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TiVo Logo TiVo will announced their financial results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2013, which ended April 30th, on May 30th. There will be a conference call and webcast at 14:00PT/17:00ET.

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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Gizmo Lovers Logo I’ve been quiet lately, sorry about that. This site is basically a one-man show and a bunch of stuff came together to suck up my time these past couple of weeks. My wife and I traded off illnesses for a while which had both of us laid up for a few days and wiped out for a few more. We had to cancel a weekend trip to NH as I was too sick to get out of bed; I think I slept for 18 hours one day. I was one of the walking dead for a while, just enough energy to do my job and then crash early.

There were familial obligations – Mother’s Day, our nephew’s birthday, stuff that needed to get done around our house, etc. And my day job has kept me pretty busy lately, including a trip down to New Jersey this past week. Just a storm of time sucks and catching up from being laid up took up the rest.

So I have a bit of catching up to do here on recent events, such as TiVo’s latest software update, and a bunch of other stuff. But I think I’m healthy again and feeling as well as I can expect given the pollen levels. So I’m going to try to knock out some posts to catch up. Sorry I’ve been absent, it bugs me when that happens too.

The timing is good since The Cable Show hits Boston this week – Monday through Wednesday. Well, actually, there is a press reception Sunday night at Fenway Park that I’ll be attending as well. This is my first time attending The Cable Show, so I’m not quite sure what to expect. I’ve attended may other trade shows and conferences over the years, both as an exhibitor and as an attendee/blogger, so I know the generalities. But each show is different, so it will be interesting to see what this one is like.

I have a meeting scheduled with TiVo on Monday morning, just after the show floor opens. So if there is anything you really want to know about, leave a comment. Oh, but don’t suggest asking about obvious stuff like the forthcoming transcoder box and IP STB, or the new SDK, as those are already on my list to follow up on, along with the rest of the road map info they previously shared. Being that this is The Cable Show I expect a lot of what TiVo will have to say will relate to their progress in the MSO market with less focus on retail products. This is their show blurb:

Only the TiVo® service brings together the best of TV, VOD and web entertainment together in a single user interface, with one remote and one simple search across everything. And in this environment of increasing over-the-top competition and shifting consumer loyalties, TiVo is uniquely suited to combine over a decade of consumer experience with the ability to integrate with existing infrastructures and the know-how to execute with speed. New this year, TiVo is showcasing its whole-home and TV-everywhere solutions, which offer the same award-winning TiVo experience on every screen, big or small. Come see why more and more cable operators are choosing TiVo for their advanced-television solutions.

Still, let me know what you want to learn.

And if there is anyone else on the exhibitor list you think I really must visit, or anything specific I should ask about, feel free to suggest it. I can’t make any promises, there is only so much time in the day, but I’m always interested in checking out interesting stuff. And if you’re an exhibitor and you think I really need to meet with you, feel free to contact me.

Speaking of contacting me, I’m always interested in meeting up with my fellow bloggers, especially since I haven’t made it to CES in a few years. So if you’re going to be there and want to get together contact me directly if you have my info, or just go through the site. And if you’ve done The Cable Show before and have any pointers, I’m open to suggestions.

Hopefully next week I’ll have some interesting info to share.

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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TiVo Premiere Today’s Woot! offer is a great deal on a refurbished TiVo Premiere DVR, model TCD746320 – only $44.99 + $5 S&H. This is the 320GB version of the TiVo Premiere, capable of holding up to 45 hours of HD recordings. The Premiere is the latest model in TiVo’s lineup and it has the most features. A TiVo subscription is required to activate the unit – either the $14.99 monthly plan ($12.99 for existing TiVo subscribers) or the $499 product lifetime service ($399 for existing TiVo subscribers). As I’ve said many times, the lifetime plan is the best value.

The Premiere works with antenna, analog & digital cable, and Verizon FiOS. It also supports a number of broadband content services: Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Music Choice, YouTube, Pandora, Rhapsody, Live365, and web videos from a variety of sources such as CNET & Revision3. Stream music from your PC. View photos from your PC, or online via Picasa & Photobucket. You can control the unit via free apps for iOS & Android. Schedule recordings online via TiVo’s website.

Transfer recordings to your PC via TiVo Desktop, or a Mac with Roxio’s Toast or Popcorn. You can also move content to & from the unit, or stream video to the TiVo using third party applications like kmttg, Streambaby, or pyTiVo. And if you’re a Comcast customer, the TiVo Premiere is receiving XFINITY On Demand support. It is available now in the SF Bay Area and coming soon to Boston, with other service areas to come.

There is a reason TiVo is still the gold standard for DVRs, and this is a good deal on the current model.

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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TiVo Central Comcast XFINITY On Demand The roll out of XFINITY On Demand for TiVo customers in the San Francisco Bay Area is now complete and it seems to be a great success. The new feature cleanly integrates XFINITY On Demand into the TiVo UI just like any other video service. And now that the SF Bay roll out is out of the way Comcast & TiVo have turned their sights on the next target market: Boston.

