Big Threats To TiVo: Freevo Is Not Its Name-o

from the do-it-yourself dept

Everyone seems to want to take a shot at TiVo these days. Despite the loyalty of TiVo subscribers, there's no shortage of articles wondering if TiVo can survive. However, among the threats TiVo has to deal with, this review of the various "free" (or cheap) versions of PVR software is probably not what TiVo should be worrying about. Do-it-yourself "TiVo-like" software has been around about as long as TiVo itself. And there are all sorts of devices that could be built for fun or to just avoid licensing fees, but that 0.001% of the population who would, probably doesn't keep TiVo executives up at night.

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  1.  
    identicon
    TAD, Jun 8th, 2004 @ 12:36pm

    No Subject Given

    BitTorrents and their ilk will kill Tivo. Currently, I have found places to download pretty much every TV show that I watch, in very high quality video, with the commercials already stripped out. I can then burn these shows to a DVD and then I can have an entire season of my favorite show with no commercials on a single DVD.

    My guess in that within a year or so, there will be software similar to Napster which will make downloading torrents VERY easy for the masses. Right now it's not cake, and I doubt non-technical people could figure it all out.

    When that happens, it could very well easily kill Tivo and will probably destroy free network television as well. Tivo execs aren't the only ones who should be losing sleep.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2004 @ 12:42pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    When you say that you have "found places" I think some hyperlinks to sites other than www.filesoup.com or www.suprnova.org would help me believe you.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Jun 8th, 2004 @ 12:54pm

    Socialization of media?

    Countries where the media (TV, music, arts, etc.) are financed by the government do not depend on advertisements to survive, and do not need to resort to short-sighted tactics either.

    If the free market favors survival of the fittest, will socialist media turn out to be the fittest after all?

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    mhh5, Jun 8th, 2004 @ 1:56pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    that's certainly a possibility, but napster was supposed to do similar things to the music industry, right? (ie. don't underestimate the legal aspects) So BitTorrent-like distribution software is another way to get content, but TiVo could potentially take advantage of it by letting users distribute their TiVo'd shows (which may be how you're getting your fix in the first place). So it's not clear whether TiVo is under direct threat of BitTorrent-like things either.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Jeremiah, Jun 9th, 2004 @ 2:07am

    No Subject Given

    Do any of you actually *own* a Tivo?

    While i don't personally, i have now THREE (ooooo!) friends who do, and truth be told, i don't see any of them giving up Tivo anytime soon.

    The interface is too easy, and the box simply WORKS. No amount of 'Freevo' or any other Tivo-Toasters will change the fact that MOST people prefer a box that they don't have to tweak.

    The problem with BT d/l's is you're dependent on the creator of the Torrent file for QA. Not every BT file is what it claims to be (unlike broadcast TV) and not every BT file is of substantial quality.

    The folks at Tivo have been disussing MSN's, or Media Storage Networks. The rough idea is to "napster-ize" Tivo; searching and downloading content stored on other Tivo's.

    The biggest issue (next to copyright, of course) is infrastructure. Currently, cable and satellite systems do not allow subscribers to "broadcast" or otherwise make available other services on the company wire. Only if this changes will Tivos be able to share with each other.

    I had something else to add, but i forget now.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2004 @ 6:52am

    Re: Happy TiVo owner

    I have two and bought one for my parents. You can have my TiVo when you pry it from my cold dead fingers. I'll give up my PC before I give up my TiVo. I'd discuss trading a favored relative, pot roast, and morning coffee before I give up my TiVo.
    One of the ways we use it is Not suited to BT trash. When the phone rings or someone comes to the door I just pause TiVo, no muss and no fuss. Also for skipping the commercials.
    Also, have you ever actually tried to use BT (or kazaa, morpheous, grokster, etc...) to get a full season of anything? The few times I've managed to snag even two or three of anything they are by different authors, so you get different quality, strange sound, blah blah. I've read that people TiVo an entire season of 24 and watch it over the holiday or when sick.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    bob, Jun 9th, 2004 @ 11:24am

    TiVo not going away

    I've been tinkering with TiVo like setups for years. It started off by wanting to digitize the starwars tapes my son was destroying by watching over and over. It then gew in to building custom boxes, bla bla bla. Every PVR box I've built is more expesive than, and less user friendly than a TiVo.

    My wife won't touch any of it, but she'll use a TiVo. SHe doesn't care about extra functionality, and I'll bet 90% of consumers don't either. THey want to plug in a box and have it work. Until the homebrew boxes are cheaper and easier to use than TiVo, there is no real threat.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2004 @ 11:31pm

    Re: TiVo not going away

    I got a program called show shifter [http://www.showshifter.com/] which pretty much does just that (plug it in and it works). I spent quite a while trying to get an app to get my spare comp to act like a TiVO, and show shifter was the only one which worked right away the first time I installed it. Although Show shifter does have it's draw backs. The Guide system is SLOW and takes several hours to download, parse, and update. But otherwise it's great. Only thing that would be nicer is if the prog had more keyboard shortcuts.

     

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