There’s an interesting article on CNET’s news.com entitled, TiVo looks for an edge. It’s fairly non-technical, but unless you are a Java developer, you won’t get too excited. The author posits that there is a trend afoot to turn TiVo set-top boxes into media hubs. TiVo is built upon the Linux operating system and, those schooled in the art, know it as a greenfield for hackers and even legit developers – so what’s the big news?
The big news is how confused everyone involved with TiVo seems to be. If you thought that the company’s original value proposition was confusing to consumers, just how clear will the, “we want to be your media hub” proposition be? In the year 2005, media hubs are a solution in search of a problem. Early adopters need (and already have) them. The next level of media hub requires a leap of faith. Do you pray to your computer god, to your set-top box god or even your game console god? The battle lines have not been drawn, the products (for the most part) don’t yet exist, and the form factors are unproven.
Perhaps TiVo is on to something new. “Let’s make the consumer value proposition simpler by complicating the offering.” It wouldn’t be the first time a technology company tried to engineer their way out of a marketing problem.