Archive for the ‘TiVo’ Category

TiVo Study: 92% of People are ‘Binge Viewing’ Television – Fortune

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015


From the article: “A survey released on Tuesday by TiVo finds that 9 out of 10 people are engaging in “binge viewing,” which the digital video recording company defines as watching more than three episodes of a particular TV show in one day. According to TiVo, 92% of respondents to the company’s latest Binge Viewing Survey said they have engaged in the act of television gluttony at some point.”

Source: TiVo Study: 92% of People are ‘Binge Viewing’ Television – Fortune

Blue Moon

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

20120327-151455.jpgLunch boxes for employees at TiVo’s birthday party celebration, and my Blue Moon XIII write-up for the TiVoCommunity forum.

Happy birthday, TiVo! The DVR turns 11 today

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

On March 31, 1999, the world’s first DVRs shipped from San Jose, CA. We had a party today at TiVo HQ to celebrate.

Fall TV, Week of Sep. 28: Trauma, Hank, The Middle, Stargate Universe

Monday, September 28th, 2009

For the rest of this week, the pace slows down a bit, with 4 new shows and 4 returning shows.

I forgot to post yesterday (oops!). Sunday was a busy night, with one new show (The Cleveland Show, a spin-off from Family Guy) and many returning shows (60 Minutes, The Amazing Race, season 21 of The Simpsons, Family Guy, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Californication on HBO, Desperate Housewives, American Dad, Cold Case, Brothers and Sisters, and Dexter on Showtime).

For the rest of the week, here’s what you can catch.

New shows:

  • Monday: Trauma (NBC drama from Peter Berg of Friday Night Lights, a San Francisco-based medical drama focused on paramedics in the field)
  • Wednesday: Hank (an ABC comedy starring Kelsey Grammer as a suddenly-unemployed CEO) and The Middle (ABC comedy about a middle class family, starring Patricia Heaton)
  • Friday: Stargate Universe (another Stargate series, this one with Lou Diamond Philips, Ming-Na, and Robert Carlyle)

Returning shows:

Fall TV, week of Sep. 20: FlashForward, Mercy, Cougar Town and more

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Fall TV 2009’s third week is much busier than the previous two weeks, with 27 old shows returning, and 11 new shows to check out.

Here’s what you can find this week. First, for new shows:

And for returning shows:

Fall TV begins in earnest this week: Jay Leno, The Beautiful Life, Community, SNL

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Between you and me, it’s still officially Summer until the autumnal equinox on September 22. But for most of us in the U.S., we consider Labor Day to be the last day of Summer. And certainly the TV networks go along with that popular definition; new TV episodes and brand new TV series are starting to appear in the schedule. Fall TV is underway. Right on schedule, it’s even starting to rain.

I’m told there are 99 new shows this Fall (many more than last year, which was stunted by the after-effects of the writer’s strike of 2007). I’ll be curious to see how many of those 99 new shows make it. The one I’m anticipating the most is probably Flash Forward.

Last week, the first two new shows for Fall 2009 debuted:

(I guess you could count Glee as a new show as well, even though it first appeared last year.)

This week, Jay Leno’s new show starts tonight, and it’ll be fascinating to see if NBC’s gamble of scheduling a talk show in primetime from Monday to Friday pays off.

Also this week, on Wednesday, a new show from the CW will debut, The Beautiful Life, starring Mischa Barton.

On Thursday, you can check out NBC’s Community (with Chevy Chase) — a 30-minute comedy about a lawyer who has to return to law school.

Also on Thursday, a primetime version of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update starts on NBC.

Returning shows that start up again this week include:

TiVo’s Fall TV Schedule calendar is a big help. We’ve also put some work into a Fall TV Guru Guide to make it a bit easier to find the new and returning shows using your DVR.

You can also check out the Premiere Dates thread on the TiVoCommunity forum.

While the new shows appear, I’ll be posting here each Monday with a list.

Of the four new shows this week, I’ll definitely give Jay a chance, and have already set a Season Pass for SNL. I’m not hugely into fashion, so I’m not too sure about The Beautiful Life. But I’ll give Community a watch or two.

Finally, I know I’m biased, but the “Build Your Own Network” Game is fun and worth checking out. My own network isn’t doing so well yet…

Blue Moon X

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Tell your boss you’re not coming in today. If you’re already at work, go home.

