TiVo

3.4031046569508 (1997)
Posted by bender 03/31/2009 @ 16:11

Tags : tivo, dvd players and recorders, audio and video, technology, tivo inc., media, business

News headlines
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On Wednesday, May 27th at 8pm (check local listings for details), Great Performances on PBS presents a dazzling documentary "In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams". This special will go down as the greatest commercial of all time for a Broadway...
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TIVO ALERT: BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE - Hollywood Outbreak
If you're a fan of the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL series, SPECTACULAR!, GLEE or SKINS, you don't want to miss tonight's premier on LOGO of the BBC series BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE. Based on the memoirs of SIMON DOONAN, this music-infused dramedy ran for six episodes...
TwitterTv: Coming to a TiVo Near You - TheCelebrityCafe.com
Today, Variety announced that the San Francisco based company behind Internet phenomenon Twitter is planning to produce a reality TV show. Reveille productions and Brillstein Entertainment are partnering to produce the program that has been described...
Treasurys gain from flight to safety - MarketWatch
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US home prices fall at record pace: Case-Shiller - MarketWatch
General Motors, Staples, AutoZone, Ralph Lauren and Tivo will be among the stocks in focus for Wednesday. Take-Two Interactive Software says it swung to a loss for the second fiscal quarter on a sharp drop in... Japan's imports fall 35.8% in April vs....
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General Motors, Staples, AutoZone, Ralph Lauren and Tivo will be among the stocks in focus for Wednesday. A reading on US consumer confidence jumps to 54.9 in May from an upwardly revised 40.8 in April as... After years of declines, sales of new and...
PPD raises annual dividend - MarketWatch
General Motors, Staples, AutoZone, Ralph Lauren and Tivo will be among the stocks in focus for Wednesday. A reading on US consumer confidence jumps to 54.9 in May from an upwardly revised 40.8 in April as... After years of declines, sales of new and...
See Dick and Jane Bedoop - Wired News
This is the year our love affair with TiVo began. The boy—born 11 months before our TiVo arrived—was the motivation for the purchase. My wife was skeptical when I presented the DVR to her as a Christmas gift at the end of Y2K....
uaw's VEBA to get 17.5% of GM stock: WSJ - MarketWatch
General Motors, Staples, autozone, Ralph Lauren and Tivo will be among the stocks in focus for Wednesday. A reading on US consumer confidence jumps to 54.9 in May from an upwardly revised 40.8 in April as... After years of declines, sales of new and...

TiVo

TiVo's logo, a smiling television set.

TiVo (pronounced IPA: /ˈtiːvoʊ/) is the pioneer of the digital video recorder (DVR). TiVo was introduced in the United States, and is now available in Canada, Mexico, Australia, and Taiwan. It has also just been announced by TVNZ that TiVo will be coming to New Zealand late this year. TiVo DVRs provide an electronic television programming schedule, and provide features such as Season Pass recordings (which ensure subscribers never miss an episode of their favorite shows) and WishList searches (which allow the user to find and record shows that match their interests by title, actor, director, category or keyword). TiVo also provides a range of features when the TiVo DVR is connected to a home network, including movie and TV show downloads, advanced search, personal photo viewing, music offerings, and online scheduling.

TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ:TIVO) was incorporated on August 4, 1997 as "Teleworld, INC." by Jim Barton and Mike Ramsay, veterans of Silicon Graphics and Time Warner's Full Service Network digital video system. Originally intending to create a home network device, they later developed the idea to record digitized video on a hard disk. Teleworld began the first public trials of the TiVo device and service in late 1998 in the San Francisco Bay Area. After exhibiting at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 1999, Mike Ramsay announced to the company that the first version of the TiVo digital video recorder would ship on March 31, 1999, despite an estimated four to five months of work remaining to complete the device. Because March 31, 1999 was a blue moon, the engineering staff code named this first version of the TiVo DVR "Blue Moon". Teleworld, Inc. renamed itself TiVo Inc on July 21, 1999. TiVo Inc. made its IPO (Initial Public Offering) on September 30, 1999. Its first profitable quarter was the second quarter of 2005. The original TiVo DVR digitized and compressed analog video from any source (antenna, cable or direct broadcast satellite). In late 2000, Philips Electronics introduced the DSR6000, the first DirectTV receiver with an integrated TiVo DVR. This new device, nicknamed the "DirecTiVo," stored digital signals sent from DirectTV directly onto a hard disk. In early 2000, TiVo partnered with electronics manufacturer Thomson Multimedia and broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting to deliver the TiVo service in the UK market. This partnership resulted in the Thomson PVR10UK, a stand-alone receiver released in October 2000 that was based on the original reference design used in the United States by both Philips and Sony. TiVo ended UK sales in January 2003, though it continues to supply guide data to existing subscribed units. TiVo also integrates its DVR service into the set-top boxes of satellite and cable providers. TiVo is also providing marketing solutions for the television industry, including a platform for advertisers and audience research measurement.

TiVo was launched in Australia in July 2008 by Hybrid Television Services, a company owned by Australia's Seven Media Group and New Zealand's TVNZ. In a notable difference to the US subscription model, in Australia TiVo is a one-off purchase (AU$699) .

On 26th March 2009, Hyrbid Television Services announced that TiVo will be coming to New Zealand before Christmas 2009.

A TiVo DVR serves a function similar to a videocassette recorder, in that both allow a television viewer to record programming for viewing at a later time. Unlike a VCR, which uses removable magnetic tape cartridges, a TiVo DVR stores television programs onto non-removable hard disk storage. Also, the TiVo device does not have any buttons on the front panel; its functions are solely controlled by remote control.

