I spotted something annoying today on my TiVo. In the past few weeks, TiVo has been ramping up the advertising efforts, loading ads for related shows/downloads whenever I delete a show and also on the main TiVo screen, but today I noticed something a bit more insidious:
The top item in my list shows 3 shows recorded, but when you go into the folder, you see four items. Turns out the fourth item is an advertising plug for some new off-road race series which doesn't exactly have much to do with a snowboarding/skiing/etc competition. That's kind of annoying. More screenshots after the jump.
Here's the "1 Pro. 1 Joe. One epic journey" screen you get when selected:
It may seem like no big deal to add another item, but I use a TiVo so that I can ignore 99% of the stuff on television and just watch the things my family enjoys. When I dropped into my folder of new shows, I instantly saw the plug for the show because it was highlighted with a star by it, but I didn't record it and it's not one of the shows I record.
The bottom line is that I don't mind general plugs for shows or products done on the main TiVo screen, at the bottom, but when it's deeply embedded in my list of shows, highlighted above the level of even the shows I tape, it's starting to go too far.
TiVo, keep the ads in general places I can choose to look at or not, but don't bury them deep within my own private selection of shows. It's annoying and feels like someone inserting spam subject lines into my inbox of email from coworkers.
At yesterday's Macworld keynote, Apple announced an update to Apple TV and the availability of standard def (720x480) and high def (1280x720) movie rentals from the iTunes Music Store. The new AppleTV software isn't out yet but promised "soon" though rentals are now available from an iTunes update (HD movies are only going to be available on AppleTV).
While I've liked my AppleTV, it's always felt like a limited-use device that could do much more. Adding rentals into the mix (along with more podcasts and photo integration) is definitely going to make me use the device more. While I've rented a few Amazon Unbox movies on my TiVo, I haven't been a fan of the low video quality. I've also bought few shows/movies for AppleTV because I rarely watch a movie more than once. I've tested out dedicated Pay-Per-View devices like the Vudu and been grossly underwhelmed (mostly due to the thin selection).
Apple TV is suddenly much more interesting because they have loads of studios on board offering thousands of movies (great selection) along with a new 720p HD option for 100 recent films (hopefully with more to come). Given these new rental options in addition to the old "plays any downloaded web video converted over" and "easily show off all photos from iPhoto" features, I'm much more hopeful for the future of Apple TV as well as the future of the iTunes Music Store becoming something big for everyone.
I'm not going to CES this year but as usual, the best places to see everything from afar look to be Engadget's CES page for all the general stuff and TiVoLovers' CES page for the TiVo-specific and home theater specific news.
Personally, I haven't seen anything too exciting out of CES this week (but it's early), though I'm looking forward to the new logitech remote (anyone know if it does bluetooth?).
After the long-rumored (from 2004) Netflix/TiVo deal fell through (in 2005), it looks like Netflix and LG are going to create their own set-top box to facilitate downloads of Netflix movies. Even better is a mention that they might just bake it into existing dual format HD-DVD/Blu-ray players.
It's interesting that Netflix found a new partner and a way to get studios on board to allow them to do it -- I suspect TiVo was seen as a hostile force for the studios a couple years ago when the Netflix/TiVo deals were first discussed. Also it's obvious that the landscape has changed since 2004. People have broadband and are willing to buy downloadable movies, and the companies that offer them aren't huge sources of problems or piracy.
Another interesting aspect is that LG is already thinking of how to add it as an added feature to their existing product line. That's a great approach because I have to admit that I've played with a Vudu box and it's incredibly dumb to think people will pay $400 for a box that only plays $2-5 rentals and holds a limited number of $10-20 movies permanently. It's good to see LG recognize this from the outset and not strive to build dedicated PPV boxes you have to pay for.