I have a confession to make: I will soon be the owner of an 80–hour TiVo box. “How can you do this?” you might ask. Admittedly, I have not been the biggest proponent of TiVo for the last couple of years. However, with the arrival of our baby, my wife and I need to modify the way that we watch tv — we need to be able to pause live tv, we would like to be able to record our favorite programs and watch them at our leisure, and I would like to be able to take record tv programs with me when I travel — and TiVo, right now, is the best solution. That’s not to say that if a better solution comes along from a company like Apple, we wouldn’t change over, but the other simple factor is this: I am very comfortable with technology while it just needs to work easily for my wife (not that she doesn’t understand technology, she does better than a lot of people, but recording tv can’t be a pain in the ass or she won’t use it).
When I was weighing back and forth on how much of a hypocrite I would be by getting TiVo after bashing it for so long, I came across a post on TechDirt regarding unbundling tv shows from the stations, which is what the rumored Apple media center is supposed to do:
. . . the next generation of children will have no concept of what a channel is because they'll just subscribe to shows individually. The thing is, just as setting up a la carte channels would mean a big change for cable companies, setting up the ability to subscribe to individual shows would be an even bigger leap. That's why it's unlikely the cable companies will be the first to go there (though, they've done some experiments with on-demand shows). It's the perfect way, however, for the telcos pushing IPTV to jump into the game, by offering something a lot more interesting and different than just a cable copycat.
Unbundling the shows certainly would solve all of the issues that I’m trying to solve right now with TiVo, but we need a solution now. Certainly I look forward to when I can just subscribe to a show without having to pay for 500 channels that I don’t use, but for the short term, I suppose that I’ll just have to be happy using TiVo’s Season Pass feature.