Friday, January 28, 2005

Matthew Zinn of TiVo

Matthew Zinn, General Counsel of TiVO speaks to the CLCC WWM plenary session, January 28, 2005.

Matthew gave us an overview of the TiVO technology, relating it to how the DVR industry is changing much of the landscape that our clients will be facing in the coming years. TiVO is moving it's technology to be able to use combinations of traditional broadcast/cable/satellite content providers as well as content that will be delivered through broadband connections. This will allow for personalized delivery to individual users. Among other things, this allows for micro-audiences that might not be able to justify a traditional TV channel (even in the brave new world of "57 Channels (and Nothing's On)").

The new broadband services, if they are to be commercially viable, pose numerous technology and legal challenges. The size of the files, and the need for big pipes, and the need to make 'ordering' easy enough for "anybody's grandfather" to order the shows, make the technology a bit of a challenge -- but not insurmountable. iTunes has shown how it might be done in the music world, so there are business models out there that can offer guidance. Any legal regime will probably have to deal with content owners' demands for DRM and/or encryption. (Digital Rights Management is really an expression of a user's rights in the content, which requires encryption as well as a control mechanism.) There will need to be an anti-piracy method. Patent-holders will certainly come out of the woodwork once this gets released, and the company needs to have a method to address this concern as well (which led to the interesting turn of phrase, the "patent terrorist").

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