Looking for ways to draw in more subscribers to its platform, TiVo plans to offer a download service where customers with networked DVRs would be able to receive programming even before it is shown on television. However, the method in which the public has found out about the new service has TiVo executives upset and threatening to forego future public betas.
According to TiVo representatives, the company will transmit several of the Independent Film Channel’s shows to TiVo devices equipped with broadband. A small group of subscribers are taking part in the beta test and will start to receive programming next week.
The announcement can be seen as good news for TiVo, which learned yesterday through media reports that partner DirecTV would be ending its relationship with the DVR-maker at the end of the year.
Apparently, TiVo had not planned to make any public announcement regarding the download test until technology blog Engadget posted pictures of the service in action on Thursday. Immediately, TiVo forums were abuzz with news of the new feature.
However, some were not amused by the leak. “If you agreed to an NDA then honor it!” one poster to the TiVo Community Forum wrote. An NDA, or non-disclosure agreement, is a pact between a company and beta tester not to publicly disclose information obtained during a test. What followed was a heated discussion on the subject of such agreements.
A TiVo product marketing manager stepped in and offered a few suggestions on what could have happened, including a beta tester breaking his or her NDA or an innocent customer stumbling upon the feature. However, he said that it was “extremely likely” that a beta tester was responsible for the leak.
“I just wanted to emphasize the ‘extremely likely’ portion of this quote,” chimed in E. Stephen Mack, Director of Service Operations at TiVo. “Speaking personally, I’m extremely upset about the leak, and we will look closely at this when deciding whether or not to hold open betas in the future.”
While it is not immediately clear if Engadget may have been a knowing party to an NDA leak, the leaker was described as a “friendly source” in the site’s podcast this week. Some TiVo fans also called into question the journalistic ethics involved in posting the screenshots.
“We can not say for sure Engadget was a knowing party to a NDA violation, but the perception of it is strong enough that I personally am growing far less inclined to consider Engadget for my tech news,” one user wrote.
News source: Betanews