TiVo Surprises, DirecTV Doesn't

You may use this content, but please cite my ideas as (c) 2005, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein.

I'm a big fan of TiVo for many reasons. They have been wide open to working with academia on understanding the new role of the television audience with the PVR in the home, and they have pioneered a technology that I personally believe will come as close to "revolutionizing" our television experience as any technology that has come before it. Think of color TV, cable TV, subscription TV, public access cable, videocassette recorder, pay-per-view, satellite television, stereo TV and HDTV. Ask yourself the extent to which any of these milestone television developments fundamentally changed television. TiVo and its followers promise to actually change television viewing behavior, and that is not a statement I make lightly. I suppose being an American, I like to see the person who comes forth with a new idea be able to reap the rewards of that ingenuity.

With all that in mind, TiVo has announced that as of my birthday, July 31, they have reached the breakeven mark financially. Three cheers for TiVo! They are now in an almost wildly competitive atmosphere with the cable, satellite, and set-top box industries introducing their own versions of digital video recorders (I must confess I think "personal" video recorders was a better name). By the way, the "wildly competitive atmosphere" is great news for consumers. Just think: Beta versus VHS brought rapid technological improvements to these *two* competing video recording formats. Add computers and "home networking" devices to the mix, and it is quite reasonable to expect new features being added to all DVRs.

By the way, DirecTV has finally spilled the beans on the worst kept secret in the television distribution business. It's finally announced the obvious, that it will use its own DVR to compete with TiVo's. From the moment Rupert Murdoch bought DirecTV, this was a given. Now it is simply part of the public record. What does this have to do with an interactive television blog? Well,

The new DVR is designed to blend in with his company's new interactive features, including those that let users view local weather reports and maps, watch several channels simultaneously on one screen and call up a day's football highlights. It also will make it possible for DirecTV to offer pay-per-view movies on demand.

David Lieberman, USA TODAY, Posted 8/23/2005 9:33 PM
Well, I almost forgot that my main interest right now is interactive television, but DVRs are part of my iTV continuum, giving control of the viewing experience to the television viewer.


At 11 February, 2007 20:40, Anonymous Alec Wooden said...

This is so funny to look back on, isn't it? That TiVo has finally broken even? It certainly was, and continues to be, a groundbreaking technology that changed the face of viewing and viewers habits altogether. I don't have anything to necessarily disagree with here- except that I am a little surprised at how surprised you sound in some of these postingsn to TiVo's success. I suppose it's better to be a media skeptic than to expect success and be dissapointed. It's also quite interesting to read the bit about DirecTV at the end- they were behind, but trying to find a way to not only catch up, but advance the whole thing. Kind of makes you wonder what will try to catch up to and, advance the advancements that TiVO has made now.


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