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TiVo's Latest Offering Detects and Skips Ads, Adds 4K Capability 85

As described by The Verge, the newest generation of TiVo is in some ways a step backward: it comes with fewer tuners than some earlier models, and less storage as well. However, two big features that distinguish the company's new Bolt DVR may entice users anyhow: it adds 4K recording, and (probably of use to more people, given the scarcity of 4K content, not to mention its file size) also can recognize and skip commercials, a feature that users have sorely missed as a mainstream feature in standalone DVRs for quite a while. (And it's possible that broadcasters will come up with a way to kill the commercial-skip function as they did with Dish's AutoHop.)
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TiVo's Latest Offering Detects and Skips Ads, Adds 4K Capability

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  • But why does it suffer from brewer's droop? [vox-cdn.com]
    • Fixed link [vox-cdn.com].

      My theory, which goes for the PS3 as well: it stops you putting any other device neatly on top of it, making it seem more awesome (hopefully to your Tivo-less friends who come over) thanks to it being at the top of the stack.

      • It may also be for airflow. If it is only just in its cooling envelope, then the gap underneath allows more air to flow around it and the curve on the top prevents anything else going on top and so allows the top to work as a heatsink.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        It's to stop people blocking the air vents. Can't rely on other manufacturers to put reasonable height feet on their devices, or not exhaust heat right into your intake vent. If you make people dedicate a shelf to your product it will get better airflow, and thus a lower failure and return rate.

        What we need is a standard, like 19-inch racks, but with cooling specified. Intake at the front, exhaust at the back. Has to look nice for living rooms, and accept most existing equipment. All it really needs to be i

  • .. but hey, it saves you having to press the manual fast forward button a few times! Well they've sold it to me!

    Not. What a joke.

    • by jfengel ( 409917 )

      It's more about the overall viewing experience than pressing the button. Ads interrupt the story being told. Even if it's only for a moment, kicks you out of the story and you take a moment to re-adjust. Especially if you overshoot and have to scan back to find the part where the show resumes.

      Hardly the worst crime in the world, but this is all about entertainment. Your feelings about it aren't incidental; they're actually the only thing going on here.

      Interestingly, sometimes those interruptions are built r

  • MythTV has been doing this for well over a DECADE.

    • MythTV is free software distributed under the GNU General Public License. I was under the impression that copyleft and CableCARD support were mutually exclusive. Or what am I missing?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ZESTA ( 18433 )

      MythTV has supported CableCARD and 4K for over a decade? Does it even support CableCARD tuners now?

      • Sure, I use a CableCard for Myth. The issue is that it is highly dependent on what your cable company allows, if they have the 'copy never' bit set on their programming then it will be pretty much useless. I haven't ever run into a problem recording something with my cable co. but they could pretty much disable my ability to record on a whim.

        • It's useless if they have anything except 0x00 (Copy Freely.) Even 0x01 (Copy Once) won't work.

        • The only thing that works with Comcast in my area (Sacramento, CA) is Windows7 Media Center. It allows me to record all copy protected stuff including HBO and Cinemax. Not sure what my options are after Microsoft abandons windows7 ...
  • I remember when TiVo first came out. ReplayTV came out at almost the same time. ReplayTV was more expensive, but had lifetime listings included. Ultimately that proved to be a bad marketing decision, and would have probably led to the company's demise if the lawsuits hadn't effectively killed it first.

    ReplayTV had already upset the networks with it's 30-second skip button, but the feature that led to major lawsuits was the automatic commercial skip.

    It's a shame they didn't both survive and compete on fea

    • by REden ( 174677 )

      ReplayTV and Tivo came out at about the same time. Both were similarly priced, and ReplayTV also went to the low-unit cost and subscription model. (not just lifetime units)

      TiVo did a much better job of marketing, but IMHO ReplayTV had a slightly better product. (I found the Tivo UI annoying and slow.)

      The 4000 and 5000 units had automatic commercial skip, and the networks sued ReplayTV into bankruptcy. The final model had commercial skip disabled, but it was too late. Eventually the company was gutted and

      • ReplayTV lacked the legal muscle to defend ad skipping (being sued by basically every television media company in existence is NOT cheap,) however Dish had enough to make muster. And now that there's legal precedent behind it, Tivo is safe to go ahead with it.

  • With "cord-cutting" becoming more common, and increasing dissatisfaction about the networks' reluctance to offend anyone, I can see most of the people who like this sort of gadget to instead spend the same on a selection of On-demand services.
    • They are still profitable but keep decreasing in users.
      This does have some neat features for the cable cutting people with it being able to connect to most internet tv program services, you can specify a TV show and it will try to pull down the episodes from all sources be it OTA or streaming.
    • The newest models fully integrate the main on-demand and online services. If I search for a show, it shows me that it's available on Comcast or Amazon Prime. You can even add OnePasses (previously Season Passes) for shows like Amazon's Bosch, so it shows up in your main "Now Playing" to remind you to watch it.

