Difference between revisions of "TiVo"

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TiVo is a commercially available PVR unit. It's credited with being a major influence on MythTV (but not in a patentable manner, ahem.) TiVo originally ushered in a host of useful features like 30-second skip, but as commercial pressure is brought to bear upon the developers, it has inevitably developed features that are more for the broadcasters benefit than the consumer. TiVo has a reserved hard drive area that it can use to store commercials, programs its masters think you should be watching, etc. It also collects data about your viewing habits. It has rapidly become bowdlerised by the commercial concerns, with features like 30-second (commercial) skipping having been made into hidden features. Similar devices produced by other companies and customised by broadcasters for their target markets now abound, and look pretty cheap compared to TiVo (as of writing, in the UK, a Sky+ PVR can be had for �79 with a satellite subscription).
 
TiVo is a commercially available PVR unit. It's credited with being a major influence on MythTV (but not in a patentable manner, ahem.) TiVo originally ushered in a host of useful features like 30-second skip, but as commercial pressure is brought to bear upon the developers, it has inevitably developed features that are more for the broadcasters benefit than the consumer. TiVo has a reserved hard drive area that it can use to store commercials, programs its masters think you should be watching, etc. It also collects data about your viewing habits. It has rapidly become bowdlerised by the commercial concerns, with features like 30-second (commercial) skipping having been made into hidden features. Similar devices produced by other companies and customised by broadcasters for their target markets now abound, and look pretty cheap compared to TiVo (as of writing, in the UK, a Sky+ PVR can be had for �79 with a satellite subscription).
  

Revision as of 03:41, 29 September 2008

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TiVo is a commercially available PVR unit. It's credited with being a major influence on MythTV (but not in a patentable manner, ahem.) TiVo originally ushered in a host of useful features like 30-second skip, but as commercial pressure is brought to bear upon the developers, it has inevitably developed features that are more for the broadcasters benefit than the consumer. TiVo has a reserved hard drive area that it can use to store commercials, programs its masters think you should be watching, etc. It also collects data about your viewing habits. It has rapidly become bowdlerised by the commercial concerns, with features like 30-second (commercial) skipping having been made into hidden features. Similar devices produced by other companies and customised by broadcasters for their target markets now abound, and look pretty cheap compared to TiVo (as of writing, in the UK, a Sky+ PVR can be had for �79 with a satellite subscription).

Artful users have from the beginning modded TiVo units with larger hard drives, a process that is helped by the fact that TiVo is largely based on the Linux kernel. Alas, TiVo is NOT a general purpose computer and won't be running MythTV any time soon ; it's a highly specialised device with a weak processor and some nifty clever TV-handling-magic-hardware, which means that your PC won't be running TiVo-OS either.

TiVo is beginning to look pretty dead now ; it's business model of offering their device plus service for a one-off (large) payment or a smaller subscription is seriously undermined by cable and satellite broadcasters that offer similar units at a reduced price as a sweetener. It's unique selling points of subversive features that broadcasters don't like have also gone, and it occupies an uncertain middle ground between Joe Sixpack (why'd I want one-a these fancy things when mah cable compn'y will give me one fer free?) and George Geek (why would I want a machine that's under the control of suits and can't run other applications?).

The author can remember a time when TiVo was considered pretty cool, and a time when it became mainstream (even Miranda in Sex and the City had one). Now, it would seem, it its time to die.