At last the pizza through the TV set

Our columnist is proud to report that the future has finally arrived


Back in 1994, I wrote the first editorial for the Globe and Mail trying to explain this “Internet” thing (or as it was known then, the Information Superhighway) to befuddled readers. “What is the Internet?” it began. “Is it, as Dave Barry says, like CB radio, only with typing?” (Which, come to think of it, is not far wrong.)

Anyway, in the course of my research I kept coming across the same example of the Internet’s alleged wonders, the same cribbed illustration of the fabulous new era we were about to enter.

“You’ll be able to order a pizza,” it ran, “through your TV set.”

As technological revolutions go, I should say, this left me somewhat cold. What did my TV set, with its ready signal and friendly, 13-number dial, have to do with the Internet, which required detailed knowledge of a forest of secret computer codes (PPP, TCP/IP, etc.) and a willingness to sit through 45 seconds of earsplitting modem chatter just so you could get a blank screen. And how exactly was this an advance over, say, the phone? When you can deliver a pizza through my TV set, I found myself saying, then I’ll be impressed.

Nevertheless, there it was, a shimmering golden vision, beckoning us toward a future of limitless pizza-visual convenience….

So it is a pleasure to report that, a decade and a half later, the future has finally showed up:

TV has never tasted this good. That’s because TiVo Inc., the creator of and a leader in television services for digital video recorders (DVRs), and Domino’s Pizza, Inc., the recognized world leader in pizza delivery, have teamed up to give broadband connected TiVo subscribers the ability to order pizza for delivery or pick-up, and track delivery timing, right from their TV sets using the TiVo® service. It’s a service that cooks up the perfect pizza purchasing recipe.

“Our commitment to customer satisfaction is what has helped us become the leader in the global pizza delivery market,” said Rob Weisberg, vice president of precision and print marketing at Domino’s Pizza, Inc. “We are confident that teaming with TiVo on this novel, easy, and convenient way to order pizza right from the TV will be very well received by our customers… This is the first time in history that the ‘on-demand’ generation will be able to fully experience couch commerce by ordering pizza directly through their television set. You’ll see a television ad for Domino’s and you’ll click ‘I want it’ through your remote. In about 30 minutes, your pizza will show up at your door.”

Karen Bressner, Senior Vice President of Advertising Sales, TiVo Inc said, “Joining forces with Domino’s Pizza creates an effective marketing and commerce tool for Domino’s while enhancing and further distinguishing TiVo as the ultimate way to watch TV with a closed-loop advertising experience… With just a few clicks of the remote, TiVo users can pause their program, order a pizza, and then sit back, relax, and return to their favorite show without missing a single second. Now, TiVo delivers the absolute best television viewing experience…and a pizza.”

And look, it’s Just So Convenient:

TiVo subscribers can seamlessly access their Domino’s Pizza order from various advertising entry points on the TiVo user interface including Gold Star Sponsorship, Program Placement, Interactive Tags in live TV spots, and through Music, Photos, Products, & More by clicking on “Order Your Dominos Pizza Now…”

TiVo subscribers can set-up a user name and password on Dominos.com so that each time they use their TiVo remote to place an order, they can log-in with a simple account number. Alternatively, TiVo subscribers can enter their delivery address, build their pizza order right from the television set by selecting type of crust, toppings, and sauces, and get the pizza delivered by their local Domino’s Pizza.

Or, they could just pick up the phone.

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At last the pizza through the TV set

  1. Or the distressing number of gamers who have their monster computers hooked up to their wall-sized TVs as monitors could simply? order on-line. Life is good.

  2. Alas, the prophets had no inkling of the Flash-befuddled Pizza Pizza site.

  3. Anthropology Professor, circa 3515: Historians point to this moment when the societies in “developed countries” during the Ectomorph Era of humanity began to collapse under their own weight. Excess consumption in all economic sectors, wholly unjustified on the basis of actual economic output, led to a downturn of the economic cycle. Citizens might have chosen to find ways to contribute more to their own economic prosperity. Curiously, that did not happen. Rather, citizens began demanding of their video display units to feed them, instead. A warning to you distracted hooligans in the back row of the class: Listen up! For those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it…

  4. There was a story in NY Times yesterday about TV/Internet. Chip makes are moving ahead to “spur a new generation of TVs with full browser capability” but tv makers say people don’t want internet service through their televisions. Apparently we don’t want to interact with our televisions, we just want to passively watch it. And we would be less than enthused if our tvs start crashing occasionally like computers do.

    I, too, don’t understand what the big deal is about ordering a pizza from your lay-z-boy when it’s probably quicker to actually phone the restaurant and order.

    • If you have a DVI out on your computer and an HD TV, all it takes to use your screen as a monitor is a $50 DVI-to-HDMI cable, and ideally a wireless keyboard and mouse. And, I suppose, a small apartment.

      • Or an el-cheapo S-video cable should do the trick for most TVs and most PC’s currently in operation.

        • I do that now, with an SVGA cable (~$10). As I type, in fact. And why a small apartment? My wireless keyboard works from across the room (I need to move closer to the screen to read, but I only have a small HDTV)

          • Oh, it occured to me that people might have their TV’s and computers in different rooms, or wings, of the house. Thankfully there’s no option in my case!

  5. Unintended irony….

    My wife and I prefer ordering through PizzaPizza’s website. Why? Because we can take our time. We like to browse the specialty pizza’s and the online menu. But we like different pizzas each time we order, so this is a big plus. Using the phone, I always feel rushed. You have to know what you want RIGHT NOW and I always feet I’m compromising my choices by rattling off the same order each time.

