About TiVo and TiVo Features

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TiVo (pronounced tee-voh) is a popular brand of digital video recorder (DVR) in the United States. It is a consumer video device which allows users to capture television programming to internal hard disk storage for later viewing (called "time shifting" if watched simultaneously).



TiVo, Inc. (Template:NASDAQ) was incorporated on August 4, 1997 as "Teleworld, Inc." by Jim Barton and Mike Ramsay, veterans of Silicon Graphics and Time Warner's Full Service Network digital video system. Originally intending to create a home network device, they later developed the idea to record digitized video on a hard disk.

Teleworld began the first public trials of the TiVo device and service in late 1998 in the San Francisco Bay area.<ref>http://news.com.com/TiVo+launches+smart+TV+trial/2100-1040_3-219409.html</ref> After exhibiting at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 1999, Mike Ramsay announced to the company that the first version of the TiVo digital video recorder would ship on March 31, 1999, despite an estimated four to five months of work remaining to complete the device. Because March 31, 1999 was a Blue Moon, the engineering staff code named this first version of the TiVo DVR "Blue Moon."<ref>http://archive.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?s=&postid=429445</ref>.

Teleworld, Inc. renamed themselves to TiVo, Inc. on July 21, 1999. TiVo, Inc. made its IPO (Initial Public Offering) on September 30 1999.<ref>http://www.tivo.com/5.6.2.asp</ref> Its first profitable quarter was the second quarter of 2005.<ref>http://www.thestreet.com/_yahoo/markets/marketstory/10239630.html?cm_ven=YAHOO&cm_cat=FREE&cm_ite=NA</ref>

The original TiVo device digitized and compressed analog video from any source (antenna, cable or direct broadcast satellite). In late 2000, Philips Electronics introduced the DSR6000, the first DirecTV receiver with a TiVo DVR integrated. This new device, nicknamed the "DirecTiVo," stored digital signals sent from DIRECTV directly onto TiVo's hard disk.

In early 2000, TiVo partnered with electronics manufacturer Thomson Multimedia and broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting to deliver the TiVo service in the UK market.<ref>http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/06-27-2000/0001252906&EDATE=</ref> This partnership resulted in the Thomson PVR10UK, a stand-alone receiver released in October 2000 that was based on the original reference design used in the United States by both Philips and Sony. TiVo ended UK sales in January 2003, though they continue to supply guide data to existing subscribed units.<ref>http://news.com.com/2100-1040-983432.html?tag=fd_top</ref>

The TiVo Digital Video Recorder

File:Series 2 tivo front.jpg
Front view of a TiVo Series2 5xx-generation unit
File:Series 2 tivo back.jpg
Back view of a TiVo Series2 5xx-generation unit

A TiVo device serves a similar function to a videocassette recorder, in that both allow a television viewer to record programming for viewing at a later time. Unlike a VCR, which uses removable magnetic tape cartridges, a TiVo device stores television programs onto non-removable hard disk storage (much like all digital video recorder devices).

A feature that distinguishes TiVo devices from similar digital video recorders is the sophisticated software written by TiVo, Inc. that automatically records programs — not only those the user specifically requests, but also other material the user is likely to be interested in. The TiVo device also implements a patented feature TiVo calls "trick play," which allows the viewer to pause live television, and rewind and replay up to a half hour of recently viewed television. Finally, more recent TiVo devices can be connected to a computer local area network, which allows the TiVo device to download information and even video programs and movies from the Internet. TiVo is used as a verb to describe the digital recording of a television program, regardless of whether the equipment is a TiVo-brand DVR (e.g. "Could you TiVo Desperate Housewives for me tonight?"). The TiVo corporation discourages the use of TiVo in this way, for fear that it could cause the name to become a genericized trademark.

Description of key functions

Integral to the functionality of a TiVo device is program guide information supplied to TiVo, Inc. by Tribune Media Services, containing information such as the name and description of programs to be broadcast within the next two weeks, as well as regular and guest actors, directors, genres, and whether the programs are new or repeat broadcasts. This information is downloaded from TiVo roughly once a day using either the integrated modem or a local area network connection to the Internet.

Using this program guide information, the television viewer can select programs to record either on an individual basis, or they can request a "season pass" which will instruct the TiVo device to record a show through the entire season (and beyond) on a particular channel, with the option of recording First Run Only, First Run & Repeats, or All Episodes. An episode is considered "First Run" if it is airing within two weeks of the original air date. TiVo also follows a "28 day rule" wherein it keeps track of each program it records and it will not record the same program again within 28 days. The "All Episodes" setting overrides this rule.

