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TiVo to Sell Your Fast-Forward Button 777

Posted by jamie
from the sky-is-falling-but-first-this-word dept.
Thomas Hawk writes "PVRblog is reporting today that TiVo will begin to place banner advertisements on your screen when you are fast forwarding. As one of the whole points for people getting a TiVo is to remove obtrusive advertising, it seems like a really bad move to force advertising on people at the exact moment that they are using your technology to avoid advertising. This act points to the desperation of TiVo and their management team and although it might help them in the short run it will most certainly backfire in the long run." This is ironic for a company whose slogan used to be "TV Your Way," but not surprising, since its CEO says he wants to move to a largely advertiser-supported revenue stream. I've bought three TiVos in the past four years, but my next PVR will run MythTV -- unless HR2391 passes and makes me a criminal for skipping commercials.
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TiVo to Sell Your Fast-Forward Button

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  • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:29PM (#10842774) Homepage Journal
    .... I mean, its not like you are looking at anything useful while you are fastforwarding, and "free tv" needs some sort of revenue.
    • by mrchaotica (681592) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:30PM (#10842787)
      I don't know about you, but I have cable -- my TV is not free!
    • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@NosPAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:30PM (#10842801) Homepage Journal
      The problem is that the TIVO is NOT free. You paid for that device, and you paid for that service. Getting ads you don't want is a betrayal of the customer.

      Now if they wanted to provide a "free" version of the TIVO subscription that was advertiser supported, then I could see this working.
      • by MikeMacK (788889) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:38PM (#10842904)
        I agree, people buy (or bought) TiVo's to avoid commercials. I don't think a business model that supplants their "own" commercials is going to work. Then again, I rarely watch TV anymore and then only PBS so I'm not really affected, unless they make it illegal to NOT watch TV. :-)
        • by Anonymous Coward
          No, people buy (or bought) their TiVo to get to their desired content (ie the show) faster. If the time lag reduction remains the same, what's the damn problem?

          It's not the advertising itself, it's the time wasted with the advertising.
          • Umm... no.

            Tivo doesn't make my reception any faster. That sounds very much like the Intel marketing that the Pentium 4 made the internet faster.

            Tivo lets me record a number of shows when I can't watch them, so that I may watch them later. Tivo also provides a service of providing my hardware with up-to-date listings, as well as recording shows that I might like to fill up the space that I don't use.

        • I disagree. I think, most people, bought Tivo for its timeshifting and season pass features. Are commercials really so bad?

          You people need to get a life. The Networks generate their revenue off of sponsorship (read: commercials). Commercials are how the networks pay for all these shows you're watching! What don't you understand?

          You pay your cable bill to cover the delievery of those channels. Yes, some of the cable networks (ESPN, for one) charge cable companies to carry them. But that's a supply

          • by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:59PM (#10843194) Journal

            How many cable companies have to pay for Food Network, or Spike TV? Not many, I'd say. If those channels weren't available, most people wouldn't have a problem with it.

            You can have my Emeril and ST:TNG reruns when you pry them from my cold dead hands!

          • Yeah, but, I'm wondering if this 'new' advertising mode in the FF stage, will spell the end of the 30 second skip 'hack' you can do??
          • "You people need to get a life. The Networks generate their revenue off of sponsorship (read: commercials). Commercials are how the networks pay for all these shows you're watching! What don't you understand?"

            Exactly ... A lot of the stupidities of television can be easily be explained once you realise that the product is YOU, the viewer, and you are being sold to the advertisers, who are the real customers.

            These shows that play on TV are just 'unfortunate necessities' of doing business.

            Again I am rem

          • by dbc001 (541033) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @02:06PM (#10844057)
            Stop worrying. Grass-roots produced, bittorrent-distributed, creative commons licensed media will replace TV eventually. I have several friends who do pro-level video that have projects in the works. They will be free. If you don't believe me, check the new Wired magazine - Beastie Boys are putting out Creative Commons licensed tunes. Old school media conglomerates will wither and die. But we have to stop supporting them first.
            • by spectecjr (31235) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @03:25PM (#10844888) Homepage
              Stop worrying. Grass-roots produced, bittorrent-distributed, creative commons licensed media will replace TV eventually. I have several friends who do pro-level video that have projects in the works. They will be free. If you don't believe me, check the new Wired magazine - Beastie Boys are putting out Creative Commons licensed tunes. Old school media conglomerates will wither and die. But we have to stop supporting them first.


              This was moderated insightful?

              Pro-level video projects cost money. You can't film everything on location. You can't get all locations for free. You have to pay actors and skilled crewmembers - after all, this is their DAY JOB. Not everyone works for free.

