The principal impediment to the mass-adoption of internet-TV is an uncomfortable viewing experience.  Not many of us are willing to invest in a 25-minute sitcom while sitting up straight, poised for action in front of our keyboards.  So how do we combine the flexibility and control of internet browsing with the passive, lean-back experience associated with traditional television?  It’s the billion dollar question, and many are striving for the answer.

Today,TiVo Cast got a bit closer. With its ever-increasing roster of internet-programming, including a recently announced deal with all Next New Networks shows, TiVo Cast has begun to bridge the shrinking gap between the internet and that screen in your living room.  The deal is announced alongside deals to distribute NNN shows to many other popular internet video platforms.

Content shown on TivoCast is apparently contingent upon distribution deals with TiVo.  So the company providing the extending device becomes the defacto curator and filter of content.  That’s not so different from the models of Joost or Apple TV which have strived to differentiate their products with exclusive offerings.

Will these walled-garden systems detract from the democratized appeal of open-TV, or will programming–not technology– become the means by which media extending devices compete?  As far as I’m concerned, a fragmented market with exclusive bundled content cannot prevail in the long run.

Luckily for consumers, the TiVo – Next New Networks deal does not represent further market fragmentation; instead, this major content creator is spreading itself as far and wide as possible — a strategy that is certainly in the interests of consumers.  We can expect TiVo and its competitors to further develop their online directories to build stickiness and community and, hopefully, to compete only on the discovery and viewing experiences and not with exclusive content.

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