    • I've been tempted to scoop up a roamio OTA and an antenna. I know it would pay off over time but that is quite a chunk of money. That would get a good share of what we watch. On-demand "features" skip disabled ads. I'm also not particularly tempted to replace my satellite bill with a bunch of smaller streaming bills especially when support for any particular service on any particular device is hit or miss.
      • I'm also not particularly tempted to replace my satellite bill with a bunch of smaller streaming bills especially when support for any particular service on any particular device is hit or miss.

        The absence of standardisation here is one of my bugbears. My Sony TV supports Netflix and iPlayer (The must-haves in the UK), but players for the other major channels seem to be missing.

        Still, you can get cheap android based devices, and Android itself is a fairly stable standard. Even Amazon's fork for FireTV

    • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

      Its a very good question. We are probably the prototype of a TiVO house. I have 3 hooked up, and 3 more obsolete ones lying around.

      Thing is, we're looking at getting rid of cable, and without cable two of my TiVO's are nearly useless, and the newest one is just a Netflix/Youtube/Hulu box. Its Youtube is really inferior too, as it doesn't allow live stream feeds. I have to watch USL soccer matches on my computer instead. It doesn't support lots of the other streaming services, and if the "no live Youtube" i

      • My Romeo Plus supports streaming to portable devices. There is also the Tivo Stream to upgrade older devices:
        https://www.tivo.com/shop/deta... [tivo.com]

        I also only need 1 Tivo with the + as it has 6 tuners. The Tivo Mini is how I connect up the other TV in my house.

        • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )
          The thing is, none of that matters if I don't have cable, and TiVO doesn't support the services/service types I want to use. And it will never support everything I can get on my computer and/or Android devices because it is one company's own black box, not a public platform. So the fact of the matter is that I need the streaming to go the other way. TO my TV, not from it.
    • by enjar ( 249223 )

      We are a TiVo house who cut the cable cord years ago. We are currently running a Series 3 and a Premier, both with lifetime service. Both models happily record programming from the antenna, so we get the programming you can't get from streaming there, particularly NFL football from our local team (all local games MUST be televised in the local area, per FCC regs -- so I can watch all games), plus the dramas my wife enjoys and a bunch of PBS stuff. Not everything makes it onto a streaming site, and I've had

  • I have Dish. As long as you watch the show 24 hours later it will skip commercials automatically.
  • I had a meeting with James Barton (former CEO of Tivo and main inventor on their original patents), and he said they didn't implement commercial skipping and all the other features that ReplayTV (sending shows over the internet, etc) had because they didn't want to be sued.

    Barton left Tivo a few years back and I guess the new leadership isn't worried about that stuff anymore.

  • Fewer tuners, less storage AND 4k resolution?! Take my money!!
    • by wbo ( 1172247 )
      Looking at their website [tivo.com] I am not even sure the Bolt supports 4k. Their marketing mentions 4k all over the place but their specs pages appear to use UHD and 4k interchangeably which really makes me wonder if it truly does 4k or if it is really just supports UHD.

      4k has a wider aspect ratio (17:9 instead of 16:9) and a different color space than UHD. Most of the cheaper (relatively speaking) consumer TVs and displays appear to be supporting UHD but not 4k but some of the higher-end displays tend true 4k
  • by Anonymous Coward

    (And it's possible that broadcasters will come up with a way to kill the commercial-skip function as they did with Dish's AutoHop.)

    What are you smoking, autohop is alive and well.

  • ... it wouldn't surprise me if TiVo sold ad space for the times that the TiVo skips a recorded ad.

    .
    From what I've been reading, lately TiVo has been very aggressive in overlaying ads along the bottom portion of the screen when recorded content is being watched. Also, the ads are being placed throughout the TiVo menus and even on the "Discovery Bar". Apparently, with the end of the patent money in sight, TiVo is turning their DVR into yet another screen for the advertisers to use.

  • Any one of a zillion boxes will stream content from the major streaming providers and so much of cable's content is available online already.

    I've owned Tivos since series 2, but have cut out cable to the "basic" package of local channels only, mostly to appease my wife and son (who has pretty much moved on to Netflix anyway).

    I have 3 Series 3 boxes right now, but when they go I can't see a reason for replacing them. I already have other boxes which do Netflix/Amazon/Hulu.

  • It's now open source. Best DVR ever.
  • Still no support for hd satellite feeds. When the new high speed internet connection arrives in a few weeks, I think I'll just switch to downloads-only for tv watching, and scuttle the dish.

I just asked myself... what would John DeLorean do? -- Raoul Duke

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