I can remember when I was a kid programming the VCR was hit and miss. Sometimes you could record the shows you wanted, other times the VCR didn’t work. When the DVR came along I think we can all agree that it is hands down the most significant home entertainment device ever. Many of us simply can’t go back to the pre-DVR era.
TiVo has been granted a patent by the USPTO that has been ten years in the making and holds serious ramifications for all of us who love DVRs and don’t own TiVo. The patent covers TiVo Season Pass recording. TiVo now owns the patent on being able to schedule a show to record for an entire season and manage the priority of shows. I don’t know of a DVR out there that doesn’t use this feature right now. An example would be on a night when you have three shows you really like, but two of them are more important than the other.
Even if your DVR has dual tuners, one show has to be skipped. The patent covers the tech that tells the DVR which pair of the three shows is more important to you. Considering TiVo has never been afraid to sue anyone that steps on its patents, we can expect swift legal action against pretty much every cable and satellite operator on the planet that offers DVRs. The options will be to license the TiVo tech, remove the feature from DVRs, or find a work around. Apparently, a workaround would be to have a remote server handle the prioritization of shows, the TiVo patent reportedly only covers software sitting on your DVR. A workaround I would rather see is to give me a DVR with a third tuner; I bet most of us would have no need for prioritization software then.