one of these units, you will only be watching exactly what you want, without commercials. Iron Chef, Battlebots, Simpsons (I have archived almost 2/3s of all episodes), Southpark, West Wing, 24, shows for your kids/infants (ON DEMAND!!!) and both can wait for shows that aren't even in the programming guide yet.

Though Tivo is on better financial ground [] right now, Replay TV isn't and hasn't historically been as shady about your privacy [] .

Bottom, line, do the math and find yourself the best deal. Even if one or both went out of business, we'd make a hack to grab the programing information anyway.

Tivo is nice but when are their (-1, Offtopic)

dalurka (540445) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453378)

mp3 players going to support ogg? I think many of us wants to know that...gimme ogg support for the Volt!

Re:Tivo is nice but when are their (2)

Pii (1955) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453640)

HIBT? HIL? (Have I been trolled? Have I lost?)

You seem to be mixing companies, and their respecitve product lines.

Tivo does not make mp3 players. SonicBlue's DVR product is called "ReplayTV." SonicBlue also makes mp3 players.

Screw inovation, what I want is good price (5, Interesting)

ferratus (244145) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453383)

Here in Canada (at least where I live), the only way to get PVR functionnality is to get the satellite dish with the high-end receiver with pvr integrated.

As far as I know, this is the only way to get at. At 600$ canadian (ok, so it's about 25$ US) it's quite pricey and I hate to encourage a monopoly.

Hopefully this stuff will have lower prices soon...

Re:Screw inovation, what I want is good price (1)

EulerX07 (314098) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453505)

Yes, PVR technology in Canada is still not here. What we really need right now is for the big cable companies (Rogers, Shaw, Videotron) to roll out their PVR enabled digital receivers and for our big electronic shops (i.e Futureshop) to carry some independant PVR solutions. It's really stupid, they have 15 000 dollards plasma on display (and like 10 different models) but they don't sell any PVR at all, at least in the montreal region.

And just like you, I'm not about to switch to Bell tv just for the PVR capability.

Re:Screw inovation, what I want is good price (2)

aron_wallaker (93905) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453748)

I want FutureShop to get off its ass way more than I want Rogers to roll it into their Digital set-top box.

I tried Rogers' free digital preview and it was *lame* (IMHO) - the current channels aren't really broadcast in digital, so they don't look or sound any different. The new channels were so incredibly underwhelming that getting them for free didn't seem like a bargain. If they paid me I still might not watch them.

There's plenty of TV on the first 50 channels that I don't see because I'm never home at normal hours. I want a PVR that doesn't come with another monthly fee from my local cable monopoly.

Good news to hear (2, Interesting)

Wo-Fat (197418) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453395)

ReplayTV should be around a long time to come if they remember to refer to their lawyers. Its a sad state of affairs that it has to be like that, but thats the only way to keep from being shut down in that business.

Interfacing with portable devices? (2, Interesting)

barfarf (544609) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453429)

"[itvt]: Will you be able to plug your portable device into the ReplayTV 4500 and record from there?"

"Ballard: It's unclear if it will be for the 4500 or for future devices. It's all still up for debate."

Can anyone say the Archos Jukebox Multimedia? I'd like to see Replay interface with this little gadget. 7. html?country=cn

There's one thing I want a DVR to do (5, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453432)

Record one show on one channel while allowing me to watch another on another channel.

Sky+ does this, but I'd rather have a device that isn't quite so tightly tied to the broadcast organisation since I'd rather have someone a little more neutral making decisions about what it will and will not record. TiVO will allow me to watch a previously recorded show while recording, which is nice, but not what I want.

Re:There's one thing I want a DVR to do (1, Redundant)

c.derby (574103) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453461)

The DirecTV + TiVo combo units will do this. As a matter of fact, you can record 2 shows on different channels while watching something you've previously recorded. I think that a standalone dual-tuner DVR would be more expensive since it would have to have 2 mpeg encoders. The satellite combo boxes are less expensive since just store the stream as it comes in.