The TiVo software also allows the viewer to create a "Wish List," which is a stored search for a specific actor, director, keyword, title, or category. (The first four types can be further limited by restricting them to a specific category and sub-category.) For example, one could have a WishList for "FORD, HARRISON & Movies/Action Adventure" to find any Action Adventure movies starring Harrison Ford. WishLists can also be set to automatically record, referred to by TiVo users as an Auto-Record WishList (ARWL). An ARWL operates much like a Season Pass; however, it is not restricted to any specific channel as is a Season Pass.

Recordings are prioritized in the Season Pass Manager. Prioritization is used for conflict resolution. If two or more Season Passes or ARWLs have programs which would both be recorded and which overlap, the higher priority recording will be recorded, and the lower priority recording will either not record or be "clipped" as necessary at the beginning or end of the program. If the TiVo can record a later airing of the lower priority program, it will do so. (For systems with two tuners, conflict resolution only comes into play if three or more programs overlap, with the two highest priority programs being recorded.)

Users can rate programs favorable by appointing anywhere from one to three thumbs up.
Users can rate programs unfavorably by appointing anywhere from one to three thumbs down.

In addition to recording programs specified by the users, a feature pioneered by TiVo is the recording of additional programs based on the viewing habits of the household, called TiVo Suggestions. TiVo users can also rate programs favorably or unfavorably, ranging from three "thumbs up" to three "thumbs down." These ratings, and the ratings of other TiVo subscribers, are used in a collaborative filtering-based model to produce a recommendation score for unrated shows. This recommendation score is heavily based upon what other TiVo subscribers with similar viewing habits watch. For example, suppose Subscriber A has positive ratings for The Simpsons and Family Guy but no rating assigned for Futurama. Additionally, suppose Subscriber B has positive ratings for all three of those shows. Subscriber A might then receive a recommendation for Futurama because, other than that show, Subscribers A and B have identical preferences.

Programs that have been recorded may be stored until internal storage is filled, at which time the unit will dispose of older programs (unless flagged to be saved until manually deleted), to allow for new programs to be recorded.

When not recording a program, the TiVo unit automatically records the currently-tuned channel into a "live buffer", which is a temporary recording of (up to) 30 minutes of recently-viewed programming. (Changing the channel resets the live buffer, and dual-tuner models have a separate buffer associated with each tuner.) This buffer allows users to pause or rewind "live TV" within a 30-minute window, which is a huge advantage when an unwanted interruption (such as a ringing phone or crying baby) occurs at an inopportune time in the program.

If the user chooses to record the current program, any available portion of that program in the live buffer will be included in the recording. (Sometimes the length of the program converted from the live buffer may actually exceed the nominal 30-minute limit slightly, depending on that actual amount of disk space used by VBR recording in the buffer.)

Another advantage over traditional tape-based VCRs is the ability to play previously-recorded programs while recording a new program. While this ability can be crudely approximated by using multiple VCRs (for programs on different tapes), a TiVo DVR can also play a partial program while it is still being recorded, a feat which is impossible to accomplish with traditional VCRs. This feature allows a program to be viewed (in its entirety) without waiting for the recording to finish first. In fact, some users deliberately wait 10-15 minutes to start watching a program (either recorded or in the live buffer), allowing them to fast-forward through commercials and catch up to "live TV" by the end of the program.

In addition, unlike generic DVRs, TiVo Series2 units can be easily connected to a home network,<ref>http://www.tivo.com/getready</ref> allowing TiVo users to schedule recordings on TiVo's website (via TiVo Central Online), transfer recordings between TiVo units (Multi-Room Viewing (MRV)) or to/from a home computer (TiVoToGo), play music and view photos over the network, and access third-party applications written for TiVo's Home Media Engine (HME) API. TiVo has also been forging partnerships for 3rd party network content; currently TiVo users can access Yahoo Photos, Weather, Traffic, Fandango movie listings (including ticket purchases), and Live365 music.

TiVo is also moving into the broadband content delivery market. There have been a handful of trials in the past, and TiVo has been offering the Rocketboom video blog for many months. More recently TiVo began technology reviews from CNet, and on June 7 2006, TiVo announced TiVoCast.<ref>http://www.tivo.com/cms_static/press_95.html</ref> TiVoCast is a broadband download service initially offering content from the NBA, WNBA, The New York Times, Heavy.com, iVillage, CNet, Danger Rangers, H2O: HipHop on Demand, Union on Demand, Rocketboom, and Here!. TiVo has also announced an agreement with BrightCove<ref>http://www.tivo.com/cms_static/press_90.html</ref> to provide additional broadband content.

