Baby's First Not Really TiVo

from the what-a-waste dept

It looks like Hasbro is trying to jump on the TiVo/PVR bandwagon by offering a device for kids to watch recorded TV on the go. The device itself is a plasticy looking system with a tiny LCD screen. However, just about everything concerning this devices seems to have been designed without much thought towards what might actually be useful. For example, it only plays special discs — you can’t record what you want. So, the only content available is content that Hasbro has licensed and will sell you at $9 per 25 minutes. This content format is proprietary, so you won’t be able to view the content anywhere else, and you won’t be able to play CDs or DVDs owned otherwise on the device. In other words, it’s pretty useless unless you want to spend plenty of spare cash on shows that Hasbro has deemed okay. Why not just build a cheaper handheld DVD player that would let people watch content they already own or recorded to their own CDs or DVDs? Even better, why not toss in a hard drive so you could record shows directly off the TV to the device? The answer, of course, is that they’re hoping to find some suckers who will pay $9 for 25 minutes of broadcast TV.

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Comments on “Baby's First Not Really TiVo”

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Steve Mueller (user link) says:

Smells Like Teen Money

It doesn’t sound that compelling to me, either. The GameBoy Advance SP is now $80 and can play games and videos. I think Nintendo charges about $20 for an hour, about what Hasbro will charge.

A more interesting device might be Mattel’s JuiceBox. It will play video, although I’m not sure in what format. With their MP3 adapter, it sounds like you can download music and photos, too. Unfortunately, the site seems to be sparse on details, but it should be released October 17.

Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:


Unless I’m mistaken, this is a sequel to a product that flopped the first time.

It was almost exactly the same thing, except it was black & white instead of color. No, really… seriously.

It came out last year and every review of it said “Seriously? Black and White? In the 21st century?”.

This is basically the same gadget, just now with a color screen.

The $9 per 25 minutes is exorbitant – if you’re an adult. Children have no problem watching the same movie or TV show over and over and over again, so you could get away with buying 2 or 3 discs and being set.

The choice of going with a proprietary video/disc format was made to make sure that only they could provide content and thus keep as much of the profits to themselves as possible. I would also be willing to bet the video format is such that it requires a minimal amount of CPU power to process to increase battey life, similar to Sony’s Net Walkman.

Tony Peters says:

Hooks the young kids

My 8 year old is actually saving up for one of these pieces of junk. I’ve tried talking him out of the idea a couple of times, but somehow the idea of TV on the go has captivated his young mind. I think the only way I’ll talk him out of this one is to find something better.

Sigh… The joys of parenthood in a world of full of evil marketers.

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