Thursday, May 03, 2007
Now TiVo has allied itself with Amazon.com to take video content from Amazon's Unbox service and put it on the TV in the living room. Unbox is an online video distribution service that allows users to download TV shows for about two dollars a piece, rent movies for about two dollars a piece, or buy movies for between ten and fifteen dollars each.
In the past, the Unbox service has had some limitations that have gotten in the way of it being widely adopted. These limitations include the fact that in order to take advantage of Unbox, users had to download special software that only runs on the Windows XP operating system. While that hasn't changed, it was definitely a limiting factor. Now, with the ability to play those movies and TV shows on a full sized TV in the living room, Unbox has fewer impediments to letting users take advantage of it.
While this is definitely a stride forward in integrating the home computer with the home entertainment system, as well as making it easier for consumers to access the video that they want when they want it, there are still some practical matters that need to be ironed out with this technology. One of the problems is that there are so many competing types of technology out there. For example, when you want to watch a DVD, you just pop it into your DVD player without worrying about what company made the DVD. Same thing with a CD, and with computer software- as long as you have the right operating system and computer components- you can run the software on any computer regardless of the manufacturer.
Internet video, especially with all of these proprietary systems for downloading and watching it, is different though. Combine that with the fact that a lot of online video stores still have a relatively limited selection, and you might have to juggle two or three different systems for getting the videos that you want.
In other words, while Internet video has a lot of promise, it's far from being a mature enough technology to be practical for most people.