Yes, we’ve heard it before… but we haven’t heard it lately. According to Bob Poniatowski of TiVo Product Marketing, the new PSP and iPod conversion/sync is expected in February. More importantly, he reiterated TiVo’s commitment to the Mac platform and is hopeful we’ll see TiVoToGo support mid-2006.
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TiVo has announced software facilitating the transfer of shows from Series 2 units to both the iPod and PSP. While many techniques already exist (VLC, Videora, PSP Video 9), an officially sanctioned method along with tech support is a welcome addition. Unlike the currently supported conversions to Microsoft portable devices, this new method will embed a watermark within the video to identify the owner. Various news outlets are reporting the software may carry a $15 – $30 fee.
The cottage industry that has sprung up to support conversions and the lack of lawsuits has obviously emboldened TiVo to move in this direction. While theyre a bit late to the dance, this is an exciting to development. Throw in as many digital watermarks as it takes, just give me a quick and easy method of massaging content for playback on my various devices.
TiVo says: The enhancement will include exclusive capabilities such as TiVo auto-sync that will allow subscribers to choose if they want new recordings of their favorite programs easily transferred to their portable devices via their PC. Every morning the devices can be loaded with new programs recorded the night before.
“The increasing popularity of mobile devices for viewing video such as Apple’s iPod and the PSP device demonstrate the enormous consumer demand for entertainment on the go,” said Tom Rogers, CEO of TiVo. “By enhancing our TiVoToGo(TM) feature, we’re making it easy for consumers to enjoy the TV shows they want to watch right from their iPod or PSP — whenever and wherever they want.”
Subscribers will need to purchase certain low-cost software to facilitate the transfer of content from the PC to these portable devices. To discourage abuse or unlawful use of this feature, TiVo intends to employ “watermark” technologies on programs transferred to a portable device using the TiVoToGo feature that would enable tracking of the account from which a transferred program originated.
[Tip via megazone]
TiVo is moving beyond short advertising clips (see Navy football and CNET) into feature length films. While the Netflix deal may have died, TiVo seems to be pressing forward with acquiring content and building out their movie distribution technology.
The new trial involves requesting the 96 minute Chinese film Red Trousers by entering your email address and TSN on a TiVo web page. The movie will then be scheduled for download on November 23rd. Ultimately, I would hope for a TiVo-based movie selection interface and a more immediate download. However, free is good as are public trials!
TiVo says: Enjoy a FREE advance screening with broadband!
TiVo and Tai Seng Entertainment are pleased to present RED TROUSERS as part of the TiVo Video Download trial program.
In this dazzling combination of documentary and short film directed by and starring Robin Shou, star of MORTAL KOMBAT, and which Los Angeles City Beat called “a must-see for Hong Kong action fans” and the LA Times called “pure delight,” the death-defying feats performed by the world’s greatest stuntmen (nicknamed red trousers for the pants they wear during their training at Chinese opera schools) are profiled through interviews and clips that showcase their work. Intercutting with the documentary footage is the short film LOST TIME, a futuristic martial arts adventure in the style of Alex Proyas’ DARK CITY, where one can appreciate the stuntmen’s extraordinary achievement in their final cinematic form.
RED TROUSERS is presented through TiVo Video Download in its unrated version, in widescreen letterbox, with English and Cantonese soundtrack and English subtitles. Parental discretion is advised. Running time is approximately 96 minutes.
TiVo’s latest opt-in content downloads are a series of weekly 15 minute product reviews during the holiday season. I find this material far more compelling than the random Navy football clips last month. This seems to be a win-win situation for TiVo: another method of generating advertising revenue while hopefully entertaining us subscribers. As with other recent TiVo innovations, this is limited to networked Series 2 models.
TiVo continues to experiment with their pricing model. In September they began requiring a one year commitment or face a $150 termination fee when activating a new or used box. Now they’re running a promotion which offers a free low-end TiVo without requiring a rebate. While that sounds appealing, notice that the monthly rate has escalated from $12.95 to $16.95. It doesn’t appear that the rate drops to standard (for now) $12.95 after the first 12 months of service. Even more painful, this “deal” prohibits adding additional TiVo boxes at the $6.95 multi-unit discount monthly rate.
Having multiple rate plans only serves to confuse consumers and if the ultimate goal is to raise rates across the board while dropping multi-unit discounts, TiVo will surely see cable company DVR defections.
TiVo says: GET A 40-HOUR TIVO® SERIES2 DVR AT NO ADDITIONAL COST when you sign-up for TiVo service at a monthly price of $16.95 for at least one year.
TIVO SERIES2 DVRS AND TIVO SERVICE SUBSCRIPTIONS PURCHASED AS PART OF THIS OFFER ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR INCLUSION IN THE MULTI-SERVICE DISCOUNT AND DO NOT QUALIFY ANY EXISTING OR ADDITIONAL UNITS FOR MULTI-SERVICE DISCOUNT.
Upgrades to Product Lifetime Service are not permitted.
[Thanks to Cassidy Napoli for catching this on late night TV!]
TiVo has reversed course and is offering a priority request page for those of you with a Series 2 hankering for Overlap Protection and the bug fixes found in 7.2.1. Requests are usually filled the next business day, though it could take up to three days depending on demand. So grab your TSN and head on over here: http://research.tivo.com/72.1priority/
I don’t have many details on this yet… Last week TiVo attorney Henry Goldberg and Vice President Matthew Zinn met with the FCC Chariman’s Media Legal Advisor.
TiVo says: The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the background and status of the development of cable cards and TiVos efforts in that regard.