TiVo has continued to expand their offerings as a media convergence device. January 2005 saw the release of TiVoToGo, a feature allowing the transfer of recorded shows from TiVo boxes to Windows PCs. TiVo partnered with Sonic in the release of MyDVD 6.1, a software program which allows for the editing and conversion of TiVoToGo files. Other means of manipulating files are described at the TiVoToGo Unleashed tutorial. In August 2005, TiVo rolled out "TiVo Desktop" that allowed users to transfer MPEG2 video files from their PC to their TiVo for playback by the DVR.

Story Behind the first TiVo DVR (Blue Moon)

March means much more than "madness" and leprechauns for this Irish lass: It's time to celebrate the birth of a little certain "someone" who forever changed the way the whole world sees TV. The legend started like this…

After unveiling the first working prototype of TiVo at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 1999–and despite an estimated four to five months of work remaining to complete a real working product–TiVo's co-founder Mike Ramsay challenged the company to ship a perfect TiVo digital video recorder (the first DVR on the planet!) by March 31, 1999. Jim & Mike

After everyone gasped, someone pointed out that March included a "blue moon"–in this case, the second full moon in a month, and of course, metaphorically speaking, "a rare event." As such, the engineers decided to code-name this valiant effort "Blue Moon."

"Everyone worked almost straight through without a break the entire month of March," says Bob Poniatowski, a TiVo employee since Day One. "Our engineers spent many nights working and sleeping at TiVo. One of the hall closets was designated for blankets and pillows."

Sure enough, just as the last week of March rolled around, so did the first TiVo box, right off the assembly line. Mike declared March 31st a "national" holiday and the last Friday in March to be the official "Blue Moon" holiday for all TiVo employees henceforth. The rest, as they say, is TV your way–and history worth repeating over and over again.

Subscription service

The information that a TiVo device downloads regarding TV schedules as well as software updates and any other relevant information is available through a monthly subscription. The cost originally was $9.95/month, which has since increased to $12.95/month and now $19.95/month. A different subscription option formerly available was a one time fee for the lifetime of the hardware. This fee increased over time from $199, to $249, to the final price of $299. The lifetime subscription is attached to the TiVo device and cannot be transferred to another TiVo box unless the original device breaks and is replaced by the TiVo company. If the box is resold it includes the lifetime service. Early on there was also a $99/year option, but this has since been discontinued.

In March of 2006 TiVo discontinued offering lifetime subscriptions. Instead, TiVo started a new business model in which they would bundle the hardware and subscription fees. If you buy a unit from TiVo.com there are six options—three monthly plans and three pre-paid plans. The monthly plans are $19.95/month for a 1-year commitment ($239.40 total), $18.95/month for a 2-year commitment ($454.80 total), and $16.95/month for a 3-year commitment ($610.20 total). Pre-paid plans are $224 for a 1-year commitment ($18.66/month), $369 for a 2-year commitment ($15.38/month), and $469 for a 3-year commitment ($13.02/month). All of these plans are for the 80-hour S2. Three upgrade options are available for an additional fee: $30 for the 80-hour S2DT (dual-tuner), $130 for the 180-hour S2DT, and $180 for the Humax DRT400 40-hour S2 with integrated DVD-RW.

Alternatively, if customers buy the hardware at retailers the subscription service is $12.95/month for a 1-year commitment ($155.40 total), or pre-paid service-only plans are available for $155.40 for a 1-year commitment ($12.95/month), $299 for a 2-year commitment ($12.45/month), and $399 for a 3-year commitment ($11.08/month). However, it seems that TiVo may have changed this subscription option making the cost for retail units the same as those purchased directly from TiVo.

Once a bundled unit's commitment expires, it will continue to be billed at the respective monthly rate, unless the user contacts TiVo to change their subscription plan. Once out of the original commitment period, units can be dropped to the $12.95/month rate, or resubscribed to a pre-paid service-only plan.

There is also a Multi-Service Discount. If an account has a unit with lifetime or a full-price subscription ($12.95/month or a bundle), then additional units may be added to the account for $6.95/month each. Note that bundles are not eligible for the MSD themselves. Customers need to purchase the additional unit(s) at retail, as TiVo.com only sells bundles.

Directv offers TiVo service for $4.99 a month with all their subscription packages.

