November 4, 2006
Tape It Off the Internet: The Future of Navigating Internet TV Options?

One interesting initiative to look at is the Web site Tape It Off the Internet, whose mention statement says, "We currently index 1,600+ TV shows -90,000+ episodes - and we are matching everything up with content sources like iTunes, AOL and Amazon Unbox - with more to come." The beta version of the site launched Thursday.

This type of "finder" feature is important with so many different initiatives currently offering television features online and with so many exclusive deals currently in place. And it's Web 2.0 social networking features make it a viable model. Nothing is more frustrating than knowing that an online version of a show may be out there but not particularly easy to find considering all the content providers on the Internet. We've written many times about the wealth of these companies competing in offering television shows online since iTunes first began the drive, and Henry Jenkins wrote back in September about television "going multiplatform."

Having a site that helps you sift through the growing number of choices and complex ways of finding content that may be out there is a valuable resource, and Tioti is starting to gain steam by providing that resource. They list a five-step package for users: Discover. Share. Download. Chat. Tag. Even though it just launched in beta form, the initiative is generating some interest.

Mike Butcher with TechCrunch has an interesting insight on the new initiative and its immense popularity in beta form, writing, "It seems TIOTI's aim to be the first TV-based "social media aggregator" may prove more popular than that convoluted name suggests. Already it seems to be tapping into a pent-up desire among users to share and discover TV shows, employing several Web 2.0 techniques like tagging and user ratings."

He provides a detailed history of the project and an analysis of what it offers that is well worth a read. Through his interviews with one of the co-founders, Paul Cleghorn, Butcher also provides further insight into the project. "He thinks TIOTI is a step up from simple time-shifting TV via a recorder, and also goes beyond video-on-demand. Since by aggregating feeds from a variety of TV guides and download sources it effectively does the 'remote flipping' for the user: 'Like TiVo for the internet if you like," he says.

More information about the project is available here. The site says, "At TIOTI we keep tabs on download sources across the interweb and glue that together with TV guide and episode data. Filter all that through a list of our favourites and we can keep you notified when a new episode becomes available somewhere."

Be sure to check this out, as it may become a major player in talking about TV distribution on the Internet in the coming months.