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I wonder why they secretly rolled this out instead of sending out an email to subscribers letting them know this is coming?
Because they knew damn well it would dis-intermediate many of the loyal Tivo customer base. There are rumors from some of the beta testers that nobody liked it in beta either. Yet, they did it anyway. Which is why I think they've done the calculations and decided they'll take the risk. I see it as a Hail Mary to drive the valuation up and finally sell off the product business.

In my opinion, the very best outcome we can all expect here is that TE3 will continue to run well enough that we get a couple of more years out of our boxes. Tivo is going to live to sell or die in hell. And whoever they sell to is more likely to be someone that likes the advert platform and customer data mining platform they've built so I don't see that buyer being our Messiah some day.
 

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A TiVo follow-up to the case I opened... Will there be any way to disable the pre-roll ads once I receive the software upgrade?

Dear Charles,

Thank you for contacting TiVo Email Support.

We can request an update so your TiVo device no longer shows an advertisement before your recording begins. You can reach us back when that happens on your TiVo DVR.
 

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I wonder if disabling that will prevent those commercials to be on your harddrive, I doubt it will be live streaming the ads as not all have true broadband speeds.
Entirely possible, depending on how they implemented it, but it's not crazy to think that it might stream and ads and just skip the ad for the few people who don't have decent broadband speeds. It could also revert to streaming if you turn that off, although that sounds too sophisticated for TiVo's M.O.
 

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I wonder why they secretly rolled this out instead of sending out an email to subscribers letting them know this is coming?
Quite frankly given the level of incompetence in recent years I wouldn't be surprised if this was unintentionally released before they were ready.
 

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Sherman, set the wayback machine to 2015.

Slingbox, Now Covered In Ads
Slingbox, Now Covered In Ads

The irony here is this comment from Dave Zatz at the conclusion of the article:

"All I can say is, good thing I bought a TiVo Roamio just yesterday, with integrated streaming, as Slingbox is significantly less compelling this week."
 

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There is no "fair use law". Fair use is a particular type of exception to copyright law for specific limited circumstances, and home recording for personal use has been deemed one such exception.

A business removing ads and replacing them with its own for profit seems very unlikely to be considered a fair use exception to copyright law. I hope Tivo gets crucified by the lawyers if they pursue this braindead strategy.
OK, fine, you've made a semantic correction. But what aspects of the existing law -- which allows home recording for personal use -- would auto-excision of broadcast ads violate? This feature already exists among various for-profit DVR services -- Plex, Channels Plus, etc.

And then, next step: what provisions within existing law would prevent a for-profit DVR service, which relies upon the fair-use exception to copyright law for the personal in-home recording of broadcast TV, from inserting their own unskippable ads as a condition of using their DVR service?
 

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Quite frankly given the level of incompetence in recent years I wouldn't be surprised if this was unintentionally released before they were ready.
Except that, TiVo customer service seems to have known all about it the day things occurred, and even had a remedy (we'll see if it pans out). That rarely seems to be the case--this seems to have been scripted and timed.
 

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I'm not a lawyer either, but you bring up some interesting points. I don't believe that replacing ads with Tivo's own ads would constitute fair use because Tivo would be receiving income without compensation to the Intellectual Property owner.
Hmm. OK, but hasn't TiVo *always* received income for their DVR service (i.e. the monthly, annual or lifetime fees that customers pay) without providing any compensation to the intellectual property owner (either the broadcast channel or the cable system operator)?

But getting to the issue of pre-roll ads, your discussion reminded me of the earworm MLB disclaimer that ran before every baseball game I would listen to or watch while growing up:

"This game is authorized under television rights granted by Major League Baseball solely for the entertainment of our audience and any publication reproduction retransmission or other use of the pictures descriptions and accounts of this game without the express written consent of Major League Baseball is prohibited Any commercial or other use of the program such as by charging admission for its showing is similarly prohibited unless authorized in writing by Major League Baseball."
Right. The fair-use exception to copyright law covers personal, non-commercial use only. So you can't sell tickets to your neighbors to come in and watch the game on your TV. That's non-authorized redistribution of their content.

It strikes me that what Tivo is doing here with its pre-roll is basically charging admission to view IP that it hasn't paid for and has no agreement with the IP owner to retransmit. This could be why Tivo allows skipping of the pre-roll: "We're not charging admission, we're just asking for a donation!"
Yeah, m-a-y-b-e. But this seems like you're torturing the intent of existing case law, which precludes anyone from essentially redistributing the content to others to make a buck on it. Given that it's the individual consumer who is choosing to pay for and use the TiVo service, and choosing to record the broadcast, and then play it back in his/her own home for non-commercial use (i.e. not selling tickets to the neighbors to watch), I'm not sure I see why it's any more problematic for TiVo to "charge" their customers for their DVR service in the form of required ad-viewing (i.e. consumers' time) than to charge them in the form of actual money. (Or some combination of the two.)

