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TiVo May Be a Buyout Target

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the run-free-little-company-run-free dept.

149

Moose writes "Ars Technica has a piece up about the takeover rumors surrounding TiVo, now that it has a lawsuit win to boost its chances in the marketplace. From the article: 'It appears that TiVo is at a major crossroads, with brilliant technology under what now appears to be enforceable patents and a rapidly growing subscriber base, but with larger players in the TV market lurking just out of sight, possibly with pen to checkbook already. The DVR innovator seems to have little control over its own destiny now, and future success may rest in the hands of the legal system. Godspeed, TiVo.'"

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I said it before ... (-1, Troll)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15147900)

and I'll say it again, there is nothing and I repeat nothing worth paying money to see the first time around let alone record and watch later.

Basically this is how TV works. They hype some stupid episode for a week, make it the "must see event of your lifetime" then 3 seconds after the episode airs the next episode is the "must see event of your lifetime.

The way I go about things if I miss an episode it's no biggie. It'll be on again in my lifetime through re-runs syndication.

TiVo is just yet another leach in the pocketbook [financially and socially] that frankly people can just as easily do without.

Tom

Re:I said it before ... (1)

silverkniveshotmail. (713965) | more than 8 years ago | (#15147919)

What does that have to do with them being a buyout target?

Re:I said it before ... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15147993)

Their technology is moot and I hope they get bought out by Walmart or something.

Layoff the entire staff, move the BUs to india and be done with.

I swear to god if I hear "I tivo'ed that episode" one more time I'm gonna be linked to some fairly hefty crimes against humanity.

Tom

Re:I said it before ... (2, Funny)

KarateExplosions (959215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148095)

I Tivo'd that episode of 24 last night. Did you see it? It was the must-see event of your lifetime.

Re:I said it before ... (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148592)

Don't give anything away! I Motorola-DCT6412ed that episode too and I haven't watched it.

Re:I said it before ... (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148776)

Pffft. I tried to MediaCenterEdition it, but the damn computer didn't wake from sleep like it was supposed to...

Re:I said it before ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15148174)

Their technology is moot and I hope they get bought out by K-Mart or something. Layoff the entire staff, move the BUs to india and be done with. I swear to god if I hear "I xerox'ed that report" one more time I'm gonna be linked to some fairly hefty crimes against humanity.

Re:I said it before ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15147934)

Well thanks for setting the world right there Tom. Now shut the fuck up.

This is a must see Post!!! (-1, Offtopic)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15147935)

No, its not. See the next Post.

Re:This is a must see Post!!! (1)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148025)

Does it work kind of like this?

Even better Post!!! OMG!!! You have to see this!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15148107)

If you think this post was good, just wait the next one!

Re:This is a must see Post!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15148256)

We have had DISH or Echostar since its inception. They have consistently offered superior hardware and software. The guide is amazing and the ergonomics of the systems are quite intuitive.
TiVo is, at best, a distant second with no signs of ever catching up.
We are currently running 2 721s (living room and Master) and a 502 (kids rooms and office). Watching a commercial is almost sacriligious. A portion of the fees we pay DISH should go to the advertisers that we do not watch to off-set this paridym shift.

Not affiliated to DISH etc...

Agreed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15148032)

TV is a waste of time anyway, although sometimes it has some stuff worth watching.

However I'd rather buy the DVD box set of a good TV show (there aren't that many), save the money on the TiVo subscription, and then sell the box set after I've watched it if I don't want to keep it.

On a similar note, the Internet is a waste of time, but I haven't managed to stop my addiction yet.

Fallen out of love w/ TiVo (2, Insightful)

Fubar411 (562908) | more than 8 years ago | (#15147932)

I bought my TiVo series 2 the week it was released. I think it was about $300, plus activation at $250. (Also added a huge, at the time, 100GB second drive) At first, I was amazed at this little box. But as Echostar has shown, there is no pixie dust that can't be duplicated and there have been some missteps by TiVo. I'll list a few - The large popup ads that took up the screen and wouldn't go away - Misplaced copy protection - Routinely taking away the 30 second skip - The double button press in v7.2 that only now seems close to being fixed - The recent removal of lifetime subscription options I like how easy to use the TiVo is, but others are catching up. I've used other PVRs and they're not half bad. The only huge advantage I see w/ my TiVo is I can transfer recordings to my desktop.

Re:Fallen out of love w/ TiVo (2, Informative)

kennedy (18142) | more than 8 years ago | (#15147971)

you do know you can re-enable the 30 second skip at any time right? it's an undocumented feature that goes away if the tivo is restarted. while playing a pre-recorded item, simply press select-play-select-3-0-select

you will hear a happy confirmation tone.

Re:Fallen out of love w/ TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15148031)

simply press select-play-select-3-0-select

Are you sure? My TIVO did a full flip round kick when I tried that...

Re:Fallen out of love w/ TiVo (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148189)

Really? Mine gave me 30 lives. I guess it depends on who the manufacturer is...

Re:Fallen out of love w/ TiVo (1)

blakestah (91866) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148789)

simply press select-play-select-3-0-select

Works for me fine on a series 2 bought from TiVO last December.

That's the most valuable key on the whole box!

Comcast Has nothing on my Tivo (1)

aka_big_wurm (757512) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148050)

Had a Tivo for about two year no problems, great extras. Went HD with comcast DVR, 1 returned box, frezzes, sound cut outs.

