TiVo has taken the same approach, promoting ways to serve ads to viewers even as they’re fast-forwarding through them. “We’ve gone from being a black hat to being more of a white hat,” said Tom Rogers [...] TiVo owners can find ways to hack the hardware and create an auto-skip feature, but the company has never promoted it, preferring instead to be in business with the broadcasters.
Never mind the gross mischaracterization of TiVo’s quite manual 30 second skip, which is more easter egg than “hardware” hack, and let’s focus instead on TiVo’s increased chumminess with the broadcasters, advertisers, and cable industry… who are often one and the same. While they may find TiVo more “white hat” these days, us subscribers might actually see it in reverse. Something I discussed with The Associated Press back 2009:
He said he’s been wondering, “Who are TiVo’s customers?” People like him, or advertisers? “They’re getting paid on both ends.”
All things considered, I’d say TiVo has been relatively successful walking that fine line as they’ve the brokered deals (and defended patents) needed to survive without overly polluting our end-user experience. But I hope they continue to remember us little people. As the best way to skip commercials doesn’t involve cable television or DVRs. Rather, it remains renting DVDs and Blu-ray discs from Netflix.