This actually isn’t a surprise, as I’ve posted a couple of times, a while back Comcast made the comment that New England was high on their list of territories to follow the SF Bay. Why? Well, to quote myself:

New England is where Comcast launched the old ‘soft-TiVo’ project. The software-only Java-based TiVo interface that was downloaded to run on their standard Motorola DVR hardware. Despite several years of effort it just never worked well. The HW was under-powered, and with the TiVo interface running in Java on a virtual machine running on top of the native OS, it wasn’t a great performer. And Comcast never seemed to iron out the issues with the head end that was supposed to allow them to dynamically push the TiVo software to units in the field. While the effort was abandoned when Comcast switched focus to XFINITY support for retail units, the existing deployment of soft-TiVo units are still supported. Comcast is looking to finally phase them out by getting the users to migrate to a TiVo Premiere once they can do so without losing their On Demand. So they have an incentive to prioritize New England.

So they still have a number of those old units in the field that they’d love to stop supporting, and I bet many of the customers would love the added benefits of having a real TiVo to boot. And perhaps Comcast will be able to recycle some of the work they did on the head end for that project to support the new roll out. In any case, TiVo confirmed today via email that Boston is the next market that will see this roll out. They didn’t provide a specific time frame, saying only that Boston would see this ‘soon’.

As always, you can sign up to be notified when this is available in your area at tivo.com/comcast

Remember, Comcast controls when this is rolled out to a new area, not TiVo. TiVo has delivered their part, the software integration on the unit. The other piece is the head end upgrades to support the service, and that’s what Comcast needs to do for each service area where this is deployed. That’s why it wasn’t flipped on for everyone at once, and why it is getting a region by region roll out. So don’t bother TiVo with questions about when it will come to your area. Odds are they don’t know, and even if they do know they can’t speak for Comcast until Comcast is willing to announce their plans. If you need to pester anyone, pester Comcast.

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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Virgin Media Logo Along with the launch of their new ‘Collections’, Virgin Media also adopted a new pitchman – David Tennant. They’d already released several videos, and now there’s another one. This one highlights the ‘Catch Up TV’ feature.

I’d love to see this integrated into the US units. As in the UK, keep the back-dated guide data going back a week or so. While we don’t have the dedicated catch up services like they have in the UK, we do have Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and MSO On Demand services where supported. So the guide could link directly to the available service(s).

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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EchoStar Logo We learned back in February that things were not going well for Aria, EchoStar’s effort to produce a CableCARD DVR for the US market. CableOne, who have been trialing the system, was reported to have given up on it and had turned their attention toward TiVo instead. Well, that may have been the last straw as Multichannel News reports that EchoStar has terminated Aria completely:

With the change, the company said in a statement provided to Multichannel News, it will shift resources to support “EchoStar’s unique intellectual property and advanced content-delivery technologies.” The company owns Sling Media, developer of the Slingbox device, and acquired the adaptive bit-rate technology of Move Technologies last year for $45 million.

However, EchoStar said it “remains firmly committed to supplying advanced hardware, software, and system solutions to its global cable, satellite, and telecom customers outside of the U.S. cable set top box market.”

“EchoStar recognizes that the highly demanding and competitive nature of the U.S. set-top market is very cost-competitive,” the company said. “After considerable review of the market and EchoStar’s sales/product development efforts, EchoStar has concluded the U.S. cable market offers insufficient revenue return opportunities to the company and our investors.”

That’s good news for TiVo, as Aria had the potential to be a serious competitor, especially with small-to-medium MSOs, if EchoStar was able to execute. EchoStar certainly knows how to make DVRs; something like a CableCARD version of DISH Network’s Hopper could’ve been quite a strong whole-home product. The death of Aria removes a potential competitor from the field, and really effectively leaves only ARRIS’s Moxi lineup to compete with TiVo for the small-to-medium market. The larger MSO market is dominated by traditional players like Motorola and Cisco, though TiVo has made inroads there with the likes of Charter.

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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TiVo Logo Last month I posted about TiVo’s apparent effort to promote their Stop||Watch ratings service to the industry. Well, it looks like the effort is ongoing. On Monday Alex Petrilli, senior manager of audience research at TiVo, blogged over at MediaBizBloggers.com.

The post seems designed to cast further doubt on the value of Nielsen’s C3 (Live+3 days) data, the mainstay of today’s ad buying. It does this by raising questions seemingly designed to generate a little fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the mind of the reader:

Changing Channels In 2008, according to Nielsen, the average TV household received 130.1 channels. Today, a midrange DirecTV package includes 225+ channels. Is the C3 metric and the Nielsen sample size equipped to handle this increased fragmentation?

