5 Things AppleTV needs to match Amazon Unbox+Tivo

amatun07022.jpgSo that whole Amazon Unbox/Tivo deal is something else, huh?  When Unbox first launched the entire web met it with a resounding “eh”, but this new alliance with Tivo has suddenly made Unbox a very serious player in the digital content world, and has provided a much needed solution to downloading digital content and playing it on your television.

I would dare say (and please don’t kill me here) that for cable subscribers this Amazon/Tivo deal may be a better solution than AppleTV.  With Apple’s new media device set to ship this month, they have some SERIOUS catching up to do with this Amazon/Tivo alliance.

Here are 5 features that the Amazon/Tivo alliance has that AppleTV does not.  If Apple is going to come out victorious here, some (or all) of these features need to make their way to Apple TV.

1) Movie Rentals – That’s right, with the UnboxTivo combo you can rent movies, download them, and watch them anytime you want within the rental period.

2) Remote Scheduling – the UnboxTivo service allows you to log on to Amazon’s site, buy a movie, tv show, or rental, and set it to begin downloading on your home box.  So you could decide to download Heroes while you’re at work, and have it waiting for you when you get home.

3) Online Back-up – With iTunes, you’re pretty much screwed if you lose your files.  It has been reported that Apple will allow you to re-download once in certain cases, but with the Unbox/Tivo deal Amazon’s site keeps a record of everything you’ve downloaded.  You can then delete that off of your Tivo whenever you want, and re-download it at any point in the future.

4) More Studio Support – Amazon has the support of Warner Bros. Fox, BBC and other studios that Apple does not yet have.  This HAS to change, and a rental model will AT LEAST get these movies where we can enjoy them on Apple TV.

5) PVR – The Tivo part of this alliance is nothing to sneeze at.  They are providing more than just a box for users to download content…they also provide the premiere DVR service in the world right now.

Now, there is one important thing to mention that the Unbox/Tivo alliance has that Apple doesn’t have…that we DON’T want…a monthly service fee.  The Unbox portion may not cost anything extra a month, but Tivo service isn’t free…and probably never will be.  That is the biggest thing against the Unbox/Tivo alliance, but will it be enough to keep users from the service?  In a word: no.

Comments

  1. #2 doesn’t sound like an AppleTV feature – it sounds like you just need to Remote Desktop to your home machine. I can’t think of any other programs or features that can circumvent actually logging on to your computer. Remember, AppleTV requires a computer; Tivo doesn’t.

    And remember the Apple mantra: it’s not the features, stupid. It’s whether you get most of what you want easily.

  2. Neven –

    Do a little research before you start calling people stupid, ok buddy?

    If you do any kind of remote scheduling you DO need a computer with a Tivo.

    I shouldn’t have to set up a remote desktop when all I want to do is tell iTunes to download a song to my home system.

    It’s a feature that Amazon Unbox and Tivo have, that Apple doesn’t. It’s something I would like to see…and I doubt I’m the only one.

    And Apple’s mantra is not now, nor has it EVER been that they’re not about features…just about getting most of what you want easily.

    Apple is about keeping things simple.

    Setting up a remote desktop to download things from work, at a coffee shop, or on vacation is not “simple”.

  3. I pay about $ 8 per month for Tivo –saved that in not having Showtime etc. From Amazon I’m getting movies/TV episodes downloaded straight to my 2 Series 3s with 30 hrs HD storage each. Using Airport Extreme (n) I am downloading 1.5 hr. movies in 30 min. at TIVO’s best recordable. With VisualHub and TivoToGo I will export iTunes videos in TIVO format. Its a winning combination of the Mac’s and iTunes links to short videos, podcasts, internet videos and Tivo’s DVR/ movie services for the TV.

    Later this year TIVO execs have promised their biggest investors to bring out a lower cost HD box-$300-500. Later this spring Comcast in an agreement with TIVO will offer a inexpensive TIVO service upgrade for 30 million subscribers. And if you have a TIVO account and an Amazon account as many people do, TIVO Central will link the two accounts for you with a couple of clicks. After this onetime step one simply goes to one’s Amazon Media Library page to one-click-buy/rent and a second click –on a popup– to send your movie choice to your rec room, bedroom, or library etc. Tivo box. One can rent and hold for thirty days or play within 24 hours. One can download the rental to two boxes or buy, download, play, delete, and redownload as many times as one wants–a great storage saver.

    In short Apple may have the hype and a nice iTunes store but they have a lot of catching up to do and TIVO is quietly moving up fast– just look at its stock value and its business plan at TIVO .com. Its moving much like Apple stock was at the start of iTunes.

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