TiVo’s television set.

TiVo (play /ˈtv/ TEE-voh) is a digital video recorder (DVR) developed and marketed by TiVo, Inc. and introduced in 1999. TiVo provides an on-screen guide of scheduled broadcast programming television programs, whose features include “Season Pass” schedules which record every new episode of a series, and “WishList” searches which allow the user to find and record shows that match their interests by title, actor, director, category, or keyword. TiVo also provides a range of features when the TiVo DVR is connected to a home network, including film and television show downloads, advanced search, personal photo viewing, music offerings, and online scheduling.

Since its launch in the CableCARD standard, which is only deployed in the United States, and which limits the availability of certain features.


[edit] History and development

TiVo was developed by Jim Barton and Mike Ramsay through a corporation they named “Teleworld” which was later renamed to TiVo, Inc. Though they originally intended to create a home network device, it was redesigned as a device that records digitized video onto a hard disk. They began the first public trials of the TiVo device and service in late 1998 in the San Francisco Bay Area.

After exhibiting at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 1999, Mike Ramsay announced to the company that the first version of the TiVo digital video recorder would ship “In Q1,” (the last day of which is 31 March) despite an estimated four to five months of work remaining to complete the device. Because 31 March 1999 was a blue moon, the engineering staff code-named this first version of the TiVo DVR “Blue Moon”.[1]

The original TiVo DVR digitized and compressed analog video from any source (antenna, cable or direct broadcast satellite). TiVo also integrates its DVR service into the set-top boxes of satellite and cable providers. In late 2000, Philips Electronics introduced the DSR6000, the first DirecTV receiver with an integrated TiVo DVR. This new device, nicknamed the “DirecTiVo,” stored digital signals sent from hard disk.

In early 2000, TiVo partnered with electronics manufacturer Thomson Multimedia (now Technicolor SA) and broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting to deliver the TiVo service in the UK market. This partnership resulted in the Thomson PVR10UK, a stand-alone receiver released in October 2000 that was based on the original reference design used in the United States by both Philips and Sony. TiVo ended UK unit sales in January 2003, though it continued to sell subscriptions and supply guide data to existing subscribed units until June 2011. TiVo branded products returned to the UK during 2010 under an exclusive partnership with cable television provider Virgin Media.[2]

TiVo was launched in Australia in July 2008 by Hybrid Television Services, a company owned by Australia’s Seven Media Group and New Zealand’s TVNZ. TiVo also launched a special 2009 Christmas TiVo DVR that has a 320Gb hard Drive and comes with the HNP free.[[5]

[edit] TiVo Digital Video Recorder

Front view of a TiVo Series2 5xx-generation unit

A TiVo DVR serves a function similar to a videocassette recorder, in that both allow a television viewer to record programming for viewing at a later time. Unlike a videocassette recorder (VCR), which uses removable magnetic tape cartridges, a TiVo DVR stores television programs on an internal hard drive that can only be removed by disassembling the device.

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

[edit] Functions

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

Users can select individual programs to record or a “Season Pass” to record an entire season (or more). There are options to record First Run Only, First Run and Repeats, or All Episodes. An episode is considered “First Run” if aired within two weeks of that episode’s initial air date.

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

TiVo pioneered recording programs based on household viewing habits;[American Idol might get a recommendation for the other two shows.

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

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

Unlike most DVRs, TiVo DVRs are easily connected to home networks,[6] allowing users to schedule recordings on TiVo’s website (via TiVo Central Online), transfer recordings between TiVo units (Multi-Room Viewing (MRV)) or to/from a home computer (TiVoToGo transfers), play music and view photos over the network, and access third-party applications written for TiVo’s Home Media Engine (HME) API.

TiVo has added a number of broadband features, including integration with Amazon Video on Demand, Jaman.com[8] offering users access to thousands of movie titles and television shows right from the comfort of their couch. Additionally, broadband connected to TiVo boxes can access digital photos from Picasa Web Albums or Photobucket. Another popular feature is access to Rhapsody music through TiVo, allowing users to listen to virtually any song from their living room. TiVo also teamed up with One True Media to give subscribers a private channel for sharing photos and video with family and friends. They can also access weather, traffic, Fandango movie listings (including ticket purchases), and music through Live365. In the summer of 2008 TiVo announced the availability of YouTube videos on TiVo.

On 7 June 2006, TiVo began offering TiVoCast, a broadband download service which initially offered content from places such as Rocketboom or, The New York Times; now there are over 70 TivoCast channels available for TiVo subscribers.

