I’m already standing in line for an Apple DVR

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.

24 hours is not enough to watch a digital movie rental

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.

Please put the KidZone in a folder, TiVo

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.

The All Blacks went down, all hail Basic Cable! [updated]

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.