              This will be a small and tiny niche. It will not grow - because creating media costs more than the cost of a camera and a microphone.
      • How is this different than cable TV? You paid for the device (your television) and you paid for the service. They ram commercials down your throat just the same. If you don't like the terms, cancel your service.
      • ...ads you don't want is a betrayal of the customer...

        Many /.ers are probably to young to remember the days before cable tv existed. There was only broadcast over the air. At first, cable was touted to the consumer as a way to get commercial free tv and consistent high quality reception. It did not take long and there were lots of commercials on the "commercial free" cable channels. So now with Tivo it will be just a repeat performance of past history in a new technology.
      • by Robber Baron (112304) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @01:08PM (#10843312) Homepage
        Getting ads you don't want is a betrayal of the customer.

        Exactly. Somebody needs to whack these morons with a cluestick. If I've gone to the trouble to avoid watching advertisments, you ramming them down my throat anyway is going to endear me to your company and make me want to buy your products...how exactly? Personally I will actually go out of my way to avoid purchasing stuff because the advertisments have pissed me off.
      • I'm afraid I disagree with you. I have a TiVo, and the reason isn't so I can skip advertisements. Its a PVR, not a "fastforward through comercials for free" device. Sure, that's how many people view it, but that's not the purpose of it. Adding commercials doesn't betray the user, just annoys him. You had it good, but they aren't changing a fundamental point of TiVo... you can still record shows.. you can still save shows... you can still get season passes.

        Honestly, I'm all for it if it means they sta
    • Agreed (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:40PM (#10842919) Journal

      Allow me to begin by saying that I just purchased a TiVo less then a week ago. I actually netted it for a lousy $30 ($180 on Amazon - $50.00 promotional certificate - $100 mail-in rebate) figuring that I'd get the cheapest one and could always add a Hard Drive later (thanks to TiVo still being somewhat hacker-friendly).

      In one lousy week it has already changed the way I watch TV. Just the quick case in point: I didn't start watching Amazing Race until 9:45pm last night. By 11:30 I had seen both Amazing Race and Jon Stewart -- without watching a single commercial. That's 45 minutes of my life to do productive things (or surf Slashdot).

      Needless to say I will be the first one to cancel my service (after-all I only have a $30 investment) and stick pins into my TiVo voodoo dolls if they take the fast-forwarding away from me. What the heck would be the point of a DVR if they were to do that? I'd just go back to my VCR days.

      But if all they intend to do is place some advertisements on your screen while you are fast-forwarding then what exactly is the big deal? Did Jamie bother to RTFA before he went on his rant about switching to MythTV? To quote: "Kent says the advertising revenue will probably bring down the cost of TiVo to its 2 million subscribers -- currently $12.95 a month" So they sell some ad space (that I can just ignore for those 5-10 seconds I am FF'ing -- less if you use the 30 second hack) and my service becomes cheaper?

      Perhaps we should adopt a wait-and-see approach before we break out the torches and pitchforks.

      • Re:Agreed (Score:5, Funny)

        by Todd Fisher (680265) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @01:10PM (#10843343) Homepage

        Perhaps we should adopt a wait-and-see approach before we break out the torches and pitchforks.

        Let me be the first to welcome you to Slashdot.
      • Agreed Reloaded (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lastberserker (465707)
        That's 45 minutes of my life to do productive things (or surf Slashdot).
        Yeah, just like buying some $500 piece of crap you don't need for $100 saves you $400 off MSRP. Why not skip both Amazing Race and Jon Stewart and save 1:45 to do productive things (or surf Slashdot)? ;-)
      • Re:Agreed (Score:3, Funny)

        by Arhat (779830)
        Perhaps we should adopt a wait-and-see approach before we break out the torches and pitchforks.

        Annoyed at changes in policy with your TiVo service. We here at the Torches and Pitchforks, Inc understand your pain, that's why right now we are offering a torch and pitchfork combo deal for only $19.95. That's right, $19.95 for two must have mob items. Act in the next 15 minutes and receive a free noose. Don't wait, these items are going fast.
      • by swb (14022)
        I doubt they'll lower the cost; they'll just consider this a way to lower losses.

        I'd own a second (and possibly third) Tivo if I didn't have to buy subscriptions for all of them. That's just lunacy, especially when the two other units could just copy the data from one of the units, in effect costing Tivo zero in delivery costs.

        If the banner ads are a problem, I'll just keep using my 2nd gen standalone until it craps out and then rent (for $5 per month) a hidef PVR from the cable company. It'll suck more
    • Well it depends. Will it be just a banner or will it have sound? Frankly I hate most commercials because they are just stupid. I have a suggestion to increase add revinue. Less ads. Do not show a block of four ads twice in an 30 minute show. Show only two 30 second spots in a 30 minute show AND charge more for them. I would be a lot less likly to surf to another channel or ff over one short ad than a two minute block of ads. Think of it like a magazine. I am more likly to see that full page ad than one of 6
    • .... I mean, its not like you are looking at anything useful while you are fastforwarding, and "free tv" needs some sort of revenue.

