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Blue Moon XII

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by TiVoPony, Mar 26, 2010.

  1. TiVoPony

    TiVoPony New Member

    May 11, 2002
    Hi everyone!

    Another year, another exciting chapter in TiVo History. Today is Blue Moon Day!

    What is Blue Moon Day? It's a TiVo national holiday. Back in March of 1999 we began shipping TiVo Series1 DVRs to real, paying customers. The first DVRs shipped on the planet - yep, TiVo was the first, and is still the best.

    It was an incredible effort to get that first TiVo finished up and out the door. It was a tremendous start, something that we were all proud of, and at the same time we knew it set the framework for so much more to come.

    Sort of like what we've all just been through the past two years. I'm talking about the new Series4!

    It launched last night - we threw the big switch and the new interface is now available on those shiny new TiVo Premiere DVRs. It's the first time since that original Series1 that we've redone the hardware and the software simultaneously. And there are an amazing number of changes to the service infrastructure as well (although most of that isn't visible to you all). A complete reboot of our product, across all fronts. Series4 is a new start.

    While you're reading this, I'll head straight into the wind - is Series4 perfect? Nope, absolutely not. We know that. There are plenty of things to tweak, and the team is busy working on the next release. Just like any of the products we've launched over the years, there are improvements coming, and always more features to be added. It's what makes owning a TiVo great - it gets better and better as time goes by. The Series4 architecture, and the brand new HD interface give us a great canvas to map out all of the things we've wanted to do over the years. And the features and integration in this first release of the software - tremendous. It redefines what a great television experience should be. I've been here from day one, and I'm here to tell you it's an exciting time at TiVo.

    But, today, all is quiet. We all have the day off. The pencils are all down, and we're off enjoying life. Monday we'll be back at it full steam. But today - today is a day to remember everything that has come before, and to celebrate where we are today. The best DVR company, and product, and *people*, on the planet.

    Pat your TiVo doll on the head, give your DVR a good dusting, and look forward to the future. It's bright! :)

    Bob Pony

    For all of those out there new to the whole 'blue moon thing', here's a history lesson. Enjoy!

    What is Blue Moon day? How did it come to be? Why 'Blue Moon'? Gather 'round, and I will answer all your questions.

    Blue Moon is a TiVo National Holiday. It marks the very first shipments of production TiVo DVR's to paying customers. Our first orders fulfilled. We actually were in business then, and getting there was a huge effort!

    While TiVo came to be the first, and certainly the most well known DVR on the planet, we weren't alone in those early days. There was another startup company, ReplayTV, that was nipping at our heels. In true Silicon Valley tradition, two startups were in a race...for resources, money, partners...you name it. We were well aware of them, and I'm sure vice versa. Now we had kept our powder dry, not spending much of our marketing money at all thru 1998 (well, we did spend some here and there, mostly on PR trips, a partner conference in SF, etc). But Replay struck first publically with a full page ad in a magazine right at the end of 1998. Now, putting an ad in a magazine is something that's easy to do, no product is actually required. But the perception it left with some people is, well, that Replay was ahead. That was not going to happen. No way. It was Christmas, but people kept working. It was a race!

    In early January we went to the Consumer Electronics Show, our first tradeshow booth, and we demo'd tons of working product there. But right down the aisle from us...was ReplayTV's booth. Their product looked pretty solid as well. There's a fun story in there about a bit of partner wooing (Sony), but that will have to wait for another day.

    So, they were real, and not far behind us. Our goal had been to ship in the first quarter of 1999, but there was so much work left to do. Especially when you factor in that we'd landed Philips as a manufacturing/distribution partner, bringing in loads of structure (and work) for our QE, Operations and Manufacturing teams. Oh, and we needed a program guide on the product. That wasn't done yet, we better get one of those before March.

    The execs pulled us all into a big meeting, a 'reality check'. Were we going to make it? Could we ship by the end of March? It didn't look promising at the rate we were going (and people were working long hours as it was). Maybe April. Or May. The summer is a slow time to launch, how about waiting until Fall? Ouch.

