TiVo Goes Dr. Evil On EchoStar: One BILL-ion Dollars, Please

from the make-this-end dept

TiVo and EchoStar (DISH) have been involved in a long and convoluted patent battle over basic DVR functionality. TiVo’s certainly been winning. Personally, the whole thing is pretty ridiculous to me. The market is better served by competition, and having multiple players focusing on providing better DVR functionality (and, trust me, having used both their DVRs, they could both stand for some significant improvements) rather than spending money on lawyers. Either way, TiVo seems to be shooting for the moon with its latest demand that Dish pay up $1 billion dollars (Dr. Evil laughter inserted here), which is a lot more than the hundreds of millions most folks expected. One doubts they’ll actually get that much — the number is probably more of an effort to get EchoStar to just settle. But, if they do get numbers like that, you have to admit that buying that cow in Texas was a great investment.

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Companies: echostar, tivo

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Comments on “TiVo Goes Dr. Evil On EchoStar: One BILL-ion Dollars, Please”

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Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Our early attempts at a DVR went through several preparations. Preparations A through G were a complete failure. But now, ladies and gentlemen, we finally have a working DVR, which we shall call… Preparation H.”

Why didn’t you just call it Preparation Ass stream, ass?

But I agree…preparation DOES feel good…on the whole.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

If you wernt full of “ass stream” and if you actually understood the joke itself, youd know that it actually reads

Why don’t you just call it operation ass-cream, you ass.

Because Preperation H is an ass cream. You get the joke now?

Good, im glad.

Try harder next time.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“If you wernt full of “ass stream” and if you actually understood the joke itself, youd know that it actually reads

Why don’t you just call it operation ass-cream, you ass.

Because Preperation H is an ass cream. You get the joke now?

Good, im glad.

Try harder next time.”

Yes, I was trying to relate it to something tech related, since, you know, that’s what this site is about. Holy comprehension failure, Batman!

Anonymous Coward says:

Charlie Ergen is the biggest proverbial piece of shit.

It’s documented that he didn’t know how to spell “Satellite” when he started his company.

But more interesting is that he also displays his idiocy in the people he hires, and continually favors offshoring when possible.

Charlie’s continual attention to the bottom line maybe even caused a Satellite to exit it’s orbit, and allowed him to collect insurance.

I get the feeling that Charlie surrounds himself with people that say “Hey Charlie, if you don’t pay this, or pay this or do this, maybe we can save $2.00, and I doubt they will challenge it”.. This in itself is a very bad way to do business.

Perhaps another said “If we spend $10,000 more on this we can obtain a stay in court”

If that’s how he decides to run his business, the entire company needs to be sent off and his employees deserve better. Because no waterfall will make up for his crappy leadership.

TiVo deserves to be paid for what they developed, and Charlie needs to go away. Charlie is the absolute opportunist who not only can spell “satellite” now, but seems to be continually lost at square one.

CleverName says:

Re: Re:

“TiVo deserves to be paid for what they developed,”

As I recall, Tivo developed a market – not a DVR. They did nothing new or out of the ordinary on a hardware/software level. Putting data on a HD is not unique and certainly was obvious to a practitioner in the field as there were other DVRs introduced at the same time.

This just another money and you know it.

As far as your other rant, true or not, it has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

nraddin (profile) says:


What does TIVO think it owns exactly? The idea of recording TV on a HDD? Well I was doing that on my PC long before their 1998 first showing of both Tivo and ReplayTV.

Next the Tivo system is just finally getting as good a the ReplayTV interface (But not there yet) and is not even close to what MythTV or even Windows Media Center can do.

If Tivo had developed anything that was not obvious and/or done at the same time by a half dozen other companies (Not the least of which is ReplayTV) then I am having a hard time finding it. They don’t deserve a patent on any of the basic ideas of functionality of a DVR, and if they get to hold people over the table for it we will all pay the price.

PRMan (profile) says:

Wow, the ignorance is astounding on here...

TiVo patented watching a show while it is still recording, including how to handle when you catch up to live.

This was an extremely big deal in the days of slow hard drives and was NOT simply “digital DVR”. All the other DVR manufacturers pay a small fee to TiVo for this functionality.

