As TiVo often does (to soften the blow?), they’re putting our a release to coincide with an earnings call… Amazon Unbox doesn’t offer Disney digital downloads, so TiVo’s gone behind their back and worked an additional VOD deal:
Titles will be available to rent through an agreement with Disney-ABC and CinemaNow, a digital entertainment provider of high-quality Hollywood movies and TV shows across multiple platforms, and the latest partner to join TiVo’s broadband efforts. The companies will offer the movies for a 24-hour rental period in standard definition, with many also available in high definition. The service is available to all broadband-connected TiVo Series2™ and Series3™ subscribers later this year.
More content is a good thing, but as it is TiVo’s menus have gotten too cluttered (and the HME/Java UI is too slow). What we need is a speedier, unified front-end to drive all video download options (and a speedier, unified Swivel Search comprised of existing search options plus the Wishlist). If I’m ordering direct from the TiVo box, it shouldn’t matter to me if TiVo, Amazon, Jaman, CinemaNow, or someone else is providing the content. One shouldn’t need to visit separate areas to ferret out a Disney or independent film title. Let’s hope this all gets a facelift with the next software update.
Interesting factoid 1: Like Amazon, CinemaNow content is Microsoft-protected WMV – thus additional transcoding (on the providers end) will be needed to prepare content for the box and TiVo’s own protection scheme will likely be used. Additionally, the press release indicates select titles will be available in HD and specifically states YouTube support will arrive “this summer” – presumably with H.264 playback for TiVo HD and Series 3 units. Will the HD be offered as H.264 or is TiVo sticking with MPEG-2? Given their current partners, I’m surprised I haven’t heard any murmurs regarding WMV-HD…
Interesting factoid 2: As we all know, EchoStar and TiVo are involved in a $100 million (sum likely increasing each day) patent dispute. However, EchoStar has been a significant financial backer of CinemaNow which powers DISH Network’s IPTV video-on-demand service. Proving once and for all that maybe we all can get along?