TIVO, PERSONAL TELEVISION
Imagine pausing the action during the live broadcast of a basketball game, leaving the room, and with the push of a button on the remote, resuming the game where you left it. With TiVo’s settop box and personal television service, forget about time shifting, TiVo brings you programming on demand. “And TiVo depends on the reliability of VA Linux Systems servers with a pre-loaded and fully configured Linux OS to make its technologically demanding system work.”
TiVo’s Business Challenge
TiVo needed scalable, reliable, low cost hardware and software to run its Broadcast Service. Under Mark Roberts, CIO and head of IT and Broadcast Operations, the systems must flawlessly manage nightly distribution of all program guide data as well as value added network showcases and the TiVolution magazine. They also must manage periodic software upgrades without a hitch.
Meeting the Challenge with VA Linux Systems
To enter the marketplace with the hardware and software it needed, Sunnyvale, California based TiVo Inc. turned to Linux servers manufactured by their Silicon Valley neighbor, VA Linux Systems of Mountain View. TiVo chose VA because of its reputation in the Linux marketplace. Purchasing nearly thirty servers in six weeks for the service and development platforms, TiVo was able to launch the service smoothly on March 31st.
Linux allowed TiVo to build servers with multiple levels of redundancy that allowed for high availability using inexpensive hardware. By purchasing systems from VA with Linux pre-installed and configured, TiVo was able to quickly place its servers into production without having to deal with any hardware compatibility issue. The video, networking and RAID systems worked flawlessly from the moment TiVo turned on the box. All networking services that TiVo required, including Web, Mail, FTP and remote access were available without having to download or compile any software.
“We wanted to find the best Linux vendor we could find,” said Roberts. “VA is an important part of the
Linux community, in fact, it’s a Linux company. They respond quickly and efficiently to all of our requests for service. Even when we were just installing the racks, VAR was there to help us find the right rails. They went above and beyond our best expectations.”
With Philips set-top boxes, TiVo expects to move the service from start-up to market leader in very short order. “We’ve had such success with the boxes we’ve already purchased we expect to buy more soon,” said Roberts. “We’re racking ’em up.”
TiVo’ revolutionary settop boxes are digital VCRs with features that extend viewer options in unprecedented new ways. TiVo provides live TV rewind, fast forward, slow motion, for instance. It also gives the viewer the ability to save TV programs without complicated command settings, offers easy search capabilities, and lets the viewer create a stash of favorite programs on a disk located right in the box. The shows you don’t want to miss are always saved on disk, so when you go home and finally get the kids to bed, you can watch what you want to watch when you want to watch it.
TiVo is led by some of the industry’s most highly regarded innovators, including former Silicon Graphics Senior VO, Michael Ramsey, TiVo’s founder, and James Barton, also from Silicon Graphics, and Stewart Alsop, principal of New Enterprise Associates, who sit on TiVo’s Board of Directors. As you might guess, the technology required to offer the new product and service is breathtaking. Launched on March 31, 1999, the new company is positioned to dominate a market that potentially embraces everyone who owns a television set.
FORMAN’S BUSINESS CHALLENGE
Forman International has grown into a full service provider of Internet solutions and has helped 300,000 small business and home office users take their first steps out onto the Internet. Their rapidly growing business demands powerful, cost-effective server solutions, with a premium on space saving and the ability to scale multiple nodes behind a core function. They have a growing commitment to Linux and the open source movement.
Meeting the Challenge with VA Linux Systems
The New York City-based Forman International looked across country to Silicon Valley’s VA Linux Systems for the necessary hardware. “We considered other alternatives,” said Rob Gardos, Director of Technology at Forman. “We had been using Gateways and Dells, but when we got them they weren’t offering their hardware with Linux installed, so we had to set them up from scratch and format the whole thing. With VA Research, Linux was preconfigured.”
“Everyone in this organization is very into open source – we’re very much behind the fundamental concepts that Linux represents,” explained Gardos. “We had some very intelligent people come to work for us who had been working with Linux for years, and they encouraged us to look carefully at it. It’s an excellent, cost effective solution that really facilitates scalable architecture.”
The commitment to Linux lead to VA Research, a Linux leader. Said Gardos, “VA Linux had a very powerful, cost-effective solution. They’ve really leveraged the LS and what Linux stands for.”
