Archive for the ‘TiVo’ Category

What´s Happening

April 24, 2008

Worried about the OTA digital TV transition in Feb. 2009? Maybe you shouldn´t be: this blogger seems pretty happy right now.

TiVo´s CMO is gone already, just 9 months after his arrival. I am not sure if he stayed longer than the CFO (the last “permanent” CFO,) but it seems things are going so well ( :p ) at TiVo, Inc. that people just can´t wait to leave. Richardson made a couple minor changes to the subscription plans that I approved of, but this indicates things are going poorly over at TiVo, Inc. While I had reservations about him, and frankly don´t know if it was him or TiVo, I put my money down on the side of Richardson running screaming from the loony bin. Can´t (don´t want to) imagine what this means for the progress of CableSoft or international efforts, let alone the SA business. Let´s just say if there was some meat to be had off the bone, he probably would not have left after just 9 months.  😉

Multichannel News has a statement from TiVo:

In a statement, TiVo said, “Clent’s departure from TiVo was an amicable one, and we have a strong team in place to implement the firm’s marketing initiatives.”

Amicable as in they didn´t kill each other? :p Well, we all know just how STRONG TiVo´s marketing team is, don´t we…

Last month, TiVo CEO Tom Rogers said the DVR company will “maintain our more limited spend on marketing while we assess the speed with which consumers recognize the value and importance of broadband distribution of digital video.”

So, there you go. Actually, I suspect Richardson just might have been the adult in the room that pulled the plug on last year´s disasterous marketing campaign and spend. So what happens next? Sugar Mountain is open for business again?

Confusion in DVR Patent Land

April 24, 2008

With the injunction placed on DISH over their DVRs comes a great deal of confusion over what is really about to happen.

First, certain DISH DVRs found to infringe on certain of TiVo´s patents are the subject of an Injunction which orders that those models no longer be put into service and that the DVR functionality on the ones already in service be disabled no more than 30 days after the injunction takes effect. Initially DISH was found to infringe on both hardware and software claims, but an Appeals Court ruling eliminated the hardware claims for now, leaving only software infringement.

During the appeals process, the injunction had been stayed by the Appeals Court, but that stay is over and the injunction is now in effect. One point of confusion is whether the 30 days ran during the stay. DISH´s actions at this point imply they believe the 30 days did not run, and thus DISH has so far only taken steps to stop the deployment of the subject DVRs, but has not yet disabled the DVR functions in active units. I tend to agree with this because for the 30 days to have run would have undermined the authority of the Appeals Court; that Court stayed the injunction in whole, not in part; the 30 day clock is a part of the injunction itself.

DISH claims they have newer software which does not infringe which has already been loaded onto the boxes. Thus DISH will try to claim the injunction is no longer necessary because the hardware claims are no longer applicable and the software no longer infringes – how can you enjoin the use of something that doesn´t infringe in any way? The fact that the scope of infringement has significantly changed since the Appeallate ruling could well be a factor in arguing for a modification of the injunction. I think it is likely that DISH will have to demonstrate its software does not infringe for the Judge to lift the injunction in whole or in part, however there may be some delays granted by the Court and reasonable opportunities for DISH to do so before the DVR functions are required to be shut down. There may also be an Appeals process over this which could further stay the DVR shutoff.

The next question is can the DVR functionality be disabled without turning the entire box off; ie. can the box be turned into a STB and honor the injunction? I believe it is very likely this can be done. Thus rumors of complete catastrophy for DISH are exaggerated. A lot of chest thumping about massive fines and contempt of court is likely just that at this point.

As it stands, the Court has ordered a status conference for May 30th, giving TiVo until May 16th to lay out its position and DISH May 23rd to repsond. I don´t think anything serious is going to happen to DISH in the interim in terms of fines, but subscribers might lose their DVR functionality. The next 3 weeks will reveal a lot about the parties´strategies and positions as we see motions, etal.

Was CableCARD Ever a Good Idea?

April 19, 2008

A long time ago some geniuses in government managed to pass a law with the idea of creating a competitive consumer electronics industry in the niche of the cable STB.