      Where's your IANATO (I am not a TiVo owner)?

      Any legal thread quickly over flows with 'IANAL', any discussion of IP brings out the folks who don't know copyright form trademark, so why should this thread be any different?

      Yes, I use TiVo to skip over commercials. I also use FF for shows I can watch without sound and faster than real time. Will the service know if I'm FF o

  • by Chatmag (646500) <editor@chatmag.com> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:29PM (#10842781) Homepage Journal
    Then hammer them with advertising. Its the american way :)
    • by ibbey (27873) *
      Ok, before you all go & cancel your subscriptions, you might want to READ THE DAMN ARTICLE. "TiVo viewers will see "billboards," or small logos, popping up over TV commercials as they fast-forward through them, offering contest entries, giveaways or links to other ads." Not quite the overwhelming barrage of advertising that some of you seem to be implying. Would I rather the ads weren't there? Sure. But I don't really care that they are.

      Contrary to what the post implies, people don't buy a Tivo to "avo
  • Get a ReplayTV (Score:3, Informative)

    by nwf (25607) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:30PM (#10842786)
    All the more reason to get a ReplayTV! I love mine, which I've had for a few years after upgrading the hard drive to a 250 GB model. And DVArchive rocks: download shows and save them for later! Store a whole seasons worth on your PC and access them over the network from your ReplayTV unit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:30PM (#10842798)
    Suffering Viagra ads while I'm skipping to the money shot.
  • that's fine with me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rtsai (88765) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:30PM (#10842802) Homepage
    The real value-add from TiVo here (for me, anyway) is not so much avoiding commercials as it is saving time.

    If the banner-ad-while-fast-forwarding still allows me to skip 4 minutes of commercials in 5 seconds, that's fine with me, as long as the banner-ad goes away when I'm *not* fast-forwarding ...
    • by LilMikey (615759)
      Not meaning to completely hijaack this thread but MythTV supports automatic commercial skip. It'll automagically jump past your commercials or you can skip them with the click of one button. Even 5 seconds is too long in MythTV land :)

      True that some ReplayTV series had a similar feature but that's been done away with.
  • Questions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:31PM (#10842806)
    First of all, HR 2391 doesn't make it criminal to "skip commercials".

    It's meant to disallow technologies that bypass commercial and advertising content explicitly (such as things like the commercial skip features of old which skipped all ads, regardless of length, and returned you to the programming, or features that simply delete or auto-skip ad content altogether), but it won't prevent good ol' "fast forward" and 30 second skip features from working, nor will it make their use, even for commercial content, "criminal".

    However, it's the implementation that is the concern. If the law is *interpreted* to mean that even things like fast forwarding through commercials are inappropriate, well, then we have a problem. But that is NOT the intent nor the purpose.

    On the subject of TiVo and placing banner ads during fast forwarding, and the general idea of *automatic* ad content skipping/deletion:

    If the entire TV industry is predicated on advertising, and the idea of advertising is predicating on paying to have as many people see your ads as possible (and the payment is proportional to proven amounts of people who may be watching), if an increasing number of people (many in educated and financially stable demographics) have the capability to avoid ever seeing any advertising, what, exactly, makes it worthwhile for advertisers to continue paying for it, at least at the same levels? You are choosing to watch content whose creation and delivery is funded in large part by advertising revenues. What funds it if that model is completely broken?

    Sure, your cable/satellite bill can, but only to a point. There are billions of dollars that come from advertising. Is there not that side to this story as well?

    What about newspapers? Sure, you can argue that newspaper ads aren't "intrusive", in a time-dependent way, but would a newspaper or its advertisers welcome a service that made it free or easy to eliminate all ads, and keep the other content, while still keeping the newspaper cost at 50 cents?

    Additionally, I've seen people here and elsewhere say they actually wouldn't mind "advertising" for products and services they're actually interested in - but at the same time, people argue against giving anyone the data needed to do exactly that kind of targeted advertising as a violation of privacy.

    So, my question is, what takes the place of the advertising revenue? How and when is it acceptable for products to be advertised?
    • Re:Questions (Score:5, Insightful)

      by realdpk (116490) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:37PM (#10842892) Homepage Journal
      "However, it's the implementation that is the concern. If the law is *interpreted* to mean that even things like fast forwarding through commercials are inappropriate, well, then we have a problem. But that is NOT the intent nor the purpose."

