Wanna Watch My TiVo?

by Erica Sadun

Recently, there's been an awful lot of confusion, chaos and legal threats about sharing TV shows. After reading numerous articles on the subject (and not being a lawyer type), I thought it might be a bit of fun instead to invite people to visit my TiVo on a one-on-one basis. (Not broadcasting, not filesharing, just a one-on-one virtual visit to watch TV.) You got iChat AV? Are you set up to video chat with it? C'mon over and watch. From today until 1 August 2005, I'm inviting strangers to pop on over and watch my television.

What I've done is this: I've hooked the output of my TiVo into my ADVC-100 video converter and from there into my Macintosh. That means whenever I video chat, you see (and hear) my TiVo instead of seeing (and hearing) me. IM me with the show you want to see and we're good to go. This may be madness, this may be unwise, but I'm curious to know how this all plays out.

Want to share shows in the other direction? I'd love to watch TV from foreign countries! To date, my longest distance iChat TV experiences have been with Japan, England and Australia.

Interested? If so, you'll need:
* A fairly recent Mac
* A semi-decent broadband connection
* iChat AV
* Some sort of video feed (preferably from your TV! but any feed will do)

Send me a brief e-mail (erica@mindspring.com) and let me know your iChat ID and what kind of shows or movies you'd like to see. Although I'd love to have enough time in my life to write an automatic response system in AppleScript and to hack up an IR blaster to control the TiVo, well, I don't have that time. I've got to do it all manually right now. I'm not always around, but I'll try to respond to (polite) e-mails in a timely fashion.

Watch this space. I'll report back periodically on how the experiment went...
Now Playing: "Doctor Who"

What do you think? Is a virtual visit legally the same as a physical one?