Today is blue moon day, the national holiday where you should stay home and catch up on television on your TiVo.

(It’s really Blue Moon 11, if you count the first one, but Blue Moon X sounds better as a title, so I’m leaving it at that.)

Ten years ago, the world’s first DVR shipped. To celebrate and to thank TiVo employees for their hard work in the final push to ship in Q1 of 1999, TiVo Inc. co-founder and then-CEO Mike Ramsay declared that the last Friday in March would henceforth be a national holiday.

Well, we may not have made much progress in making it a national holiday, but today none of us are at work. (Although as I say that, I’m running a query and checking e-mail and answering a support escalation, but at least I’m not wearing pants in the office.)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an episode of Survivor to watch, and then probably some Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles or maybe the new season of Heroes. Plus that new Nathan Fillion show, Castle. And CSI has been so good since Laurence Fishburne joined the cast; they’ve really stepped up the writing, I think. And and and

A decade for me, and a profitable year for TiVo

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Today marks a personal milestone and a corporate milestone:

  • I started at TiVo on March 2, 1999, precisely ten years ago. That was one office building, nine desk locations, six different bosses, over 113,000 e-mails sent, and over 15,000 meetings ago. This is by far my favorite job of my career so far, and TiVo is an enjoyable and challenging company to work for. In terms of what I’ve learned and the people I’ve met and had the chance to work with, and the products and services I’ve been involved in, the experience has been greatly enriching. I look forward to ten more years (at least!).
  • A corporate press release today announces TiVo’s first profitable year. Congratulations, TiVo!

As I’ve described elsewhere, that first month at TiVo was insane, especially as we got closer and closer to the Blue Moon launch date.

TiVo Blue Moon Celebration, March 31, 1999, with Stephen Mack and Richard Bullwinkle in the foreground, and Bob Vallone and Tony Dicroce in the background

The photo here (scanned from an actual developed photograph, I’d almost forgotten about those) shows me and Richard Bullwinkle at our launch celebration, at the manufacturing plant where the first real TiVo units are about to roll off the production line. We’re all wearing blue smocks so that we could go onto the factory floor to see them pass diagnostics in real-time. Standing next to me is Richard Bullwinkle, TiVo’s first QE guy and webmaster and evangelist (in that order). Behind me you can make out Bob Vallone’s head, to the left, and Tony Dicroce (who used to commute to TiVo from Los Angeles each week, and sleep in the parking lot; that’s the kind of stuff we did back in the dot-com bubble days). I think I see Jaz’s head and Ta-Wei Chien’s head as well. You can see the exhaustion dripping off our faces. We lost count of the all-nighters that month. Ah, nostalgia!

Jaman Movies and Shorts launches on TiVo Video Downloads

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Earlier this year we announced a partnership with Jaman. Today, we announced Jaman has launched.

Starting right this second, you can begin downloading some amazing art house, independent and foreign films to your broadband-connected TiVo Series2 or Series3 DVR. There’s also a wide selection of anime.

To get started, either visit Jaman’s TiVo site or on your DVR head to TIVo Central -> Find Programs & Downloads -> Download TV, Movies, & Web Video -> Jaman Movies & Shorts. You can find more information over at

Jaman has been a great partner to work with, and I’m very excited about the new content available today for TiVo customers.

Introducing The TiVo Channel on Video Downloads!

Friday, October 10th, 2008

In the past, I would post John T.’s weekly “Best of TiVo Video Downloads” in this blog.

From now on, these updates are no longer going to be in text form and won’t be featured here. Instead, we’ve created a new channel for TiVo Video Download fans to learn about the best new content, and we’ve also created two other new TiVo channels that we hope you’ll enjoy!

  • The Badoop-Badoop Show: This show stars “the voice of TiVo,” Shanan, with covering topics as varied as folks who dress up as stormtroopers (in the first show) and AMC’s hit show Mad Men (in the second show). Previously the only place to watch The Badoop-Badoop Show was on the TiVo channel on YouTube,  but now it can be downloaded directly to your DVR.
  • The Best of Video Downloads: Featuring John T.’s picks, this new show replaces the blog posts that I previously put here. We’ll also include announcements about new channels.
  • Try This: Learn more about the latest TiVo features and how to get the most from your TiVo experience. Features instructional videos about different TiVo features (many starring Shanan), some of which were previously posted to YouTube.

