January 5, 2005 9:15 PM PST

Gates touts TiVo deal at CES

LAS VEGAS--Delivering the first keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates touted a partnership with TiVo during what was mainly a state of the union address on Microsoft's digital media strategy.

The television recording pioneer has enlisted Microsoft in its new TiVoToGo effort to offer mobile versions of TiVo-recorded programs. The service will allow owners of recent-vintage TiVo boxes to transfer programs to a Windows XP PC, from which the programs can in turn be shuttled to Microsoft-powered portable devices, such as Portable Media Center video gadgets and Smartphone mobile phones.

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Bill Gates, chairman, Microsoft

(Some users, however, say this upgrade is coming too slowly.)

Gates started out by giving an overview of Microsoft's digital media strategy, assisted by talk show host Conan O'Brien. Gates said Microsoft would continue to make it easier to unite digital experiences.

"If you look at today's living room, you have five remote controls and you still can't get your music where you want it," Gates said.

The presentation was marred by several technical glitches, including a Windows XP Media Center slide show that couldn't be launched and an Xbox game demonstration that abruptly ended with a blue-screen memory error.

"Right now, nine people are being fired," O'Brien joked after the first snafu. "Who's in charge of Microsoft?"

Despite continued strong growth, TiVo has been challenged recently by a number of new services that record television programming for on-the-go consumption, while Microsoft has seen slow acceptance for the television-recording capabilities built into Windows XP Media Center, Microsoft's entertainment-focused version of its PC operating system.

Gates hailed the ability to easily move TiVo content to portable gadgets as emblematic of Microsoft's push to let consumers experience their digital media anywhere they want it. "We're really seeing the portable video message move into the mainstream," he said.

Not surprisingly, Media Center was less of a focus at this year's CES. Gates said PC makers have sold 1.4 million Media Center models so far, steady growth from a year ago but still a drop in the overall Windows XP bucket. Microsoft did announce several new broadcast partners providing expanded program listings for Media Center PCs, including the Discovery Channel, which helps explain the ubiquity of the "American Chopper" dudes at this year's CES.

Instead, several of the new partner products Gates highlighted rely on Windows Media Connect, Microsoft's technology for shuttling digital media from a plain-vanilla Windows XP PC to compatible consumer electronics devices.

Gates showed off the first plasma screen television--from home entertainment specialist DigiTrex--to support Windows Media Connect. He also touted a new combination DVD player and digital video recorder from LG Electronics that connects with both regular Windows XP and specialized Windows XP Media Center PCs.

Also on the television side, Gates touted growing support for Microsoft's software for TV set-top boxes, including new partner BellSouth. And he revealed a new partnership with MTV Networks, which will format selected content for downloading to Portable Media Center players and Smartphone devices.

Gates said Microsoft now has 61 mobile carriers in 28 countries supporting Smartphone.

Gates disappointed video game fans by staying mum on plans for the next version of the Xbox. Instead, he touted huge sales--6.3 million copies to date--for the Xbox game "Halo 2," which has accounted for 69 million hours of game playing so far on Microsoft's Xbox Live online gaming service.

"These are the successes we'll build on as gaming moves into the next generation of hardware," Gates said.

More incremental progress was reported for Microsoft's "Plays for sure" campaign to label portable audio players as Windows-friendly.

Gates said 50 devices and eight music download services now support the program, which launched last summer.

O'Brien added a sorely needed air of levity to what has become a familiar recitation for CES audiences, even taking a few well-aimed swipes at Microsoft breakthroughs from previous CES shows, such as the first clunky versions of Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT) watches introduced two years ago.

"Those things looked like you were wearing a bread maker on your wrist," O'Brien quipped.

16 comments

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HA!
This is just ANOTHER reason to stay far far away from XP and TIVO.
Posted by Prndll (382 comments )
Reply Link Flag
why?
2 Companies cross-licensing technology and working together to bring new and enhanced functionality that is in high demand to the consumer is a reason to avoid those products?

I guess you can always sit around and wait for somebody to spend thier capital developing and distributing a similar set of products and technologies for free. But I wouldn't hold my breath. Perhaps you are just one of those people who don't have a desire to have information more easily available.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
HA!
This is just ANOTHER reason to stay far far away from XP and TIVO.
Posted by Prndll (382 comments )
Reply Link Flag
why?
2 Companies cross-licensing technology and working together to bring new and enhanced functionality that is in high demand to the consumer is a reason to avoid those products?

I guess you can always sit around and wait for somebody to spend thier capital developing and distributing a similar set of products and technologies for free. But I wouldn't hold my breath. Perhaps you are just one of those people who don't have a desire to have information more easily available.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Linux and Microsoft
So... TiVo runs Linux, right? This must mean that either the media connect technology from Microsoft is going open-source, it is linked in a way that allows TiVo to pay royalties without releasing the source, OR TiVo is not honoring the GPL.

Regardless, consumers are buying a Linux device, and paying Microsoft for technology that TiVo decided it could not substitute with another GPL solution. Imagine that, technological and financial benefits for TiVo in Microsoft software, along with increased user functionality.

This article is unfortunately void of any technical information, but I would speculate that a Microsoft video format is also being used in the mix somewhere, since streaming MPG2 requires far more overhead... but without further information, this is just a guess.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Linux and Microsoft
So... TiVo runs Linux, right? This must mean that either the media connect technology from Microsoft is going open-source, it is linked in a way that allows TiVo to pay royalties without releasing the source, OR TiVo is not honoring the GPL.

