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TiVo Introduces Series2 351

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stuff-to-lust-after dept.
KMFMS writes "Yesterday, TiVo introduced their Series2 line of TiVo DVRs. The TiVo web page for the Series2 states that it will have "2 USB expansion ports to connect to peripheral devices like... network adaptors..." " Presumably this will mean Tivo will have Broadband support to compete with the new ReplayTV 4000's. It also claims to support music and stuff too.
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TiVo Introduces Series2

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  • How long? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tempest303 (259600) <jensknutson@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @12:51PM (#2809994) Homepage
    How much more expansion and networkability are the MPAA and TV networks going to "allow" in these sorts of things? I keep wondering when the "other shoe is going to drop" and Tivo is either sued out of existance or DRM'd out of usefulness...
    • Re:How long? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by inerte (452992)
      Forever, specially when copying content from a device to another can be tracked (and charged). If we get to this situation, MPAA will surely profit of it.
    • I was under the impression that the newest versions of TiVo's software encoded the video stream more than previously (2.5 vs lower revs).

      I would guess they would have no problems with you moving files around from place to place, if the only way to view those files was using a single hardware decoder that only produced an analog signal. Moving files from place to place is still a useful thing from the standpoint of archival. I have 2x100GB drives in my TiVo, but I can see where having TB of space would be really handy.

      But then, I don't know enough about my TiVo's guts to know if hardware decryption to analog is what they will be able to do. AFAICT, that's the only way to keep the SellersOfContent from ripping them a new one.

      • newest versions of TiVo's software encoded the video stream more than previously (2.5 vs lower revs).

        2.5 = VBR (+other stuff)

  • Upgrade? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Indomitus (578) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @12:51PM (#2809997) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants to know if there's going to be an upgrade program/discount for owners of the now old school original Tivo boxes?

    I guess now that the Series1 prices are going to probably go into a freefall soon I can pick up an extra and finally for the 100gig drive upgrade. :)
    • Re:Upgrade? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JohnGalt42 (472998)
      Enabled for future services in home entertainment

      Well, if those are still future services, why would I want to upgrade now? Why don't I wait until these services are actually available and I can be certain that unit, with add-ons, actually functions the way they claim it will.
      • Re:Upgrade? (Score:2, Informative)

        by mikeylebeau (68519)
        I agree that one should not consider buying one of the Series2 boxes until there is a *reason* to.. However, it is understandable what TiVo is doing. Most likely, when ReplayTV released their 4000 unit with the broadband, TiVo was caught with their pants down and have been rushing since then to have something to show for CES, so that they don't appear to be behind in the development of their product as compared to Replay. This is a way of using what was pretty much already-existing technology in many Series1 boxes (see this comment [slashdot.org] within this article regarding technology which is already in the TiVo), but being able to say, "look we're doing what Replay did, but better!!"

        -mikey
    • Series1 prices are going to probably go into a freefall

      I have been findind 14hr refurb's for about 70$US. I don't know how much more "freefall" that can take.
      [The supply seems to be drying up as they are getting harder and harder to find, but the price hasn't escalated yet. I expect Series2 to have that effect.]

    • I really doubt it. It would be nice, but when was the last time you heard of a DVD player or television coming with an upgrade discount.

      As long as they keep providing service for the S1 TiVos, I don't see any reason to expect a discount on the new ones.
  • Component Out? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ranger Rick (197)
    It's unclear on that little blurb whether it will have HDTV outputs... anyone have any more information on this? It would be great to have the outputs so that I could use the empty component in on my TV.
  • by eaddict (148006) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @12:54PM (#2810024)
    When I install a USB device usually I have to add some software driver of some sort. How will this work? It would be cool to be able to support things like webcams, the new creative labs sound system, PCTiVo cable and more. I use USB for most all of my stuff on my PC and would love to see this capability on a set top box.
    • Built-in support (Score:3, Informative)

      by Otto (17870)
      It will have built in support for several types of USB devices. The kernel in the only "series 2" device out there (the AT&T Tivo, availble right now thru Tivo's web page) appears to have compiled-in support for a few types of USB ethernet adapters, but it may not be enabled as of yet. In any case, so software drivers will be required, you just have to use the list of "compatible hardware" that they give. That list will likely be long, as it's just a matter of having the unit detect and load the necessary kernel modules (it's running Linux 2.4.something).
  • RealNetworks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Corvidae (162939) <`jrwill' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @12:54PM (#2810029)
    So if you plug in a USB modem/broadband adaptor, you'd then be able to stream Real content onto a TiVO. It all makes sense now...
    • Yeah, it does make sense now. My guess in an earlier post [slashdot.org] wasn't too far off. I'm still skeptical though, they could still mess up and require hacking to get it to do what geeks want.
    • Content on demand that costs less than pay-per-view would be nice. I would even be willing to wait for the content to cache so that I could get the best signal resolution.
  • ...and they're still going to charge ten clams a month for guide data that's freely available on the web? I'm willing to bet, the answer is yes.

    This is the ONLY reason I'm not a Tivo user. Sure, the hardware is cool and it would be great to set something to record Battlebots, the Crocodile Hunter and a few other *special* shows... But for $119.88 a year for freely available data? I think not.

