I was talking to an media investor friend of mine today was a very early proponent of TIVO – as I was.
I still have my first SAT-T60 box from 10 years ago on DIRECTV – and the UI on that box is still worlds better than almost any UI I see on cable.
It’s simple to use – and delivers the information I want – either throug a grid or search better than others.
In a world with unlimited video choice – the guy who develops the best organizing tool is going to win.
You would think that with all the bandwidth into your home – that it should be the cable guys who win – but this is not the case. By going directly to the TV manufacturers – Netflix is crushing the market for streaming – and will likely on grow far into the future.
It’s the UI combined with the recommendation engine. Simple and easyh – and highly trusted
Boxee is trying to do the same thing in online video. Having learned the lesson of Tivo, these guys will make like Netflix and go directly to the TV manufacturers. Then you just don’t have to worry about the cable guys. With all the systems they have in place – and all the middlewear etc… it takes forever to roll out a new UI – as opposed to just adjusting a rev online.
The movie studios will get this pretty quickly – the TV guys less so. They still have to protect their turf – and the network schedule is still sacrosanct – although less so over time. The movie guys have already gone through one sales cycle (the theater) and are looking to replace DVD profits. The more VOD sales they can get with almost zero incremental cost the better.
Of course as sluggish and bumbling as you might think the cable companies – they will still win – because they are the only pipes large enough to actually push HD bandwidth down the line. So while you might cut the cord on your video service (and that is a very tough putt for a lot of people who like to watch sports – which is exactly 100% of the households) you are going to pay for the bandwidth. and guess who is collecting that check?
You figure sooner or later someone like cable Labs would just buy TIVO and put it on every box in America to capture more and more VOD share – but that’s just me guessing.
One thing that is not a guess is that he who organizes peoples video habit (and let’s face it as fast as internet usage is growing and as important as everybody thinks it is – regular old television dwarfs it in terms of usage and revenue) is going to do pretty well for themselves.