There is a bit of buzz tonight about an upcoming TV download service called TIOTI, for “Tape it off the Internet.” It looks to combine legitimate television downloads (we’ve written about providers here) with Bittorent feeds and DVD purchases. It seems to have a nice wrapper, RSS subscriptions to shows, etc.
It’s clear that this is a product that people will want to use, although more for the Bittorent content than for the for-pay tv shows. A comparison engine for premium TV is nice, but each service has its own viewer and rules (most don’t work with Macs, for example, although iTunes does), and consumers are not going to want to install multiple pieces of software just to view different TV shows. Also, upcoming search engines like CastTV are already doing a good job of searching both premium and user generated video content. It’s unlikely that TIOTI’s video search technology will be as good as what CastTV has developed.
And while the Bittorent product will be compelling for users, the TV networks are likely to attempt to crush it. One of the founders, Paul Pod, doesn’t seem to worried about the Bittorent issue though. In response to a question about the legal issues around their integration of Bittorent, he says “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
I’m certainly eager to try out TIOTI, but The Venice Project, another TV startup that we are tracking, will likely be a far more interesting, and legitimate, business.