[mythtv-users] IR Control of new Myth box

Joseph A. Caputo jcaputo1 at comcast.net
Fri Mar 5 09:47:09 EST 2004

On Friday 05 March 2004 05:28, J. Donavan Stanley wrote:
> Michael Segulja wrote:
> >Uh, yeah... I know big brother isn't watching me specifically, but
> > they're watching, and don't you think that's concern enough? 
> > Especially when I'm paying for the hardware, plus paying a monthly
> > fee to use the hardware, for them to turn around and collect
> > demographic information from me that they can then use to advertise
> > to me?!  They should pay ME for that info.
> They're NOT watching.  For this to be the sinister thing that people
> try to make it out to be they'd have to be able to say "Michael
> Segulja watch Good Times 3 times this week ".  Instead all they can
> say is "Good Times was watched 3 times this week.".  And is there
> really anything on cable, or satellite TV that you really care that
> someone knew you watched it?  I can't think of anything that
> subversive or perverted.. Ans since you agreed to it when you signed
> up for their service you have nobody to blame but yourself and
> shouldn't be bitching about Big Brother.
> Sorry for going on about this, but Tivo gets a bad rap for this all
> every year time they make some sort of announcement and it STUPID. 
> This was all hashed out YEARS ago by privacy experts and deemed to be
> a non-issue.

If you read his (second) post again, I think you'll see that he's not 
complaining that it's sinister or an invasion of his privacy... he's 
just a bit annoyed at the fact that, although he owns the Tivo 
hardware, he can't really use it without paying for their service.  
Then to add insult to injury, Tivo turns around and uses demographic 
information (to which has no choice but to contribute, even if it is 
anonymously) to send him advertisements, which again, he has no choice 
about receiving because Tivo automatically downloads them.

His point being, he is paying Tivo for the *privilege* of providing them 
with valuable demographic information.  It's not a privacy issue; it's 
a matter of personal principle & economics.  Tivo is in a position to 
be able to provide Nielsen-like information about the overall viewing 
habits of the general (Tivo-using) population.  Does Nielsen charge 
people to collect their ratings?  I don't know, but I doubt it.  
Obviously the information they collect is very valuable, and I believe 
Michael is (rightfully) a bit annoyed that he is paying Tivo so that he 
can provide them with valuable data.

Here on the Myth ML, the subject has come up a few times as to whether 
folks would be willing to pay for good program listing data.  Many 
people have indicated that they would be willing to pay a nominal fee 
($3 - $5/mo maybe); comparable to the price of a TV Guide subscription.  
Much less than what Tivo charges.  Now, this fee would likely be 
determined so as to cover the costs of purchasing (licensing) & 
distributing the guide data.  If Myth, like Tivo, could collect 
demographic data from its users (and I'm not saying it should), then 
the fee would probably be unnecessary, as the revenue from selling that 
data would probably cover the cost of licensing & distributing the 
listing data in the first place.  My point being that Tivo's service, 
at $12/month, it grossly overpriced, IMHO, when you consider that every 
user is really a double revenue stream -- subscription fee + value of 
demographic data.

I applaud Tivo for getting in to this market early, being successful and 
advancing the adoption of PVR technology, but I think as this market 
matures their business model (or at least their price) will have to 
change.  I don't think their current pricing structure won't hold up to 
serious competition (of which they currently have very little).


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