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Patents limit choice

Discussion in 'Digital TV & Video Players & Recorders' started by annefromuk, Nov 18, 2001.

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  1. annefromuk

    annefromuk
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    I am pleased that HDD Video Recorders are finally taking off.

    However I believe Tivo are holding back the choice we have by sueing any company that has a way of recording live TV.
    They have even sued Microsoft!

    Anne

    Quote from The Register
     
  2. Paul G

    Paul G
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    The last thing we need is TIVO to start suing other manufactures because they are also producing HDD format recorders. I've patiently waited for an affordable alternative to the vcr for years, ie a product that has the same user friendliness plus a picture quality that is closer to broadcast quality. I might have been tempted to by a TIVO if it didn't come with a ridiculous £10 a month rental (or whatever it is) charge. Plus the fact that I don't have Sky.
    Competition is the only thing that enables AV products to be as cheap as they are. Anyone remember when the average price of a basic 25inch 4:3 nicam tv was about £600?:mad:
     
  3. Big Jim

    Big Jim
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    <deep breath>

    Patents are a good idea.

    Without some sort of protection on a design being ripped off, the incentive to stick cash into R&D is greatly reduced.

    The usual deal is that the company with the patent licences it to other companies for a nice fee, to get the benifits of some cash in hand. For us that usually means more effective competition.

    I'm pretty sure TIVO have liscenced a number of people to make their boxes, and have licenced the tech to some others.

    Can't wait for an upgraded box with a 100gb+ disk or two.
     
  4. Fartpants

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    Yep you never know what the buggers are going to record for you. For example a friend of mine has a TIVO and it keeps recording programs on diving! (I wonder what he has been watching).

    The thread started with an example of the good and bad points of patents, yes they do keep competition away, but anything that keeps microsoft out can't be all bad.

    The main thing is to stop some company in investing in R&D get a good product going, then someone down the road just stealing the idea. Patents are not perfect, but what is?

    I wouldn't want a TIVO because I disagree with the concept of anyone knowing what I watch and when I do. Such information might be of use to ne'er do wells. "Hey look no one ever watches anything in that house on a ****day night!"

    Give me a TIVO without subscription, even if I have to program it like a VCR, give ME the ability to put larger or more disk drives in, and cut the phone link.

    Then I would think of getting one.
     
  5. annefromuk

    annefromuk
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    Patents can be good, when they are applied correctly.

    But Tivo sue anyone who writes code for Live TV Recording even if they have never been near a Tivo Machine.
    The patent is so wide that every single way of recording Live TV is under there control :eek:

    Strange thing is that TiVo opted for Linux as the operating system for its box. Linux's success is mainly due to the absence of patents.

    Anne
     
  6. pointon

    pointon
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    Patents are essential. They give rights to the creators of ideas.

    But they were not designed to give one company a monopoly on the production of the idea. Or to allow them to take legal action against any company, person or body that has attempted or is to attempt to produce the idea.

    Otherwise we'd have CD players made by just one company, computers made by just one company, cars made by just one company... etc.

    It's just greed, and it's the technology and the consumer as a result that suffers.
     
  7. zoolap

    zoolap
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    Operating Systems made by one company (well same effect when that company scares smaller companies from supporting other oses) :|
     
  8. Milhouse

    Milhouse
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    TiVo's can be upgraded to take larger drives (mine has two 100gb Maxtors) by anyone with a modicum of computer knowledge and the freely available tools from the web. Provided you are confident about plugging hard drives into the IDE ports on an Intel computer and can follow clearly written instructions it will take about an hour from start to finish. TiVo have stated they are not bothered about people upgrading their machines and have no intentions of preventing people doing so in future.

    I can't remember for sure, but I thought the returning of information to TiVo was optional. Also, this info allegedly "anonymised" (sp?) - remember this is a US product, imagine the litigation this turned out not to be the case.
    And don't Sky do precisely the same thing? Hence the need for a telephone line connected to the digibox?

    Patents are a necessary evil - and anyone who gets one over on Microsoft is OK in my books! All companies have them, Sony with it's Trinitron for example meant other manufacturers produced inferior CRTs for many years. TiVo's patents may be fairly broad but thats the benefit of being first with an idea - however I have read elsewhere that another company (Pause TV?) may be challenging TiVo's rights to these same patents.

    TiVo are licensing their technology to a number of other companies, Sony have just signed a deal which allows them to use TiVo tech in any device they see fit.
     
  9. Milhouse

    Milhouse
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    I don't understand - TiVo will schedule programmes to record that you want recorder at the push of a button (details are taken from the electonic programme guide), you can set up manual recordings which overide the programme guide data and TiVo will record programmes it thinks you will like (this is reasonably accurate, the more you use TiVo the better it gets).

    And the Season Pass allows you to record an entire series without setting up repeating manual recordings for each showing - provided the EPG is accurate it won't miss a thing, even if the broadcast time changes (need a day or two's notice though for this to filter down to the TiVo).

    Perhaps I am misunderstading what a multi-event timer is, as I reckon TiVo is capable of exactly this - it's a hundred times better than an old tech VCR. :)
     
  10. Paul G

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    Personally I like doing all the programming myself. At least when it goes wrong then I've got nobody but myself to blame.
    :p

    Hey what am I saying!! I tried to record a programme last night but what was advertised in the paper wasn't shown. I didn't want Brookside!!!
     
  11. Milhouse

    Milhouse
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    1. Yes, set it to any date in the future, repeating weekly etc.

    2. On a manual recording Yes by adding extra time, but not currently on a scheduled recording via the EPG - the new version of the TiVo software due in the next couple of months (it's being beta tested now) will allow padding before/after a program. Currently programs are recorded according to the published programme guides and the BBC consistenly overrun :( When the new software is released the TiVo will automatically upgrade itself overnight.
     
