I like this NY Times article about various hack-your-own-TiVo-for-free solutions that are cropping up on the web: Arts > Television > Steal This Show” href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/30/arts/television/30manl.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5090&en=e82b9db497df2928&ex=1264741200&partner=rssuserland”>Steal This Show. It makes the point rather forcefully that no TV executive is going to be able to stop services like MythTV (an open source TiVo-like program) and Videora from taking off and subsequently putting the hurt on TV’s advertising revenue model. We’ve heard many predictions of TiVo’s imminent demise, and they may yet come true, but who of TiVo’s current for-pay competitors will last much longer? Whatever happens, you can be sure that the pressure from free competitors like MythTV will drive down the price whatever TiVoid commercial solution is left standing. It’s just not that hard to make a digital video recorder service, now that the pioneers have shown us how to do it.
What’s sad is that television content producers (like the NFL for example) insist that products like TiVo be less useful than customers want them to be in order to protect intellectual property. This effectively drives people to free gray-area solutions like MythTV and punishes corporations like TiVo that are trying their hardest to color inside the lines. By punishing the one they have leverage over they eventually lose leverage altogether as the game spins out of their control.