YouTube on TiVo Launches

As I’d suspected, TiVo support for YouTube is indeed hidden within the 9.4 software update. Series 3 and TiVo HD subscribers should start seeing the application show up as early as tomorrow (Thursday), though the rollout will be completed over the next few weeks. And in some form of meta-irony, I’ve shot a brief video of YouTube on TiVo… on YouTube. For good measure, I also brought up the new SDV Tuning Adapter and TCP Remote screens on my Series3.

I’ve confirmed the YouTube content is indeed H.264 – thus marking the first time TiVo is rendering anything other than MPEG-2. (And why Series2 customers are out of luck – sorry, your hardware doesn’t support additional codecs.) In pressing TiVo on the issue of codecs, I also learned the forthcoming CinemaNow movie rentals will be provided (to both Series2 and Series3/TiVoHD units) as MPEG-2.

I can’t say I’m a huge YouTube fan (and I don’t like Mentos), but I’m impressed with the breadth of this app and the seamless playback. However, what I’d really like to see them do with the new H.264 capabilities is provide access to a much larger library of video podcasts without requiring TiVo Desktop Windows PC transcoding or TiVo to broker indivudal content deals before providing server-side transcoding. I know I’m not the only one waiting for Tekzilla

Expect TiVo’s YouTube press release tomorrow AM, which is also when the informational page will be activated.

24 thoughts on “YouTube on TiVo Launches”

  1. I’m still perfecting my secret sauce… To ship this demo from TiVo to Mac to YouTube required a few resolution changes. Not to mention, the TiVo YouTube app itself is a pre-release version. So keep that in mind when watching the video.

    Regarding H.264, I suspect folks are also curious to learn if they can transfer this sort of personal content to a TiVo without transcoding. I’m not sure and haven’t tested it.

  2. nice. i’m only really excited about this because it means movie downloads in HD(!) can’t be too far behind. (fingers crossed) i’ve had 9.4 since yesterday morning and right now my “download tv, movies, & web video is down for scheduled maintenance. i bet youtube will be there in the morning.

  3. That’s fantastic, thanks for sharing! I still have to overcome my Sunrise Earth addiction, but this is really something to look forward to.

    I wonder if they’ll expand the search to be able to just enter in the YouTube video’s id code. I’d love to go from an IM window right over to my TiVo to see whatever silly video a friend is trying to send me.

  4. I can’t speak to the effectiveness on the S2, but I can not recommend higher a piece of software called pytivo ( for the TiVo HD. This is freeware and acts pretty much exactly like TiVo Desktop – except much faster, includes subfolder navigation, and transcodes all file types I have come across (including .mkv) on the fly between my computer and TiVo without a problem. So, the files can remain in their native format on your hard drive, but are flawlessly transferred to TiVo for television viewing. Fascinating and fantastic stuff.

  5. So here’s my question: Since Amazon is announcing its “On Demand” service, and the 9.4 update handles H.264 streaming, are we going to see TiVo and Amazon announce that the TiVo can stream Amazon video? Or might we end up seeing another streaming service (Netflix)?

  6. Amazon Unbox content on TiVo is already offered as a “progressive download”… i.e. streaming. You just need enough bandwidth to build a buffer.

  7. In that very same article they state pretty clearly they are not moving away from downloads, that streaming is rounding out their offerings:

    Mr. Carr said Amazon would pursue similar deals with other makers of TVs and Internet devices. “We can support both streaming and downloading,” he said.

  8. Now, if only they’ll allow us to plug in a USB keyboard on the back. Better yet, a Wireless USB Keyboard.

    Then the next apps will be Gmail/Y!Mail/Hotmail, better online services

    It it after all a Linux box.

  9. I must have read (or thought I read) elsewhere that they were going to move away from downloads.

    Either way – the 9.4 update could mean streams, yes? Perhaps HD streams, as opposed to HD downloads?

    And (just curious), how much bandwidth does an HD stream take up as opposed to an HD download?

  10. From a QOS standpoint, I don’t think TiVo would go with a purely streaming model for anything but short form content (like YouTube or video podcasts). Progressive downloads (as they use now) are the way to go. Though, H.264 is a more efficient codec… It could make sense to use it for HD IF the encryption/DRM scheme is in place.

    There was a period of time where I was hearing Amazon Unbox on TiVo HD chatter, but it’s cooled off lately. Not sure what that’s all about – perhaps it has to do with Amazon’s shifting strategy and new delivery method?

    The CinemaNow announcement mentioned HD content, though TiVo just told me they’d be using MPEG-2. Not sure if it’s across the board or not, but they obviously have a successful encoding system and protection system in place. May be easier to just stick with MPEG-2 for the short term.

  11. this rocks. when do we get it?

    i wish there was bbc iplayer support, then i could catch top gear much more easily…

  12. So, I checked my TiVoHD today and I did see the YouTube link but it said I had to check back August 1st. I take it I need the software update as well from the sound of it. Is there a priority sign-up for the update for TiVoHD boxes?

  13. Cool — I can watch myself on YouTube on my 57″ Samsung bigscreen through Tivo, can’t wait!

    Can’t get enough of the concert footage on YouTube – will be great to see some of the snippets on my TV.


  14. Cool.

    Now I can watch “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” on my TV! Oh wait…

    This is just the first version. As Megazone says, we need to be able to log in. Thumbs up & down should work for rating videos, and there should eventually be a way to email/twitter a link to one of your contacts (entered laboriously thru the remote keyboard thingy). Might even be time to start labeling the Tivo remote number keys with the usual cellphone alphabet so we can do a little better than that… You might even be able to be “social”.

    Love the fact that this is driven fully by the Tivo interface. Next step is doing the same thing for podcasts that are available in the right format, i.e. h.264.

    As far as Amazon HD videos, I assume an h.264 HD video would be in the same 5-6Mbps range as Apple TV, Vudu, XBox, etc. And MPEG-2 would be at least 10-12 Mbps. Lets just say trying to stream this would be somewhat suicidal given current broadband rates. Progressive download is the only choice possible.

  15. @Glenn Gizmodo says an app update 8 weeks out will add YouTube account support. I agree that a triple tap keyboard function might be nice…. if I can remember where the letters are without labels. ;)

  16. Hi Dave
    The Aussie TiVo has been leaked onto the market 2 weeks ahead of schedule (just to keep on topic no youtube for us yet).

    I bought one yesterday. Hooking up as soon as I have had some lunch! Want details?


  17. Boo, hiss. There is no reason they could not do Mpeg2 for us Series 2 device owners. Thats just lame, to exclude such a huge user base.

    Boy, makes me all warm inside over my Tivo.. crappy channel guide that is wrong too many times to count, no support from the mothership for new features. I’m so glad my HTPC is finally coming together.

    I mean, how hard is it to hire a few people to monitor the program guides and update things as special conditions warrant (given the networks and guide compilers unwillingness to do so)? I mean, when my Tivo records a PBS show on Hurricane Katrina, only to find the footage is actually of the Democratic National Convention…. I”m sure its not a last second change. The program guide is the only thing that really is important to me, and if they cannot get that right.. well I guess I’m glad my subscription is running out.

  18. Am I special, or didn’t the S3 already have YouTube ? I know I’ve used it, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t during beta testing.

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