To subscribe to any of these channels on a Series2 or Series3 broadband-connected DVR, you can either visit the TiVo Channel page on TiVo Central Online, or go to TiVo Central -> Find Programs & Downloads -> Download TV, Movies, & Web Video -> Browse Other Videos -> All (and then pick the channel you want to see from the list, in the Ts).

Best of TiVo Video Downloads, September 29

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Between the presidential debate, round the clock coverage from Wall Street and watching my team completely punk the Cowboys, it’s been a busy week….but busy doesn’t mean that I’m not still enjoying all the fresh Video Downloads straight from the oven. Here’s the stuff that I’ve been watching over and over this week. –John

  1. Veracifier: John McCain: A Chicken in Every Pot. With everything happening today on Wall Street, it’s interesting to use the way-back machine to look at the interviews that Senator McCain gave to the morning news shows regarding his “the fundamentals of the economy are sound” speech. The power of editing is not his friend.
  2. Mary Poppins jumps off a bridge. Why is it funny to me to watch a guy hurt himself by jumping off a bridge while holding an umbrella in an attempt to fly? Because I tried it. Every year when I was a kid, my family would order a huge load of firewood for the winter that would get dumped into our driveway for my sister and I to stack up. One year, I decided that if I took the umbrella from the patio furniture (a huge umbrella meant to shade a whole table) and jumped off the top of the 15 foot pile that I would float…even if only for a moment. Needless to say, I did not and I still have the scar on my knee to prove it.
  3. CNET: Must Have Gadgets. It’s been a while since I’ve highlighted CNET (one of my all-time, can’t miss favorites each week) but this time it’s not really about that tiny phone they reviewed or the latest uber-powerful gaming PC they’re playing with. No, this week I’m convinced that Brian Cooley (one of CNET’s editors-at-large) has the coolest job in the world. Almost every week, Brian’s got a piece of the show dedicated to driving some super awesome tech’d-out car through the streets of San Francisco. He’s the luckiest man on the planet.
  4. The Sorority Forever. Yes, it’s true. I’m addicted to this web-only drama series all about the trials and tribulations of a sorority that’s involved in something mysterious. It’s fluffy drama that’s great for watching in-between commercial breaks for live prime time viewing or for burning a half an hour here or there during a lazy weekend. It’s great fun and I’m totally into it.
  5. The Totally Rad Show: Flume. It’s no secret that I’m a fanboy for this weekly show about the latest in movies, games, TV, and comics — but this week’s episode struck a special chord with me. We’ve all been a bit “Rock Band” crazy since about this time last year with many a Friday/Saturday/Tuesday night completely blown trying to get to the next venue. So seeing the boys of TRS playing “Rock Band 2” was awesome…and can partially be blamed for my blown weekend of “Rock Band 2” madness.

“Sorority Forever” from joins TiVo Video Downloads

Friday, September 19th, 2008

While the free Video Downloads channels available on your broadband-connected Series2 or Series3 TiVo DVRs have a lot of variety, there hasn’t been much in the way of fiction or story-telling (unless you count the Onion News Network).

That changes as of today. Thanks to our partnership with The WB, you can now catch Sorority Forever, a new episodic show executive-produced by McG, following the lives of three freshman sorority members as they arrive on campus. I definitely got a bit of a Gossip Girl vibe from the show.

You may recognize the star, Jessica Rose, as the infamous “lonelygirl15” of YouTube fame.

The first five episodes (about 2-3 minutes each) are available now:

  1. “Sisterhood”
  2. “Terrible Mistake”
  3. “Sexy Bra Shopping”
  4. “Panty Pledge”
  5. “Nobody Likes a Fat Girl”

The next five episodes are already available from, but you don’t have to watch them on your laptop — we will publish those five on Monday, and we’ll publish five new episodes each Monday after that to match the run from

To get a Season Pass, visit TiVo Central -> Find Programs & Downloads -> Download TV, Movies, & Web Video -> Browse Other Videos -> All -> Or you can use TiVo Central Online’s page.