    Nope. We would make our date. Every one of us was challenged to make it happen, get it done. We knew that we had the best product, we'd seen the competition. And we'd all worked far too hard for too long to be second to market. Someone had brought a copy of Henry V to the meeting, and we all watched Olivier deliver the St. Crispin's Day speech. We were a band of brothers, and we would be remembered.

    In that meeting we decided upon the final code name for this project. Oh, there had been other code names for bits and pieces of the development. But the final push needed something special. One of our engineers had noticed that March of '99 had two full moons in it - the second full moon of a month is known as a 'Blue Moon'. We had our code name - Blue Moon. It's really nice when the code name has the launch date built right into it, eh?

    From that moment on we completely abandoned the outside world. January through March people lived, slept, ate at TiVo. The futons in the common area were great for naps (if you could get one). The coffee pots, and that wonderful first espresso machine we had were in constant use (every floor of our buildings at TiVo has a commercial espresso machine to this day). The closet near my office became storage for pillows and blankets (we had to clear out all of the exercise gear and engine parts that normally were there...hey, engineers like to tinker). The company brought in breakfasts, lunch, dinner...we were well fed. Our normal lives were set aside, everyone in the company found a way to pitch in and do whatever was necessary to move things forward and hit the date.

    And we did it. At the end of March '99 we all met at the manufacturing line (Our products were built at a subcontractor, and one of their lines happened to be in east San Jose). Everyone from the company converged on the place, donned blue lab coats, and toured the line. We watched those first TiVo DVR's rolling down the line, and boxes piling up on pallets at the end, going out to customers. We drank champagne and cheered. Hugged our partners. Hugged each other. And collapsed. We were so exhausted. Everyone signed the very first box down the line. That TiVo DVR still sits in a glass display case here at TiVo, surrounded by photos of the day. It's a very special thing.

    We'd done it. We were first to market. Replay would come out about a month later with their DVR, but we were first, and it was sweet. Mike Ramsay, our CEO, announced that the last Friday in March would be a TiVo holiday, forevermore. Blue Moon Day. He ordered us all to stay home, he was padlocking the doors to the office. Nobody was to come in, for any reason. Go home and see your family & friends. Tell them the stories. Enjoy the daylight and fresh air. Do whatever you want - but don't come to work.

    Those that have heard the story before may remember that nine months following that first holiday five Blue Moon babies were born. So not everyone took the advice about daylight and fresh air.

    So today we're at Blue Moon number eleven. TiVo is closed for business today, we're all off having a bit of fun. Today's the day we remember not only the Blue Moon launch, but all of the effort that has gone into developing and launching each and every project here at TiVo since. We even move our payday up a day here so our finance folks can take the day off. The only people working - our customer support team. Someone has to answer the phones. So if you have to call today, please be extra nice to them. It's a special day, and they're working away.

    Give your TiVo DVR a dusting today. Pat your TiVo doll on the head. Change the batteries in your remote. Think good thoughts, post good things. Remember that not that long ago, controlling your television at all simply wasn't possible. But for the efforts of that small band of brothers, it might still not be possible today. Enjoy Blue Moon Day!
  2. daveak

    daveak Series 3 Novice

    Mar 23, 2009
    Yee-haaw... :cool::cool:
  3. orangeboy

    orangeboy yes, I AM orangeboy!

    Apr 19, 2004
    East Moline, IL
    Thanks Mr. Pony for sharing that story!
  4. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    So when will the HD interface be done for more screens than "search"?
  5. Joe3

    Joe3 Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    Blue Moon TiVo Holiday!

    And I came to work~~

    Darn it.
  6. janry

    janry New Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    It's been awhile. Welcome back.
  7. daveak

    daveak Series 3 Novice

    Mar 23, 2009
  8. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

    Oct 17, 2003
    The original TiVo on Blue Moon Day. Elevan years later the Series 4 is released.

    Twice in a Blue Moon.
  9. SullyND

    SullyND L:45-21 TCF Club

    Dec 30, 2004
    Chicago Burbs
    Exactly, hope you all enjoy your day!
  10. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    Nicely stated TiVoPony :up:
    reminds me of the good old days when I first joined the forum
  11. NotVeryWitty

    NotVeryWitty Too Big to Fail

    Oct 3, 2003
    Central Mass.
    Bob, as a long-time Tivo enthusiast, I hope this is true.