    Oh well, maybe if the new features work without a subscription, I'll take a look.... But wait, didn't the release of extractstream (can't find link at the moment, I'll leave this up to you link-finders out there) make Tivo respond by saying the next version of the Tivo hardware would use millitary-grade crypto? So much for hackability.
    • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @01:01PM (#2810087) Homepage
      They're not selling the data. They're selling the format and convenience of the data.

      You can buy a sunday paper and get the TV listings. Somehow TV Guide stays in business selling the same "data" to people, but usually in a better format.

      Not that i wouldn't love to be able to get all the stuff for free, but the key to tivo staying in business and making cool boxes is for them to make money somehow. If it would just go over my DSL IP connection I'd be happier than the whole dialing-in thing.
      • Agreed, they're not just selling the data. Add to that the fact that the subscriptions are really the only thing that make TiVo a decent business model (the only things that come to mind from which TiVo might profit is (1) licensing the TiVo technology to box makers like Sony and Philips, (2) the subscription fees, and (3) content deals with big networks), I'm happy to fork over the cash in hopes that it might help a company succeed which deserves to succeed.

        Finally, think of it this way. Subscription fees are a way of subsidizing the cost of the set-top box. If you don't like that idea, you can just pay the extra $250 (it was $200 when I bought my TiVo) for lifetime service, and then you're essentially paying TiVo what it should cost to buy the box. Otherwise you can do that in monthly or annual increments down the line, but since I planned (and still do plan) on keeping my TiVo for many years to come when I bought it in June of 2000, I bought the lifetime, which, as of something like this March, will have paid for itself.

        -mikey
    • by CMiYC (6473) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @01:17PM (#2810203) Homepage
      Yeah I had the same attitude until I bought one. When you realize the power the guide data gives Tivo. you can easily appreciate paying $10 a month. Sure the data is free, but programming the Tivo is not. If you had to manually program the guide data every two weeks, I think that would suck. Otherwise, the Tivo is just a digital VCR. You can easily use your computer to just record tv shows digitally. The fact that the system keeps itself updated, tracks shows that you like, automatically record a show if it moves, etc. etc etc. Its more than just the fact you are getting free data. You are getting to use the power of Tivo with that data. It takes a lot of effort to make the data useful, and that is what you are paying for.
      • Yeah I had the same attitude until I bought one.

        I actually had the opposite attitude when I bought one. I really hoped that my $10 would end up resulting in something more amazing than just a TV listing. The problem is that it doesn't. There are a number of shows locally that decided it's a good idea to start at 5 minutes after, but heaven help you if they decide to at the hour/thirty, because the TiVo listing were never updated and I was always missing the first 5 minutes of those shows. This was before you could adjust the start time, but I could still argue that my paying $10 means I shouldn't have to adjust the time ever.

        I was also really hoping that the TiVo listings system was smart enough to adjust for the fucking sporting events that stations seem to think is just fine to go over with and screw up the rest of the evening. Hell, ABC doesn't even have sporting events that I'm aware of and I still couldn't/can't rely on Politically Incorrect being in the time it's slotted for.

        So I dropped the service. As a VCR, the TiVo is still an excellent buy. But until they improve their listings or figure out a way to make money on the data they collect, they won't be collecting any more of my money. It'll take more than a couple USB ports to get me to buy the new hardware, too. If they had a clue, they would have added a FireWire port so I could drop an extra drive on or a DVD/CD-RW for archival purposes.

        • Hell, ABC doesn't even have sporting events that I'm aware of and I still couldn't/can't rely on Politically Incorrect being in the time it's slotted for.
          ABC has Monday Night Football, which is notorious for going long.
        • by spudnic (32107)
          TiVo does the best it can do with the directory information it is given, and the problems aren't really that bad. There's not a whole lot they can do when a football game runs over, or some breaking news story overrides normal programming. The data is collected weeks before. And what if a station airs a show 5 minutes early each time it plays? They should put that information in their listings. Many already do.

          There is no way TiVo or any other company could keep track of the idiosyncrasies of every local channel in America. Want to make the problem a little easier to deal with? Contact the network or station that doesn't keep their times synchronized or publishes incorrect guide data and let them know how you feel about it.

          As PVR's become more pervasive, you will find that most broadcasters will pay more attention to detail if they want to keep their viewers happy.

          .
    • by SethJohnson (112166) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @01:18PM (#2810205) Homepage Journal
      Or you could buy the lifetime package and be done with it.


      Do you boycott all products / services that package something freely available in a more useful form? Sure, I don't buy bottled water, but what about the newspaper? What about linux distros? Why go to the movies at the theater when they'll eventually be shown on broadcast tv stations like NBC or FOX?

      I find myself buying the newspaper rather than looking at the online version because I enjoy the portability and bathroom-readability of it. I purchase SuSE cdroms to support the improvement of the product without having to get my hands dirty writing code. I pay $7.50 to see movies in the theater because I want to see them on a big screen with a great sound system and share the experience with a few hundred other people.

      There often is a value-add in a company taking something that's freely available and selling it. If there wasn't, then there would be legions more people who share your perspective, and these companies wouldn't be able to stay afloat. In the case of TiVO, they have significant value-add with using the tv listings. It's not a box that simply displays the channel guide (channel 7 here in Austin, TX). Consider Tivo to be your TV administrator. It watches those listings like a damn hawk, swooping down and snatching up the programs you wouldn't have noticed were on. Unless, of course, you want to spend more than $10.00 of your time and energy each month monitoring those tv listings yourself. It has such value add as providing a hot-list of celebrities to watch for, so it'll record Conan Obrien whenever some hot chick you saw in Maxim is on there (or any other show she appears on).