      In an age when we have so many thousands (millions?) of lawyers in the nation, I do not think you can separate intent or purpose from what is written and how it is interpreted. We can't afford to be writing laws that are vague, and we have the resources to ensure it does not happen, should we choose to use them.

      "Sure, your cable/satellite bill can, but only to a point. There are billions of dollars that come from advertising. Is there not that side to this story as well?"

      I'd pay more per channel for cable if it had no advertising, no problem. Note I say per channel -- as in a la carte. Since I watch 2 or 3 channels via my TiVo I would probably end up paying less overall, but the channels whose services I use would be getting more.

      "How and when is it acceptable for products to be advertised?"

      It's acceptable exactly up to the point that the consumers allow it to be. If the consumers revolt, spend extra money on a product and service that allows them to skip them, it's no longer acceptable to them.
    • Re:Questions (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Japong (793982) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:42PM (#10842963)

      Boy, you must really hate Firefox's Adblock and Flashblock features.

      As much as I'd like to preserve the old business model of being forced to look at ads for minutes at a time, it's time to rethink this strategy now that we have 21st century technology... simply giving them billions of dollars in revenue because the're accustomed to getting billions of dollars of revenue doesn't cut it anymore.

      • by rmarll (161697) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @02:23PM (#10844238) Journal
        Totally off topic...

        Funny that in blocking the ad's for "internet accelerator" I've accelerated my connection speed far more than their product ever will.
    • Re:Questions (Score:3, Interesting)

      Nothing replaces the advertising revenue -- or, at least, nothing replaces it directly. Its value falls sharply. That, in turn, will lead to two classes of things: first, the amount on interstitial advertising on television will rise, and the amount of advertising woven into a show (e.g. as voice-throughs during dialog, as rolling bars at the bottom of the screen, or as product placements) will rise. The total amount of advertising-loaded time during each show will rise.
    • Re:Questions (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr Guy (547690) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:44PM (#10842994) Journal
      How does this make it less wrong?

      The point is that if I want to attach a device to my television that translates every third word into Algonquin once the signal comes into my device it's none of their business. If I write a module for MythTV that allows me to change all the commercials in my LiveTV programming into mpegs of dancing midgets throwing pickles at a naked woman it's none of their business.

      Their revenue stream and rights to artistic integrity end when they reach the consumer. At that point it's my signal in my device and as long as I don't rebroadcast it they need to leave me the hell alone.
      • Re:Questions (Score:3, Interesting)

        by RalphSlate (128202)
        The point is that if I want to attach a device to my television that translates every third word into Algonquin once the signal comes into my device it's none of their business.

        This brings up an interesting legal point; would a company legally be able to design a TV set that replaced network commercials with its own commercials? It could conceivably give the TV sets away because it would make serious money on advertising.

        And could it use your very same argument that the user is choosing to replace the ne
    • Re:Questions (Score:3, Insightful)

      by saintp (595331)
      This is the same business tactic as the RIAA is using: if you refuse to evolve, legislate! Rather than adapt to a changing world, make new business models illegal. Sure, it may cripple you in the long run, but as long as we avoid that invisible hand and keep the stockholders happy, all is well. Right?
    • Re:Questions (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bigpat (158134) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:44PM (#10843011)
      "What about newspapers? Sure, you can argue that newspaper ads aren't "intrusive", in a time-dependent way, but would a newspaper or its advertisers welcome a service that made it free or easy to eliminate all ads, and keep the other content, while still keeping the newspaper cost at 50 cents?"

      The difference is that tv, especially broadcast television, is a much more limited resource than a newspaper. Anyone can start up a newspaper and start distributing it, it is not regulated in the least. Which is a very good thing, but also appropriate for the medium which allows for naturally unlimited competition. If you don't like the content or presentation of one newspaper, another could take its place without much trouble.

      Television, especially broadcast television is considered a public resource. So, we as individuals have every right to demand that the use of the airwaves meets our best interests and not solely those of the licensees. We can argue about the rightness of that approach, but until broadcasters stop using public airwaves and the public rights of way (cable) then I demand that I be able to view the content anyway I damn well choose.
    • Re:Questions (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lucabrasi999 (585141) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:52PM (#10843105) Journal
      You are choosing to watch content whose creation and delivery is funded in large part by advertising revenues. What funds it if that model is completely broken?

      Well, economist Joseph Schumpeter [econlib.org] came up with the theory of "creative destruction". In short, every now and then, a new innovation destroys the old economic model (think TiVo or, in the retail field, think Wal-Mart). The capitalist society comes up with a new way to respond to that innovation. In the case of TiVo, it appears that they will now have pop-up ads. In the case of Wal-Mart, you now see Sears and KMart merging. However, TiVo started the revolution, and now they are trying to take a step backwards. Unfortunately for them, there is a good chance the revolution is about to pass TiVo right by.

