If you are upset that Tivo is considering displaying commercials while fast forwarding, call them and tell them!
The other day I noted that Tivo is considering displaying commercials when you fast forward. In the meantime this meme has spread and people all over the 'net are discussing how horrible it would be. I'd said "if this is true, it is the beginning of the end for Tivo", and others were more succinct: Scott Shinn commented on Matt Haughey's PVRblog: "Tivo has jumped the shark!"
Today I was ruminating on this, and it seemed to me that this would be a betrayal. Tivo was founded to help consumers, and in that regard they have succeeded brilliantly. Everyone I know who has one loves it, in fact everyone I know who has one actively tells everyone they know how great it is. Companies don't often get that kind of love from their customers. But if Tivo really did this, then they'd be turning toward the dark side. They're a business, and a business has to give their customers what they want. Displaying commercials while fast forwarding is giving advertisers what they want. So this would be a clear sign that you and I are no longer Tivo's customers. And that would, indeed, be the beginning of the end.
I decided to try to call Tivo to tell them how I felt. I found the Tivo support phone number on this page, it is not easy to find. I called and had to fight my way through a bogus automated attendant. Once I finally had a human, I explained to her why I was calling. Amazingly, she said Tivo is considering this change, but they're getting a lot of complaints. Maybe they're still listening to us?
So - if you are upset that Tivo is considering displaying commercials while fast forwarding, please call them and tell them. If enough of us complain, maybe they won't do it! And that would be a good thing.
A bit later I called Tivo again and fought my way back through the phone system. I ended up with another support rep, and she, too, indicated that Tivo is only considering this change. Of course support reps are not product managers, but two out of two is an encouraging sign.
The reason I called back was to warn Tivo that I really wanted them to keep the 30 second skip, too. What? You mean you have a Tivo, and don't know about the 30 second skip? Okay, here's what you do; grab your Tivo remote, and while it is playing a recorded program enter:
If all goes well you'll hear three beeps from your Tivo. At this point you have activated 30 second skip. Now whenever you hit the "advance" button (see picture at right), you'll get a 30 second skip ahead. Once you've tried this I promise you will never go back to fast forwarding.
Another way you can contact Tivo; send email to email@example.com. This is ostensibly the email address for the Tivo newsletter editor, but it appears to forward to Tivo customer support. Remember, be nice. We want their help, so don't flame the poor reps :)