TiVo is expanding media convergence. In January 2005, TiVoToGo, a feature allowing transfer of recorded shows from TiVo boxes to PCs, was added. TiVo partnered with Sonic in the release of MyDVD 6.1, software for editing and converting TiVoToGo files. In January, 2007, TiVoToGo was extended to the “TiVo Desktop” allowing moving MPEG2 video files from PCs to TiVo for playback by DVR.

Parental Features

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

[edit] Subscription service

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

Lifetime Subscription

There are multiple types of Product Lifetime Service. For satellite enabled TiVo DVRS the lifetime subscription remains as long as the account is active and does not follow a specific piece of hardware. This satellite lifetime subscription cannot be transferred to another person. Toshiba and Pioneer Tivo DVD recording equipped units include a “Basic Lifetime Subscription”, which is very similar to full lifetime, except only three days of the program guide is viewable and search and Internet capabilities are not available, or at least limited. All units (except satellite but including DVD units) are able to have “Product Lifetime Subscription” to the TiVo service which covers the life of the TiVo DVR, not the life of the subscriber. The Product Lifetime Subscription accompanies the TiVo DVR in case of ownership transfer. TiVo makes no warranties or representations as to the expected lifetime of the TiVo DVR (aside from the manufacturer’s Limited Warranty). In the past TiVo has offered multiple “Trade Up” programs where you could transfer the Product Lifetime Subscription from an old unit to a newer model with a fee. A Tivo can be used without a service agreement, but it will act more like a VCR in that you can only perform manual recordings and the Tivo can’t be connected to the Tivo service for local time, program guide data, software updates, etc. or Tivo will shut down the recording function.

[edit] Service availability

The TiVo service is available in the South Africa.

TiVo went on sale in New Zealand in the first week of November 2009.[5]

[edit] United Kingdom

The TiVo service was launched in the United Kingdom in the autumn of 2000. It sold only 35,000 units over the next 18 months. Thomson, makers of the only UK TiVo box, abandoned it in early 2002 after IPTV.

A technical issue caused TiVo Suggestions to stop recording for S1 UK TiVo customers in late September 2008, but this was fixed in late January 2009.[11]

Since December 2010 UK TiVo units that were not already on an active monthly subscription or lifetime subscription could no longer be re-activated. BSkyB who were operating the support for TiVo no longer had full access to the TiVo systems to activate accounts.

The TiVo S1 subscription service was maintained for both lifetime and monthly subscriptions until 1 June 2011.[13]

On 24 November 2009, cable television provider [15]

On 27 October 2011, cable operator Virgin Media released their third quarter 2011 results indicating a significant growth of 222,000 TiVo customers as of 26 October.[16]

[edit] Hardware anatomy

The TiVo “peanut” remote

The TiVo DVR was designed by TiVo Inc., which currently provides the hardware design and Humax, which license the software from TiVo Inc. To date, there have been four “series” of TiVo units produced.

TiVo DVRs are based on eSATA interface. It expands the High-Definition boxes by up to 67 hours of HD, and around 300 hours of standard programming. Other TiVo users have found many ways to expand TiVo storage, although these methods are not supported by TiVo, and may void the warranty.

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

All standalone TiVo DVRs have coax/RF-in and an internal cable-ready tuner, as well as analog video input — composite/RCA and S-Video, for use with an external cable box or satellite receiver. The TiVo unit can use a serial cable or infrared 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 an antenna. This is due to an ATSC tuner. TiVo therefore had to choose between adding ATSC support, or removing NTSC support. With the S2DT they opted to remove NTSC; the Series3 supports NTSC and ATSC, along with digital cable channels (with CableCards).

The Series2 DVRs also have PROM that make them unmodifiable without extensive wiring changes. 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 hacking.

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

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

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

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

Since the discontinued Hughes Electronics DirectTV DVR with TiVo model HR10-250, all newer TiVo units have been fully HDTV capable. Other TiVo models will only record analog standard definition television (NTSC or SECAM). The Series3 “TiVo HD, and TiVo HD XL” DVRs and the Series4 “TiVo Premiere and TiVo Premiere XL” DVRs are capable of recording HDTV both from antenna (over the air) and cable (unencrypted QAM tuner or encrypted with a Cable Card) in addition to normal standard definition television from the same sources. Unlike the HR10-250, neither the Series3 nor Series4 units can record from the DirecTV service; conversely, the HR10-250 cannot record from digital cable. Other TiVo models may be connected to a high definition television (HDTV), but are not capable of recording HDTV signals, although they may be connected to a cable HDTV set-top box and record the down-converted outputs.

In 2008, some cable companies started to deploy MSOs now offer these adapters for free to their customers with TiVo DVRs.