Re:Fallen out of love w/ TiVo (5, Interesting)

Khammurabi (962376) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148114)

Yes, most of its sales used to come from the hardware, but last year, subscription payments for the TiVo service brought in almost twice as many sales dollars as the hardware ($167 million to $72 million). And TiVo is quite happy giving up hardware sales, as they sell their boxes at a loss--it cost $84 million to produce the hardware that was sold.
I've said it before:
Tivo's greatest asset is its brand and unique UI, not its DVR. Tivo should give up its DVR sales and instead license its brand and UI to other DVR makers. This would give Tivo a more predictable income and allow the company to expand into other areas. The reason Tivo is a buyout target is because any CEO with half a brain has thought of this and sees the company as piggy bank just waiting to be cracked open.

If Tivo isn't willing to follow the lucrative business model sitting in front of them, a bigger company will gladly come along and "guide them" in the right direction.

Re:Fallen out of love w/ TiVo (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148261)

Tivo should give up its DVR sales and instead license its brand and UI to other DVR makers.

Isn't this exactly what they're doing with their Comcast deal? I'm pretty sure they'll continue going down this road. There's nothing saying that they can't make their own DVRs while licensing the technology to other companies.

Re:Fallen out of love w/ TiVo (1)

arudloff (564805) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149187)

Tivo should give up its DVR sales and instead license its brand and UI to other DVR makers.
That's kinda what they've been trying to do. It makes it real hard when everyone is violating your patent and thinks they can just create their own.

Re:Fallen out of love w/ TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15149653)

I'm pretty sure that most of your concerns are just... your misperceptions or misunderstandings. At least, they never impacted me or anyone I know with a TiVo.

The large popup ads that took up the screen and wouldn't go away
- There was talk about TiVo running these ads, but I don't think they ever actually appeared. Are you speaking from experience? Did you actually see these ads?

Misplaced copy protection
- Was there ever a show on your TiVo that was actually marked with copy protection? There were some isolated cases, but... I never saw this myself.

Routinely taking away the 30 second skip.
- As someone pointed out, you can reenable this at any time. This is a "back door" that isn't persisted on disk, so when the box reboots (due to a software update) the 30 second skip gets disabled. Turning it back on is very easy. I assume you know how...

Haven't there already been... (1)

cthellis (733202) | more than 8 years ago | (#15147937)

...like, 1 or 2 or 5 articles already speculating this?

In the past month?

Re:Haven't there already been... (2, Informative)

Jupix (916634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148033)

I don't know about that, but here's the /. article on the lawsuit [slashdot.org] . The link might have been useful enough to be included in the summary, IMO, but didn't .. naturally.

I want to switch, I really want to... (2, Informative)

aconn (709312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15147944)

I am a cablevision subscriber. For $10/month I get their dvr service. Sure, their program guide is terrible. But I can cancel the service at any time. The recorder has dual tuners. I would love to switch to tivo, but it's not worth the extra money and (more importantly) loss of features to do so.

Re:I want to switch, I really want to... (3, Insightful)

madman101 (571954) | more than 8 years ago | (#15147982)

If you use a Tivo for a week, you'll see what how bad other DVR's are in comparison. I'd gladly pay more for the Tivo...

Re:I want to switch, I really want to... (3, Insightful)

DarthBart (640519) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148077)

You're telling me. I have HD+DVR service from comcast and the Motorola 6412 DVR/Dual tuner box SUCKS ASS. It routinely wanders off requiring a reboot (which flushes all program guide information and it takes 3-4 days to get it all back). It also pulls this crap where it decides to ignore commands from the remote for a while and then execute them all at once, especially while fast-forwarding or rewinding through a show.

Whenever TiVo decides to release their cable compatible HD set, I'm taking this 6412 and inserting it into a Comcast Employee's ass.

Re:I want to switch, I really want to... (2, Informative)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148294)

I have a Motorola DCT6412 DVR from Insight Communications, and it's amazing what a firmware update will do. It used to be extremely bad . It was clunky, hard to use, and very buggy. The software was horrible. Then they did an unannounced firmware update to the box, and instantly, it was awesome. They changed the interface, (much "prettier" now) fixed the bugs. (and I mean all of them, including the ones you mentioned above) The menus were updated, and little things to make it more user-friendly were added. They even added features. (Series recording, notably absent from the original.) Now, I love that thing.

I know that there are several different firmware options for the Motorola box, but you should seriously inquire to your cable company to see if they are working on an update. I wish I could give you more details on mine, but it's at home, and I don't know the firmware information off the top of my head.

Re:I want to switch, I really want to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15148495)

The thing to remember here is he is dealing with Crapcast just like me. I have the same box and the same issues with it. Crapcast has done nothing to fix it except waste my time sending techs out to look at the box and exchange it. Every time they do its the same story, Crapcast wont update the firmware to fix the problems and there's nothing that the tech can do except replace it with another box featuring the same bugs.

Re:I want to switch, I really want to... (1)

DarthBart (640519) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148694)

Yup. Been through three boxes already. Of course, one just mysteriously "stopped working" when my wife got pissed at it and beat up upon it. All three have been the same and Comcast just keeps say "That shouldn't happen. Maybe you have a defective unit."

And every time the techs come out to replace the box, I have to reconfigure it cause the retards have no idea how to set the output to 1080i rather than 480p.

