I know I'm in the minority when I say TiVo (actually, in our case, a standalone DVR) didn't affect my viewing habits. I'd record something and either watch it within a couple of hours, or not at all. I didn't watch more television, as I feared I would, and I didn't change the types of programs I was watching.
But YouTube Inc. -- soon to be a part of Google -- has opened up a new level of TV consumerism for me.
Consider South Park. I haven't followed the show in years and wouldn't think to TiVo it. But now, when word spreads about a particularly cool episode -- like the World of Warcraft one -- I can snap over to YouTube and watch. The important thing here isn't the time shifting; it's the process, the ability to grab this episode that I otherwise would have ignored.
What I've discovered is that I don't want Tivo. I want a public library. I want somebody else to do the recording, and to leave everything lying around for access.
The broadcast networks are taking baby steps in this direction. ABC has been putting its hit shows on the Web the day after broadcast. CBS, Fox, and NBC are following suit, putting some emphasis on their newer shows in hopes of catching buzz like The Office did.
They need more than that, though, and not just because the programs suck. They need a deep archive, with the intention of keeping everything available forever. The Web equivalent of the Museum of Television & Radio.
Yes, this endangers the broadcast revenue model, unless YouTube ads can rack up what primetime earns (a figure that's been shrinking as TV choices proliferate). And YouTube/Google does have to finish sorting out copyright issues. That will come in time.
Instant, arbitrary access is the future of TV -- that's been clear since long before Web 2.0 started springing up. YouTube offers a vehicle for it. Google offers the search power that would let you locate an episode -- or scan the video universe to find something new to your liking. Google might provide the ammunition to kill my television.
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading