Let's start with the required elements that are already in place.
- We already know that TiVo can pop up an alert for you when you are watching a channel if something else you have told it to record is going to possibly preempt your programming.
- We know that there are many many other TiVo users who are watching TV, so there is a high probability that somebody out there on the service is watching one of the stations at any given time, and if not, TiVo has the capability to tap into that channel's feed.
- We know that automated close captioning and transcription tools are gaining incredible improvements over time, practically matching natural speech.
- We know services like TV Eyes are constantly searching for content within TV shows.
- Post a visible alert when the channel I was previously watching live returns from commercial.
This way, if a program I was watching cut to commercial, and I switched to another channel, I would know to return back to my original show.
- Post a visible alert for specified occasions in a sporting event.
I could program my TiVo to alert me when my favorite baseball team returns to bat, or if my favorite football team had recovered possession of the ball. Similarly, I could set an alert to highlight me when a specific batter came to the plate, or if the game's score differential had decreased to a specified amount. (Example Alerts: The 49ers are within 7 of the Bills, trailing 21-14 or Albert Pujols is batting.)
- Post an alert when a specific stock is being mentioned on a business channel.
If I hold Google or Apple stock in my portfolio, I could set an alert with TiVo that would pop up if Jim Cramer mentioned the companies on CNBC.
- The TiVo could record subsegments of a show, not the entire program.
What if I could tell the TiVo to record Conan O'Brien's monologue and skits, but to skip over the interviews? That's mostly what I do anyway, by hand. Similarly, can we record Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, but never have to see the guests?
- The TiVo could learn my "preferred" news network and watch for coverage of topics.
If I told TiVo I preferred MSNBC, CNN or Fox News, and asked the unit to watch for mentions of individuals, like the Clintons, or topics, like the War in Afghanistan, TiVo would watch the live broadcasts for me, and pick up the relevant clips for recording.
- TiVo could integrate with network news' or ESPN's Special Report interruptions.
While the concept of "Breaking News" has been watered down a great deal with the advent and growth of 24 hour cable news, the networks still can get your attention through Special Reports that interrupt regular viewing. But if I am on a cable channel watching something else, or am watching a recorded show on TiVo, I would want an alert that NBC had broken away to cover a critical live event.
If you could tell your TiVo to crawl shows you watch, or even those you don't, how would you customize this magical TiVo of the future?