[edit] Drive expansion

TiVo has partnered with eSATA interface. The first version of the eSATA drive shipped was a 500 GB drive that shipped in June 2008. In June 2009 the 1 TB version of the drive began shipping. The 1 TB version expands the TiVo HD and Series3 systems’ capacity by up to 140 hours of HD content or 1,200 hours of standard programming.

TiVo was not designed to have an external drive disconnected once it has been added, because data for each recording is spread across both the internal and external disk drives. As a result, it is not possible to disconnect the external drive without deleting content recorded after the external drive was added. If disconnected, any recordings made will not be usable on either the internal or external drives. However, the external drive may be removed (along with content) without losing settings.

Various capacities of external drives have been shipped since the product was initially released. There were reports of product reliability issues,[19]

The Western Digital 1 TB and 500 GB My DVR Expander eSATA Edition and My DVR Expander USB Edition drives have been discontinued and replaced with the Western Digital My Book AV DVR Expander 1 TB drive. This drive has received a facelift from the previous generation, which now sports a glossy finish, and a tiny white LED power indicator, along with a push button power switch in the back. The biggest change is that this drive now includes both eSATA and USB in one device. This device is DirectTV, Dish Network, TiVo, Moxi, Pace, and Scientific Atlanta (Cisco) certified. Press Release

[edit] Hacking

Many people and groups[citation needed]

Many users[TiVoWeb), and figured out how to extract, insert and transfer video among their TiVo boxes.

TiVo enthusiast groups located in countries where the TiVo is not sold have been able to reverse-engineer the television subscription service schedule files needed by the TiVo and the protocol used during the transmission of those files to the TiVo.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

Tivo still uses the same encoding, however, for the media files (saved as .TiVo files). These files are just MPEG files encoded with the user’s Media Access Key (MAK). However, coders have written programs such as tivodecode and tivodecode Manager to strip the MAK from the file, allowing the user to watch or send the recordings to friends. These projects are SourceForge.

[edit] Competitors and market share

While its former main competitor in the United States, ReplayTV, had adopted a commercial-skip feature, TiVo decided to avoid automatic implementation fearing such a move might provoke backlash from the television industry. ReplayTV was sued over this feature as well as the ability to share shows over the Internet, and these lawsuits contributed to the bankruptcy of SONICblue,[20] their owner at the time. Their new owner, DNNA, dropped both features in the final ReplayTV model, the 5500.

Other distributors’ competing DVR sets in the United States include FiOS, allowing high-speed Internet access and other features.

As of January 2012, TiVo has approximately 2.3 million subscribers in the United States. Despite having gained 234,000 subscribers in the last quarter of 2011.[22]

[edit] Issues

[edit] Privacy concerns

TiVo collects detailed usage data from units via broadband Internet. As units are downloading schedule data, they transmit household viewing habits to TiVo Inc. Collected information includes a log of everything watched (time and channel) and remote keypresses such as fast forwarding through or replaying content.[26]

TiVo has three levels of data collection. By default one is in “opt-out” status, where all usage data is aggregated by ZIP code and individual viewing habits are not tracked. Certain optional features and promotions require one to opt-in, where they will collect individual information for targeted show suggestions or advertising. Users can request that TiVo block the collection of anonymous viewing information and diagnostic information from their TiVo DVR.[27]

[edit] Litigation

TiVo holds several patents that have been asserted against cable TV operators and competing DVR box makers. Current discussion of Tivo’s litigation activity and impacts to Tivo’s business are on various websites.[28]

[edit] Opposition by content providers

Television program providers are concerned that advertisements inserted in television programs can be bypassed by using a DVR. The media industry is highly dependent on sponsorship via advertisements and will lose revenue if viewers adopt TiVo-like systems in large numbers. Knowing this, some countries have taken protectionist measures, especially when the media are 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.[citation needed]

This has not been an issue in Australia where the exclusive rights to TiVo are held by Hybrid Television Services, owned by the Seven Network, and as part of the local market adaptations to TiVo prior to launch, ad-skipping was disabled. Users can still fast forward through ads.

[edit] 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. The initial showing of this for random shows was a bug in the software.[29] It later was enabled on pay-per-view and video-on-demand content.

