Killer app for the Zune HD: Tivo for radio

The upcoming Zune HD sounds pretty nice. I use my iPhone less as a recorded music device and more like a radio. I listen to podcasts or Pandora. Honestly, in the age of subscription media I have no interest in buying-and-syncing music.

Unlike the iPhone, the new Zune will come with an HD Radio tuner. Here’s the opportunity.

I’d love it if my Zune recorded radio like a Tivo. When I go out for a run, or get on the plane, I can just browse whatever has been queued up – or listen live.

Tivo would be the natural company to do this – they have the brand and are already in the business of tracking program schedules and such. And lending the Tivo brand to Zune would help not just the Zune but also HD radio itself, which remains niche.

(Radio broadcasters advertise their HD stations a lot, but the consumer equipment is limited and expensive.)

This would be great for many audiences. Listeners of anything from This American Life to Rush Limbaugh could be sold on it. NPR (especially KCRW) would be a natural partner.

And if Tivo were really clever, they could integrate the radio schedule with podcast URLs. The software would be smart enough to record a given show live over-the-air, or download it later.

That’s a lot of well-regarded brands. Can Microsoft pull them together?

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