TIVO Deathwatch: A Potpourri of Bad Decisions

Every time I promise myself to abandon my TIVO deathwatch, something else ludicrous happens.

nailcoffinSince it’s been awhile, let me say again that I love my HDTV DirecTIVO. Even though many of them fail early and often (one of mine included), TIVOs are great. But once DirecTV needlessly abandoned it in favor of its own branded box, TIVO has been running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to make deals to save itself.

Some of the deals make sense, some don’t. But nothing, perhaps in the history of space and time, is as dumb as this- TIVO is all fired up about its upcoming ad search service. That’s right, soon we’ll be able to search the ads we bought our TIVOs to avoid. TIVO thinks advertisers will engage in a lucrative bidding war for the most desirable keywords. Maybe we’ll even get to search for our favorite infomercial. Dionne Warwick will rocket (back?) to stardom. Maybe next week TIVO will announce a searchable spam index (normally I would consider that humor, but in this case consider it a prediction).

Does anyone, anywhere think this is a good thing? I wish Steven Hawking would write a series of books on how TIVO went from the best digital product of the past 10 years to a company that believes ad searching is a good feature.

More evidence that TIVO has lost it:

1) According to Tom Rogers, President and CEO of TiVo, ad searching is a new and innovative advertising solution that will result in a better user experience for the viewer.

2) TIVO’s much discussed (and sleep inducing to me) deal to make content available to video iPods might just get it sued by one of the networks TIVO has been catering to by adding all sorts of DRM features to the content we record. You can’t please all the people all the time, but can TIVO actually manage to displease all the people all the time?

3) The photos of TIVO’s other new deal (with Yahoo, Fandango (whatever that is) and Live365 (which [use to host] Rancho Radio)) look like the rebirth of WebTV, only without Microsoft pushing it. If TIVO wants to make a deal that just might save it, go do a Media PC-like, HDTV-inclusive deal with, that’s right, Microsoft.

Marketwatch has an article that basically says TIVO is doing too many deals and too little thoughtful planning. I’ve been saying the same thing (though less eloquently) for some time. Maybe it’s too late for TIVO. If not, it will be soon if it doesn’t stop thrashing around for a life saving deal and decide what it wants to be and to whom.

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