So yesterday morning I’m playing hockey, as I do almost each Sunday, and I’m having a conversation on the bench with a friend about DVR technology. If you’re still trying to make sense of all the abbreviations and tech products in our new world, DVR is basically what Tivo does. So anyway, I’m telling my friend about how good MLB’s Official 2004 Baseball Playoff Movie was and he says he hasn’t seen it. I told him I thought the program was so good that I saved it on my DVR in case I ever want to watch it again. That was that. I know, not exactly fascinating conversation, but stick with me.
A few minutes later, something hit me as I was skating around. Sure, we can all buy DVD recorders and record such programs onto disc and give them to friends. But that just seems so old school, so laborious…..doesn’t it? So 2001.
What we need is the ability to share shows or any content we have on our media boxes – instantly. I’m sure someone is working on this already, for it seems way too obvious. It probably already exists, in fact. But in case it doesn’t, I’m really onto something. How sweet would it be to record Game 7 of the Yankees series and just ship it off to your brother in Iraq, who missed the game because he was too busy stopping the search for WMD’s? Even better, the prospects for gaming here are astronomical when you consider the opportunity for distribution. Game companies, properly compensated of course, would be drooling over the idea.
How sweet would it be to record the J. Giels Band video “Love Stinks” from VH1 Classic (stay with me here) and send it to your friend, then call him and laugh about it while he/she is watching because Magic Dick is playing the harmonica in the video, but there’s actually no harmonica played in the actual song?
Furthermore, much like wireless players out there like Verizon who don’t charge for network-to-network calls, if you record a program, you should be able to set up pre-loaded “friends” right from your cable menu so when the show is done recording, you could bring up a screen that says “send this program to:” and have a list of your Comcast friends to send it off to at no charge. Chances are all of your friends in the immeadiate area are using the same cable service you are, so this would be easy.
Like I said, I’m pretty sure this is in the works, especially as TV and PC’s continue on their inevitable path of convergence. But I’d sure like to see this sooner than later. I haven’t read up too much on the Microsoft Media Cente 2005, but I think they’re starting to get at some of these ideas. Of course, there’s tons of potential problems here, too: much like email, the potential for junk coming into your cable box is something that would need to be thoroughly built out and tested. There are probably all kinds of copyright issues involved, too.
As the world of physical media product (CD, DVD) slowly drifts into the abyss, in fact, I suddenly can’t imagine a world without the ability to instantly share programs or other media with your friends without having to go out, buy recordable DVD’s, buy the component to play them on, blah blah blah. Those are days are (almost) over. It’s got to have companies like Netflix shaking in their shoes. Right now, I have a DVR, High-Def and digital cable box in one component. It’s not far-fetched at all that one day, one single box with one plug in the wall will contain my music, my video games, my DVR, my cable TV, my phone voice mail – the works. I say bring it on.
Oh, by the way, these “thoughts” rarely just pop into my head during random hockey games. Normally I’m focused on what I’m actually doing. So the sudden obsession about it was certainly the exception to the norm. I have a hard enough time keeping the puck on my stick as it is….
Final thought: I’m not sure there’s a better show on TV right now than Arrested Development. Scrubs certainly runs a close second, but there’s nothing more fresh, funny or innovative than this program right now. Goes to show you that lowest common denominator, lillywhite sitcoms don’t always have to be so down-the-middle.