I'll end by saying this: where other DVR service providers, such as DISH with their Hopper, have gotten into trouble with auto-skipping of ads in DVR recordings wasn't from a legal/copyright perspective. It was simply because they had business relationships in place with the IP owners (the cable networks) to distribute their product. And NBC, CBS, Fox, etc. did NOT like it when their business partner DISH was making it so simple for their viewers to avoid their ads through the Auto-Hop feature on the Hopper.

I think the only reason that TiVo requires their customers to press a button to skip over ads in SkipMode, rather than have the DVR automatically do it, is to avoid making their business relationships with their pay TV partners more difficult than necessary. Remember, the bulk of TiVo's business these days is licensing the TiVo system for use on pay TV set-top boxes/back-end servers.
 

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I think the only reason that TiVo requires their customers to press a button to skip over ads in SkipMode, rather than have the DVR automatically do it, is to avoid making their business relationships with their pay TV partners more difficult than necessary.
Are you talking about the pre roll or regular ads presented during a recording?

Pre roll you have to push a button to skip the ads.

If you set skipmode to automatic you just start the recording and all ads during the recording are automatically skipped.
 

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Entirely possible, depending on how they implemented it, but it's not crazy to think that it might stream and ads and just skip the ad for the few people who don't have decent broadband speeds. It could also revert to streaming if you turn that off, although that sounds too sophisticated for TiVo's M.O.
The ads should have been downloaded ahead of time. I certainly hope they arent doing it in realtime.

Sent from my Galaxy S10
 
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Well, FWIW, a current TiVo beta tester this week told me that he/she is now seeing ads placed in the program guide grid.

As far as the inserted video ads, my guess is that TiVo developed that platform mainly for larger purposes than what we're currently seeing, with just one pre-recording ad being streamed. I'd say it's mainly for inserting (unskippable) ads into their free video content in the forthcoming TiVo+ app.

Beyond that, maybe TiVo will deploy multiple ads before or during DVR recordings as part of a cheaper (or even free) tier of DVR service.

I definitely think -- based on the feedback in this thread so far -- that TiVo will realize that they're going to have to be careful about the degree to which they deploy ads on their current full-price DVR service because folks will cancel. (Although who knows what percentage of their current retail user base is on lifetime service, in which case TiVo already has their money and there's really nothing they can do.)
Ugh ads in the guide? That was like my first Comcast DVR ten years ago. No wonder Live Guide is dead, prolly not enough real estate on screen for ads.
 

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They are two legal avenues to go against TiVo, but the argument about ads is the path for a corporation like ad sponsors.

But the easiest one is for the long term/short term TiVo customers in a class action suit to prove Rovi did not act in good faith, misrepresented themselves to the customer and is fact a corporate predator and not a tech company. Rovi couldn't graduate form a 6 grade computer class. This is why they go where real tech companies do not go because they can't go to real tech solutions because they are in reality a corporate predator. Rovi's behavior over the years has not produce any tech solutions to their problems. Why, because they don't know how, being a corporate predator. It is the only explanation that answers all the puzzling questions, the puzzling behavior about them over the years. Class action cases are the most successful when they are clear patterns of contradiction behavior. The bases for class action suits against Rovi going before a judge is not complicated given Rovi's patterns of behavior.
 

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I'll reserve judgement until I see how it works on my system. If it ends up being intrusive and not easy to skip, I can always move over to my HDHomeRun + Plex backup. It works really well and can remove the commercials completely after the recording is finished.
I have Plex Pass lifetime myself. Old HDHomerun for backup OTA. Ive been waiting for them to release a 6 tuner cablecard unit before upgrading. Also have a 4 tuner Premier to fall back on, hoping it wont support the ads. I really miss SageTV to be honest. That was the best DVR/Server I have ever owned, but both SageTV boxes have stopped working, so I shut the server down.
 

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They are two legal avenues to go against TiVo, but the argument about ads is the path for a corporation like ad sponsors.

But the easiest one is for the long term/short term TiVo customers in a class action suit to prove Rovi did not act in good faith, misrepresented themselves to the customer and is fact a corporate predator and not a tech company. Rovi couldn't graduate form a 6 grade computer class. This is why they go where real tech companies do not go because they can't go to real tech solutions because they are in reality a corporate predator. Rovi's behavior over the years has not produce any tech solutions to their problems. Why, because they don't know how, being a corporate predator. It is the only explanation that answers all the puzzling questions, the puzzling behavior about them over the years. Class action cases are the most successful when they are clear patterns of contradiction behavior. The bases for class action suits against Rovi going before a judge is not complicated given Rovi's patterns of behavior.
I'm no lawyer but in reviewing the EULA posted here http://tivo.pactsafe.io/legal.html#user-agreement there are two paragraphs that indicate we'll have little chance at a class action lawsuit. The first is:

"TiVo reserves the right to discontinue previously offered features or functionality at its sole discretion and without prior notice. TiVo is not liable to you or to any third party for any modification, suspension, or discontinuance of any feature or component of any TiVo product or service. We reserve the right to determine the timing and content of software updates, which may be automatically downloaded and installed by TiVo products without prior notice to you."

