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September 09, 2004
TiVo plus Netflix =! Broadcatching
These past few days there has been a great deal of excitement about a report in Newsweek that TiVo and Netflix would be joining together to deliver downloadable movies (I Want a Movie! Now!). See also, C|Net News' more nuanced take: Picture imperfect for Netflix, TiVo.
My response? Yawn.
Wake me up when TiVo provides an open interface for downloading video content via the internet (preferably via RSS w/ BitTorrent Enclosures).
There are no details as both companies are being quite reticent and, apparently, the "done" deal is really only nearly done, and nearly done is not quite the same as actually done. Still, what this sounds like is a closed system. You can get the content that TiVo and Netflix choose (or are permitted) to license for you. It will be a wonderful selection (maybe) but that isn't going to really revolutionize things too much. Really, how much different is this service than TiVo combined with pay-per-view?
The internet doesn't offer exciting possibilities because it is a closed network where only the major content providers are allowed to offer information. Where would the internet be if you could only get information from the usual list of suspects? You wouldn't be reading this blog, for one.
So, TiVo plus Netflix would be nice. But so would Movielink, CinemaNow, Starz and all the other internet movie download services. TiVo adds easy connection to the television, but others will soon offer that too.
What will be exciting is connecting the television to any video content on the internet - broadcatching is when things get interesting.
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