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Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
BBC attacked for TiVo ploy
BBC comedy Dossa and Joe
Dossa and Joe comes from Royle Family creator Caroline Aherne
The BBC has been criticised for sending out an unrequested episode of new comedy Dossa and Joe to TiVo digital television recorders.

Many users were said to be angry they were given no option not to record the programme.

The TiVo recorders allow users to record 40 hours of television on to a hard drive instead of tapes and to pause live television.

The machines can make recording suggestions or automatically record a viewer's favourite programmes.


In retrospect a post-watershed programme should not have been used for this service

BBC
But users awoke on Friday morning to find the new Caroline Aherne-created show had been recorded on their TiVos without their permission.

Hundreds of people complained about the marketing device on an unofficial website, according to MediaGuardian.co.uk, with some likening it to "spam" e-mails or junk mail.

Users accessing the TiVo saw a new item "Must See from the BBC Dosser and Jo" as part of an "advanced content" feature.

Some with families were angry that a post-watershed show had been automatically recorded and could be accessed by children.

The 30-minute show is written by Royle Family star Caroline Aherne and features the ex-Neighbours actress Anne Charleston.

Storage space

A spokesman for the BBC, which began collaborating with TiVo two years ago, said it believed users had not been adversely affected.

"The BBC is currently working with TiVo to explore the potential of the system recording programmes viewers might have missed.

"This collaboration is an additional service and does not impinge in any way on the facilities currently enjoyed by TiVo users, or use any of their storage space.

"TiVo users are in no way forced to watch the programme. In retrospect a post-watershed programme should not have been used for this service."

But complaints on the unofficial site for TiVo users claimed recorders had been overridden and that the item could not be deleted.

Instant replay

Reports are already suggesting the ploy is an own goal for TiVo which has failed to meet sales expectations in the US and UK.

Up to 40 hours of programmes can be recorded and stored without videotape on the boxes.

Any live broadcast can also be paused, rewound, instantly replayed and played back in slow motion.

The TiVos are similar in size and shape to conventional video cassette recorders and can be connected to digital satellite, cable or normal antennae.

TiVo has similar partnerships with BSkyB and Channel 4.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Chris Ledgard
"Thousands of TiVo owners were surprised to find they had recorded a new sitcom"
See also:

15 May 02 | Entertainment
25 May 01 | Entertainment
09 Apr 01 | Entertainment
22 Mar 01 | Entertainment
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