January 3, 2005 5:56 AM PST

TiVo goes mobile with new free service

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TiVo isn't just for couch potatoes anymore.

The box that has become synonymous with digital recording of television programs now has a mobile companion, the TiVoToGo service, for more restless viewers.

The service, announced Monday, allows subscribers to transfer programs to laptops--as long as copyright protections are in place.

Alviso, Calif.-based TiVo, the maker of the digital video recorder, is now pushing a no-cost automatic software update to its standalone Series 2 devices, except those belonging to subscribers with DVD recorders. The company plans to get TiVoToGo to DVD recorder subscribers later this year.

"Consumers don't want to be tied to their living room to watch their favorite entertainment," said Matt Wisk, chief marketing officer at TiVo. "With TiVoToGo, subscribers can take their favorite shows with them to enjoy on business trips or family vacations."

But subscribers won't be able to watch just any program on their laptops. TiVo has designed the to-go service to shun content that uses Macrovision copy protection technology, including pay-per-view and video-on-demand programming and commercial DVDs.

To transfer television programs onto a laptop, a subscriber must install the no-cost TiVo Desktop software on the portable computer.

The system encrypts the program during the transfer, so subscribers must use a password to decrypt and play back the show.

The automatic distribution of the TiVoToGo service is being conducted according to a scheduled rollout process. Subscribers who want high priority on the distribution list can go to the TiVo Web site to sign up. The TiVo Desktop software supports only Windows XP and Windows 2000 operating systems.

At this week's Consumer Electronics Show, TiVo plans to announce partnerships with companies that are developing new technologies and products designed to work with TiVoToGo.

7 comments

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One more attempt...
... to find something useful for TiVo to do. And this time, they
have just about surrendered to the PC. Next, we should see
software (not fromTiVo) to download video from the cable/
satellite box into H-264 format for storage in hard drives.

For those who have a TiVo, don't get too attached to the device.
It will be obsolete all too quickly.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why H.264?
Th H.264 codec (not format) is just one option. It is Mpeg 4, and is the technology used by QuickTime and RealPlayer and DivX. None of which have gained any considerable respect with regards to DRM. If TiVo is partnering with Microsoft, chances are, they realize the benefit of DRM, and native H.264 recording will not be supported. Besides, TiVo still records in Mpeg 2. Why reencode to Mpeg 4 if you can't add DRM? What's the point?
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Article Writing 101
Biggest point missed. How do they intend users to get the video to their laptops?

USB? Ethernet? Bluetooth? RS-232 Cable?

A little follow up on the whole point of the article would be great.

SD
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
No Mac or Linux Support, No Use
Well since TIVO decides to only support Windows, I won't be using their new service.

Get a clue TIVO, with Macs you can already do this using El Gato software.
Posted by (274 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not just Macs
Not just Macs. You can do this with RePlay or with MediaCenter and PCs. TiVo must play catchup to remain competitive. If you were trying to roll out services to a customer base, would you start with technology that 93% of your users can use? Or would you start with technology that 3% of your users can use? Of course they started with Windows compatibility. It only makes good business sense.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
I see that Macrovsion protected products will not be used with TiVoToGo.
Why is that and will SunnComm protected products which are Windows Certified be ok for TiVoToGo?
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
MSTVTiVoPC...Fun times ahead!
Cool!
Now I can watch Citizen Gates video getting a cream pie in the
face OR Citizen Ballmer screaming like Howard Dean at an MS
Keynote OR watch CES 2005 Keynote where the MSMediaPC
crashes with the blue screen of death while I am traveling the
globe...
Thanks MSTVTiVoPC!
Just what we all wanted for our New Year!
I think I will wait awhile for all of the "convergence zonies" have
calmed down a bit...
Happy New Year 2005!
Have fun!
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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