Alviso, CA - The Tivo FutureVue+, the latest model of digital video
recorders, adds the ability to fast-forward through the television
program you are watching, before the show has even aired.
"In the past Tivo's features allowed viewers to pause what
they are watching while they answer the phone, or grab a snack",
said Dennis Halder, Tivo CEO. "But, this only allows watchers
to see what happened in the past. What our team has created allows
watchers to see what is going to happen in the future.
"Think of the benefits. If you are halfway through a soap and
you have to go out, you can just fast-forward to catch the final
cliffhanger so you can chat to your friends about it later"
Andrew Smelder, head of Tivo's R&D department explained the
system, "Simply the FutureVue+ contains a microprocessor capable
of stochastic reasoning that allows it to predict the future of a
program to within a small margin of error."
"Of course", Smelder added, "the margin of error
depends on the type of program. Soaps and Hugh Grant films are easy
to predict, whereas live shows are more difficult. Thankfully, as
the FutureVue+ watches more of the program, it improves its reasoning."
Many buyers may be disappointed to find that its features have been
restricted for some types of programming. The Las Vegas Gaming Commission
has complained that the ability to fast-forward through sporting
events could bankrupt bookmakers. To combat this Tivo has agreed
to install 'genre locks' on the fast-forward feature.
So far Tivo is only set to stop you fast-forwarding through live sporting events,
however companies that make advertisements and infomercials are said to be
in talks with Tivo.
Smelder brushed this limit aside, elaborating on the features, "The
FutureVue+ not only allows you to see what is going to happen in
your program, but as the plus implies you can change the future of
the program as you see fit. Watching a Star Trek: The Next Generation
episode and feel the urge to see Wesley killed? Simple, just tell
the Tivo FutureVue+ how you want him to die and it will slowly twist
the plot in that direction."
Television companies have expressed concern at this feature of the
Tivo, saying that it probably allows watchers to come up with better
storylines than they can.
We approached Smelder at the end of the press conference to ask
about the genre limits: "I wouldn't worry too much about it,
there will probably be 'genre hacks' leaked onto the internet quickly
after the FutureVue+ being released," he replied.
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