My article about ways for Tivo to get back on track started quite a discussion over at Newteevee this weekend. Apparently people still really care about this big, ugly box in their living room. Even the Motely Fool jumped in, with Fool contributor Rick Munarriz examining each of my ideas. Munarriz especially seemed to like the idea of giving the Tivo universe a Web 2.0 makeover, complete with widgets and social features.

Over at Newteevee, many people demanded that Tivo should finally give them access to all the media that's stored on their home PC - and not just the photos or MP3s. My suggestion to Tivo was to go one step further and even open up their online programming guide to other media offerings. Munarriz thought that was a little too daring:

"Beyond TV programming and video podcasts, he'd love to see TiVo also stream shows like those appearing on Joost, or on the websites of NBC or ABC. He then argues that TiVo should save those Web streams onto your TiVo, without the inserted commercials.

I can't see that ever happening. Network websites would block TiVo access, and the programmer-friendly TiVo would become the enemy. Sure, there are ways for TiVo to transform its units into home theater cornerstones, but let's hope it does it in a way that is a little more "white hat" than that."


That wasn't actually quite what I had in mind. My vision for Tivo is to get two legs - a great box that records and manages your media, and an online programming guide that offers you access to all the scheduled video content that's out there, may it be podcasts, TV shows or Joost streams.

Now obviously my Tivo box won't be able to give me access to Joost any time soon, and I wouldn't suggest to record web streams with the box either. The quality just isn't that great. Instead, the Tivo online programming guide should point to those resources, even if they are not available on Tivo right now.

Hopefully, most of the commercial content will be available via Unbox soon, so the guide would give you the choice to watch the latest Heroes episode as an ad-suported, more or less low-res web stream on your computer screen via the network's web site - or just pay 1.99 to watch it in DVD quality on your Tivo. I'd bet more and more people would go for the Tivo option.

Tivo could even make some money via ads or affiliate links off of people who don't use their system, but want to browse their programming guide anyway. And eventually folks might think about actually buying a Tivo because they just got used to the system. Kind of the same way Apple makes you want to buy a Mac after you played with iTunes for a while. No black hat trickery involved. Just clever marketing. I bet it would work better than those antenna ears commercials.

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