RealTime IT News

TiVo Wants a Piece of Web 2.0

After watching broadband adoption transform video distribution across the Internet, TiVo today announced a new strategy to bring broadband to your television, by way of the Web.

For starters, TiVo is offering a new service to allow subscribers to share home videos through their television. It works like this: users of the new service will upload their videos to the Web site One True Media, edit them online, and then distribute them to their own TiVo channel.

Friends, family, or even fans will then be able to subscribe to that channel. The videos will then display in the subscriber's Now Playing List.

The service feature will be available to all TiVo subscribers with broadband-connected TiVo Series2 and Series3 boxes as early as the first quarter of 2007.

Subscribing to a home movie channel on TiVo will be free to TiVo subscribers, but the home-movie makers interested in distributing their video channel will have to pay a monthly subscription fee of $3.99 a month.

TiVo also announced today an upgrade to its Desktop PC software, TiVo Desktop Plus 2.4. It's for moving video from your computer to your television.

TiVo said the new Desktop Plus will support video formats such as QuickTime, Windows Media Video, and MPEG-4.

Desktop Plus 2.4 will cost subscribers a one-time fee of $24.95, but i's a free upgrade for subscribers who purchased version 2.3.

But in case you would rather not go through the hassle of moving it, TiVo also announced a series of partnerships to bring web-based video directly to your television.

The new partnerships are with CBS, Reuters, Forbes, dLife, Plum TV and Nano to deliver broadband content through its TiVoCast service.

Finally, TiVo also announced a partnership with International Creative Management (ICM) to help subscribers decide what to watch.

ICM will provide TiVo subscribers with TV show and film recommendations personally selected by Hollywood actors and directors.

Amid the flurry of products it pushed out today, at least one analyst said they uniformly fail to satisfy any "significant consumer demand." Although they do sound impressive, added JupiterKagan Research Analyst Todd Chanko. He's just not sure there's much demand for them now.

The average DVR subscriber signs up for one reason: the ability to record TV shows and store them for on-demand watching.

While there are over 15 million DVR households, TiVo subscriptions account for less than two million of them, according to Chanko.

Cable and satellite providers own the bulk of the market, he said, and TiVo's attempt at bringing YouTube-like video to the television isn't about to change that anytime soon.

But that's just one opinion, albeit informed. TiVo, he added, has always been known for its innovative features like the ones announced today.