More trouble for Hollywood? Kevin Rose ditches cable, TiVo for Internet, Netflix
Kevin Rose is an influential guy in Silicon Valley, the kind other young gearheads follow. And that includes on micro-blogging service Twitter, which is where Rose announced to the world that he had canceled his Comcast cable and TiVo subscriptions.
"From this point forward I'm going all internet / netflix," he wrote. A few dozen FriendFeed users posted comments about his decision, with many saying that they had done the same or were thinking about it.
Rose, the 31-year-old who helped start such sites as Digg, Revision3 and Pownce, says he realized he was only watching a handful of shows and about 10 to 12 hours of programming a week. And although he still dug loading up Blu-ray movies on his 110-inch high-definition projector TV, he was just as happy to tune into "Lost" at ABC.com and "Heroes" on Hulu.com on the small screen. A fan of the Green Bay Packers (his grandfather played center for the football team), he could kick back and watch games streamed live on NFL.com.
He can also get streaming video through a Netflix set-top box manufactured by Roku and, soon, on his Xbox 360 console. BitTorrent fills most other gaps. Or Rose hits house parties or local bars to pick up entertainment he misses elsewhere.
It's a big improvement from the days when he had to wait six to eight hours to download pirated versions of his favorite shows, Rose says. Today even pirated shows are a snap. "Now most of the stuff is Flash encoded. It's a single click," he said.
Rose should be in the cable industry's sweet spot. He takes his entertainment seriously. But he said he decided to dump Comcast after ...
... reading a slew of stories on Digg about how to conserve cash during the recession.
"I was not going to cut my gym membership," said Rose, who is sporting a newly buffed physique.
It's not that Rose is against ponying up for entertainment. His complaint: Cable companies don't offer an a la carte menu so Rose can pay for only what he wants. "I'd be happy to pay for it if they would offer it," he said. "But they don't offer that. It's all or nothing."
And he is not the only one to cut the cord.
"As far as my tech friends, early adopters, absolutely," he said. "There is so just so much content now available even in the last one or two or three months that wasn't online before, that it makes that decision a whole lot easier."
As Silicon Valley goes, so goes the nation? My colleagues Dawn C. Chmielewski and Meg James wrote today that "with faster processors, improved technology to compress video and more than 60 million homes in the U.S. with high-speed connections, the computer seamlessly delivers full-length episodes of television shows and movies. As a result, the computer now vies with the TV and cinema as the go-to screen for entertainment."
Rose says someday everyone will consume entertainment the way he does. "Now all you have to do is "click the big, huge play button," he said.
That said, he doubts older generations will change their ways. His parents certainly won't, he said. Last season when his father missed an episode of "24," Rose had to remotely commandeer his father's computer to help him download the episode.
"There's no way he would ever been able to figure that out without me helping him out."
-- Jessica Guynn
Photo: Kevin Rose, right, and Alex Albrecht get ready to tape their show DiggNation at Rose's house in San Francisco. Credit: Randi Lynn Beach / For the Times