The patent has already been challenged and upheld by the USPTO.

CleverName says:

Re: Wow, the ignorance is astounding on here...

“This was an extremely big deal in the days of slow hard drives and was NOT simply “digital DVR”.”

And no one else practiced in the field had ever thought of, published papers on nor built anything like it ? I call BS. And, isn’t “digital DVR” redundant ?

“All the other DVR manufacturers pay a small fee to TiVo for this functionality.”

Really – as far as rationalizations go, this one is very lame. Lemmings ? Are you WH ?

“The patent has already been challenged and upheld by the USPTO.”

This statement of fact is rather meaningless. There are many patents which should not have been issued, some of them have been upheld. Water is wet …

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: competition

But without strong patent protection there will be no competition. Small firms will soon figure out their creations and discoveries will just be stolen and they will stop creating. Think again…or just think.

You keep coming here and claiming that, and each time we point out that historically this is wrong — that most innovations are actually IGNORED by the bigger companies until it’s too late. That smaller companies tend to recognize disruptive innovations first and big companies are quite often (not always, certainly) unable to adapt to them.

And we point this out to you over and over again, and from you? Silence. Quite telling.

Jake (profile) says:

Re: Re: competition

Of course, TiVo is no patent troll. They have a product, they’ve been in the market for 10 years– which they helped pioneer– and they continue to innovate. I’m unaware of any other lawsuits TiVo has been a party to. One reason for their survival was their ability to stay out of the courtroom.

And then there’s the matter of their business, which relied (in part) on licensing their software to DirecTV, Humax, Comcast and other TV providers and hardware companies. Now, for better or worse, the courts have rules that TiVo’s “time-warp” and other trick play features are deserving of patent protection and DISH has violated them. Honestly, I think the whole concept of software patents is a little inane, but that’s the system we got.

Now given all that, When DISH first lost this case FIVE years ago, they had the opportunity to settle. Anytime in the next 3-4 years they probably could have licensed TiVo’s technology for under $200 million and TiVo shareholders would have rejoiced. But they didn’t. DISH played chicken with the court, violated court orders repeatedly, and have now been found in contempt. So in addition to the $100 million they already paid, and the other $100 million they are due through April 2008, they will soon (likely) be on the hook for several hundred million more, and will be forced to license TiVo’s technology or shut off their DVRs.

So yeah, on the surface it’s a patent case. But dig deeper, and you’ll find that Echostar/DISH have been the ones prolonging the court battle and consequently increasing their financial exposure substantially. DISH isn’t appealing on any moral grounds, and even if they were, they would have been wise to settle years ago at a much lower cost. Thumbing their noses at the legal system may cost them billions of dollars.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: competition

Amen, Jake! I wish Mike’s article had actually included the facts you did. The variance in the quality of the articles on this site is odd. Sometimes they are well stated and insightful, and then there are ones like this ‘Goes Dr. Evil’ garbage. Thanks for adding some substance with your post.

CleverName says:

Re: Re: Re: competition

Who said anything about a troll. Other than yourself, has anyone in this thread used the term troll? No, of course not. So why are you going on in tivos defense against a claim that was not levied ?

It is a bad patent, no question about it.

Please – do try and be more creative next time – ok ?

tivonomo says:

Re: Re: competition


Maybe you get no response because you are applying broad reasoning to a specific case. The DVR industry has indeed stolen DVR technology and made it nearly impossible for competition to survive. This is why Replay is gone and TiVo had to sue or else they would be gone. To this day, the only way TiVo can get their DVR to a satellite customer is through DTV. DISH has completely shut them out and went to the extent to steal technology from a TiVo prototype.

Anonymous Coward says:

My pappy used to tan my hide, out behind the barn...

DO you think EchoStar will try to wiggle their way out of a $6M judgement from 46 states?


Echostar seems to be a little whiny brat who keeps getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Someone needs to take him out behind the barn and teach him a thing or two.

eryl (profile) says:

tivo patent

How long will our legal system allow echostar with their deep pockets drag this legislation out. This has been going on for roughly four years. We already saw how the FCC practically destroyed satellite radio by sitting on a merger decision for well over a year. Is this all about PAC money being steered to the right people or are they all milking the system.

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