[edit] Pop-up advertisements

During early 2005, TiVo began test market “pop-up” advertisements to select subscribers, to explore it as an alternative source of revenue.[32]

At its announcement, the concept of extra advertisements drew heavy criticism from subscribers. Some lifetime subscribers 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. In 2007, TiVo made changes to its pop-up ad system to only show pop-up ads if the user fast-forwards through a commercial that has a corresponding pop-up ad.[34]

[edit] GNU General Public License and “Tivoization”

In 2006, Linux kernel has not been changed to use GPL v3.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ “The Second Greatest Story Ever Told: The 4th Annual Blue Moon Holiday – TiVo Community Forum Archive 1”. Archive.tivocommunity.com. http://archive.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?s=&postid=429445. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  2. ^ http://pressoffice.virginmedia.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=205406&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1359213&highlight=.
  3. ^ “TiVo Models | What is TiVo”. myTiVo.com.au. http://www.mytivo.com.au/whatistivo/tivomodels/. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  4. ^ “Entertainment On-Demand | Movies & TV On-Demand | What is TiVo”. myTiVo.com.au. http://www.mytivo.com.au/whatistivo/moviestvmusic/entertainmentondemand/. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  5. ^ http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/2762085/Sticking-point-for-TiVo. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  6. ^ How to connect your TiVo DVR to your network and the Internet
  7. ^ TiVo Joins with Jaman to Deliver the Best of the Big Screen to Living Rooms Across the Country
  8. ^ TiVo and Netflix Announce Partnership
  9. ^ Freeview/Freeview Playback/Satellite/Cable, PVR UK website, Undated.Accessed: 04-30-2008.
  10. ^ Latest Range Freeview website, Undated.Accessed:04-30-2008.
  11. ^ TiVo Suggestions in the UK — Update, TiVo Community Forum, 09-29-2008.Accessed: 1 November 2008.
  12. ^ TiVo Blog
  13. ^ The alternative EPG project for UK Tivos
  14. ^ “Virgin Media’s TiVo platform to go live”. Digital Spy. 1 December 2010. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/digitaltv/news/a290840/virgin-medias-tivo-platform-to-go-live.html.
  15. ^ “Virgin Media unlocks third TiVo tuner”. Digital Spy. 17 March 2011. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/digitaltv/news/a309547/virgin-media-unlocks-third-tivo-tuner.html.
  16. ^ “Virgin Media’s Q3 2011 Results”. Virgin Media. 27 October 2011. http://investors.virginmedia.com/imagelibrary/downloadmedia.ashx?MediaDetailsID=1239.
  17. ^ “List of compatible adapters”. Tivo.com. http://www.tivo.com/adapters. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  18. ^ TiVo support for DVR Expander problems
  19. TiVo Website showing 1TB drive and stock status
  20. ^ “Bankruptcy Blues for PVR Maker”. Wired. 24 March 2003. http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/news/2003/03/58160.
  21. ^ “TiVo’s Q4 2011 Results”. TiVo. 23 February 2012. http://investor.tivo.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=106292&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1664735&highlight=.
  22. ^ TiVo Loses 163,000 Subscribers In October ‘08 Quarter
  23. ^ TiVo’s Data Collection and Privacy Practices
  24. ^ TiVo watchers uneasy after post-Super Bowl reports — CNET News.com
  25. ^ TiVo Is Watching When You Don’t Watch, and It Tattles
  26. ^ “Simulmedia to use TiVo data”. Direct Marketing News. 18 June 2012. http://www.dmnews.com/simulmedia-to-use-tivo-data/article/246249/.
  27. ^ “Privacy Policy”. TiVo. June 23, 2009. http://www.tivo.com/abouttivo/policies/tivoprivacypolicy.html. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  28. ^ http://investordiscussionboard.com Investor Discussion Board
  29. ^ TiVo copy protection bug irks users — CNET News.com
  30. ^ Peter Rojas. “TiVo testing banner ads during fast-forwarding?”. http://www.engadget.com/2005/03/27/tivo-testing-banner-ads-during-fast-forwarding.
  31. ^ “Tivo Testing Popup Banner Ads”. FirstAdopter.com. March 28, 2005. http://www.firstadopter.com/fa/archives/000780.html. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  32. ^ “TiVo tests pop-up-style ads – CNET News”. News.cnet.com. http://news.cnet.com/TiVo-tests-pop-up-style-ads/2100-1041_3-5644197.html. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  33. ^ “TiVo Fast Forward Popup Ads Return”. Betanews.com. January 16, 2007. http://www.betanews.com/article/TiVo_Fast_Forward_Popup_Ads_Return/1168964730. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  34. ^ “Business Week: TiVo Wants to Be the Google of Television. How?”. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_26/b4137049282814.htm.
  35. http://fsfeurope.org/projects/gplv3/brussels-rms-transcript#tivoisation.
  36. ^ “InformationWeek: TiVo Warns Investors New Open Source License Could Hurt Business”. http://www.informationweek.com/industries/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=199900263.

[edit] External links

Source: Wikipedia