Time Shifting: TiVo & RSSA while back, I swore I wasn't going to be one of those people who can't shut up about their TiVo. So much for good intentions. I just can't help myself; there's something incredibly gratifying about time-shifting. Just last year, my wife and I, who both work strange hours, would end up sitting down in front of the TV at 9pm and watching whatever sitcom reruns happened to be on. Even Seinfeld gets old after the 17th time you've seen an episode. Now, we get to watch shows that are actually new, or things we missed the first time around.
I could go on and on about TiVo's surprisingly usable interface, but that's not my point today. Yesterday, I was pondering just how much TiVo is like RSS. Like an RSS reader, I program TiVo with the content publishers and titles that I want to follow, and it lets me know when new entries arrive. I decide when I have the time to watch, at which point it's hand-picked content that I already know I'm interested in.
I'm starting to think that this subscription-style model may even be better than on-demand. The problem with on-demand, either with television or the internet, is that consumers are often overwhelmed by choice. There's something stressful about having the world at your fingertips, especially when you've just finished cooking dinner and are trying to relax. When I sit down at the TiVo, I've got a small number of highly-targeted choices. When I sit down at my RSS reader, I've got content by trusted authors that I know I want to catch up on. That's a much less daunting task than sitting in front of Google thinking "what do I want to know?" or surfing 500 channels.