A place for my stuff, cont.

A place for my stuff, cont.

: Some reaction to the Place for My Stuff post, below:

: Evil Genius wants it and wants more: sync for contacts and calendars (a la .Mac), RSS information (including what has been read and what hasn’t been… Shrook and FeedGator give you pieces of that), and TV and radio preferences to make better recommendations.

: VC Ed Sim doesn’t want it all stored on the Internet but on a server in his home, like Mirra, solving privacy and security issues.

I still don’t agree because: (1) Consumers won’t understand why they should make a capital investment and it will be a hard sell — witness the trouble TiVo has had getting going. (2) Consumers hate installing anything. (3) A service is more efficient — it can offer you a terrabyte of storage but no one will use it all. (4) A service can constantly update itself with new software. (5) If the storage sits in the cloud, you can play your stuff on any device in the home — or anywhere else — without having to network anything; if you store your stuff on a home-based server in the den, it’s not going to be easy to get to yourself from the bedroom TV. (6) It’s possible — possible — that an in-the-cloud service can deal better with copyright issues. That is, you can store a legal copy of (or link to) a show or song among your stuff in the cloud and play it anytime anywhere and copy it onto limited devices (a la iPod) but not endlessly duplicate and distribute it.

For those last two reasons, cable companies stand well-positioned to provide place-for-my-stuff service. [Full disclosure: I sometimes work with a cable company.] A cable company can serve stuff to your home at high speed from the head-end and elsewhere via the Internet. A cable company will have relationships with entertainment companies and be trusted to hold “copies” of the shows you’ve bought or rented. But, as I said below, this service could be offered by many other service companies — AOL, Yahoo, telco — or software companiesy — Microsoft — or a new player.

In any case, I still think this will be a service business, not a hardware business. It will be an essential and big business.

: Fred Wilson didn’t respond to the post but he is complaining that BitTorrent is filling up his hard drive rapidly. I left a taunting comment saying that what he needs is a place for his stuff.

: UPDATE: Ed Sim has a response to the response to the response. Go read it.

  • Sure, it’s a service business, but it’s going to require MUCHO hardware. If Google figured out a way to provide a gigabyte free based on a 10,000+ node cluster, then somebody is going to have to cough up some SERIOUS infrastructure to offer a place for all my stuff (160GB and counting).

  • My understanding is that, so far, the cable companies have preferred DVRs with local hardware over a “cloud” solution specifically because copyright law approves customer temporary storage on their own HW, whereas in the case of “cloud” hardware, things are more ambiguous.
    This all probably changes, though, as Video on Demand becomes prevalent and the appropriate licensing agreements with content owners are negotiated.