      What does that do for the Advertisers? Well, they better figure something out, otherwise, their economic model completely falls apart. In a capitalist society (which the US claims to be), it is up to the advertisers to figure their way out of this mess. If the advertisers don't figure it out, you'll see less money flowing to the TV networks and, a potential reduction in TV show budgets. Now, wouldn't THAT be a disaster! Those overpaid actors and network executives would start losing money. Oh well. If Hollywood isn't providing me with dumb entertainment, my entertainment dollar will go elsewhere.

      Creative Destruction. It's time that advertisers re-read their college economics textbooks. In short, I don't care about the advertisers, nor do I care about how the networks make money. In our economy, their problems are not my problems.

    • Re:Questions (Score:5, Insightful)

      by igaborf (69869) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @01:00PM (#10843201)
      If the law is *interpreted* to mean that even things like fast forwarding through commercials are inappropriate, well, then we have a problem.

      I have a problem with it anyway. It's a law that says I can do a thing but I cannot have a machine that does that thing for me. WTF? It's as though they passed a law that says you cannot use an electric can opener because forcing people to open cans manually will keep the market for food contained in glass bottles competitive with cans.

      And make no mistake, the intent is to keep people watching commercials, whatever the mechanics of the process. If the law as written doesn't have that end result, it will be reinterpreted or a new law will be written to further restrict our options.

      How and when is it acceptable for products to be advertised?

      How about letting the market decide that? If the payback from advertising drops to the point where it can no longer support creation and delivery of programming, what then? Will the demand for programming go away? I sincerely doubt it. Other revenue models will emerge, including direct payment (subscription and pay-per-view). What's wrong with that?

  • by blackmonday (607916) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:31PM (#10842814) Homepage
    Next announcement: It will be a criminal act to get up and take a leak while the commercials are on.

  • by Covener (32114) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:31PM (#10842817)
    I'd think most peoples' motivation is to save the time of viewing commercials, not because of some aversion to advertising.

    I'd think as long as the banners don't make the ffwd through commercial slower (by assuring they're on the screen for some specific time) people won't mind.

    Better for the marketing folks to pay tivos electric bills then us.
    • What would you do if you went to the cinema and every 30 minutes they showed you adverts? you'd be a bit miffed.

      Being able to skip the commercials is to me about not having my viewing pleasure interrupted by commercials for products I'm not going to buy. I don't need advertising to make an informed choice about buying a product.
    • by fname (199759) * on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:47PM (#10843045) Journal
      I own 2 TiVos and I could not agree more. I fast forward through commercials to save time, nothing more nothing less. As long as I can still fast-forward through them, what's the big deal?

      The submitter's hysterical comments show an obvious distaste for this decision by TiVo, but his statement, "although it might help them in the short run it will most certainly backfire in the long run," displays a profound sense of arrogance; he knew about this for about 10 minutes before drawing a conclusion based on nothing more than gut, while TiVo Inc., has clearly thought about these issues and decided they were a net benenfit. I would like to know how the submitter became so "certain."

      This has nothing to do with your rights or online, or Your Rights Online, it's a business decision no worse than Apple papering NYC with iPod ads. Get over yourself.

      [good thing I have karma to burn]
  • by angusr (718699) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:31PM (#10842821)
    It looks like we've finally found the advantage to being stuck with Series 1 hardware and 2.5.5 software. Almost makes up for not getting Home Media Option and all the other additional features...
  • by jfengel (409917) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:32PM (#10842822) Homepage Journal
    TiVo stock was up 7% yesterday on no news whatsoever and another 4% today. (Where "no news whatsoever" means "already known through back channels to everybody on the rumor boards, as well as close personal friends of the executives.)

    So the people who own TiVo seem to think that this is a profitable idea. Not just "profitable" in the sense of "charging more" but profitable in the sense of "making more money total", i.e. revenue - customers lost - lawsuits.
  • Everyone chill out! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Slider (6074) <andrew.meyer@gmaAUDENil.com minus poet> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:32PM (#10842831)
    Wow, talk about overreacting.
    Do you really think Tivo is stupid enough to alienate its customers? If you read the article you'll see that this in no way interferes with skipping commercials. It basically expands the "press thumbs up for more info" tag that appears in the top right of the screen during some commercials and makes them more of a billboard size. This is actually a popular feature among Tivo users as you could say, get a brochure for the new Corvette sent to your home by simply pressing thumbs up during the Chevrolet commercial. I welcome this.
    • by jmichaelg (148257)
      This is actually a popular feature among Tivo users as you could say, get a brochure for the new Corvette sent to your home by simply pressing thumbs up during the Chevrolet commercial. I welcome this.