What distinguishes TiVo from other DVRs is the sophisticated software written by TiVo Inc. that automatically records programs — not only those the user specifically requests, but also other material the user is likely to be interested in. TiVo DVRs also implement a patented feature TiVo calls "trick play," which allows the viewer to pause live television, and rewind and replay up to a half hour of recently viewed television. More recent TiVo DVRs can be connected to a computer local area network, which allows the TiVo device to download information and even video programs, music and movies from the Internet.

TiVo polls its network, receiving program information including description, regular and guest actors, directors, genres, whether programs are new or repeats, and whether broadcast is in HD. Information is updated daily from Tribune Media Services.

Users can select individual programs to record or a "Season Pass" to record an entire season (or more). There are options to record First Run Only, First Run & Repeats, or All Episodes. An episode is considered "First Run" if aired in two weeks of the original air date.

When user requests for multiple programs are conflicting, the lower priority program in the Season Pass Manager is either not recorded or clipped where times overlap. The lower priority program will be recorded if it is aired later. TiVo DVRs with two tuners record the top two priority programs.

TiVo pioneered recording programs based on household viewing habits; this is called TiVo Suggestions. Users can rate programs from three "thumbs up" to three "thumbs down." TiVo user ratings are combined to create a recommendation, based on what TiVo users with similar viewing habits watch. For example, if a user likes The Simpsons, Family Guy and Futurama, then another TiVo user who watched just the The Simpsons might get a recommendation for the other two shows.

A limited amount of space is available to store programs. When the space is full, the oldest programs are deleted to make space for the newer ones; programs that users flag to not be deleted are kept and TiVo Suggestions are always lowest priority. The recording capacity of a TiVo HD DVR can be expanded with an external hard drive, which can add 65 additional hours of HD recording space or up to 600 hours of standard definition recording capacity.

When not recording specific user requests, the current channel is recorded for up to 30 minutes. (Dual tuner models keep two channels.) This allows users to rewind or pause anything that has been shown in the last thirty minutes: useful when viewing is interrupted. Shows already in progress can be entirely recorded if less than 30 minutes have been shown. Unlike VCRs, TiVo can record and play at the same time. A program can be watched from the beginning even if it's in the middle of being recorded, which is something that VCRs cannot do. Some users take advantage of this by waiting 10–15 minutes after a program starts (or is replayed from a recording), so that they can fast forward through commercials. In this way, by the end of the recording viewers are caught up with live TV.

Unlike most DVRs, TiVo DVRs are easily connected to home networks, allowing users to schedule recordings on TiVo's website (via TiVo Central Online), transfer recordings between TiVo units (Multi-Room Viewing (MRV)) or to/from a home computer (TiVoToGo transfers), play music and view photos over the network, and access third-party applications written for TiVo's Home Media Engine (HME) API.

TiVo has added a number of broadband features, including integration with Amazon Video on Demand, Jaman.com and Netflix Watch Instantly, offering users access to thousands of movie titles & TV shows right from the comfort of their couch. Additionally, broadband connected to TiVo boxes can access digital photos from Picasa Web Albums or Photobucket. Another popular feature is access to Rhapsody music through TiVo, allowing users to listen to virtually any song from their living room. TiVo also teamed up with One True Media to give subscribers a private channel for sharing photos and video with family and friends. They can also access weather, traffic, Fandango movie listings (including ticket purchases), and music through Live365. In the summer of 2008 TiVo announced the availability of YouTube videos on TiVo.

On June 7, 2006, TiVo began offering TiVoCast, a broadband download service which initially offered content from places such as Rocketboom or, The New York Times -- now there are over 70 TivoCast channels available for TiVo subscribers. TiVo Started out as the original digital video recorder, making sure consumers never miss their favorite shows, and now has transformed into a one stop shop for all content within one box, using one remote, on one user interface.

TiVo is expanding media convergence. In January 2005, TiVoToGo, a feature allowing transfer of recorded shows from TiVo boxes to PCs, was added. TiVo partnered with Sonic in the release of MyDVD 6.1, software for editing and converting TiVoToGo files. In January, 2007, TiVoToGo was extended to the Macintosh with Toast Titanium 8, Roxio software for assembly and burning digital media on CD and DVD media. Other means of manipulating files are described at the TiVoToGo Unleashed tutorial. In August 2005, TiVo rolled out "TiVo Desktop" allowing moving MPEG2 video files from PCs to TiVo for playback by DVR.

TiVo KidZone is designed to give parents greater control over what their children see on TV. This feature allows parents to choose which shows their children can watch and record. It also helps kids discover new shows through recommendations from leading national children's organizations. TiVo KidZone provides a customized Now Playing List for children that displays only pre-approved shows, keeping TV as safe as possible.

The information that a TiVo DVR downloads regarding TV schedules as well as software updates and any other relevant information is available through a monthly service subscription in the US. A different model applies in Australia where the TiVo media device is bought for a one off fee, without further subscription costs.

Lifetime Subscription Product Lifetime Service includes a "Product Lifetime Subscription" to the TiVo service which covers the life of the TiVo DVR - not the life of the subsciber. The Product Lifetime Subscription accompanies the TiVo DVR in case of ownership transfer. TiVo makes no warranties or representations as to the expected lifetime of the TiVo DVR (aside from the manufacturer's Limited Warranty).

The TiVo service is available in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada (except Québec), Mexico, Australia and Taiwan at present. Over the years since its initial release in the United States, TiVo Series 1 & 2 DVRs have also been modified by end users to work in Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and South Africa.

