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April 23, 2014

TiVo

Three Bad Things About One Great Invention, the Remote Control

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 12th 2010 5:02PM
remoteRegardless of what I just said in that headline, let me assure you: I love my remote control! It's the device that tells me "you don't have to just sit there and watch what's on. You have options!" It's perfect for someone who watches a lot of television, vital for someone who writes about television, and it really is the can opener of the living room. It's the tool you absolutely need.

Having said all that, there are several problems I see with having something so convenient at your fingertips as you watch the tube.

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Do you love commercials or are you just lazy?

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 2nd 2009 6:31PM
freecreditreport.com band
Here's an interesting factoid: 46% of people who record TV shows don't fast forward through the commercials.

Now, I'm a natural skeptic when it comes to studies like this. I always wonder how the question was asked, the specifics, is the respondent lying or over/understating something, etc, but I often find myself not fast forwarding through ads because I'm doing something else at the time (writing an episode review, for example). How about you?

Do you fast forward through commercials?
Always. Commercials suck!501 (59.1%)
Not always. It depends on what I'm doing.333 (39.3%)
Never. I wish I lived in a TV commercial!13 (1.5%)

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Networks, advertisers teaming up to take on Nielsen

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 14th 2009 8:01PM
NielsenEveryone is always up in arms about the Nielsen ratings, saying they don't accurately represent the shows that a lot of people like or aren't measured correctly or simply don't matter in this age of DVRs, iTunes, network web sites, and DVDs.

Now it looks like the networks are giving a thought to providing an alternative. CBS, NBC, Disney, News Corp, Discovery, Time Warner, and Viacom are getting together and hope to have some sort of plan on what the "consortium" will do by the end of September. A VP at Starcom MediaVest, one of the companies involved, says that they don't necessarily want to replace Nielsen but there's no reason why another company can't "come in and do both [TV measurement and digital measurement]"

[via TV Tattle]

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Once upon a time, people missed their favorite shows

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 22nd 2009 7:05PM
VCR adDo you remember a long time ago when you had no options to watch a TV show if you didn't see it when it aired (you had to wait for a repeat)? Of course you don't, you people with your Twitters and your iPhones and your space-age Saran Wrap. But there was a time when if you wanted to watch, say, The Magician, you had to stay home and watch it. No iTunes, no Hulu, no YouTube, no DVDs.

Then came the VCR, and everything changed. Only $1000! (Full-sized ad here.) Notice the fine print at the bottom: "Caution: The unauthorized recording of television programs and other materials may infringe the rights of others."

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A burning question about your TiVo that just might save your life (not really)

by Danny Gallagher, posted May 15th 2009 12:03PM
TiVo logoYour TV is filled with burning debates that demand a serious answer.

Could the Dick York "Darren" kick the ass of the Dick Sargent "Darren," or vice versa, and without Samantha's help? Could KITT beat the car from My Mother, the Car if Top Gear's James May was driving him? Does anyone watch The Cougar and if so, is TV Land holding them hostage?

So here's another flaming question to throw on the mystery pyre: do you actually let your TiVo play its trademark sound effects?

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Yes, I am afflicted with "TiVo guilt"

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 2nd 2008 5:07PM
TivoIt was only a matter of time. What was once the ultimate convenience for TV fans has now been labeled as an affliction. Brad Berens of iMedia, a company that analyzes the way advances in media impact people's lives, had identified the responsibility we feel when we TiVo or DVR a show or series and then don't get around to watching it in a timely fashion as "TiVo guilt."

I can't disagree. I don't know about you, but I'm always checking my DVR list to see what's stacked up that I still have to watch. It's not that I feel like I have to watch these shows -- after all I recorded them because I want to see them -- but there is a burden attached.

According to Berens, what I'm experiencing is called "opportunity costs," and my TiVo viewing has become -- believe it or not -- homework!

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You are watching more TV than ever

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 25th 2008 3:14PM
tvYup, it looks like Americans are watching more TV than ever. Which must really tick off the makers of My Own Worst Enemy, The Ex-List, and Dirty Sexy Money.

How much is more than ever? The average American - Joe TV, if you will - watches 142 hours a television a month, according to a new study from Nielsen Media. That's four or five hours a day for each of us (and if that number is accurate, then I watch about 320 hours of TV a month). As for watching shows at another time, whether via DVRs or online, that's up 50% from last year. We Americans love our TV, though as The L.A. Times says maybe more people were watching this year because of the election and The Olympics.

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Three shows I always DVR but never watch

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 12th 2008 3:04PM
The Sarah Connor ChroniclesFirst of all, is that even the right phrasing? Is DVR also a verb? Is TiVo? Probably not. Maybe it should be "shows I always record but never watch" instead.

Anyway, Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch blog has a post about shows that we have sitting on our DVRs every single week but we never end up watching. I've been thinking about this and I don't really think there are any shows that I currently record but never watch. Every show I want to see I either watch live or watch later. There's nothing on right now that I take the time to record but don't watch. But there were shows in the past where I did this, including Traveler (I finally deleted the last several episodes, knowing I'd never get to them - I just read online what happened in the end) and Angel. The only current show I used to record is The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The first couple of episodes had me but then I lost interest. Now I don't even bother recording it because I know it's just a waste of time (I know, I know, it's a good show, blah, blah).

You must have shows that are still sitting on your DVR, right?

