Jack and Jill Q. Consumer can easily be forgiven if they are intimidated by the onrushing flood of entertainment options. You might need a Ph.D. in consumer electronics to get your living room hooked up correctly these days.
The Insignia TVs won't come with TiVo's trademark digital recorder hardware, and the software is TiVo's "latest non-DVR" product. Given TiVo's decade-long experience in organizing and recommending video content to its users, I can certainly see the platform taking the place of my cable company's menu system to great effect. So far, so good.
But the real trouble with watching TV will begin in the electronics store. Say you want to have a user-friendly interface and access to a wide variety of online entertainment channels -- Netflix
This is what TiVo was born to do in the end; software licensing for connected living-room hardware. TiVo CEO Tom Rogers believes that his single-box approach will beat the dual set-top boxes you need in Google's model, but I'm not sure that argument holds water. Give it some time, and Google TV might get installed on Time Warner Cable's digital cable boxes, just as TiVo lives on some Comcast
Of course, consumers have been able to pick between dozens of car brands for a century or so, and the dynamics of competition in an open market will soon decide which media hub solutions rise to the top. TiVo looks as good as anybody I can think of, though Google's algorithmic expertise could win the day, too. What if Google up and bought TiVo? The entertainment dominance would be total and instant, and probably enough to attract antitrust scrutiny. That would be a fun show to watch.
Will TiVo make a dent in the hyperconnected TV market? How about Google? Please discuss in the comments below, and don't be afraid to throw in some dark horses, too.