The TiVo service was launched in the United Kingdom in the autumn of 2000. It sold only 35,000 units over the next 18 months. Thomson, makers of the only UK TiVo box, abandoned it in early 2002 after BSkyB launched its Sky+ integrated 'set-top' decoder and DVR which dominated the market for DVRs in homes subscribing to BSkyB's paid-for satellite TV service. Many manufacturers, including Thomson have launched integrated decoder boxes/DVRs in the UK for other digital platforms, including free satellite, terrestrial, cable and IPTV.

Whilst TiVo is no longer on sale in the UK, the subscription service is still maintained with both lifetime and monthly subscriptions. A technical issue caused TiVo Suggestions to stop recording for Series 1 UK TiVo customers in late September 2008, but this was fixed in late January 2009.

On March 26, 2009 Television New Zealand announced that TiVo would be launched in New Zealand by Christmas 2009.

The TiVo DVR was designed by TiVo Inc., which currently provides the hardware design and Linux-based TiVo software, and operates a subscription service (without which most models of TiVo will not operate). TiVo units have been manufactured by various OEMs, including Philips, Sony, Hughes, Pioneer, Toshiba, and Humax, which license the software from TiVo Inc. To date, there have been three "series" of TiVo units produced.

TiVo DVRs are based on PowerPC (Series1) or MIPS (Series2) processors connected to MPEG-2 encoder/decoder chips and high-capacity IDE/ATA hard drives. Series1 TiVo units used one or two drives of 13–60 GB; current Series2 units have drives of 40–250 GB in size. TiVo has also partnered with Western Digital to create an external hard-drive, the My DVR Expander, for TiVo HD and Series3 Boxes. It plugs into the TiVo box using an eSATA interface. It expands the High-Definition boxes by up to 67 hrs of HD, and around 300 hrs. of standard programming. Other TiVo users have found many ways to expand TiVo storage, although these methods are not supported by TiVo, and may void the warranty or lock up the TiVo box.

Some recent models manufactured by Toshiba, Pioneer, and Humax, under license from TiVo, contain DVD-R/RW drives. The models can transfer recordings from the built-in hard drive to DVD Video compliant disc, playable in most modern DVD systems.

All standalone TiVo DVRs have coax/RF-in and an internal cable-ready tuner, as well as analog video input—composite/RCA and S-Video—for use with an external cable box or satellite receiver. The TiVo unit can use a serial cable or IR blasters to control the external receiver. They have coax/RF, composite/RCA, and S-Video output, and the DVD systems also have component out. Audio is RCA stereo, and the DVD systems also have digital optical out.

Until 2006, standalone TiVo systems could only record one channel at a time, though a dual-tuner Series2DT (S2DT) box was introduced in April 2006. The S2DT has two internal cable-ready tuners and it supports a single external cable box or satellite receiver. The S2DT is therefore capable of recording two analog cable channels, one analog and one digital cable channel, or one analog cable and one satellite channel at a time, with the correct programming sources. Note, however, that the S2DT, unlike earlier units, cannot record from antenna. This is due to an FCC mandate that all devices sold after March 2007 with an NTSC tuner must also contain an ATSC tuner. TiVo therefore had to choose between adding ATSC support, or removing NTSC support. With the S2DT they opted to remove NTSC, the Series3 supports NTSC and ATSC, along with digital cable channels (with CableCards).

The Series2 DVRs also have USB ports, currently used only to support network (wired Ethernet and WiFi) adapters. The early Series2 units, models starting with 110/130/140, have USB1.1 hardware, while all other systems have USB2.0. There have been four major generations of Series2 units. The TiVo-branded 1xx and 2xx generations were solid grey-black. The main difference was the upgrade from USB1.1 to USB2.0. The 5xx generation was a new design. The chassis is silver with a white oval in the faceplate. The white oval is backlit, leading to these units being called 'Nightlight' boxes. The 5xx generation was designed to reduce costs, and unfortunately this also caused a noticeable drop in performance in the system menus as well as a large performance drop in network transfers. The 5xx generation also introduced changes in the boot PROM that make them unhackable without serious soldering. The 6xx generation resembles the previous 5xx model, except that it has a black oval. The 6xx is a new design and the only model available today is the S2DT with dual-tuners and a built-in 10/100baseT Ethernet port as well. The 6xx is the best performing Series2 to date, outperforming even the old leader, the 2xx, and far better than the lowest performing 5xx.

Some TiVo systems are integrated with DirecTV receivers. These "DirecTiVo" recorders record the incoming satellite MPEG-2 digital stream directly to hard disk without conversion. Because of this and the fact that they have two tuners, DirecTiVos are able to record two programs at once. In addition, the lack of digital conversion allows recorded video to be of the same quality as live video. DirecTiVos have no MPEG encoder chip, and can only record DirecTV streams. However, DirecTV has disabled the networking capabilities on their systems, meaning DirecTiVo does not offer such features as multi-room viewing or TiVoToGo. Only the standalone systems can be networked without additional unsupported hacking.

DirecTiVo units (HR10-250) can record HDTV to a 250 GB hard drive, both from the DirecTV stream and over-the-air via a standard UHF- or VHF-capable antenna. They have two virtual tuners (each consisting of a DirecTV tuner paired with an ATSC over-the-air tuner) and, like the original DirecTiVo, can record two programs at once; further, the program guide is integrated between over-the-air and DirecTV so that all programs can be recorded and viewed in the same manner.

In 2005 DirecTV stopped marketing recorders powered by TiVo and focused on its own DVR line developed by its business units. DirecTV continues to support the existing base of DirecTV recorders powered by TiVo.

