[mythtv-users] [OT] Commercial Nosiness

Patrick Reynolds reynolds at cs.duke.edu
Thu Feb 5 19:26:07 EST 2004

On Thu, 5 Feb 2004, Andrew Dodd wrote:

> Given that TiVo has repeatedly stated that their data is no more fine-grained
> than the zipcode level (which people can most likely verify with packet sniffs
> of the TiVo's network traffic when it "phones home"), I don't see the problem here.

Sniffing buys you nothing.  You have to authenticate when you dial up,
right?  (Else, how would they enforce the $13 fee?)  So know exactly who's
at the other end of the connection when your set-top uploads your viewing
habits.  They may (and indeed they claim to) strip identifying information
out at their end, but you probably can't verify it from your end.

> You realize that if we ever want a reccommendations engine similar to TiVo's,
> we'll have to accept our Myth boxes "phoning home" to a server somewhere too.

Granted.  But there are two very big differences.  First, there's (almost)
no reason to ask Myth users to authenticate, so your info can be tied only
to your current IP address, not to your billing info.  And second, a
recommendation server should only care which shows I tape and/or watch,
not every daggum press of the "pause," "skip," or "rewind" buttons.

And, of course, there's the detail that a Myth recommendation server would
be opt-in, while Tivo is opt-out.  (Or do they even give you a choice at


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