Saturday, January 11, 2003

FCC's Chairman Powell declares TiVo 'God's machine'

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is a new convert -- to the personal digital video recorder faithful.

"My favorite product that I got for Christmas is TiVo," FCC chairman Michael Powell said during a question and answer session at the International Consumer Electronics Show. "TiVo is God's machine."

If Powell's enthusiasm for digital recordings of TV broadcasts are reflected in FCC rulings, the entertainment industry could find it difficult to push in Washington its agenda for technical restrictions on making and sharing such recordings.

Powell said he intended to use the TiVo machine to record TV shows to play on other television sets in his home, and even suggested that he might share recordings with his sister if she were to miss a favorite show.

Many in Hollywood have railed against the machines [which also allow commercial skipping], saying they could cut into TV advertising revenues if fewer people watch the commercials that underwrite broadcasters' business.

Already, one upcoming TV series intends to fight back against commercial skipping technology by blending advertising into its programming, offering a seamless hour of entertainment mixed with salesmanship.

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