Service availability

The TiVo service is only available to the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Taiwan at present. TiVo does not sell boxes in Canada however, so Canadian residents must purchase boxes in the U.S. and import them, or buy them online (through a third party site.) TiVo DVRs have also been modified by end users to work in Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and South Africa.

TiVo service was launched in the United Kingdom in the autumn of 2000. As in the U.S., it acquired a niche market position, selling about 35,000 units over the next 18 months with users reflecting the U.S. experience of not being able to imagine watching TV without it. However, Thomson, makers of the only TiVo model in the UK, decided to cease production in early 2002, and soon Sky+ began to dominate the PVR market. The TiVo service continues to be provided to existing customers, and second-hand machines continue to fetch high prices on online auction sites.

On November 29, 2006 TiVo and Cablevision signed an agreement to distribute the TiVo(R) DVRs and TiVo(R) Service to CABLEVISION's subscribers throughout Mexico. On May 29 2007, TiVo and the Australian Seven Network announced TiVo would be introduced to Australia in 2008.<ref>Seven and TiVo Inc Sign Strategic Partnership to Distribute TiVo Products and Services in Australia and New Zealand TiVo media release, May 29, 2007</ref>

Hardware anatomy

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

TiVo systems are based on PowerPC (Series1) or MIPS (Series2) processors connected to MPEG-2 encoder/decoder chips and high-capacity IDE/ATA hard drives. Series1 TiVo units used one or two drives of 13–60 GB; current Series2 units have drives of 40–250 GB in size. Although not supported by TiVo or equipment manufacturers, larger drives can be added.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In 2005 DirecTV dropped TiVo and developed its own DVR.

On July 8, 2006, DirecTV announced an upgrade to version 6.3 on all remaining HR10-250 DirecTiVo receivers, the first major upgrade since this unit was released.<ref>http://directv.com/DTVAPP/global/contentPage.jsp?assetId=P3200006</ref> This upgrade includes features such as program grouping (folders), a much faster on-screen guide, and new sorting features.

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

Green Screen of Death

The Green Screen of Death error message

The Green Screen of Death (GSoD), is an error message produced by TiVo machines. It is sometimes called the Green Screen of Intensive Care. The causes of it vary, but it is generally regarded as a "good sign" despite its scary appearance. The message is displayed while the TiVo attempts to repair the data contents of its hard drive. The GSoD is sometimes intentionally invoked as a troubleshooting measure to fix problems that a restart will not.

The GSoD text reads as follows:

A severe error has occurred.
Please leave the Receiver plugged in and connected
to the phone line for the next three hours while the
Receiver attempts to repair itself.
If, after three hours, the Receiver does not restart
itself, call Customer Care.

TiVo hacking

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

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

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

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

Market share

Despite its innovative functionalities and ease of use, TiVo has had difficulty penetrating consumer markets. However, TiVo technology rolled out slightly faster than DVD players did. TiVo is well known for its users' loyalty compared to generic DVRs from cable box manufacturers or Echostar. Nevertheless, TiVo has only a 30-40% market share of a total DVR market of roughly 10-12 million systems. Since it may take a few weeks of use to fully understand the magnitude of the change TiVo brings to television viewing, consumers may not be comfortable with such technology and opt to continue using their old VCRs for recording.

Another factor is the cost of the monthly or lifetime subscription fees. TiVo's market share has dropped as cable television operators have offered free or low-cost DVRs which are widely seen as inferior, but which are still a huge improvement over plain old TV and are "good enough." They are often touted as having no up-front equipment costs and a lower subscription fee as well as seamless compatibility with the cable television system.

While its former main competitor, ReplayTV, had adopted a commercial-skip feature, TiVo decided to avoid automatic implementation of that feature, fearing such a move might provoke backlash from the television industry. ReplayTV was sued over this featureTemplate:Fact, as well as the ability to share shows over the Internet, and these lawsuits contributed to the bankruptcy of SONICblueTemplate:Fact, their owner at the time. Their new owner, DNNA, dropped both features in the final ReplayTV model, the 5500. However, the automatic commercial-skip feature was simply replaced with Show|Nav, which requires only the push of the arrow buttons to jump between segments. ReplayTV now has a zero market shareTemplate:Fact, as they no longer manufacture DVR hardware.Template:Fact<ref>TiVo does have a 30-second skip feature, which can be activated by entering Select-Play-Select-3-0-Select on the remote while watching video. It will work both when watching something from the "Now Playing" list or Live TV, assuming you are more than 30 seconds behind, of course. The Advance (aka "skip-to-tick") button then acts as a 30-second-skip button. Entering the code again toggles it off. Similarly, Select-Play-Select-9-Select enables an on-screen clock and elapsed time indicator. Both features are disabled following a reboot and the codes must be re-entered to enable their functionality.