On July 8, 2006, DirecTV announced an upgrade to version 6.3 on all remaining HR10-250 DirecTiVo receivers, the first major upgrade since this unit was released. This upgrade includes features such as program grouping(folders), a much faster on-screen guide, and new sorting features.

In September 2008, DirecTV and TiVo announced that they have extended their current agreement, which includes the development, marketing and distribution of a new HD DIRECTV DVR featuring the TiVo service, as well as the extension of mutual intellectual property arrangements.

Other than the recently discontinued Hughes Electronics DirectTV DVR with TiVo model HR10-250, the only currently available HDTV capable TiVo units are the Series-3 models, which will record high definition TV. Other TiVo models will only record analog standard definition TV. The Series-3 "TiVo HD, and TiVo HD XL" DVRs are capable of recording HDTV both from antenna (over the air) and cable (unencrypted QAM tuner or encrypted with a Cable Card) in addition to normal standard definition TV from the same sources. Unlike the HR10-250, the new Series-3 units can not record from the DirecTV service (conversely the HR10-250 can not record from digital cable). Other TiVo models may be connected to a high definition TV, but are not capable of recording HDTV signals (although they may be connected to a cable HDTV set-top box and record the down-converted outputs).

In 2008, some cable companies started to roll out Switched Digital Video (SDV) technology, which is currently incompatible with the Series-3 and TiVo HD units. TiVo Inc is working with cable operators on a tuning-adapter with USB connection to the TiVo to enable SDV. As of Fall 2008, some MSOs have started offering these adapters for free to their customers with TiVo DVRs.

The Green Screen of Death (GSoD) is an error message produced by TiVo machines. It is sometimes called the Green Screen of Intensive Care. The message is displayed while the TiVo attempts to repair the data contents of its hard drive. The GSoD is sometimes intentionally invoked as a trouble shooting measure to fix problems that a restart will not.

Many people and groups have organized to hack the TiVo box, some to improve the service and others to provide service in countries where the TiVo is not currently being sold. TiVo Inc. has generally remained on good terms with these projects, although it has lately tried to clamp down on many of the "back doors" in the software, citing threats to their corporate interests.

Many users have installed additional hard drives or larger hard drives in their TiVo boxes to increase their recording capacity. Others have designed and built Ethernet cards, a web interface (TiVoWeb), and figured out how to extract, insert and transfer video among their TiVo boxes.

TiVo enthusiast groups located in countries where the TiVo is not sold have been able to reverse engineer the television subscription service schedule files needed by the TiVo and the protocol used during the transmission of those files to the TiVo. This allows the TiVo to be supplied with television scheduling data not available by subscription from the U.S. In some countries, these groups operate a simulated TiVo central server to make and distribute the necessary files for programs broadcast within their country. In other countries, each individual TiVo owner operates a simulated server and makes his own files using software that obtains free television scheduling data from the Internet. The ability to supply television scheduling data to the TiVo without paying a subscription fee threatens TiVo Inc.'s subscription-based business model in the U.S., therefore, these groups usually have strict controls over who can access the necessary software or join their group.

Improved encryption found in more recent versions of the TiVo hardware and software has made it more difficult to create the necessary files or to simulate interaction with the TiVo server.

While its former main competitor in the US, ReplayTV, had adopted a commercial-skip feature, TiVo decided to avoid automatic implementation of that feature, fearing such a move might provoke backlash from the television industry. ReplayTV was sued over this feature, as well as the ability to share shows over the Internet, and these lawsuits contributed to the bankruptcy of SONICblue, their owner at the time. Their new owner, DNNA, dropped both features in the final ReplayTV model, the 5500. However, the automatic commercial-skip feature was simply replaced with Show|Nav, which requires only the push of the arrow buttons to jump between segments. ReplayTV now has a negligible market share, as they no longer manufacture DVR hardware.

Other distributors' competing DVR sets in the US include Comcast and Verizon, although both distribute third-party hardware with this functionality built-in. Verizon uses boxes fitted for FiOS, allowing high-speed internet access and other features.

As of October 2008, TiVo has 3.46 million subscribers in the US, down from a peak of 4.36 million in January 2006.

Some users are concerned about TiVo's ability to collect detailed usage data from units via the telephone line. Like most DVRs, as units are downloading schedule data, they transmit household viewing habits to TiVo Inc. Collected information includes a log of everything watched (time and channel) and remote keypresses such as fast forwarding through or replaying content. Some users were uneasy when TiVo released data on how many users rewatched the exposure of Janet Jackson's breast during the 2004 Super Bowl. TiVo records usage data for their own research and they also sell it to other corporations such as advertisers. Nielsen and TiVo have also collaborated to track viewing habits.

TiVo states that all usage data is currently aggregated by ZIP code and that they don't track individual viewing habits. In the United States, users can request that TiVo block the collection of Anonymous Viewing Information and Diagnostic Information from their TiVo DVR by calling 1-877-367-8486.

TiVo Inc. has always provided updates of the software that runs TiVo DVRs, usually downloaded along with programming data. These updates have been seen as improvements, offering additional functionality and fixing bugs. Sometimes updates have introduced new bugs or removed features available in the previous versions, which has resulted in criticism from affected TiVo users.

A small percentage of early TiVo units were marketed without being clearly labeled that a subscription was required for full functionality, and some non-subscribing customers were unhappy when they were unable to use new and improved features that subscribers received. It is believed that early dissatisfied, non-subscribing customers received some form of settlement, probably a money-back offer on the hardware, and TiVo now clearly labels its products with a notation that a subscription is required for full functionality. That (and other) TiVo hardware can still be used as a basic digital recorder, recording by date, time, and channel, without a subscription: specifically, any Series1 which shipped with software revision 1.3 or earlier, as well as Toshiba and Pioneer standalone units, which include TiVo Basic. Nearly all Series1 units originally shipped with 1.3 or an earlier release, however, late in the life of the Series1 some units did ship with 2.0 and those units require a subscription. All other standalone TiVo systems require a subscription to function. All DirecTiVo units require an active DirecTV subscription to record new content.

