Mike Ramsay’s CES talk

I was going to attend in person, but I seem to have picked up a cold, so I’m listening to the web cast from my hotel room instead. Probably easier to take notes this way anyway. :-)

TiVo added nearly 2 million subs in 2004. The HD DTV unit has been a phenomenal success. Expect more enhancements to the DirecTV units over the next year. There are now over 15 different variations of the standalone TiVo on the market – with more coming. (See my previous post about Humax’s new products.)

‘Tahiti’ is integrating broadcast and broadband content sources into the TiVo. He reiterated that TiVoToGo will be coming for the DVD recorders, it just isn’t ready yet. TiVo will also publish the protocol used by TiVoToGo to encourage 3rd party development of TTG enabled products.

Later this year TiVo will launch a broadband publishing service, and extend the Season Pass and Wishlist features to also include broadband content sources. In the demo, on an existing recording, there is a new “If you like this, try…” button – basically sounds a bit like the TiVo Suggestions engine. But it also has options to download related broadband content, and even to buy physical media from a partner. For the example they used a recording of Ocean’s Eleven. So it suggested things like The Perfect Storm which was coming up, or buying a copy of Pretty Woman (Julia Roberts). It also offered a preview of Ocean’s Twelve, and then let you find a local theater for show times.

There was also an enhanced music player using the new Home Media Engine system for 3rd parties. It lets you create entirely new UIs for applications, so you can provide navigation different from what you have today in things like Music & Photos. You can have a custom look and feel, advanced navigation, new features, etc. (I saw some of this in the booth myself, and it is very nice.)

As a geek I liked the mention of platform evolution – that they need to evolve the hardware platform. They said the new platform needs to be low-cost, easy to setup, new generation of codecs like MPEG4, needs to be high-def, and it needs to integrate into analog and digital cable. And they reiterated that they are committing to CableCARD for their next generation hardware platform.

Interesting statement “We’re no longer talking about one or two tuners, but perhaps 20 tuners, or even more, so you can record many programs simultaneously.” (Hmm, CableCARD 2.0 does multi-stream, I wonder if that’s what he means.)

As usual, DirecTV decides if they’ll support ‘Tahiti’ on their units.

They were asked about the cable industry and said that they continue to pursue relationships with the cable industry.

UK & International markets – not a strategic reason, but economic, focusing on building the US business first. But they do want to expand outside of the US and they’re getting to the point where they have the resources to do that. They’re looking at selling product to the Chinese market and feel they should be able to expand overseas in the near future.

Eh, not really a lot there, most of the talk was recapping what was in their press releases already.

About MegaZone

MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
This entry was posted in TiVo. Bookmark the permalink.
  • revgeorge

    Could you tell if the broadband content stuff was strictly businesses, or if someone like Red vs. Blue or Strongbad could put up a free content feed for TiVo users?

  • megazone

    They directly ducked talking about how the publishing would work. But when I got back to the show I have a few questions to ask, and that’s on my mind.

    Now, two people in the booth yesterday told me that ‘TiVoToComeback’ (they’ve even started using that term) will be coming, for sure. If you haven’t heard that, it is what people have been calling the ability to send video back from a PC to a TiVo.

    So if this does happen, I could easily see being able to publish video from a PC to the net, like you can with music and photos today.

  • revgeorge

    I think the name TiVoToComeback describes how popular that feature would be with people :)

  • glenn66

    If they remove the DirectTV users from the mix, do they have a # of new subs for 2004. At $50-$100 for a dual tuner DTV reciever and $5 per account/month (with higher programming packages even including montly account for free) that does kind of skew the results compared to the Stand Alone TiVo costs…

  • capitano

    When I was at the booth today, we talked at length about the HME and methods of distribution.

    Basically, a 3rd party can run their own server (after talking to TiVo) or could make use of TiVo’s promotional servers (like what Best Buy and Nikon are doing now on the HMO). There wasn’t any comment on how those relationships would work since this is all a little ways off.

    What I found the most interesting was the fact that the HME allows for RSS feeds. Conceptually, you could present an analog of Podcasting for TiVo – assuming you have server space. You could also read LJ on your TV using your TiVo box as a thin client.

    You also didn’t mention the fact that simple games were also developed (Tic Tac Toe, a version of Connect Four, etc.) and provided as another example of content ideas.

    It seems that the HME also tie in to how the NetFlix relationship might work.

    I’m planning on stopping by the booth on Saturday afternoon to say hi to Deb and ask more questions! I’m so excited by what I saw today! Must have more…