Tivo vs. Apple TV

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That was quick. I thought the distribution of home movies directly downloaded to Tivo would have been handled by the Amazon Unbox arrangement which I wrote about last week but I instead Tivo is promoting a service called One True Media.

Here’s how it works. Upload your photos and short movies to the service that allows you to add a soundtrack, titles, and simple effects. In return for your subscription ($3.99/month, $39.99/year), you will get a special Tivo subscriber’s code. Any broadband-enabled Tivo can then use this code to subscribe to anything you upload to your One True Media account. More details on the One True Media site.

While this is exciting, there is also a compelling alternative with the Apple TV which supports subscription to any Video Podcast via the iTunes store. While Tivo’s solution seems well integrated and easy to use, it still relies on the publisher to give the Tivo owner a subscription code that they manually need to put into their Tivo setup.

  1. Tivo/One True Media – $$ to publish, free to download, editing platform restricted to One True Media
  2. Apple TV/iTunes – free to publish, $$ (or free to download), use whatever editing platform you like

Historically, the more open publishing models prevail. I’m afraid that charging your publishers to upload their videos is going to limit the market to just those that want to push home movies of their kids to their grandparents. I wonder how many grandparents have an IP-enabled Tivo?

A better idea would be to set up Tivo’s to publish so all you need to do is upload your finished movies to your Tivo box via the USB port and then it’s available on a peer-to-peer network. When grandma or anyone else who browses the Tivo catalog wants to pull a file (either via one-time request or RSS subscription), the peer-to-peer network copies the file either off the seed Tivo or off any other Tivo that is hosting the file. Tivo can manage the index and use the metadata on what you watch to improve recommendations and suggest other things to watch, either from the networks or from the peer-to-peer network.

Who do you think will be the winning solution a year from now? Apple TV or Tivo?

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