With all the excitement about TV on tiny cell phone screens, it's nice to also see some progress from the world of TV on a regular TV screen, and TiVoCast is definitely a significant, though belated development.
TiVo's recent announcement that they'll finally offer Internet-fed video on their boxes (those with broadband connections) is both a breakthrough, and a long-anticipated anti-climax.
After all, about a decade ago, back in the early days of WebTV before most people understood what it really did (I suspect many consumers still don't know, though it's now called MSN TV) this is precisely what the typical uninformed consumer thought WebTV did: Take video from the web and put it on your TV.
Of course, TiVoCast isn't open-access freewheeling Internet video, it's a "walled garden" of TiVo-selected content that initially includes NBA and WNBA basketball, The New York Times, Heavy.com, iVillage, CNET, Rocketboom (a daily 3-minute videoblog) and Here! (gay/lesbian programming). These will all be ad-supported, but TiVo says subscription and pay-per-view content is possible too.
TiVoCast also puts TiVo in a somewhat confused position with respect to its partners in satellite-TV and cable-TV, and TiVo's efforts to have the service built into cable and satellite set top boxes. The standalone Series 2 TiVo boxes now actually represent a competitive source of alternative programming. That's how it should be.