In March 2005, TiVo began testing "pop-up" advertisements to select beta testers, to explore it as an alternative source of revenue. Many of these "beta testers" were simply subscribers who did not know that TiVo had selected them to test software changes and did not sign up for the beta program The concept is that, as users fast-forward through certain commercials of TiVo advertisers, they will also see a static image ad more suitable and effective than the broken video stream.

At its announcement, the concept of extra advertisements drew heavy criticism from TiVo's lifetime subscribers. Some were upset that they had already paid for a service based upon their previous ad-free experience, while others argued that they had purchased the service for the specific purpose of dodging advertisements.

Early testers complained that the pop-up detector was glitchy, and would sometimes pop up during unrelated commercials, or even during regular TV programming. They also state that the ads are aesthetically unpleasant, and take up a quarter of the screen, obscuring enough of the image to make fast-forward scanning nearly impossible. TiVo says that they are looking into these issues and will fix all of these problems before the advertising functions are rolled out to the public. It is unclear if these advertisements will be rolled out to TiVo enabled boxes with DirecTV and Comcast or just to their own standalone boxes.

In September 2005, a TiVo software upgrade added the ability for broadcasters to "flag" programs to be deleted after a certain date. Some customers had recordings deleted, or could not use their flagged recordings (transfer to a computer or burn to DVD), as they could with unflagged material. TiVo has stated this was a bug in the software. In 2004, TiVo entered into an agreement with Macrovision to make TiVo machines copyright-protection flag aware, ostensibly to make it compatible with future pay-per-view and video-on-demand content.

Also in September 2005, TiVo changed their customer agreement, instituting a one-year service contract for all new activations after September 6, 2005. Customers wishing to cancel the service early are subject to an early cancellation fee of up to $200. TiVo has not commented officially on this change, but with their recent drive to attract new customers, as well as subsidizing new hardware through large mail-in rebates, the company could be looking for ways to discourage users from canceling. Customers have also been discouraged by some of TiVo's Holiday rate increases. Some customer complaints have been made involving TiVo's unwillingness to lower existing subscibers to advertised monthly rates.

TiVo has been a heavy user of mail-in rebates. According to BusinessWeek, the company recognized $5,000,000 in additional revenue when nearly half of the 100,000 new subscribers to the service failed to successfully apply for a $100 rebate, known as the "shoebox effect" (which marketers typically refer to as breakage). While this rate of compliance is fairly typical in the rebate field, the company's heavy use of the promotional practice caused a large positive impact on its bottom line.

One major concern of the media is the fact that advertisements in television programs can be bypassed by using a TiVo DVR. The media industry is highly dependent on sponsorship via advertisements and will lose revenue if viewers adopt TiVo-like systems in large numbers. Knowing this, some countries have taken protectionist measures especially when the media is already struggling due to poor viewing figures. The government of Singapore has banned TiVo, citing the potential adverse impact on the local media industry if TiVo usage were to increase. The government is, however facing difficulty regulating the use of TiVo in Singapore as individuals are bringing in the sets from overseas. TiVo has created a number of ad solutions intended to reach the viewer that fast forwards through ads.

This has not been an issue in Australia where the exclusive rights to TiVo are held by Hybrid Television Services, owned by the Seven Meda Group. Seven Media Group is one of Australia's largest free-to-air broadcasters, and as part of the local market adaptations to TiVo prior to launch, ad-skipping was disabled. Users can still fast forward through ads.

In 2006, Free Software Foundation (FSF) decided to combat TiVo's technical system of blocking users from running modified software. This behavior, which FSF dubs "tivoization", was tackled by creating a new version of the GNU General Public License (GPL v3) prohibiting this activity. The operating system kernel included in the TiVo is distributed under the terms of the GPL, and the FSF's goal is to ensure that all recipients of software licensed under the new GPL are not restricted by hardware constraints on the modification of distributed software. This new license provision was acknowledged by TiVo in its April 2007 SEC filing: "we may be unable to incorporate future enhancements to the GNU/Linux operating system into our software, which could adversely affect our business". Regardless, the Linux kernel has not been changed to use GPL v3.

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TiVo digital video recorders

Front view of a Series2 TCD540040 TiVo unit

TiVo digital video recorders include the a number of digital video recorder models that TiVo, Inc. designed. Features may vary, but a common feature is that all of the units listed here require TiVo service and use its operating system.

TiVo units have been manufactured by various OEMs, including Philips, Sony, Pioneer, Toshiba, and Humax, which license the software from TiVo Inc. To date, there have been three "series" of TiVo units produced, with the third series having been released on September 12, 2006.

The Series1 (retronym) was the original TiVo digital video recorder.

Series1 TiVo systems are based on PowerPC processors connected to MPEG-2 encoder/decoder chips and IDE/ATA hard drives. Series1 TiVo units used one or two drives of 13–60 GB. Although not supported by TiVo or equipment manufacturers, larger drives can be added.

All standalone TiVo systems have coax/RF-in and an internal cable-ready tuner, analog video input—composite/RCA, and S-Video—for use with an external cable box or satellite receiver. The TiVo unit can use a serial cable or IR blasters to control the external receiver. They have coax/RF, composite/RCA, and S-Video output, and the DVD systems also have component out. Audio is RCA stereo, and the DVD systems also have digital optical out.

