March 28, 2005 5:17 PM PST

TiVo tests pop-up-style ads

Related Stories

TiVo, Comcast reach DVR deal

March 15, 2005

TiVo looks to tune in to advertisers

March 23, 2004
TiVo began testing interactive advertising tools during the weekend as it looks to appease companies wary of users' ability to skip over ads.

The company confirmed late Monday that it released the first in a series of advertising features to a random and limited number of subscribers to the digital-video recorder service. The first test feature--a tag--pops up on the screen when a viewer is fast-forwarding through an advertisement.

If viewers press the thumbs-up or select button during the half second the tag is displayed, they will be redirected to a menu that leads to more information about the advertised product. The tag takes up about 25 percent of the screen, according to the company. TiVo said it is working with only one advertiser, a movie studio, on the trial balloon.

TiVo has been developing interactive advertising technology for some time, and while advertising accounts for just a fraction of TiVo's overall revenue, it could become more substantial. The interactive features would give advertisers information on consumer interest and, possibly, better access to couch potatoes.

Interactive advertising was part of TiVo's distribution deal with Comcast announced earlier this month.

The tools will be tested only on Series2 TiVo owners, but once completed could be applied to Series 1 and DirecTiVo customers. Subscribers can't opt out of the feature, but they can ignore the tags.

"Our goal is in no way to interfere with the TiVo experience," TiVo spokesman David Shane said.

Some viewers initially experienced technical problems with the advertising tag, according to Web postings, which TiVo confirmed and said only affected a small group of those involved in the test.

64 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
i can't take any more ads
I've seriously been considering the purchase of a TiVo unit. I've been debating between TiVo and a DVR unit from Dish Network. After reading this article I can definitely say that TiVo is out of the picture. I'm tired of paying monthly service fees and getting hit with ads on top of it.

Take cable or Satelite TV for instance. You have to pay a monthly fee for the service and very few channels are commercial free, sometimes none depending on the monthly plan chosen. Why are we paying in order to have commercials on our channels. Commercials should be for free TV only, as in broadcast TV.

I'm getting so sick and tired of being bombarded with ads everywhere I turn. Sports events and stadiums now have commercial names attached to them. Email and websites are loaded with ads. I can understand it for any free service, for it's now infiltrating pay services and I guess we just keep putting up with it like dumb sheep.

Enough is enough already!!

Dennis L
Posted by (61 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Create your own Tivo
that's what I did with my computer and a video server. Works great and blast through the ads. 1 hour show becomes 41 minutes.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Link Flag
i can't take any more ads
I've seriously been considering the purchase of a TiVo unit. I've been debating between TiVo and a DVR unit from Dish Network. After reading this article I can definitely say that TiVo is out of the picture. I'm tired of paying monthly service fees and getting hit with ads on top of it.

Take cable or Satelite TV for instance. You have to pay a monthly fee for the service and very few channels are commercial free, sometimes none depending on the monthly plan chosen. Why are we paying in order to have commercials on our channels. Commercials should be for free TV only, as in broadcast TV.

I'm getting so sick and tired of being bombarded with ads everywhere I turn. Sports events and stadiums now have commercial names attached to them. Email and websites are loaded with ads. I can understand it for any free service, for it's now infiltrating pay services and I guess we just keep putting up with it like dumb sheep.

Enough is enough already!!

Dennis L
Posted by (61 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Create your own Tivo
that's what I did with my computer and a video server. Works great and blast through the ads. 1 hour show becomes 41 minutes.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Link Flag
Glad I bought an early 2000 REPLAYTV
I am totally free of all of this crud.... No nasty TiVo corp spying on me, no limitation on when and where I can click a button on the remote. No limitations on when I can pull the hard drive out and back up my content to CD/DVD. I love my Replay 3000 series unit and would never consider Big Brother and now Big Corporation Sellout TiVO.
Posted by Anon-Y-mous (124 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Glad I bought an early 2000 REPLAYTV
I am totally free of all of this crud.... No nasty TiVo corp spying on me, no limitation on when and where I can click a button on the remote. No limitations on when I can pull the hard drive out and back up my content to CD/DVD. I love my Replay 3000 series unit and would never consider Big Brother and now Big Corporation Sellout TiVO.
Posted by Anon-Y-mous (124 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'll cancel my service if that's the case
I pay for service, not for ad
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'll cancel my service if that's the case
I pay for service, not for ad
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I knew there was a reason...
that I did not buy a Tivo. It just seems fishy to me that I need to buy a box to record television programs and then get hit up for a monthly fee. Now there is intrusive advertising to boot?!? Give me a break! It only does analog TV anyway, so these boxes will be useless in less than two years. (That is just what I told someone this weekend. He thanked me for the tip and left the store without buying.)

