November 6, 2005 10:40 PM PST
Yahoo, TiVo to connect services
Starting Monday, consumers will be able to schedule recordings of TV shows on their TiVo box from a special Yahoo portal, the companies have announced. Subscribers would need a valid Yahoo account with a yahoo.com e-mail address as well as a valid TiVo user account.
Additional content sharing between Yahoo and TiVo, such as traffic, weather and user photos, is almost assured before the year is out, according to Associated Press reports.
Previously code-named Tahiti, the service is designed for TiVo Series2 recorders. TiVo's digital video recorders use hard drives to store large amounts of content. TiVo users can pause live shows and program their systems to record TV broadcasts and even skip commercials.
Digital video recorder company TiVo launched a service with Yahoo aimed at bridging television and the Web.
A partnership between TiVo and a major Internet search engine would offer expansion opportunities for both. TiVo has long talked about becoming the "Google of TV," and Yahoo and Google are investing heavily in video services.
From any Yahoo TV episode page, users can click the "Record to my TiVo box" button, the companies said. The request is automatically sent to a home the next time a TiVo box connects. The companies suggest allowing for one hour of lag time if the TiVo is connected to broadband through a standard home network. Dial-up users have to wait 36 hours for a request to take effect if the TiVo uses dialup.
Alviso, Calif.-based TiVo has been in talks with several search engine companies including Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo, to build a new service that would enable consumers to search for videos on the Web and then watch them on their television sets.
TiVo's service costs $12.95 per month, $155.40 for 12 months and $299 for a subscription that lasts the lifetime of the recorder, which the company estimates is four years. The company is offering the TiVo box for $49.99 after a $150 mail-in rebate and service activation.
While practically a household name, TiVo is fighting to match the success of its brand name with a lasting business model in an increasingly competitive DVR market.
While the company boasts about 3.6 million subscribers, it has added fewer subscribers to its ranks in the last few months than it had hoped.
TiVo is now looking for additional partnerships to make up for the loss of DirecTV, which said it has plans to cease marketing TiVo's product.
A partnership between TiVo and Yahoo would offer expansion opportunities for both companies. TiVo has long talked about becoming the "Google of TV," eventually enabling its more than 3 million subscribers to search for and watch any broadcast or broadband media. Although TiVo opened the door for video downloads straight from the Web, it does not yet offer such a feature.
Meanwhile, Yahoo and Google are investing heavily in video services.
Yahoo signed deals with CNN and ABC News in August to expand the content it offers. Yahoo this year also launched a searchable video archive.
Google Video is the company's latest experimental work to archive closed captioning of broadcast television shows and make their content searchable. The beta project launched earlier this year, but it has yet to enable people to watch video clips.
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