These and other TiVo "backdoor hacks" can be found in the top post of the TiVo Community Forums Codes List thread, which contains a set of instructions for accessing a host of undocumented and unsupported TiVo features.</ref>


TiVo and cable television giant Comcast reached a nonexclusive distribution deal in March 2005, easing some investor concerns over TiVo's future. The companies announced that they would make TiVo's service available over Comcast's cable network, with the first co-developed products available by the end of 2006, using the TiVo brand. TiVo is porting their software to the Motorola 6412 cable DVR as part of this deal.

In January 2005, TiVo announced a long-term strategy that includes support for HDTV recording, integrated tuning using CableCARD technology, the ability to download and view content from the Internet, and a program allowing third parties to develop applications for the platform.

In January 2006, at the Consumer Electronics Show, the TiVo Series3<ref>http://blog.tivolovers.com/tag/series3</ref> was introduced.<ref>http://blog.tivolovers.com/252572.html</ref> This revision represented an evolutionary step in the TiVo service, adding the capability to record high definition television and digital cable content utilizing CableCARD technology. The Series3 includes two discrete video tuners. Each tuner is capable of tuning QAM (digital cable), analog cable, over-the-air (OTA) ATSC (digital), and OTA NTSC (analog). Encrypted digital cable channels will be decrypted via CableCARD. The Series3 will work only with cable and antenna input, it will not support satellite television. Unlike earlier standalone models, the Series3 has no A/V inputs aside from one cable coax and one antenna coax. All content is recorded via the internal tuners.

The Series3 model also includes a 10/100 Ethernet connection port and an external Seiral ATA (eSATA) port which supports first- and third-party storage upgrades—a first for TiVo (this port is currently disabled but is likely to be made available later via a software upgrade). As an HDTV recorder, the Series3 also has an HDMI output in addition to composite, S-Video, and component video. TiVo announced the release of the Series3 on September 12, 2006. The MSRP is $799 but has since dropped to $350 after rebate.

Privacy concerns

Some users are concerned about TiVo's ability to collect detailed usage data from units via the telephone line. As units are downloading schedule data, they transmit household viewing habits to TiVo corporation. Collected information includes a log of everything watched (time and channel) and remote keypresses such as fast forwarding through or replaying content.<ref>http://www.cs.uml.edu/~dm/pubs/TiVo%20report.htm</ref> Some users were uneasy when TiVo released data on how many users rewatched the exposure of Janet Jackson's breast during the 2004 Super Bowl.<ref>http://news.com.com/2100-1041_3-5154219.html</ref> TiVo records usage data for their own research and they also sell it to other corporations such as advertisers.<ref>http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/26/technology/26adco.html?ex=1311566400&en=143cb4893c1c45a9&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss</ref> Nielsen and TiVo have also collaborated to track viewing habits.

TiVo claims that all usage data is currently aggregated by ZIP code and that they don't track individual viewing habits. In the United States, users can request that TiVo block the collection of Anonymous Viewing Information and Diagnostic Information from their TiVo DVR by calling 1-877-367-8486. The privacy concerns are not limited to the TiVo because all DVR technologies are capable of such centralized data collection by the cable provider. For example, replayTV has posted this privacy notice which highlights TiVo is not the only technology that can collect viewing habits in real time.

Automatic software updates

TiVo, Inc. has always provided updates of the software that runs TiVo units, usually downloaded along with programming data. These updates have been seen as improvements, offering additional functionality and fixing bugs. Sometimes updates have introduced new bugs or removed features available in the previous versions, which has resulted in criticism from affected TiVo users. TiVo is unable (or unwilling) to rollback software versions and rather prefers to make customers go without the features until a new software revision is provided (often months after the faults are reported).

In late 2006, the Fall Update introduced a bug that adversely affected many subscribers. This bug makes it so that when a user tries to transfer a recorded show from the TiVo to a computer using TiVo Desktop, the built-in https server, or third-party software like Galleon, the transfer stops at 1 or 2 MB, the point where a channel change occurred. TiVo has released no official fixes, but there are several workarounds, like partially transferring the recorded show to another TiVo, pausing it, then transferring the show from the second TiVo to the computer.<ref>http://forums.tivo.com/pe/action/forums/displaysinglethread?rootPostID=10281514&returnExpertiseCode=</ref>. TiVo has acknowledged this is a bug and promised it will be fixed in the next release.<ref>http://customersupport.tivo.com/LaunchContent.aspx?cid=8cfc6710-f852-4406-b3be-fb4a0eecf297&anchor=undefined</ref> It has not been announced when the next release will be, however.

