rotten > Library > Culture > TiVo


Now that there are more than one million TiVo subscribers, it has outgrown its reputation as just another geek toy.

prominent TiVo owners

  • Jennifer Aniston
  • Christina Applegate
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Stephen Colbert
  • Ira Glass
  • Bob Kerrey, former Senator
  • Jay Leno
  • David Letterman
  • Camryn Manheim
  • Joe Montana
  • Craig Newmark (Craigslist founder)
  • Conan O'Brien
  • Rosie O'Donnell
  • Brad Pitt
  • Brian Posehn
  • Michael Powell
  • Alicia Silverstone
  • Jon Stewart
  • Nicole Sullivan
  • Oprah Winfrey


22 Jun 1994 AT&T Network Systems and Silicon Graphics announce a joint venture called Interactive Digital Solutions to "rapidly develop and deliver large-scale, fully integrated, interactive video server solutions for telephone company networks and cable TV systems." James Barton, an 8-year veteran of Silicon Graphics, is made head of the new company.
August 1997 Teleworld, Inc. is founded by Michael Ramsay and James Barton. They later rename the venture TiVo.
31 Mar 1999 TiVo announces the availability of their first model, in association with Philips Electronics.
30 Sep 1999 TiVo goes public: 5,500,000 shares at $16 apiece.
12 Jun 2000 Microsoft announces a partnership with DirecTV and Thomson multimedia to develop a TiVo killer it calls UltimateTV.
26 Mar 2001 Denver University's Privacy Foundation issues a report warning TiVo's 154,000 users that the device is compiling highly-detailed usage logs to the company, allowing them to "identify the personal viewing habits of subscribers at will."
5 Apr 2001 TiVo lays off 80 employees, approximately 25% of its workforce.
1 May 2001 The price of a lifetime subscription jumps from $199 to $249.
7 Jun 2001 Hackers release ExtractStream.
31 Oct 2001 TiVo lays off 40 employees, approximately 20% of its workforce.
23 Jan 2002 Microsoft announces it has killed the UltimateTV project, their TiVo killer.
4 Feb 2002 TiVo releases information on the viewing habits of TiVo users during Super Bowl XXXVI, revealing a granularity of information previously unknown to the ratings world. Statistics include which portions of the program were watched in slow motion, and which commercials and plays were rewound the most.
26 Feb 2002 The price of a monthly subscription for standalone receivers jumps from $9.95 to $12.95.
29 Apr 2002 In an interview in Cableworld, Jamie Kellner (chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting) says that PVRs like TiVo are bad "Because of the ad skips.... It's theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you're actually stealing the programming."
16 Aug 2002 From USA Today: Mark Litvack of the Motion Picture Association of America says that jumping past commercials "alters the program that's being shown to the audience. We contend this is a violation of our copyright. The purpose of this device is to allow people to effectively change the original presentation."
15 Nov 2002 TiVo starts shipping Series2 units.
26 Nov 2002 Wall Street Journal article: "If TiVo Thinks You Are Gay, Here's How to Set It Straight"
10 Jan 2003 FCC Chairman Michael Powell declares TiVo 'God's machine'
3 Mar 2003 The price of a lifetime subscription jumps from $249 to $299.
12 Jan 2005 TiVo announces the resignation of company CEO Michael Ramsay, who plans to remain chairman of the board.
3 Feb 2005 TiVo announces the resignation of company president Marty Yudkovitz, effective January 31, 2005.
18 Feb 2005 TiVo announces that their installed base has surpassed 3 million subscribers.

Pornopolis   |   Rotten   |   Faces of Death   |   Famous Nudes