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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

TiVo Opens Up to More Web Video (But Still Not All)

- The morning's big news is about TiVo opening up its digital video recorders (or at least the 500,000 of them that are linked to the Internet) to a new cache of Web content. Here's the Variety coverage ... NY Times ... Washington Post.

Saul Hansell of the Times writes:

    ...TiVo has already offered some programs in conjunction with programmers including iVillage, and The New York Times. It will soon add more programming, from CBS and Forbes, and make the content more prominent on its menu screens.

    The company will also introduce software that will allow users to watch a much wider range of videos that are available on the Web. This method, however, requires users to first download the videos onto their computers. If they purchase software from TiVo for $24.95, they will be able to connect their TiVo recorders to their computers over a wired or wireless home network and watch the videos on television.

    This software can play videos in popular formats including MPEG4, QuickTime and some versions of Windows Media. This will allow it to play most video podcasts and some files offered by video sites including Google Video and Revver. The system cannot play videos that have copy protection, like downloadable movies sold by major studios.

But the key here is that even those 500,000 lucky few won't get access to the whole wide Web of video content ... just stuff in formats that TiVo can handle. (You'll notice that YouTube was not mentioned; they use the Flash video format, which TiVo won't support.)

- In other news, Apple has done a deal with several airlines, including Delta, Continental, and United, to allow passengers to charge their iPods in flight, and also link up to the seatback screens (when available) for viewing video content. The technology should take flight beginning in mid-2007. How long will it be before there's one last chump sitting in coach and watching the lame in-flight movie the airline has chosen?