Re:There's one thing I want a DVR to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453809)

OK, why does this get modded as redundant while the guy two posts down saying the same thing gets +5:Informative? Wouldn't it make more sense to mod this the other way?

Re:There's one thing I want a DVR to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453495)

If you have DirecTV, both TiVo and Ultimate TV have dual-input DVR/Sat boxes that allow you to do this as long as you have a dual LNB dish.

Re:There's one thing I want a DVR to do (5, Informative)

crow (16139) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453501)

That's not too hard to do if you have the tuner integrated into the system. I believe you can do that with the DirecTiVo. With a stand-alone box, though, it's pretty pointless to bother setting up that feature, as most people are using cable boxes that only decode one channel at a time.

What I want is to see addressable converters become something that you can buy instead of rent from your cable company. I want to see them integrated with VCRs, TVs, and PVRs in the same way that cable-ready tuners are ubiquitous today. Once you eliminate the need for an independent tuner, there's no reason you can't sell several models of ReplayTV with different numbers of tuners.

In the meantime, people who are far more serious about TV than I am will set up two or three ReplayTV units, each with their own cable box. (Really, people do that; I'm glad I don't watch that much TV.)

Re:There's one thing I want a DVR to do (1)

bmacy (40101) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453723)

Correct... the DirecTivo has a dual tuner so if you have a dual LNB dish you can use the 2 channels independently. I almost never watch live TV so for me this means that I can record 2 channels while watching a previously recorded show.

Brian Macy

Re:There's one thing I want a DVR to do (2, Insightful)

dabadab (126782) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453572)

I may be totally off on the situation, but is seems to me that a T connector to which both the Tivo and your TV can connect would do it.

Re:There's one thing I want a DVR to do (3, Informative)

Pii (1955) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453701)

For cable TV, yes, this would work just fine (Using a splitter).

For Satellite, it's far more complicated. Each input needs to be able to arbitrarily tune in even or odd transponders, and cannot do both simultaneously. You have to use multiswitches, and other assorted voo-doo to make it all go.

For detailed information, go to here [] .

Re:There's one thing I want a DVR to do (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453719)

Tivo already has a through port. I can record a normal unencrypted terrestrial TV show while watching something through cable, or record from cable while watching terrestrial. The problem is I only have one cable tuner.

Re:There's one thing I want a DVR to do (2, Interesting)

jtshaw (398319) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453614)

It really would be nice to be able to watch one thing and record another, or record multiple things.

The problem is tuners. You need one tuner per feed, with no execptions. With the current technology of tuners right now it isn't really resonable to put more then two in a set top box as far as cost, and space go.

What will make DVR technology better in my mind is signal tuners that can tune to multiple (10?, more?) stations at once, and DVRs with enough processing power to actually record that much data.

For now I settle with two tuners, one so I can watch a show and the other so I can record too...

Re:There's one thing I want a DVR to do (3, Informative)

Pii (1955) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453770)

Ummm... No.

It's true that adding an additional tuner to the standalone Tivo would add cost. Aside from the tuners themselves, which are actually fairly inexpensive (what does a vanilla cable box cost? $30), the real cost lies in the MPEG encoding hardware. That's why you don't see such a product today.

However, all of the DirecTivo models (Sony, Phillips, and Hughes) have dual tuners built-in. DirecTivos don't need MPEG encoding hardware, because it's an MPEG digital stream coming down from the bird. DirecTivos simply record this stream directly to the unit's hard drive.

I routinely record two shows simulateously while viewing a third that I'd previously recorded.

Re:There's one thing I want a DVR to do (1)

TopFlite211 (531397) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453923)

> Record one show on one channel while allowing me to watch another on another channel.

The DirecTV/Tivo box supports this, the dual tuner capability is absolutely lovely. With dual tuners, you can watch live & record another channel, or record 2 channels & watch a recorded one. Honestly once you've been using Tivo for a while you don't watch any live tv anyways.

