For this week’s Engadget Interview, veteran journalist and Engadget correspondent J.D. Lasica cornered TiVo CEO Mike Ramsay in a hallway at the Web 2.0 conference, where the head of the pioneering digital video recorder company talked about TiVo DVD recorders, government meddling in new technologies and what the future of television holds.
Talk to me about TiVo not as a company, but as an idea. TiVo owners are passionate about their TiVos. Why does the cult of TiVo command such power?
The insider language around this is, Oh my God, we’ve created a monster. It’s apparent we’ve got this compelling consumer proposition. At the end of the day, it has to do with fact that people are discovering they can be in control of television and, more broadly, can be in control of their home entertainment. It’s not until you discover what you can do that you realize how much a slave you were to the old way.
Television has a bad rep, it’s kind of broken. When you have 500 channels and there’s nothing on, television is definitely broken. I think what TiVo has done is put people back in charge. And that’s a primal, important thing that people like as far as a social trend that’s far broader than television. And when you give them that empowerment, they get very excited and love it. And so you get a statement like, ‘It’s changed my life. I can never go back.’ That’s a huge motivator for us as a company.