TiVo and Church

I have a theory,

Ever since the inception of TV, television has had a big impact on Church attendance. TV is an essentially static medium as far as time goes, essentially, you are bound to watching a program when it airs, rather than picking and chosing when to watch a show based on your schedule. I really do think that the inflexibility of TV from a time perspective has kept people away from church when they need to be there the most.

How many people miss church to Australian Idol on a Sunday night?

It’s only been the emergence of bittorent and other “disruptive technologies” that has allowed people to:

  • Pick and choose the content they want to see
  • Decide when they want to see it (time-shifting)
  • Decide where they want to view it (space-shifting)

Up till now, if you wanted to watch a TV program you have one of two options. Either watch it when it airs in your living room, or whereever a TV happens to be present, or record it to a static medium such as video tape or recordable DVD.

From a usability prespective, TV is perfect, you switch it on, alter the volume and change channels.

From a time perspective, TV is less than perfect, the programming executive at the TV station picks and chooses when you watch a specific piece of content.

Time-shifting – the ability to view a piece of content whenever you want to will change the way people interact with content in the future. Essentially, the content is downloaded when it becomes available and later viewed at the discretion of the user.

Space-shifting – the ability to move a particular piece of content between devices so that the content can be viewed in a number of different settings at the convenience of the user. This will become more and more prevalent as mobile media playback devices become more prevalent. Traditionally, this has involved copying to CD, tape or DVD, but has been expanded to include digital music/video players, mobile devices and set-top boxes.

TiVo was the first mass market consumer device to allow people to time-shift content easily and simply. All you have to do is bring up the show guide and select the programs that you want to save to the TiVo’s large hard disk drive for later viewing. It’s a great concept and it works. You can even erase last weeks ephisode with the new ephisode to conserve disk space. It’s easy, non-messy and doesn’t involve programming VCR’s and dealing with video tapes.

More to come soon!