    I think a lot of the complaints and criticisms that have been thrown towards Tivo and the Series 4 launch over the last few weeks are due to the recent silence from people like you. Frankly, I think you've lost the trust of many of the Tivo faithful in this community.

    A few years ago, we could always count on you and TivoJerry and other Tivo employees to come by frequently and help out with problems and assure everyone that their concerns were being heard.

    Now, if one has a software problem affecting basic functionality of their Tivo box (GSAS, analog tuner problem, SDV/pixelation, etc.), it's seems like the only hope is that a Tivo VP runs into the same problem so it will get noticed and fixed.

    I know there's a lot of whining and other crap that flows out around here, but that kind of goes with the territory, and shouldn't prevent you from engaging in real dialog with those of us who can be civil.

    So, you say there are "improvements coming", but I'm finding it a little harder to believe that than I would have a few years ago. :(

    Anyway, to close on a positive note, congratulations on another Blue Moon, and many happy returns!
  12. ufo4sale

    ufo4sale Active Member

    Apr 21, 2001
    So what's the deal pony. We only get to see you once a year. You should come out more often and play with us.
  13. Gregor

    Gregor save the princess save the world

    Feb 18, 2002
    Thanks, Bob for coming around, please don't be a stranger!

    BMF is my favorite Tivo story! :)
  14. SMWinnie

    SMWinnie Dis Member

    Aug 17, 2002
    Totally unfair. Eight of TiVoPony's 2,100+ or so posts came between BMF11 and BMF12.
  15. jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Congrats on the S4 release and Blue Moon. Please come back after the holiday and post something on the Premiere forum that will give all the "it's half-baked" crowd some info to calm them down.

    (It would be nice to hear that initially we'll see updates more frequently than twice a year and it would REALLY be nice to hear you are going to fix the cache/redraw problem on the Discovery Bar and top menus that give the appearance the S4 is dog-slow)
  16. lafos

    lafos Active Member

    Nov 7, 2004
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Great story. Thanks for sharing it. Look forward to my new S4
  17. windracer

    windracer joined the 10k club

    Jan 3, 2003
    St. Pete, FL
    TiVo Guy is wishing he had arms right about now. ;)


  18. mattack

    mattack Active Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Wow.. again already.. (Honestly not meaning to put a downer in the thread, but for some reason my Tivos are having a heck of a hard time successfully making phone connections lately. 1 out of 3 successfully made a call yesterday, for the first time in about a week. I dialed the # on my cell phone to make sure it was still a modem.. it is.. The S1 just starts downloading then fails during it.. the TivoHD gives P07, P08, P09, I think.. I've seen 2 out of those 3.. and the S3 did finally connect yesterday.. Yes, this is making me try harder to get my ddwrt bridge working..)
  19. OLdDog

    OLdDog Reformed Druid

    Dec 15, 2001
    I bought one of those first series 1s, at least the first one that appeared in Chattanooga; at Sears no less.

    I have fond memories of that early TiVo (I still have it but it is not in service) I remember the software ver. was 1.1 or 1.2. No season pass manager, no wish lists, and a bit of a slowness issue and 14 hrs max recording time.

    Beta testing the later vers. was such a pleasure because each one had major improvements and were actually a huge joy to test and play with.

    And, these forums were more fun; the forums were truly about helping others and discovering features to make the TiVo experience better.

    Ah, the good old days. Hard to believe it was only 11 years ago.

    BTW: For those that notice my join date. At that time I posted under a different user name. (can't seem to remember it, old age I guess) I had a major computer crash and had to recreate many of my accounts.
  20. HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2002
    Staunton, VA
    Hi TiVoPony,

    Congratulations on the new chapter. I'm happy with my 2 S3's so not likely to go buy or upgrade to a Premiere, but I hope the new interface and features helps TiVo win new subscribers in the long run.

    Scott (TiVo owner since 2000)

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