      Look, I'm not trying to sell people a tivo. It's just my experience that some freely-available stuff can be improved and worth purchasing.
      • But then you pointed out that among other things, you're another one of those Maxim readers. :)

        Seriously though, I'm all for value-added services - but only when the value part is really valuable. I guess it depends largely on how valuable your TV watching is to you?

        Myself, I find TV serves only as a temporary break in my schedule. Sometimes, I just want to be passively entertained for a little while, as I sit on my couch after work. Most often, I'd rather actively participate in something else (like maybe even Slashdot).

        Even if TiVo does an outstanding job of locating TV content that's of interest to me - I'm not sure I care. I'd still prefer to actively seek out content that interests me using a resource like the web, as opposed to being spoon-fed the content on TV programs. TV caters to the lowest-common denominator most of the time.

        (EG. Say I'm interested in cellphones, and want to buy a new one soon. My TiVo finds me several news stories on new cellphones, and a big program about the production of them. Fine, but it's still mostly marketing hype and watered-down facts that I have to now sit through 2+ hours of. In 10 minutes, I can go to the manufacturer web sites instead, and get complete technical specs on whatever new models they have out. Give me another hour, and I can read actual reviews from users of most of the choices to see which phones are best, and why.)
    • Yeah yeah yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Doktor Memory (237313)
      ...and they're still going to charge ten clams a month for guide data that's freely available on the web? I'm willing to bet, the answer is yes.

      Yeah yeah yeah. Call us when you've implemented a system that not only downloads that data into a regularized format for PVRs to read, but is smart enough to follow schedule changes on its own.

      In the meantime, please look up the definition of "value-add" in your nearest Business 101 textbook.
  • Missing stuff? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sammy.lost-angel.com (316593) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @01:00PM (#2810070) Homepage
    Why not firewire? It's a LOT faster, and besides, intel wants the market to move in this direction.

    And, for god sakes, why not have ethernet, or wireless ethernet build in? My television is nowhere near a phone line, which is part of the reason for not getting a tivo. Although the prices for series one will probably drop now.
    • Why do Firewire?

      The system has been functioning perfectly well with the non-existent (in comparison!) bandwidth of Plain Old Telephone Modems; there's no reason for the product they're selling to need Firewire.

      Doubtless the MPAA and related folks would be aghast at the thought of having fast interfacing to disk; that's just "piracy" [cbbrowne.com] asking to happen.

      If they can get USB cheaply on the motherboard, and that allows hooking up a number of cheap USB devices, that's quite enough enhancement for now.

      As for Ethernet, I agree that it would be pretty slick to throw that in. It would seem to me that dropping an Ethernet chip onto the motherboard and a port out the back would be a pretty good way to go, and would offer the merit that folks with ADSL or "cable modems" could then get their TV guide updates faster without needing the ISP service. (That saves TiVO some Actual Dollars, no doubt!)

      However, there are some technical hurdles to get thru in supporting the Ethernet-to-Some-ISP-connection strategy; it means:

      • Users of this have to have a router and/or hub;
      • Users of this have to have a bunch of spare Ethernet cabling (or wireless Ethernet; that's more expensive!!!;
      • Users that think of this as an appliance will need considerable handholding in the process of Integrating EtherTiVO into The Home Network Architecture



      I'd be comfortable with all this, but then, I've got a hub, firewall, and have my own 10BaseT cable-building equipment. I'm hardly the "appliance user" they're mostly selling to.
      Colour me unsurprised that they didn't want to just leap into that...

    • I agree... it doesn't necessarily have to be firewire (high speed ethernet would be acceptable too, even preferable in the current environment), but USB is way too slow for video transfer. Audio, peripherals, and some data would be pretty much ALL you could do with USB
  • Great. Just great. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by irregular_hero (444800) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @01:00PM (#2810073)
    As a Tivo owner (and modifier), I can say that it's exciting that there will be an improved Tivo hitting the stores soon. I'm a little disappointed in a few things, though:

    The announcement doesn't indicate what, if any, connectivity options they intend to use by default for the Tivo2. USB ports are great and everything, but if it still requires a modem line to get guide data and uses the USB network adapter for its "extended services"... Yuck.

    And about the extended services: Why do I suspect that it'll be an extra charge for those?

    I'm also a bit put out that Tivo isn't doing anything to announce improvements in the following areas:

    - Show Send (a la ReplayTV)
    - Archival of recorded shows to media or PC
    - Show scheduling via Web page
    - Management of recorded items via Web
    - "Self-upgrade" capability via removable media

    These, given the platform it's based on, would be simple to achieve. In fact, some of the same things are out there now that others outside of Tivo have created! Why not rely on the experiences of the power users, and be a truly hip company by adopting and supporting some of their work? Isn't that how the Open Source model is supposed to work -- the Adoption of What Works?

    Or maybe I'm just mad that I spent all that time modifying my Tivo to add the above features and wish that I had the obviously superior Tivo2 hardware at the time.

