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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It seems that the time is just about right to start to be able to buy things through the TiVo. We have a small start with Fandango, but that is limited both in the fact that 1) it is kind of a pain (you have to enter your credit card number each time) and 2) I for one really don't see the value added to the service that makes me want to pay for it, but it is a step in the right direction.

So what's the next step? I would think a partnership with a retailer would make a good next step. I speculated on an Amazon partnership earlier and I still think that could make sense, but there are lots of other possibilities. New release DVDs, music from the Best Buy samples, maybe partner with Netflix on selling their PV movies that they have been pushing recently, and the ever favorite ordering a Pizza from your TiVo. :)

The key as I see it isn't to make your TiVo a shopping mall, but to have a few impulse products available for easy buying. One click easy, maybe watch a movie trailer andpress thumbs up if you want to buy the DVD.

I know we've had conversations here in the past about this type of stuff, but it has been awhile and it seems the time is just about right to take this to the next step. So what are the issues? Technical? Business? Legal??? Enlighten me on why I haven't ordered a Garden Veggie Pizza from the comfort of my couch yet. :)

-Dylan
 

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The issues are probably all 3. The technical issues would be that you would have to have a broadband connection to make it work well, and a protocol to handle the transactions, obviously some sort of encryption, and overcoming the remote keyboarding for names and addresses. The ouiji board is great but it's tedious to enter your name, street, city and state with this sort of device. A non-trival part of all of this is the screen design and how the screens flow from one to another.

Offers could be delivered to the TiVo in the same manner, either as a static offer on the menu or in the VBI for realtime or taped offers.

You'd need a business model to support the effort needed to overcome the above issue. I would say that having a model that loses money on every transaction is dumb. Ordering Pizza has been an example for years, but the logistics of taking an order and routing it to the correct pizza shop aren't trivial, considering a big chain has hundreds of shops and doesn't serve every zip code in the US.

There's legal issues in the sense that a contract has to be hammered out. This is definitely not trivial, as everyone wants some percentage of the take, and all these pieces out of the pie (pun intended) tend to ruin the profit margin.

Looking at what Tivos can do this (just standalone series2), there may not be enough of an audience to make it worthwhile. A few hundred thousand Tivos might generate 100 pizzas on a good night, certainly not enough to cover the overhead, and definitely not the build costs.

Interactive TV works very well in the UK where BSKYB has a standard transaction protocol, but without any kind of standardization in the US, I believe it's still a few years off from widespread acceptance. Unfortunately it's been a few years off now for at least 10 years! :(
 

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Gregor said:
Interactive TV works very well in the UK where BSKYB has a standard transaction protocol, but without any kind of standardization in the US, I believe it's still a few years off from widespread acceptance. Unfortunately it's been a few years off now for at least 10 years! :(
I think it is closer than you believe. TiVo currently has interactive features for broadband users (the yahoo apps, games, etc.) And they know your name, address (and billing information) -- you can request information be mailed to you (did anybody check the gas mileage on the Lexus RX400h? Yow! :up: :up: :up: ). And I've seen screenshots of TiVo demos in which the user is being offered the opportunity to buy a DVD from Best Buy (or download the movie, etc.)

I think right now TiVo is walking a fine line between trying to partner up with cable companies, and being seen as a competitor. But I doubt that we'll get to June or July before some of these ecommerce features begin to appear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Gregor said:
The issues are probably all 3. The technical issues would be that you would have to have a broadband connection to make it work well, and a protocol to handle the transactions, obviously some sort of encryption, and overcoming the remote keyboarding for names and addresses. The ouiji board is great but it's tedious to enter your name, street, city and state with this sort of device. A non-trival part of all of this is the screen design and how the screens flow from one to another.

Offers could be delivered to the TiVo in the same manner, either as a static offer on the menu or in the VBI for realtime or taped offers.
As far as the technical issues, I'm thinking of something where you set it up initially online. Like the Yahoo and some of the other HME apps. Enter your billing information and shipping info once, and then it is linked to your TiVo account. Maybe even an address book of saved shipping addresses so you could ship stuff to family and friends easily.

I'm no expert, but it seems that a broadband connection wouldn't even be necessary, download the offers in a yellowstar type of ad, the user selects to buy the DVD, and the order is uploaded the next time the TiVo phones home. This would limit the number of items that TiVo could offer at one time, but I don't know what the technical problem would be? I'm sure there are a number of people here who will let me know though. ;)

You'd need a business model to support the effort needed to overcome the above issue. I would say that having a model that loses money on every transaction is dumb. Ordering Pizza has been an example for years, but the logistics of taking an order and routing it to the correct pizza shop aren't trivial, considering a big chain has hundreds of shops and doesn't serve every zip code in the US.
The pizza app I've always considered a harder egg to crack. I included it mostly because it's been a popular request, (right behind cleaning windows if I've been keeping accurate score). There are UI problems along with the logistic problems you mention, so lets maybe focuss on DVDs and music for now. These seem like the logical next step, and if they partner with someone with a national footprint already logistics shouldn't be an issue.

-Dylan
 

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DVR effect on commercials

I oftentimes won't react fast when a commercial has come on- so the first commercial after a break becomes prime real estate. What they do with that prime real estate is anyone's guess.

Personally I don't like the forced interuption but if the junk isn't jarring to my sensibilities, or is moderately interesting then I am much less motivated to find where the remote got off too. I would ask for particular commercials- anything having to do with engadget type stuff, large trucks, heavy equipment, power tools- I am like totally there.

Someone made a good point about the limitted number of things a person would ask to look at- Like- who asks to be shown soap commercials? But I would declare a style if I could- For example, I would much prefer retro style commercials- like:

Flying man in Let Hertz put you in the driver's seat
Pepsi-Cola, 'The Pepsi generation' 60's singing commercials
Burma-Shave, Roadside signs in verse
Mrs. Olsen- Yah- Eetz mounten grown!
Bear waterskiing in Hamm's beer, 'From the Land of Sky Blue Waters'
With the amount of money spent on commercial air time, the same product could have 5 different adverts- each for one of 5 different styles. It's like "skinning" cell phones applied to commercials. So they stop making an advert for the least common denominator, but targetted to the audience tolerances and tastes.

So commercials could go unbearably cute Hello Kitty styles of presentation
for the perpetually pubescent, or FCC challenging raunchy taste with the most buxom (or flexing pectorals) type ads-- all depending on the "Skin" preferred by the user.

Dynamic ad insertion at the consumer's machine is not a trivial technology but would be an interesting approach to such skinning.
 
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