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ZDNet: TiVomatic!

Jun 12, 2000, 09:20 (0 Talkback[s])

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"Everyone's heard the saying, "little things mean a lot." Then why do so many engineers, marketing folk and corporate suits forget this small piece of masterful homespun wisdom? Small things do mean a lot, and someone at TiVo never forgot this, because the design sense distilled into the TiVo Personal TV Receiver is a technical homage to small things, adding up to one awesome piece of TV magic. Though TiVo essentially outsources manufacturing of the hardware, it controls the software, interface, design, user documentation, etc. as well as customer service and channel listings...."

"While Microsoft's hands' are filled with other worries, Redmond could learn a few valuable lesson from tiny TiVo on how to design interfaces and software. Perhaps in this light it's not surprising that the TiVo PTR runs a Linux core on a PowerPC CPU, as the TiVo demands stability. Why? Because it's always on and always running. Seriously, there's no power switch. Plug the TiVo in and it's on, though it does go into power saving mode after a period. Back-of-the-envelope extrapolations of a future with 50 million TiVo-like always-on boxes sucking electricity 24x7, troubles the environmentalist in me, as power usage is often overlooked in cutting-edge electronics. For example, my TV and stereo receiver (each purchased within the last year) together burn 120 more watts than the equipment they replaced. It's a small amount, but multiply it across a country."

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