Last week, TiVo finally turned on TiVoCast for series 3 owners and so far I’ve been impressed, but it’s also left me wanting more. Over the last few years, I’ve read an awful lot about TiVoCast, but unfortunately have never been able to try it out, until now. It’s still a little too early for me to get a sense of how much I’ll actually end up using the TiVoCast programming, but already TiVo has made the service even better by announcing a new content deal with Break.com last weekend.
Break.com is a user generated video sharing site that will actually pay you $2,000, if one of your videos ends up on their homepage. Its look and feel are a lot like YouTube, but the quality of their content tends to appeal more to the male college demographic. This means that you won’t find critical documentaries on the site, but you will find plenty of videos featuring extreme skateboarding, practical jokes and of course people doing dangerous things after drinking too much beer.
If you recall, broadband-connected Series2 (and later this year, the Series3) video downloads were branded ‘TiVoCast’ in June. As promised, the service has been expanding (you can probably skip Heavy) and the New York Times is now serving up content — up to 10 minutes a day, depending on what’s going on in the world. I’ve subscribed (free) and I’m quite interested in comparing the Times’ presentation quality and style with CNET’s.
Beginning next month, broadband-connected Series2 TiVo units will be able to subscribe to multiple new downloadable web and television video offerings in addition to the current CNET and Rocketboom services. I’m envisioning TiVoCast will be housed in a HME subscription application, similar to the recently launched ProductWatch.
Interestingly, no money is changing hands (yet) between TiVo and the content providers who will advertise their brands while selling commercials. In return TiVo continues to differentiate themselves from generic DVRs while refining the service and looking to partner with bigger fish. You know… the kind of fish that can provide movies on demand. As with MovieBeam, Im willing to pay for true VOD distinct from a cable or satellite provider.
TiVo Inc., the creator of and a leader in television services for digital video recorders (DVR), today announced the launch of TiVoCast(TM), a revolutionary new service which will deliver broadband video directly to the television sets of TiVo subscribers. The TiVoCast service turns Web video into television by bringing top broadband content now only available on the PC to the TV set.
“The range and quality of broadband video is exploding on the Web, but it’s not TV until it is on the TV,” said Tom Rogers, CEO of TiVo. “With the TiVoCast service, we are once again transforming the television experience by bringing the rapidly expanding array of video content on the Internet into the living room.”
“Television is still the preferred platform for watching video. The TiVoCast service captures mainstream and specialty-based content on the Web, delivering programming that is not otherwise available through the TV today and providing a wide variety of choice that will be of interest to all segments of the TV audience,” said Tara Maitra, TiVo’s Vice President and General Manager, Programming. “The TiVoCast service provides niche networks and broadband content suppliers, for which the economics of television distribution might not make sense, a way to connect with audiences in the living room via their favorite medium for watching video, TV and TiVo.”
As part of the launch, TiVo announced that it has reached new agreements with leading video content providers including the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), The New York Times, Heavy, iVillage and CNET among others. The broadband video content will include: Continue Reading…
loads of free content – create your own – share with friends
Free Rock, Metal, Indie, and Alternative Music Videos
Live and On-Demand shows all about human space flight
An eclectic collection of hard-to-find films.
The funniest videos and pictures online
The only one I’m familiar with is Break.com, whose video I’ve previously caught via TiVoCast. Since I last looked, they’ve expanded beyond youngsters pranking their peers or wiping out to also offering movie and game trailers. Which is something we’ll enjoy. Spacevidcast also looks like it could be promising.
TiVo gets a mixed review when it comes to online community outreach (aka “Social Media” – whatever that means). They pioneered customer engagement on a company-focused forum. Yet, TiVo has stumbled in the blogosphere…. from joining the conversation late (and still currently suffering from trust issues) to their own craptastic blog initiative. Fortunately, they’re leading the way again when it comes to Twitter (and FriendFeed) and I’ve compiled a list of TiVo folks worth following.
TiVo’s primary Twitter account is helmed by Shanan Carney, “the voice of TiVo,” who owners have probably encountered in various TiVo videos and lurking on the TCF. I’m not sure how many of the others listed below are officially sanctioned spokespeople. And maybe company independence a good thing. Unlike many Twitter monologue spammers marketers, these appear to be real people with real personalities that just so happen to love (?) and work for TiVo.
Keep in mind this isn’t a comprehensive roundup of all TiVo employees who’ve infiltrated Twitter. In fact, I’ve excised multiple individuals that I follow who don’t explicitly mention TiVo within their profiles. However, do what you must in the comments.
We had a brief glimmer of hope earlier this week when TiVo units appeared to offer Amazon Video on Demand in high definition… for about half a day. Sadly, the link directed subscribers to standard definition video rentals. After checking in with TiVo, it appears this was a layout test inadvertently released to the public. But it’s nice to know HD content downloads will be coming. One day.
Get your TiVo Cookie Cutter Although they’re now out of stock, TiVo was offering freebie cookie cutters to pretty much any takers. After seeing the holiday promotion land on quite a few random sites, TiVo may want to consider limiting future giveaways to subscribers. However, I did manage to get my request in as soon as the offer appeared on Twitter. First rule of blogging: Take advantage of deals before publishing them, or risk losing out. Not that I’ve ever baked a cookie in my life.
TiVo to broadcast Blip.tv?
An article in AdvertisingAge indicates TiVo will begin offering Blip.tv video content. The article clearly states the service will be available to all TiVo units (stand alone, DirecTV, and Comcast), but I highly doubt that and suspect we’re talking about delivering the web video to broadband connected Series2 and Series3/HD units only. Selections could be offered as a subscription-based TiVoCast or advertising Showcase. I’ve inquired with TiVo, so we shall see…
Video podcasts of your choosing can now be served up from your PC to your TiVo Series 2, 3 or TiVoHD. Once setup (see below) the TiVo Desktop software monitors your video podcast directories and automatically copies newly arrived video podcasts to your TiVo (sorted in podcast-specific folders).
This is a marked improvement over the prior ‘walled garden’-only offering. Under the walled garden service (which still exists), TiVo chooses which video podcasts you can subscribe too (see my prior critique here). With the new 2.6.1 functionality, you decide which video podcasts you want on your TiVo.
Also, for the first time, version 2.6.1 provides TiVo Series 3 and TiVoHD users with higher quality PC to TiVo transfers. HD video content residing on your PC (video podcasts, TV shows, movies etc.) transfer to high definition TiVo units at 720p compared to 480p previously (480p is still used for HD transfers to Series 2 units).
While not being promoted by TiVo, the TiVo Desktop software can monitor any folder on your computer – not just podcast folders. So, when new content appears in that folder, say, for example, a BitTorrent folder, the software will automatically copy that content to your TiVo as well.
I installed and tested version 2.6.1 on my Vista 64 PC, and I’m delighted to report that it just plain works! A bit of a happy surprise given the hair pulling I’ve gone through with prior TiVo Desktop installs.
Below I describe the installation process, demonstrate how to use TiVo Desktop to serve video podcasts to your TiVo and discuss areas where improvements are still needed.