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Broken, but

Coming this fall: TiVo to computer functionality. It’s not what I’d like, since you don’t get full functionality — it’s some encrypted video format. Mind you, DRM is generally broken… but in any case, it’s more than we had before. I would very much like to be able to easily copy programs from my TiVo to a DVD.

Cory Doctorow, bless him, is up in arms. However, I think his analogies suck. While TiVo is a disruptive technology business, it is not much like steam engines. It’s a different delivery mechanism rather than a new media form.

And as such, right now, it’s dependent on the content providers who TiVo is attempting to pacify. TiVo, as a company, gets absolutely nothing from the legions of amateur moviemakers out there. It doesn’t have a business model without the networks. TiVo has little choice about pacifying the networks. It sucks, but it’s true.

And when Cory says “There is no market demand for TiVo’s DRM,” he’s right. But there is going to be market demand for what TiVo is offering, even if there’d be more market demand for the same thing sans DRM. TiVo has to decide if they’ll make more money by removing DRM after figuring in the cost of lawsuits.

I’m inclined to cut TiVo some slack. They’ve introduced the disruptive technology to the mainstream. Someone had to take that risk, and it wasn’t going to be the open source community. MythTV is great but it’s not the innovator; that’s TiVo. I appreciate what they’ve done.

And now I hope that someone does pre-package MythTV as a commercial offering without DRM. That’d be great. I’m just not going to savage TiVO for not going as far as I’d like.


  1. This FALL? Huh. I’m kind of expecting PVRs that have both hard drives and DVD recorders to make it under $500 in time for this Christmas. $300 for TiVo + $99 for Home Media Option + $? for the new feature. I’m guessing this is for retention, not to drive new sales.

    But for my part, unless they wrap HMO and the new feature in a bundle and drop it to $99, my needs will be better fulfilled by keeping the TiVo hooked to my phone line and grabbing a PCI PVR card.

  2. I think DVD recorders are gonna stay higher than that, personally. Although I could be wrong.

  3. They’re awfully close already – and the low-budget makers haven’t entered the market, yet.

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