Re:I want to switch, I really want to... (1)

DreadfulGrape (398188) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149104)

I sympathise, Darth, but I must confess I've had Comcast's Motorola DVR for about 6 months now, and it's worked flawlessly. Records two programs at the same time, and setting up recordings with the on-screen schedule grid is so easy a three-year-old could do it. I must have gotten a "good" box. No complaints from me...

Tivo rules! (4, Insightful)

Ragnarr (555058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15147957)

For those of you who haven't tried it, Tivo really changes how you watch TV. I have a difficulty watching "live" tv since getting mine about 6 months ago, and it's mainly due to the fact that during your recordings you can "30-second" skip through the commercials. Also, you can watch shows whenever you want. For instance, I was gone for the last 2 weeks on business. I didn't have time to catch the shows on TV where I was. When I got back, there they were! The other thing, the user interface is amazing! It's simple, intuitive, and works as you expect it to. I've tried MythTV, and for all the work you put into it, it's still just a beta system that will fail you when you least expect it. Some people talk about the Cable provider's DVRs; they can't touch the usability of Tivo. Tivo just works, and it works well. Oh, and for you portable fans out there, there is software to download your tivo shows to your PSP/Palm/Cell/whatever. It works well, doesn't take up a ton of space, and can even be automated. Now that's a cool feature! As for cost, Tivo used to have a $299 lifetime (for the life of the hardware) user fee. I was lucky enough to sign up for this when I bought my box. Unfortunately, that was recently taken away in favor of providing "free" hardware to the consumer. Would I pay 15-18 bucks a month for a Tivo? I'll cross that road when I come to it. Oh, and for you "hax0rs" out there, you can even upgrade your tivos with bigger hard drives and the like. I have a 300gig drive in my 40 hour tivo :). Tivo will continue to be a wonderful innovation, and hopefully this will allow it's interface to spread into other venues.

Re:Tivo rules! (2)

necro81 (917438) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148103)

What does this love-fest have to do with the substance and premise of the article?

Re:Tivo rules! (0, Offtopic)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148733)

Greetings citizen. You are not of the body? You will obey. It is the word of Landru, er, I mean TiVo.

Re:Tivo rules! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15148128)

I've tried MythTV, and for all the work you put into it, it's still just a beta system that will fail you when you least expect it.

Bullshit. MythTV is rock solid and I've been recording television on my MythTV setup for years now. If you're having problems it is likely hardware related. I had problems at first with my PVR 250 cards recording blank 0 byte files occassionally which I eventually traced down to an IRQ conflict with an LPT port. Once I resolved that by disabling the LPT port and the USB ports the box has been ultra-stable for the past year. The last time it rebooted was due to a power outage that outlasted my UPS 3 months ago.

Re:Tivo rules! (2, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149049)

I had problems at first with my PVR 250 cards recording blank 0 byte files occassionally which I eventually traced down to an IRQ conflict with an LPT port.

BZZZ you lose the Tivo Vs Myth for the average consumer.

Re:Tivo rules! (1)

SComps (455760) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148171)

For instance, I was gone for the last 2 weeks on business. I didn't have time to catch the shows on TV where I was. When I got back, there they were!

Not trying to throw stones here, but there's really nothing on television that I (personally) would find so important that I'd miss while out of town. For many years I didn't even own a television nor miss having one. Until my son started spending significant time in my home I had no need for it. The downside of having one now is that I can still hear Spongebob's voice in the back of my head while away from the television.

I guess the problem I see with any of these services is the cost of providing them with the cost of the hardware. There's just too many of us folks out there that would be unwilling to spend that much (or even anything) on the ability to *not* miss television entertainment. I might be willing to spend $15-30/month for a device that would locate and provide a small (but painful) electric shock to the producers and writers of some of these shows and commercials on my command. [Lookout Vonage and Subaru!] On a more realistic note these types of devices have the amazing capability to help content providers choose and create better material. They're just not doing it (or not doing it very well). The machines know when you changed channels and where you went, how long you stayed etc. So say for instance, I'm sitting at home watching an old re-run of M*A*S*H and they start one of their 10 minute Subaru advertising campaigns--I change channels to something else, to find a Vonage campaign and keep going until I finally settle on Survivor where I give up and turn the device off. If somebody were to monitor that kind of information on a large scale; we might not have or brains ground into mush on a continued basis.

 

Re:Tivo rules! (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149362)

Forget being out of town - we've got 3 young kids, so we can spend time with them in the evenings getting them to bed, and then watch shows that are normally on while they're still awake. It's also handy for keeping a steady supply of their favorites shows available, when you need a few minutes to hop in the shower or cook a meal. Or there's the case where the wife wants to watch something, but you want to watch something else at the same time - just have Tivo record one while playing the other.

Tivo truly optimizes the viewing experience - you watch what you want watch, when you want to watch it, and with the 30-second skip, it cuts at least 1/3rd of the time off.

Re:Tivo rules! (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148225)

I have a difficulty watching "live" tv since getting mine about 6 months ago, and it's mainly due to the fact that during your recordings you can "30-second" skip through the commercials.

I don't watch live TV at all. I've found that simply slurping an entire show, by which I mean every single season, off bittorrent really improves the quality of teh expierience. Despite the reduced quality, nothing quite beats watching the first four seasons of SG-1 over three weeks. It's a million times better than waiting a wekk for each episode, because now you can actually follow the intricate plot details. I actually like the show now.

