Senators Bill May Put Stakeholders On A Thrill

October 3, 2007

Senator Herb Kohl (D) of Wisconsin has made a bill that could bring major changes to the DTV coupons program and also for the DTV information campaigns that is running in the U.S. The bill focuses on the elderly and how they are affected by the transition to DTV. This is reported by Broadcasting it is very much up to the stakeholders how they are bringing information to consumers.  Earlier critizism has focused on the only spanish speaking audience. Since then infomercialls has started to run on major TV-networks to bring the message out.

So what help are we to be expected to be present among the elderly affected by the transition?

Senator Kohl thinks that only analog households should be able to use the coupons. Not as today when any household can use the coupon. Since the budget is limited it is a wise move. Also, information campaigns should be on TV. Well that is up and ruinning already. And not only households but also nursing homes and assisted living facilities should be included as recievers of coupons. Thats a great move in one way. But, isnt most of these facilities using cable TV? Can anyone tell me how that works? I think time is crucial here. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities would be better of if they had information sent to them or even people calling them och paying them a visit to alert them in time about the upcoming transition. for eldelry the TV is a important connection to the world. And remember they belong to the real TV-generation. For them the TV was the new thing, once bringing something really new to their lifes. We better treat them with respect.

Our experience in Sweden is that the talk and worries about the elderly that has to do something to be able to watch TV after a transition did not match the actual outcome. There have been very much less cases with elderly having serious troubles due to the transition than anyone could expect. It is hard for some to connect the converter box to a tv-set. It is harder to adjust to the fact that one more remote control is needed to make the channel selection. It is an adjustment and the products are often to complicated for people with little computer knowlede to handle. If you are used to computers you are often used to think in terms of “menus” and setup systems. We alerted the local stakeholders in more than nine months ahead of the acutal transition to make shure they had enough time to adjust and make wise decisions.

The makers of converterboxes dont usually think in simple terms. I often think that Apple should make a converterbox, because they are experts in simple user friendly formats and products. Think about it. What if the Apple TV also included a converter for DTV?  That would be neat and great I beliave. There is a lot of tuners that makes your Apple computer become even a HDTV reciever. How bout the other way around?

Anders Bjers


New TiVo HD + DTV Transition = True

July 24, 2007

Yesterday TiVo released it´s new TiVo HD, a less pricy model with HD recording capabilities. And the TiVo HD will be able to convert digital broadcast signals to analog if you use an antenna. And instead of 20 hrs of recorded HD TV you can record up to 180 hrs in standard TV. And the pricetag? It is set for $299.99.

USA Today reports that by the end of 2007 as many as 36 percent of U.S households could have HDTV. Consumers want to view TV in HD. The new TiVo HD reaffirms that. But what about digital broadcast HD? If you know something about that please drop me a note. Consumers with a rooftop antenna will ask “what about me-will I get HDTV?” Consumers may think that the DTV transition will bring HDTV to everyone, but that isn´t the case.

Comments in the blogosphere about the new TiVo have focused on the low price, features and TiVo’s challenges to reach out to a broader audience of users. Bussinessweek view TiVo HD as a way to target mainstream consumers. Engadget HD has some points from TiVo’s VP, Jim Denney. John Murrel discuss the product at Goodmorning Silicon Valley, he writes that “…the machine it should have rolled out two or three years ago…”. Wilson Rothman at Gizmodo gives it a long review with pros and cons. And Alec Saunders blogs about some advices to TiVo. Such as using TiVo as a platform and to reach out to Canada’s TV-viewers!

However, I think the new TiVo might be a great buy for consumers affected by the transition. They get a box that converts the signals from digital to analog, a great deal of recording capability and an option to connect it with cable TV or use it with a broadband connection and download movies from Amazon’s Unbox service.
That is good if users change their mind about how they want to receive TV. I think the built in program guides looks great. Something you don´t have in today’s analog broadcasts.

I wrote recently about TiVo as an alternative to traditional converter boxes. No converter boxes with built in hard discs (DVR) have been released yet. They will arrive. The question is what the price tag will be and what kind of features they will carry. Will TiVo compete with them? The subscription fee will certainly be a downside for TiVo compared with a traditional DVR or for instance Apple TV.

Finally, will TiVo market themselves actively as a choice for consumers affected by the upcoming transition, since their market share is declining? Will the transition be a window of opportunity for TiVo?

Stay tuned for more…

Anders Bjers

PS TiVo´s challenges are also PR Firm Ruder Finn´s. The firm is TiVo´s new PR partner as of yesterday according to PR Week… DS