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Thursday, November 24, 2005

TiVo ToGo-ALL GOOD for Apple, Now Where's Our iPod Direct-Connect

TiVo is announcing an update to Series2 subscribers that their TiVo ToGo service will now allow conversion to "ipod video" and Sony's PSP.

Some are quick to call this another Fairplay "reverse engineering - Real Networks-like shenanigan."

Here's why Apple has not responded and it's all good news for Apple.

a) iPod video is NOT an actual format. It's MPEG-4, it's HHC.264 - whatever you want to call it. It's a standard format and so far, there seems to be 5 new shareware apps a day to convert the 50 video formats out there to a 320x240 MPEG-4 size to playback on the iPod so the fact that TiVo is offering this feature means they are 51st in line to join the party. There is nothing being reverse-engineered here.

b) Apple gets another $15 million dollars worth of free publicity for the "video ipod."

c) Apple gets to go to the other networks and scare them (a little) ... hey, would you rather we sell your little TV shows for $1.99 or would you rather let them tape it off the air for free?

d) Will this actually cut into Apple itunes sales (even if Apple adds other networks?) Never mind that there are only 1-million actual users of TiVo branded DVR's and that only Series2 users who have a PC, AND TiVo ToGo AND a video ipod AND who are interested in spending two/three hours to convert and import an hour of video ... raise your hands. The answer is no to cutting in sales and yes to selling more video ipods.

e) Even if someone whips up a standalone iPod DVR device (how cool would that be though!) with an ipod connector interface that records in MPEG-4 320x240 - it's still good news for Apple since they'll make money from the connector, the MADE FOR IPOD program and selling you a video iPod ... plus no matter how great your TV reception is, $1.99 at the itunes store will still buy you a better resolution MPEG-4 since they compressed theirs from a digital master and of course, like selling LOST/DESPERATE now - you still have to tape it ahead of time ...

f) Basically, Apple gets more free PR, even more linkage to the cool mindshare of 'portable video,' again - ticking off Archos & Creative that apparently to the media & the general public, ONLY Apple makes a portable video device ... all and all, as if Apple needed any more help to sell more iPods ...


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