Re:Tivo rules! (2, Funny)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149405)

well, yes, i'm sure that TiVo is at a competitive disadvantage when compared to an illegal alternative

Re:Tivo rules! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15148334)

> you can "30-second" skip through the commercials

How? I have three TiVo's, and I just tried pressing all of the buttons on the remotes on all of them. There is no 30 second skip button on any of them. I also went through all of the settings under the menu. I found no reference to it. I did a search under support on tivo.com. I found no reference to it. Since I needed an RMA # when calling 877-367-8486 for a friend's TiVo, I asked about the 30 second skip feature when I called. The woman I talked to and her supervisor had never heard of such a thing. I've had several TiVo's for years, and I have never heard of it.

Just what are you talking about?

Re:Tivo rules! (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148563)

You clearly haven't looked very hard. It's as simple as googling "tivo 30 second skip." However, it is an undocumented feature, which is why you didn't find it on the official TiVo support forums, nor why their customer service reps would tell you about it. And to make it extremely simple for you, you can find the instructions in this very article. [slashdot.org] Once done, it turns the ->| button into a 30 second skip button. However, if the TiVo is ever restarted or has it's firmware updated, you'll need to perform this simple trick again.

Isn't it sad or strange or both . . . (2, Insightful)

ThiagoHP (910442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15147970)

. . . when the fate of a company is not defined by wether it is better than its competitors but by the legal system?
The DVR innovator seems to have little control over its own destiny now, and future success may rest in the hands of the legal system.

Re:Isn't it sad or strange or both . . . (1)

Mike_ya (911105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148635)

Which is why I have been saying for awhile now that Tivo will either be bought or run out of business. With satellite and cable providers developing their own DVR based receivers the future isn't too bright for Tivo. Suing is not a good long term business plan.

Re:Isn't it sad or strange or both . . . (1)

TigerTime (626140) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148979)

Well, I think it still IS better than the competition. The competition just has a better oportunity because they are already in bed with customers. (much like Microsoft with Internet Explorer over Firefox).

Tivo offers far more to the users (except dual tuner and HD [this will be available in the Tivo 3]) and has opened the box for users to develop applications for it.

And you may say that it's more expensive than the cable version. Well I disagree. To get it, you'll need "digital cable" plus the box. The difference in price for me over regular cable to digital cable was $12 + $6 for the DVR box + $6.95 for DVR service. That's $24! for a few extra latino and Homeshopping Network type channels and their TIVO takeoff. Sorry, but I'm not interested.

I bought the Tivo for $100 (after rebate) and $300 lifetime fee. Considering I'll be saving $24/month (with a cable bill of only $50 as opposed to $74) it will have paid for itself in just 17 months, aka 1 1/2 years.

Don't Fuck With My TiVo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15147994)

Three years ago I bought a TiVo + Lifetime contract for about 300(150 + 150) bucks.

I plugged it in, hooked it up to a phone jack and it has been running flawlessly ever since. The menus are a little slow, but other than that it has been a perfect digital media device.

It works so well that I am no longer really conscience of the thing or can imagine what it was like or would be like not to have one to use anymore.

[OFF TOPIC SORRY] A Question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15147995)

Does anyone know the Thetan level of Tom Cruise's baby by chance? Is there a betting pool I can get into?

Re:[OFF TOPIC SORRY] A Question (-1, Offtopic)

jpiggot (800494) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148414)

If Katie speaks during the delivery ? "Yellow."
If she touches the child within a week after the birth ? "Burnt Umber."

If they are bought out (3, Funny)

Waken66 (885236) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148000)

By Microsoft:
"Well that's too bad, I sort of liked them before; but now no way. Looks like its time to build my own DVR or switch to Myth TV becuase I could never use Windows Media Center, even if it was better."

By Google:
"Well that's awesome, maybe now ill be able to search through TV shows to find exactly the ones that I want and skip all the ones that aren't worth watching."

By Yahoo:
"Please provide your yahoo username, otherwise please create an account. It will be free until we get up to what Google would have done. And after 2 Gigs of storage you will have to pay again. Sorry for any incontinence."

Re:If they are bought out (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148093)

Heh, the only thing that google'd add would be context sensitive text ads on the side of the screen that you can click to send to your google inbox- so when you're watching Lost you'll get ads for GPS units, Sex and the city would give you speed dating, sex toys and Gucci and of course 24 will give you Duct Tape, Plastic sheeting and freeze dried food.

On the other hand, the State of the Union address from Pinnochio himself would give you one way tickets to Toronto, Sydney, Tokyo, Paris and London. Basically anywhere saner.

Re:If they are bought out (2, Funny)

Tekninja_Hawk (961855) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148439)

By Apple:
"Oh my GOD a new piece of Apple hardware??! I wonder if it syncs with my iPOD!? ...how much does it cost?? 700$? OKAY! Anything for STEVE JOBS!"

Re:If they are bought out (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149762)

Did you do that on purpose [m-w.com] ? Or did you mean inconvenience [m-w.com] ?

Either way, I got a chuckle out of it.

Re:If they are bought out (1)

Waken66 (885236) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149882)

I meant inconvenience but the other works well too.

Why no Tivo in Canada? (2, Insightful)

Kombat (93720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148068)

I have Rogers' PVR service, and they use Scientific Atlanta units. They are terrible. The interface is ugly. It occassionally "forgets" to record programs you've set up to record. Sometimes it freezes during playback for 5 - 10 seconds, then resumes. If you're recording a program, and you decide to start watching it while it is still recording, and you're only halfway through when the episode ends, the PVR jumps you to the end, and you have to start watching it again from the beginning, and fast-forward back to where you were.