Before when only 1 tuner was supported I ran into alot of conflicts with 2 things being on at the same time. Since they activated the second tuner last year, I've only had very rare occasions were there were 3 shows on at the same time.

Re:There's one thing I want a DVR to do (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454024)

Yeah. That's exatly what I want (all of you). Trouble is, I don't live in the US, so don't get DirectTV. We get Sky. they have a similar system called Sky+ [] , but I'm not sure how similar.

What I do know is that Sky are a pretty lousy company with some lousy products. My experience of their user interface (at least with their normal STB) has put me off buying their products. Tivo on the other hand has a very nice UI.

Re:There's one thing I want a DVR to do (2)

dubiousmike (558126) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454103)

you can do this by getting yourself a second cable box. Where I live, AT&T charges about $5 for a second box per month. I hook one cable box into the ReplayTV, the other ito an aux in my VCR. Thus, when the ReplayTV records something I don't want to watch right now, I can switch over to the VCR input with the second Cable feed.

I can also watch a "recorded show" while it records a show that is playing "live".

spit or swollow (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453436)

do you spit or swollow?

If you have not used a DVR, you should (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453437)

Find somebody that has one! For years I would see things on TV that I wanted to check out. I decided that I should just tape everything I watch.

Well this is even better!

How they stack up... (5, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453442)

how he sees ReplayTV PVR stacking up against Tivo this upcoming holiday season

Well, they are both packaged in rectangular boxes of about the same size. I'd say they'd stack up against each other pretty evenly.


Whatever, man. (4, Interesting)

Emmettfish (573105) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453444)

There are a lot of people out there mailing hardware manufacturers to let them know about Ogg Vorbis, asking about Vorbis support, etc. Here's an excerpt from a customer service mail from SonicBLUE that was passed to me last week:

Information for future upgrades to newer formats is not available at this time. Please continue to check our website for further information.

Please note that almost all current Rio players support the WMA format, this codec that will provide digital quality sound at 64k encoding rates. The newest WMA codec WMA9 is by far the best audio compression codec in the world and is supported in all of our players that offer WMA support.

In the words of the Filthy Critic: "Hey, whore! How's the whoring?"


Re:Whatever, man. (2, Interesting)

altman (2944) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453637)

Don't be so sure :)

Where hardware permits & all that sort of thing...


Re:Whatever, man. (2)

Drakino (10965) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453749)

In case anyone missed it, the comment above is from one of the lead audio engineers for SonicBlue. (Aka, what was empeg is now the only audio department in SonicBlue now).

Their biggest problem (5, Interesting)

jerrytcow (66962) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453447)

I've always seen poor customer service and poor product quality as sonicblue/rio's biggest problem. I've heard from many people that until these are fixed they will never buy a sonicblue product.

My girlfriend and I each bought a Rio500 about 2 years ago. Both stopped working and were returned to the online store. She got a refund, but I had it replaced. I had to send it in twice within a year to have it repaired. Their customer service was no help - each time they made it a huge hassle to send it in. The second time they had it for 4 or 5 months before they returned it. I was browsing online forums during this time to try to find out what was wrong and found many people with the same problems/complaints.

Someone pointed me to this BBB link [] which basically says
Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau.Specifically, our records show a pattern of non-response to consumer complaints brought to its attention by the Bureau.

The BBB has two ratings: satisfactory and unsatisfactory, and it very difficult to receive the latter.

Get it on Wal-Mart shelves (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453448)

In the TiVo vs. Replay war, the one who will win will be the first one to get their boxes on all Wal-Mart shelves well before Christmas. That giant retailer could do more for either PVR company than any cable box deal this season.

Re:Get it on Wal-Mart shelves (2)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454155)

TiVo has had an exclusive deal with Best Buy since the Series 2 was introduced. That's only B&M store you'll find TiVo at. The Series 1 TiVos were sold at Wal-Mart, Target, etc (I bought my HDR212 at Target). I saw a 14 hr Series 1 sitting on a Wal Mart shelf about 6 months ago. Still priced at the $299 price point they were first introduced at.

