On Wednesday night, the BBC transmitted Dossa and Joe, a drama with an unexpected twist. Owners of TiVo personal video recorders found that their boxes recorded the show whether they programmed it in or not -- and now it's there, the recording can't be erased for about a week. Dubbed a "must see" by the BBC, the corporation arranged with TiVo to send the recording command to all registered boxes. They pick up programme information by modem over the Internet, and the command was embedded in the schedules.
The TiVo records TV programmes onto an internal hard disk, giving its owners a great deal of flexibility over scheduling. It also suggests programmes based on its knowledge of users' preferences, but this is the first time the box has been used by a broadcaster to forcibly record a show regardless of the viewer's wishes.
Viewer reaction has been robust, with hundreds of posts appearing overnight on the TiVo Community bulletin board, an independent discussion forum. Reaction varies from mild surprise to outright rage, with TiVo representatives saying that they're taking note of everyone's reaction, but the company has also said that it will be doing the same thing again soon.
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