    :)
    • And about the extended services: Why do I suspect that it'll be an extra charge for those?

      Hmmm.. let's see now. Could it be something to do with the fact that they're a business trying to make money?
    • As a Tivo owner (and modifier), I can say that it's exciting that there will be an improved Tivo hitting the stores soon. I'm a little disappointed in a few things, though:
      Don't get too excited. I think Tivo is moving away from its friendly relations with the Tivo hacker community. To say nothing of opening up content the way Replay has.

      This relationship was born more out of fellow feeling (the architecture of the Tivo is very hackerish) than of any practical value. But Tivo's business model is based on a close relationship with the Entertainment Industry. Not just to keep from getting sued, but to generate revenue by selling services to them. (Notice the "record this" option for some network promos. And I don't suppose logo insertion is free either.) That means they really can't afford to tolerate hacking, which will inevitably introduce features the Industry won't tolerate. Hence the disappearnce of backdoors. Expect Tivo to jump on the DMCA bandwagon soon.

      • Re:Modded away (Score:3, Informative)

        by stripes (3681)
        I think Tivo is moving away from its friendly relations with the Tivo hacker community.

        Is that baised on any actions taken by TiVo, or anything they have said?

        Last I visited the TiVo "underground" forum they were busy finding the AT&T TiVo (the first Series2 TiVo) just as hackable as the old ones. Sure the old tools for the most part didn't "just work", but that is because the CPU in the new one (some MIPS varient, I think at 200Mhz or so vs. the 50Mhz PPC in the old one) was running byte swapped (I assume to make talking to x86 byte order peripherials simpler).

        They had adding an extra drive working, and were pretty sure they could get the rest of the stuff working as well. The serial port still give access to a root shell. Nothing blows away your changes (except during an upgrade).

        They also had a list of which USB ethernet drivers were compiled in, but oddly nobody had acquired one to see if it "just worked".

        If TiVo was going to cut off the hackers why didn't they do it a month ago when they brought out the new hardware?

        Hence the disappearnce of backdoors.

        Er, which ones are gone?

      • I'm as cynical as the next guy, but this is simply wrong. I have a brand new Sony SVR-2000 with the 2.5 code and it's fully hackable. Backdoors are on and I've enabled numerous hacks. For further info see Almost Complete Codes List [tivocommunity.com]. Now, what happens in the future is anybody's guess. However, based on the fact that the 30 sec. jump hack was removed in 2.0, then added back in 2.5, I'd say Tivo is still more sensitive to customer demand than anything else.
      • "Hence the disappearnce of backdoors."

        What? They took away the backdoors in my TiVo?

        *runs to check*

        Nope, still there. They may change the codes for each release, but the backdoors are ALWAYS THERE.

        In fact, the newest release for my DirecTiVo added the 30-skip function as a backdoor code. Where's your proof that they're being removed?
    • by psxndc (105904)
      I'm not a TiVo owner/modifier, but if it has USB networking, couldn't it just be thrown on your home network? If it's on your home network, what's to stop you from accessing it's filesystem (someone somewhere will definitely write some code to do this) and archiving the stuff onto one of your machines? I'm not being snotty, I'm seriously asking this. I know you have to enable "sharing" of information (ala NFS/samba/whatever) but it's possible to do this isn't it using some TiVo hackery?

      psxndc

    • by stripes (3681)
      USB ports are great and everything, but if it still requires a modem line to get guide data and uses the USB network adapter for its "extended services"... Yuck.

      Well since the people who have hacked an ethernet into the older TiVos (or just used ppp over the serial port) have successfully used their own network connection to download schedule info (on subscribed TiVos), I don't see why TiVo would go to lengths to make it not work here.

      I'm also a bit put out that Tivo isn't doing anything to announce improvements in the following areas:

      I would guess they don't want to announce them until they have them working, a UI for them, and maybe even have them in beta testing. Plus of corse, they may not want to do some/all of those things.

      • Well since the people who have hacked an ethernet into the older TiVos (or just used ppp over the serial port) have successfully used their own network connection to download schedule info (on subscribed TiVos), I don't see why TiVo would go to lengths to make it not work here.

        Especially since the phone calls cost TiVo money. Why not just piggy back on someone's existing broadband line? Everyone is happy.
  • by Spoons (26950)

    I have had a TiVo for about a year now, and I love it! The only complaint I have about it is the inability to record two shows at once. Never have I said I would love to stream MP3s to my TiVo. Over and over I have cursed West Wing for overlaping with Enterprise, and Friends for coming on at the same time as Survivor. I want both! I know they already have this ability in the DirecTiVo, but not in the Stand Alone TiVos. This seems like the next logical evolution of their product, but alas TiVo is yet another company that has placed strategic partnerships above features.
    • by sdo1 (213835) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @01:19PM (#2810212) Journal
      I'd love to know the percentage of people who own DirecTiVo units who are actually using the dual tuners. I suspect that as a marketing feature, it was a necessary thing to add to compete against UltimateTV, but I think the reality is that only a small percentage of people are utilizing it.

      The added cost to a standalone TiVo of adding a second tuner is probably not trivial. For those systems, the TiVo is doing on-the-fly mpeg compression. Adding another tuner also means adding at least another compression co-processor. For the DirecTiVo versions, the signal is already compressed coming from DirecTV, so those are parts they didn't have to add. For a dual-tuner the thing needs to be able to handle three video streams at once... two recording/compression and one playback. That's a lot of number-crunching. The DirecTiVo only ever has to deal with set of number-crunching (for playback).