Lower prices, innovation, features, technology, consumer benefits …

The only benefits to come out of all this mucking around in all these years is the ability to save around $5/mo on a CC vs an STB, and the idea of recording TV shows. While the first is a benefit, I would not call it a significant benefit because it comes at the cost of several “services” cable STBs offer. As for the second, well, lets not sneeze at it, but come on, no other ideas than that in all these years?

It is probably the case that there never was much to be had out of opening cable networks. The only real technological problem cableCARD has ever solved is the ability to record HD – HD component and HDMI recording only just now becoming practical. The only real application to opening a video network seems to be the abilty to capture the video.

Heck, DVRs could have captured compressed digital streams off firewire outputs from cable STBs years ago, without all the hassle.

We are left only with the dual (multi) tuner issue. For many years I have controlled multiple TiVoes in a single room; all that´s ever needed to be done is require cable cos to provide STBs with IR codes, or better yet a multi-tuner STB with multiple (or muxed) digital outputs. All that could have been done years ago with far less hassle and headache.

I am wondering if anyone can chime in with some sort of idea that offers a more optomistic outlook on the open cable landscape. Surely we will get something more for all this than a video recorder with a different UI and less access to cable services than with a cable provided box?

Where´s the GD Tuning Resolver?

April 16, 2008

Reference is made to a post on TCF which refers to this HD Guru article so I don´t have to reinvent the wheel…

 

I received a response a short time ago from Mike Schwartz at CableLabs in regard to a series of questions I emailed him asking for details and results of the interop testing done last week. In essence, he says they are treating the event as private and suggest I contact the vendors…though he does not say who was there, which was one of my questions.  😀  I bet TiVo was there.  😉

He goes on to say…

What I can say is that we stand ready to conduct compliance testing on tuning adaptors
and UDCPs that implement the interface, once suppliers wish to submit.

 

which does not sound to me like Q2 availability.  😉

Subject: Tuning Resolver Status

Dear Mr. Schwartz,

I am an analyst/blogger in the digital video field who writes under the pen name
HDTiVo (hdtivo.wordpress.com)

I am researching the status of the tuning resolver for UDCPs to access SDV channels,
and understand interoperability testing was done last week at CableLabs. What can
you tell me publicly about the status of the TR´s development and expected availability
date to either cable companies or actual end users?

The testing done last week, was that with final production versions of the TR that
cable cos. will be purchasing or with prototypes? Was the testing merely for 3rd
party UDCPs with final TRs?

How would you characterize the results? Were there more or less problems than expected?
Will projected availabilty dates be changed?

What companies brought their UDCPs and what types were they, to the extent you can
reveal?

I am especially interested in as much info about

TiVo´s Series 3 Platform units
as you can provide.

Many thanks in advance for taking the time to respond,

Regards,

HDTiVo

 

I would keep an eye on zatznotfunny for more news from Mari Sibley.

Say Goodbye To CableCARD DVRs

January 5, 2008

Imagine if you could record anything you want from any source. Imagine if you could install your DVR as easily as a TiVo Series2.

 That’s a long way from what cableCARD allows with its SDV limits, no PPV or VOD, copy flags, etc.

This new device records component HD and has not one but two HDMI inputs. It apparently records in mpeg4 format, has an SD slot for additional storage (portability?) and may cost $999 to start.

SlingMedia is introducting a box (PRO-HD) which records component HD for $399.

The day has finally come when you will never again here it costs too much to record analog HD for a consumer device.

Such devices can record from any source – cable, satellite, etc. You are no longer subject to cableCARD or proprietary standards.

Buffalo RAID on the Way!

October 29, 2007

The other day I ordered a 1TB Buffalo Drivestation Quattro for $465 to use as a RAID 5 system (750GB net). I’m hoping to upgrade it with some larger drives I already own and have the included 250GB drives available for other uses.

The product has an eSata interface and USB 2.0. My first use of the Drivestation will be to see if I can run a TiVo HD off it – single HDD attached to the eSata port (eSata-int. MBD port). Success there would provide awesome and easy opportunities for massive storage on TiVo HDs.

The Drivestation will probably end up replacing mirrored USB 2.0 drives (300GB net) for more storage of videos on my PC server.

Its on the FedEx truck for drop off now. Unfortunately I am leaving town today, so I may not have results until Thursday.

Upgrade from ST to DT TiVo Free??

