(Via Kung Fu Monkey)
The Neuros MPEG4 recorder is a digital device that records TV to a hard drive or memory stick, and allows playback, much like TiVo's iPod-compatible extension for TiVo ToGo. This is mostly important because now there's a hassle-free way of porting TV onto PSPs as well as iPods, increasing the overall portability of media.
Regarding the impact of this growing trend, Rogers says:
Why do I like this stuff? Well, it's part of my 4th Generation Media Theory -- the profitability of future shows will not only depend on mob-dissemination of the products; there will be a direct relationship between the availability of good-but-not-great copies of those shows -- which can therefore be traded more much easily -- and the said profits. The faster we mainstream port-ability, we mainstream in the perception of trade-ability.
He goes on to lay out the probable progress of several other trends that I've been following closely:
There are two pieces of news which show some promise for the evolution of 4GM. First, the FCC has come out in favor of a la carte cable services. This won't change the mechanics of TV distribution all that much, but again moves audience perception along a very important curve for 4GM -- it changes the perception of TV/entertainment from something shoved down a pipline to them into something they choose. And as soon as they begin choosing the material, if only in the broad "what channels do I choose" sense, the nature of their relationship with the media changes. To be blunt, I think that most people won't bother to parse through the basic cable package channel list, but it's another chink in the wall.
The other bit of news is more a rumor(leading us into the tactics discussion mentioned above): the buzz is Apple will make some heavy-duty announcements about moving into the home entertainment business and expanding its downloadable media deals to include other companies than Disney/Touchstone. CBS and NBC are possibilities. Now CBS and NBC already have deals in place with Comcast and DirectTV, respectively, so why the dabbling with Apple? I've written previously that I believe the delivery-systems will be the ultimate winners in the downloadable entertainment wars, but as I mentioned in the same post, Apple basically used (think total pwnage, please) the ABC deal to bootstrap itself into first place in the Perception Wars. If they wield that early advantage ruthlessly ... It'll be a race now, between Apple locking down the "source of all your media" spot in the consumer's mind, and cable's "we are the source, the box is meaningless" destiny.
Definitely food for thought.
Cory Doctorow's comments on the device at Boing Boing are also worth a look, for those interested in IP law.