[Sorority Forever logo]

Best of TiVo Video Downloads, September 8

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

After spending a weekend engrossed in the return of NFL Football and the release of ‘Spore,’ I had a bit of a realization: I am not the demographic for everything. I know, this doesn’t seem like a big revelation, but when I’m overloaded with a great new video game, lots and lots of great football games and the return of Entourage all in a single day, I feel like it’s my duty to highlight some great video download programs that don’t exactly appeal to me but definitely appeal to a lot of other people. Video downloads on TiVo aren’t all about tech reviewers getting interviewed in a shed and a school bus doing a wheelie, so here’s a list of great shows you might like but might not know are available through Video Downloads.

  1. Pixel Perfect: Feel at Peace with a Pastoral Scene. If Bob Ross was the king of the painted Happy Tree, then Bert Monroy is the Bob Ross of the Photoshop Happy Tree. Each week, Bert teaches another lesson about everyone’s favorite photo editing software. It’s a useful and fun way to learn all the little tricks that will help you edit your ex out of all those pictures.
  2. Nickelodeon: iCarly Don’t be Lame. If you’ve got kids, they probably watch a lot of Nickelodeon. Even though Nickelodeon doesn’t have all my old favorites like Danger Mouse or Double Dare, they’re still cranking out a lot of great original programming. Each week, our Nickelodeon Video Download channel highlights a behind-the-scenes look at one of the shows that the House that Green Slime Built is producing. It’s a great quick break for kids to watch instead of commercials for cereal, toys, or other things they want you to buy for them.
  3. Days of Our Lives: Dena Hagley. The folks at Days of Our Lives provide the bigger kids with the same kind of behind-the-scenes look at all the different pieces that go in to making one of television’s longest-running soaps. While I don’t spend a lot of time in the afternoon watching the stories since ‘Passions’ was canceled, this should be on your Season Pass list if you like Days of Our Lives or just want a backstage pass for the making of a soap opera.
  4. Vogue.TV: Models.Live Episode 4. One of the biggest hits of the last few years has been Tyra’s fierce America’s Next Top Model, but for a more realistic view of what it takes to become a fashion model, you should check out Vogue’s new Models.Live series. A real life look at what it really takes to be a model (even once the lights have turned off), this should be required viewing for everyone who’s got The Hills, 90210, or One Tree Hill in their Season Pass list (and I know you’re out there).
  5. Zen Living: Aromatherapy. While I know I’ve talked about Zen Living before, it’s just not something I’ve been able to connect with. While lots of people I know are really into massage and therapeutic teas, it’s just always been a bit high and outside for me. That being said, I find the Zen Living series interesting, entertaining and a great way to learn about things that otherwise mystify me. This is a great show to help take the ‘um?’ out of ‘ohm’….which may be the best pun I’ve written in a year.

So that’s what I’ve been pondering this week…what are you watching that everyone should know about?

Best of Video Downloads, September 1st

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

If the groundhog is there to help us figure out when winter ends and spring begins, then Jerry Lewis is here to let us know when summer is giving way to fall. As a kid, seeing the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon filled me with a sense of dread that could only be attributed to the beginning of another school year… and since we only had five channels until cable arrived when I was in junior high, there was no escaping him. Nowadays, Jerry’s appearance means that the quasi-reality game show/basic cable summer series portion of the year is ending and TV is kicking back into full swing. But as you fill your Now Playing List with new episodes of your favorite shows, remember to sprinkle in some Video Downloads, which are always in season. Here’s what I’ve been enjoying this week.

  • iFanboy: Y: The Last Man. The guys at iFanboy took a look back at the entire “Y: The Last Man” series and talk about the themes, questions and over-arching awesomeness of the comic book series. Yes, it will someday be a movie, but do yourself a favor and read the entire comic book series first…if for no other reason than the fact that there’s a monkey named “Ampersand.”
  • Diggnation: Live at NVISION 08 in San Jose. Yes, I am a total Bay Area fanboy so there’s no way I could let this go by without mentioning it. Last week, Alex and Kevin from Diggnation did a live show here in San Jose and the nerds showed up in force. It’s awesome to see an online show translate from a webpage to an auditorium full of screaming fanboys.
  • Wine Library: 6 Wines from VA. As I just mentioned, we’re in the Bay Area (home of some of the best wines in the world) but I’m originally from Virginia (home of some of the worst “wines” in the world) so it was great to see Gary V. and the Wine Library team tasting and (for the most part) enjoying wines from my home state.
  • The Totally Rad Show: Geekdipointment. You know a host (or in this case, a group of hosts) has something going for them when you find yourself enjoying something that might normally bore you to tears. That was the case this week as the TRS gang attempted to make their own clever t-shirts. Watching Dan try (and fail, and fail, and fail, and fail) to come up with something funny to put on a shirt was hilarious. It’s amazing what these three can find to compete in.
  • The Onion: Portrayal Of Obama As Elitist Hailed As Step Forward For African Americans. There’s not a lot to say about this other than the fact that there’s nothing more inappropriately hilarious than The Onion. They’re not afraid of anything or anyone and that’s just plain awesome.

Best of TiVo Video Downloads, August 25

Monday, August 25th, 2008

(Here’s another Top 5 list from John T.! –Stephen)

With the Olympics sadly coming to a close, its time for the real games to begin! This week my focus turns sharply from Beijing, China to Denver, Colorado and the Democratic National Convention. So take off your sports fan hat and fasten on your citizen helmet! Lots of our channels will be covering the convention this week including: Barely Political, Epic Fu, and Veracifier. So don’t forget to supplement your network coverage with reports (and spoofs!) from the convention floor. That’s this week, but let’s takes a look back at my favorites from last week.

  1. Scam School: Clever Match Scores Two Free Drinks. While sitting in a restaurant recently, a member of my party looked over the wine list and ended up ordering a “Conundrum,” which immediately sparked a fifteen minute discussion of the best riddles, puzzles, and tricks… We were amateurs compared to the crew at Scam School. It’s a weekly show that demonstrates the best in free drink-getting bar tricks. After watching the match trick in this week’s episode, I’m still not sure I could pull it off, but I’m eager for others to try.
  2. Best of Break 74. Speaking of bar tricks, this week’s included some guys attempting to take a flaming shot…which is listed in the dictionary under “terrible ideas” right next to “anything following the sentence, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?'” As with all videos, the best-laid plans lead to the most hilarious of consequences.
  3. Internet Superstar: Daisy Whitney. Internet video hit a bit of a crossroads this past week, as Internet Superstar had New Media expert and critic Daisy Whitney in the shack. Daisy’s a writer for TV Week who’s got a show of her own called “The New Media Minute,” and she’s made no secret about being a huge fan of Internet Superstar (and of its host, Martin Sargent). It’s nice to see old media fawning over new media for once.
  4. CNET: Back to School Gear. Although I don’t always include CNET in my Top 5, it’s easily one of my favorite shows each and every week. They’ve implemented a couple of changes (based on feedback from TiVo users) that are worth highlighting. Not only is Molly trying to talk about the prices of the products they’re reviewing each week, but the team is also constantly soliciting feedback from the TiVo viewers by including an email address each week ( It’s so great to see viewers getting the chance to interact with their favorite shows, especially when it helps a great show get even better.
  5. The Gourmet Channel: The Technique: Sweet Dough. Finally this week, I was really interested to watch The Technique‘s version of a sweet dough. I really loved how Richard Bertinet took the time to explain more than just the recipe for making sweet dough. I often feel that I’m missing something in the translation from television cooking show to my home kitchen, so it’s nice to get an even more in-depth lesson on food creation.

Best of TiVo Video Downloads, August 18

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

This week’s Top 5 is a special tribute to our newest partner, Revision3. We’re more than excited to add all of the great Revision3 shows to the Video Downloads lineup…and not just because I’m a huge Totally Rad Show fanboy. Their shows have one basic thing in common: they’re a new spin on an old classic. Let me show you what I mean. Here’s my favorite Revision3 stuff from the past week.