ReplayTV 4500 (5, Interesting)

sfbanutt (116292) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453451)

We just got a replayTV 4500 and I love it. The commercial advance is pretty amazing, I've not seen it skip over programming yet, but it skips at least 75% of the commercials automatically and on some shows, it gets 'em all. It'll also allow you to record from DVD or VHS sources as well as saving recorded shows to a VCR. We bought it initially because they were out of TiVos at the store, but now I'm glad we did.


Re:ReplayTV 4500 (2)

mikeee (137160) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453594)

Record from DVD?? Does it ignore Macrovision, or preserve it on outputs of Macrovision-recorded-stuff, or what?

Re:ReplayTV 4500 (2)

Arkham (10779) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453940)

TiVo simply records the MacroVision along with the signal. It also records closed captioning and VBI data like the "press thumbs up to record" called TivoMatic.

Re:ReplayTV 4500 (2)

sfbanutt (116292) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454240)

The manual says it preserves it. I've not tried archiving something from a DVD to VHS though, as I've found something more interesting. There's a project on sourceforge called DVarchive that lets you create a virtual replayTV on your PC, you can then transfer programs from the replay to your PC (and back) to watch either on the pc or just to save. I've found it useful for recording something like junkyard wars, then watching it on the bus on the way into work the next day.


Re:ReplayTV 4504 with Ethernet (1)

implex (468133) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454043)

Just got this the other day. It has an RJ45 connector on the back that hooks into you LAN. I have it going into my router with NAT addressing and it works just fine. It literally plug in and was assigned an IP then connected to replytv's servers across the network and downloaded all the channel stuff within a few minutes.

The cool thing is I can pull shows off the replaytv across the network and store them on a PC. I can also put them back on it with DVArchive. Tivo may have thumbs up but this sits on the LAN out of the box - how is that not more cool?

I read that it removes macrovision - could you play a DVD through it? I haven't tried. It has three sets of inputs that can be selected from the remote.

I have two friends with Tivos and they love them but they want a LAN connection even more.

Re:ReplayTV 4500 (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454092)

Can you save the shows to CD-R as VCDs?

Ballard of 3dfx fame? (5, Insightful)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453454)

Is this the same Greg Ballard who used to be the CEO of 3dfx [] ?
If so, isn't it the consensus that bad management drove 3dfx to the ground?

Yup, same guy. (2)

crow (16139) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453536)

Some guy. There's been some weird stuff going on in the SonicBlue boardroom with the ousting of their previous CEO and such.

Re:Ballard of 3dfx fame? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453596)

Yes it is, he runs one company into the ground and gets HIRED by some moron who cannot check his references. Sheesh! Not that SonicBlue is a viable company. It sucks already, bad products, no support and arrogance. This man needs to be killed, then the fool who hired him needs to be killed. Urban terror must stop. Domestic enemies is what they are. I have sworn to defend the Constitution against these types.

Not to mention... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453973)

That other, oh-so-successful company [] , the creepy Mormon company that tried to corner the geneology market. The only reason they are still around is that they purchased and gutted another dot com [] , which they ditched after laying off over 90% of the people and walking off with more cash and equipment than they payed in (worthless) stock.
He's essentially a corporate serial rapist.

3 Interesting Comments (3, Interesting)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453470)

1) Portable device to watch shows on, downloaded from the ReplayTV
2) "we'll use whatever DRM system [Hollywood] ultimately certify"
3) Heavily marketing the Commercial Skip this winter

Re:3 Interesting Comments (2)

crow (16139) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453519)

4) Integration with Rio products

Tivo Vs Replay (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453478)

Obviously you peeps have never used a Direct Tivo vs a Replay. A DTIVO will record 2 seperate shows and play a third show (previously recorded) all at the same time. NO OTHER PVR/DVR can do this. No OTHER PVR/DVR is linux based and hackable like a DTIVO. Now in Nov. 9th Tee begins shipping an expander for DTIVO to put 4 IDE hard drives in your DTIVO (thats more than 1000 hours of shows) As for commercial skip, you really need just to load the advance button on your remote for that! And i thought Slashdot peeps are supposed to be technically advanced, guess not!!!! tools of Microsloth!!!

