Weird test pattern that Tivo claims....

I flipped on the television just now and was rather suprised to find a dancing black-and-white test pattern replete with obnoxious music being broadcast on the Discovery channel that claimed to be part of Tivo. What is the purpose of such a broadcast?

It’s the download for TiVo’s “Showcases” and that sort of thing. TiVo downloads their special content at odd hours of the morning and they have an agreement with the Discovery channel to use their feed. That’s where those odd music videos and that sort of thing that show up occasionally come from.

The test pattern is the television guide data listing what programs will be on for the next couple of weeks.

They used to do it by forcing each box to dial in each day. I imagine this was rather expensive to Tivo. They essentially had to pay for dial-up access for a few hundred thousand people. Their solution was that now, once a week, they send the data through that program. The schedule may still change on a daily basis though, so each day the receivers still need to dial in. But the duration of the call is much less.

The Showcases are also shown in the same block of programming, but they look like video, not like 2D barcodes.