October 29, 2007

Mega has been talking about the Amazon DT Free offer (Fantastic deal – TiVo Series2DT with $100 gift card – for $99!) for a while now. I just looked at it and it seems like you can replace an existing unit which is month to month “free” without incuring any new contractual term/obligation.

What that means for someone like me that has single tuner TiVoes is that I can upgrade to a more capable box virtually free. It would be kind of a slum dunk, no?

I’m still checking into the details to be sure, as you can see from my comment on Mega’s article.

Update:

The details do say new service plan activation. If that is enforced, here is how I might play it:

I am still within 30 days on my newest TiVo HD. I could use the service credit on that and sub in the DT for a 240 unit. Yes, I incur a 3 year contract on the HD, but I will have to anyway since I am not subbing the HD for a 240 anyway.

I plan on another HD soon, so perhaps I’ll do 2 Amazon offers now, before they go away and use the card when the time comes.

🙂

New TiVo Software Being Distributed (9.1)

September 21, 2007

New software is just beginning to be distributed to TiVoes – Series 2s and 3s. Its at the stage where a few get it while TiVo assesses whether there are problems. If all goes well a rollout over a few weeks proceeds. A priority list will also be set up eventually.

I hope for more eSata support and most especially a fix for 1FF problems on the S3 and HD. It is football season afterall.

Also, I’m looking for some TTG/MRV progress. That will be huge for TiVo.

Apparently some more advanced Wishlist functionality is available.

More to come.

TiVo HD with External Drive Only

September 15, 2007

Some adventurous person has managed to get a TiVo HD to run with only an external drive connected to the eSata port…

I swapped the SATA cables inside the TivoHD making the external connection the primary and only connection, and used WinMFS to restore a previously saved truncated backup of the original internal drive to the eSata drive, hooked it up to the TivoHD as the only drive using eSata connector and powered up.

The TivoHD worked fine. Went back to the PC and did a MFSCopy to the eSata drive to recover my recordings, put the eSata drive back on the TivoHD as the only drive, and it worked, and my recordings were there and the TivoHD saw the extra space.

http://mfslive.org/forums/posting.php?mode=quote&p=1765

Any takers for an S3?

Ramsay Exit Details

September 12, 2007

San Jose Mercury News has some details on Ramsay’s exit and future consulting fees. – Yes, he’s still collecting.  :down:

Recent Positive Developments at TiVo

September 10, 2007

While I was enjoying a few weeks of summer a number  of developments occured worth writing about. I’ll focus on the positive developments here first.

He who’s name I shall not mention (Ramsay) leaves. Ramsay was horrible for TiVo, being responsible for much of its failure to thrive in the marketplace in TiVo’s early years, but he has been largely irrelevent in recent times. His departure is welcome symbolically, but Rogers’ departure would be positively electrifying (at least until we find out if his replacement is yet another lame dog.)

SDV solution likely. Some device to allow one-way cable devices to at least request and get tuning data for SDV channels will be available before all hell breaks loose. This is a major development for these one-ways which were threatend with some level of obsolescence. Now Hi-Def TiVoes can be bought with the confidence that they will be adequately useful down the road; considering the several hundred dollar capital investment required for an HD TiVo, this is extremely important.

MRV/TTC&G coming. Once DTCP-IP was settled with CableLabs, this seemed inevitable; TiVo claims November, but it could slip a little bit. MRV for late season/playoff NFL action likely 🙂  🙂 . TiVo is offering the most functionality anyone could hope for (only copy flag restrict – that needs to change to allow transfer/delete.) TiVo says no transcoding, which means a major opportunity is lost re: Viixs chip which apparently does not have the transcoding capability some models in that line have.

Official eSata functionality on the foreseeable horizon. Little by little we are seeing more signs of eSata; people do it unofficially already. This is not a major feature, but its general availability is a positive.

The TiVo HD, initially rushed out too early, is now ready for prime time with software updates. With hard drive upgrades available, SDV/MRV/TTC&G and MSD pricing, this unit’s costs can be justified by many more buyers.

TiVo now has a product and feature set they could sell in decent numbers, if only …

… they deal with issues I’ll review in my next (?) post.

