Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Television Media

TiVo Gets In Deeper With Sony 187

mickeyreznor writes: "TiVo and Sony have entered into a seven year deal. The deal will result in TiVo's software being incorporated into Sony's electronic products. This deal might be good for TiVo, who've seemed to have been struggling financially to date. I'll just have to see how much more sony products cost with TiVo included." This is good news for anyone with a TiVo.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

TiVo Gets In Deeper With Sony

Comments Filter:
  • TiVo (Score:1, Interesting)

    by crumbz ( 41803 )
    I don't have TiVo but I would like to get one. Any recommendations on buy now or after x-mas? When are the new ones coming out? Is Sony manufacturing them?
    • Re:TiVo (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jsimon12 ( 207119 )
      See if you can find a 20 hour TiVo, I think certain Walmarts still had them and they were only like 149 bucks (maybe less), then throw a 100 gig HD in there and rock on with your like 100 hours TiVo.
      • Upgrading a Tivo is nowhere that simple, and some people experience problems after an upgrade that non-upgraders never have.
  • by supabeast! ( 84658 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @02:46PM (#2447917)
    Coming in 2005... The Playstation ThreeVo!
    • by _Mustang ( 96904 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @02:52PM (#2447955)
      And why would you say that as if it were a joke? All we've been hearing lately here on /. is news about the "next big thing" being the entertainment center *doohicky* that allows gaming, television and full net access.Dangit if that isn't exactly where Sony is headed and that much sooner by adding TiVo capabilities to their next PS - the one with the onboard storage.
      • The funny is in the name, not the concept. Chill.
      • The best part is that Sony has a DOCSIS-compliant cable modem based on Cisco's reference design, and tested/debugged by Cisco engineers; Integrate TiVo, PS3, the CM, and VoIP, and you have one solution that runs your whole entertainment center.
        • Great, then corporate spyware can tell not only what sites we visit, but also what video games we play! And what TV shows we watch! And what ads get muted the most/least! And what DVD's we watch!

          An internet-enabled TiVo/PlayStation would open new doors for market research and customer tracking...

          They should almost just put a mic+camera on the thing so it can tell what else is going on in your house!
      • Imagine that. A device that allows "gaming, television and full net access" it's like feature creep ppl, if you want that then get a decent video in/video out video card and a computer. TiVO would seem to me to target people who are less technically savvy and prolly just want each machine to do its the TiVO is an advanced VCR and thats all it needs to be for them. If they want gaming then they go buy the X-box or whatever. Just seems like a combined one would make less revenue...

        But you are right I guess, sooner or later someone will combine it. I can't wait to get my combined digital refrigirator/blender/organizer web enabled sink.

        • by timbck2 ( 233967 )
          No, no, no, no, no. Only someone who's never seen TiVo would think of it this way. Trying to get all these capabilities out of a PC today with the ease of use of TiVo would be impossible. I'm not a gamer, so I can't say anything about that.
      • by JofCoRe ( 315438 )
        And would that mean that I couldn't play a game while I recorded something on my PSThreeVo?

        If they do end up combining something like this, I hope they take into account that people may want to be able to multitask it. Otherwise, it wouldn't be particularly useful... for me at least.....
  • FP (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    How is this good news for tivo owners?
    • Re:FP (Score:4, Insightful)

      by unitron ( 5733 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @02:56PM (#2447990) Homepage Journal
      Just what I was wondering. Sony is heavily involved in the content providing business as well as the hardware to play the content on business. Sounds like it'll just increase the likelyhood of copy controls being introduced in future versions of the Tivo software and hardware. I want something that's tied to no one's desires but mine. (Able to work with lots of different program listing services, lots of different file formats, easy to transfer files to and from other devices, easy to write your own control software for, easy to expand storage, etc.)
      • I actually made another similiar response, but I want to make sure this is clear. There is no way Sony would introduce content control functions into Tivo unless it was done industry wide. This market is too competitive. If someone knew that if they bought a Tivo the "Transfer to Tape" function would be disabled for all Sony Media, but if they bought a ReplyTV or MS UltimateTV they wouldn't have this restriction, nobody would buy them.

        Am I wrong? How could they get away with it? Now if they had a monopoly (like some people) they probably could, but they don't.
    • Re:FP (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tim Macinta ( 1052 ) <> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @02:59PM (#2448019) Homepage
      How is this good news for tivo owners?

      For one thing, it means that TiVo is likely to stay in business for quite sometime. A TiVo recorder would be lot less useful if there no company providing the update service that TiVo provides. The updates give you schedule listings and software upgrades. Without the update service, a TiVo recorder is only slightly more useful than a VCR - with the update service a TiVo recorder becomes indespensible to most people who have used one.

