April 26, 2006 7:44 AM PDT

Yahoo's free software turns PC into DVR

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Yahoo has released a beta version of software that turns a PC into a digital video recorder.

The software, Yahoo Go for TV, is free to download. After the software is installed, people plug their computer into their television's video and audio input connections. The computer can then record and play back shows on the TV just like with a standalone DVR. Consumers can also play DVDs, music, photos or other downloaded content.

The cost of a few cables and TV tuner card, in comparison with the hundreds of dollars being shelled out for DVD players or DVRs, could lure consumers away from DVR competitors like TiVo. And many industry leaders see TV-computer combinations as the portal for reaching consumers.

Microsoft said recently that its Windows XP Media Center software is outselling the standard edition of the software, and Hewlett-Packard announced last year that it is developing technology to let high-definition televisions directly access digital content from home computers.

The Yahoo software, as of yet, only runs on Windows and requires a computer with 20GB of disk space to store recorded programs, 512MB of RAM and a 1GHz processor.

The DVR feature on Go for TV also requires a TV tuner card and connector cables for connecting to a TV monitor. Yahoo also suggests using a remote control, which usually comes standard with the purchase of most TV tuner cards. While the software works with any TV signal, Yahoo recommends a 1.5mbps broadband connection for best results.

Television listings are provided via a Yahoo Go for TV interface. Users are prompted to give their ZIP code during setup, so that the proper service provider can be chosen. Yahoo Go for TV updates the listings daily. Those who already use TiVo can still use the Go for TV digital video recording feature by simply connecting each component to a different video input outlet. One system will not interfere with the other, as long as they each have access to the TV signal.

Last year, Yahoo partnered with TiVo so that TiVo subscribers could browse and schedule downloads remotely via the Internet. Yahoo has not released any information on how this release affects that relationship.

The Yahoo Go for TV software works in conjunction with many of Yahoo's other Yahoo Go media products, such as Yahoo Launchcast, a radio and music subscription service, and Flickr, Yahoo's photo-sharing site. In addition, Go for TV lets people view photos from any online service and to listen to music from CDs or digital-music libraries already stored on the linked computer.

Last week, Yahoo announced its purchase of Meedio's technology and intellectual property. Houston-based Meedio's software integrates videos, photos and music for digital home media systems. At the time of the announcement, some industry watchers speculated that Meedio would enable Yahoo to offer this very type of system.

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DVR, Yahoo! Inc., TiVo Inc., TV tuner card, video recorder

21 comments

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Neat, but . . .
I've been using a Compudyne 4SX/25 for about, oh, since 1993,
with a PBTV tuner card inside of it.

It has done, under Windows 3.11, 256 VGA color at 320 x 200
resolution and stereo sound under an old SoundBlaster 16 the
very same thing this program claims to do. During my first years
of college, it was my TV as well as computer, using PlayStation
and Saturn on it.

It also did automatic recording of TV shows under the program,
which I forget what it's called, but it could record two shows at
once.

So, as far as Yahoo! and Media Center PCs/Front Row Macs go,
I've already been there and stayed there.

That doesn't mean I don't have an HDTV DVR box for DTV/HDTV
channels, though.
Posted by fakespam (239 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Some Deficiencies
How many people have their PC within patch cable range of their TV? Seems like this product needs to provide for wireless networking. The software doesn't run on Macs or Linux. Lastly, you must run your video card at 800x600, so forget high res. All in all, I think this product would have been ahead of its time about 10 years ago.
Posted by maxwis (141 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Actually...
If you follow PC DVRs - which are actually old news - there are lots of ways around this. There are fairly inexpensive devices that act as a TV Capture card and can wired/wirelessly connect to your DVR PC. However, if you really want to use a PC as a DVR it is better to have a dedicated machine which sits next to the TV/Entertainment system.
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
Link Flag
Looks great but...
... i wish it supported my All In Wonder 9600
Posted by naterandrews (256 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Run Yahoo! Go for TV outside US
Here's a simple trick to run Yahoo! for TV if you located outside the US

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://labnol.blogspot.com/2006/04/how-to-run-yahoo-go-for-tv-anywhere-in.html" target="_newWindow">http://labnol.blogspot.com/2006/04/how-to-run-yahoo-go-for-tv-anywhere-in.html</a>
Posted by amitpagarwal (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Looks promising
Its got a nice interface and it worked fine with my ati 550 card and media center remote. It doesn't allow you to create playlists in the audio section (I can't find a plug-in like MCE offers) and the video quality watching live tv looked sub-par compared to MCE. It doesn't look like you can schedule recordings yet through Yahoo TV. I hope that Yahoo releases an API so that developers can create more plug-ins than the few that Microsoft offers. An interesting side note is that under upcoming sports the NHL playoff games weren't listed. Any competition is a good thing, but for now I'm sticking with MCE
Posted by kaufmanmoore (42 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hockey!
Speaking as a Canadian (and therefore someone born with skates on and a hockey stick in hand, sorry mom) I am not surprised that hockey missed the cut...isn't it behind poker, bowling and cheerleading competitions in terms of popularity in the States?
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Link Flag
Don't your Tuner Cards come with this software already?
My winTV pvr pro USB 2.0 did.

