TiVo’s Future is in Videoblogs Not in Network Television

We’ve been a TiVo household for about a month now. Excellent service, I’m glad we got it. What we don’t have is a satellite or cable service. As I mentioned on my other blog, this omission is very challenging for TiVo.

To me, the most interesting television isn’t on television. It’s the videoblogs or video podcasts or vlogs, or video clambakes, or whatever you like to call them. After watching a handful of TiVo recommendations, I’m confident in saying anything you can do with a video camera and iMovie is on par with most over-the-air offerings.

Right now, TiVo is only recommending programs based on what it can see with the decade-old rabbit ears on the top of my non-HDTV. But it’s artificially handicapping itself. The TiVo is on my home network – so its recommendations should be based on all the video across the internet.

This means because I prefer watching video on my TV rather than my computer, I’m way behind on Minnesota Stories, RocketBoom and without an incentive to dig deeper into video.

Now, despite the TiVo being a Linux box and hooked up to my network – I can’t easily send video to it. To be clear – I don’t want to get video off it – I want to put video on it. Easily. As easily as setting up a Season Pass. This seems to be completely outside current capabilities – these are the capabilities keeping TiVo alive, out from under the thumb of television advertisers, and provide a reason to accelerate the TiVoToGo rollout.

Just as Apple has embraced podcasting as a way to sell more and bigger iPods, copies of GarageBand, and podcasting servers, TiVo could do the same and one better – put a recommendation layer on top of all this video, a la AmigoFish.

Let’s take this one step further: Each TiVo is a Linux box, with Apache running and a Firewire/USB2.0 port in the front – it provides an easy way for people publish their video to the rest of the world. Turning TiVo into a social medium and a full-fledged citizen of the Read/Write Web.

In early December, TiVo started a very slow rollout of Online Services – including podcasts. Baby steps to their survival. But, my box hasn’t been upgraded for the TiVo Online Services yet. So it remains less used that it could be.

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