I liked my betamax. Unfortunately for Sony, there's really not much advantage to being first. I don't miss it. TiVo is a terrific product but it's hard to see how it won't end up a betamax. Yesterday, DirecTV announced the launch of its own Digital Video Recorder (DVR) service after divesting itself of its TiVo ownership stake last June.
The original TiVo idea was that it would be a service, like HBO, that you'd subscribe to, not a machine that you buy. The cable companies never bought in. They thought "we can do that!" and planned their own DVR service right off. TiVo started building machines. The DirecTV deal gave them a boost. Buzz built; Hollywood celebs love TiVo. There was excited talk about NetFlix and TiVo teaming up to deliver movies on demand. Nice when it happens, but they need the killer ap now. Big subscriber numbers have never materialized. Instead in Manhattan and Macon you can get DVR service from the cable company, and though you have to buy through other cable packages to get the service, it's got great features.
It will be some time before that comes to Milledgeville. In the meantime I've got a TiVo decal in my car's rear window and lifetime service since 2000 (ported over to my Series 2 DVR through a special offer). I like the way TiVo integrates with my home network -- I can listen to iTune playlists or view iPhoto albums through my TiVo (Windows Media Player works too). I'm happy. But with the sale of the fast-forward button and now the DirecTV news, my guess is that these are the good old days.