The beauty of the VCR is that once you buy one, there is no monthly fee. You can use it as much as you want -- until it wears out. This is why VCR's became so popular -- they are cheap and reliable. As far as I can tell, a Tivo is no better than a VCR. Therefore, I will not be wasting my money on this foolishness.

What I will be doing instead is building a MythTV setup with HDTV tuner cards (which I will be buying well before July 1st, just in case broadcast flag is not overturned). I encourage anyone to check out eff.com for more info.

At one time I actually considered buying a Tivo. It is a good concept (recording television to a hard drive rather than tape) very poorly executed (required subscription, encrypted recordings, and now apparently additional advertising). It seems obvious that Tivo is nothing more than a sellout to the content recycling companies. Tivo can cry me a river, I now look forward to their eventual demise.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Try an older ReplayTV instead
If you have a significant other (e.g. a girlfriend/wife), they will be able and HAPPY to run a Replay, vs attempting to deal with a PC-based DVR. Old Replay's have full susbcription built into them, nothing to buy and do not have the ability to snoop on you (and is currently excluded in their TOS). If you're a single guy, a MythTV setup probably will work, but if you're like most, your SO will definitely want something as easy to use as a DVD player/VCR and you get that with a Replay. I never liked TiVo, and I like them less every time they do something like this, or copy a feature Replay had for years and try to charge extra for it.
Posted by Anon-Y-mous (124 comments )
Link Flag
Defending TiVo
I don't like this decision, but in defense of TiVo:

- Not all TiVos are analog. The DirecTV and new Comcast boxes store the programming in all of its digital glory. They also make HDTV TiVos now, too.

- Comparing TiVo to a VCR is facetous. TiVo has tons more features. The short list: 1) Quality of audio and video, 2) Wishlists, 3) No cluttery media, 4) Random access to content, 5) No programming, 6) No blinking 12:00, 7) Dual tuners on some models mean you can record two shows and watch a third prerecorded show, all simultaneously, 8) Home media option allows you to record once and watch anywhere, 9) "Suggestions"--I've actually forgotten to set my TiVo to record something and found that it recorded it anyway, 10) Go read TiVo ads if you really want more reasons.

- MythTV is a SERIOUS pain, even to tech savvy people, and when all is said and done, it is very expensive. Compare the cost of buying a computer to the cost of a good deal on a TiVo. It's cheaper to buy a TiVo with the lifetime subscription (no monthly fees) than to build a MythTV box. Hey, don't get me wrong, I love MythTV, and if you can set one up, more power to you. But it's not for the same type of user.

- As for the advertising thing, as I said, I don't like the decision either. But it will be showing up only when you're fast-forwarding through commercials, so it's not like it's imposing on the programming you're trying to watch (unless you REALLY want to see those fast-forwarded commercials). Yes, all ads are bad, but let's not make mountains out of molehills.

I have a TiVo (and as mentioned above, a MythTV box). Is TiVo perfect? No. Do they make only good decisions? No. Would I give up my TiVo? Only if you pry it from my cold dead fingers.
Posted by (11 comments )
Link Flag
I knew there was a reason...
that I did not buy a Tivo. It just seems fishy to me that I need to buy a box to record television programs and then get hit up for a monthly fee. Now there is intrusive advertising to boot?!? Give me a break! It only does analog TV anyway, so these boxes will be useless in less than two years. (That is just what I told someone this weekend. He thanked me for the tip and left the store without buying.)