  • Wine Library TV: Episode 519 – Lambic Beer Tasting: I went wine tasting recently with a group of friends and heard one of them exclaim that they loved the way the wine tasted in their cheeks…at which point I thought I’d never understand why/how people went wine tasting. Gary Vaynerchuck’s show is exactly the opposite of that. Although he’s not tasting wine in this episode, he gives beer the same energetic and down-to-earth treatment that’s helped bring wine to those of us that previously just didn’t get it (for example, he uses bacon as a palate cleanser…awesome).
  • Internet Superstar: Episode 38: When you spend all day watching internet tv like I do, it’s nice to know that someone else out there finds the hilarity in the growing stable of Internet Celebrities. This episode has Martin interviewing Marnia Orlova from HotForWords about the insults that he often endures. Classic interview show with an internet twist.
  • EPIC FU: Postcard Secrets, Killing Plastic, Emo Hate: It’s no secret that I’ve been a fan of EPIC FU for a long time (in relative internet time). This week Zadi’s highlighting the PostSecret project, trying to go an entire week without using plastic…and highlighting the plight of the Russian Emo kids. Stay strong sad teens! EPIC FU’s helped me find time wasting games, great new music and kept me informed about the latest in internet pop culture. EPIC FU is my internet PBS.
  • Tekzilla: Episode 46: As part of the fun of working with TiVo’s Video Download’s department I have a gigantic laptop. No really, this thing has its own time zone, gravitation field, and zip code. One of the first things one of my co-workers asked when he saw it was “So what games will it play?” It’s close, but not quite in line, with the super computers on this week’s Tekzilla. We’re big fans of Patrik and Veronica (they’ve both appeared on multiple shows on Video Downloads over the past year) so it’s the best of both worlds. Tekzilla is This Old House for Tech.
  • The Totally Rad Show: Brechted – and more Comic Con!: Yes, this is my second mention of TRS in this post, but c’mon! What’s not to love about three rad dudes who are forced to review the latest in games and movies too? I discovered The Totally Rad Show this past winter and burned through all of their episodes during my trips back and forth between home and TiVo headquarters. The three hosts (Alex Albrecht, Dan Trachtenberg, and Jeff Cannata) offer informed opinions on everything from the latest movies to the classic board game “Fireball Island”. This week’s episode includes the fan Q & A from Comic Con where they once again discuss how they actually met while playing “Dungeons and Dragons”…and how even then they talked over each other. Consider it essential viewing for informed opinions on the latest in everything pop culture…and to watch Dan continue in his quest to become a man. BONUS: Each and every episode begins with a recreation of a “famous” scene.

Best of TiVo Video Downloads, July 29

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

[From John T., as usual. Got ideas or feedback? Let us know! –Stephen]

This week’s top five list includes hot dogs on pizza, cats chasing lasers, and me getting pelted with index cards. Check out the best of the best in Video Downloads this week.

  1. I can’t figure out whether The Onion thinks they’re really funny or if they’re just trying to save us from ourselves. This past week, they took us inside the ever-evolving world of fast food innovation. Part of me thinks that pizza topped with hot dogs would do really well.
  2. Did you know you can now buy products from Amazon right from your TiVo DVR? If you were watching Media Bytes with Shelly Palmer last week you would know. Shelly covers the top tech news stories each day with a bit of commentary and a bit of snark.
  3. What’s a better distraction from the news and the expanding American waistline than cute animals chasing a laser pointer? Nothing. Which is why I know I can always count on Ultra Kawaii Pets to help me unwind.
  4. With the almost complete lack of interesting broadcast TV this summer, I’ve been forced to go deeper into my dial to find suitable entertainment. While surfing one Sunday I came across my new obsession: Top Gear. It’s a car show on BBC America that’s gotten me more interested in automobiles in general, which means I’m enjoying VOD Cars even more. VOD Cars is all about user-generated car video, with everything from fast laps on a track to some crazy highway driving. It’s almost enough to make me learn to drive stick.
  5. Finally this week, I have to say that I enjoyed Cranky Geeks even though I ended up watching it twice on the same day. Let me explain. I was lucky enough to be invited to watch the live taping of Cranky Geeks in San Francisco last week. I had been in a meeting in their offices so I didn’t get into the studio until about 8 minutes into the show. As the lone audience member that day, I got a bit more attention than I was planning on and had the pleasure of dodging index cards for the bulk of the show. I also got to correct the Geeks during a commercial break regarding our new Amazon service, which was somewhat satisfying after spending so much time talking back to my television during their discussions over the past year. Thanks again to the Cranky Geeks folks for letting me sit in on their show!

Amazon full category browse now available!