That said, it's only $25/month to rent the unit, and it has 2 tuners, meaning you can record 2 things at once (and watch a pre-recorded third program at the same time, if you want). I'd gladly pay a little extra to have a real Tivo unit.

Why aren't any Canadian companies using Tivo's technology? Has Tivo tried to crack the Canadian market? As I said, Rogers uses Scientific Atlanta. Bell has their own ExpressVu box. I have a co-worker who claims he bought a Tivo on his own, and it works on Rogers' network. So what's holding Tivo back from breaking into the Canadian market? Just curious, because I'm really getting sick of this Scientific Atlanta crap and would gladly upgrade.

Re:Why no Tivo in Canada? (1)

Gordo (5765) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148125)

You can now get Tivo in Canada.

What does this really mean?

Well you can get programming data for most (all?) Canadian tv providers, the catch is that you have to buy the Tivo hardware in the States (or over ebay or the excellent site http://www.weaknees.com/ [weaknees.com] ).

Keep in mind that the series 3 Tivos should be out soon*.

*where soon is sometime in the next 6 months.

Re:Why no Tivo in Canada? (1)

birder (61402) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148332)

In Canada, the cable companies have a very closed system. Except for the analog channels, you can not use any recording device except an authorized/enabled unit from them. So no digital channels, premium, or ppv from a Tivo, Myth box, etc.

I have a Rogers digital cable and their pvr (8300HD). Actually got it free for 2 years, which is a nice price. Except for it missing some programs due to time zone changes or what not, I really can't see why I would want a Tivo and pay extra. This unit has a dual tunner, HD capable and if I wanted to, can add an external SATA drive for more storage.

Re:Why no Tivo in Canada? (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148475)

$25/month to rent the unit? Thats extremly expensive. Look at TiVos website you can get a year of service and the box for a one year contract for 19.95/month

Re:Why no Tivo in Canada? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15149413)

That's $25 _Canadian_ - I think that's like $1.75 US.

Re:Why no Tivo in Canada? (1)

Kombat (93720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149860)

That's $25 _Canadian_ - I think that's like $1.75 US.

That joke would be funny, if the Canadian dollar weren't so close to actually passing the US dollar in terms of valuation. Check out this graph [kombat.org] . When it reaches the top (1), they'll be equal. You can thank the US's outrageously irresponsible and uncontrollable borrowing and spending for causing such catastrophic devaluation of the US dollar.

Apple (5, Interesting)

intrico (100334) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148086)

Apple really should buy TiVo. I really believe TiVo nicely complements the overall direction and image of Apple's product line. They just need to make slight modifications to the casing to make it match their other products. Also, it really wouldn't be too hard for them to tie it into iTunes service as well, thereby using iTune's success to increase the TiVo user base. If this happened, Apple would corner the home entertainment market. Hopefully someone at Apple has the insight to see this. Of course, there are behind the scenes accounting and finance factors that determine whether or not a large buyout like this would be feasible for a company such as Apple.

Re:Apple (2, Interesting)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148450)

Also, you could recode your recorded videos to MPEG-4 so that you can dock your 'pod on the tivo and take your programmes with you. This would of course be perfectly legal, like home taping. It wouldn't, of couse sit well with media so will (probably) never happen.

What i would like though is a PVR unit like my Philips PVR, but one that has a network jack on the back to allow netowrk access to the hard disk, and playing of content via the network. Are there any PVRs out there like that, or has the DMCA in the USA gotten there first?

Re:Apple (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148481)

^ sorry I meant sit well with media moguls, not sit well with media.

Re:Apple (1)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148854)

Mythtv has a distributed architecture. You can have multiple frontends viewing shows from the backend system and you can have multiple backend systems (additional tuner cards) that can record shows using the same database to store the information on the shows.

Been using a mythtv system for over a year now and it has worked great. As others have stated it changes the way you watch TV. And the auto-commercial skip features are pretty good.

Re:Apple (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148951)

Can you buy a PVR-type standalone device that fits with the architecture though? That's what I'm really after for conventience you see :o'

Re:Apple (1)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149111)

Prebuilt mythtv systems are available from several sources:

http://www.monolithmc.com/?gclid=CMLM0b3atoQCFQZLG god2CimAA [monolithmc.com]

http://store.interact-tv.com/store/ [interact-tv.com]

http://www.hackmyth.com/ [hackmyth.com]

And building your own is not that difficult or expensive.

Re:Apple (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149161)

Thanks very much, man- the systems look excellent, and if they're open source then I guess I can upgrade the hardware without voiding the warranty. I'd have to get the money together, but I think I could be onto a winner here.

Re:Apple (1)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149338)

Please note: I have not used any of the systems listed. I built my own mythtv systems from scratch. Sometime in the future I plan to rebuild the mythtv boxes. I want to put together one big backend system with at least four tuners and then build a number of small diskless frontend systems. Currently I have two combo systems, frontend/backend, that use a single database and storage point. One system has a 1TB file system for storing video. Hoping to use some of the small EPIA systems for frontends.

