TIVO

I loved my Tivo, loved it. Like all Tivo it users it seems, I was a huge evangelist for their company and product. If you're observant, you'll notice that I said 'loved', as in past tense. I cancelled my Tivo subscription today, and will exclusively use my beautiful MythTV box from now on.

I never upgraded to the Series 2 box because even though the feature-set was cool, I knew right off the bat they wouldn't be able to do the things they needed to for me to be interested. They're in so tight with the media industry that they have to disable or not include the best features for their customers, like me being able to download video off the net and watch it on my Tivo. Or send a show to a friend who missed it. These are perfectly valid and legal but the media people don't like it so they won't do it. This is exactly the wrong way to look at things.

Instead of partnering with the media companies and bending over for them, Tivo should have partnered with their users. They should have trusted their users enough, having built up an insane amount of goodwill over the years, that they would have helped the company out even if the media industries tried to sue. Tivo has more than enough "non-infringing uses" for this type of thing that it's not even clear the media companies would be able to go to court. But even if they did go to court, they should have trusted their users. A bunch of nerds raised $4 million dollars to "save" Star Trek: Enterprise, for pete's sake, like people wouldn't have donated to Tivo to help them tell the media industry off in court? People who don't even have Tivos would have donated to any legal fight to define user's rights to do what they wish their media. What Tivo, and most other electronics companies, forget is that there are more of us than there are of them. The increase in revenue from providing these very useful, cool, and easy-to-describe services surely would have not only prevented their precarious financial state, they would have provided a financial reason for the company to support the new initiatives. Some people have a hard time seeing the benefit of a Tivo over a VCR but being able to send shows over the net or download videos is something that everyone would "get". But no, they're just now getting around to their extremely limited TivoToGo service and programming API so it's too late. I can do all the things I want with my MythTV box and not have to feel like I'm personally bending over for the media companies by supporting a company that has abandoned me for them.

I saw a great tshirt on BoingBoing today: "YOUR FAILED BUSINESS MODEL IS NOT MY PROBLEM". Damn right. Until the media industry wakes up and provides me a way to pay for the shows I want to watch and download them, I'm going to continue to download them and not pay. I will not be held hostage to their outmoded business model. It's too bad Tivo never recognized the power of their userbase. I hope they do someday. I'd love to help them kick the asses of the media companies.