You go to Channel 1 on your TV to access a database which has every movie, every special, every sporting event, and every episode of every series. Not just the shows currently in the TV Guide for the next two weeks. I mean everything. You page through and select the shows you want to watch sometime later.
Now comes the fun part. The system searches:
- the VOD schedule for free content.
- the internet for free content.
- the TV Guide and arranges to record shows that are scheduled in the next two weeks.
- the VOD schedule for rental content.
- the internet for rental content.
- future editions of the TV Guide if none of the above searches were successful or if the viewer only wants free content or if the viewer doesn't watch the free content before it's no longer available.
I'm crushed I didn't think about a great twist to this idea earlier. Thankfully, other people much smarter than me think about these things too. People like David H. Tannenbaum of Dallas, TX., who filed a patent application (20060230418) on May 26, 2006 that was published yesterday.
Mr. Tannenbaum suggests that "users of the system may record program requests. Program providers may then access these requests from time to time and provide the requested program, even if the program had not been available at the time the request was initially posted."
Part of that last sentence really struck me — "access these requests from time to time and provide the requested program."
I'm going to change one part of that phrase. I'm going to replace "provide the requested program" with "fulfill the request for the program." If there are a lot of requests for a single show, the cable company will fulfill the request by adding the show to their VOD content.
Maybe this idea is the only way we'll be able to watch "Mary" (1985).