    This is the biggest advantage to shopping online. You can browse in comfort, compare prices, get input from family members. And when you finally make your order you feel more comfortable that you’ve made the right choice.

    This Tivo/Domino’s thing is about convenience and speed, and doesn’t provide any of the advantages Internet shopping does. For that, AC is correct, the phone works just as well, and probably better.

  6. Jack, $50 for that cable is robbery. They can be had for less than $10 online. myl, S-Video would restrict resolution to TV resolution; 640×480

    To me the next breakthrough will be adding touch-screen functionality to your TV. See an advertisement for pizza? Touch the screen and one will show up at your house.

    • Whoa, they’ve come down in price, even for the long ones. Yeah, touch-screen functionality would really be a game-changer. Funny that hasn’t appeared, eh, given how they use it at airport check-ins etc.? Plus I bet you could easily devise a “remote” touch screen, like a light pointer or flashlight mouse, so that you didn’t have to get up from your chair — the technology must exist.

      • It does exist…I tried to post a link but Macleans ate my comment. Google “touch screen television” and click the first link. 65″ plasma with touch screen functionality.

        • Ah, interesting, thanks. But the article is nearly 4 years old — didn’t catch on, or its time is still to come?

    • Touch-screen? Surely you don’t mean getting up of the couch and walking over to the TV to do something? Why, that might burn a calorie or maybe a half. Wash your mouth out with soap, you heretic!

  7. These “Internet” people are just taking it too far now. It’s clearly just a passing fad.

  8. It’s funny, but I haven’t ordered pizza through a phone in a LONG time. If I’m gonna order pizza I like to take my time, browse the menu a bit (my Pizza Hut has a Wing Street Wings attached so i can get pizza and a few different types of pretty good wings) and I like to know know exactly what it’s gonna cost before I place the order.

    I much prefer ordering online. And since I use my computer as a second T.V., I suppose you could even say I “order pizza through the T.V.”.

    And I’ve been doing it for years.

  9. Yesterday I picked up an old issue of Chatelaine, a Macleans-Hunter publication. April 1974 and the magazine had a circulation of 1,250,000 in english and french. There was
    a CBC Radio ad in it that made me muse in just the same way as this post by Andrew here. Harry Brown and Barbara Frum are photographed with Radio equipment and a telephone cord wraps around their image. On another page there is an ad for CBC picture of an armchair, the caption “Relax”, and the lineup of shows is listed(including “Question Period”). I thought about these ads and how they presaged the future to come. I thought about how Radio remained as popular as Television for many, many years. I thought about the Silverwood milk man who was still delivering milk and bread, door to door, in 1974.

  10. I walk to the Pizza parlour when I want to indulge. That way I can feel somewhat virtuous about all the calories I consume.

    Touch screen table top units will soon be much cheaper, but I’ll stick with my 14 inch Acer flat screen until the price if the new technology bottoms out. If that never happens, I don’t mind.

  11. What’s a “phone”?

  12. I am placing my investment money into manufacturing Wall e’s because THAT will be a definite future for evolved humanity. Just think from Couch Potato to full-fledged vegetable in one mere generation! Ain’t technology GRAND? (About like their wastelines)

    Back to figuring out the anti-grav couches. Another definite winner!

  13. Hey, whatever happened to the LG Internet Refrigerator? It was really pricey and I am sure wonderful for those who like to stand in front their Fridge and use a touch screen? Sure would save walking for another beer, eh?

  14. I will be happy the day when we have some sort of space cars, so you can order pizza online from anywhere in the world. I strongly believe that the quality of Canadian pizza is inhibited seriously by Pizza Pizza. Because its usually cold, stale, crust-like-hard-tack crap is everywhere in Canada, the market for small chains is much smaller. As best I can tell from Indiana, Pizza Hut is the only major pizza chain, and is not nearly as omnipresent as Pizza Pizza. Instead there are very good local pizza places with interesting and innovative takes on pizza.

    Because Pizza Pizza is a franchise, it doesn’t have the same capacity for its subsidiaries to innovate (they generally try to ensure conformity). Want a pizza with potatoes? Gorgonzola cheese? Alfredo sauce, barbecue sauce or pesto instead of tomato sauce? Crushed up cuban black beans? I can get all of those, from different places in a city with a population of 70,000.

    Death to Pizza Pizza. Long live the new flesh!

    • I have long liked Pizza Hut and especially their Deep Dish Supreme. They have maintained consistent quality for decades and the taste remains the same.

      Locally, here in the Orillia, ON area we have ‘Tops in Pizza’ a family owned and operated pizza place since 1974. They make their own dough and a fantatsic pizza with GOBS of toppings for a very reasonable price.

      As to Pizza Pizza, I agree. When I want cardboard with minimal toppings and am so hungry I am ready to pass out, then I might buy a slice and ingest it. LOL

      For frozen pizzas we generally buy the McCains Canadian International Thin Crust and add onions, more pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese. It is very good. Delicio’s by Kraft are overpriced and lacking flavour. Sorry, but a bunch of Wise Guys who have no taste buds do not sell me! LOL

      The worst and most overpriced pizzas are at Boston Pizza IMHO. For the Original Pizza take a trip to Chicago’s Uno Dio’s where the pizza was first introduced to America. Their cast iron skillet Deep Dish is something else.

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