I was just checking out the Akimbo website and I really don’t see the advantage to the device. But this is just what TiVo has announced they’ll be supporting on, well, TiVo – downloading content via broadband. Basically broadband video on demand. That’s basically what Akimbo is – it is a broadband only DVR. A box with an 80GB drive, video output, and network connections. It can’t record anything itself, it can only download content. For a $229 box and $169.99 (normally $199.99) lifetime fee, that’s not much. And most people’s broadband would take a while to download content – unless it is highly compressed. They’re using Windows Media 9, which is a good codec (both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray have adopted the VC-9 codec), still – quality means size.
And that’s all it does – playback downloaded content. The thing is designed to be a networked box and it can’t access any *local* content – no HMO style features. You’d think that a box designed to playback downloaded WMV files would let you at least play WMV/WMA files from the local network. And if you have multiple boxes in the home and download content to one – you can’t share it. So basically you get a one trick pony when for $100 more you can get an 80GB TiVo which lets you record anything you receive, use the HMO features and this fall will let you move content to a PC – and soon is supposed to let you do the same thing as Akimbo, download content.
Akimbo seems like it could be an interesting software package, something to license to DVR makers – but the HW seems to be too limited in a market where DVRs are exploding, and they have a long way to catch up to the features available now.