Re:Tivo Vs Replay (2)

RedX (71326) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454050)

A DTIVO will record 2 seperate shows and play a third show (previously recorded) all at the same time. NO OTHER PVR/DVR can do this.

Technically you're right, but the UltimateTV had this ability out of the box when they were first released while DirecTiVo owners waited for the software upgrade to enable the 2nd tuner. Of course, UTV is now dead, so you are technically correct.

TV... (5, Interesting)

ekephart (256467) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453509)

I'm sorry, but I don't care how high-tech TV gets I still won't pay for it. I get a few channels by default with my cable modem. And I mean a few, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, UPN, WB, Discovery. I basically only watch the WB and FOX for the Simpsons and once in a while the Discovery channel just for those cool forensics shows. I guess I'm out of sync with the general public but IMHO TV programming by and large is worthless.

Go mods go, flaimbait, offtopic, troll.

Re:TV... (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454113)

I don't get it, you ARE paying for TV.

Re:TV... (5, Funny)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454238)

I guess I'm out of sync with the general public but IMHO TV programming by and large is worthless.

No, it's still pretty trendy here on Slashdot to speak condescendingly of the "idiot box" and brag about how you only have a television set because you're forced to for some byzantine reason and you really wouldn't watch the awful thing if you could possibly avoid it. I'd say you're quite in sync with the arrogant prick crowd, if that's what you're aiming for.

Subscription (slightly OT)? (2, Interesting)

CreepyNinja (615245) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453523)

I haven't owned a DVR, but my wife and I were considering buying one. I noticed that there was a subscription fee for Tivo. What exactly is the subcription for? Why is it needed? And do the two companies (Tivo,Replay) charge about the same?

Re:Subscription (slightly OT)? (3, Informative)

Erasmus Darwin (183180) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453584)

"What exactly is the subcription for?"

The subscription is to the service that provides you with scheduling information, so that the unit knows what shows are on when. This lets it automatically record shows that have changed timeslots, and it lets you pick shows to record by browing show listings rather than requiring you to enter an actual time.

Also, with the ReplayTV units, the price of the service is just included in the unit price as a one-time fee. If you don't want to go the subscription route, Tivo offers a similar deal for $250, which gives you the service for the lifetime of your Tivo. So it's really just that Tivo is giving you more payment options for the service.

Re:Subscription (slightly OT)? (1)

c.derby (574103) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454107)

TiVo has recently discontinued the Lifetime Service offering. Also, for the DirecTV + TiVo combo boxes, the TiVo subscription fee (now only $4.95) is waived if you subscribe the highest tier of satellite programming (Total Choice Platinum).

Re:Subscription (slightly OT)? (1)

chrisos (186835) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453590)

The subsription is for the channel listings, you need them so that you can set the box to record the programs you want and for the DVR to change to the correct channel on the STB. This data also contains the details about series of shows and repeat details so that a season ticket can be set up to make sure you never miss an episode.

I personally use a Tivo in the UK, the cost is £10/month or £200 for life.

I'm sorry I have no idea what the costs are for Replay

Re:Subscription (slightly OT)? (1)

CreepyNinja (615245) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453631)

Thank you to both who responded. This makes a lot more sense now.

Re:Subscription (slightly OT)? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453792)

Yes, replay recently changed their prices. They dropped the price of the unit, but instituted the fees. They pay for your channel guide updates that the unit makes via a phone line or broadband connection to the internet.