      Perhaps your definition of popular is different than mine. The La Times article [latimes.com] says

      Between 5% and 20% of TiVo viewers given the opportunity to "participate" in an ad -- either by clicking on a tag or by selecting a long-form commercial from a main menu -- take it.

      Put another way, 80 to 95% of the TIVO viewer

  • by Japong (793982) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:35PM (#10842868)

    I don't know why anyone bothered with Tivo in the first place - the promise was of "TV Your Way", but TV my way has always been best served by Bit Torrent. It's quasi-legal to be sure, but I can get a 400 meg HDTV broadcast of one of the very few shows I do watch over TV, the commercials are nicely stripped (so I don't even have to fast forward them) and the service is fast and reliable, especially on third generation high-speed internet technology.

    If you're getting a TIVO, I'm assuming the moral issue of skipping the stations precious advertisements don't matter to you that much anyway, right?

  • by thealpha (308746) * on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:40PM (#10842941)
    Let them know that you are not pleased. I just sent a message to directv and will follow through with cancellation if this becomes reality. I have a PVR just don't use it because the Tivo is easy for my wife and kids to use.

    Here is a link to the Directv Feedback page,
    http://www.directv.com/DTVAPP/glb/Form_Feed back.ds p

    and a link to Tivo's contact page
    http://www.tivo.com/5.9.asp
  • by EvilMagnus (32878) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:41PM (#10842955)
    ...yet.

    I still have 30-sec skip out of the box and the ability to download shows to my PC with free tools over the built in NIC. Sure, it may not run Linux, but it has 2 advantages over TiVO:

    1. It doesn't force me to watch commercials while fast forwarding.
    2. It doesn't assume I'm a gay octogenarian and record shows it thinks I'll love.
  • Good for TiVo. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xibby (232218) <zibby+slashdot@ringworld.org> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:48PM (#10843059) Homepage Journal
    Good for TiVo for using their technology for profit. Isn't that the point of going into business?

    Ideally (this is how I think it should work, I don't know exactly how it works...):
    Think of how many commercials are on the air. If advertisers are concerned about commercial skipping, they pay TiVo for the software needed to encode a billboard into their ad, similar to the "press thumbs up to record" or "press thumbs up for more info" that you see often on NBC.

    When TiVo is fast forwarding through the ad and sees the bill board encoded in the video stream, it displays the bill board.

    So:

    - TV stations are happy because advertisers want to buy longer ad slots in order to increase the time their bill board is on the screen during a TiVo fast forward.
    - Advertisers are happy because they have a captive audience for their ads. (you actually have to attentively watch the screen or you'll fast forward into your show)
    - TiVo is happy because they have another revenue source.
    - TiVo owners are still happy because they are still getting through commercials at the same rate as they did before TiVo added this feature.

    Who exactly is loosing?
  • by sam_handelman (519767) <.skh2003. .at. .columbia.edu.> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:55PM (#10843142) Homepage Journal
    In order to use my PC as a PVR I need to be able to bypass my cable box; right now I can't do that, the internal tuner has to stay on channel 3. Does anyone know of software for the Radeon that will descramble the signal? I suppose it would be illegal here in the States?

    www.mythtv.org is slashdotted, if that's what it does.
  • by barfy (256323) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:56PM (#10843152)
    First of all, RTFA... This is not about putting banner ads during fast forward. It is about putting up interaction during ads. This has already been tested and is shown to work. (IE people respond to it).

    It is also an article showing that TiVo can provide advertisements that have better response rates than interstitial advertising provides.

    But this slashdot posting is editorializing from beginning to end. I can understand that *you* don't wnat to see any advertising ever... Good for you. (but look at the banners at the top and right of the the slashdot page you nit.) But you know nothing about why I or many people have TiVo! And for the most part all this editorializing is WRONG. The interstital is being replaced by the more attractive click-ins. The ads are better produced, more entertaining, more informative. And they are not being replaced by more intrusive advertising. It is being replaced by *less* intrusive and more interactive advertising. And you can still opt out of the data collection! Get a friggin grip.
  • by jxyama (821091) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:58PM (#10843173)
    this reminds me of the whole caller-id, blocked-id fiasco with the telephone companies... a company in the middle, double-dipping...

    tivo can do this right by offering service credit to those willing to watch the ads while fast-forwarding. if they really mean "tv your way" then that's the right way. (the wrong way, like the caller-id crap, is to charge the customers to not watch ads during fast-forward.) if you respect the customers, tivo, then give them the choice.

  • by Luscious868 (679143) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @01:01PM (#10843232)
    Just enable the 30 second skip and you'll never use fast forward to skip commercials again. When it's enabled, the -->| button becomes a 30 second skip button.

