This patent application by Apple regarding their research into digital video recorder (DVR) technologies has me salivating. If you know me at all, you know how much I love my TiVo. And yet, were Apple to build a DVR, I would happily back over my TiVo on the way to the nearest Apple Store. I’m just saying. In case Apple is listening.
Okay, I touched on this in my Macworld coverage, but it deserves its own post.
We have a TiVo Series 3 that connects to the Internet. I can see us owning an Apple TV at some point in the future. We are members of Netflix. All three of these allow for some form of digital movie rentals. The TiVo uses Amazon’s Unbox service. Apple TV uses iTunes. And Netflix uses… well, you can only watch their movies on a PC, so screw ’em.
The other two have a pretty consistent policy. Order a rental and you have thirty days to start watching it before it is erased. Once you start to watch it, you have 24 hours to finish it, watch it again, etc., before it is erased. And therein lies the problem.
My wife and I love the idea of digital rentals. No movie store, little delay, prices are okay (if a little expensive). But we can only watch movies at night, after the boys are in bed. That means we start about 8:30 pm or so. And we have small boys. Small boys who wear us out. It is not impossible that we might be too tired to finish watching our movie. If we fail to finish our movie, we must finish it before 8:30 the next night, or we are out of luck. Our 24 hour window will be closed.
That doesn’t work for us. I’m surprised that it would work for anyone with a regular job, kids, or a life. Which doesn’t say much about the executives at TiVo or Apple (you hearin’ me, Steve?). 24 hours does not work. It is a number made up in a boardroom.
The solution is simple. Make the watching window 36 hours. No big deal. I’d even accept 30 hours. Hell, I would gratefully take 26 hours. But please make it more then 24. Thank you.
So, I love my TiVo. I was an early adopter, and I own one of the (very expensive when I bought it) TiVo HD boxes. One of the features I love best is the TiVo KidZone.
I can set up a section of my TiVo for my kids. It shows only the TV shows we have designated as being suitable for the KidZone. If they try to watch live TV, it will only show it if it happens to be airing one of the approved shows. And the kids can’t get out of it to regular TiVo without a password.
Here’s what I don’t like. When I visit the regular TiVo list of what is saved and ready to be watched, all of the kid’s shows are jumbled in with my shows. It would be a simple thing to segregate them all to a folder called (wait for it) “KidZone”. Or maybe, “Now Playing in KidZone,” or something. Maybe they can’t do folders nested inside folders (something I haven’t seen in TiVo, and something that would be necessary for this scheme).
Of course, having just gotten a feature update from the mothership (thanks for the Boolean searches, TiVo… should have been an original feature), I don’t expect anything new from them for at least six months.
Yeah, you heard right. The vaunted All Blacks took a nosedive against the hosts, the French. And I saw it all on the most basic cable package we can get.
Due to my, um, inability to find a job, we have cut back on a few things we don’t really need. Our mega cable package was one of them. (It wasn’t that mega, it was the minimum required to get HD channels, though they are now gone, too.) I am left with the networks (we get two sets here, one from each of the two cities nearby), weather, CNN, a bunch of local access channels, ESPN (and ESPN2, my college basketball watching is safe!) and then something called Versus.
Versus is, as best I can tell without going to their web site (why ruin the fun) an all-day Midwestern men’s channel. If you kill it for sport, there’s a show on Versus about it. But there seems to be another category too: if it is even remotely classified as a manly sport, and nobody else carries it, you can find it on Versus.
Thus, I am catching occasional games from the Rugby World Cup, going on now in France.
Today, I watched (TiVo-delayed and in extreme fast-forward) the host French play New Zealand (called the All Blacks for their uniforms). This is a single-elimination round, and the All Blacks were supposed to roundly trounce the French. But they did not. The French held on for a win with some excellent play.
And this despite the (now embarrassing) display of New Zealand tribal bug eyes and grunting chants the All Blacks players delivered when the two teams lined up before the game. At the time it seemed all cool, and freaky, and scary and foreign… now it just seems silly.
Update: Some people might get the impression that I am disrespecting the tradition of the All Black’s Haka (a form of the traditional Maori dance). Quite the opposite. I love the All Blacks, but think that the French, in this game, stood up to them toe-to-toe during the performance, and then proved it during the game. As noted in the Wikipedia, “Most recently, France famously wore the blue/white/red of the French flag and walked up to within a meter of the Haka performance, forming a line of patriotic opposition to the performance. They went on to defeat the All-Blacks 20–18.” While all the YouTube videos of this actual performance have been removed at the request of the Rugby World Cup, here is one of a match between New Zealand and France from 2006, in French, with French subtitles.
I am, of course, rooting for Argentina to win it all. They are still in it, and Versus is planning on giving me one of the semifinal matches (teams TBA) and the final, several hours delayed, of course. I hope it is the Argentina v. RSA game.