Tivo hates your Series 1

Tivo Series 1 No DST UpdateTivo loves your $13 a month, please keep paying. They don’t love your Series 1 Tivo. If you have a one it will not be updated to reflect the new DST rules. According to Zatz Not Funny Tivo will only be supplying Series 2 and newer with DST updates. So what do you get for your $13 if you own a Series 1?

Guide Data.

My (high) size estimate for 100 channels of guide data for 21 days is 6.11 MB. For each new day you add 290k + 50k in updates. For 31 days you pull down 16.3MB of data. Keep in mind this is estimated from web guide data, I am sure Tivo implements some optimization, but for sake of argument we will assume 16.3MB total download per month.

Now we look at cost of bandwidth. Just to make sure I don’t under estimate the cost Tivo pays for bandwidth I am going to use an unlikely scenario and say Tivo has a High Volume server on Pair and pays $179.95 a month for 800GB of bandwidth. That comes out to 4.4GB of data for $1. This means your $13 would get Tivo 57.9GB of data a month.

So Tivo is covering the bandwidth you use with less than half a cent. So what else do you get for the other $12.995 if you have a Series 1 Tivo?

Nothing. No new features, no bug fixes, and clearly no DST updates.

Über-Letter-Shlocking

I hate über-letter-schlocking. What is it? Widescreen TVs (HDTVs) must deal with a wide range of media including DVDs, television, and over-the-air HD. DVDs can contain a surprising number of different formats like:

4×3

4×3

Anamorphic 16×9 (ratio of most widescreen TVs) :

16×9

Anamorphic 2:35×1 (ratio of many Hollywood movies):

2.35×1

Non-anamorphic 2.35×1 or “Letter-Schlocking” (black bars are encoded rather than just the video content):

Non-anamorphic 2.35×1

Non-Anamorphic 16×9 Zoomed (notice the distortion, I refer to as the “Comcast Digital Cable Effect”):

Non-Anamorphic Zoomed

Über-letter-schlocking happens when a non-anamorphic 2.35×1 or 16×9 movie is played back on your nice new HDTV without using the TV’s zoom function. The below happens because the black bars are encoded with the rest of the movie content so the TV sees this as 4×3 media (which it normally puts black bars on the right and left to simulate a 4×3 TV):

Uber-letter-schlocking

This causes black bars all the way around your movie and likely has made many new-HDTV buyers curse their new TV. It’s not your your TV’s fault, it is the movie companies who were stupid, lazy, or greedy (or all three) and decided to make many of the first DVDs available on the market non-anamorphic widescreen discs. Unfortunately many stores still carry these discs.

So next time you run across Über-letter-schlocking on your TV you can thank the idiots in the movie industry, because now you have to buy a new version.