TiVo's home networking ability and transfer rates have been reported as substandard. TiVo has been asked for comment on improving networking in future boxes. Senior level management have reported that no known intention to improve networking throughput or capabilities is in the works.

A small percentage of early TiVo units were marketed without being clearly labeled that a subscription was required for full functionality, and some non-subscribing customers were unhappy when they were unable to use new and improved features that subscribers received. It is believed that early dissatisfied, non-subscribing customers received some form of settlement, probably a money-back offer on the hardware, and TiVo now clearly labels its products with a notation that a subscription is required for full functionality.

Some TiVo hardware can still be used as a normal digital recorder, recording by date, time, and channel, without a subscription. Specifically, any Series1 which shipped with software revision 1.3 or earlier, as well as Toshiba and Pioneer standalone units, which include TiVo Basic. Nearly all Series1 units originally shipped with 1.3 or an earlier release, however, late in the life of the Series1 some units did ship with 2.0 and those units require a subscription. All other standalone TiVo systems require a subscription to function. All DirecTiVo units require an active DirecTV subscription to function.

End of TiVo "Series 1" Support and Daylight Saving Time

Over time, TiVo has discontinued providing any software updates for these "Series 1" TiVo units. This decision led to some controversy in early 2007, when the revised start and end dates for Daylight Saving Time in the United States were implemented. In early March 2007, TiVo released software revisions to account for the DST date change for all but the Series 1 TiVo units, despite a public promise from a TiVo representative that Series 1 owners "would not be left high and dry."<ref>http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=4868151&&#post4868151</ref> An unpatched Series 1 TiVo would continue to operate on standard (non-DST) time, resulting in programs recording properly, but displaying with inaccurate times in the guide. "Manual recordings," those done outside the guide data, would have to be removed and re-entered on March 11 to account for the time discrepancy; they would then have to be removed again and re-entered on April 1, when DST was originally scheduled to begin.

TiVo subsequently announced that due to the work of "jberman," a member of the TiVo Community Forum,<ref>http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=4954286&&#post4954286</ref> their engineers were able to develop and release a patch for Series 1 owners.<ref>http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=344459</ref> This patch was made available to all Series 1 devices, regardless of subscription status.

Pop-up advertisements

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

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

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

Content flagging

In September 2005, a TiVo software upgrade added the ability for broadcasters to "flag" programs to be deleted after a certain date. Some customers had recordings deleted, or could not use their flagged recordings (transfer to a computer or burn to DVD), as they could with unflagged material. TiVo has stated this was a bug in the software.<ref>http://news.com.com/TiVo+copy+protection+bug+irks+users/2100-1041_3-5863529.html</ref> In 2004, TiVo entered into an agreement with Macrovision to make TiVo machines copyright-protection flag aware, ostensibly to make it compatible with future pay-per-view and video-on-demand content.

Service contracts

Also in September 2005, TiVo changed their customer agreement, instituting a one-year service contract for all new activations after September 6, 2005. Customers wishing to cancel the service early are subject to an early cancellation fee of up to $200.<ref>http://www.tivo.com/5.11.6.asp</ref> TiVo has not commented officially on this change, but with their recent drive to attract new customers, as well as subsidizing new hardware through large mail-in rebates, the company could be looking for ways to discourage users from canceling.<ref>http://www.betanews.com/article/TiVo_Institutes_1_Year_Service_Contracts/1127501776</ref> Customers have also been discouraged by some of TiVo's Holiday rate increases.<ref>http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2006-11/tivo-raises-rates</ref>


TiVo has been a heavy user of mail-in rebates. According to BusinessWeek, the company recognized $5,000,000 in additional revenue when nearly half of the 100,000 new subscribers to the service failed to successfully apply for a $100 rebate, known as the "shoebox effect" (which marketers typically refer to as slippage). While this rate of compliance is fairly typical in the rebate field, the company's heavy use of the promotional practice caused a large positive impact on its bottom line.<ref>http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/nov2005/nf20051123_4158_db016.htm?campaign_id=topStories_ssi_5</ref>

Media Industry

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



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