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Monday, November 07, 2005

TiVo + Yahoo: What it means

The bottom line of this deal between TiVo and Yahoo, announced today, is that it'll be easier to program your TiVo box when you're not at home. Just go to Yahoo's TV listings site, check the shows you want to record, and the command will be sent to your TiVo at home. (The catch is that this can take up to 36 hours, if your TiVo, like mine, just connects to TiVo's servers via dial-up and isn't linked to a high-speed home network.) This isn't going to bring scads of new customers to TiVo - though I'm sure having the TiVo logo plastered around Yahoo's TV listings area isn't a bad thing.

Eventually, people will also be able to view pictures stored on Yahoo on their TV, and also get weather and traffic info.

But there's nothing in this deal to suggest Yahoo will be delivering video clips, movies, or TV shows to your TiVo. Saul Hansell writes in the NY Times:

    Talk of linking the Internet to television sets has been growing again, not so much for Web browsing but to view the increasing range of video programming that is being offered online.

TiVo's CEO is bullish about that idea, but the cable and satellite companies he works with to sell boxes, notably Comcast and DirecTV, aren't so enthusiastic. Hansell writes:

    One sign of the sensitivity is that DirecTV will not let customers who have received its TiVo boxes use the Yahoo scheduling or programming features, even though they do not involve video.

What a great way to keep customers happy: limit choice and put the kibosh on new features.


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