  12. Milhouse

    Milhouse
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    No, it will record 3 weeks or more in advance irrespective of whether you select repeat. What I meant by "repeating weekly etc." was that this functionality is available just as you would expect from a standard VCR.

    You could of course set a season pass for F1 Grand Prix (in which case the TiVo will track the showings no matter what time they are on) but this won't be of much use if the race is delayed since the padding in the new software version isn't likely to be up to an hour (it might be, nobody is quite sure as it's all shrouded by Non Disclosure Agreements :( )

    Using the manual recording facility for Grand Prixs will allow you to set the length of the recording to whatever you like - set it to 5 hours for example (assuming you have the disk space!)

    On my upgraded unit (dual 100Gb drives) I get 236 hours at Basic recording, and 67 hours at Best - I tend to record most programmes at Medium (level above best) and after 2 months am yet to run out of disk space (when you run out of space, "suggested" recordings are overwritten, none of mine have been yet).

    A standard TiVo will give you 40 hours at Basic and 12 hours at Best.
     
  13. Milhouse

    Milhouse
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    Two things:

    1. Don't forget that after having purchased the TiVo it's completely useless without a subscription to the TiVo EPG service - this is £10 a month or a one-off payment of £200 which is good for the lifetime of your machine (so if you had purchased the latter and your machine breaks down after 18 months and cannot be repaired, you will be back to £10 a month or another lifetime should you decide to purchase a replacement machine)

    2. Empire Direct - £239 apparently (normal retail £299).

    Failing that, TiVo are running a special Member Get Member promotion right now where if an existing owner recommends it to you you can get a £50 discount off normal RRP by ordering direct from TiVo (and the member who recommended you gets £50 in Kingfisher vouchers) This offer is good until the end of December.

    Trust me, once Mrs C. has seen it record Corrie and all the other soaps I think she'll be a major fan :) And once the new software is here it will be even better (wishlists etc.)!
     
  14. Big Jim

    Big Jim
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    How hard is the mod and what does it involve? are there any good how guides about?

    I am a techie (I will get round to doing my MCSE) and build pc's etc.

    cheers
     
  15. Milhouse

    Milhouse
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    The upgrade instructions are written by a guy named Hinsdale and can be found here. They're quite detailed, and if you are comfortable with the master/slave settings on standard IDE drives and can change a hard drive in a PC then you'll have no problems provided you follow the instructions (advice: print them off!) You do NOT need to know Linux as the instructions tell you exactly what to enter and when.

    You'll need to download about 8mb of software to perform the upgrade, this is all in the FAQ. If you have a CD burner this will make the upgrade much easier as you will be able to build a boot CD otherwise you'll have to perform the upgrade using boot floppy disks (not much more difficult but a bit slower).

    It took me about 1 hour 30 minutes from powering down my TiVo to powering it back up for the final time, others have taken less time but I didn't feel it necessary to rush!

    I had a dual drive unit to start with (more recent models are single drive), by the end I'd replaced both drives with larger equivalents. During the process you will take a backup of the original software just in case your new drives fail (you can always drop back in the original drives in this case anwyay). Even if you don't upgrade it's worth taking a backup as the most likely part to fail in a TiVo (or any HDD PVR) is the hard drives. Having said that, Backup images on CD can be obtained on the internet for a small fee - I don't think it's necessarily "illegal" because the image is completely useless without TiVo hardware.

    There are various ways of upgrading your unit depending on how many drives you have in your unit to start with - if you only have one drive the easiest upgrade is to install a large second drive. In order to gain the most recording time you have to do what I did. One point to note is that if you do not have a two drive unit you will need to acquire the drive mounting rails if you install a second drive - there are instructions on how to obtain drive rails in the FAQ, alternatively use cable ties to hold the drive in place. Then again, you can simply upgrade your single drive unit to a larger single drive - the limit is 128Gb per drive (this is a IDE interface limitation), the original single drive is about 40Gb and in dual drive units it's 30Gb + 15GB with the second drive restricted to 10Gb.

    The best place for TiVo questions is this forum

    Hope this helps.... :)
     
  16. Big Jim

    Big Jim
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    Brilliant, I had been looking for something like that.

    I just need to not be skint now. Oh also, does (or will) the TiVo ever work with Telewest digital yet (with its irda remote)?
     
  17. Big Jim

    Big Jim
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    some searching on avs tivo later...

    think I'm up to speed now - hooray, a box to control the pace irda boxes!

    need. cash. now.

    :D

    Cheers very much indeed
     
  18. Milhouse

    Milhouse
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    No problems - just remember I recommended you, OK??? :D

    Enjoy your TiVo - it sounds trite but you really - honestly - do watch TV in a different way... once you get it let me know if you disagree ;)
     
  19. annefromuk

    annefromuk
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    What is a Telewest 'irda remote'?

    I can guess IR is Infra Red, but what is the DA bit mean?

    And what is the 'box to control the pace irda boxes'?

    BTW: An Alternative to Tivo is Snapstream PVS, although it requires a PC, this adds the benifit of streaming over a lan.


    Anne
     
  20. Big Jim

    Big Jim
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    I wont be taking the leap this year - house buying has somewhat drained the finances, but I will send you a message if I do get round to it!

    Anne,

    Irda is the computer infra red standard, and requires two way communication. unfortunately telewest, and cable and wireless specified that they wanted the remote controls supplied with their pace digiboxes to use irda. This means that no learning remote (ie. phillips pronto, etc.) can communicate with them.

    Tivo uses an ir blaster to change the digibox channel to record things, so until recently a Tivo was pretty useless in telewest or ex c&w ntl areas because it could not change the channel! Now they have produced a £30 box which translated the standard codes into irda, and so it works!

    hth
     

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