Essentially, the FrameChannel app helps you create a slideshow of information, based on your location and preferences, which the TiVo box’s broadband connection then automatically keeps up-to-the-minute. You can receive the latest local news, weather, traffic, stocks or see the latest sport scores – all customized based on your zip code. Plus, you can deepen the personalization with thousands of choices, including updates from your social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Digg. You can even create a slideshow of pictures from Facebook, Flickr, and other sites.
I’ve long felt that TiVo was well positioned to be the great home theater box we’ve all imagined, but has yet to arrive. It’s a broadband connected device that’s in lots of homes, has excellent brand recognition and strong usability.
TiVo has led the way integrating on-line video content sources (Netflix streaming, Amazon VOD, Blockbuster VOD, etc.) But it has lagged behind the innovations of boxee.tv to quickly and easily integrate other internet-based video services into its catalog.
And TiVo faces big challenges from big competitors entering the market. Google’s recent announcements and partnerships definitely intrude on TiVo’s turf. And TiVo’s probably lucky that Apple hasn’t (yet) added DVR functionality to AppleTV or the Mac mini.
In order to stay viable, TiVo needs to focus on being the home theater hub for all on-line video content. Increasingly users will move away from cable and satellite subscriptions and towards PPV and VOD packages of their favorite programs.
While social networking integration isn’t increased VOD catalogs, it shows that the company is putting efforts towards bringing internet content into the living room. And it adds a feature that’s already present in boxee which is key towards driving growth for the company.