      • Unless I am mistaken, with the new firmware that newer Tivo owners are required to have, the device will be substantially less useful than a VCR if the company disappears since owners cannot program the time into the unit themselves (which makes programming the unit to start recording in your absence impossible).
      • Re:FP (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Cramer ( 69040 )
        If TiVo goes out of business, the tape will be pulled off a lot of mouths. There are no secrets inside there. Once there's no longer a threat of lawyers (or killing the company), a lot of previously guarded utilities will surface -- feeding them guide data is not hard at all.

        So get a DirectTV unit. It requires almost zero interaction with TiVo to function. With a few minor modifications, it never needs to call tivo. Sure, you'll stop getting "TiVolution Magazine" and "Showcases", but how often does anyone use those?
  • TiVo vs UltimateTV (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jaga~ ( 175770 )
    Besides most of you hating M$, how do most people view the two competitors.. I know TiVo is more expandable with the HD space and all, but is it better than Ultimate TV? Anyone had/used both and can give us an honest opinion?
    • by Gaijin42 ( 317411 )
      I have used both. Ultimate TV has the nice feature of being able to record two shows at once. And I like the grid style tv guide better. But Tivo is GREAT with suggestions, and the season pass manager is the best of all of the PVRs out there. Letting you set up conflicting season passes makes life WAY easier to get the shows you always want, and fill in the gaps with other shows.

      If tivo added a second tuner, it would rock my world.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Just as a side note...all DirectTivo units are built with a second tuner. TiVo released the software upgrade to turn on the second tuner late last you can now record two shows at once if you like...
      • The DirecTivo units include two tuners, allowing the user to simultaneously record two shows while watching a third off the hard drive.


      • by Quikah ( 14419 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @03:07PM (#2448079)
        The DirectTiVo does have dual tuners now. They have been sending the upgrade out for the past month or so. The standalone Tivo's will never have dual tuner capability unless they release a new unit with two encoders. The standalone are not really comparable to UltimateTV as they server a different market.
      • by rvaniwaa ( 136502 )
        The latest TiVos do have two tuners and can also record two shows at once, just like UltimateTV
      • TiVo can't use the grid unless they license the patent from Starsight. I understand that ReplayTV and UltimateTV did that but TiVo did not. Maybe TiVo will for the next version. One could hope.
        • The DirectTV units default to "grid" mode. The SA's will not allow you to display in "grid" mode (without hacking.) I saw a Sony commercial with a SA unit showing the guide in grid mode once -- I was very shocked.

          And I believe it's a GemStar (stupid) patent.
    • From the commercials I have seen it seems UltimateTV comes with 2 tuners, so you can record 2 shows at once. I don't think normal TiVo's have this, although I think the DirecTivo's do.
      • You need a satellite hookup for the UltimateTV "record-two-shows-in-one", which is why only DirecTiVo is the only TiVo to do it. So its not really an "up" for UltimateTV.
        • Weird, i wonder why they are limiting themselves... if i can buy a tv tuner card for my pc for 50 bucks on ebay, surely integrators like tivo or M$ could add one for the cost of 25 dollars. A 25 dollar price increase is small compared the the benefit of being able to record 2 shows!
          • A "tv tuner card" is not an MPEG encoder. You will not integrate an MPEG encoder into either device for 25$. I doubt you could buy the Sony chip [cxd1922] (alone) for 25$.
      • You are correct - I got my parents a DirecTiVo and not only does it have two tuners (one live/record, one background record), DirecTV doesn't charge you for using the second one!
    • Ultimate TV only supports satellite. It doesn't have MPEG-2 encoding capability, it simply stores the MPEG-2 stream from the satellite on the Hard Disk. This is exactly what kept me away from Ultimate TV; I use Digital Cable service because of the many televisions in my house (DirecTV charges $5 extra per TV, my cable company doesn't). Additionally, I am tied to my cable company because I use a cable modem, which I am very happy with.

      So, Ultimate TV is positively worthless to me. Also, the capability to record two shows at once requires two drops from the satellite, something which a lot of people didn't think to pull behind their televisions.

      The only other feature Ultimate TV boasts is a WebTV add-on, something which no serious /.er should ever consider.
      • I used to have a normal Tivo hooked to digital cable. This is not even in the same ballbark in value as a DirectTivo (and I assume the UltimateTv).

        For one thing at least in the two areas I have had digital cable (Austin Tx, Kansas City) the quality isn't even comparable. DirectTv is probably 5 times clearer. The quality of local channels is even higher... go figure.

        Just because you have a cable modem doesn't mean you are tied to cable service.

        • DirecTV is marginally better in quality than my digital cable. Several catches:
          1) I have to have basic cable (~$10) in order to have a Cable Modem. So, I'm already devoting $10 plus the $40 for my cable modem. Once I calculate adding a DirecTV box to even 3 televisions, it becomes prohibitively expensive.
          2) Until very recently, DirecTV didn't offer Fox Sports World. I love watching soccer.
          3) DirecTV still doesn't provide WB or UPN in my area (I don't think they provide them anywhere). No WB means I can't watch my Friends and Seinfeld reruns in the evenings. No UPN means no Buffy (I'm not into Star Trek, but that's a motivating factor for quite a few people). I'm far enough out in the burbs that off-air reception is horrible.
          • The only WB and UPN local stations currently in the lineup are two NYC stations. As far as I can find, they are the only WB and UPN stations out of the 1000 channels available :-( There's a Radio Shack channel (among other private channels), five(?) national Fox feeds, and hundreds of sports channels, but they cannot find a single source for WB and UPN? Gez!

            So far, Enterprise is the only thing I've not been able to find. WGN carries some stuff, albeit a week behind the antenna.
    • by stripes ( 3681 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @04:20PM (#2448665) Homepage Journal
      I know TiVo is more expandable with the HD space and all, but is it better than Ultimate TV?

      I only have a TiVo, and I'm not positive I'm talking about TiVo vs. UTV here, or mixing some of these up with TiVo vs. ReplayTV. Sorry.

      • UTV only works with DirecTV. TiVo comes in a DirecTV flavor (that can now record off of two channels like UTV), and a "Stand Alone" flavor that works with DISH, cable, or an antenna (and mixed, like antenna plus cable or antenna plus DISH -- very important if you get normal networks via antenna).
      • DirecTiVo has two "live buffers", UTV only lets you do PIP.
      • TiVo does a way way way better job tracking schedule changes, and letting you decide which shows to get when there is a schedule change. (TiVo basically tracks the show name, or other search, and lets you assign a priority, UTV looks for a show that is on at "about eight" with the name you gave it)
      • TiVo can be asked for it's current TODO list of stuff to record, to make sure it is going to do what you want.
      • UTV has a 30 second skip button, TiVo has a 60x FF with self correction. They both take about as long to use, but many people like the 30 second skip
      • TiVo has TiVomatics (during a commercial if the right crap is put into the VBL an icon pops up, pressing select will ask if you want to record "Show X", which is normally the show being advertised (or sponsored by Lexus), you can schedule it as normal, or cancel...or you can not press select and never see the screen -- it works even during FF), UTV doesn't.
      • TiVo can be asked why it didn't record something you thought it should
      • Unless you disable it, TiVo can record stuff it thinks you might like onto otherwise unused space (really unused, a show you recorded three months ago, and said "save for at least three days" is more important then a show TiVo thinks you might like because you liked other shows with the same actors, writer, and director).
      • TiVo lets you opt-out of their "information gathering", and tells you what they gather if you decline to opt-out. MS does not.
      • TiVo demands you use a phone to dial in and get program info (well DirecTiVo gets that off the air now, if you aren't recording something at 2am). UTV lets you use any ISP you like.
      • UTV's interface is slicker
      • TiVo has operating funds for a year or two (plus whatever Sony pays them), but is not currently self sustaining. MS can buy everyone on earth a UTV before going bankrupt :-)
      • I like TiVo, I hate MS...
      Anyone had/used both and can give us an honest opinion?

      Yes, he posts on a lame non-slash web BBS type thing [] once in a while. I think he is DrStrange. He has three TiVos, a Replay, and a UTV. He does balanced reviews (tells you what each unit is best for, not just what TiVo does well). I looked for the exact post, but couldn't find it. If I had I would have skipped doing my own list.

      • All good points. TiVo has a very enthusiastic capable hacker audience. I myself have upgraded the storage, added a TiVoNet card, and modified the software. Running a web server and other network services, TiVo is a true internet appliance. We are close to having a reliable network video server. The high quality MPEG2 encoding has broad utility (any video stream can be encoded). Once on my lan, and with a permanent connection to the internet, the phone line is no longer used.
        As might be expected, the reviews I have read confirm that TiVo is fast and responsive and stable compared to the UTV. This even tho TiVo runs on a 54MHz PowerPC chip! The UTV's apparent advantage of 2 simultaneous recordings will soon not be when the DirectTiVo software is updated to 2.5 I am not such a TV fanatic that I have to record to shows at the same time. I can watch one on TV while TiVo records another. Big deal.
        • The UTV's apparent advantage of 2 simultaneous recordings will soon not be when the DirectTiVo software is updated to 2.5 I am not such a TV fanatic that I have to record to shows at the same time. I can watch one on TV while TiVo records another. Big deal.

          The 2.5 update should be just about completely rolled out by now for the DirecTV with TiVo owners. I gave my parents a Philips DSR6000 DirecTV with TiVo about a month and a half ago. They've had the 2.5 update for a while.

          Recording two things at once can be an advantage. If there are enough people in the house that there are frequent conflicts about what to record, dual tuners is a big advantage.

  • Upgrade (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 18, 2001 @02:48PM (#2447930)
    On another note, Tivo just released a software update for its stand alone recievers. It allows users to store more content on their boxes by using VBR. Cool stuff.
    • Is that what the big suprise in 2.5 is? Wow!

      Does anyone have a feature list for 2.5 yet? It hasn't pushed down to my SA yet! Thanks!

      (Oh, and yay for anything that keeps TiVo alive! Thanks Sony!)
      • Try here, look for the "Fall Update Guide" for whichever brand you own (Philips or Sony): ase_notes
    • On another note, Tivo just released a software update for its stand alone recievers. It allows users to store more content on their boxes by using VBR. Cool stuff.

      Could somebody out there who has already received this upgrade post a comment on how well this works? I found the following at TiVo's website, but it was very scant on details:

      I have one of the original 14 hour TiVos, so anything that will give me more recording time will be greatly appreciated. I wouldn't mind buying a new box if they ever end up making an ethernet version, but until then I will continue contemplating adding a second hard drive and I will hope that the VBR recording will substantially help once I get the update.
      • Try here for the new user guide for Philips models: 2_ 0.asp

        And here for Sony models: .a sp
      • If you use the same settings I use, you might see an extra half hour to hour (appears to be roughly 40 minutes, but I can't measure it precisely) of recording time. More if you use lower quality settings.
    • Re:Upgrade (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jburkholder ( 28127 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @04:16PM (#2448639)
      Oh, while this is good news that 2.5 is here (early perhaps, by some of the talk of "early next spring" that I had been hearing), there is one small drawback (for me, at least).

      These upgrades disrupt some of the hacks that can be done. The system has two 'duplicate' root partitions which are used to switch over the machine to new software versions. Any hacks you have applied (as in daily call over Cable via PPP, in my case) have to be re-applied.

      I found this out when my recorder went from 1.3 to 2.01 shortly after I got it to work in the first place. I had been eyeing TiVo for a long time and finally decided to get a Sony unit last month and to put a 75GB second drive in it right away.

      I ran the unit through enough of the setup to test the modem, as was suggested in the FAQ; but I found that my TiVo was totally unable to perform the second setup call after I had installed the second drive. I looked around to see what I could do to troubleshoot the modem, but nothing worked and it started to look like the thing was just fscked.

      I thought I was screwed (can't return it for a new one after voiding the warranty) until I found mention of the PPP hack in the FAQ and gave that a try. It worked great... for about 2 days until the thing upgraded itself to 2.01 and all the things I'd done like getting bash to run and doing the daily call through my Cable were gone.

      Apparently, the TiVo had two root partitions that are used to switch software versions. I had to open the machine up again, attach the A drive to my PC and go through the setup again.

      I guess I'll be doing that again as soon as this upgrade gets delivered.
  • Uh oh. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jason99si ( 131298 )
    How long until Sony puts restrictions on recording Sony Studio's movies bought using pay-per-view? or on HBO and the like?

    While I think the competition will be good (Microsoft is competing in this realm, etc.) I'm not sure I'm going to like the influence Sony will have from a copyright perspective.
    • They won't unless everyone else does. If they did then everybody would just buy PVR's from their competitors.

      Stop being so paranoid. Geez.
  • it is good to see sony profiting off of linux, just like hp and ibm - indeed, linux is definitely a hardware company's friend more than a company who purely concentrates on software - though there are exceptions, like redhat. it would be nice to see sony contribute a little more to linux like ibm and hp instead of just profiting off of it
  • Wonder how this will affect the hack factor of Tivo products. Tivo didn't make it easy, but they always left the door open, and they never sued (far as I know) over any hacks or consumer upgrades like others have. I wonder how Sony will take this though? Will we start to see DMCA lawsuits if I hack my Trinitron/Tivo?
    • Tivo was (hopefully still is) very supportive of the hacking being done to their STBs. They were highly amused that people were ripping them apart and adding bigger hard drives. Hopefully Sony will continue to honor the stance that Tivo had taken.
  • Sony has had products with TiVO inside for quite some time. You can purchase a Sony DirecTV reciever with TiVO inside. I've thought about purchasing one ever since I read the Linux Journal article about the TiVO.
  • Looks like they really want to concentrate on the software/service side of the house. Interesting, but doesn't it make them even more of a Microsoft target?

    I'm hoping this agreement will let manufacturers do things (recording to digital media) that TiVo wouldn't do for itself otherwise.
    • TiVo always have been focussed on the software side since day one! They've never sold any hardware made by themselves which is why you buy Sony, Philips, or (in the UK) Thomson branded recorders with the TiVo service.

      The difference was that the hardware manufacturers mostly took TiVo's reference design and implemented it (much like video card manufacturers do with nVidia's graphics chips). This new deal will mean that Sony will have free reign to implement the TiVo service in any device they like.
  • by saridder ( 103936 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @02:57PM (#2447999) Homepage
    Sony had to do this because you know MS will merge the X-box and ReplayTV in the next few years. I'm suprised TiVo wasn't bought out completely by Sony. At what point does the web and/or and ethernet card get built in also, creating the ultimate All-in Wonder.
  • Since the TiVo service isn't available in Canada AFAIK, I'd just like a nice standalone PVR. I don't want it to "learn" what I like, I don't want to archive everything away so I can share it on LimeWire, I don't want frills. All I want is a digital VCR replacement for time-shifting programs.

    When I want to archive things (like movies or The Family Guy) I'll stick to VHS because I can share those with friends, and there's that whole backwards compatibility thing.
    • It just becomes a fairly standard digital "vcr" if you don't have the service.
      • by WNight ( 23683 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @04:06PM (#2448546) Homepage
        Well, it used to. Now it doesn't. If you buy a new Tivo withou the service is bitches and complains all the time that you need to buy the service, it won't record for more than thirty minutes, and won't label shows (or let you manually.

        Old Tivos work fine, unless you plug them into the phone, at which point they download the upgrade and start functioning as the new Tivos. But, you have to plug them in because the time drifts fairly badly if you don't.

        Tivo's rep called users of the Tivo who didn't subscribe "freeloaders" and said that they *might* fix this "accidental" upgrade in v2.5.

        The old hardware used to sell with a notice saying it would work without the service but would be so much more with it. Now they say it won't work without (and boy are they right). The only problem is that they broke old machines without telling the owners and are now blaming the owners for expecting the device to function as it claimed on the box.

        Don't buy a Tivo, they're essentially crooks because they defraud their customers like this.
        • by sigma ( 53086 )
          This poster has blown things out of proportion, and is using out of date information.

          First of all, the functionality of a non-subscribed TiVo is now the same in 2.5 as it was in 1.3. It has been fixed.

          Of course, they want you to subscribe, it's thier source of revenue, hence the nag screens. After all, they do take a loss on every box they sell. But to say they are crooks is seriously unjustified.

          • It's pretty acurate to call them crooks. They knew what their forced upgrade would do, they designed in the lack of functionality. They (through their online mouthpiece) then called anyone who wanted their product to function as it did at purchase, a "Freeloader".

            When presented with ways to make this up to the users, such as providing free service until the patch was made, they blatantly refused.

            Many of the people who bought Tivo were in countries where the service wasn't available (no locla listings) so buying the service would have simply been a way to get around the nag screens.

            I don't care at all if they lost money on each unit. I simply care about the product description on the back of the earlier units that described their functionality (without service) and how the company later decided that they wouldn't honor it.

            Why is it companies can decide not to honor contracts and people support them? Would you support someone on here who said they decided not to continue their car payments, but kept the car anyways? You probably own stock like most of the people on the Tivo forum. The ones who were calling the owners of unsubscribes units thieves and cheats, and demanding that they pay for the monthly service, regardless of the product (at time of purchase) saying it wasn't necessary.

            I understand that the current situation might have gotten better, but I see no reason to encourage someone to go to a company that treats their customers like that. How long until they intentionally break something again?
    • The JVC HMHDS1U [] fits your requirements. It is a bit pricey though.
    • If it had a web interface for scheduling record times, and ethernet. Oh, and a phone jack, so I could plug it into the wall for nothing but video overlay of callerid dialup crap. I just want the callerid displayed on my tv without having to buy more expensive crap or hack something together myself. An email checker video overlay would be pretty spiffy too.
  • Good move (Score:3, Interesting)

    by isa-kuruption ( 317695 ) <> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @03:00PM (#2448024) Homepage
    If we want TiVo to stay around (which means becoming profitable (again?)), then they are going to have to make such strategic partnerships. Sony is a good choice for TiVo, and Sony obviously sees the possibilities TiVo has to offer.

    As for price increases in Sony products, I do not think you'll see much (if any). The kicker is the subscription fee. But the point of this kind of relationship is that Sony has the market base for TV's, DVD's, etc... and once people have these devices in their home which are "TiVo ready" then it makes it realy easy for them to dial the 800 number to subscribe. Buying an extra "box" (at $300 a pop) is not worth it to some people. Having the "extra features" in a box they are already buying is a good thing!
    • I understand that it's their business model. Yes some folks like the season pass. I just don't see it as useful, or as a step up from the regular satellite/cable listings (ok, the tvguide provicded listings on analog cable are garbage).
      I'd be perfectly happy to continue clicking on the programs I want from my regular listing, and to have the ability to set it to recortd the same time & station each week. I suppose this deal is a step in that direction, but unless sony makes boxes that let you do that, it doesn't help much.


