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A few of TiVo's little secrets
I don't watch much television. Which is why my wife and I bought a TiVo. Two of them, actually.
Now I can go upstairs and catch ESPN's "SportsCenter" and Cartoon Network's "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" -- two of the few shows I do like -- whenever I want. Meanwhile, my wife can be downstairs zipping through hours of home-designing shows in a matter of minutes. Having two TiVos also means that if I want to watch a prerecorded "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" at 3 in the morning, I can send the video to the downstairs TiVo and watch it there without disturbing my wife's sleep. Cool, perhaps, but if you're a TiVo user, you're kicking yourself if:
(1) You paid $99 to add the Home Media Option to your monthly subscription. That option lets you program your TiVo via the Web; lets you stream music and photos from your Mac or PC to your TiVo (though the TiVo Desktop software doesn't always work); and allows you to network two TiVos so you can start watching "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" upstairs and finish watching it on the downstairs TiVo. You're kicking yourself because that option is now included in the monthly $13 subscription, and you're not getting your $99 back. That's the cost of being an early adopter.
(2) TiVo doesn't recognize your home's wireless network, even though you plugged a TiVo-recommended adapter into the machine's USB port. You're kicking yourself because you've spent an hour scouring Internet groups in search of answers from TiVo. Usually, the answer is simple: Wait a day or two for your recorder to download the latest system software, which automatically recognizes the USB wireless adapter and plugs into your wireless network. If only TiVo would tell you this on its site.
You're clicking your heels, however, if you own two TiVos because subscribing to two units now costs $20 a month ($13 for the first TiVo you activated; $7 for the second) instead of the $26 (or $13 for each box) TiVo used to charge.
TiVo is making the changes in a bid to grab more subscribers. The company also is planning to let subscribers download music and movies some day, though that would no doubt bug the cable operators and satellite distributors already wary of Internet competition.
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME
It looks as if MLB.com has hit one out of the park. As Major League Baseball prepares for next week's All-Star Game, the league's Internet arm reports that fans have bought about 7.6 million tickets online, as many online tickets as all of last season.
Through MobiTV, Sprint PCS cell phone customers who subscribe to Sprint Vision can get audio of baseball games on their phones. By the end of the year, cell phone users should be able to watch games live, says Jim Gallagher, spokesman for Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the Internet arm of Major League Baseball.
This is in addition to running MLB.com and sites for all 30 baseball teams, which it has been doing since 2000, and selling video and audio packages online to an enthusiastic and growing audience.
With so much going on, this year the words "Fall Classic" will apply not just to the World Series but to the initial public offering of shares of MLBAM later this year. Going . . . going. . . .
E-mail Eric Gwinn at email@example.com