I read this and think it is pretty clear that they can do whatever the hell they want with the software. So those of us that love Live Guide - tough titty. Don't like spinning blue circles? You've got a better chance at suing them for causing dizziness looking at them vs. the fact that they added a feature that causes you to look at spinning blue circles.

Next up:

"With an All-In Plan, you receive those TiVo service features that we make generally available to all customers who have activated a TiVo service subscription for that same TiVo product, except as otherwise noted by TiVo. You may incur separate charges for certain third-party content, services or applications; these items are not considered part of the TiVo service. In addition, TiVo reserves the right to subsequently release, and to charge separate amounts for, new features or functionality which are not made generally available to all customers who have activated TiVo service on a particular TiVo product."

It's not difficult to imagine that Tivo could just easily argue that instead of charging us for "new features and functionality" they reverted to ads so that they didn't have to ask us for more money. What are new features and functionality? Dunno but I suppose Hydra, Auto-skip may be examples.

I could not find the old Lifetime EULA or any earlier EULAs. This one is from last year. It might be interesting to review them.
 

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OK, fine, you've made a semantic correction. But what aspects of the existing law -- which allows home recording for personal use -- would auto-excision of broadcast ads violate? This feature already exists among various for-profit DVR services -- Plex, Channels Plus, etc.
The point is that there is no "existing law" to allow DVRs. Copyright law expressly bans all "retransmission" of cable/satellite/OTA broadcasts, and DVR playback is indisputably such a retransmission under copyright law. Fair use carves out a narrow window which allows such playback for personal use only. So you can do it at home, but a bar can't record a game and play it back later - that's why Directv/etc. won't allow bars/restaurants to have DVRs. They would be seen as accessories to any copyright violations that occurred if they if they did. As far as copyright is concerned, there's no difference between fast forwarding through halftime of a game or a boring section of a movie and fast forwarding through a commercial, so skipping commercials is fine in the context of a personal recording/playback device such as a DVR, VCR or audio cassette deck.

I'm not really up on the fine points to know whether it is a violation of copyright law to skip commercials during recording - that is, don't save them to the hard drive. My guess is that it would be a violation. Just because a couple niche products (apparently) do this does not mean it is legal - it simply may not be worth it for content owners to go after them.

From the standpoint of content owners, a solution that skips ads during recording is not really different than one that automatically skips during playback, and the latter has been held to be covered by fair use, as that's part of the definition of a personal recording/playback device (i.e. it simply automates the fast forwarding function that all DVRs are capable of) There isn't much point to content owners going after ad skipping during recording, even if they had an airtight case, because the only difference between automated ad skipping during playback and skipping them during recording is saving some hard drive space. The ads aren't getting seen either way, so the content owner would gain nothing if they stopped Plex etc. from skipping ads during recording. Other than maybe the Streisand Effect of making more people aware of it.

Having a playback device present its own ads in the GUI (like the guide or showcase) to the user clearly isn't a violation of copyright - the content owner's content isn't being changed. Running a pre-roll ad that could be incorrectly interpreted by some as part of the content is a different matter. Going even further and inserting ads in the middle of playback would reinforce that perception, though maybe Tivo could get around it by making it clear somehow that it is an ad coming from your Tivo and is not part of the program. For users who don't understand the difference between an ad placed by NBC during an NBC program and a Tivo ad placed at the start of the playback of an NBC program, automatically skipping the content owner's ads during playback AND running a pre-roll ad is tantamount to replacing the content owner's ads with Tivo's. If that was how the courts viewed it, then Tivo's running of pre-roll ads could easily be viewed as a violation of copyright law.
 

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Ugh ads in the guide? That was like my first Comcast DVR ten years ago. No wonder Live Guide is dead, prolly not enough real estate on screen for ads.
Live Guide is 90% of the reason I stuck with TE3 and never "upgraded" to TE4. When I heard that it was not supported in TE4 I figured it was just because too few people were using it, never considered the reason could be that they were going to sell out the Tivo experience. But I knew then I'd never even bother looking at Hydra. Why check out something I will never use?

If they can't find a way to pollute the Live Guide with ads, that makes it all the better as far as I'm concerned! I despise the traditional grid guide, even when it is like Tivo's and is (for the moment at least) ad free. Looking at the guide on a cable provider's DVR is painful for me because not only do I hate the format itself, but you can see only 2 or 3 channels per screen due to the ads taking up so much space.
 

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imo, afaik, feels like to me, *exceptions, ~aprox
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haven't seen it yet on Roamio Plus with TE4.

i'm not sure it would be a big deal for me since you can skip them from what I'm reading, they are 15 seconds long and i'm often getting settled when I start a show.
 
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