      • Actually the subscription you pay isn't for the "seasons pass" (thats a built in feature that lets you record all occurances of one show) you pay for the clickable TV guide listings esentially (that and the ability for it to learn your preferences). If you elect not to subscribe to the service it's basically what you described, a digital VCR that you tell to record from a certain time to a certain time on a specifi chanel.

        - Sawbones
        • with 2.5, you lose that ability without the subscription. ISTR that you can only record for thirty minutes at a time, manually, without the package. Nt only that, but down below someone suggests that you need the service just to set the time . . .


      • One thing Season Passes can do for you is record each episode only once per say.. month. That way you don't end up seeing the same episode if it is aired on two seperate channels during the same month. I think that's pretty damn nifty.

        Plus it's nice not having to even guess which channel your shows are on. I get Law and Order on two different channels at least, but it doesn't even matter to me which channel it's on - I skip the commercials anyways. :)

        Also, TiVo's listings are far more than just a step above the regular listings. They're interactive, meaning you can select shows from the list and set them to record in just a few clicks. You can also look backwards to see what was on yesterday - I'm sure I'm not the only person to use this feature.

        Btw: You can set up manual recordings. I do that for Adult Swim on Cartoon Network because their clocks are a few minutes off there. TiVo can handle this if you tell it to record a few minutes early or late, but I've found it to be a lot of trouble to set that up for 6 shows in a row - personal preference.
  • by swngnmonk ( 210826 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @03:02PM (#2448045) Homepage

    Are there better resources out there than

    I like the functionality of the TiVo, but I don't want to spend the money on one - I don't need anything but a way to decode & record a cable TV signal.

    • TiVo - Does the TiVo come with a cable descrambler? If not, do you need to leave your cable box on the channel you want to record on?? Isn't that a huge PITA?
    • Hardware - Are there PCI cards out there that can accept a coaxial input & output S-Video or Composite video? (I've already got a kick-butt AGP card I'd rather not get rid of)
    • Cable - Does 'basic' cable (e.g. in the US, TNT/TBS/History Channel) get scrambled? Is there a way to decode in software?

    Why? Because the TiVo can't be programmed from the office, and I can't move anything off the TiVo to store for later viewing. I've already got 150+ GB of available storage, I need to use it for something.
    • Tivo can handle basic cable automatically just shove the wire into the back of the box. But if you have digitial cable, you still need the tuner.

      However it isnt a PITA, because tivo can control the cable box automatically, so it can change the channel on demand. Thus you can record a show at 7 on channel 1, and 7:30 on channel 2 with no user intervention.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I can answer your first question. No, you don't have to leave TiVo on the channel you're recording. TiVo will change channels for you. The program guide data has the channels in it, so it knows what's on what time.

      TiVo can be programmed from the office - it just isn't easy or supported. People have come up with an Ehternet card hack and web interface for TiVo.

      I believe that there is a hack that will (for the time being) let you remove programming from the TiVo. Be aware that even a lot of people in the TiVo Underground don't support this on the grounds that it may get TiVo sued out of business.
    • I've got a Sony TiVo (currently in shop due to shoddy engineering on the MODEM) and basic cable. All of the basic cable signals you listed are unscrambled, at least in my area, your mileage may vary. TiVo doesn't come with a cable descrambler, but if I remember correctly it can control a cable box, so the box would only need to be on the channel its recording while its recording.

      I'm starting to put together a linux based digital VCR, there's not a lot of complete information out there, but I can answer some of your questions.

      All of the capture boards I've seen are purely tuner/capture boards, they don't have S-video output. Some AGP video cards do have S-video output, and some of them are supported in linux.

      The main problem I'm having now is noise from my Soundblaster Live. After hooking up the capture board I seem to have created a ground loop, making for really poor sound quality.

      I haven't worked with the S-video output on my board yet, I'm not sure its supported, but my eventual intention is to build a tiny computer similar to the one posted on slashdot today that can sit on my home LAN and be a part of my entertainment system.

    • If you set up a computer to be a Tivo replacement, you are still spending money on it. The computer very likely costs more than a Tivo. You have to realize that while it is recording, it's essentially useless for doing anything else on. And a Tivo always records, so you getthe live buffer.

      And you'll end up with a much less useful software and fewer features. I know they seem like sillt luxuries untill you've tried them, but they become indispensible very soon.
  • Trying to send a message after moderation.

    Please, do not moderate this down. If possible remove this message.

  • To tell you the truth, I'm unsure what to think about this. On the one side, this is going to be a big boost for TiVo's publcity, but on the other I'm concerned with how Sony is going to use TiVo's license(copyright controls?).

    I am surprised though that Sony just didn't buy out TiVo. Maybe that is a good sign.
    • Re:Mixed (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Gaijin42 ( 317411 )
      This deal doesnt give Sony any control over Tivo, they just get to use the technology. So if Sony puts in restrictions on how you can use the built-in-tivo, just dont use it.

      You can always plug in an external unit.

