TiVo File Sharing: A Great Way to Torture the Relatives

You know how Great Aunt Emily regales you for hours and hours and hours with photos and cute stories of her grandchild, Precious Poopsie Woopsie Darling, over Thanksgiving turkey? Or how about your girlfriend who e-mails album after album of her Charming Kitties to you? Well, with Tivo, you can exact revenge against the photo-mongers of the world by commandeering the television with your very special photos.

File Sharing Options

TiVo offers two options to share pictures with your loved ones. Digital Photo Viewer is available on any Series 2 or Series 3 TiVo networked to a personal computer. You can create and store photo albums and slideshows on a PC and showcase them on television. Gather your peeps around the TV and relax while you show thousands of digital photos to your victims, er, family and friends.

Another more insidious option was in beta testing until the end of May. Home movie sharing, a joint venture with One True Media, provides broadband networked TiVo users with their very own private channel to share home movies and photos. Services are free for the duration of the trial period with the idea that One True Media’s regular monthly fee of $3.99 a month (or $39.99 annually) will be the only charge incurred by TiVo users. Of course, subscribers to your own personal channel will not be charged for viewing.

Getting Started

The set up seems to be fairly simple. Visit onetruemedia.com and upload short videos and photos to create the montage complete with soundtrack. One True Media supports the following file types: MPEG (.mpeg, .mpg, .mp4), QuickTime (.mov), Audio Video Interleave (.avi), Windows Media View (.wmv), 3G Mobile Phone Video (.3gp), and JPEG (.jpg or .jpeg). Users seem to be fairly pleased with editing and special effects capabilities.

Keep in mind that a user can only create montages. However, several movies can be added in one montage basically creating a home movie. Mac users should be pleased to note One True Media will work with their platform. The terms of use page from One True Media notes a montage should not last longer than fifteen minutes. Anything exceeding that time may be counted as more than one share or the share can be stopped entirely

Once the montage is complete, you’ll be assigned a personal TiVo channel code to share with other TiVo subscribers. You can email friends, family, and victims with a detailed message on how to access your channel.


Sharing Your Montages

Your montages should be available for viewing within 24 hours after establishing the channel and if viewers choose to create a Season Pass for your channel then they will be added to their “Now Playing” list after TiVo makes its nightly call.

This channel can only be viewed by those who have access to the channel code. . The sixteen digit codes are non-sequential and alphanumeric making it difficult, if not nearly impossible, to crack. This prevents random stalkers and gawkers from viewing your personal pictures.

During the beta period, personal channel users had five video shares, meaning they could share one montage with five TiVo boxes or share five montages with one TiVo box. Now that the service is out of beta, personal channel users get two anytime shares and five monthly shares; you also have the option to purchase a 10-pack of anytime shares for $9.95 per month. I'd love to tell you exactly what this means, but apparently it's some sort of secret that One True Media doesn't want to share with the world via their web site unless you sign up for the service.

It's Not Perfect

While the idea's innovative, there are some aspects to consider before creating your own movie channel. First and foremost, how hard is going to be to teach your parents how to access your montages?

I have vague mental pictures of an exasperated adult child screaming, “The code, Ma! The code! Yes, that long number thingy I sent you in an email! Yes! Oh. You deleted it. I’ll drive over this weekend and set it up for you. No, Ma! It’s fine. No, really! It’s fine! FINE! Nevermind! I don’t need a haircut! No!” And how long will it be before Great Aunt Emily harasses you on your own TiVo with photos of Precious Poopsie Woopsie Darling?

More important than the potential stress this may add to your life are One True Media’s terms of use. While you retain ownership of your own creations, One True Media retains the right to a “limited worldwide, non-exclusive, fully paid-up, royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute (in any media formats and through any media channels), prepare derivative works of, display, perform and otherwise exploit the Member Creations as part as of the services provided by One True Media.”

Essentially, you're going to pay One True Media a fee to maintain your member creations, and not only are they going to make money off the service they offer you, they also retain the right to do whatever they want with your pictures. They can make a bajillion million dollars from your pictures of Fluffy the One Eared Dog or that picture of your brother picking his nose and you get nothing.

While your TiVo channel may remain private, if One True Media chooses to publish your creations for advertisement or any other purposes, then the Great Channel Code Secrecy doesn’t seem so secret.

There are other sections of the service agreement to consider before investing your time and pictures in this venture. For example, anything considered “obscene, offensive, blasphemous, pornographic, unlawful, threatening, menacing, abusive, harmful, an invasion of privacy or publicity rights, defamatory, libelous, vulgar, illegal or otherwise objectionable” may be subjected to termination. Ron Jeremy and Andres Serrano will probably violate the terms of service should they choose to engage in TiVo’s latest venture.

Also, the program recently came out of beta and could be terminated at any time. Unless you're a paid One True Media subscriber, any media creations of your own are subject to removal.

A Final Word

Essentially, it’s up to you as a TiVo user to determine how much of your personal life you want to share with other TiVo subscribers. If One True Media’s terms of service aren’t of personal importance and you really want to harass someone with your own personal photos of potential monotony or find the idea of easily sharing home movies with family and friends spread across the globe, then create your own personal TiVo channel today!