Registered: Feb 2003
Before this becomes a religious argument, let me state my beliefs:
1. Apple has the best online music store.
2. Apple has the best digital music strategy
3. The phenomonon of digital music did not start last year when apple announced their store
4. The discussion of TiVo is not limited to DRM music, but should reflect the ENTIRE digital music universe, regardless of the format.
5. 70% of all legally downloaded music is from Apple, and thus AAC.
6. AAC is a better format than MP3 (I have no way to defend this but it's compeltely immaterial to my position, so I'll grant you that point).
7. MP3 has been the provice of pirates. But remember that regardless of how the music got there, people want to play it.
The problem is that those 30M iTunes songs represent such a tiny portion of the overall music universe that it is still a rounding error.
HMO is not designed to be a conduit for DRM-only content. If it was, then Apple would definitely be the leader and your argument would hold.
However, there are more than just DRM songs out there. I have 11,000 legal songs in my collection, about 200 of them are DRM and the remainder of my collection (10,800) are ripped from my own legally purchased CDs.
THAT is the market that TiVo is after.
The RIAA claims that the average user has ~1000 songs on their hard drive.
If 50M PCs were sold last year, and 20% of the PCs were sold to consumers 9my guess, not analyst's estimate), then you have ~10M consumer PCs from the last year alone.
If each consumer PC had on average 1000 songs (legal or otherwise), then there are approximately 10B music files out there. That is the total music universe.
If there are 30M AAC DRM files in a universe of 10B total music files, then DRM-encoded (captive) AAC files represent a fraction of one percent of the total addressable music universe.
Tivo is more interested in the total universe and, quite frankly, would probably prefer to stay out of the DRM swirl.
Because there are plenty of legal MP3's out there and it's the lowest common denominator, they support them.
You can also get WMA support through a plug-in. TiVo isn't offering that service but someone else found a niche and wrote a program. That should happen for AAC - but only when someone finds the market demand large enough.
Again, if you take the world of paid downloads then, yes, AAC is the king (for now). But if you look at the total universe of digital music, then AAC is just a rounding error for now. And support is unlikely to change from TiVo despite how much press/popularity Apple gets because, at the end of the day, 30M files is nothing compared to the total billions of files out there.
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