Some TiVo systems are integrated with DirecTV receivers. These "DirecTiVo" recorders record the incoming satellite MPEG-2 digital stream directly to hard disk without conversion. Because of this and the fact that they have two tuners, DirecTiVos are able to record two programs at once. In addition, the lack of digital conversion allows recorded video to be of the same quality as live video. DirecTiVos have no MPEG encoder chip, and can only record DirecTV streams.

The Series2 was a complete redesign of the TiVo hardware. It includes USB ports (for Ethernet and Wi-Fi adapters), a new CPU, and more RAM. The availability of network connectivity has spread to the software side, where new features like TiVoToGo and Home Media Engine applications are now supported.

Series2 TiVo systems are based on MIPS processors connected to MPEG-2 encoder/decoder chips and high-capacity IDE/ATA hard drives. Current Series2 units have drives of 40–250GB in size. Although not supported by TiVo or equipment manufacturers, larger drives can be added.

All standalone TiVo systems have coax/RF-in and an internal cable-ready tuner, analog video input—composite/RCA, and S-Video—for use with an external cable box or satellite receiver. The TiVo unit can use a serial cable or IR blasters to control the external receiver. They have coax/RF, composite/RCA, and S-Video output, and the DVD systems also have component out. Audio is RCA stereo, and the DVD systems also have digital optical out. The Series2 systems also have USB ports, currently used only to support network (wired Ethernet and WiFi) adapters. The early Series2 units, models starting with 110/130/140, have USB 1.1 hardware, while all other systems have USB 2.0.

Some models manufactured by Toshiba, Pioneer, and Humax, under license from TiVo, contain DVD-R/RW drives. The models can transfer recordings from the built-in hard drive to DVD Video compliant disc, playable in most modern DVD systems. The video encoding on these models was modified to match the DVD standard so transferring to DVD does not require transcoding.

The Series2 standalones can only tune analog signals, so to comply with FCC rules on analog TV phaseout, models that record from over-the-air channels are no longer sold. The dual tuner (DT) models and the TCD542 (a revision of the TCD540) will only record from cable and satellite sources.

Some TiVo systems are integrated with DirecTV receivers. These "DirecTiVo" recorders record the incoming satellite MPEG-2 digital stream directly to hard disk without conversion. Because of this and the fact that they have two tuners, DirecTiVos are able to record two programs at once. In addition, the lack of digital conversion allows recorded video to be of the same quality as live video. DirecTiVos have no MPEG encoder chip, and can only record DirecTV streams. However, DirecTV has disabled the networking capabilities on their systems, meaning DirecTiVo does not offer such features as multi-room viewing or TiVoToGo. Only the standalone systems can be networked without additional unsupported hacking.

The latest DirecTiVo units (HR10-250) can also record HDTV to a 250GB hard drive, both from the DirecTV stream and over-the-air via a standard UHF- or VHF-capable antenna. They have four tuners (two DirecTV and two ATSC over-the-air) and, like the original DirecTiVo, can record two programs at once; further, the program guide is integrated between over-the-air and DirecTV so that all programs can be recorded and viewed in the same manner. Recording capacity is variable, up to 30 HD or 200 SD hours.

On July 8, 2006, DirecTV announced an upgrade to version 6.3 of the TiVo software for the HR10-250, the first major upgrade since this unit was released. This upgrade includes features such as program grouping (folders), a much faster on-screen guide, and new sorting features.

In October 2007, DirecTV sent a message to all DirecTV TiVo R10 and HR10 users saying that they will be applying numerous features to the DirecTiVo. It include two features.

Episode Recovery is a feature that will let you recover a previously deleted episode of a show. There will be a time frame of the time you could recover the episode, but the information has not been released.

Online Scheduling is a feature that will allow you to go to the DirecTV guide on the internet, and choose a television program to be recorded. This feature is popular with the TiVo Brand DVR's, but DirecTV's contract with TiVo did not allow them to implement the online features of the DirecTiVo.

The Series3 TiVo was officially unveiled at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show, and was released to the public on September 12, 2006.

The Series3 DVR features support for high-definition broadcasts and has two tuners, each of which can receive NTSC, ATSC, and analog or digital cable (QAM). Encrypted digital cable can be received using CableCARDs. Because of the dual tuners, it can record from any two sources simultaneously. For example, two over-the-air broadcasts, two cable programs, or any combination can be recorded at the same time. However, recording from two digital cable channels requires the use of multiple CableCARDs, and if only one CableCARD is inserted into the unit, only one tuner is active and only one source can be recorded. As of 8/2007 satellite TV connections are not supported.

Switched Digital Video (SDV), a technology which allows cable providers to send only one channel stream at a time instead of the entire provider's channel lineup in order to better manage and expand bandwidth, is not supported by the Series3 line at this time, making the TiVo unable to receive certain channels on cable providers who use such technology. There is work progressing on a USB connected, separate box called a tuning adapter to be provided by a cable provider to allow TiVo and other CableCARD devices to work with SDV.

One HDMI port and two sets of component, S-video, and composite outputs are included. The Series 3 is also the first DVR to feature THX-certified audio and video. The unit is also equipped with two USB 2.0 ports, a Fast Ethernet port, and a modem, which are all used to connect to the TiVo service. The built-in wired ethernet or an optional USB 802.11 wireless adapter can download programs from TiVo or Amazon Video On Demand (formerly Amazon Unbox). Multi-room viewing and transferring programs to and from a PC is allowed. HD content may only be transferred between Series 3 units.

A Series 3 can display to all types of televisions. This allows displaying HD channels to an older TV using just composite or s-video connections. The picture won't be HD quality, of course.