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

One last TiVo post for today: We have a new feature for Amazon Unbox on TiVo users.

You can now browse through Amazon Unbox’s entire catalog of movies and TV shows by genre.

Check it out on your broadband-connected TiVo Series2 or Series3 DVR at TiVo Central -> Download TV, Movies, & Web Video -> Amazon Unbox TV & Movies -> Browse Entire Catalog.

YouTube launched!

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

I didn’t get a chance to note this previously, but on Thursday, July 17, those lucky TiVo Series3 and TiVo HD owners who already have the latest software being rolled out (version 9.4) received a new feature, YouTube on TiVo.

It’ll take a couple of weeks or so before everyone using a high-def TiVo DVR gets this, but there are some exciting behind-the-scenes improvements that are involved.

  • YouTube is the first content partner using streaming instead of download for video delivery.
  • YouTube is our first implementation of H.264 video, a major evolution over the MPEG2-based video format that runs on all other TiVo DVR platforms.
  • YouTube is the first Home Media Engine (HME) application that incorporates seamless video playback.

Unfortunately, Series2 owners will never be able to run this. The changes I mentioned require the chip technology that’s only available with the high-def boxes.

Because we now have a streaming partner, one small change: when you use the Download TV, Movies, & Web Video menu item under Find Programs & Downloads on TiVo Central (which is where you’ll find the new YouTube menu item), the title of that page used to be “Video Downloads.” But with YouTube, nothing is being downloaded. So the new title is “Broadband Video.” A small and subtle but important distinction.

Product purchase comes to TiVo — let the couch commerce begin!

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

This morning TiVo announced a new feature, product purchase.

As a kid, I used to dream about being able to order things from my TV with the push of a button. When I watched Happy Days, I wanted to be able to buy Fonzie’s motorbike — have it waiting for me on my doorstep the next morning. When I watched Battlestar Galactica (the original one), I wanted to be able to get the cool toys.

Well, we’re not quite there yet, but we’re closer. Previously, TiVo let you purchase movie tickets from your couch through our partnership with Fandango. We also let you use paid subscriptions to Rhapsody and Live 365 and One True Media. We also let you purchase and rent movies and TV shows from Amazon Unbox.

Now, when you’re watching Oprah and see the book she’s promoting, you can buy that book right from your couch, thanks to the new product purchase feature and our partnership with Amazon.

It’s out now. If you’re a broadband-connected Series2 or Series3 user, give this a try: TiVo Central -> Find Programs & Downloads -> Universal Swivel Search and then type in enough letters so you find “Oprah Winfrey” (Don’t get distracted by that entry for Oprah Noodlemantra, heh.) You’ll see the “If You Like This…” menu item, which leads to the “Related products at Amazon” item, showing some items you can now purchase online.

If you’ve previously used Amazon Unbox on TiVo and have linked your TiVo account to your Amazon account, you’re good to go. One-click users will get the item delivered as soon as they confirm. Otherwise, the item is added to your shopping cart for later purchase.

Our intention with this new feature is to make it easier for you to learn about and buy new items that are related to your favorite shows. At launch you’ll see related products for such shows as The Colbert Report, Burn Notice and Mad Men in addition to Oprah Winfrey. More shows are planned for the future, and we’ll also test Showcases to highlight different talk shows as well as new CD & DVD releases.

Maybe motorcycles and vacuum cleaners will arrive in the future, but for now this feature will let you buy books, CDs and DVDs.

One capability is to enhance existing commercials you watch. Suppose, for example, a commercial for a new album from your favorite band is airing. We could add a thumbs up icon to that commercial allowing you to buy that CD from Amazon with just a few clicks. All from the comfort of your couch.

Over on the TiVo Community forum, some outspoken members are concerned about the advertising on our product and that this feature would be intrusive. That’s not our intention at all. It’s in our best interest to make this a useful and compelling and fun feature, not something that would be annoying. Most of the time, you’ll need to seek out (via Showcases and Universal Swivel Search) the related items. You’ll also sometimes see mentions when a show is deleted — at the point where your asked if you want to keep the show or delete the show you just watched.

Depending on how this feature is received by our customers, we do want to explore additional ideas with you in the future. But for now, check out the example I described above, and let me know what you think.

(Our support article for Product Purchase is also available.)