November 22, 2005 4:00 AM PST

FAQ: Behind TiVo's play for iPod, PSP

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When it comes to buzzwords, TiVo's announcement Monday was loaded: quick, easy, download, TV shows, mobile, PSP and, of course, iPod.

But as with all breathless technology declarations (particularly those that come out just before the crucial holiday season), the devil is in the details. Here are answers to some common questions regarding TiVo's announcement that it will allow customers to copy their favorite TV shows to their portable devices:

TiVo already has a service called TiVoToGo. What's new here?
TiVoToGo lets owners of TiVo boxes transfer TV shows to their computers, including laptops. The content can also be transferred to gadgets compatible with Microsoft's Portable Media Center format. TiVo is expanding that service by permitting shows to be encoded and transferred to Sony's portable game machine, the PlayStation Portable, and to iPods capable of playing video.

Isn't it already possible to transfer video to these devices?
Yes, with various bits of software. But TiVo promises to make the process simple, as well as faster. For example, the company says an "auto-sync" feature will allow users to automatically update their portable devices each morning with shows taped the night before. If done well, this could be equivalent of Apple Computer's iTunes software, which streamlined the process of transferring music files from a PC to a portable player. Ease of use played a big part in making the iPod popular.

Can TiVo pull this off?
Why not? The software used on the TiVo boxes has been hailed as extremely simple but powerful. The company's business model has been a question mark, but its product has gotten rave reviews since it was first unveiled in the late 1990s.

When can I start using the service?
TiVo said beta testing will begin in "coming weeks" for owners of newer Series2 boxes who also own a video iPod or PSP. By April of next year, all subscribers should be able to use the feature.

All TiVo users?
Not entirely. Only those who subscribe directly with TiVo. The 2 million-plus owners who subscribe through DirecTV will not be included.

So this applies to all TiVo subscribers who own a PC?
That's another asterisk. TiVo ToGo does not support the Mac operating system, so this extension of the program also will not be available. A Mac version of the service is expected sometime next year. To recap: TiVo owners with a Series2 box who subscribe directly with TiVo and have a Windows-based PC and a video-capable iPod or PSP can use the service--when it's completed next year.

I'm in that group. Where do I sign up?
TiVo will add a link to its Web site in a few weeks seeking beta testers. Candidates will need to have a broadband connection, and the company will choose testers based partly on how respondents phrase their responses to some questions.

CONTINUED: Will it be free?…
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12 comments

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Fix your features, not add new ones tivo
How bout you add WPA wireless support? what we have only been asking for it for 2+ years. Second how bout you get Sonic MyDVD, the official burning software of tivo2go, to work without crashing with tivo desktop 2.2?

That would be a better place to put your investments.
Posted by capfan12 (101 comments )
Reply Link Flag
BIG BROTHER & TiVo
The Microsoft Monopoly "partnered" with TiVo recently when pushing their MSMediaPC box.

Now, this will maybe work with iPod/Windows version, but the Mac OSX is not supported, but "we're working on it..."
MacWorld Expo January 2006 is just around the corner.
If I were TiVo, I would be very worried.
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Link Flag
get an older tivo box with a nic card installed
so you can transfer your shows to any pc, seems like they just keep making tivo worse instead of better
Posted by digitallysick (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"NIC CARD" isnt this a little redundant?
Common you computer geeks! NIC stand for Network Interface Card (NIC) when you say NIC CARD you are actually saying:
NETWORK INTERFACE CARD CARD...DUH!!!!

~mario
Posted by prelude619 (27 comments )
Link Flag
TVHarmony Autopilot already does this!
The Autopilot beta software available at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.tvharmony.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.tvharmony.com</a> already does this. You can schedule downloads from your standalone Tivo to your PC and then automatically transcode it for your Video iPod, PSP, or other mobile video player. It still maintains the DRM of the Tivo show by digitally watermarking it with the MAK of your Tivo. It seems to work very well although all features are not yet complete because it's still in Beta.
Posted by GT1Boy (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Beat them to it??
"A Mac version of the service is expected sometime next year."

While Mac users await compatibility, I wonder if Apple will deliver a
DVR solution - Mac mini + Front Row + DVR??
Posted by edgedesign (290 comments )
Reply Link Flag
BIG BROTHER & TiVo
The Microsoft Monopoly "partnered" with TiVo recently when pushing their MSMediaPC box.

Now, this will maybe work with iPod/Windows version, but the Mac OSX is not supported, but "we're working on it..."
coincidence...?

MacWorld Expo January 2006 is just around the corner.
If I were TiVo, I would be very worried.
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I can already do this!
I have a ReplayTV and with "DVArchive" and "QuickTime Pro" (or an
application like "iSquint" and others) it's just download and
convert.
Posted by dmaccarn--2008 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Me too ---
But I prefer to use my laptop w/ DVArchive
Posted by dar2112 (1 comment )
Link Flag
Sounds like a great idea
Sounds like a great idea. I already have 2 Tivos and an iPod. I might even buy the newer version of the iPod if I can transfer TV shows to it.
Posted by lingsun (482 comments )
Reply Link Flag
There is no "devil in the details"
It's an obviously prejudicial statement to say "the devil is in the details." It implies some type of fraud where none exists. It shouldn't take a genius to figure out that having the proper Tivo, the proper iPod, and other hardware will be required to make all this work. The slam sounds like some whining by somebody who's mad they aren't going to bother creating software for the Mac. Hey, they're not going to support Windows 98SE either. Guess what? More users currently use 98SE than use any version of Apple's software.
Posted by lingsun (482 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good ol' Bill....
... can't resist even the remotest opportunity to try to put down the
Mac. Almost sounds like a massive case of sour grapes. Or just
plain meanness.

Maybe someone should put down ol' Bill.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
 

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