The beauty of the VCR is that once you buy one, there is no monthly fee. You can use it as much as you want -- until it wears out. This is why VCR's became so popular -- they are cheap and reliable. As far as I can tell, a Tivo is no better than a VCR. Therefore, I will not be wasting my money on this foolishness.

What I will be doing instead is building a MythTV setup with HDTV tuner cards (which I will be buying well before July 1st, just in case broadcast flag is not overturned). I encourage anyone to check out eff.com for more info.

At one time I actually considered buying a Tivo. It is a good concept (recording television to a hard drive rather than tape) very poorly executed (required subscription, encrypted recordings, and now apparently additional advertising). It seems obvious that Tivo is nothing more than a sellout to the content recycling companies. Tivo can cry me a river, I now look forward to their eventual demise.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Try an older ReplayTV instead
If you have a significant other (e.g. a girlfriend/wife), they will be able and HAPPY to run a Replay, vs attempting to deal with a PC-based DVR. Old Replay's have full susbcription built into them, nothing to buy and do not have the ability to snoop on you (and is currently excluded in their TOS). If you're a single guy, a MythTV setup probably will work, but if you're like most, your SO will definitely want something as easy to use as a DVD player/VCR and you get that with a Replay. I never liked TiVo, and I like them less every time they do something like this, or copy a feature Replay had for years and try to charge extra for it.
Posted by Anon-Y-mous (124 comments )
Link Flag
Defending TiVo
I don't like this decision, but in defense of TiVo:

- Not all TiVos are analog. The DirecTV and new Comcast boxes store the programming in all of its digital glory. They also make HDTV TiVos now, too.

- Comparing TiVo to a VCR is facetous. TiVo has tons more features. The short list: 1) Quality of audio and video, 2) Wishlists, 3) No cluttery media, 4) Random access to content, 5) No programming, 6) No blinking 12:00, 7) Dual tuners on some models mean you can record two shows and watch a third prerecorded show, all simultaneously, 8) Home media option allows you to record once and watch anywhere, 9) "Suggestions"--I've actually forgotten to set my TiVo to record something and found that it recorded it anyway, 10) Go read TiVo ads if you really want more reasons.

- MythTV is a SERIOUS pain, even to tech savvy people, and when all is said and done, it is very expensive. Compare the cost of buying a computer to the cost of a good deal on a TiVo. It's cheaper to buy a TiVo with the lifetime subscription (no monthly fees) than to build a MythTV box. Hey, don't get me wrong, I love MythTV, and if you can set one up, more power to you. But it's not for the same type of user.

- As for the advertising thing, as I said, I don't like the decision either. But it will be showing up only when you're fast-forwarding through commercials, so it's not like it's imposing on the programming you're trying to watch (unless you REALLY want to see those fast-forwarded commercials). Yes, all ads are bad, but let's not make mountains out of molehills.

I have a TiVo (and as mentioned above, a MythTV box). Is TiVo perfect? No. Do they make only good decisions? No. Would I give up my TiVo? Only if you pry it from my cold dead fingers.
Posted by (11 comments )
Link Flag
Sick of ad industries whining
I am so tired of hearing the advertisement industry whine about losing viewers of thier material due to TiVo or other forms of entertainment. Seems we are watching a lot less TV and are watching in in an entirely new way.
And as far as them losing an audience, I find it hard to believe. I am bombarded by ads all day long. On a typical commute, I am confronted by hundreds of billboards and radio ads. Even airplanes dragging ad banners behind them. I can't even go to the john in some places without having to look at an ad. They are even on the floor of the grocery store. My advice to the ad industry is to shutup. Just because you are not reaching one of my senses every moment I am awake does not mean that you are losing anything. Those rare times when I am not being assaulted by your uncreative and annoying schlock are pure bliss. Stay out of them.
Posted by Miguelgigante (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Losing viewers, no--losing attention, yes.
We've be so bombarded that we filter so many of them out now. They pretty have to do something like this to get our attention now; something that pops up when we don't expect it. They have to hit us when our filters are down anymore.