Tablet Time In April of 2010 the first iPad was released and second screen viewing began to accelerate at a rapid pace. In fact, according to a recent study commissioned by Viacom, tablets have surpassed computers for full length TV show viewing and now account for 15% of all viewing. The industry doesn’t currently have a viable way to measure data for second screen viewing so where is it going to come from in the future? Nielsen’s cross-platform measurement plan cuts their NTI sample in half leaving approximately ten thousand homes to interpret what is occurring on the second screen, hardly a robust sample size.

DVR Domination And then there’s the DVR: According to a number of research studies, DVR penetration has more than doubled since 2007, going from 22% to over 45% today. The C3 metric was produced in an attempt to assuage the affect DVRs had on viewing in the home. C3 measures average viewership during the specific times when commercials are aired on a minute-by-minute basis. There are a couple of flaws in this formula, the most prevalent of which is minute-by-minute analysis. If a commercial break during Modern Family begins at 9:14:46, as I understand it, 9:14 is included in the C3 calculation. Bucketing this way can cause data which doesn’t paint the real picture of viewing. Let me show you what I mean.

He then goes on to highlight the increased accuracy of TiVo’s own Stop||Watch service. And they continue to pick on poor Modern Family as their example show:

At TiVo, our Stop||Watch rating service tracks viewing on a second-by-second basis and when analyzing a top rated show such as Modern Family, the time-shifted ratings in DVR homes can drop as much as 60% over a 14-second interval in the moments after a commercial break begins. 60%! Including those 46 seconds into the C3 calculation inflates the viewership levels for almost half of all U.S. homes. There are other factors that further complicate the equation – pod busters, commercial-program integrated spots, network promos, etc. – none of which were contemplated in the construction of the C3 metric.

TiVo really seems to be gunning hard for Nielsen’s spot as the ratings provider used as the basis for ad buying. Of course, they do seem to have a superior offering that provides much more accurate data to ad buyers.

Via MediaBizBloggers.

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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TiVo Logo A couple of weeks ago XFINITY On Demand support finally started rolling out on the TiVo Premiere for Comcast customers in the SF Bay Area. Today TiVo released a video look at the new feature. There are no surprises here, it works just like any other video provider – Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, etc. XFINITY is integrated into the UI, search results, etc., just like the others.

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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TiVo Premiere XL4 with remote - angle What’s in a name? That which we call an Elite by any other name would still be a killer DVR. Drama aside, the TiVo Premiere Elite is no more. It has been replaced by the TiVo Premiere XL4. Which has an identical feature set. And model number. OK, so all that has changed is the branding. The XL4 is simply the Elite with a new badge.

I’ve known this was coming for a while, it was one of the things we discussed during my call with TiVo back in February. I’d heard about it through the grapevine before the call, but TiVo asked me to sit on the news until they made it official – which happened this weekend. They feel the ‘XL4′ branding is more in line with the Premiere and Premiere XL branding, and more clearly indicates where the product sits in the lineup. (Note there has been at least one report out there than the XL is becoming the XL2. I confirmed with TiVo that that is incorrect, the XL remains the XL.)

So nothing changes feature-wise, it is just a change to branding – which includes new, glossy retail packaging, more retail marketing, etc. The Elite was initially sold in a plain brown box, primarily through custom installers and high-end A/V retailers. For example, Best Buy sold the Elite through their Magnolia centers – kind of high-end sub-stores within the Best Buy. But the XL4 looks like it will be on shelves alongside the Premiere and Premiere XL.

So now we have the Premiere for $149.99 – now with 500GB drive and dual cable(analog/digital)/FiOS/antenna tuners, the Premiere XL for $249.99 – with 1TB and dual cable(analog/digital)/FiOS/antenna tuners, and the Premiere XL4 for $399.99 – with 2TB and four cable(digital only)/FiOS tuners. The XL & XL4 are THX Certified and come with Glo backlit remotes, but otherwise the features are the same across the three units.

And since this is kind of a non-event, some entertainment:

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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TiVo Big Gas Sweepstakes TiVo is running another sweepstakes, this one is dubbed TiVo’s Big Gas Sweepstakes. You can enter the sweepstakes via TiVo’s Facebook page, but it is probably easier to just do it through sweeps.tivo.com. The sweepstakes began on 4/17/12 at 12:00:00 PT and ends on 5/17/12 at 20:59:59 PT.

As you might expect, this time around they’re giving away gas – or, rather, $1000 in gas cards. Four people will each win ten $100 Chevron gift cards. It looks like they’ll work at Texaco as well, as Chevron and Texaco are sister companies. Which would be good for me if I win; there are no Chevron stations in my area, but there are a few Texaco stations.

In connection with the sweepstakes, TiVo is also running a promotion – purchase a new $149.99 TiVo Premiere with $499.99 product lifetime service or a one-year commitment to $14.99 monthly service, and receive a TiVo 802.11n WiFi adapter free. See www.tivo.com/freeadapter for details. TiVo calls it an $89.99 value, but that’s the full MSRP. Amazon has them for $64.50.

The sweepstakes is open to everyone, so you may as well enter. Even if you don’t have a car you can always sell the cards to someone else for less than face value. Selling them for 75 cents on the dollar still nets you $750, and the buyer saves 25% on gas.

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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TiVo Central Comcast XFINTY On Demand I’m a little behind the times on this one – last week was busy, my apologies. But better late than never with good news like this.

It has been a long time coming, but TiVo Premiere using Comcast customers in the San Francisco Bay Area now have access to XFINITY On Demand content. Well, at least some of them. It started rolling out on April 9th and should be rolled out across Comcast’s SF Bay service area by the end of the month. So if you’re a Comcast customer in the SF Bay Area and you don’t have XFINITY On Demand on your TiVo Premiere yet – give it some more time. You can check for current availability in your zip code, and sign up for notification of future availability, at tivo.com/comcast.

As for Comcast customers outside of the SF Bay Area – you’ll just have to keep waiting. Comcast hasn’t announced any definite plans or schedules for expansion of XFINITY On Demand support for TiVo to other service areas. And this is 100% in their hands. TiVo has delivered their end, but Comcast needs to update their head-end systems in each service area before they can enable this. The only indication we’ve had is that New England is high up on the list to get this after the SF Bay roll out is complete.

New England is where Comcast launched the old ‘soft-TiVo’ project. The software-only Java-based TiVo interface that was downloaded to run on their standard Motorola DVR hardware. Despite several years of effort it just never worked well. The HW was under-powered, and with the TiVo interface running in Java on a virtual machine running on top of the native OS, it wasn’t a great performer. And Comcast never seemed to iron out the issues with the head end that was supposed to allow them to dynamically push the TiVo software to units in the field. While the effort was abandoned when Comcast switched focus to XFINITY support for retail units, the existing deployment of soft-TiVo units are still supported. Comcast is looking to finally phase them out by getting the users to migrate to a TiVo Premiere once they can do so without losing their On Demand. So they have an incentive to prioritize New England.

Beyond that all we’ve heard is that other service areas will see support “in the coming months”. You’d have to ask Comcast for more details – not that they’re talking just yet.

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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TiVo Logo Margret Schmidt, TiVo’s VP of User Experience, tweeted that the Software Priority Request for the Spring Update. I’ve covered the planned features before, but in short the highlights are new Netflix and YouTube clients, continued migration to HD screens, and general improvements.

You are eligible for an early upgrade if:

  • You have a TiVo Premiere series DVR (TiVo Premiere, Premiere XL, Premiere Elite)
  • You are a TiVo retail customer (e.g., you did not get your TiVo box through your cable company.

The software isn’t being deployed just yet, but you can reserve your spot in the queue now.

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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Virgin Media Logo Last month Virgin Media promised BBC Red Button support would deploy in April – and they’ve delivered on that promise:

We’re very happy to announce that BBC Red Button is now available to Virgin Media TiVo customers. The features available include video news, full length text articles from the BBC News website and coverage of F1 season that is always up to date and available whenever you want to watch. Later this year the BBC Sport Red button services will be extended to cover other major events e.g. Euro 2012, Wimbledon and Olympics.

If you’re watching any BBC channel, just press the red button on your TiVo remote. Then arrow up or down to choose iPlayer or the News or Sports app, then select OK. Or you can select the BBC News or Sports app from the ‘Apps & Games’ section of your TiVo menu.

The new service is being rolled out to everyone over the next 24 hours, so don’t worry if you can’t see it yet.

Thanks
Mark Wilkin
Help & Support Forum Manager

Actually they started deploying it a week ago, on April 11th, I’m just a little behind on my reporting.

Via The Virgin Media TiVo Blog

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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Virgin Media Logo Building on the runaway success of their TiVo deployment in the UK, Virgin Media has revamped their service ‘bundles’ into three new ‘Collections’, all of which feature TiVo as standard. At this point if you sign up for service with Virgin Media it pretty much means you’ll be getting a TiVo.

Virgin Media is offering three different Collections featuring TiVo:

Essential Collection:

  • 500GB TiVo
  • TV: M+ 75 channels including six HD
  • 30Mbps broadband
  • 3000 hours of TV on demand
  • NO additional HD box included
  • Talk Weekends unlimited phone calls (Unlimited weekend calls to landlines starting 01, 02 03, plus 0870 numbers and Virgin Mobile phones.)
  • £25 per month

Premiere Collection:

  • 500GB TiVo
  • TV: XL 175 channels including 23 HD
  • 60Mbps broadband
  • 7000 hours of TV on demand
  • Free additional V HD box included for another room
  • Talk Weekends unlimited phone calls (Unlimited weekend calls to landlines starting 01, 02 03, plus 0870 numbers and Virgin Mobile phones.)
  • Included Extras: 3 months of Spotify, access to ESPN/ESPN HD
  • £45 per month

VIP Collection:

  • 1TB TiVo
  • TV: XL 175 channels including 36 HD (counting 13 HD channels for Sky Premiums) as well as Sky Sports 1-4, Sky Sports F1 and Sky Movies
  • 100Mbps broadband (increasing to 120Mbps soon)
  • 7000 hours of TV on demand
  • Free additional V HD box included for another room
  • Talk Anytime unlimited phone calls (unlimited evening and weekend calls. Cheaper mobile and international calls)
  • Included Extras: 3 months of Spotify, access to ESPN/ESPN HD, Sky Sports & Movies collection, HD fee for Sky Premiums, Talk Plan extras (Mobile/ International/08)
  • £90 per month

Of course, there is fine print:

All prices are when taken with a Virgin Home Phone line at £13.90 per month, e-billing and with payment via Direct Debit. All Virgin Home Phone services include unlimited calls to UK voice landlines, 0870 numbers and Virgin Mobiles during inclusive talk periods. All Virgin Broadband services come complete with SuperHub dual-band wireless ‘n’ router and a free security suite featuring Parental Controls for the lifetime of a customer’s broadband subscription. All Virgin TV services come with access to Catch Up TV (featuring BBC iPlayer, ITV Net Player, 4OD, Demand Five and Sky Anytime on Virgin Media), Virgin TV on Demand, and basic HD at no extra cost (£7 fee payable for Sky Premiums in HD). Installation fee of £49.95 applies. Standard contract terms 12m for new or existing customers. 6m Half Price offer only available to new customers taking a Collection on an 18m contract. Subject to change.

To promote these new Collections Virgin Media is creating new ads featuring VM CEO, and Bond-villain-in-waiting, Richard Branson and star of stage and screen David Tennant. David is best known as the Tenth Doctor, the 10th regeneration of the titular character in the BBC’s Doctor Who. That actually caused a bit of a spat in the UK between the BBC and Virgin Media. See, the BBC has some strict rules about any of their properties, such as Doctor Who, being used in marketing from any outside vendors. And the first ad created for Virgin Media featuring David Tennant had a time travel joke and a direct reference to David’s star turn in Doctor Who. That video was posted, then yanked, re-posted in an edited form, and has now apparently been yanked from Virgin’s YouTube Channels again. However, the Internet being the Internet, there are numerous copies of the original version of the video posted by other users – such as this one:

Two additional ads have since been released:

There is also a behind the scenes ‘making of’ video:

There is a video embedding in the Virgin Media Collections page, but for some reason they’ve decided to region restrict it so it isn’t playing for me here in the US. I don’t get that, it is a promotional video for their own products, why lock it down? But, of course, it has been ripped and uploaded to YouTube multiple times:

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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WeaKnees Logo WeaKnees.com has TiVo Series1, Series2, and Series3 units available already with product lifetime service. They have both the original TiVo Series3 and the TiVo HD (the second Series3 model) upgraded with 500GB drives for 70 hours of HD recording with lifetime service, for $399.99. Note that product lifetime service alone is $499 for new subscribers and $399 for existing TiVo subscribers – plus the cost of the hardware. The new 500GB TiVo Premiere model lists for $149.99. So if you don’t care about the features unique to the TiVo Premiere (HD UI, Hulu Plus, etc.) this is a good deal for a unit ready to run.

Note that the original Series3 (TCD648250) requires two CableCARDs – S-Cards or M-Cards. While the TiVo HD (TCD652160) can utilize a single M-Card. Depending on what your cable company charges for CableCARDs this may or may not be a factor in your decision. The original S3 has the fancy OLED front panel display and the Glo remote, while the TiVo HD has the basic LED indicator lights and a non-Glo remote.

They also have the older Series1 and Series2 units with internal analog tuners and support for external set top boxes, both single-tuner ($299.99) and dual-tuner ($349.99) models. They even have Pioneer TiVo Series2 DVD combo units ($399.99). These units are available in 40GB (single-tuner) or 80GB (dual-tuner & DVD) base models, or upgraded to 80GB ($19.00 S2), 500GB ($99.00 S2 – $149.00 DVD), or 1TB ($149.00 S2 – $199.00 DVD).

The real old-school Series1 units are available in Philips ($199.99) or Sony ($249.99) models, both with 40GB. Upgrades to 80GB ($19.00) or 120GB ($39.00) are available. While I could see some reasons to buy the Series2 units, I really can’t see why someone would want one of the Series1 units these days. Maybe someone really into TiVo hacking with the old TiVoWeb and the like, but even then I doubt it.

All of these units have been refurbished and tested by WeaKnees, and they come with a six month parts and labor warranty. Quantities are limited, so grab one now if you’re interested.

Via the WeaKnees Blog.

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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TiVo Logo Tara Maitra, TiVo’s senior vice president and general manager for content and media sales, talked to Consumer Electronics Daily (CED) about advertising during the recent Digital Hollywood event in NYC. She said that TiVo needs to approach 10 million subscribers before advertising becomes a “meaningful” business for TiVo. By way of comparison, as of December 31st TiVo had 2.2 million subscribers, an increase of 200,000 from the previous year. These subscribers don’t have to be ‘TiVo owned’, as TiVo handles advertising sales for several MSOs who use their platform, such as Charter Communications, RCN, Suddenlink, and Grande Communications. And as their deal with Comcast involves support of retail units, those subscribers will be TiVo-owned, and so TiVo will naturally be handling advertising on those units.

Note that TiVo’s major MSO partners in Europe, Virgin Media and ONO, handle their own advertising sales and thus will not count toward that ten million subscriber target. Nor does it include the “TiVo Design” Insignia Connected TV’s sold by Best Buy, at least not at this time. Maitra did point out, however, that TiVo’s recent deal to bring their platform to Pace hardware does include an advertising component. So that deal may open up new MSO markets for TiVo.

In the meantime TiVo does still sell advertising, of course. It seems it must be somewhat successful for customers as Maitra stated that over 50% of TiVo’s ad buyers are repeat customers. TiVo users are probably familiar with these ads. They may be seen on the screen that pops up at the end of a recording, at the bottom of a program group in the Now Playing List, or on the main ‘TiVo Central’ menu screen. TiVo also has had other ad options, such as static ‘billboard’ ads that overlay a commercial for the same product if the commercial is being fast forwarded. TiVo seems to have a working formula for advertisers, now they just need to bring the numbers up to create a more attractive market.

“We used to hear all kinds of things from advertisers and agencies about pricing,” Maitra said. “I feel that we have gotten it all right except that they just want more homes. Now we have at least satisfied the trajectory and growth requirements. We have priced the advertising for the number of homes that TiVo is in and it’s working, but none wanted to invest in something that they didn’t have confidence would be a growth platform.”

CED also spoke with Thomas McMillin, Chief Operating Office for Suddenlink, one of the MSOs currently distributing TiVo DVRs directly to their customers. McMillin had some good news, and some bad news. First, the good news; Suddenlink serves 1.37 million homes and TiVo is available to customers in 70% of their markets, and it should be in 90% of their markets by year end. But he bad news is they currently have only 20,000 TiVo units deployed, in 10,000 homes. Yes, clearly some homes have multiple units.

Suddenlink is taking a “conversative” approach to marketing TiVo to their customers, positioning it as a premium upgrade from their standard HD DVR. Suddenlink charges a $15 monthly fee for TiVo and requires that customers have broadband with a minimum speed of 10Mbps. All told they have HD DVRs, TiVo included, in 47.7% of their customers’ homes. Doing some back-of-the-envelope math that means 653,490 homes with HD DVRs, 643,490 of which are not TiVo households.

The main reason for the soft sell on TiVo seems to be their existing stock of non-TiVo HD DVRs. They don’t want to be “stuck with” them if they were to more aggressively push TiVo. That does leave a ray of sunshine though. Hardware has a finite usable life, and that stock of non-TiVo HD DVRs will eventually be exhausted and begin to wear out and need replacing. If TiVo can position themselves as that replacement they’d have a slow but steady market by attrition.

Via Consumer Electronics Daily.

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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TiVo Logo I guess with the Microsoft fight off their plate TiVo’s legal eagles had room for a new bout, as they’ve just filed a counter suit against Motorola – and Motorola’s customer, Time Warner Cable. Just over a year ago, in February 2011, Motorola filed a suit against TiVo claiming patent infringement. That suit was largely seen as retaliation for TiVo’s patent infringement suit against Verizon, filed way back in August 2009. The Verizon FiOS systems in question in that suit are largely supplied by Motorola.

So TiVo sued Verizon. Then Motorola sued TiVo in apparent retaliation (much like Microsoft sued TiVo after TiVo sued AT&T). Now TiVo is filing a counter suit against Motorola (as they did against Microsoft), and to top it off they’ve included Motorola customer Time Warner Cable in the new suit. There’s some high stakes legal poker going on here.

Tongue out of cheek, the timing is primarily due to the stay on the Motorola suit, which was in place while the AT&T & Microsoft cases proceeded as they involved the same patents, being lifted. As long as the case was stayed TiVo was under no pressure to file a counter suit, but not things are moving forward. TiVo announced the suit in a simple SEC filing:

On March 26, 2012, the Company filed an answer and amended counterclaims in response to a patent infringement suit that Motorola initiated against the Company in the Eastern District of Texas in 2011 that was stayed until earlier this year. In its response, the Company alleged counterclaims against Motorola and Time Warner Cable, one of Motorola’s customers, for infringing U.S. Patent Nos. 6,233,389, 7,529,465, and 6,792,195 owned by TiVo.

The full court filing has been posted on Scribd (thanks to Sam Biller):
TiVo files answers and amended counterclaims against Motorola & Time Warner Cable

The patents involved are the same core patents behind the EchoStar/DISH Network and AT&T settlements, as well as the ongoing case against FiOS. TiVo’s been successful so far, 2 for 2, so that’s a good sign. Time Warner Cable is the only remaining top five MVPD in the US that TiVo doesn’t have a business agreement or a legal settlement from. TiVo has business agreements with the top two, Comcast and DirecTV, and fifth place Cox Communications. Third place DISH Network settled with TiVo. That leaves TWC in fourth place, and many investors have wondered when TiVo would take some form of action against TWC if they didn’t come to an agreement.

These legal fights tend to drag on for years, so I’m not going to hold my breath waiting on any outcome just yet.

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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TiVo Android App 8 After posting Wednesday about TiVo’s update to their iOS Apps and how they expected to release the Android tablet app in ‘spring’ and bring the new features to all Android apps in ‘summer’, I was a bit surprised to find my Galaxy Nexus prompting me to update the TiVo app on Thursday. But the 1.5.1.35(8) update doesn’t bring any major new functionality, just minor incremental updates. And how about that convoluted version number? TiVo must have some ex-Cisco IOS developers handling their numbering scheme. (If you don’t get the reference, don’t worry. If you did – greetings my fellow networking geek!)

What’s in this version:
1. Resolution Support for WXGA (1280×800), 1024×600 and 960×540
2. Added Exit Button on Menu option
3. Performance and Stability Fixes

The Exit Button, or lack thereof, is something a number of people had complained about so that should make some of you happy. And if you had issues with the app before, it might be worth trying again to see if the fixes resolved your issue.

Now, TiVo, while we’re waiting for the official tablet version of the app, why don’t you let us use this on our tablets? You have WXGA support now! 1280×800 is the resolution of nearly all Android tablets. And we know it runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich already, as it works on ICS phones. It would be better than nothing. Then later you can release one Android app that works on both tablets and phones, as developers should. (I’m looking at you Sling. You and your separate $30 apps for tablets and phones.)

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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TiVo Logo Last night I posted about a new 500GB TiVo Premiere showing up on Amazon.com and I speculated that this was replacing the 320GB model in the lineup. Today TiVo emailed me a press release that not only confirms this, but also brings with it the welcome news that the Premiere XL and Premiere Elite are getting a $50 and $100 price cut, respectively. TiVo was planning on announcing this on Sunday, March 25, which is when the new unit becomes available and the new pricing takes effect; but since Amazon let the cat out of the bag they sent out the press release early.

The new Premiere family lineup will be:

  • TiVo Premiere – 500GB/75 Hours HD, 2 tuners, analog cable, digital cable, FiOS, antenna – $149.99
  • TiVo Premiere XL – 1TB/150 Hours HD, 2 tuners, analog cable, digital cable, FiOS, antenna – $249.99
  • TiVo Premiere Elite – 2TB/300 Hours HD, 4 tuners, digital cable, FiOS – $399.99

As further good news, TiVo is reducing their monthly subscription pricing from $19.99 on the first unit and $14.99 on each additional unit under the Multi-Service Discount, to $14.99 for the first unit and $12.99 for each additional unit. Product lifetime service remains at $499.99 for the first until and $399.99 for each additional unit. (Note that this pricing only applies to the Premiere family, older models remain at the $12.95/$9.95 pricing level. This reflects the different pricing model and subsidized on the older units when they were sold.)

So the Premiere gets a 180GB capacity bump and a $50 MSRP bump, the Premiere XL drops by $50, the Premiere Elite drops by $100, and monthly service pricing drops by $5 on the first box and $2 on each additional unit. Not a bad change I’d say.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – do not go monthly, buy product lifetime service. Yes, it is more up front. But you break even in 33 months with the new pricing on the first box ($499.99 vs. $14.99/month), and 31 months on additional units ($399.99 vs. $12.99/month). Odds are you’re going to be using the unit for longer than that. TiVo expects units to remain in service at least 60 months; that’s the period they amortize lifetime service revenue over. Once you break even you’re effectively saving money every month you use the box.

But there’s more – it is like buying vs. renting. If you go monthly, when you stop paying the box becomes a doorstop. And a used TiVo without any subscription has very little residual value on the resale market because of the relatively low pricing on new units – and factory refurbished units which have a full warranty unlike a used box from a user. But units with product lifetime service have a high residual value because PLS transfers with the unit. So you can resell the box on eBay, Craigslist, etc., and recoup a good bit of your initial investment. You won’t get that with monthly service – those payments add nothing to the value of the unit. So you save even more in the long run if you decide to resell the box.

Of course, you can always just give it away to someone else – a friend, the kids, etc. – or put it in another room in your home when you decide to upgrade to the latest and greatest. Since it has lifetime service it will continue to do its thing with no additional cost. And if you’re worried about it failing, which will happen to everything eventually, most failures are the hard drive or the fan – the only two moving parts. And both of those are readily replaced with very little technical knowledge required. If you can operate a screwdriver you can replace either one. Even a unit with a failed hard drive will carry value if it has PLS as people buy them just to fix them and put them back into service.

I’ve owned six TiVo units and I’ve had PLS on all of them. I’ve resold four of those over the years and recouped a fair bit. It works out especially well when PLS pricing increases between the time you purchase it and when you resell it. But enough of this – you get the point.

The full press release from TiVo is below:

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Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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TiVo Logo I’ve been noticing something recently, TiVo really seems to be pushing their ratings data service, Stop||Watch. Not necessarily directly, but it seems like there have been a number of direct and indirect marketing moves tied to the service recently.

In January, during CES, they put out a press release about OTT content and recorded TV overtaking Live TV viewing. They reported that, on web-connected units, live viewing was only 38%. And among users who use OTT services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video it is only 27%. The source for this data? Stop||Watch. That’s a bit of indirect marketing – “Look at what we can do with this data. Imagine what you could do with it.”

Last month they made a direct pitch when they announced the launch of ‘Next Day’ data services in Stop||Watch. Of course, they used the Academy Awards as a ‘hook’ for the announcement, as they released it the next morning and included viewing data from the previous night’s broadcast. Which is a clever marketing move as the popular press doesn’t care about the next day data service, but it got a lot of press because of the Academy Award data that was included.

Last month also saw the announcement of the deal with AT&T AdWorks to incorporate their data into Stop||Watch. Last week we had CEO Tom Rogers’ letter to the editor in The New York Times. And while he never mentioned Stop||Watch by name, it was obviously a stealth pitch for the service.

But that’s not all, over the past few weeks TiVo bloggers at MediaBizBloggers.com have really been beating the drum. MediaBizBloggers’ target audience is made up of industry members, not the general public, so the posts are tailored accordingly. Back on March 5, Jonathan Steuer, TiVo’s Vice President, Audience Research & Measurement, blogged in response to the same NYTimes article on the Modern Family ratings that Tom Rogers’ letter was in response to. It basically says the same thing Rogers said, only in much more detail with the data and graphs to back it up. All of it pulled from Stop||Watch, of course.

Then on Monday Greg DePalma, TiVo’s Vice President of Audience Insights, blogged about marketing executives basing their ad buys on gut feeling and historic behavior patterns instead of hard data. He never mentions Stop||Watch by name, but he does call out “TiVo and other STB data” in making the argument that buying based on the data produces better results for advertisers.

On Wednesday Alex Petrilli, senior manager of audience research at TiVo, blogged a very tongue in cheek post entitled All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Nielsen. The whole post is a little bit snarky in a fun way, relating stories about lessons he’s learned via the examples set by others. As in, what not to do so you don’t end up like them after they screw the pooch, as it were.

For example, he snarkily points out how ridiculous Nielsen’s rating system is, in areas such as sample size:

I discovered that 1,200 diaries can accurately represent the viewing of almost seven million people in the San Francisco DMA. Nielsen taught me that 500 household meters will equate to the two million plus households for the same DMA. And when people meters arrived, 800 was the magic number to capture both household and demographic viewership. As far as Nielsen’s NTI sample goes, 21,000 will be sufficient to represent the 114 million U.S. households thank you very much.

He later goes on to, of course, extol the virtues of Stop||Watch:

Thanks Nielsen, lessons learned. Here at TiVo our anonymous daily Stop||Watch sample consists of 350,000 set-top boxes. We also recently signed a licensing deal to incorporate the more than 8 million AT&T U-verse set-top boxes into our system which will significantly increase our sample size. In terms of DVR playback, based on TiVo’s 4th Quarter Stop||Watch data, 44% of all programs viewed were time-shifted. 54.6% on broadcast television and 37.8% on cable. In prime those figures jump to 63.4% for broadcast and 46.5% for cable equating to 56.1% overall. Based on other information I have seen regarding DVR usage, these figures appear more realistic than Nielsen’s 16.7%. But in the end, it is all about sample size, and Nielsen will be the first to tell you they have it covered.

It is nice to see a non-dry tone from a corporate blogger, honestly.

I know there have been other direct and indirect Stop||Watch pitches I’ve encountered, but I think these will suffice. Maybe it is just my unusual travels on the net; I do cover TiVo as a blogger (obviously), so I have various agents scouring the net for TiVo news and I monitor many different sources of TiVo info. But it definitely feels like activity surrounding Stop||Watch has picked up as of late.

End users may wonder what this means for them and really – not much. But services like Stop||Watch are part of TiVo’s diversified business model and success in selling these services is good for TiVo’s overall health. In the longer run, data-based advertising can lead to more meaningful ads. And evidence of problems reaching audiences who time shift can steer advertisers toward TiVo’s related offerings in interactive advertising and on-box promotions.

Lately it feels like TiVo is making a more concerted effort to raise awareness of Stop||Watch among industry decision makers. It has the feeling of an organized marketing push. It is nice to see TiVo being more aggressive in marketing these services. Of course, maybe it is just my skewed perspective.

Mirrored from Gizmo Lovers Blog.

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