Re:Apple (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149557)

That's cool- I will of course look before I leap etc, and i might build one myself. I'm buying a shiny new PC before I go for any new PVR wing-ding as I'm going freelance doing multimedia production (3D animation, video production, DVD-ROM production and and using flash& actionscript to string it all together) so I'll just have to see how the money goes _^^

Re:Apple (1)

fiber_halo (307531) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149001)

Replay TV. I've had one for years and love it. If you have more than one, you can stream from one to the other. If you install DVArchive on your PC you can copy shows to your PC's hard drive and then stream them to any Replay box in the house. If you have a recording conflict, the Replay will allow you to schedule it on another free Replay box in the house.

The older models (like I have) had fully-automatic commercial skip. Now you have to manually skip through them like everyone else.

Replay doesn't recommend shows or record anything I don't tell it to. I have enough junk recorded on my own without that thing adding to the pile of unwatched shows.

You can pause indefinitely. I've never used a Tivo, but someone told me you can only pause like 30 minutes? My Echostar DVR will pause up to an hour, but the Replay will pause up to the free capacity of the drive.

I didn't mean to have this turn into a Replay ad. Sorry..

Re:Apple (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149124)

No that's cool- I can take a look and decide if I like what I see. I'm Irish so the scheduling options that are generally available aren't much good to me, unless someone's providing stuff for both UK and Ireland (there are only 6-7 extra Irish stations over here so they might do). I could use a player with an integrated burner, too as Hard Disks have a *slight* tendency to fill up when I'm around.

My current recorder is a philips HDD/DVD recorder, which works very well and has a 6 hour buffer that it records your instant replay info into. It works extremely well and it's going to be hard to replace it, but I think i can:
http://www.consumer.philips.com/consumer/catalog/c atalog.jsp?fhquery=fh_secondid%3Ddvdr3300h_05_ie_c onsumer%26fh_location%3D%2F%2Fconsumer%2Fen_IE%2Fc ategories%3Ccatalog_ie_consumer%2Fcategories%3Chom e_audio_video_gr_ie_consumer%2Fcategories%3Cdvd_pl ayers_recorders_ca_ie_consumer%26&productId=DVDR33 00H_05_IE_CONSUMER&activeCategory=HOME_AUDIO_VIDEO _GR_IE_CONSUMER&fredhopperpage=detail.jsp&language =en&country=IE&catalogType=CONSUMER&proxybuster=OW NAUOPPFFE5FJ0RMRESHQFHKFSEKI5P [philips.com]

Re:Apple (1)

tknn (675865) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148679)

Actually a PVR is completely antithetical to Apple's business which is going to be selling you TV shows and getting you to cancel your cable service. Why would they enable you to bypass that model by recording shows? I think they should offer PVR functionality, but it isn't going to happen unless they have to.

Re:Apple (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148769)

Oh, come on now. You could record stuff just like usual, but there'd be a popup for each show that said "you can view this recorded show only once. To keep this show, you can buy it without commercials for just $x from iTMS by pressing the thumbs up button now." They'll give you a second chance to buy it when the show ends, while the unit self-deletes the program.

And, yes, you'll be able to download it to your iPod, but only with purchase of the iTMS content version.

Re:Apple (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149159)

Apple is probably the candidate that would benefit least from buying TiVo. TiVo's greatest asset is its superior user interface, but Apple is probably the one company that knows as much as TiVo about creating a friendly UI. If Apple wants to expand into the DVR business, it would probably make more sense for them to buy Elgato [elgato.com] , who already make an add-on DVR for the Mac.

But my suspicion is this is exactly the opposite direction from where Apple wants to go--rather than providing a means for users to capture TV from broadcast, cable, or satellite, Apple would prefer to replace those distribution channels entirely with internet distribution--something that they are already doing for the iPod. The next step would be to expand to HD, which the newer Macs are able to handle.

Wow, Just Imagine (1)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149644)

If Apple does buy them, will we then get a one button remote? Just curious.

ReplayTV all the way (1)

licamell (778753) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148186)

Re:ReplayTV all the way (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149473)

One drawback I can see as I was getting interested in ReplayTV - you need to have a land line AND a broadband connection..Why in the world would they require a POTS line to download the guide when the thing is already hooked into the internet???? Thumbs down here, ditched my land line a while back... Do all DVR boxes use a phone line for this??

Re:ReplayTV all the way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15149781)

You must be baked. I have had a ReplayTV for 3 years and no landline tied to it. Just Ethernet connection to my router.

Re:ReplayTV all the way (1)

leesweet (868202) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149802)

Er, what? Replays were one of the few to offer phone line connections and network/broadband, your choice. You use *either* to get your guide data. What makes you think you need to connect both? From what I remember (had four Replays back when, before DirecTV and their HD Tivos...), you can't even turn on both at the same time, you choose phone line or broadband.

A Few Points (3, Informative)

Atomm (945911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148217)

I have a Tivo and I love it. It really has changed the way I watch Television. Yes, there are some short comings, but things are changing.

The new Tivo Series 3 adds HD Recording. It will have the ability to record one show and watch "live" television on another station. Even if both stations are HD.

It also adds the ability to hook up an External SATA hard drive to extend the storage capacity. No more cracking the case to add a hard drive. Finally, there is a RJ45 for standard networking connectivity.

Then, Comcast has agreed to go with Tivo for their customers. As a Comcast customer and a Tivo owner, I am really excited about this.

As for who would be interested in Tivo. I see two companies.

Apple - Tivo is Linux based. They have a lot of *nix experience on their side. It would really be a great Triple Threat for their Video offerings on ITunes. With the strong Tivo brand and the even stronger Apple brand, this would be a huge boost for Tivo.

