Today's New York Times asked 11 celebrities what technology they would like to see invented, and former player and current football commentator Cris Collinsworth wants a TiVo that will let him take recordings on the road. He mentions DVD, and there is a standalone unit that can do that for him, but he also mentions DirecTivo, which Pioneer's burner does not do.
Of course, the current functionality he asks for is already in Windows Media Center XP and SnapStream. Maybe after high-profile people like Collinsworth and low-profile people like me have asked for it, TiVo might listen to its customers?
AdAge has a new article, "Why PVR Technology is good for marketers" that explains how products like TiVo will revolutionize the marketing industry and give them a tremendous opportunity for further product placement, adverts on the services themselves, and other ways to move away from 30 second TV spots that weren't working all that well in the first place.
All the sturm und drang around personal video recorders should come as no surprise to readers of this column, who were warned more than three years ago that PVRs meant "treacherous times ahead for programmers and the marketers that depend on them." But let's parse the warning a little more carefully. In fact, TiVo and other PVRs are a boon to marketers. It's only the broadcast networks that are in trouble.
The New York Times published a nice introductory article today about the ongoing convergence between TV, PCs, and Home Theater systems: "Drawing PC, TV and Stereo Into an Entertainment Loop".
It serves as a good overview of many products covered here in the past: the Prismiq media player, the Gateway connected DVD player, and TiVo's Home Media Option, and hints at things to come from the likes of Microsoft, Toshiba, and Linksys.
Earlier this year, the New York Times carried an article about AOL/Time Warner's plans to enter the PVR market, both with the DVR box for Time Warner customers, and with a new service called MystroTV.
A few months later, details about the Mystro service began to leak out. It may be pay per view video-on-demand plus Television DVR functionality in addition to broadcast TV on demand. That last one's a new feature. Imagine a system with every major network show from the past few days stored on your box and ready to go at the touch of a button. It'd be like having the ability to TiVo everything over a shorter time frame.
Whatever Mystro may turn out to be, it sounds like the wheels are in motion. Time Warner is advertising a few openings on the Mystro marketing and development team as they gear up for test marketing in Green Bay.
It'll be interesting to see what a huge company that owns multiple channels, the largest internet service provider on earth, music labels, and studio assets can do with a magical box sitting in your living room.
Emily Bell, editor-in-chief of Guardian Unlimited, weighs in with an opinion piece about the impact of PVRs with respect to TV program scheduling. While not too much new ground is covered here, it is important to note how executives of major media organizations understand that their world is changing.
The ability to pick and store programmes at random leaves schedulers with an insurmountable problem, and presents the challenge of marketing in a noisy and fragmented environment. The concept of building an audience could, in a few years, be living on borrowed time. Our loyalties no longer belong to the schedule but to individual programmes in a way mainstream broadcasters thought would never happen.
Starting next month, Dell will begin selling Dell-branded DVRs with DirecTV service. The device looks to be a DirecTiVo receiver and pricing starts at $99 with the usual 1-year service agreement. The move furthers Dell's recent push into the consumer electronics/home media market, adding to other Dell-branded devices such as an iPod-competitor MP3 device and LCD-based televisions.
Seth Scheisel has a good piece in the NY Times about the impact of cable companies who are bundling in PVR capabilities into the newest digital cable set-top boxes. It is all bad news for Tivo.
In the end, Mr. Palermo was turned off from TiVo by the prospect of having to connect all kinds of wires and adding a new box to his home entertainment system. So, instead, he ordered a relatively new product that his cable company, Time Warner Cable, a unit of Time Warner, has been pitching: a set-top box made by Scientific-Atlanta with a DVR already built in.
If you're interested in picking up a free TiVo, book publisher O'Reilly (who released the excellent TiVo Hacks) is giving away a fully upgraded TiVo. The questions aren't easy, but then it's not a normal out-of-the-box TiVo on the line.
Of course that all said (and read), it looks more like a small disagreement between fans critical of the company (I would put myself firmly in that group too) and an executive that did take the time to contact them directly (which, regardless of his message, was a noble act).