TIVO Deathwatch: Clash with a Titan?

Variety reports that TIVO, through its new deal-a-day CEO, is moving towards a showdown (cue Archie Bell song). Seems the TV networks, who presumably are the requiring force behind the DRM functions TIVO has been experimenting with, are all a tither about the forthcoming feature (or maybe it’s already here- I have a $1000 HD-TIVO/doorstop that doesn’t get any of the new features rolled out to the $100 boxes) that will allow people to download network TV shows to their iPods (really- will anybody actually do this?). Of course the networks are also worked up about the fact the TIVOs allow you to fast forward through commercials, even though (a) VCRs have allowed this for decades and (b) that’s one of the main reasons people buy TIVOs (along with the ability to hold doors open once they are pre-maturely obsolete).

Here’s my thing:

1) People can record network shows for their own use. The networks fought and lost that battle a long time ago.

2) No one is going to do this purely to rob the TV networks of their rights. While I will never experience it firsthand, I’m pretty sure a show on an iPod is less fulfilling experience than a show on an HDTV big-screen.

3) These shows are broadcast for free. I get most of my network HDTV over the air and so do most other DirecTV customers. It’s not like people are stealing unreleased movies and putting them on the internet.

I honestly believe that the networks and the record label cartel are so freaked out by the gradual decline of the goose that has laid golden eggs for so long that their knee-jerk reaction any time they hear the word download is to start screaming and flailing around wildly.

The cat is out of the bag as far as media distribution goes. These companies need to start adapting to the world, because I don’t think the world is going to stop turning just because their gravy train has slowed down a little.

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