Back from the Summer

September 7, 2007

Hi folks, I’ve been away resting and doing that summer thing for about 5 weeks. In that time quite a bit has happened to/at TiVo and over the next week or so I’ll catch up with some comments.

Several positive developments have occured, in addition to the ones just before August. Over the same period, horrible looking financial results have been reported and my confidence in the TiVo/Echostar case has declined. Of course, I’ll be going into some detail on the financials, and comment on the things that are new; and I’ll be writing about subjects beyond TiVo as I have in the past.

While I have not caught up on everything nor done much analysis, I’ll give away the end anyway. 😉  While TiVo looks to be in the best position I have seen in years on several fronts, it remains very far from being able to achieve business success.

It so happens I ordered a TiVo HD today, only to find out tonight that MRV/TTG is coming in November, restricted only by the copy flag and the physical incapability of the S2s re: Hi Def. I ordered because I had gained confidence that MRV/TTC&G and eSata would come in some reasonable time, hard drive upgrades became available, video issues had been resolved by a software update, an SDV solution looks likely, and because I just need more HD in more rooms what with fall sports and programs.

One thing I don’t remember thinking about before is that it looks like I could substitute the Tivo HD for one of my old month to month $6.95 S2s; in other words, no 3 yr commit – this is practical because there is no rebate. However, fact is I am not taking anything out of service, so I am just doing the 3yr $6.95 commit. One way or another one of those 6 TiVoes will be around for 3 yrs, and if not I’ll eat the money. If all goes well with SDV/TTC&G/MRV, a few months from now I may be replacing some S2s with TiVo HDs and doing the month to month substitutions.

No decision on hard drive upgrade yet, but it will be at least 400GB.

A note on cost:  I am using a cable co DVR with a $9.95 DVR fee and $7.95 box fee. The TiVo HD alone will drop the $9.95 part and if the S2 I am also using were dropped the $7.95 box could also go. With $3.50/mo in CableCARD costs, there is no monthly savings now, but future S2/cablebox replacements with TiVo HDs would save about $7.45/mo which goes a long way towards paying back the $299 for the TiVoHDs.

All this really only works for us MSD TiVo users, but that’s lots of folks that can justify the TiVo HD price when its other features/benefits are factored in.

Thanks to those who have been poking around the blog while I was away. I hope even 5+ week old info was useful to you.  🙂

New Rebate on TiVo DT?

July 28, 2007

Update:

Amazon probably made an error yesterday as it now shows the rebate at $150. See comment. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Amazon is showing the TiVo S2DT80 with a $170 rebate. I think this is new. Combined with a price of $208.99 vs $249.99 MSRP, your net cost is $38.99. Quite a drop.  🙂 

The rebate of $150/170 (540 only) was to expire today, 7/28. No indication yet at TiVo.com of a new rebate. Boxes prices are still the same at TiVo too, and no rebate is indicacted on the DT180 at Amazon.

List Price: $249.99
Price: $208.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping. Details
You Save: $41.00 (16%)
Rebate: $170.00
Price After Rebate: $38.99

TiVo News – New SVP & Rogers Video

July 26, 2007

TiVo Appoints Karen Bressner as Senior Vice President of Advertising Sales  – Press Release

New York based, reporting directly to Rogers. Looks like Rogers could be consolidating power with these additions (see CMO)

In other news, TV Squad has a link to a Market Watch interview with Tom Rogers.

Rogers says HDTV sales are 90% of TV sales at retailers he talks to. I estimate TiVo’s HD sales are 10% or less in unit terms since the Series 3 launched. TiVo HD should move that disparity in the right direction.

Rogers says retailers tell him that they think people would like TiVo HD as a companion product to their HDTV sets. No indication of any integration of a TiVo into another device or made by any other CE manufacturer.

When asked how profit is not hurt with lower price, Rogers says TiVo HD costs much less to manufacture. Even so, TiVo HD is probably a subsidized box; however the point is to get those very profitable Subs coming in at a respectable pace/SAC again, seeing ads and buying video downloads, all of which could happen with TiVo HD.

Rogers says TiVo’s Sub growth has been “hurt by their inability to offer “a popularly priced unit”

Cox TiVoSoft rolling out later in the year (2007 🙂 )

___________________________________________________

TiVo Hires Ex-Viacom Exec to Head Ad Sales – Ad VP Davina Kent to report to Bressner

S2DT Prices

July 25, 2007

Amazon is offering the DT80 for $79.99 and has the DT180 in stock for $124.88. Prices are post rebate.

