How Amazon + TiVo Could Change TV

I’ve been a longtime TiVo subscriber and have two Series Two DVR’s networked in our house. I’ve upgraded each with a 250GB hard drive so we have more TV and movies to watch than we can keep up with most times. It’s great to be able to move content from one TiVo to the other over the home network so each DVR has it’s own unique collection of Season Passes.

We also subscribe to Blockbuster online after years on NetFlix. We made the move a couple years back for a few reasons like the ability to return and immediately rent movies in the store, rent video games with our 2 free coupons each month and the price was lower. In checking out NetFlix today it seems they have caught up with Blockbuster on the subscription rates but still falls short on games and in-store returns.

But is seems NetFlix is also offering a downloadable movie service and I’ve heard Blockbuster is working on the same thing. This sounds great but the NetFlix service now only allows for viewing the movies on your PC due to the copy protection. I don’t want to watch movies on my PC but on my TV. In fact, I really like what Amazon and TiVo has done in this regard providing both a rental service and the outright purchase of video downloads that I can immediately download into my TiVo. The video quality is good and the selection of content is similar to iTunes.

So the next logical move here is to combine the Blockbuster/NetFlix model and offer a queue-based, digital video subscription service. For your $17.95 per month you’d get 3 movies or TV show episodes available to watch whenever you wanted. I’d also like to see Amazon’s stupid viewing restrictions taken off so I don’t have to watch each movie within 24 hours. When I finish and delete the movie, the next one in my queue automatically downloads in the background. I think this would be a home-run and I’d probably give up on physical media altogether if something like this came out. Microsoft has the same opportunity here with their Xbox 360 Marketplace and even have the infrastructure for HD video.

So who’ll be the first to do this? Amazon, Microsoft, NetFlix, Blockbuster or maybe even Apple? I’m hoping Amazon and TiVo show the way here.

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