A Must Read Oral History Of Tivo

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

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  1. exdishguy

    exdishguy Active Member

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    I didn't mean to attack you and I'm sorry if it came off that way. I just don't agree with such a harsh conclusion as it was obvious to me they meant that Tivo was transformative. Did VCR's allow for time shifting? Sure. Okay. They did. I taped stuff too but I thought it was a PITA. To me it was every bit as painful as re-winding my portable cassette tape player. Could I take it on the road with me? Sure, I could. Would it occasionally eat my tapes - yup, did that too. Did Apple invent the MP3 player? No. But they sure made it ubiquitous and changed the way we consume, listen, travel with, etc. music.

    But hey...if you got some hate over them "lying" to exaggerate the impact they had in DVRs, timeshifting, etc., so be it. I've got no dogs in this hunt so no big deal. :)
     
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  2. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    My Sony VCR has the feature. It was convenient, but the Sony also has an over-the-air show guide that made setting shows even easier (no need to find the newspaper for the show code numbers), and so I typically defaulted to that or even manual settings.
    Remember the tabs on the tape cassette, that you would knock out to prevent the recording over of a show? (And then you could cover the plastic hole with a piece of tape, to allow recordings to be made.)
    I so enjoy my TiVo boxes, but it was the VCR that first transformed the world of television consumption with time-shifting, trickplay, ad-skipping, and multiple-tuner use. The DVR, including that of TiVo, then upped the convenience factor many fold through the convenience of the digital world. But doing so on the foundation of the VCR.

    And yes, Apple sleek-ified the MP3 player, but the MP3 player already existed and was in use when the iPod was introduced, and the iPod didn't hit the masses for a period of time, Steve Jobs originally wanting to restrict the iPod to the Mac/non-Windows world, to try to move Windows users over to the Mac ecosphere. IMHO, if it hadn't been Apple, it would have happened, and was happening, otherwise. And perhaps without the original pricing structure that Apple imposed through the iTunes store. Apple just made it so sleek and easy and fun, and with vast content (almost all of music, it seemed) easily made available through the iTunes store, that adoption that route was fast.
     
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  3. MScottC

    MScottC Well-Known Member

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    VCRs showed us it could be done. TiVo made it easy. I've been working with videotape machines since 1970. I had home VCRs very early on. I recorded a lot, but it was a pain in the a** no doubt. TiVo made it all painless. From the day I bought it home in November of 1999, when my wife thought I was crazy for buying another piece of electronics, it totally turned our TV viewing life around. I'll go with "It was revolutionary."
     
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  4. exdishguy

    exdishguy Active Member

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    "Revolutionary" is a great word.

    Now I'm going to listen to some vinyl LPs on my Denon turntable because even though I know the SNR is far worse than "some" of the digital music out there, damn it sure sounds good!

    No chance of going back to VCR though for TV. ;)
     
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  5. rdrrepair

    rdrrepair Bill Knapp

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    I remember hearing about this from listening to AM all news 880 out of NYC. The announcer was jabbering about this new device called TiVo. It was transformative just listening to the news report.

    Fast forward a few months later and I picked one up at Sears. Bought a lifetime gift card off the carousel and brought it home.

    A 32 hour Sony SVR2000 was sitting next to my VCRs. After hooking it up and calling into TiVo I was set.

    My collection of VCR tapes, and post it notes quickly dwindled. That extra VCR was now delegated to my TiVo output as my friends would now contact me if they missed recording their shows. Remember the TiVo option "record to VCR"? lol

    Back then I turned many friends on to TiVo. I'm glad I was an early adopter. My signature profile shows my route. Big time fan of most things TiVo.
     
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  6. HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

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    We used VCR+ all the time which did help setting up recordings.

    My wife frequently worked nights so we were not able to just record a single show and then watch it immediately so we definitely had a bank of tapes with shows crossed off that we had watched and shows listed to watch. The VCR "My Shows" was much more difficult to work with. ;)

    You don't still only record 1 show and watch it immediately with your TiVo do you? :)

    Scott
     
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  7. Joe3

    Joe3 Active Member

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    Yes, I do sometimes record and watch it immediately when I am running behind. TiVo had the thought out flexibility of engineering to met a need that I may not have thought of when I purchased, but is something I now take for granted. A VCR never did that for me. But when Rovi starts ripping into that baked in felxibility and starts to rip out things in TE4 like downloading back to the TiVo from an archive severe and F-in around with the guide, and gives us pretty pictures instead, and promises to maybe bring those ripped out things back someday~something that was so fundamentally TiVo, it ceses be a TiVo. It stinks up and muddies the TiVo brand, and years of engineering thought for something that is Not worthy of its history.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
  8. PSU_Sudzi

    PSU_Sudzi Well-Known Member

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    I don't remember how I came across this link, maybe from someone here, but loneliest place on the internet seems about right for someone using VCRPlus in the 2010's!

    The Loneliest Place on the Internet – Trending Buffalo
     
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  9. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    And I was just wondering, when out hiking this a.m., if VCR+ codes still exist somewhere! :)

    Next, I need to see if the over-the-air guide for my Sony VCR still gets a signal from somewhere.
     
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  10. JACKASTOR

    JACKASTOR Active Member

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    ONTARIO,...
    I wonder how many of us have at least one Betamax and or Vhs VCR collecting dust in case we wanna pull out all our old home movies and relive memories!
     
