Walmart

TiVolution and Extinction

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Over at LewRockwell.com, Mike Rogers, their man in Japan, sees the future of digital television, and it's a grim one for advertisers and for TiVo alike:

I'm guessing that most folks are completely unaware of a new product that is about to be sold on the Japanese market in April of 2005. It is called HDD DVD. That would translate into "Hard drive disk, digital video disk." At first glance, this might look a bit like TIVO--a popular hard disk recorder in use in the United States--but HDD DVD is much more--or much less--depending on how you look at it. HDD DVD will allow you to record programs, sports events, movies, etc., and cut your own re-write-able DVD's for storage. Not only that, HDD DVD will not have a monthly charge like TIVO does and the units will sell for approximately the same price. With TIVO charging about $12 per month for use of their product, it is easy to see how TIVO will go the way of the Beta video once HDD DVD comes on the market.

Besides HDD DVD completely revolutionizing the mass media as we know it today, it most certainly will bankrupt many satellite broadcasters and possibly TIVO--unless those folks have something up their sleeves. And it doesn't matter if we are talking about satellite radio, satellite TV, cable, FM radio, or even multi-media TV and radio conglomerates such as Clear Channel. They all have a decidedly dim future. And there's not a thing they can do about it…..

HDD DVD is basically a computer hard drive system coupled with a DVD RWR (Read, write, re-write) player. The unit is merely switched on in the morning--no programming necessary--when you are heading out for work. When you return home, an on-screen menu will show you exactly what was recorded and at what times. The menu listing will allow you to click a button to immediately view only what you want to view and in what order--as easily as choosing a track on a CD. Television and radio commercials, or entire sections of programs, can be automatically deleted. I'm not talking technology that will be outrageously expensive either. Through some investigation, I found that Wal-Mart will be offering units at $299 dollars by this Christmas in the United States. Perhaps $99 dollars by Christmas 2006?

Speculation on the potential hows and whys of financing the production of televised entertainment in a world such as Rogers sees looming--or reasons why he's all wet--welcome.