Forman purchased over fifty systems. “They put together a very cost-effective system for our needs, and the space saving factor was a big one. With their slim system we are able to get lots of boxes in a small space–usually either single or dual processors with 256 megs to a gigaram. We use our systems as both mail servers and web servers. VA Linux produces a quality product, top of the line, with almost no hardware failure.”
That one hardware failure–a faulty drive–was resolved with a new drive in Forman’s New York offices the next morning. “You can’t get much better than that,” said Gardos.
“VA people have been very helpful, and even since I’ve been working with them, they’ve grown dramatically. They just set up their New York office, which is great for me. They’re committed to working with the customer.”
About Forman International
Forman International is a leading provider of products and services for individuals and small companies that need to leverage the power of the Internet. Its website, register.com, was recognized by PC Magazine as one of the Top 100 Websites in its April 1999 issue and is considered one of the easiest sites to use for registering domain names. They break the registration process down to easy steps for the non-technical user and have a feature called “Manage My Domain” that empowers the user to take control of all the information associated with their domain name. From domain name registration to site creation, Forman International helped close to 300,000 businesses start their e-commerce experience.
MAKE MYTOWN YOUR TOWN
If you’re like many advertisers, you’ve been thinking about how to take your message to the Worldwide Web. It’s a new medium and you may be wary of investing marketing dollars in unfamiliar ways.
But your objective is the same as it’s always been: You want to target your message to people who will read it and act on it. The prospective customers who will read your message on the Web are exactly the prospects you want to reach. They are affluent, intelligent, and interested in quality. Your challenge is to put your message where it will be noticed.
At MyTown your message will be seen by thousands of your best prospects. They come to MyTown because the content is rich and even the ads are interesting.
The More Hits, The More Runs
Let’s be honest. Many sites promise more than they deliver. We’re not asking you to take our word for the level of interest our site offers. You can check the number of “hits” our site and your ad receive daily. Our easy-to-use point and click interface makes it simple. You’ll have the ability to see how many times your ads have been displayed in a day, week, or even over the course of a month. You can track results in a faster, more useful and effective way than in any other medium or at most other sites.
Your Ideas Count
We’re very good at getting your messages seen and acted upon, but we don’t claim to have all the answers. We welcome your ideas for creating more traffic. Innovative solutions often come about when we work together to try something different. In online marketing, it’s important to be flexible and willing to think “outside the box.” We welcome your proposals. Together we may discover just the right mix of ideas to make your campaign soar.
Let’s Get Started
Make MyTown your town. E-mail us today with your organization’s name, a contact name, phone number, and a return e-mail address. We’ll provide you with all the information you’ll need to make your Worldwide Web advertising generate solid leads and high sales volume right away.
ACTUAL COMMUNITY, VIRTUAL GEOGRAPHY
A few decades back, Marshall McLuhan gained a reputation as a visionary with his concept of the global village. The world he saw coming is largely here: communication is nearly instantaneous, televison connects to even the most remote parts of the world, and what happens “there” affects us “here” very quickly. But Professor McLuhan probably didn’t imagine the Internet. Few if any of us did. The power to exchange information on such a vast scale has made us all neighbors in virtual communities. And because the Internet is interactive, it makes the communities of ideas, interests and enthusiasms it has spawned closer to the model of the global village than even McLuhan could have imagined.
The free circulation of ideas made possible on the Web has already made dictators wince and worry about their grasp on power. Whomever controls information, it used to be said, rules. On the Net, no one controls information.
CNN may show us the news as it happens, but the Net allows us to communicate with each other as easily and inexpensively as if we were living in the same small town. We can circulate our political views. We can teach or learn, seek or give advice, shop, sell or barter, share music or home videos — do any of the things we do in our geographical communities and a lot more.
In medicine, for example, a patient who travels to a remote continent, can give local physicians immediate access to his medical records, and even his x-rays. In business, expensive video conferencing equipment is being replaced by simple desktop hardware and software that links participants to each other while the remain at their desks with all their computerized files immediately at hand. For consumers, it is no longer necessary to leave home and visit t dozens of shops and stores to choose from a vast array of quality products that can improve their lives. And all of this can in real time or at our leisure. The Net combines telephone, television, newspapers, radio, not in separate media, but all in one place, the medium we have come to call cyberspace.
Entire communities of people with similar interests and needs to your own come alive at your fingertips when you sit at your computer keyboard. Virtual communities? No. The communities are very real. Today, however, circumstances less arbitrary and limiting than geography create them.