Thursday, February 13, 2003
Here in Chicago, ABC re-runs Oprah at night so I was able to catch the TiVo segment last night. Some observations:
- A guy from TiVo set up her box for her. A little unfair, but if you can set up a VCR, you can set up a PVR.
- Oprah used a form of the word "revolution" a couple of times.
- Even she had trouble explaining what it does, although she was completely awed by the ability to pause live TV. Apparently though, TiVo only pauses live TV for up to 30 minutes, whereas ReplayTV lets you pause it for as much free time as is available on your machine.
- She doesn't like the fact that TiVo monitors what you watch and learns about you, calling it "Mr. Smarty Pants." She noted twice that she didn't like it ("It needs to mind its own business"), which negates TiVo's major advantage to date over ReplayTV (she says she's turning that feature off).
- Based on the two points listed above, SonicBlue should send Oprah a ReplayTV!
- The unanswered question: does Oprah still watch commercials? Notably, she didn't mention how easy it is to skip commercials with a PVR, so either the Queen of Media Entertainment didn't realize this feature is there, or the network told her not to mention it. Either way, it's strange to see the Oprah hyping a box that will let her viewers easily skip the commercials played during her own show (obviously she doesn't know about ReplayTV's commercial advance feature). It would have been interesting to hear her weigh in on this issue on national television.
A Cash Infusion for Digital Archives
"In the strongest signal to date of its commitment to preserving the nation's digital legacy, Congress has set aside $100 million for the Library of Congress to carry out a plan for collecting and preserving digital information, including images, CD's, Web pages and electronic journals.
In December 2000, Congress provided an initial $5 million for the library to come up with a proposal for digital preservation. The library submitted the plan to Congress last September, and lawmakers approved the plan in January. Another $20 million will now be released for carrying out the early phases of the plan.
'I don't think we've ever had a single shot of this size in our entire history,' said James H. Billington, the librarian of Congress." [The New York Times, via LISNews.com]
Except in Florida.
It's good to see the rest of the Union recognizing the need to preserve our cultural heritage.
Broadband for Suckers
"In a shamelessly clever marketing gambit, Best Buy is selling shrink-wrapped AT&T Broadband digital cable kits for $10 a throw. The truth: There's no 'kit' inside, just a brochure with an 800 number and five pay-per-view movie coupons. Best Buy used to hand out the AT&T kits for free, but it found that customers were more likely to order service if they had financial incentive and something shiny to put in the shopping basket. Upon subscribing, they get their 10 bucks back, and Best Buy collects a handsome fee from AT&T. (When a customer doesn't sign up, the retailer keeps the $10.)
Savvy shoppers, however, note that all the information in and on the box can be had for free at www.attbroadband.com. 'Best Buy is about boxes - we've got people coming into the stores to purchase them,' explains Jeff Stratman, a senior buyer. 'The digital cable kit isn't the only product we sell that's essentially air....' " [Wired]
I have a t-shirt I bought in San Francisco in 1997 that is old, ratty, and stained, but I will wear it until it disintegrates because I love it so much. It says "Waiting on the World Wide Web," and it shows Dilbert sitting at a computer with cobwebs around it. The estimated download time of the file he's trying to access is "427 years. 28 secs." The tagline is "the internet is full... go away."
I find it interesting that the above situation is still the norm for most home internet users in the U.S. Deceptive practices like selling broadband in a box won't help.