Idea: Hey Tivo, What Should I Watch?

December 3, 2004 in Uncategorized

Okay Tivo, here’s the deal. I have a Feature Request: What Should I Watch?

When I’m at home, figuring out what I want to watch is easy. I can page through the Channel Guide, but if I want some guidance, I can browse through the “Now Playing” section of my beloved Tivo, or check out the suggestions that Tivo has. My Tivo know what I like. Sometimes, it knows before I do.

I can’t how many times I’ve sat down in front of a TV—whether its with the family Thanksgiving Weekend, or in a random hotel on a business trip—and thought, “What the heck should I watch? I can’t find anything.” Sure, you can usually find a slow-scrolling TV Guide channel or reasonable facsimile, but does that really help you find the best show for you?

My Tivo always knows what the best thing for me to watch is, at any given time. I should be able to access that data from wherever I am.

Tivo should implement an SMS service that would, with a simple text request, give me access to the wealth of knowledge Tivo knows about me.


Situation Message Sent
To Tivo
Return Message
I’m at a friend’s house that doesn’t have Tivo. [blank message] 0600p FOX Simpsons
0600p FOX Seinfeld
0700p ESPN College Football
A friend is interested in a documentary I’ve been raving about, and wants to know when he can see it. search “Age of Wal-Mart” MON 0800p CNBC
FRI 0400a CNBC
I’m in a hotel on business, and want to know what I can watch tonight. 9pm san francisco, ca 0900p HBO Lost In Translation
0930p COM The Daily Show
1000p TNT The Mummy
I had a hard day. On my way home, I have a craving for some mindless humor. record all “adam sandler” Auto-Record Wishlist has
been created for “Sandler, Adam”
Next episode: TUE 1000p Happy Gilmore

Granted, there are assumptions that I am making here. I don’t know if suggestion data lives on a server somewhere, or on Tivo boxes themselves. If it resides on the former, then all system go. If it resides on the latter, then this would only work if the customer has the Home Media Option. Also, there would of course be a delay to wait for the Tivo box to connect to the network, but it would be manageable for this application.

Assumptions aside, if this basic text messaging API is set up, there are a slew of doors that will open. Consider allowing anyone, whether they have a Tivo or not, to access this information. Allow anyone to create a free login at where they can start rating shows. Giving the shows they like “thumbs up” and the shows they don’t like “thumbs down”, creating a TV watching profile, that Tivo can then use to give them suggestions. I contend that many of the people that have been on the fence to buy a Tivo, if they were to sign up for this service would become hooked and be influenced to finally buy a box.

And of course we have to consider everyone’s favorite: Advertising. Tivo could easily put an acutely targeted text ad at the bottom of each message because they know exactly what this customer is looking for. Searching for Cooking Shows? Maybe you’ll be sent a one-time use 5% off coupon for Housewares at Send a query to Tivo about the Speed Channel? Maybe you’ll see “$1000 Cash Rebate at your local Volkswagen Dealer. This week only!”, along with an 800 number that the customer can click on (and for most modern phones) automatically have the phone dial. Forget click-through rates, we’re now talking about call-through rates.

So there you have it Tivo. Hope you find this as intriguing as I do.

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  • oceanic1:
    An ...
  • Mark Phillip:
    Ah, I really like that idea. That'd be a pretty h...
  • Ryan:
    Not sure if it's possible, but one of the features...
  • Mark Phillip:
    Absolutely my pleasure, Ryan. I'm excited about u...
  • Ryan:
    Thank you for all of the work you have done. I pu...