Archives For TiVo

Dave’s Weaknees TiVo Upgrade

Dave Zatz —  October 20, 2006 — 3 Comments
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While debating the future of my Series3 review unit, I went ahead and beefed up the storage on my Humax DVD-burning TiVo. I’ve previously upgraded on my own (S1 Philips) using the Hinsdale instructions, but opted for the efficiency of a Weaknees upgrade this time. The Weaknees drive came completely formatted and ready for use — I removed about a dozen screws in order to swap the drives and instantly bumped my max recording capacity from ~80 hours to over 300 hours (though who’s using Basic quality?). The whole process, including TiVo startup must have taken less than 20 minutes. If you don’t mind spending a few bucks and aren’t terribly concerned about giving up your current recordings, a Weaknees upgrade is quick and easy. If you’d prefer to do the tinkering, they also host an interactive guide for DIYers.

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As for my Series3? Yes, I bought it — though 67% of you suggested I should hold it hostage or just send it back. Speaking of the S3 and Weaknees, they’ve just announced a few discounts and store credits.

Motorola: 50 Million Served

Dave Zatz —  October 19, 2006 — 2 Comments
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Dan Moloney, President of Motorola Connected Home Solutions
Ed Zander, CEO of Motorola

Love it or hate it, Motorola has shipped more cable boxes than anyone. We’re talking 50 million units… including 8 million HD-capable, 5 million DVR, and over 2,000 cable headends. I’ve had the dual-tuning HD 6412 in my home on three separate occasions and while the hardware has impressed me, the UI and (lack of) guide data is in need of help. I’m looking forward to seeing it run the TiVo OS in a few months… Shipping the S3 without the value-added features of multi-room viewing and TiVoToGo makes the Moto TiVo quite a compelling rental (for the Comcast customers who can get it).

The story so far…

September, 2006
Digeo, maker of the Moxi DVR, files an antitrust lawsuit against Gemstar, the TV Guide electronic/interactive programming guide folks, as described in the Seattle Times:

The rivalry between Digeo and Gemstar surfaced Thursday in federal court in Seattle, where Digeo filed a lawsuit claiming that Gemstar violated federal and state antitrust laws. Digeo said that it asked to license a subset of the 249 patents in Gemstar’s IPG portfolio, but that Gemstar insisted Digeo license the entire portfolio. If Digeo didn’t sign that licensing agreement, the suit said, it would be sued by Gemstar for patent infringement. Digeo is seeking damages in court and an order that stops Gemstar’s licensing practices.

October, 2006
Gemstar responds (retaliates?) with with a patent infringement lawsuit against Digeo, as described in the Broadcast Newsroom:

“We have attempted over an extended period of time to engage in patent licensing discussions with Digeo regarding the Moxi guide Digeo’s refusal to negotiate a patent license with us, and its decision to file suit against us, left us no option except to pursue legal remedies to protect the value of our intellectual property,” Gemstar executive VP and general counsel Stephen Kay said in a prepared statement Friday.

No surprises here… Gemstar has been quite aggressive in going after competing EPGs and Digeo refused to be strong-armed. TiVo faced a similar Gemstar suit several years ago, which resulted in a partnership (notice the TV Guide logos and related TiVo Showcase). It’s also worth noting that Comcast has been an equity investor/partner with both Gemstar and TiVo. Corporate nepotism, anticompetitive practices?

Never enough time…

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Multichannel breaks down the current state of affairs for multiroom viewing (MRV), covering the various vendors, pricing schemes, and thoughts on consumer acceptance. They speculate Dish may have the largest distribution of MRV-capable products, though general home penetration is low and consumers show little interest. Given the topic I am somewhat surprised TiVo’s MRV didn’t get more coverage, though they did point out critics (which ones?) feel the Home Media Option (HMO) “falls short.” The article is a light on the technology and doesn’t cover the future of HD MRV — who approves it, who will offer it, how will it work?

Multichannel News writes: Of the estimated 12 million U.S. households with a DVR, only a fraction have more than one such set-top, and the number of homes with some form of networked DVR system is even smaller. But equipment providers say cable providers in general have shied away from aggressive promotions of the technology. “I would say quite candidly that the market enthusiasm has been quite light,” said Clark.

A TiVo spokesperson declined to comment on whether the new TiVo Series 3 DVRs would include a multiroom playback capability.