      -S
      • Well, I don't (yet) own a Tivo, but I do own DirecTV (no cable where I'm at), and I would definitely like to be able to record two different shows at once. With DirecTV, if I want to record a movie on HBO, well, I have to *watch* the movie, or go find another TV. With dual tuners, I can record a movie and still watch the Simpsons (or vice versa). I've seriously considered a DirecTiVo unit just for that.
        • With DirecTV, if I want to record a movie on HBO, well, I have to *watch* the movie, or go find another TV.

          With TiVo (Direct, or not) you can record that HBOP movie and watch anything else you have on the box at the same time, which is a significant improvement over video tape (you can also watch the start of the movie if you happen to get home, say, 45 min after the recording has started).

          That ain't as nice as having two tuners (so you can record two things at once that the networks carefully scheduled to be on at the same time...), but it is pretty nice...

      • I've got the two-tuner DirecTiVo unit, and I love it! It significantly reduces the chances of programming conflict, and I can play a prerecorded show while the two tuners are busy (there are infrequent, occasional playback glitches when I've got the system this busy, perhaps 1-2 for a 1 hour show).

        There's three main things I'd would like to see:

        1. Being able to get the TiVo data through my IP connection instead of through the phone line.

        2. 30-second commercial skip (or just skip the commercials all together, but I suspect the advertisers wouldn't go for that).

        3. Better control over my VCR so that I can build my own personal archives of my favorite shows
      • I use dual tuners DAILY. 2 Shows that I have a season pass on (usually during primetime) would otherwise conflict and be unable to record them both. Dual tuners makes that possible, and I don't have to do a thing to make it work. Many might say they dont think they use dual tuners, because TiVo is using it for them!

        And it has no problems crunching those numbers, I never experience any problems recording 2 shows and watching a third.

        Dual tuners not needed? Right. And you can pry the remote out of my cold dead fingers.
      • I'd love to know the percentage of people who own DirecTiVo units who are actually using the dual tuners.

        100% of the people I know with DTiVo use both tuners, since it is free (but does require the extra cable run). I expect less then 100% of DTiVo ownsers use it though since many just buy DTiVo because it costs a lot less then the stand alone TiVo. You could go somewhere with lots of DTiVo users and post a poll [tivocommunity.com]. They don't seem to have one there already...

  • If you're not in the know, Real and TiVo are in bed with one another [reuters.com] which struck me as odd seeing as how Real isn't exactly known for being a champion of the Linux cause and that's TiVo's blood 'n guts.
    At any rate, I'm glad to see that non-standard, non-open digital "rights" management fomats are no longer solely the domain of Windows *cough* WMA/V *cough*.
    • From TiVo's press release [tivo.com]:
      1. RealNetworks' RealOne Player will be integrated into all TiVo Series2 DVRs, enabling TiVo subscribers to create and manage their music collection on TiVo's hard disc and subscribe to RealNetworks' RealOne Music service. RealOne Music will enable TiVo customers to download and stream music from the music catalogs of major and independent labels, listen to more than 2,000 Internet radio stations and view artist and album information. TiVo users will have the option to activate the RealOne Player when they activate the TiVo Service for an incremental monthly subscription fee.
    • Au contraire!

      I'd say Real Networks is one of the minority of companies that gives a nod to Linux on a regular basis. They had a streaming server that ran under Linux, and their player works in Linux.

      As someone else said, compare this to any of their competitors (MS and Apple) and see what kind of Linux support you get for their media formats.
  • by Timmy (969)
    My main gripe about Tivo right now is that I can't record one program and watch another at the same time. UltimateTV and even DirecTivo have this capability, or alternately the ability to record two shows at the same time.

    The specs for the new Tivo make no mention of this.
    • Huh!?


      I've watched one thing and recorded something else with my Stand-Alone Tivo plenty of times its all a matter of having this wired up correctly! And I've got a cheap TV with only one input on it, the standard RF cable. If I felt like it I could actually have my Tivo record one show, be recording another show on my VCR and be watching a third on the TV.

      Wall Jack Tivo VCR GameCube TV.

      If your Tivo is in standby it is still picking the signal up off of the wire and recording the signal, but it also passes the signal on the wire through intact. Its like having your VCR record something and hitting TV/VCR so you can watch something else at the same time.


      As many people here have pointed out it would take a lot more then just another tuner to be able to record two shows at once. You'd have to have enough hardware in the system to encode two mpeg2 streams. The DirecTivo's get around this by recording the DirecTv mpeg2 streams without having to encode them.

    • My main gripe about Tivo right now is that I can't record one program and watch another at the same time. UltimateTV and even DirecTivo have this capability, or alternately the ability to record two shows at the same time.

      That would require duplications almost every item the stand alone TiVo has. You need another set of IR blasters to go to another cable box. Another coax in, another antenna in, another RCA in set. You need another tuner (for the antenna in), another NTSC decoder. Another MPEG encoder.

      In other words you more or less double the SA TiVo's cost (er, except for the hard disk, and the rather inexpensive CPU).

