Tivo started a couple of new initiatives to give users with broadband access more ways to get content. The company is offering people a software solution to convert their videos and then upload them from their PC to their Tivo recorders.

Also, people will be able to share private photos and videos through a web platfrom called One True Media. And finally the company has signed up more content partners for their Tivocast, which is essentially the posibility to receive selected video podcasts directly on your DVR. They previously tried that with Rocketboom.

Rocketboom Tivocast

There has been some controversy about the fact that you can already convert and upload video from your PC to your Tivo with free tools. I think this is missing the point tho - there is something substantially more dangerous about Tivo's strategy. I've just posted the following as a comment on Buzzmachine.com - but I thought some readers of this blog might want to read it as well:

I donít think Tivo charging for the ability to easily convert video is the big issue here. People will pay, because they like convenience - and most of the tools available for video conversion right now are not convenient at all.

More troubling is the fact that Tivo uses itís Tivocast feature to sign up TV studios as content partners. Tivo tested this feature with Rocketboom - and it was revolutionary: For the first time you could subscribe to a video podcast and watch it on your livingroom TV without even touching your PC.

But exclusive content partnerships are not the way to go. People donít want more content from TV studios on their TV - they get that alread. They want podcasts, unscripted stuff, niche programming. And they donít want Tivo to decide for them what they can watch.

So instead of becoming the new middleman, Tivo should just open the floodgates and allow itís subscribers to add any video podcast to their list of subscriptions.

Doing exklusive content deals might seem like a sound business strategy for Tivo in the short term. But in the long term it will transform them into one of the control-freak gatekeepers that Tivos users wanted to get away from when they bought the device in the first place.

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