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TiVo unleashes broader broadband video strategy

Tue, 11/14/2006 - 6:40am
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

TiVo Inc. has expanded its Internet-delivered video strategy with a string of announcements that include everything from a new, unified broadband video interface to a method that allows users to ship and share their home movies privately to other TiVo customers. 

TiVo, which will push a strategy that takes advantage of Ethernet ports in its Series 2 and new HD-capable Series 3 DVRs, made a handful of announcements related to its broadband video plans:

- Unified Search: Starting next year, TiVo users will be able to conduct searches of content available via broadcast, cable and the Internet. No matter where that content originates from, what is found will show up on the TiVo "Now Playing" list.
- Home Movies: In partnership with One True Media, TiVo will enable users to set up their own "private channel" to share home videos with other TiVo customers. After uploading a video to One True Media, TiVo users can then edit it and receive a "personal TiVo channel code" that can be used to distribute the video to other TiVo subscribers (likely those in the "friends and family" category). TiVo said it will add this feature in Q1 2007. Receiving movies will be free, but customers who want to distribute their videos will have to pay a monthly subscription fee of $3.99.
- Autotranscode: This PC app enables customers to browse, transfer and watch Web-based video on the television screen. The transcoding element ensures that material can be displayed on TV even if the source file is not in a format that televisions can traditionally display. The new TiVo Desktop Plus 2.4 software will support formats such as QuickTime, Windows Media Video and MPEG-4. TiVo customers will have to pay a one-time fee of $24.95 for the new software. The 2.4 version will be free to subs who already purchased the earlier version.
- New TiVoCast partners: TiVo added CBS Interactive, Forbes, Reuters, dLife, Plum TV and Nano to TiVoCast, a service that delivers video to the TiVo player via its broadband connection. The deal with CBS marks the first network deal for the TiVoCast service.

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