      I would rather see a way to network multiple TiVos and have them seemlessly act as one big TiVo. Need a second tuner? Buy a second TiVo. Need more disk space? Get yet another. All three networks have their one best show at the same time, plus HBO's new series airs then too? Get four TiVos.

      That would be a lot more general, and not cost significantly more....

      (Why does the DTiVo and UTV have two tuners then? Well they only have one extra sat input, and no extra MPEG encoder, in fact they have zero mpeg encoders. So the extra cost was pretty small.)

      • Crap! Of corse I was talking about recording two things. The TiVo does (and always has) allowed you to record something and watch any other pre-recorded thing (or the currently recording thing...from the start if you like).

  • If it could do what the Turtle Beach Audiotron is doing and be my PVR too, that would be way cool. I view this with guarded optimism, they don't actually mention attaching broadband via USB. They just mention video on demand via broadband. Those could be seriously different things the the final shakedown. Still, its cool to see.
  • Nice, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tswinzig (210999) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @01:09PM (#2810137) Journal
    I've bought 3 TiVo's in the last year. One for me, one for my parents, and one for my brother. All three were the cheap 20-hour units, upgraded with a 3rd party hard-drive.

    I sure as hell am not going through this again until they add HDTV support and dual tuners.

    I would also love to see:

    - 802.11b options, not only for downloading the updates via your local LAN, but also for streaming MPEG to other PC's and wireless devices on your LAN.

    - Optical digital audio outputs (to go with the HDTV support).

    - Newer video codecs with better quality (maybe they have added this in the latest release ... it says they have a new graphics engine)

    - Firewire output would be nice, also.

    Of course, my dream unit would be one that is integrated with TimeWarner's digital cable box, so that it can take advantage of the digital channels, much like DirecTiVo does. The integration with TW's channel guide alone would be awesome...
    • DirectTivo's already have optical outs...

      Oh, and just say no to digital cable... I mean, you want HDTV... what are THEIR plans to even PROVIDE HDTV?
  • by sdo1 (213835) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @01:09PM (#2810138) Journal
    The new features are all well and good, but I think the key to TiVo's long term success will continue to lie in its simplicity. Right now, it's something that your grandmother can use. It's simple, intuitive, and useful. While adding ports may up the "geek factor" to compete with ReplayTV, it really adds very little in the long run.

    If you really want a whiz-bang system with home networking and other features built in, the way to get that NOW is to roll your own PC based system. There's plenty of software available.

    If TiVo makes the mistake of over complicating their product and bogging it down with vaporware (see previous RealNetworks article), then they may have problems. Ask yourself what level of technology your non-technical friends and relatives are comfortable dealing with. Most can't even hook up their VCR correctly.

    I love my TiVo. It's easy to use and simply works great. I don't ever see myself being without some sort of PVR.

    -S
    • by wafath (91271)
      I tried rolling my own. It didn't work to well. I used the NVidia unit that comes with the remote control and the break out box. I never got the sound syncing with the picture, and it was difficult to configure windows in such a way that you could see what was going on on the TV.

      Furthermore the long boot time and the large fan noise made it unplesent for the TV environment. I later got a panasonic showstopper (on sale it cost as much as the TiVo, but the service was free.)

      W
  • by Fnkmaster (89084) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @01:09PM (#2810141)
    What's odd about this is the fact that they put USB there. A USB Ethernet adapter can handle all of 10Mbit ethernet - no 100 Mbit ethernet here. I have two Tivo's currently, and have a 10MBit ethernet card in my SA (Standalone Tivo) and it is honestly slow as ass to transfer a show over to my desktop. But that's an ISA adapter hack with an old ISA 10baseT card in it - the Real Deal ought to include a 100baseT built in ethernet to stream big movies.


    While it's true that for streaming over the internet directly from a Tivo it wouldn't matter, but it's pretty crazy to go around transferring full bitrate MPEG encoded movies - what most people want to be able to do is download video to their computer and re-encode or shrink it down to a reasonable archiveable size.


    This sketches me out - I have a strange feeling that something is going on behind the scenes here - remember the flap over the ReplayTV that could "share movies with your friends". Tivo is a saavy company when it comes to placating the media world. I have a feeling there is a reason they are putting USB on it rather than ethernet directly. But it doesn't quite click to me what it could be - other than that this allows them to assess the industry response to it, and choose to release or not release official ethernet-USB support at a later date without endangering the product itself, and surely some hackers will make ethernet work anyway to appeal to the gear head crowd.


    So I think this is a carefully considered business decision. I also know a lot of folks in the Tivo community and have no doubt that within weeks of these things hitting the stores all sorts of cool unintended uses for these USB ports will be thought up. I'll be first in line to buy one, as soon as the DirecTV-integrated version is out.

    • I have two Tivo's currently, and have a 10MBit ethernet card in my SA (Standalone Tivo) and it is honestly slow as ass to transfer a show over to my desktop. But that's an ISA adapter hack with an old ISA 10baseT card in it

      The problem is you're not even getting anywhere close to 10mbps with that setup. I believe the most people have been able to get is around 1mbps, due to the way the network hack works.

      I have a feeling there is a reason they are putting USB on it rather than ethernet directly.

      1. It's probably cheaper to add USB support. A couple of I/O ports must be cheaper than an ethernet chipset/port.

      2. It lets you add not only ethernet, but other types of devices to TiVo (why else would they include TWO USB ports if it was just for ethernet?)

