The Amazon-TiVo announcement, which TVMama viewers already knew about (Where have you all been? TiVo has been advertising the service already – see the ad on the right side of the page. And the video above on how to do it is one month old!), is gathering a lot of reaction today.
Nevertheless, the official press announcement caused the official press to comment on it. Rick Aristotle Munarriz of Motley Fool notes that it is problematic for Netflix, whose own instant viewing download service (a freebie given to Netflix subscribers) has recorded only 5 million views since it launched six months ago.
Munarriz called that total “low when you consider that Netflix has 6.8 million subscribers. In other words, the average subscriber has checked out 0.75 movies or commercial-free TV episodes through the service since January.” He says services like Unbox on TiVo will threaten Netflix. Who will want to watch downloads on little computer screens (the Netflix service) when they can be seen on the TV, he asks (and rightly – we say).
Stephen Withers of ITWire in Australia notes: “Most of us realize that watching movies on computers is the pits. That’s why the video streaming features of Apple TV and Xbox 360 have caused a stir. However, Amazon and digital video recording provider TiVo have conspired to take the PC out of the picture with a new service that enables viewers to download movies directly to their TiVo PVRs.”
He described it as “a much simpler process than downloading content to a PC or Mac, and then having to sync or stream it to a device….is also a lot less trouble than hooking a computer up to the TV.”
Agreed! Even tech geeks complain about being unable to sync their POC’s and TV’s.
But the Amazon announcement doesn’t mean its approach will dominate the marketplace. Thomas Claburn of Information Week says “the instant gratification factor will likely make NetFlix customers…think twice about continuing to receive NetFlix DVDs through the mail,” but also notes that instant gratification for a two-hour movie takes about one hour even for those with a 5-Mbps broadband connection.
What this all boils down to is that we don’t have a single device or methodology of getting online content out of the box and onto the TV. Some will prefer a relatively simply device such as AppleTV; others won’t even want to add an extra device, but will want to control it all from the remote and the couch. But all of these systems have their glitches. It’s going to be a while before all the dust settles, and TVMama will be here throughout the shakeout to guide you along the way.