Cisco - They already purchased Scientific Atlantic. They have their targets set on getting into the Consumer Market and really, really want to put a Cisco device on everyone's Television. Their motiviation is pushing Television over IP. They see it as the next big Networking push. And like Apple, they also have a ton of *nix experience on their staff.

I would be completely shocked if it was not one of these two companies that bought Tivo.

Tivo Is Dead! Long Live Tivo!

Another victory for our broken patent system (1)

shawn.fox (461873) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148258)

I love my tivo, but how can any of you condone this stupid patent? The technology is obvious and should not be patentable. In reality tivo is little more than an advanced VCR, using a disk drive instead of a tape and with a few fancy bells and whistles thrown in. This is just another sign that our patent system is broken. The ones who suffer are the consumers. Now we must pay higher prices and we will suffer from less innovation due to tivo being able to stifle competition in the PVR market.

Brilliant technology? (1, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148390)

brilliant technology

Can someone please explain what brilliant technology is in a Tivo? I thought it just records and plays back video in digital form. From what I can gather what's made Tivo big is its usability. Am I missing something technical?

Re:Brilliant technology? (1)

ausoleil (322752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148696)

Patents cover working inventions, and TiVo was the first complete system that did what is perfectly obvious now.

You have to think back to when the invention was made, and ask yourself if it were perfectly obvious to build a system to do a given job using the technologies available at the time.

Consider, for example, Mauchly and Eckert when they began building the first working electronic computer. Atanasoff may have built a digital computer of sorts in Iowa a few years before, but he was rejected by the USPO because it did not work. Mauchly and Eckert, had they been more timely in their application, would have easily been granted a far-ranging patent for the electronic digital computer because their machine ENIAC worked as it was supposed to work and also was the first to do so in its field.

Fast forwarding to today, digital computing is perfectly obvious. To paraphrase Pres Eckert, ENIAC has been reduced to the head of a pin. That does not mean that Seymore Cray, Steve Wozniak and other computing pioneers do not owe a tip of the lid to Eckert and Mauchly, because they are the giants whose shoulders they stood upon.

Back to TiVo, they were the first. They deserve the patent because they did invent something, and before it was invented it did not exist in that form. It's obviousness today is irrelevant. The date of disclosure, however, is germaine.

Re:Brilliant technology? (1)

the_real_bto (908101) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148858)

Let me preface this by saying I love my Tivo.

Not everything under the sun should be patentable. All they did was take existing technology and put it to use in a very obvious way. If any Tivo engineers or programmers are reading this, don't get me wrong, you did a marvelous job. The product is amazing, I love it.

Re:Brilliant technology? (2, Interesting)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149010)

Back to TiVo, they were the first. They deserve the patent because they did invent something, and before it was invented it did not exist in that form.

Not really. The concept of simultaneously reading and writing a computer file that happens to be video data was patented back in 1993 [uspto.gov] by somebody else. It's a very broad patent, and is not easily worked around like most of the patents that TiVo actually filed.

Now TiVo owns the rights to that patent, but it's because they bought it out a couple of years ago. (And they were probably infringing that patent prior to that point. IOW, TiVo probably built its empire by violating others' intellectual property.) Basically, TiVo got their most valuable and dangerous IP the same way that any other patent troll company does: not with innovation, but with a cash payout.

Re:Brilliant technology? (1)

the_real_bto (908101) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148763)

1.) The breakthrough is that a Tivo (and other DVRs) can record and play at the same time. The same program or a different program. That is the key difference between a VCR and a DVR.

2.) The rest of it is just a very well designed interface on top, that pretty much exposes everything that it should be able do as a consequence of 1.

For myself, it wasn't until I used it first hand that I understood everything that is encompassed in 2. Here are a few main points:

Note: I have DirecTV, so I have two tuners in my Tivo.

I can:
Pause live TV. The Tivo will keep recording "live TV." When I press play, it will continue playing where I was, all the while recording the incoming video stream on that channel. If I paused it for ten minutes, then I can fast forward through a couple commercial breaks. I can watch another show during a commercial break (on the other tuner), I don't have to worry about missing any program.

I never use the mute button on the TV. Why mute it, when I can just pause it? I can answer the phone, go outside and get some sunshine, whatever. All I have to do is click on the record button and it is taken care of.

All of this gets better if you are watching a recorded program. Then you are completely in control. A Tivo completely decouples the recording and viewing so that you can watch what you want, when you want. All you have to do is set it up to record the shows you want. On the whole I would say I watch less TV, but I enjoy what I watch much more.
 

Re:Brilliant technology? (1)

the_real_bto (908101) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148788)

I think I missed your point. If your point is that Tivo probably doesn't have anything truly new under the sun, then I would agree completely. It doesn't seem to me like it should be patentable, for whatever that is worth.

Re:Brilliant technology? (2, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149214)

You're missing a feature that I find completely invaluable--the TiVo will go out and record other shows that it might think you like based on your recording and rating history. That is, if you like a show, you give it 2 or 3 thumbs up. After it's built up a "profile" of the shows you rate highly, it will go out and record other shows when you're not watching it. I've found quite a few shows I wouldn't otherwise have watched due to this.

Re:Brilliant technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15149791)

Look at the hardware specs, and then go try and implement something that does the same thing within those constraints.