      3. They can make money selling add-on USB devices designed to work with your TiVo. They are looking for more ways to make money...
    • I have two Tivo's currently, and have a 10MBit ethernet card in my SA (Standalone Tivo) and it is honestly slow as ass to transfer a show over to my desktop.

      The amazing kludge of an ethernet that people have put in the SA TiVo can't push 3Mbits. USB ethernets suck a lot too, but they push more like 6 to 8Mbits. That is more then enough to do a "best quality" stream at slightly faster then real time.

      I have a strange feeling that something is going on behind the scenes here

      Maybe, or maybe it was a choice between $10 for an ethernet that is only an ethernet, or $10 for USB that could be a (kinda lame) ethernet, talke to CD drives, MP3 players, and a bunch of other crap...

      Maybe the choice was even more lopsided, the USB might have been on the chipset that connects the CPU up to the memory and other crud anyway, so it was all but free (traces and connectors), while the ethernet would have been $10.

      have no doubt that within weeks of these things hitting the stores all sorts of cool unintended uses for these USB ports will be thought up

      AT&T has been selling them for about a month. As of a week ago nobody on the underground had done much with the USB, but they did strings the kernel and find which ethernets were supported, so maybe over the last week...

  • by sh0rtie (455432) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @01:11PM (#2810150)


    After reading this article [privacyfoundation.org] i think ill stick to alternative devices, im not into paying someone to sell my viewing habits to advertisers if they are strapped for cash,
    im suprised so many pgp military encryption loving /. readers are so nieve or am i ....
    • by TwoStep (36482) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @01:23PM (#2810252) Homepage
      If you are so concerned, TiVo allows you to opt out of the data collection.

      Personally, I like that they collect what I watch. Maybe that will mean that the shows I watch don't get cancelled...

      Twostep

      • If you are so concerned, TiVo allows you to opt out of the data collection.
        Yes, and it's composite data anyway, compiled by postal code, I believe. I think someone sniffed the data stream to verify this.

        Milalwi
    • by Blackwulf (34848) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @01:59PM (#2810596) Homepage
      Actually a bunch of folks on the TiVo Underground on the AVS forum actually sniffed the data.

      It sells composite viewing habits by area code. Basicailly, it knows that 25% of the TiVo Owners in zip code 30075 (for instance) watched Buffy on Tuesday night...But that's it. Nothing about your personal viewing habits - just your zip code's viewing habits.

      And it takes a whole whopping 5 minutes to opt out. Unfortunately, I actually like the fact that they know I have Babylon 5 and MST3K season passes. Call me dumb and naive, but I want these shows to stay on the air (and possibly make spinoffs to have new episodes!)
    • im suprised so many pgp military encryption loving /. readers are so nieve or am i ....

      You are. Sorry. You can opt-out of it, and on top of that, it's aggregate data. They don't know that sh0rtie watches porn all night, just that some guy in (whatever state you're in) watches porn all night.

      See, it's not so bad.
    • by stripes (3681) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @02:57PM (#2811153) Homepage Journal
      After reading this article [privacyfoundation.org] i think ill stick to alternative devices, im not into paying someone to sell my viewing habits to advertisers if they are strapped for cash,

      Note you can opt-out, and it has been confirmed (via tcpdump) that once you do your TiVo sends your account number and date of last call, and nothing about your viewing, how much stuff is on the drive, or anything else.

      Opt-out is free (toll-free call, and no monthly service charge or anything). It's described in chapter 7 of my manual (which is all about privacy) in the same size print everything else is. I don't think TiVo is trying to pull a "fast one" which is how the privacyfoundation spins it. Which is a real shame because I think they have done a lot to hurt the only one of the 3 PVR companies that even lets you opt-out!

      I'll also note that both ReplayTV and UltimateTV sell your data, don't make claims about washing it first (that I know of), and don't have an opt-out number (that I know of).

  • by fobbman (131816) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @01:19PM (#2810210) Homepage
    "2 USB expansion ports to connect to peripheral devices like digital cameras, network adaptors, MP3 and CD players, etc."

    Etc. could be a USB CD burner, perhaps? That popping sound was the MPAA's aneurism.

  • Moxi [moxi.com] presented their media center at the CES 2002 in Las Vegas on monday. Oh wait, it has already made slashdot headlines [slashdot.org] !
  • Like many, I paid for a lifetime subscription to TiVo's services to avoid the recurring monthly fee.

    As I understand it, the subscription can be transferred only once, and only for warranty repair.

    If I upgrade to a new TiVo, am I screwed out of my lifetime subscription?

    • If I upgrade to a new TiVo, am I screwed out of my lifetime subscription?

      No, just put that TiVo in your bedroom or basement and but a new subscription for the new unit. Some people complain about this, but it's the only way TiVo the company is making money. They don't make or sell the hardware, so they don't get anything (or much) if you buy a new PVR.
      • If I upgrade to a new TiVo, am I screwed out of my lifetime subscription?

        No, just put that TiVo in your bedroom or basement and but a new subscription for the new unit. Some people complain about this, but it's the only way TiVo the company is making money. They don't make or sell the hardware, so they don't get anything (or much) if you buy a new PVR.

