TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO ) might have been the last name you thought of when pondering the "open source" movement, but today, the DVR maker announced that it is opening its platform to developers. Look out, people -- some cool new features could be coming to a TiVo near you.
Many of us know what this means, at least in the most obvious sense -- the addition of legions of techie eyeballs will help enhance Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick TiVo with more features to help differentiate it from the big bad cable guys, such as Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA ) and Cox, and soon even its erstwhile friend, DirecTV (NYSE: DTV ) .
And of course, judging by a conversation with a friend of mine last summer -- where he proclaimed that TiVo's "just a Linux box" that he's tinkered with a bit himself -- I suppose I should have guessed that TiVo might be a candidate for some open-source fun.
But what does it really mean? Doing a little recon mission across the Web, we can find that this is part of the project called Tahiti. That's the same project touted recently that will help TiVo become a device of convergence, giving it future abilities, such as downloading movies and trailers from the Internet as well as engaging in certain types of commerce.
According to CNET, the first kit available to third-party developers includes three applications: a weather update, an RSS reader (for the uninitiated, RSS readers are for use in aggregating and reading Web logs, commonly known as blogs), and a game. (In its press announcement, TiVo also mentioned "a wide variety" of future applications expected, such as music and photo services, advanced program and movie guides, and sports applications.)
Given the popularity of such applications at the moment, one can see how the creative forces of many could possibly give TiVo a leg up in its bid to become an integral part of living rooms -- and home networks.
Although many people fear that the challenges facing TiVo are too great, I stand firm in my belief that if anybody can face such competitive challenges, it's TiVo. The company has a tradition of innovation and big-picture thinking (and subsequent killer features) that it will require to woo customers from the pending assault of rival DVR products bundled into cable providers' subscriptions.
When speaking of the Tahiti project, TiVo visionary Mike Ramsay told CNET recently, "DVR is not the end game; it's just the beginning." Crystal ball gazing into the future is the way that TiVo is going to avoid becoming a relic of the past.
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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.