A Must Read Oral History Of Tivo

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Joe3, Apr 2, 2019.

  1. Apr 2, 2019 #1 of 66

    Joe3 Active Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    Boston MA
    Over the years there has been sooo many half baked statements about TiVo, then and now, this article below should set the history straight for everyone who owns a TiVo or who cares about the liberating spirt that technology once represented.

    ‘They Thought It Was Black Magic’: The Definitive Oral History of TiVo
    wish_bgr, PSU_Sudzi, stevel and 2 others like this.
  2. Apr 2, 2019 #2 of 66

    JACKASTOR Active Member

    May 26, 2011
    Wow.. I kept looking for A reference to Rocky.. but it was very informative.

    Thanks for the link.
  3. Apr 2, 2019 #3 of 66

    jay_man2 jay_man-also TCF Club

    Sep 14, 2003
    Northern VA
    I’m still contemplating how you read an oral history.
    jrtroo, UCLABB, lalouque and 3 others like this.
  4. Apr 2, 2019 #4 of 66

    JACKASTOR Active Member

    May 26, 2011
    Geez.. because you just do! Now get on the band wagon dammit! ;)
  5. Apr 2, 2019 #5 of 66

    TonyD79 Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    Columbia, MD
    Out loud?
  6. Apr 2, 2019 #6 of 66

    Wil Unknown Member

    Sep 26, 2002
    You can't get more "principal" than the people interviewed here so I have to accept what they're now saying in this interview.

    I knew people at the time who claimed to have prototype test boxes in San Francisco that did not have the Tivo logo, prior to the original batch of 250 on March 31, but that is clearly wrong. They obviously had some of those 250, and later than I remember them talking about it.
  7. Apr 2, 2019 #7 of 66

    schatham Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2007
  8. Apr 2, 2019 #8 of 66

    schatham Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2007
  9. Apr 2, 2019 #9 of 66

    BigJimOutlaw Well-Known Member

    Mar 21, 2004
    Did anybody ever find Matthew Ward's body? ;)

  10. tenthplanet

    tenthplanet Well-Known Member

    Mar 5, 2004
    I'm just checking this was posted April 2nd, right ?
  11. tenthplanet

    tenthplanet Well-Known Member

    Mar 5, 2004
    Trust no one Mr. Mulder, errr Mr. Ward. o_O
    BigJimOutlaw likes this.
  12. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    I'll read it, but even the first line is a lie:
    It’s hard to believe, but a scant 20 years have passed since viewers were unshackled from their televisions.

    I was using a family VCR in the 80s.. and my own VCRs in the 90s before Tivo.. yes, Tivo has made it a bazillion times easier.. but it's not like it wasn't possible before that.
    megory likes this.
  13. exdishguy

    exdishguy Active Member

    Apr 30, 2004
    A lie? Wow that's pretty damning. They were certainly part of a revolution. Maybe they don't deserve all of the credit but they did some pretty good stuff. I still have a ReplayTV brick sitting in my basement. I loved the commercial skip and the UI was better than WebTV from MS...which is another brick in my basement. I think it was Dish/Echostar's first DVR...but I can't recall. F*&k I'm old. But Tivo won me over eventually and I never looked back.

    Whether it was oral, written or done in braille, I found it very interesting. Thanks for posting Joe3.
  14. Wil

    Wil Unknown Member

    Sep 26, 2002
    Goes way back and the Tivo was to be just a beginning.

    In 1971, I had the Sony VO-1600, the first vcr designed for the consumer market, though it was only available from industrial dealers. It was a loaner; I didn't actually purchase one until early 1972. By then Sony had abandoned that false start on a consumer vcr and had transitioned the 3/4" cassette format to industrial use, as they had their earlier consumer EIAJ-1 reel-to-reel consumer model which I also had had as a loaner. There had been other video cassette recorders based on 1/2" and 1" tape in the late 1960s-1971 but they were purely industrial, no built-in TV tuner.

    The original [what became known as Tivo] vision went way beyond simply upgrading that OLD vcr to a dvr, to include complete integration of video entertainment organization to a degree we still haven't seen from anyone. The actual Tivo machine capabilities themselves were very much scaled back, and I think the theft of their concepts, by Echostar in particular just took all the fire out of them. Going through the motions after that.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
  15. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

    Nov 25, 2003
    The article does emphasize the hassle associated with VHS recording; the user may have been freed from watching TV programs at scheduled air times, but the process wasn’t exactly liberating.
  16. PSU_Sudzi

    PSU_Sudzi Well-Known Member

    Jun 4, 2015
    Philly suburbs
    Yeah, I really found those comments strange. Almost everyone I know owned a VCR at that time (or like my family, more than one) and set up their shows to record when they weren’t home. I used to remember recording Must See TV on Thursday nights when I was out, my mom recorded her soaps while at work and so on. Not nearly as big a deal as they made it out to be.
    unclehonkey and Mikeguy like this.
  17. HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2002
    Staunton, VA
    Most of the people that I knew that had VCR's at the time did not use them as much for recording as for playback of owned or rental tapes. We though had the stack of tapes for recording all our shows with Post-it notes on each listing what shows were on each and it was a major hassle. Our first S1 TiVo in 2000 made this mess all go away so at least for us it was a huge step forward and the greatest thing since sliced bread as they say. :)

    rdrrepair and bradleys like this.
  18. stevel

    stevel Dumb Blond TCF Club

    Aug 23, 2000
    Nashua, NH
    I used my Betamax much more for recording than for playback of rentals. I still have boxes full of Beta tapes I recorded in the 80s. But TiVo represented a huge leap in usability and unattended recording capacity.
    megory likes this.
  19. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2005
    I likewise found the VCR process and capability both liberating* and not particularly hassle-prone, especially for recurring shows--the process to set a show was pretty much the same as TiVo's current method for manual recordings. My last VCR even had a program guide that was received over the air waves, so that shows could be selected for recording similar to the current use of the TiVo Guide, rather than having to be set "manually"; shows also could be set to record using a program/episode ID code that many print television guides (such as, newspaper listings) included, and the VCR had hard buttons to record, through a single press, the show currently tuned to as well as on later. It really was pretty innovative, as well as delightful.

    * Apart from "having to" watch everything I was recording--when I first got a VCR, I remember significant weekend time being spent on watching shows that had been recorded during the week when I was at work, until I decided that I didn't have to watch them just because I could record them.
    megory and PSU_Sudzi like this.
  20. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

    Nov 25, 2003
    Just to reset the whole “VCRs were awesome and effortless” branch, at the point from which it sprung:
    At worst it’s a difference of opinion, hardly a lie. If you have to make sure, daily, that you have the correct tape in the VCR for upcoming recordings (not a different day’s tape, or a write-protected rental tape), then you were figuratively still shackled to the machine ... albeit via a longer chain.

    The article does credit VCRs for having similar functionality, but you have to have the patience for wading all the way down through the second paragraph to read that perspective.

    Sure, you could achieve similar wonders with a VCR, but the process was so laborious that few would try.

    Yes, many will argue with the “laborious” characterization, but there’s a reason VCR recording glitches were a much-reused joke in that era.

    But to cut VCRs some slack and deflate the TiVo/DVR legend, the smaller drive capacity of the early DVR boxes still necessitated getting back to the TV to watch content before it was snuffed, but deep pockets and/or ingenious citizens helped lengthen/break that chain.

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