Tivo SDK

by John Sequeira

Related link: http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/6353

As reported everywhere, Tivo has finally released their SDK.

Although extending my tivo is not an itch I've felt a need to scratch by writing code, I am definitely interested in doing more with the linux box that sits under my TV.

I really like the current feature in Tivo that downloads slideshows of commercial photography. I realize there's lots of that on the web, but the user experience is so much better even on my modest TV. Because of this, I've gotten a lot of mileage out of the slideshow feature to view my own photos when friends have come over. I think the two novelties in the above are 1) it consists of 3rd party content and 2) it turns the tivo+tv combination into something that encourages socializing, instead of the discouraging it. In thinking about the possibilities offered by the SDK, I basically want more of both.

I would like to see more of the universe of content that is the web become accessible over the Tivo, so I don't have to rely on the cable/satellite company for vetted content. I also really like the idea of tivo taking on some of the attributes of a corporate teleconferencing system (whiteboarding for remote slideshows, synchronized TV viewing for a virtual living room experience, straight up videoconferencing or skyping etc.).

The SDK has some limitations right now that might prevent the above, as you have no control over (duh) video streams. Although tivo says this is temporary, the skeptic in me fears that the threat of loosening their SDK restrictions might just be a chip they'll use to negotiate with other, potentially exlusive content partners. I hope that's not the case. The TV has just started evolving away from the dumb box serving up passive & sanctioned entertainment... here's hoping Tivo continues to push it in a new direction.

What's SDK projects would you like to see?