Sunday, October 03, 2004

TiVo and Netflix Deal goes Through

Remember that TiVo/Netflix deal that I posted about with such wild enthusiasm? And the despondent entry later because it looked like the story was a mistake?

I should have stuck to my opinion that it was just too good an idea not to be true. The deal has been inked! I am back to my original enthusiasm. Making it work still requires that TiVo convince to the major studios to go along with an Digital Rights Management system that they are uncomfortable with—and fought at the FCC. But, I repeat, remember iTunes. The big recording commpanies didn't like Apple's DRM either. But once it was made clear that they could profit—and provide a credible alternative to piracy—those objections evaporated. They will again.

It's gonna be huge. For all the reasons I laid out earlier.

All we need is big bandwidth. There are ways around that. Multicasting is one. Of which more in a later post. But they aren't very good ways. Lafayette will be perfectly positioned to take advantage of this when the moment comes. With a nice true broadband connection it could be real Video On Demand. Just order and watch, no waiting for a download, no hoping it is already on local storage. And that part of the TiVo/Netflix service will need a nice big testbed. I offer Lafayette, eagerly, happily, gleefully.

Of course I can't walk away from this without repeating my little fantasy about how to eliminate the digital divide: opt for a linux-based TiVo settop box, partition off a portion for an X-11 Graphical User Interface, drop in open office and one of the free, pair that with an open source browser, use the TV screeen for an admitedly low-quality monitor and BAM...a low cost computer in every household with digital cable. At a stunningly cheap price, especially when you consider that you get cable TV and a little internet connected computer. TiVo has been trying to get in as a cable settop box supplier for a long time. I'd bet they'd be willing to cut a real deal to have a full-fledged proof of concept location.

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