Monday, January 03, 2005

TIVO TO GO

Last week, we purchased more TIVO in two accounts. For months, we have anticipated the announcement of TIVO TO GO and more importantly we are still waiting for "Internet TIVO" or "NFLX--TIVO".

It has been some months since TIVO purchased the software it expects to use to create "Internet TIVO". It has been several months since TIVO and NFLX announced the plan to offer internet NFLX--TIVO service. One must give TIVO credit for walking the narrow walk required to offer consumers "new technologies" while keeping the content providers from going bananas. Providers need to have confidence that they will be paid with advertisement space or subscription fees.

TIVO has now announced TIVO TO GO and the stock bounced this morning. This service will allow subscribers to download certain recorded shows to PC's, Lap-tops and portable video players. Content providers will be able to tag their programs to prevent down-loads and encryption software is designed to prevent unauthorized distribution. In many ways, the current struggle is similar to what happened years ago when the recording industry tried to make cassette tape recordings illegal. In the long run, broadcasters must be willing to allow paying consumers to make extra personal copies of shows. The next step will allow one to down-load recorded shows over the internet--again while protecting against unauthorized distribution.

TIVO is only one of many firms attempting to establish themselves in this market. Family members of mine own Liberty Media (L), Real Networks (RNWK) and TV Guide (GMST) because we believe L and RNWK will put together a competing system. Southwest Bell (SBC) just signed a deal with 2Wire which will allow SBC-TV customers to offer many of the "TIVO" features. Subscribers will be able to record shows and even program the devices over the internet.

One interesting fact is that Direct TV--TIVO customers will not initially be permitted to use the TO GO feature. SBC and Direct TV currently offer package deals. Gradually, alliances will be made such that there will likely be three or four major providers of services like TIVO and TIVO TO GO. Next generation APPLE i-pods will offer the same types of services. I am comfortable speculating on the possibilities with positions in TIVO and GMST.

The information contained herein is for purposes of education and entertainment.




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