Replay TV-- Ya Gotta Love It! (5, Informative)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453533)

Bought one over a Tivo specifically for the "commercial advance" feature. It's brilliant! But, uh, yeah, I can see the advertisers and the networks who take the advertisers' money getting their noses out of joint. (Note to SonicBlue: This feature works approx. 90% of the time. I'm guessing it looks for a 7.5 IRE black signal which it recognizes as the start of a break. Some cartoons, and a few of the more arty/Gothic shows (e.g., Buffy) seem to incorporate this pure black into some transitions.)

Interestingly, the purchase of the Box caused me to order more channels from DirecTV. Prior to owning one, "there was never anything good on" when I watched TV (which was usually when I was feeding a child or performing some other paternal act). Now -- a veritable virtual library of programs culled from the recently ordered History International, Discovery Science, DIY -- all the next-tier networks I thought sounded "cool" before but that I knew I would never have time to watch.

PVR's will simply crush the market for pre-school tape vids from networks like Noggin, 'Toon, and PBSKids. I got my own (Commercial Free!) kids channel now.

Seriously thinking of getting another box for the bedroom and/or office...

No, I'm not a SonicBlue employee or affiliated with them in anyway, but, I am enjoying being able to sing a product's praises for once instead of ripping it to shreds.

Sonic Blue sucks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453554)

The products are shoddy, the tech support is non-existant and the whole bunch suck. Who gives a rat's ass about Sonic Blue? Are you GAY or what?
Fuck Sonic Blue and the Creative group! Shits across the board. Did you ever buy a Rio?
They blow! The whole company sucks hard. Why interview such a DOUCHEBAG?

Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 55 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453559)

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci-Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in the remains of his Maine home this morning. Apparently, Mr. King fell asleep at the kitchen table while smoking a post-breakfast cigarette, torching the entire house in the process. There weren't any further details. I'm sure he will be missed by the Slashdot community - even if you didn't enjoy his work, you most likely ate one of his famous salad dressings. Truly an American icon.

Re:Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 55 (2)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453582)

This bullshit keeps showing up on slashdot. Ignore it!
S.K. is alive and well, but has said he wants to retire and has written his last book. (Never say never again).

Re:Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 55 (0)

chez69 (135760) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453942)

I don't know why, but this troll makes me laugh ever time I see it.

big deal (2)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453565)

I'm sorry, I can't get particularly excited about the fine differences between these different systems or these claims of "innovation". We are talking "digital video recorder"--a box with a hard disk and a frame grabber/buffer. It takes video in, stores it in a file, and plays it back when you like. When the Gods are merciful, you can even do the two simultaneously. You can easily put one together yourself if you like. TiVo wasn't the first to figure this one out either, they were just the first to market when declining prices made a consumer product possible.

In the long run, this will (or at least should) be replaced by IP-based multicast and video-on-demand anyway.

Re:big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453777)

if you think thats all a tivo is then you have never used one for a day

Quotation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453574)

Ballard: I can't promise that we won't be sued--that sometimes happens when you innovate

Microsoft had better watch out then hehe

TiVo Price Drop (4, Interesting)

Evanrude (21624) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453602)

I think if TiVo did something crazy like - cut their prices in ... half? or one quarter off. Something drastic (either for the unit itself or the subscription price...or both!) They would attract a broader market who could actually afford the device. If they did something like this around the holiday season, TiVo could be the "big gift" this year.

Re:TiVo Price Drop (3, Informative)

Pii (1955) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453879)

How much cheaper do you want them to make it?

The standalone units require expensive MPEG encoding hardware... That's why they are more expensive than DirecTivo combp units.

I bought my first DirecTivo last year, new, at Best Buy, for $119.00. (Practically free)

My new Series 2 DirecTivo only cost me $199.00 (I've pre-oredered it... It hasn't yet arrived).

The manufacturers (Sony, Phillips, Hughes) get a kick back (subsidy) from Tivo that already keeps the price down to where it is today. Tivo really can't afford to subsidize them any further. With the subscription, it already takes a while to make up the cost of the subsidy, and still longer to hit the break even point.