They're going to overdo themselves into oblivion if they keep this up. :)
Posted by (282 comments )
Link Flag
Sick of ad industries whining
I am so tired of hearing the advertisement industry whine about losing viewers of thier material due to TiVo or other forms of entertainment. Seems we are watching a lot less TV and are watching in in an entirely new way.
And as far as them losing an audience, I find it hard to believe. I am bombarded by ads all day long. On a typical commute, I am confronted by hundreds of billboards and radio ads. Even airplanes dragging ad banners behind them. I can't even go to the john in some places without having to look at an ad. They are even on the floor of the grocery store. My advice to the ad industry is to shutup. Just because you are not reaching one of my senses every moment I am awake does not mean that you are losing anything. Those rare times when I am not being assaulted by your uncreative and annoying schlock are pure bliss. Stay out of them.
Posted by Miguelgigante (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Losing viewers, no--losing attention, yes.
We've be so bombarded that we filter so many of them out now. They pretty have to do something like this to get our attention now; something that pops up when we don't expect it. They have to hit us when our filters are down anymore.

They're going to overdo themselves into oblivion if they keep this up. :)
Posted by (282 comments )
Link Flag
And the loser is....
.... TiVo. But we all knew that. This ad option is just one more
attempt by TiVo to try to find some sort of useable income from
an obsolete product. (The DVR concept is fine - the TiVo is just a
lousy and out-of-date implementation)
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And the loser is....
.... TiVo. But we all knew that. This ad option is just one more
attempt by TiVo to try to find some sort of useable income from
an obsolete product. (The DVR concept is fine - the TiVo is just a
lousy and out-of-date implementation)
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
TiVo Popups - Cya
These guys are obviously on their way out - cya l-8-r...
Posted by tayl0044 (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
TiVo Popups - Cya
These guys are obviously on their way out - cya l-8-r...
Posted by tayl0044 (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
lol.......
At some point, people must realize that the use of any DVR is pointless. Tivo has already proven time and time again they are not trust worthy. A big part of why people get a DVR in the first place is to get around the advertising. The truth is that NO dvr is worth getting.

Ya want a dvr worth while....use your pc. Get a tv tuner card or special video card for your pc to record video to your computers' harddrive. This will give you alot more control over the situation. You can not only record, but edit and transport any recording. Doing this will increase the flexability and functionality of anything you choose to record. Once you buy a device to record video to your computers' harddrive, it's paid for...NO subscription fees.

Why would anyone want to pay money for all the useless crud that comes with the use of dvr's?

It's all going "computer" anyway. Why not do it in such a way that gives you more control?

For those of you who swear by Tivo....you can have it, Tivo has no place in my home (never has and never will).
Posted by Prndll (382 comments )
Reply Link Flag
lol.......
At some point, people must realize that the use of any DVR is pointless. Tivo has already proven time and time again they are not trust worthy. A big part of why people get a DVR in the first place is to get around the advertising. The truth is that NO dvr is worth getting.

Ya want a dvr worth while....use your pc. Get a tv tuner card or special video card for your pc to record video to your computers' harddrive. This will give you alot more control over the situation. You can not only record, but edit and transport any recording. Doing this will increase the flexability and functionality of anything you choose to record. Once you buy a device to record video to your computers' harddrive, it's paid for...NO subscription fees.

Why would anyone want to pay money for all the useless crud that comes with the use of dvr's?

It's all going "computer" anyway. Why not do it in such a way that gives you more control?

For those of you who swear by Tivo....you can have it, Tivo has no place in my home (never has and never will).
Posted by Prndll (382 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ADs Yes, Fees No
Tivo, you can't have it both ways

Either the adds support my use of the service by giving little or no monthly fee, or my fee buys me out of seeing the ads.

I WILL NOT PAY TO BE FORCED TO VIEW ADS!
Posted by (23 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ADs Yes, Fees No
Tivo, you can't have it both ways

Either the adds support my use of the service by giving little or no monthly fee, or my fee buys me out of seeing the ads.