Regardless, consumers are buying a Linux device, and paying Microsoft for technology that TiVo decided it could not substitute with another GPL solution. Imagine that, technological and financial benefits for TiVo in Microsoft software, along with increased user functionality.

This article is unfortunately void of any technical information, but I would speculate that a Microsoft video format is also being used in the mix somewhere, since streaming MPG2 requires far more overhead... but without further information, this is just a guess.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS Ditital Hub's a dud at CES 2005
What really happened during Citizen Gates CES Media Blitzkreig:
SF Gate News article / Associated Press AP:

Bill Gates touts 'digital lifestyle,' despite technical bugs

RACHEL KONRAD, AP Technology Writer
Wednesday, January 5, 2005
(01-05) 21:19 PST LAS VEGAS (AP) --

Despite suffering technical glitches that prompted jokes and guffaws, Bill Gates promised Wednesday that Microsoft Corp. would help millions of consumers stay seamlessly plugged into a world of digital music, movies, video games and television shows.

But while promoting what he calls the "digital lifestyle," Gates showed how vulnerable all consumers -- even the world's richest man -- are to hardware and software bugs.

During a demonstration of digital photography with a Nikon camera, a Windows Media Center PC froze and wouldn't respond to Gates' pushing of the remote control.

Later in the 90-minute presentation, a product manager demonstrated the ostensible user-friendliness of a video game expected to hit retail stores in April, Forza Motor Sport. But instead of configuring a custom-designed race car, the computer monitor displayed the dreaded "blue screen of death" and warned, "out of system memory."

The errors -- which came during what's usually an ode to Microsoft's dominance of the software industry and its increasing control of consumer electronics -- prompted the celebrity host, NBC comedian Conan O'Brien, to quip, "Who's in charge of Microsoft, anyway?"

Gates, who was sitting next to O'Brien on a set staged to look
like NBC's Late Night set, smiled dryly and continued with his
discussion.

Although he accepted guffaws from audience members in the theater, the technical hiccups didn't prompt Gates to engage in a
hard-hitting analysis of computer reliability and security.

It will likely take Microsoft years to understand the consumer electronics market and produce simple, glitch-free products for
consumers' living rooms, analysts say.

"Microsoft was founded by programmers and is still run by programmers, and the bias of programmers is that software can do anything," said Paul DeGroot, an analyst at Kirkland, Wash.-
based Directions on Microsoft. "While Microsoft's goal is to turn the PC into a superhub that does everything -- plays music,
works as a cell phone, stores your photos -- they're running up against the fact that most people buy discreet components that
do particular things."

This was also announced on Channel 4 KOMO News - ABC in Seattle, WA. as well...

Redmond, we have a problem...
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Software can do anything...
Especially crash...

And also:

I think I 'll stick to my good old HIFI set.
I don't need the buzzing of a PC's CPU through the speakers that are attached to my amplifier with 0.007% distortion.
Posted by Steven N (487 comments )
Link Flag
MS Ditital Hub's a dud at CES 2005
What really happened during Citizen Gates CES Media Blitzkreig:
SF Gate News article / Associated Press AP:

Bill Gates touts 'digital lifestyle,' despite technical bugs

RACHEL KONRAD, AP Technology Writer
Wednesday, January 5, 2005
(01-05) 21:19 PST LAS VEGAS (AP) --

Despite suffering technical glitches that prompted jokes and guffaws, Bill Gates promised Wednesday that Microsoft Corp. would help millions of consumers stay seamlessly plugged into a world of digital music, movies, video games and television shows.

But while promoting what he calls the "digital lifestyle," Gates showed how vulnerable all consumers -- even the world's richest man -- are to hardware and software bugs.

During a demonstration of digital photography with a Nikon camera, a Windows Media Center PC froze and wouldn't respond to Gates' pushing of the remote control.

Later in the 90-minute presentation, a product manager demonstrated the ostensible user-friendliness of a video game expected to hit retail stores in April, Forza Motor Sport. But instead of configuring a custom-designed race car, the computer monitor displayed the dreaded "blue screen of death" and warned, "out of system memory."

The errors -- which came during what's usually an ode to Microsoft's dominance of the software industry and its increasing control of consumer electronics -- prompted the celebrity host, NBC comedian Conan O'Brien, to quip, "Who's in charge of Microsoft, anyway?"

Gates, who was sitting next to O'Brien on a set staged to look
like NBC's Late Night set, smiled dryly and continued with his
discussion.

Although he accepted guffaws from audience members in the theater, the technical hiccups didn't prompt Gates to engage in a
hard-hitting analysis of computer reliability and security.

It will likely take Microsoft years to understand the consumer electronics market and produce simple, glitch-free products for
consumers' living rooms, analysts say.

"Microsoft was founded by programmers and is still run by programmers, and the bias of programmers is that software can do anything," said Paul DeGroot, an analyst at Kirkland, Wash.-
based Directions on Microsoft. "While Microsoft's goal is to turn the PC into a superhub that does everything -- plays music,
works as a cell phone, stores your photos -- they're running up against the fact that most people buy discreet components that
do particular things."

This was also announced on Channel 4 KOMO News - ABC in Seattle, WA. as well...

Redmond, we have a problem...
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Software can do anything...
Especially crash...

And also:

I think I 'll stick to my good old HIFI set.
I don't need the buzzing of a PC's CPU through the speakers that are attached to my amplifier with 0.007% distortion.
Posted by Steven N (487 comments )
Link Flag
 

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