November 22, 2005 4:00 AM PST
FAQ: Behind TiVo's play for iPod, PSP
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Will it be free?
Not entirely. TiVoToGo does not cost extra, but TiVo says subscribers who want to port shows to the iPod or PSP "will need to purchase certain low-cost software." This could mean the company is relying at least partially on software created outside the company.
How much memory must my iPod or PSP have to watch a 30-minute show?
The supported video will need to be encoded in the H.264 format, and that should allow for 30 minutes of video in about 200MB of space.
How long will the process take?
Some estimates have two minutes required for every minute of content--hence TiVo's plan for overnight encoding and transferring. The entire process involves recording the show, transferring to a PC, encoding it, then transferring to the mobile device.
This sounds like a piracy nightmare for content owners.
It could be, but TiVo says it will use "watermark" technologies that will allow any shows being swapped on the Internet to be traced back to the account holder who originally recorded the show.
Apple just started selling a very limited number of shows for $1.99. It can't be thrilled to be facing competition from a company providing an unlimited number of free shows.
This does represent competition for Apple and could also be troubling for companies such as Disney that partnered with Apple to provide TV shows for a price. So far there has not been an official response.
This sounds like a tremendous opportunity for TiVo. Haven't 30 million iPods been sold?
Yes, but only a fraction are capable of playing videos because they've only been on the market a few weeks. By next March, Sony expects to have sold 14 million PSPs. TiVo's shares gained 4 percent to $5.50 on Monday; less than two years ago they were selling for about $12.
Mobile TV sounds like the next big thing. Where can I learn more about it?
Try this related CNET News.com FAQ from last month.
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