Will it bring their technology outside the US (1)

Raindeer (104129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148497)

Tivo still amazes me for not bringing their technology outside of the US. At first I thought it was because of the copyrights that exist on programguide information, but now that DVD/HD-recorders with program guides appear here in Europe, I can't imagine that to be the major hurdle. Tivo must be doing something really wrong if it can't bring its technology in other markets then North America and the UK.

What amazes me too is how Tivo doesn't seem to be able to license its technology to other players in the market in large quantities. You would expect that with such a great product several of the large consumergoods producers would love to integrate that into their product. But a quick Google doesn't show up alot of products that have "Tivo Inside" (TM).

My third gripe with Tivo is that they don't seem to grasp yet how to use broadband to supply people with programming they want to see. It seems that for the most part they are an all TV player that uses the internet only for a very small part of their business. Why not use it whole?

Oh well, I'm in Europe, what do we know. Just peeved that I read about Tivo for 5 years but still can't buy it in my country. Yes I'm jealous of the US.

EchoStar should buy them out... (1)

BigAssRat (724675) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148516)

...and they would be getting a 74 million dollar rebate in the process.

Re:EchoStar should buy them out... (1)

Phreakiture (547094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149311)

Not only that, but they would also get to licence the technology to Time-Warner, Hughes, Commcast... All their competitors.

Tivo Saves me Money (1)

pocketstheclown (963187) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148535)

How?
1) No more buying DVDs for my children. I have a folders of kids shows like Sesame Street, The Wiggles, etc , each with about 5-6 episodes a piece. Lots of variety.
2) I stopped renting videos cause I always have something to watch. MythBusters Rule!
OK, I'm saving some $$ not tons, but still, great device thats helped me.

My real point. Tivo has a terrible marketing startegy. I could give a rats-ass about pausing live-TV, big freakin deal. They should have advertised its other great features earlier on. I only bought one cause I had a friend with one and saw how good it was.

I have a series 2 from Sony and I can watch TV while a show is being recorded. Not sure why others can't.

Re:Tivo Saves me Money (2, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148865)

The pause feature is the easist to market. The folders are very nice (my HDtivo doesn't have them, and it sux), but with a stock TiVo, they can fill up fast. Not everybody hacks their box for 150+ hours, though I don't know why not. Heck, for TiVo, it would seem a bonus to offer plug-n-play expandability with PATA or SATA drives - they only sell the service, and the more programming features, the better their position.

For my wife, the best part of the whole thing are the suggestions. It's likely the reason that we will jump from DTV when they pull the plug on TiVo. She doesn't want to surf around for shows to record, she wants to pick and choose from shows that are similar to a few select genres. Her tivo has gotten pretty good after some training, and now she has 20-30 hours of programming that shes interested in when she grabs the remote. I'm not aware of any other DVR box with that functionality.

Of course, TiVo, being cash strapped, can't fling themselves against the litigation wall to put all the really good features into their boxes. Replay tried and died. I just wish TiVo would play quite as nice with the content police.

Re:Tivo Saves me Money (1)

0110011001110101 (881374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148965)

I don't even care what series Tivo I have, I just know I have one. I simply know that I own a small cable splitter. From the wall the cable goes into the splitter. From the splitter, 2 cables come out. 1 goes into my tivo box, the other goes into my television directly.

With this vastly complicated system (not to mention expensive, I paid almost $3 for that splitter) I am able to record all my regularly scheduled programs, while letting my daughter watch Dora the Explorer live on TV. Granted, she has no Tivo features while watching live TV from the cable running directly (which pisses her off because she sure loves pausing to get some cereal, and coming back and fastforwarding commercials) but she gets to watch what she wants, and I get to record what I want.

Without the splitter, the best you can do as far as I can tell is watch a previously recorded show while Tivo records whatever is on now.

When _hasn't_ TiVo been a takeover target? (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148566)

Seriously though, I'm actually surprised that Apple, Sony or DirecTV haven't bought them out yet, but perhaps with this patent case they'll be more attractive..

Oh, and btw, since the last software update I've had to reset my 30-second skip like 10 times now. I assume that this is the prelude to removing 30-second skip.

Warning to Tivo: DO NOT FUCK WITH 30-SECOND SKIP.

Re:When _hasn't_ TiVo been a takeover target? (1)

dotdevin (936747) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149297)

If you are having to reenable the 30-second skip a lot this means your unit is rebooting. A reboot every so often is a sign of a software update being rolled out but if you are getting this more than a few times a year your unit is likely starting to fail.

I would suggest starting to look for sources to replace your HD and/or otherwise service your unit.

-D

Re:When _hasn't_ TiVo been a takeover target? (1)

zestymonkey (78271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15149369)

Apple has stated they aren't interested in TiVo's approach to handling media. They'd rather leverage iTMS and Front Row.

TiVo is nice, but they a lot to learn about interfaces and menus. Of course, I'm stuck on a Series1 that doesn't have folders for recorded programs.

Cisco Should Buy Them (2, Insightful)

wolff000 (447340) | more than 8 years ago | (#15148634)

With Cisco buying everything in sight thiese days Tivo would be great acquistion. They have already purchased some other consumer electronics firms. Can't think of who at the moment but it was here on /. that I saw it. Anyways Tivo would be great if it could do half of what my homebuilt dvr does. I run mythtv its friggin awesome and beats the hell out of tivo. I could see Cisco adding some much needed network compatibility to the tivo so you could stream recorded stuff to anywhere on your network. Of course there is always the possibililty MS will buy them and the Xbox III will have much better dvr functions.
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