The Series 3 can store up to 300 hours of non-HD video, or 32 hours of HD video, using its 250 GB hard drive. Like the Series 2 TiVos, storage can be increased to 1 TB by replacement of the hard drive -- something that can be done professionally, but is usually done by users familiar with how to perform PC drive replacement. An external SATA port allows up to 1TB in additional storage when using TiVo-certified external hard drives.

Series 3 is available on TiVo's website and at electronics retailers nationwide. A monthly subscription fee must also be paid to utilize its features. The product lifetime service may be activated on new units with a rare product lifetime gift card, and could previously be transferred from a unit that already had lifetime service for a fee.

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TiVo DVRs

Front view of a Series2 TCD540040 TiVo unit

TiVo digital video recorders include the a number of digital video recorder models that TiVo, Inc. designed. Features may vary, but a common feature is that all of the units listed here require TiVo service and use its operating system.

TiVo units have been manufactured by various OEMs, including Philips, Sony, Pioneer, Toshiba, and Humax, which license the software from TiVo Inc. To date, there have been three "series" of TiVo units produced, with the third series having been released on September 12, 2006.

The Series1 (retronym) was the original TiVo digital video recorder.

Series1 TiVo systems are based on PowerPC processors connected to MPEG-2 encoder/decoder chips and IDE/ATA hard drives. Series1 TiVo units used one or two drives of 13–60 GB. Although not supported by TiVo or equipment manufacturers, larger drives can be added.

All standalone TiVo systems have coax/RF-in and an internal cable-ready tuner, analog video input—composite/RCA, and S-Video—for use with an external cable box or satellite receiver. The TiVo unit can use a serial cable or IR blasters to control the external receiver. They have coax/RF, composite/RCA, and S-Video output, and the DVD systems also have component out. Audio is RCA stereo, and the DVD systems also have digital optical out.

Some TiVo systems are integrated with DirecTV receivers. These "DirecTiVo" recorders record the incoming satellite MPEG-2 digital stream directly to hard disk without conversion. Because of this and the fact that they have two tuners, DirecTiVos are able to record two programs at once. In addition, the lack of digital conversion allows recorded video to be of the same quality as live video. DirecTiVos have no MPEG encoder chip, and can only record DirecTV streams.

The Series2 was a complete redesign of the TiVo hardware. It includes USB ports (for Ethernet and Wi-Fi adapters), a new CPU, and more RAM. The availability of network connectivity has spread to the software side, where new features like TiVoToGo and Home Media Engine applications are now supported.

Series2 TiVo systems are based on MIPS processors connected to MPEG-2 encoder/decoder chips and high-capacity IDE/ATA hard drives. Current Series2 units have drives of 40–250GB in size. Although not supported by TiVo or equipment manufacturers, larger drives can be added.

All standalone TiVo systems have coax/RF-in and an internal cable-ready tuner, analog video input—composite/RCA, and S-Video—for use with an external cable box or satellite receiver. The TiVo unit can use a serial cable or IR blasters to control the external receiver. They have coax/RF, composite/RCA, and S-Video output, and the DVD systems also have component out. Audio is RCA stereo, and the DVD systems also have digital optical out. The Series2 systems also have USB ports, currently used only to support network (wired Ethernet and WiFi) adapters. The early Series2 units, models starting with 110/130/140, have USB 1.1 hardware, while all other systems have USB 2.0.

Some models manufactured by Toshiba, Pioneer, and Humax, under license from TiVo, contain DVD-R/RW drives. The models can transfer recordings from the built-in hard drive to DVD Video compliant disc, playable in most modern DVD systems. The video encoding on these models was modified to match the DVD standard so transferring to DVD does not require transcoding.

The Series2 standalones can only tune analog signals, so to comply with FCC rules on analog TV phaseout, models that record from over-the-air channels are no longer sold. The dual tuner (DT) models and the TCD542 (a revision of the TCD540) will only record from cable and satellite sources.

Some TiVo systems are integrated with DirecTV receivers. These "DirecTiVo" recorders record the incoming satellite MPEG-2 digital stream directly to hard disk without conversion. Because of this and the fact that they have two tuners, DirecTiVos are able to record two programs at once. In addition, the lack of digital conversion allows recorded video to be of the same quality as live video. DirecTiVos have no MPEG encoder chip, and can only record DirecTV streams. However, DirecTV has disabled the networking capabilities on their systems, meaning DirecTiVo does not offer such features as multi-room viewing or TiVoToGo. Only the standalone systems can be networked without additional unsupported hacking.

The latest DirecTiVo units (HR10-250) can also record HDTV to a 250GB hard drive, both from the DirecTV stream and over-the-air via a standard UHF- or VHF-capable antenna. They have four tuners (two DirecTV and two ATSC over-the-air) and, like the original DirecTiVo, can record two programs at once; further, the program guide is integrated between over-the-air and DirecTV so that all programs can be recorded and viewed in the same manner. Recording capacity is variable, up to 30 HD or 200 SD hours.

On July 8, 2006, DirecTV announced an upgrade to version 6.3 of the TiVo software for the HR10-250, the first major upgrade since this unit was released. This upgrade includes features such as program grouping (folders), a much faster on-screen guide, and new sorting features.

In October 2007, DirecTV sent a message to all DirecTV TiVo R10 and HR10 users saying that they will be applying numerous features to the DirecTiVo. It include two features.

Episode Recovery is a feature that will let you recover a previously deleted episode of a show. There will be a time frame of the time you could recover the episode, but the information has not been released.

