Friday, January 02, 2009

TiVo's Blockbuster Movie of the Week

In December 2008 TiVo introduced "Blockbuster Movie of the Week". These are full lenght movies downloaded over the TiVo's Internet connections (rather than from the free to air TV tuner). The service came with a lengthy warning about first checking if downloading large video files would fit with the download quota of my ISP, as the movie files are 2 to 5 Gigabytes each. This was described as "phase 1" of the TiVo movie download service and in Q1 2009 would be followed by a service with smaller files and progressive downloading.

Unfortunately what TiVo did not warn about was the unappealing nature of the movies to be offered. These include: The Water Horse, My Best Friend's Wedding, Madagascar, Men in Black, A League of Their Own, Jerry Maguire and Hudson Hawk. Some of these aren't so bad movies, but have already been shown on free-to-air TV, so what is the point using up limited broadband with them?

TiVo's strength is to add extra metadata via the Internet, to the content provided over the broadcast channels. Using the TiVo to download bulk content misses the point. Given that Channel 7, who own TiVo in Australia, are part of the Freeview consortium, they could use TiVo to create something interesting. Freeview is a weak attempt at marking free-to-air TV. About all Freeview is offering is an electronic program guide and one extra TV channel for each commercial station. In addition to this TiVo could be used to provide some interesting alternatives to Pay TV.

So far all that has been announced is a sports channel by Network Ten, to be called "One". The other commercial channels have not announced what they will put on their extra channel, if anything, or when.

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