      And since all the networks and whatnot are already tivo's main financial backing, any content control incentives are already in place.

      This is why Tivo doesnt have skip commercials. Because networks make their money on commercials, and therefore won't let tivo skip em.

      Ultimate TV and ReplayTV dont have that restriction.
  • by Mannerism ( 188292 ) <keith-slashdot@spotsoftware . c om> on Thursday October 18, 2001 @03:16PM (#2448147)
    It's interesting that those who deliver the content (cable, satellite providers) and those who deliver the hardware we use to view the content (Sony, TiVo) are finding new and revenue-generating ways (HDTV, digital cable/sat, PVRs) to give their customers what they want (quality picture and sound, flexibility in viewing times), but those who actually PRODUCE the content seem to be doing the same thing they've been doing all along (producing generally low-quality stuff and relying mostly on ad revenues). Is there any way for technology to have a positive influence on the stuff we watch instead of just the way in which we watch it?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The rebate from Sony brings the cost of the DirectTV/Tivo to $159!

    See most any dealer or go to Sony's site.
  • by A_Non_Moose ( 413034 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @04:03PM (#2448518) Homepage Journal
    Ok, with apologies to the "Digital Hub" idea of SJ.

    Give it some serious thought for a second. If Sony could take ILink/Firewire and ethernet, then add it to a Tivo, or Tivo-like device, it would make a killing, IMO.

    A rather nebulous idea, to be sure, but one time I was being rather lazy and needed some images I had snagged...for lack of a zip disk, and rather than emailing them to myself or ftp'ing I simply dragged the images to a digital camera and it had put them on the memory card inside.

    Very neat and simple. A device that does what you want w/o any restrictions, encryption, access denied, backdoors, product activation.
    Drag, Drop, copy, done. (I hesitate to say I was on a mac, so no flames, pls)

    Imagine this applied to a PVR. You've got a dvd/SVCD/VCD/mpg/avi/mov or heck maybe even mp3's for good measure. You drag, drop or pipe it over a wire and it plays by either decoding it or accepting a straight DV stream.
    Not only would the coolness factor be a driving force, but the MP|RI-AA "FSCK OFF" factor would make them fly off the shelves.

    It could be done by SONY and very few others because SONY, unlike most corporations can, have "someone to point a finger at".
    MSFT == gates/ballmer
    APPL == jobs
    SONY == (I have no idea).

    This is what most corps are aiming for, mind you.

    Yeah there would be other corps screaming bloody murder, maybe suing, but (IIRC) Sony or a Sony like company would defend itself from the likes of Rambus/MSFT/MPAA. (Was it Sony?...don't remember and too dang tired to look it up, anywho..).

    I think, it is a possibility...some corps "get it" when they 'give ppl what they want' *not* "give ppl what they think we want'".

    One Moose's opinion.

    • Have you forgotten Sony is one of the big labels? They put things in the market where they can without killing their own other markets...

      You can bet any product will have just as much "content control" as any product out there.
      • Have you forgotten Sony is one of the big labels? They put things in the market where they can without killing their own other markets...

        You can bet any product will have just as much "content control" as any product out there.

        No I had not, and thanks for calling me on it, but the point I was driving at was a "Sony-like" company. One that is "ubiquitous", I think is the word I was searching for.

        Rambus is/was/will continue to be a IP, and not a technology, bully. One memory mfg stood up and said "enough" and took them to court/countersued.
        I don't recall the exact results, but, it came to a draw in court but a win in the court of public opinion. Before anyone stood up, mfg's knew they were being defrauded/flim-flamed or cowed by Rambus' lawyers...all it took was *one* to stand up and fight.
        In the game of "j'accuse!" the defendant has the hardest or draw/no contest essentailly gives you 2 out of 3 odds of "success".

        Keep in mind the jist of what I said previously because the parallels to Microsoft, RI|MP-AA, Rambus, and yes, even Sony (depending on how this Tivo aquisition goes) are astounding.

        (as an aside my thinking on matters such as these are, admittadly, esoteric. I make connections at times so "out there", and get slammed (rightfully so) until I can put the subject into the proper context. I'm trying, so, work with me a little)

        IMO, Microsoft has done everything possible *except* publish a proclamation similar to the "Manifest Destiny". I think there will be major battles in the future (DOJ's 'emasculation by administration' aside) but the war is already lost and any victory will be a Pyrric Victory.

        The MP|RI-AA's? (and I'm not going to discount Sony or a "Sony-like-company")
        More of the same quite possibly.

        Kind of gloomy-sounding? yeah.
        Have I given up? NOT ON YOUR FREAKING LIFE!!!
        I for one *UNDERMINE* if downright *DEFY* these corporations every chance I get, because I am an American after all.
        I got an MPAA bitch message once...ok, you can control me on the internet, fine..but not off the internet. When you start using fear tactics on Americans/me, you only piss "us" off even more.