Online Scheduling is a feature that will allow you to go to the DirecTV guide on the internet, and choose a television program to be recorded. This feature is popular with the TiVo Brand DVR's, but DirecTV's contract with TiVo did not allow them to implement the online features of the DirecTiVo.

The Series3 TiVo was officially unveiled at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show, and was released to the public on September 12, 2006.

The Series3 DVR features support for high-definition broadcasts and has two tuners, each of which can receive NTSC, ATSC, and analog or digital cable (QAM). Encrypted digital cable can be received using CableCARDs. Because of the dual tuners, it can record from any two sources simultaneously. For example, two over-the-air broadcasts, two cable programs, or any combination can be recorded at the same time. However, recording from two digital cable channels requires the use of multiple CableCARDs, and if only one CableCARD is inserted into the unit, only one tuner is active and only one source can be recorded. As of 8/2007 satellite TV connections are not supported.

Switched Digital Video (SDV), a technology which allows cable providers to send only one channel stream at a time instead of the entire provider's channel lineup in order to better manage and expand bandwidth, is not supported by the Series3 line at this time, making the TiVo unable to receive certain channels on cable providers who use such technology. There is work progressing on a USB connected, separate box called a tuning adapter to be provided by a cable provider to allow TiVo and other CableCARD devices to work with SDV.

One HDMI port and two sets of component, S-video, and composite outputs are included. The Series 3 is also the first DVR to feature THX-certified audio and video. The unit is also equipped with two USB 2.0 ports, a Fast Ethernet port, and a modem, which are all used to connect to the TiVo service. The built-in wired ethernet or an optional USB 802.11 wireless adapter can download programs from TiVo or Amazon Video On Demand (formerly Amazon Unbox). Multi-room viewing and transferring programs to and from a PC is allowed. HD content may only be transferred between Series 3 units.

A Series 3 can display to all types of televisions. This allows displaying HD channels to an older TV using just composite or s-video connections. The picture won't be HD quality, of course.

The Series 3 can store up to 300 hours of non-HD video, or 32 hours of HD video, using its 250 GB hard drive. Like the Series 2 TiVos, storage can be increased to 1 TB by replacement of the hard drive -- something that can be done professionally, but is usually done by users familiar with how to perform PC drive replacement. An external SATA port allows up to 1TB in additional storage when using TiVo-certified external hard drives.

Series 3 is available on TiVo's website and at electronics retailers nationwide. A monthly subscription fee must also be paid to utilize its features. The product lifetime service may be activated on new units with a rare product lifetime gift card, and could previously be transferred from a unit that already had lifetime service for a fee.

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TiVo Community Forum

The TiVo Community Forums (often abbreviated TCF) are forums dedicated to the digital video recorder device, TiVo. As of September 5, 2007, there were over 161,000 registered users, a large number of which are not currently active. In order to view all sections of the forum, a user must be registered (registration is free). Until then, the user will not be able to access the heavily-trafficked Off-Topic Discussion section of the forum. The forum's new owner as of August 30, 2007 is Capable Networks.

The TiVo Community Forums was one of the first forums dedicated to a product that was not associated in any way with the company. The heavily involved members, by discussing the product, helped shape the company.

The TiVo Community Forums is notable for having a large number of hackers who modify the TiVo software to improve on its functionality. Several ideas that have come from the hacking communities have actually been implemented in the TiVo Software. One example of this is a DST patch that was developed for older Series 1 TiVos by a TCF hacker. Many TiVo users rely on the forum for its wealth of information on upgrading the capacity of their TiVo.

The forum is also a helpful source of information for new TiVo users. It is the first google result for "TiVo Forums".

The forum is also a source of material for the media when reporting on the activities of TiVo Inc.

The TiVo Community Forum has a busy hacking forum. It is a great resource for BackDoor Codes and Hard Drive Upgrade information.

TiVo Community's own Rbautch and Gunnyman made the forum famous by introducing "The Zipper", a script that enabled a myriad of features previously unavailable to DirecTV subscribers.

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Tivo's Media File System

The MFS or Media File System is a proprietary file system used on Tivo hard drives for fault tolerant real-time recording of live TV.

MFS is still not particularly well understood, but enough is known about the file system to be able to do reads and limited writes. Applications exist to manipulate the file system and objects within it. Most of these applications are reverse engineered from software found on the Tivo itself, as many of the early Tivo programs were little more than specialized scripts that manipulated the data.

The MFS file system is organized more like a database, including transaction logging and rollback capabilities. It utilizes multiple partitions on the drive for a complete system. The partitions come in pairs, with one being the "Application" partition, and the other being the "Media" partition. The Media region is invariably quite large, and organized into long continuous blocks of data, with a variable block size that has a minimum of at least 1 megabyte. This is because it is designed to store large sections of video.

Each object in the Tivo file system is assigned an ID, which is interally called the "FSID" (presumably, file system ID). There are (at least) 4 types of objects that MFS supports: Streams (recordings, audio or video), Directory, Database, and Files. All Stream objects are stored in the MFS media regions, while the other types are stored in "application" regions.

The file system itself is implemented entirely in the Linux userspace. The primary reason Tivo devised such a system is because they needed a way to store large continuous sections of data easily in a manner that lent itself well to streaming that data directly to the media decoders in the Tivo devices, without being CPU dependent. Thus, the CPU has very little involvement in playback and recording functionality, simply directing the encoder/decoder chips to stream data directly to the drives via direct memory access while mapping sections of virtual memory onto the drive. The main CPU then orchestrates the entire affair. The result of this is that data stored on the MFS media region is not formatted into normal files, as such, but is a direct data stream that is indexed by the database sections in the MFS application region.

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Source : Wikipedia