Can TiVo Play the Video Star?

Cue the American Idol theme. TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO  ) wants to be the next video star. The often-maligned heavy of the digital video recording market announced at this year's Consumer Electronics Show that it would enable customers to browse Web video through its players.

Oh goody. Gootube on the boob tube.

I'm sure that'll be nice. I like my Web video. Watching impressionist Frank Caliendo ape Jim Rome is about as good as it gets on the Web for me. Others like cats posing as Spartan soldiers. Others like ... whatever.

More than 100 million YouTube videos are watched daily. TiVo seems to think giving its customers access to this digital playground will be a difference maker. Quoting CEO Tom Rogers from the company's press release:

TiVo is building toward the dream of providing one stop for all content, through one box, integrated into one interface, accessible through one simple remote control. With TiVo providing this web video feature, along with 20,000 Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) titles, millions of songs, thousands of music videos, and an enormous collection of photos, we have already gone a long way toward building out the dream.

Well, then, strike up the band!

Or don't. Here's the thing: TiVo works for live TV because, without it, live TV can't be paused or saved. Web video doesn't have that problem. So where's the value being added? Is TiVo saying that Web video is best played on TV? Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) might agree, but Apple TV has been a rare bust for the company voted the best stock for 2008 by you Fools.

Adding Gootube isn't like adding movies via Amazon's Unbox service. To the contrary; a feature like this only becomes interesting when TiVo strikes up deals with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) , Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) to publish targeted ads with Web video feeds. Only then can this really become a revenue generator. Until then, don't expect me, or any other investor, to tune in, TiVo.

Don't touch that remote! Related Foolishness awaits:


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