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  11. tomhorsley

    tomhorsley Well-Known Member

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    Mostly. Though now I can start watching it after about 15 minutes and still get to fast forward past all the commercials.
     
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  12. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Did that VCR use the TV Guide OnScreen system as its program guide? The first DVR I ever bought was a Sony DHG-HDD250 and that was the system it used. The guide data was embedded within the broadcast signal of my local PBS station. (This varied from one TV market to another; many markets seemed to use CBS or PBS affiliates, if I recall.) It was a bit dodgy sometimes and the whole system was shut down in 2013. (Thanks, Rovi!)

    But I loved the fact that the Sony DVR let me record up to 30 hours (!) of beautiful HD content with no ongoing subscription fees. All I had at the time was the most basic cable TV package and Comcast offered them all in clear QAM, so I didn't even have to bother with a CableCARD. At this point in time, very few cable channels were in HD yet and I really didn't care to pay to watch stuff in SD. I was an HD snob. :) I believe that Sony launched this DVR before TiVo launched their first HD-capable model, the Series 3. But when I bought the Sony DVR, it was on clearance, and I believe the TiVo HD has rolled out by then. But that was a more expensive proposition, given the TiVo service fees.

    I just recently finished transferring the last of my family's home movies over from VHS to MPEG-4 digital earlier this year. You forget how long it takes to get from one point in a videotape to another. "Fast" forwarding is a bit of an exaggeration, ha. If I never touch a VCR again, I'll be OK with that.
     
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  13. JACKASTOR

    JACKASTOR Active Member

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    ONTARIO,...
    I remember teaching my a friends father how to transfer video taps to DVD from his collection. He was shocked that all he had to do was hook his dubbing cables to the DVD recorder hit play on the vcr and record on the DVD recorder. Just like his vcr. When he recorded stuff or dubbed it. I still don’t know if he dubbed the thousands of tapes to DVD completely but it was that easy..
     
  14. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    I don't recall if that was the particular guide system that my Sony VCR used, but it might have been. I just recall that the guide data came over the air (your mention of data being embedded in the PBS signal sounds familiar), no fuss, and that it was part of the VCR--no subscription needed. (I don't remember that the idea of a subscription even existed at the time.) It was a pretty novel and advanced function at the time--I credit Sony for adding "advanced" features to its VCRs and to pushing them forward.

    I assume that the guide no longer functions, but it would be interesting to see; I'm tempted to get the VCR out and test it--I realized that it's been over 10 years since I've used my VCR!
     
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  15. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    Interesting to read of Rovi's shutting down of the over-the-air television guide system. I wonder about the economics of the system--I am guessing that electronics manufacturers that wanted to include the guide in their product paid Rovi a fee? That, then, put the end consumers at the mercy of the manufacturer as to how long the guide data term was. Or, was Rovi providing the over-the-air data for free, as some way of keeping a foot in the market as to which it could gain otherwise?

    I feel for consumers like you whose data simply disappeared one day, and can understand the upset of consumers when that happened. It's something that I always have been concerned about with TiVo as well, especially early-on: if the company went out of business, you have a nice brick, there.
     
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  16. trip1eX

    trip1eX imo, afaik, feels like to me, *exceptions, ~aprox

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    And just like people dropped the VCR in favor of Tivo, Tivo going to be dumped for on-demand. Same basic reason. More convenient.
     
  17. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Bad idea. I sent four DHG units to the recycle place. The DHG was a dream machine for many. It was only sold for about two years. It received its guide, as was posted, as part of the TV signal (inside the VBI). That was cool until the world went digital. Then Sony came out with a fix. But it still depended on the broadcast station. Luckily my cable company passed that signal through, and even though the DHG accepted a cable card, my feed was unencrypted back then. To this day it holds the records for the most posts of any DVR thread on AVSForum. The day it went digital there were over 300 posts, another record. Some people still use them since there is a way to set the clock (or compute the time). After the warning about the DHG (Rovi) service going away, I started looking for alternatives. I first used Magnavox/Funai until my signal went encrypted. Then I went TiVo.

    Sony kept TVGOS running on their televisions for a while, but that died too. But even today my TV can get its clock from Sony over a network connection. The guide never worked.

    BTW, it was an eight day guide. The box extended the guide, Rovi supplied the data. Sort of how TE4 works now. :) Guide updates were done at 2am, so waking up to TBA for a whole day was why there were so many posts. The original MSRP was about $1000, but that dropped quickly.
     
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  18. chiguy50

    chiguy50 Well-Known Member

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    VOD is not necessarily more convenient unless the service has a feature that allows the user to queue up programming of interest in similar fashion to TiVo's My Shows listing. Otherwise, one still has to search for the shows to watch and account for those episodes already consumed. In this sense, you could term TiVo's recordings (especially those performed automatically via a OnePass or Suggestion) as VOD.
     
  19. schatham

    schatham Well-Known Member

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    I used the Betamax for a few years. I don't recall why I chose Betamax over VCR. I was living in England and believe it had more titles available. When I moved back to the states the only choice was VCR, Betamax was essentially dead.
     
  20. rdrrepair

    rdrrepair Bill Knapp

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    From a Forbes article in 1999. Was trying to remember what I paid for my Sony SVR2000 in December of 2000 and stumbled on this.

    I Saw It on Tivo

    .
     

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