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11/21/2006
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Nothing Good On TV? TiVo Has More Options

New services will let viewers find more online content and view and share home videos

Tivo is expanding its broadband services for TV, making it possible to use its digital video recorder to find and view more online content and to share home videos with friends and family over the Internet.

TiVo unveiled the services earlier this month in a series of announcements that reflect the company's long-term strategy of blending TV and the Internet in ways that can differentiate its DVR from those of competitors. TiVo, the largest supplier of DVRs, has seen its market share erode as cable and telephone companies offer competing products.

TiVo ChannelThe services, available through TiVo's high-end, Internet-connected Series2 and Series3 DVRs, include the ability to store a home video on an Internet service and then share it directly with other TiVo subscribers. The service is expected to launch in the first quarter of next year.

The service will let subscribers upload videos to TiVo partner One True Media, which stores them online and provides editing tools and a personal channel code to distribute to friends and family. People can use the code to have the content downloaded to their TiVo DVR, where it's stored and updated along with other TV programming.

TiVo users can receive video at no additional charge, but creators must sign up for an account with One True Media and pay $4 a month.

TiVo also plans to upgrade its current PC software later this year with the ability to reformat online video, so it can be shown through a TiVo box on a TV. The new software makes it possible to watch most online video, which isn't always in the proper format for television.

"There is an explosion in video on the Web that is not intended to be rights-protected, and now the consumer can decide which of that video he or she would like to view on the TV set," Tom Rogers, president and CEO of TiVo, said in a statement.

TiVo Desktop Plus 2.4 will support video content downloaded to PCs running Windows XP in formats such as QuickTime, Windows Media Video, and MPEG-4.

Other new products include the ability to search across broadcast, cable, and online content sources and then organize the videos for easy access and recording. The service, called unified search, is scheduled to launch next year.

Finally, TiVo unveiled a partnership with talent agency International Creative Management to offer subscribers TV and movie recommendations selected by Hollywood actors and directors represented by ICM. TiVo also says it has signed CBS Interactive to deliver original content created for the Web over TiVo's Internet service, TiVoCast. It's the first network deal for TiVoCast. Financial details weren't disclosed.

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