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Relationship trouble? DVRs to the rescue!

by Brad Trechak, posted Sep 3rd 2008 1:00PM
DVR ScreenAccording to a study performed by NDS, the makers of DVR technology, DVRs within households actually save relationships. 79% of the users polled said the technology has improved their love lives. There are several reasons I find this interesting.

First, the study is done by the manufacturers of the product. While I have no doubt the study is genuine, it is somewhat suspicious that such a favorable report is produced by those who profit from it.

Second, the article does not state exactly how the DVRs help relationships. There could be several reasons, of course. DVRs in the house could lead to a lack of squabbling over the recording of favorite television shows. Since you could watch the shows whenever you want, it could make for couple-bonding time in front of a TV with a DVR.

Most importantly, it could lead to a lack of actual conversation between the couple which means it's less likely that something will be said incorrectly by one party or skeletons will come flying out of the closet to ruin the relationship.

Ain't technology grand?

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TiVo and Amazon to let you buy stuff from the comfort of your couch

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 22nd 2008 10:58AM
TiVo Amazon products
Amazon and TiVo are teaming up to make short work of the infomercial. Well, that's not exactly how the companies are promoting the new "Product Purchase" feature. TiVo customers will be able to order items from Amazon using their TV, TiVo, and remote control. No web browser or computer necessary. And no need to place your order in the next 15 minutes to get a free bonus gift.

Users will see links to products popping up in various parts of the TiVo interface. For example, if you're looking at a listing for a late night talk show, you might find links to buy books, CDs, or DVDs from that night's guests.

The advantage of ordering from TiVo is that you can make impulse purchases while watching a program, while recording the rest of the program in the background for later viewing. Of course, as anyone with a penchant for picking up candy and trashy magazines in the grocery store checkout lane can tell you, it'd be nice to have the choice to opt-out of the service in order to avoid impulse purchases.

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TiVo rolls out software update, adds YouTube support

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 17th 2008 9:03AM


TiVo has started sending out new system software to Series3 users who signed up for priority updates. The general TiVo using population should get the TiVo 9.4 software soon. And thet means support for:
  • YouTube video playback
  • The ability to play or delete an entire folder (in other words, you can watch programs in order without hitting a button on your remote)
  • Jump forward by 24 hours in the program guide
  • Pull up the program guide from any screen, whether you're watching live, recorded, or downloaded video
  • Easier toggling of closed captioning
  • Review your thumbs up and down ratings
Blogger Dave Zatz (who recorded the video you see above), has confirmed that the TiVo content uses the H.264 codec. That means there's pretty much no chance that TiVo Series2 users will ever see support for TiVo, since older TiVo models can only support MPEG-2 video.

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Australian TiVo commercial is attractive, unoriginal

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 14th 2008 12:32PM


TiVo launched an advertising campaign in Australia recently to promote the release of the first TiVo set top boxes in that country. And at first glance, the ad looks pretty cool and creative. At least until that little light bulb goes off in your head. You know, the one that says "haven't I seen this ad before?"

As Gizmodo Australia points out, you probably have. Because it's practically identical to an ad that Apple used about a little while back to promote the iPod Nano.



I don't know about you, but I can't imagine this being a coincidence. The two commercials are just too similar.

[via Zatz Not Funny]

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TiVo offers refurb TiVo HD for $180

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 9th 2008 11:27AM
TiVo HD refurb
When TiVo launched the Series3 video recorder, the first model capable of recording HDTV, the unit received a lot of rave reviews -- and a lot of complaints about the high $800 price tag. A while later, TiVo released the TiVo HD which is basically a stripped down model that sells for just $300. But if even that seems like too much money for you, TiVo's got a heck of a deal going on right now. You can pick up a refurbished TiVo HD for just $180.

The TiVo HD can record up to 20 hours of HD video or 180 hours of standard definition television. Of course, you need to factor the price of a monthly, annual, or product lifetime service plan. Those subscription fees quickly add up and wind up costing more than the unit itself. But it's always nice to save a few bucks up front.

[via TiVo Blog]

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It's official: TiVo will hit Australia on July 29

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 4th 2008 2:37PM
TiVoIt's been a long bumpy road, but TiVo will finally be available in Australia by the end of the month. TiVo and the Seven Network officially announce the coming availability of the set top box this week. As expected, Australian customers will be able to pick up a TiVo for $699 at Harvey Norman and Domayne stores. If the price seems a bit high, keep this in mind: There will be no monthly subscription fees for basic service.

But it turns out that many of the features that make TiVo stand out in the US won't be available at launch in Australia. There will be no support for networking features. That means you can't connect to the internet to download music and movies. And you can't hook up your TiVo to a home PC to access your photos, music, and videos on a TV set. In other words, basically what you get is the same TiVo service US customers had 4 or 5 years ago, but with support for high definition video.

Seven may eventually add networking features via a software update, but the company would charge for such additional services.

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TiVo to launch in Australia next week

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 23rd 2008 10:21AM
TiVoIt's been a long bumpy road, but it looks like Australia's Seven network will begin introducing TiVo on July 1st. For the first 3 months, you'll be able to pick up a TiVo box exclusively from Harvey Norman, but after that it should be available at other major electronics retailers.

A TiVo box will set you back $700 AUD. While that might seem a bit steep by US standards, that's all you'll ever have to pay. TiVo and Seven will not be charging any subscription fees. Instead, Seven will pay TiVo a royalty fee fro every set top box sold.

The Seven TIVo will go head to head with the Foxtel iQ2, a personal video recorder which comes with a $10 to $15 per month subscription fee.

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