That’s the tightest spread I can remember between the two models.

TiVo S3-Lite and MRV/TTG

July 23, 2007

Update:

TiVo HD Platform Wild Spec Thread – Some very interesting things are under the hood… 😉

Well the S3-Lite came out sa expected. However, eSata is schedule for late 2007, and MRV/TTG look like they are nowhere in sight. Zatz thinks they are going to use coax instead??? 😮 Good lord!

_____________________________________________

It looks like TiVo will begin taking orders on its Website for the Series 3-Lite (TiVo HD) starting tomorrow (Tuesday) and have the boxes in store by early August; the price is $299.99. (AP)

The box is pretty much just what we have been expecting recently.

Maybe today’s revamp of Buy TiVo was an omen?  😉

Rumor has it that some aspect of MRV/TTG functionality is also around the corner. Then again, it may not be. 😦

Mike Lang over at TCF will have the full specs after midnight (whenever that is 😮 ) for us.

_______________________________________

Articles:

Zatz

TiVo Debuts $299 HD DVR for Cable

TiVo to sell trimmed down premium TV video recorder

Q&A with TiVo’s Jim Denney about TiVo HD on Engadget HD

TiVo gearing up for HD fight – SF Chronicle

“Will this give them a new life they haven’t had? I think the answer is no,” said James McQuivey, principal analyst with Forrester Research. “It’s a wise response to current market conditions, but it’s not going to turn the tide.”

It’s Here – The New TiVo HD DVR – The Ultimate HDTV Companion at a Price Consumers Have Been Asking For – TiVo Press Release

Buy TiVo

July 23, 2007

TiVo has revamped its Buy TiVo pages.

TiVo is showing the DT180 out of stock.

The three year pre-pay is no longer ‘Limited time offer.’

The refurb S3 is now bundled with a free refurb wireless adapter.

Doors Blown Off the TiVo Series3-Lite

July 17, 2007

bkdtv over at TCF has blown the covers off TiVo’s new S3-lite.

Well worth looking at for inquiring minds that want to know.

Tivo Series3 Specifications (TCD648250B)
– BCM7038 DVR CPU with MPEG-2 decoder
– BCM7411 MPEG-4 decoder
– 2x BCM7042 MPEG-2 encoders
– 2x Samsung S5H1409-based tuners (analog/QAM/8VSB)
– 128Mb SDRAM (plus SDRAM for BCM7042s)
– 250Gb SATA HD
– relatively large, 4-layer PCB (?)
– THX certification
– Front panel OLED display
– Glossy, backlit learning remote
– Made in Mexico
– $799 MSRP

Unconfirmed Series3 “Lite” Specifications (TCD652160)
– BCM740x DVR CPU w/ integrated MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 decoders
– 1x dual MPEG-2 encoder (BCM7041 or possibly an encoder from LSI)
– 2x Samsung S5H1411-based tuners (analog/QAM/8VSB)
– 128Mb DDR SDRAM
– 160Gb SATA HD
– Smaller, lower-cost PCB
– Cheaper power supply
– No THX certification
– No OLED display
– Standard Tivo remote
– $299 MSRP

Cached link to retailer.

TiVo Appoints CMO

July 17, 2007

Follow more discussion at: TiVo appoints new Chief Marketing Officer  

Updates:

Nortel’s turnaround chief takes aim

Not a quick, “mistakes were made” statement followed by 30 PowerPoint slides on a new strategy, but a lengthy, deep and even heartfelt discussion about past leadership, integrity, transparency and a lost focus on the customer

 The quote above dovetails nicely with some of TiVo’s cultural needs in the stand alone business. Further into the article, Richardson shows an attitude toward leadership and decision making that TiVo desperately needs.

Chief Marketing Officer Clent Richardson to Leave Nortel

Nortel* [NYSE/TSX: NT] announced that Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Clent Richardson will be leaving the Company March 1, 2006.

Richardson’s decision to leave Nortel is based on personal reasons.   He is planning to relocate his family from Toronto to the U.S. west coast.   Richardson has been Nortel’s CMO for 18 months.