A person that bought a unit, and bought the lifetime subscription at the time of purchase, represented a loss for Tivo.

I don't know where that stands today, but I can't imagine it changed that much. That's why the lifetime subscriptions are going away.

Re:TiVo Price Drop (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454063)

The manufacturers (Sony, Phillips, Hughes) get a kick back (subsidy) from Tivo that already keeps the price down to where it is today.

Not any more. That was true with the Series 1 boxes, but not with the current (Series 2) boxes. Or so I've been told.

Re:TiVo Price Drop (1)

c.derby (574103) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454142)

Just as a side note, those prices are less than half of what those units cost when they were first released.

Also, the new Series II combo boxes are supposed to be $199.

Re:TiVo Price Drop (2)

Pii (1955) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454179)

They are indeed only $199.00. (I've pre-paid for mine from Circuit City)

However, you can get Circuit City to go $10 cheaper if you take a printed copy of this [] receipt.

Tivo Community [] is your friend.

Web Tablets (1)

Dukebytes (525932) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453627)

I would like to hear your thoughts on the Tablet PC/Web Tablet that you are making. The ProGear box.

How big do you think that these will be in the industry? Do you think that they will be just another PDA type of device or something more?

Can you see them being used for things other than the obvious? I think that they will be great for health care and education type applications. But are they going to be able to make it mainstream?

Are you going to make a more PC like version of this (similar to the Fujitsu model)? I've seen the accessories and they are getting you close to having a desktop - but the word appliance scares me away a little.

And when will the prices start to drop? :)

I have a desktop, a handheld, and a notebook. Do you see the Tablet PC replacing any or all of these? I really like the fact that you power it on and its up and running (like my Ipaq). Do you see that feature as the most promising one for these devices?

Thanks for you time.


Re:Web Tablets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4453747)

Ummm... I'd like to know why you're asking me questions???

Near-baseless hatred of SonicBlue (3, Insightful)

skryche (26871) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453659)


It's so meaningless and marketroid I can't stand it. Vague reference to music ("Sonic"), hip, yet relaxing color ("Blue"). You know there was a focus group involved. Not to mention the mixed CAPSlowercase. It sounds like a DRM technology company like LiquidAudio or some dead dot-com.

"Tivo" is much more cuddly.

Re:Near-baseless hatred of SONICblue (1)

skryche (26871) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453686)

Damn, not once did I get their quirky CAPITalizATION right.

PVR features I'd love (2, Interesting)

guidemaker (570195) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453712)

  • Archive direct to DVD-R - Panasonic have launched a PVR in the UK that does this, but it doesn't have the smarts of a TiVo or ReplayTV
  • Bulk Archive. TiVo only lets you archive one programme at a time - I want to chain them to dump a block to my DVD-R.
  • Better tracking of programme times. Not a big problem in the states, I hear, but here in the UK the major channels have distinct problems running to time, so we frequently miss the end of shows, unless we put padding in, and then we can't record two shows back-to-back because the padding overlaps with the next show... Don't know how good ReplayTV is on this score, but TiVo suffers very badly. I end up having to do manual recording blocks, which defeats the point of having a smart device.

Re:PVR features I'd love (1)

Scyber (539694) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454187)

Well as a replay owner this does happen to us too. But this is more or less a fault of the TV stations than the devices. They release there programming information to a 3rd party (TMS I believe) and the 3rd party supplies the info to both TiVo and Replay. So if the Networks don't abide by what they tell the 3rd party then it is nearly impossible to record the show correctly.

