The Poor Man's TiVo?

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AOL Time Warner's response to digital video recorders–a system called Mystro TV–sounds really lame. Instead of allowing you to record anything that's on and watch it whenever you want, it would make available only those programs for which the company is able to obtain licenses. According to a story in today's New York Times, "Mystro TV needs to win the cooperation of networks, studios and the creators of shows." The system "lets networks set the parameters, dictating which shows users can reschedule, and it also creates ways for networks to insert commercials."

Screw that. Anyone who has tasted the freedom, flexibility, and range of options that TiVo allows will never be satisfied with this "Mother, may I?" approach. If DVRs threaten the viability of broadcast TV funded by advertising revenue, the solution is to produce programming good enough that people will be willing to pay for access to your channel, a la HBO.

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  1. Or produce commercials I want to watch (such as funny ones shown during the Superbowl) or others (Miller Lite Cat Fight–guilty pleasure). Or perhaps taylor commercials for one that are for products I might find helpful. I only watch car commercials when I am buying a car, after that, I block them out for three years.

  2. Or produce commercials I want to watch (such as funny ones shown during the Superbowl) or others (Miller Lite Cat Fight–guilty pleasure). Or perhaps taylor commercials for one that are for products I might find helpful. I only watch car commercials when I am buying a car, after that, I block them out for three years.

    Oh, and long live TiVo

  3. Or produce commercials I want to watch (such as funny ones shown during the Superbowl) or others (Miller Lite Cat Fight–guilty pleasure). Or perhaps taylor commercials for one that are for products I might find helpful. I only watch car commercials when I am buying a car, after that, I block them out for three years.

    Oh, and long live TiVo

  4. I hate reruns…

  5. That, or find more creative means of advertising – ie, product placement, how they handle advertising within movies right now.

  6. Whichever DVR system(s) finally wins will be determined almost entirely by price and ease of use. About half my family uses AOL or WebTV or something similiar, just because it’s easy to use, and not too expensive.

    The same will happen with DVRs, most people buying them aren’t Audio/Video or computer experts, and will take whatever looks easiest, even with more limited content. Those of us who know what were doing will probably just build our own DVRs if we can’t buy what we want…

  7. JB makes a very good point. Sometimes I find myself watching the commercials because they’re more interesting than the shows. Also I tend to find junk mail for stuff I’m interested in good reading material and it sits around my house longer than the 8-million 0% credit cards and fake checks for $69,000 to second-mortgage your house. Those end up in the trash before I get back from the mail box.

    If they could tailor the commercials they may be more well received, but that would entail them collecting some information on you and many folks would probably not want to do that. However that might be a way to create a different option from ‘pay’ channels and ‘free’ broadcast – you get it free or reduced in price if you fill out a marketing survey or something.

  8. That other Steve up there (Probably an imposter), said:

    “That, or find more creative means of advertising – ie, product placement, how they handle advertising within movies right now.”

    Haven’t been toa movie lately, have ya. You get to spend about 15 minutes in ads before you even get to the trailers (ads for movies?). And no freakin’ cartoons, either. Just what has the world come to?

  9. I have Time Warner digital cable…for $7 a month I can order up a host of programs from HBO, Comedy Central, HGTV, etc.

  10. I don’t know which TWC provider that is referring to, but TimeWarnerAustin has their “DVR Box” for 4.95 a month, which lets you record anything (no limitation on programs) up to about 30 hrs worth of TV, and save it for 30 days.

    I’ve never used TiVo, but the DVR is a pretty good deal

  11. Steve said: Haven’t been toa movie lately, have ya. You get to spend about 15 minutes in ads before you even get to the trailers (ads for movies?). And no freakin’ cartoons, either. Just what has the world come to?
    But what we’re talking about is advertising to a captive audience – which DVR devices like TiVO circumvent (or, I suppose, the traditional bathroom break as well) – likewise with pre-movie advertisements, where a patron can simply walk in 5 minutes late. Product placement has always been a major source of advertising revenues for films, if only because of the fact that the audience is almost forced to be exposed to the prodct/brand as a part of the experience.

  12. I have ReplayTV and its better than sex.

  13. Steve Sputnik (5th from the top, counting the reruns) is neither a fraud nor an imposter. He said he likes, “creative means of advertising – i.e., product placement, how they handle advertising within movies right now.”

    You see, Steve is one of those rare members of the human species who WILL ACTUALLY (AND GLADLY) PAY TO WATCH COMMERCIALS.

  14. “I have ReplayTV and its better than sex.”

    I’m guessin’ you ain’t gettin’ much or it ain’t that good.

  15. I had a Tivo for over a year and recently sold it when I exchanged my regular digital cable box for the new Time-Warner PVR (I live in Maine). There are upsides and downsides to the change:

    -TW box costs less per month ($5) than TiVo.

    -Record 2 shows at once while watching something I recorded previously. This doesn’t happen often but I do like the ability to record 2 shows at once which was not an option for me as a Tivo customer that lives in a large apartment building where satellite is not an option.

    -The TW box is made by Scientific Atlanta and is a new product for them. It’s buggy and has to be reset almost weekly.

    -TW doesn’t have a good Guide available. This is very suprising to me. I cannot schedule something more than a week out. It generally remembers to record my regularly occuring shows without additional programming but I have to keep an eye on the new things that come out and then wait until a week before to add them to my list.

    Have I considered switching back to Tivo? Yes, but the cost just isn’t worth it. $250+ for a new box and the $13/monthly fee or the lifetime subscription is more than I want to pay on top of the cost of the cable service.

  16. I guess I should add that the Time Warner PVR that I have in no way infringes on my viewing preferences. I have 3 FFWD and 3 REW speeds from which to choose when watching any live or recorded program. I often overshoot when fast-forwarding through commercials, but that’s my fault not the recorder.

  17. EMAIL: sespam@torba.com
    IP: 62.213.67.122
    URL:
    DATE: 01/22/2004 01:50:21
    Virtue never stands alone. It is bound to have neighbors.

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