Thursday, December 01, 2005

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Live Without TiVo

TiVo has just opened up a can of pain for all the companies that have considered them to be competitors!  This link explains it all and I will try to quickly explain what I believe are the real benefits of each new use below. 

But the critical key to remember is that the TiVo unit has to be connected to a broadband network.  I imagine that TiVo will continue to use new offers of free, add-on services to encourage the first generation TiVo owners to upgrade their boxes and gently-but-firmly smack in the face DirecTV & TiVo combination box owners.  This is especially so after DirecTV dropped its promotional relationship with TiVo earlier this year. 

I just checked the TiVo website and this offer is exclusive for Series 2 TiVo owners.  It is also on a first come-first served basis while it may require some time (weeks unfortunately) to process the requests.

I believe that DirecTV will have to go back to the drawing board and reenter the agreement with TiVo or drop its extra surcharge for TiVo users who are DirecTV subscribers also.

The need for home networks among TiVo users has skyrocketed overnight with this new announcement.

You will be able use any broadband network connected TiVo to:

  1. Look at any Yahoo! Photos placed within online photo albums for yourself and anyone else with a Yahoo! account.  This immediately brings their fairly new social networking application Yahoo! 360 into the online but offline game. 

    I immediately expect more people to begin to use Yahoo! 360 as a result and who knows this feature may lead.  I know that MySpace is going to need to partner with another digital media company to keep MySpace as an attractive alternative (which it already has consistently been) prior to Yahoo! 360 until now.

  2. Use Yahoo! Weather offline versus going online to know what the weather anywhere is going to be like.  I do not immediately imagine that this will negatively impact The Weather Channel since they are a source of information for Yahoo! Weather in most cases.

  3. Find out the best way to drive anywhere through using Yahoo! Traffic .  This clearly will beat using local radio stations in most cases for traffic and accident reports.

  4. Gain access to the Live365 online radio network which will clearly become a huge boost for the many online radio stations created by individuals, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses.  If and when TiVo goes mainstream ()which I now believe that it is about to significantly increase its presence within US homes, I believe  and predict that Live365 will become the nearest serious competitor to XM Radio and Sirius satellite radio networks. 

    When TiVo reaches 17 to 20 % of homes within a country, just watch out for some new uses of the technology.

  5. Use Fandango to buy tickets for movie theaters and find out the showtimes for the latest big screen theater release.  This beats standing in line and having a movie screening sell out in front of your eyes for the major blockbuster releases.

  6. Listen to podcasts with your TiVo unit versus using a computer and iPod or another MP3 player to do so. 

    This is the biggest benefit out of all of the new benefits announced in my opinion.  I just wonder what search engine or directory is going to provide the information for locating and subscribing to the podcasts.
I now wonder if you can really state or claim whether something is online or offline any more.  If the tool was previously exclusive to being online (such as several of the Yahoo! services were before) and is now accessible without using a computer directly, is it really accurate to say that it is only online or offline any more?

Is there going to be some new term that explains the hybrid or combination of being online and offline simultaneously?  Is there a combination of virtual and real world locations?  Does being digital now suffice for describing it all?

Two friends and myself have been discussing the opportunities for a new digital service and it feels as if someone has just pushed a warped drive button that combines many visions and predictions witnessed within the past 10 years of web browser equipped internet services.

One thing that I do wonder about now is the lowering of resistance that TiVo has probably been getting from many media companies. 

Will somebody ring the bell for Yahoo!, Google , Apple, Microsoft, and other progressive players to start a bidding war for TiVo

As much as I personally owe to Bill Gates and Microsoft, I hope that they stay out of this game since the other kids on the block are moving faster and with less bureaucracy it appears to provide dynamic services to consumers.

I am slightly afraid that Microsoft would kill many of these services without providing any new creativity to make up the difference or provide any additional, real value.

But way to go TiVo right here at the peak, Christmas shopping season!!!

If anyone feels extra generous right now and wants to send my household a 140-hour Series 2 TiVo unit, I humbly and sincerely thank you in advance!!!

Seasons greetings!

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