        Your solution is all well and good if my goal is to subsidize TiVo's selling at no profit or a loss in order to dominate the marketplace.

        But if that's my only option, I'd rather not upgrade. It reeks too much of "'free' Microsoft browser," and we all know where that's gotten us.

        I wish it was still illegal to give away the razor and charge double for the blades.

        • But if that's my only option, I'd rather not upgrade. It reeks too much of "'free' Microsoft browser," and we all know where that's gotten us.

          Well the other option was to not buy the lifetime subscription in anticipation of a better future unit coming out in less then 2 years (life time fee of $200 vs. yearly of $100; or monthly fee for 20 months...7/8ths of a year at least).

          I wish it was still illegal to give away the razor and charge double for the blades

          Well in this case you bought the razor and a discount on a lifetime supply of blades, and are now upset that the new razor takes a different kind of blade, and your old razor still works. I don't see how making everyone buy the razor and lifetime supply of blades would help.

          P.S. I may sound smug here because I didn't get a lifetime sub, but I think I missed the perfect timing by a tad since my yearly plan would have been renewed last month. To do it right I would have switched to monthly in december and saved money. As it is, I get to pay the old lifetime cost, and not have service on the "backup" TiVo past the end of the year. I would have been ahead paying the $200 for the lifetime. Of corse I'm happy enough with the product that they could double my service fee and I would keep the thing. Don't you dare tell TiVo that though.

    • Like many, I paid for a lifetime subscription to TiVo's services


      No you didn't. You paid for a lifetime subscription for that box, not for yourself. That's an important distinction. If you give away or sell that box, that box is still subscribed. You've effectively added value to your unit. TiVo has always been upfront about selling subscriptions for boxes, not people/households.


      If I upgrade to a new TiVo, am I screwed out of my lifetime subscription?


      Of course not, that value never goes away, although it depreciates over time, as the box gets older and its value decreases. If you ever decide you no longer want your box you can sell it with the added value of a lifetime sub.

  • What kind of bitrates does it support, what does it really save, what kind of quality, and why should I ever want to see anytyhing compressed with anything from real.*?\? And why can't I connect it to my computer and won't all nice satelite recievers have this from the beginning anyways?

    The idea is really great, but we all knew that since before;)
    • What kind of bitrates does it support, what does it really save, what kind of quality, and why should I ever want to see anytyhing compressed with anything from real.*?\?

      About the same as the older standalone TiVo (which I think is around 6Mbit/sec for "best" quality, and much lower like 1.5Mbit for "standard"). It is variable bit rate MPEG2 (with an option for CBR). "Best" and "High" both look fine for anything that doesn't have a lot of strobes or super quick cuts one after another. "Standard" works fine for cartoons most of the time. I don't think I ever use medimum.

      And why can't I connect it to my computer and won't all nice satelite recievers have this from the beginning anyways?

      Ask the MPAA...or head off to the TiVo underground [tivocommunity.com] and slap on an Ethernet, just don't let the MPAA know :-)

  • I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE to have a Tivo, WITH SERVICE. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! Bell just introduced PVR capability in their satellite receivers, so get ahold of Rogers and put out a digital cable terminal with a tivo built in! PLEASE!
    • You could buy a DirecTiVo, no? There's TiVo dialups available for Canadian numbers (since the use UUNet POPs), although there's no guide data for Canadian broadcasting. With a DirecTiVo that's not a problem since the guide data for the DirecTV feed comes off the sat feed. And it's perfectly legal to hack DirecTV in Canada, didn't a fairy high court there rule that not long ago? Not a perfect solution, since you wouldn't get local channels, but that's a chronic DirecTV problem anyway.
  • I noticed that a few people were talking about how USB is so slow. What if they were including a USB 2.0 controller? Theoretical speeds for 2.0 are above that of IEE1394.

    On the other hand, for the features that I'd love to see you may not need anything faster then 12Mbs. Personaly I would love to be able to use my cable modem connection to be able to update my show listings and maybe (I wish) be able to do some remote control from the Internet.
  • by Quikah (14419) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @02:14PM (#2810759)
    Looks like they are starting up some sort of developer program as well. You can sign up for it at the bottom of this page [tivo.com]. Anybody know anything more about this program?

    I am not a deveoper my self I am just curious what it is about.
  • ...I care about disk-size and tuners. Wheny they make a 7 tuner model with hot-swappable 80 gig drives I will be ever so happy.
  • by bdavenport (78697) <spam@sellthekids.com> on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @02:46PM (#2811073) Homepage
    this link [cnn.com] on CNN has a little more info on what will be "new" for Series2.

    look for online games from the Jellyvision [jellyvision.com], maker of You Don't Know Jack [jellyvision.com] and Smush [jellyvision.com].

    also look for some sort of video on demand [economist.com] by Radiance Technologies Inc [radiance.com].

    this is in addition to the Real Networks [realnetworks.com] partnering and the USB support.

    not quite the networking capability [sonicblue.com] that i was hoping for but something nonetheless that might be interesting.
  • I've been waiting to get a MP3 player for quite a while now because I want something that can hold a large collection, but not require me to navigate an 8 character display. It sounds like this new Tivo will one day have this feature.

    I know it doesn't seem like much, but that kind of integration and ease of use is what made Tivo so popular in the first place. I could really see these things beating out game consoles as the first major entertainment "center piece".

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