    To enable:

    1. Grab your TiVo remote.

    2. Bring up any recorded program. (You have to be watching a recorded program rather than "Live TV" in order to enable the feature.)

    3. On your TiVo remote, key in the following sequence:
    SELECT PLAY SELECT 30 SELECT

    4. If you've successfully entered the code, you should hear three "bings" in succession to inform you that you've successfully enabled the 30 second skip.

    The only down side is that any time your TiVo is rebooted (such as after a power outage or a software update) you'll have to re-enable this feature.
  • by clmensch (92222) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @01:07PM (#10843293) Homepage Journal
    I feel bad for Tivo owners. I love my ReplayTV 5000. It skips commercials automatically with surprisingly good accuracy. It rarely if ever incorrectly skips content...but sometimes it doesn't realize that a commercial break has begun. In any case, I can just instantly jump forward 30 seconds (or however far I want).

    Tivo is the AOL of PVR's.
  • by Argyle (25623) * on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @01:13PM (#10843380) Homepage Journal
    I mean seriously folks.

    Advertising is here for good. It's a mainstay of our entire socio-economic model.

    Of course, as television changes, so will the way advertising works.

    For all of you that are 'shocked, shocked' that Tivo intends to get into the ad business, wake up and smell the coffee. Business is about money and ads are where the money lives.
  • by Chatmag (646500) <editor@chatmag.com> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @01:18PM (#10843443) Homepage Journal
    Doing a bit of digging, I find that Tivo is a public company. Some information on them:

    Company Profile [reuters.com]

    Company Two Year Stock Chart [yahoo.com]

    This move seems to be a result of the hard stock price drop which occurred between March and September of 2004. I've always thought of corporations as one of those huge Euclid off road dump trucks with the 12' tires, and no power steering.
    • by Hassman (320786) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @01:26PM (#10843552) Journal
      I actually own the TIVO stock.

      The price drop was due to the break in the relationship between TIVO and DirectTV.

      Investors didn't think TIVO could make it without being directly related to a service provider. The sentiment is slowly changing as more and more people suscribe to TIVO independent of DirectTV.

      I sure hope it comes back more. I lost my shirt. They had everything going for them until that announcement.
    • by Tazzy531 (456079) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @01:27PM (#10843581) Homepage
      Been following them for the past year. They are facing a problem of becoming a commodity. Each independent cable/satellite company is rolling out their own home grown DVR box. DirectTV dropped them last March and divested from them quite a bit.
      the last big news was that Microsoft just signed a deal with Comcast to provide DVR service, which directly competes with TIVO.
      This ad-skipping commercial is good news for us shareholders. They need to prove that they have alternative revenues than just subscription.
      Now to put on my consumer/techy hat. Why would anyone have a problem of seeing a banner ad rather than a blank screen when they fast forward? It's not hurting you in any way. I understand that since you pay 12.95 a month you should get it ad-free. But why not make the same request to cable television? I'm paying $33/month for cable TV, should I have the same expectation that Comedy Central is ad-free?
      • by Politburo (640618) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @02:44PM (#10844473)
        I understand that since you pay 12.95 a month you should get it ad-free. But why not make the same request to cable television? I'm paying $33/month for cable TV, should I have the same expectation that Comedy Central is ad-free?

        No, you don't understand. It's completely different.

        If you were a new customer to cable, you would expect commercials on most channels. It would have been no surprise if you had done just a cursory amount of research on the service you were signing up for.

        If you saw TiVO at a friend's house and signed up for it, you would not have the expectation of any banner ads whatsoever, no matter how much research you did on the service (rumors aside). All of the sudden, you will now be getting ads.

        Bait and switch.
  • mythTV rocks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fulana_lover (652004) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @01:19PM (#10843455)
    I have a mythTV with 500GB of attached storage and it just rocks... I originally owned a tivo (added 80GB to it), loved it, but didn't want yet-another-monthly-bill after that tivo died and wanted something where I can dump my DVD collection with either a DVD jukebox or massive storage. its absolutely brilliant, no monthly fees, I get CVS builds once every few weeks, I have a nice quiet Antec Sonata case hidden away, and I have over 200 DVDs I ripped using mythTV so I can watch them whenever I want, however I want. LOL i use mythTV more for the ripped DVDs than TV, I probably only watch 3-4 hours of recorded TV per week (daily show, 24, amazing race, will & grace). The only improvement to mythTV I hope to see is picture quality... imo the PVR-250/350s that most people use for recording isn't the highest quality, I think my Tivo had slightly better TV quality and much, much faster channel changing while watching live. Hopefully a next generation of HDTV PC cards will come out without silly cap'ing problems and we will all be happy :)
  • by enrico_suave (179651) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @01:25PM (#10843544) Homepage
    Will I get cheaper monthly service fees for my Tivo because their costs will be offset by *shudder* these banner ads?