I WILL NOT PAY TO BE FORCED TO VIEW ADS!
Posted by (23 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So make the service free then
So, analogous to TV channels, air channels have publicity.
Premium channels don't (or shouln't I should say).
So why do I want to pay $ 12 / month to view more publicity?
So is either free with publicity or for a fee with a clean
experience.
It feels somewhat invasive
Posted by emiliosic (45 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So make the service free then
So, analogous to TV channels, air channels have publicity.
Premium channels don't (or shouln't I should say).
So why do I want to pay $ 12 / month to view more publicity?
So is either free with publicity or for a fee with a clean
experience.
It feels somewhat invasive
Posted by emiliosic (45 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Behold, stupid is, as Tivo does.
As if the company didnt already have a limited time left to live, they go and jump the shark like this. It will do wonders for the stand-alone, non-Tivo, non-cable/DSS DVR market than anything yet seen.

NWLB
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.nwlbnet.blogspot.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.nwlbnet.blogspot.com</a>
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Behold, stupid is, as Tivo does.
As if the company didnt already have a limited time left to live, they go and jump the shark like this. It will do wonders for the stand-alone, non-Tivo, non-cable/DSS DVR market than anything yet seen.

NWLB
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.nwlbnet.blogspot.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.nwlbnet.blogspot.com</a>
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mountain out of a molehill
The news media are trying to make more out of this than it is. The use of the word "pop-up" is intended to scare us, just like there was a long annoying thread on Slashdot about how this was going to prevent you from fast-forwarding through commercials, or slow it down FF or whatever.

Already with Tivo, if you are looking at an promo for an upcoming show (mostly NBC--it depends if the network cares to insert the tag) you'll see a little icon, meaning if you press the thumbs up button on the remote, that show will be added to your recording schedule. That's convenient. This is merely an extension of that idea, and if it can drive some revenue to Tivo, so much the better.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mountain out of a molehill
The news media are trying to make more out of this than it is. The use of the word "pop-up" is intended to scare us, just like there was a long annoying thread on Slashdot about how this was going to prevent you from fast-forwarding through commercials, or slow it down FF or whatever.

Already with Tivo, if you are looking at an promo for an upcoming show (mostly NBC--it depends if the network cares to insert the tag) you'll see a little icon, meaning if you press the thumbs up button on the remote, that show will be added to your recording schedule. That's convenient. This is merely an extension of that idea, and if it can drive some revenue to Tivo, so much the better.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Glad I Built My Own DVR
It seems like a serious affront to Tivo's customers to pull this sort of crap on them. They are opening Pandora's box, and they won't stop at "small, unabtrusive" ads. Like a junkie, they will quickly get hooked on the advertising model. After they have conditioned their dwindling customer base to ads, they will up the ante and graduate to full screen Flash with audio.

If Tivo management had any brains, they would take a hint from the growth of distributors like Sirius and XM Radio. People are sick and tired of the constant barrage of pervasive, omnipresent ads in their lives. They will put up with a certain amount if the content is free, or if they have no choice, but they really resent paying to see ads. My prediction is that within the next 5 years we will see the video equivalent of Sirius/XM. Viewers will pay a monthly fee to watch 100% commercial free TV.

I recently built my own DVR by putting a TV tuner card in my computer, and I offer this service to my customers. It's great, I love it. I have the TV schedule on screen and pick and choose what I want to record. I record most programs in VCD mode, which gives me days of recording on the hard drive. The audio is passed through to my stereo in 5-channel surround. Sometimes I extract the audio to MP3 and put it on my PDA to listen to in the car, or stream the real-time content to my laptop.

The thing I like most about having a custom DVR is that I have COMPLETE control over the recorded content. If I don't like the commercials I just fast forward over them. I don't pay a monthly fee to watch commercial laden TV, and I never would. What I do pay for is a means to escape the commercials.

Keith
www.techcando.com
Posted by Stating (869 comments )
Reply Link Flag
that's right...
..that's why I built mine too. It's all about control with these content providers. It's MY content. I payed for it. Funny thing is about Tivo is that your subscription pays for a guide that can be found on the internet for free.
Posted by lewissalem (167 comments )
Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.