        Now, I've always wanted to get a tatoo, but never could find anything appropriate...and it just came to me a second ago. Mickey Mouse's siloette tatooed on the end of my penis. Disney wants me to remove it? Ok, on your knees and suck it off!

        Ok, I'm trying to lose the "rant'ish" tone.

        Sony has the potential to do a lot of good with Tivo by expanding, enrichening and enlightening others "Digital Lifestyle" (apologies to SJ, again and ppl with buzzword intolerance).
        If they "Embrace, extend and extinguish" a viable alternative, IMO, they will "piss a lot of us off".
        Will it be hacked, reguardless? Yes.
        Will doing so be illegal? Remains to be seen.

        Keeping this in perspective, the device ain't that important. The implications (dmca/ssca/current events/etc) for and of the future are.

        At the risk of sounding trite, we are the revolution(aries).
        The question is who/when is going to stand up and say "Just a FSCK'ing minute" on a grand scale.

        Yes, we encrypt communications to military vessels. It makes sense.
        Why are we allowing it with DVD's/HDTV's/whatever.

        IMOFWIW (In Moose's Opinion, For What It Is Worth)


        (whack) "Shutting Up!" -Molt, In a Bugs Life.
    • The person to point at in Sony is Ken Kutaragi
  • by AtariDatacenter ( 31657 ) on Thursday October 18, 2001 @05:53PM (#2449214)
    [reduced version of an essay I have yet to rewrite]

    Why is TiVo so delicious? Especially for a game console manufacturer who wants to adopt services? The answer is simple. The DVR locks itself into your television experience as a layer between your remote and your programming. How so?

    Once you have a TiVo/UltimateTV/ReplayTV, you are always working within the software environment. That is, it is not like a game console where you say, "Now I am going to play video games. Okay. Now I am done. I am going to switch it off and watch TV." The DVR is an always-on computer television appliance. It does a good job of integrating itself into the television... people without TiVos don't think about turning their TiVo off to do something else. [How? The primary reason is that it takes over the remote control. If you can get people to use YOUR remote control to operate their home television with YOUR appliance, you can put anything in between that you want.]

    Match that with a game console, and online services, and you see why it is so attractive. An online service that is "always on" makes itself far more easier to adopt than something you turn off and on.

    This is the future and, for this reason, television computing will become pervasive. WebTV isn't it. Game consoles aren't it. It is the DVR which will allow companies to sink their services into the "home television computer".
  • Sony (minimally) releases a Playstation 2 Linux kit.
    Sony commits to a seven year deal with the Linux Based Tivo.

    I suspect Sony will start shipping Dual boot Laptops and PCs soon where the user will have to buy windows or it gets wiped off.
    I suspect the Playstation 3 will run linux! You scoff, but with Sony's experience.... It would probably be a seriously modified kernel with many patches that would never see an AC let alone LT release but....

    Imagine a PS3 with DVD-R(W), TIVO, FIREWIRE, USB, KDE/OpenOffice and Mozilla (use debs please sony and make it deb compatible as far as possible), do you want all those idiots who want a computer to go out and get one of them or a Dell box with Win9x/Me/XP/BS and then ask you how to ....

    I think Sony are just plain ahead of the game here , and the consumer computer market is about to be redefined (finally) for the first time since win3.x.
    • I don't mean to be nasty or anything, but your idea is flawed because it doesn't appreciate how Sony makes money out of the PlayStation.

      In 1998, an astonishing 40% of Sony's profits came from its PSX division. And they made next to no money on the hardware. The company makes money because publishing a PSX game requires Sony's approval. Oh, that and a $5-7 fee (per unit) to Sony.

      Going to a Linux distribution with a DVD player would mean ANYONE could make a PS3 game. Good news for PS3 owners, bad news for Sony. Why would anyone pay Sony money when they could sell the games for 'free'.

      While Sony would love to be 'free' of Microsoft, that does not mean they would like to make the creation of games free. Going to an open-source/Linux architecture would mean ANYONE could write games.

      I can't imagine Sony senior management would go for that.

      Just my ha'penny's worth.
      • Hmm, perhaps it is you who doesn't appreciate that Sony is entering into a battlefield and it really wants to win. I would presume that Sony would keep the revenue you are refering to by releasing toolkits for game designers which are non-free and therefore incur the licensing charges if you use them AND if you want to put the PS3 logo onto a game you will have to pay them to do conformance testing and certification. Just because the OS (and perhaps/probably a lot of the system software) is free does not mean that Sony have to resort to making money on the hardware. You can write and release a "DVD" for the PS3 with a game on it and release it under the GPL, but if you want the stupid people to feel safe buying any games you have to pay Sony, everyone wins (except the people who will bitch about the $xk to get tested and the $yk / unit no matter what x and y are).

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll