Revolution will not be TiVo-ed


There was a time, when a small company made everyone on Madison Avenue sweat. It gave consumers powers to skip through commercials and record television shows, freeing them from the tyranny of a time-bound television experience. It was TiVo, the Che Guevara of the consumer electronics. It started a revolution, which forced companies big and small, from Comcast to Microsoft, to change their digital media plans. It inspired copy cats, and for the first time created a “user defined” technology experience.

It never made money…. infact, it lost money…. tons of it. Still, the TiVoted never stopped loving the cute TV with Antenna ears. Till today. In a desperate bid to stay alive, TiVo which was born out of scorn for commercials sold its soul for a few pieces of silver.

The company is going to insert interactive banner ads when you fast forward through recored television shows. So what they are saying essentially: our ads are better than “networks” ads. Which is baloney. I had been contemplating buying a TiVo this weekend, but I guess my money is going to Microsoft when I do decide to buy a DVR.

I think this is a dark day for TiVo, and this new feature is aimed at pleasing TV Networks and advertisers. I doubt a single customer would ever ask for this kind of feature, and that it happens while you skip commercials just drives the point home. TiVo is no longer TV your way, it’s TV their way. (PVR Blog)

My point exactly: even the lame Comcast VoD service is better than a TiVo with commercials popping up. Next year TiVo plans to help you buy stuff from these commercials. Not a chance. A couple of million TiVo users, I hope will find other options. It is time for the company to start counting its breath. A long time ago, I said, Ta-Ta TiVo. This time the whole planet might agree with me.


Jesse Kopelman

Ok Om, I agree with your VOD complaint. Although I still don’t think it lame, the service could definitely be improved. That said, there is great potential for someone else to come in with their own IP based VOD product. Thanks to the cable card, anyone can build a set-top box that tunes all the cable co’s broadcast channels (including HD), provides DVR functionality, and hooks up to an IP based VOD service. The only thing missing is faster broadband service. To support really good quality video and still allow simultaneous sharing of the connection with other functions, you probably need at least 10Mbps. This is why I wonder if cable and DSL speeds will ever increase much over 3Mbps (at least for < $50/month), as this would open the cable and telcos to all sorts of outside competition.


They should just return what little money they have to the shareholders – they’re done. They had a great product for consumers, but were unable to sell it so now they sell the few consumers they have to the advertisers. What a terrible move.


I agree Jonathan. I think they are so badly managed and the company needs some help. they are trying to win the battle for the consumer, but have literally no clue how to do so. they are pissing off their core audience. i think the company needs to think different. think like well I am going to be a service provider, an IP provider or a box maker. they are trying everything to remain solvent, which is not such a good idea.

Jonathan Greene

Om –

Thank you for the confirmation of my beliefs which I’ve also blogged recently!

Tivo is going to VERY quickly alienate the enthusiast market they have only ever served. First they’ll disable record and storage for broadcast flagged content like HBO and the NFl, add in some suckalicious support to defeat HD for those silly enough to pay $1000 and then (I also read the news today) will totally kill any hope left by making it impossible to skip the ad or even just fast forward if you need are simply trying to catch up.

Certainly advertisers have to play this game as well which might not reflect well for their brands with the Tivo crowd either.

While it’s far from perfect, my Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8000HD is a 2 tuner HD capable DVR that was FREE (and I am on my 3rd since it’s failed twice) and only includes the same monthly fee I’d have to pay anyway with Tivo.


its lame because it decides what is on VoD. I would love to have some control over that. it would be nice to get more BBC America shows and all that. still not bad for a free service

Jesse Kopelman

What’s lame about Comcast’s VOD? I watch like 10 hours a week of its programming . . . Now what is lame is that Comcast’s DVR only has a single tuner and is pretty noisey to boot.

Comments are closed.