Leaving for “personal reasons” is not a good sign, plus he was only there 18 months. In addition, this brings up the question ‘what has he been doing for a year and a half?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

TiVo Appoints Clent Richardson as Chief Marketing Officer

Now let’s get a CFO, and a new CEO, and a new …

I’d be much happier with someone with experience in the CE field instead of a guy who’s done cell phones in Europe and Nortel.

TiVo Talks About Ad Stats

July 15, 2007

TiVo’s Todd Juenger (VP-general manager of TiVo Audience Research and Management) talks about some early findings with second by second data.

Two months of the data — the first time the TiVo information has been released publicly — show that some of the least fast-forwarded ad campaigns (that include at least 20 airings of an ad) were also among Madison Avenue’s least entrancing: direct-response commercials.

Most watched
Least-fast-forwarded brand campaigns on 15 measured broadcast and cable networks, daytime and prime time, April 2007:

  1. AlmostGolf sporting goods (direct response)
  2. Perfect Pushup exercise equipment (direct response)
  3. Microsoft Office business software
  4. Air Hogs toys (direct response)
  5. Cub Cadet tractor

Source: TiVo StopWatch

============================================

I still say big tits and short skirts.

The DVR Yet Still Hasn’t Killed Ads

The DVR Still Hasn’t Killed Ad Sales

More Signs of Lite

July 14, 2007

It looks like TiVo is about to deliver the HD-DVR I suggested 17 months ago they build at the price I suggested 12 months ago they deliver it at.

Since they are charging last year’s price, I figure TiVo will do OK with this, certainly far better than they did with the S3 fiasco. Unfortunately all of TiVo’s other problems, and particularly price/terms for service, will continue to retard sales.

So where do they price the S3? Do they just put it out of its misery?

Signs-of-Lite

Earlier estimates …

5/26/06

3/27/06

… and more commentary …

What’s wrong with the S2DT?

Final S3 Rumors

The end result and check out #5, the mass market DVR springs eternal. Hello S3-Lite!!! 🙂

Series 3 Lite Pictures etal

July 11, 2007

Gizmodo has some pictures and info about the Series 3 Lite.

Supposedly, the cableCARD slots have been moved upfront, the unit is much lighter and the remote is supposed to be cheaper.

On the back, the cableCARD area, and FCC and Model info are covered; the eSata and HDMI ports and coax inputs are in different locations; and a set of outputs is missing.

The box looks to me like an S3 box with the display covered or something, but the pictures are rather poor.

The gossip is sub $300 this fall. That’s $299, right? 😉  Anyway, TiVo is going to have to be down there, and lower for XMAS. Frankly the S3 should be $399 this fall.

Stargate Stars Release Indie Film

July 4, 2007

Some of the stars of Stargate have put together a film called A Dog’s Breakfast which is available on UnBox and iTunes.

Those of us with broadband connected TiVoes get a near exclusive through UnBox on TiVo.  🙂

Another Dual Tuner Offer – Movies

July 2, 2007

TiVo is offering a discount on the DT (80 or 180) of $15 to be used towards Unbox. Its not clear how they enforce that since it looks like the $15 comes off at check out.

http://dynamic.tivo.com/movieoffer.html

Sordello Going to LinkedIn

June 26, 2007

Press Release:  http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20070626005508&newsLang=en 

LinkedIn is the Internet’s premier professional network, where over 11 million professionals find customers, jobs, employees, investors, business partners, service providers, industry experts and opportunities through their network of business relationships. With over 11 million members, the LinkedIn network is currently growing at a rate of over 180,000 members a week, with 18 new members joining each minute. The company also expects to double in size over the course of the next year.

About LinkedIn

LinkedIn takes your professional network online, giving you access to people, jobs and opportunities like never before. Built upon trusted connections and relationships, LinkedIn has established the world’s largest and most powerful professional network. Currently, more than eleven million professionals are on LinkedIn, representing all five hundred of the Fortune 500 companies, as well as a wide range of household names in technology, financial services, media, consumer packaged goods, entertainment, and numerous other industries. LinkedIn is backed by world- class investors including Sequoia Capital, Greylock, the European Founders Fund and Bessemer Venture Partners.