TiVo misfires, while Apple has a banner day

With a huge cell phone conference, CTIA, just starting up in Las Vegas, I am up to my ears in press releases. Most of them are pretty boring stuff or, worse, so terribly written and rife with acronyms and industry jargon that I don’t even know what they’re about, but one that caught my eye was from Action Engine Corporation.
Their release might have caught my eye, but when I realized what they’ve done, all I could feel was a great sense of disappointment. Here’s what the release stated: TiVo Mobile Powered by Action Engine.
TiVO Mobile? Sounds like a wicked utility, sounds like something that would let me watch pre-recorded programs on my cell phone, right?


Well, wouldn’t that be a nice solution? Unfortunately, that’s not at all what this announcement is about:
“The TiVo Mobile service is delivered through a new downloadable application that lets TiVo service subscribers schedule recordings for their TiVo Series2 DVRs directly from select mobile handsets.”
Can you say “so what, big deal?”
Oh, it’s because “Action Engine delivers a mobile experience that turns the wireless phone into the ultimate remote control for your daily life,” said Scott G. Silk, president and CEO of Action Engine.
Unfortunately, this has been a trend for TiVo in the last year or so, as the entire DVR industry seems to have struggled to figure out how to expand beyond the rudimentary “record onto a hard disk instead of a tape” capabilities that differentiated them from VCRs. The big innovations have been limited to adding larger hard disks and upgrading for the higher bandwidth requirement of HD broadcasts.
But Apple Gets It Right. Again.
Meanwhile, Apple had a splendid day and has demonstrated something rather remarkable that I haven’t seen others comment upon: they released a beta product, one that they’ve said right up front “will not be supported” but still garnered sufficient excitement in the industry to rocket Apple’s stock up an impressive 8%.
That means Apple gained millions and millions in market cap today by doing something that software companies seem to indulge in every week, releasing beta software.
The application in question? Boot Camp, a slick utility that makes it easy to configure any Intel-based Mac to dual boot either Mac OS X or Windows XP. There are a lot of excited PC owners out there tonight dreaming of sexy Apple laptops, ingenious Minis and iMacs, all able to easily run Windows XP native and Mac OS X.
Congrats to the team at Apple for a significant change in the world of computing!
Tip: You can read more about Boot Camp over on my Ask Dave Taylor weblog, along with a pile of other tech and business topics. Start with Will Boot Camp let me run WinXP on my Mac?.

2 comments on “TiVo misfires, while Apple has a banner day

  1. If you have a PC at home with a tuner card, you can install Orb for free and watch your recorded TV shows (or live TV) on your web-connected cell phone. For free! There’s also an add-on for TiVoSeries2 users to watch their TiVo’d shows on a cell phone (or any web-connected device, like a laptop or PDA.)
    Go to http://www.orb.com to download the free software to your home PC, and start streaming your TV, music, and photos. (Yes, I work at Orb.) Would love to hear what you think of the service.

  2. Speaking of bad press releases, I have to say that the all time champ of this dubious category has to go to the YUM! corporation.
    But in defense of YUM!’s communication director, I have to admit that it would be pretty difficult to put any sort of positive spin on Long John Silver’s Lobster Bites. They aren’t even made of lobster…they’re made of crawfish.

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