    Granted, if TiVo needs the ad revenue to stay solvent, I guess it's necessary (the TiVo is doorstop without the service, well sorta [tivocanda.com] =))

    But they might be shrinking their market to tap these new ad based revenue streams, which will make the ad placements be worth less...

    Apparently it won't be cable companies clumsy DVR's, or even us diy PVR'ers [byopvr.com] (shameless plug), or dillution of "brand/identity" that kills TiVo... it will be TiVo killing TiVo with practices and commitments that aren't in their CONSUMERS best interest.

    Why would someone who buys a special box and pays a monthly (or lifetime) service fee to skip commercials put up with replacement commercials during the commercial skipping process?!?! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

    Furthermore what advertiser in their right mind would want to reach people that ADD and disposition makes them actively adverse to ads? And if tivo's DVR/PVR share decreases what will those banner ads be worth to the advertisers then?

    Will DirecTivo's be effected by this change? (and will this hasten DirecTV's dance away from TiVo specific DVRs?)

    *Shrug*
  • by wbtittle (456702) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @01:32PM (#10843636) Homepage
    This just in: "A new bill being lobby for in congress will make it illegal for you to leave your television off." Providers of entertainment, in desperate need of more money intend to enable police officers to detain you for not watching television.
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @01:36PM (#10843697) Homepage
    It's about time for the cheap, generic PVRs from China to start appearing. Pure product, no service, price around $79 and dropping.
  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @02:07PM (#10844069) Homepage
    TiVo is essentially capturing a TV signal, filtering out the original advertising, and replacing it with their own. If this isn't IP theft, I don't know what is. The TV networks and their advertisers should sue, and if they do, they should win.
  • by Logic Bomb (122875) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @02:09PM (#10844098)
    TiVos by default do not have any "quick jump" feature. You have to literally fast-forward through commercials. However, there's a widely-known code you type into the remote to turn on a 30-second instant skip feature. So when I skip commercials, I'm never fast-forwarding; I press the jump button 6 or 8 times and that's it. The whole thing takes like 3 seconds. As long as they don't remove that feature, super-anti-commercial people like me will still be happy.
  • by SurfTheWorld (162247) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @02:19PM (#10844209) Homepage Journal
    I own 3 TiVO's and have modified them with larger disks, network connectivity, and video extraction capability. I've been doing this since I bought my first TiVO in Fall 2000.

    One of the primary drawbacks to root'ing your TiVO was that the next time a software update was transmitted from the magic entertainment boob in the sky, all your hard work would be erased, as the update would wipe the OS install clean (usually).

    While my work in the TiVO community has dwindled significantly in the past months, I did happen to take note of a warning that said something to the effect of "Disable Remote Update". I'm not certain what this feature of the hack does, but it sounds (at least from the name) that it would not allow TiVO or DTV to upgrade your TiVO's OS from 3.1 to 3.x in the future.

    I'm going to go look into that option now. But I think that if you really feel strongly about TiVO and DTV whoring themselves to the ad-nipple in California, you might want to invest a Saturday afternoon in root'ing your TiVO so that you won't receive this unwanted feature.

    -c
  • oh well. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DaveJay (133437) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @02:38PM (#10844406)
    Once upon a time, I watched little to no TV -- and by that, I mean I watched a Simpson's episode once every few weeks, and that was it.

    Then TiVo came along (my wife, who watches TV, wanted it) and I was totally drawn in. Freed from having to pay attention to programming schedules and whatnot, and given the ability to pause live TV and skip commercials, I started watching more TV. Now, a weekly roster includes NASCAR racing, three or four programs from the Cartoon Network, the Daily Show, and other tidbits.

    Then, several months ago, TiVo tried a new kind of advertisement wherein an interstitial ad popped up when you tried to reach the main menu, asking you if you wanted to find out more, or continue on to the menu. It infuriated me (and others in public forums) because it put the advertising in the way of the menu I was trying to access, which was highly intrusive.

    I was ready to get rid of TiVo at that point, but evidentally the TiVo folks got a lot of flak for it, because the next ad showed up as a link in the main menu instead -- and I decided it was acceptable since I could safely ignore it.

    Well, my jury's still out on this one. If the ads are merely visual annoyances that can be ignored (I do, after all, watch NASCAR, so I'm used to it) I'll continue the service, but if the ads in any way interfere with the usability of the device, I think I'm done.

    And that, at the end of the day, would be a good thing. It's too easy to forget that TV is a toy, not a necessity.

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