The service to watch this content is free for TiVo subscribers. In order to upload videos to the service you must have a One True Media membership which starts at $3.99 per month. Once people up upload their content, they then give their TiVo "personal channel code" to their friends, who can then enter this code into their "Home Movies from One True Media" channel and watch this content.
To read more on the service check out TiVo's FAQ on the new service. TiVo's Director of TiVoCast Operations Stephen Mack also has a write up on the new service here.
Now, this is a really, really cool new feature in my opinion. I believe that in the future, what many of us will be watching will be long tail content. And the longest tail content of all will be our home movies. While just about nobody in the world wants to see a video of my four year old daughter Holly playing the piano, I can think of at least two people (my parents) who would rather watch this than anything else on their TiVo (I think...).
Being able to easily share home movies through TiVo makes a ton of sense. It's easy, you don't have to get on the internet to do it, and it's shown on the best display possible, the family TV.
Ideally, though, I can see a much broader application for this service beyond home movies. For instance, why not distribute Podtech content or other videoblogs through this channel? If Chris Pirillo or Look Shiny or any videoblogger really wanted to, I would assume that they could upload their videos through this service and then put the TiVo code on their blogs and let anyone watch them on their TiVo. I'd love to have a subscription to Scoble's videos on my TiVo.
The only thing that I don't like about the service is that it's only available for TiVo Series 2 and 3 units (I use a DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) HDTV unit). This isn't TiVo's fault, though, as DirecTV really controls the content on my unit. If DirecTV is smart, it will work with TiVo to build this same functionality into my DirecTV unit.
I'm not sure exactly how the service will police copyright stuff or offensive material but, per its terms of service, it does state:
The subject of your creation is up to you, as long as it is not offensive or damaging to others. You must own the content you use. This includes the music you upload for your montages and slideshows. Please see our content section for more details.
The other day I made this really cool video (at least I think so) of my son William jumping around in his jumpy swing from a few years ago. I matched the video up to the song "Jump Around" and thought the music really added to the video. Since this use was just for my own personal home video I didn't really worry or even think about copyright, but it sounds like because I used a copyrighted song "Jump Around," I'd technically be violating the rules of this service if I were to share that video on it.
Still, I imagine that more likely it will not police this at all and only if someone complains will this be an issue.
Anyways, nice job TiVo and nice job One True Media. This is a great addition to the platform and one more cool reason to buy a TiVo Series 2 or 3.