Dale Dietrich
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TiVo’s Evan Young Discusses the Details of the new TiVoCast Service

Categories: iVOD/iTVNew Business ModelsNew Tech

Video: Streaming Media West 2006: Keynote by Evan Young, Dir. Broadband Services, TiVo

TiVo's Director of Broadband Services, Evan Young, gave this interesting keynote address to the Streaming Media West 2006 conference. I learned a few new things about TiVo's nascent TiVoCast service and I am concerned with the seemingly walled-garden-only approach TiVo seems to be going with the TiVoCast service.

Approximately 520,000 TiVo users have access to TiVo's broadband services and about 80 percent of those users use some of TiVo's broadband services. I wasn't aware of the extent to which TiVo intends to integrate videocasts (a.ka. vlogs, a.ka. video-blogs, a.ka. video podcasts) like RocketBoom into the TiVoCast service.

TiVo's intent is to elevate/enhance a selected group of Internet-based video-casts for use/access within the TiVo service so that the viewing experience for such walled-garden content is similar to current TV viewing experience through TiVo. So, for instance, video-podcasts would be fully indexed and searchable through the TiVo interface just as TV shows are today and the user could subscribe to Wishlists that would include video-podcast content. The full range of TiVo functionality will be available for videocast content originating from TiVoCast.  And TiVo intends to make the viewing information that it makes available to TV networks today, available to videopodcast partners in the future.

While I appreciate the degree of planned integration, indexing, searchability and quality of experience that TiVo wishes to bring to the TiVoCast experience, as a leading edge Internet user and TiVo customer, I also hope that TiVo provides its users with an alternative and completely open access service, let's call it TiVoCast Raw, for its users to subscribe to and view any subscribable/RSS-fed Internet video content available on the Web.

TiVoCast and TiVoCast Raw could be two side-by-side options/services in such a TiVo user interface. TiVoCast content would be fully integrated and of a consistently high quality while TiVoCast Raw content would be more catch-as-catch can. The TiVo user would understand the differences between the two and the user expectations would be appropriately set in advance.

AOL's walled-garden approach failed. AOL was forced, after much kicking and screaming, into making the full panoply of the Internet available to its subscribers. Mobile phone users are rejecting expensive curated content offerings being made available to them of late.  TiVo should learn from these experiences. Yes, users will enjoy the high-quality TiVoCast experience TiVo foresees but they'll also want complete choice as to the content they want to watch, not the content that TiVo selects for them.

Davis Freeberg also provides a nice summary of Evan Young's Keynote and interesting thoughts here.

Source: soapbox

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  • http://nsputnik.com Nick Dynice

    If TiVo could change their business model into just making boxes (or at least just accept that as part of their model), this might work. I think the reason they want to cut deals with content makers is because they are used to some sort of revenue stream in the from of subscriptions to TV programming info. If they make you pay, they can be the gatekeeper to the content and give a cut to the content makers. If they let anyone subscribe to any feed and the same user does not care to record regular TV, all they really need to do is make a “dumb box.”

    I think they may be better of just allowing users to use the TiVo as a dumb box since that is what some users may want. If they don’t someone else will come along (Apple iTV) and make that happen. I don’t really watch TV, but I do watch video podcasts. If TiVo allows me to download any video podcast I want, I’ll buy one today (I may be in the minority).

  • dave

    Does TiVo really get a cut from any of the TiVoCast shows?

    I have a hard time believing Rocketboom or Cranky Geeks or any of these TiVoCast shows are paying anything for the “privilege” of being on TiVo, esp. since they know that most TiVo users can and do use podcasts. TiVoCast is a convenience; it isn’t something most people are going to be willing to pay for when free podcasts are available.

  • Dale Dietrich

    I don’t believe TiVo is getting a “cut” of any fees from video podcasters. Though I do believe they, the podcasters, pay their own bandwidth costs for the mpeg2 stream that TiVo needs at the moment. Note that the S3 TiVo should in future be able to access h.264 feeds in the future – lowering dramatically the cost of feeding the podcast to TiVo units.