Because as usual most people won't read it (5, Informative)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453725)

Here are the pertinent issues:

  • SONICblue claim that most people are only using the Send Show feature within their house, not to distribute content to friends, families and <insert current boogieman enemy of truth, justice and distributor profits>.
  • SONICblue already have their own DRM that stops further propagation of recorded content after one transfer, and will adopt any studio suggested DRM standard as soon as it's decided.
  • They're going to lay off more staff, but probably not a lot (this is what "We don't have anything planned" usually means)
  • He has no idea how to eat into TiVo's market lead (stating that you're aiming for 30-40% of the market means you think you'll get 10%)
  • Sorry, one idea. They're going to go hog wild pushing the Commercial Skip feature, and damn the lawyers. And he's not bothered about working with the content pushers to come up with an alternative, as he says that the product has too small a market share to make a difference.
  • To put all of this into context though, he admits to being a lawyer and wanting to go into politics. So, translating, this means that ReplayTV is used only to send premium content to North Korea and Iraq, that they've already laid off all of their staff and will be suing them to recover past salaries, and that he personally will kill ReplayTV in return for a suitcase full of small non-sequential unmarked bills, a goldfish bowl full of crack, and a nekkid wrasslin' match with a roofied Britney Spears. Or perhaps I'm just reading too much between the lines.

BORING! What about Ogg for Rio Volt? (0)

BestNicksRTaken (582194) | more than 11 years ago | (#4453938)

Not even a mention of the Rio Volt and the whole "when will it support Ogg Vorbis@ question?! WTF?

I don't want to know about this blokes career or Tivo, I'd go to CNN for that, I go to Slashdot for the opensource stuff!;o)

Is there a Ogg for Volt campaign I can sign up for - I'm just dying to convert my 6Gb on my hard disk and 30 CD-R's full of MP3s to .Ogg (then I could play music on RedHat 8, snigger!)

No Commercial Advance for TiVo???? (1)

ErnstKompressor (193799) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454035)

We got it at our house...


Voila! "jump to end" is now "30-second skip".


No there isn't. (1)

Scyber (539694) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454211)

Commerical Advance (a copyrighted technology owned by some other company) automatically skips over commercials you do not have to push a single button (granted the algorithm is not 100% accurate). This is a feature in addition to Replay's 30 second skip button.

Re:No Commercial Advance for TiVo???? (1)

ErnstKompressor (193799) | more than 11 years ago | (#4454235)

I stand corrected :)

What is the point (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4454205)

Now that more and more channels are introducing a 'plus one hour' version, I.E. see the program that was on at 6 PM, at 7 PM, and now that there are so many repeats on TV, I think the need to record TV is quickly decreasing.

Nowadays, I think that films on TV are a waste of airtime, because you can just buy the films you want on the format of your choice, (for me, that would be Laserdisc, not DVD, but that's a different point).

Broadcast television should be reserved for things like news, sport, (which I don't have much interest in, but others do), documentaries, anime, etc, etc. Films, which you don't want to have commercials in, should be on sale as soon as they have finished in the cinema.

I am watching less and less TV these days, and I can't even remember the last time I recorded something, (over a month ago), and I don't mean record to keep, I mean I haven't timeshifted anything either - if I've had to go out, I've just thought, well, it's only a TV programme, who cares if I miss one episode? If I record it, unless I watch it within about 24 hours, somebody will have probably told me what is going to happen, and then it will be spoiled anyway.

Before home VCRs, when the only way to buy a film was to buy the 10-minute, silent, Super-8 version, there was a point to films on TV. Now that practically everybody has a VCR, what is the point? Eventually, solid state video recorderes will be cheaper than the VHS machines of today - just a box with an MPEG-4 decoder, and a USB-2 socket, that you plug a ROM chip in to - how much would that cost? Practically nothing. It could probably be made for $10, and sold for $20.

So, my idea is to stop showing films on TV, and use that bandwidth for more useful things - news, sport, local TV, local TV from other regions, etc, etc. It would help broadcasters, too, because they wouldn't have so many copyright issues to deal with - if they are producing their own content, they can do what they like with it.

Watch films in the cinema, where the quality is good - no matter how much you spend on home entertainment equipment, you will never be able to watch a film off-air at the same quality you can watch it in the cinema. Even HDTV is not close to 35mm film, (others may disagree on that point).

With no films being broadcast, it neatly solves the problem of home recording!
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