Why is there a requirement for a 1.5 mpbs connection ?
Posted by baswwe (299 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Of course they do....
they would be useless doorstops without the software to make use of them... so, aparently, the only thing (the) Yahoo(s) are providing is a service to automate the process.... i.e. "click here to record this program"... oh, did I say yahoos? I meant wanna-bees, my Win-Tv USB 2.0 also provided this, through a third party DL that worked perfectly the first time I tried it.
Posted by qazwiz (208 comments )
Link Flag
What about satellite?
So is this thing goes to change the channels on my satellite receiver if I setup several shows I want to record?
Posted by meierk (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Interesting Requirements
"While the software works with any TV signal, Yahoo recommends a 1.5mbps broadband connection for best results."

The above quote is taken right from the article. What does the 1.5 mbps broadband connection requirement have to ddo with working with any TV signal? What if your a Dish Network, DirecTV or Digital Cable Customer like me? How does this software help you change the channels on the box for TV? Sounds kind of useless. Maybe that's why it's free.
Posted by thatpcguy (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yahoo also offers content (shows, trailers, music etc.)
It supports a TV tuner card but if that was all they were doing with it they would not be interested in the market.

Yahoo is also offering their own content. I downloaded the demo and they have some free content from major stations, movie trailers, music vids from launch etc.

I would assume that they plan to make money on ads for their content, or sell movies/shows etc. through the portal.

So the broadband requirement is for the content provided by Yahoo.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Link Flag
hot news flash?
I agree with most posters, this is not a news item. OK, so Yahoo has joined the many DVR options avail. Theirs is free - that might be news, sort of.
The article was poorly written and full of inaccuracies or misleading statements.
Who pays hundreds of dollars for a DVD player, or even a DVR for that matter?
You could connect the PC to a home theater receiver rather than the TV and simplify switching.
You don't even need a TV for this, you could just watch the recorded item on the PC.

et cetera...
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ya-ho-hum ...
as others have noted, this is a non-story, C|Net. How much does it cost for these companies to get you to post these product announcements?

As for being "free", if your PC doesn't have a TV tuner card, you've got to buy one (and, as has been pointed out, they typically come with adequate software for DVR capabilities). If your tuner card doesn't happen to come with a remote (and the cheap ones that people looking for "free" stuff will tend to buy), then you've got to buy a remote, and fool around with how to hook it up and get it to work with your tuner card's or Yahoo's DVR software (not automagical, by any stretch of the imagination). If you're planning on using an old beater computer to dedicate to this function (and you'd better, because if you use your primary computer for anything else besides DVR recording and playback, it's gonna have problems doing more than one thing at one time), it's going to have to have the requisite processor speed, RAM, hard disk space, etc., and for my brother-in-law, Joe Six Pack, who buys a new computer about every five years (if that often) that is likely to not be true, either, so it's off to buy those upgrades, too. By the time you've put together something that might work, that "free" software is going to look pretty expensive.

I suppose there are a dozen people who haven't been paying attention who will get all excited about this, but the early adopters have been doing this ever since TV tuner cards became available, the medium adopters already have their TiVos, ReplayTVs, etc., and everyone else is still trying to clean up after having lost everything when wiped out by a hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake, etc.

The interactive Net/TV convergence that the industry manufacturers, content producers, and pundits have been all ga-ga about for decades is still being ballyhooed every time something like this is announced (Google the Time-Warner interactive TV experiment of the 1980s in Orlando, Florida - the founders of TiVo were involved in that when they had more hair). Well, I've got news for them and the newsies, it still ain't here, and in all likelihood will never happen. Regular people have enough trouble getting PIP set up on their shiny new HDTV displays, much less any actual HD content displayed on it at anything close to 780p or 1080i. Interactive content via a computer (and its attendant mish-mash of usually incompatible software) married to all of the other hardware required to make it work seamlessly? Fuhgeddaboudit.

At least C|Net is allowing us to get plenty of sleep while we wait for some real breaking news to show up.

All the Best,
Joe Blow
Posted by Joe Blow (175 comments )
Reply Link Flag
no multi-tasking??
While your comments aboutnot being able to do anything else with your pc if you are recording or watching tv may be true for some pc's using some tuner cards, this is hardly the "facts".

Any card that has hardware encoding capabilties will be able to do multiple things whiel recording or watching tv without any fear of getting out of sync.

I've been using the Hauppauge pvr-350 for a few years now and I have never gotten out of sync and I often watch one show while recording another, or surfing the net, or even playing.... GASP... DOOM 3

While your post was indeed lengthy it certainly isn't representative of the experiences of ANY of the HTPC users I know......
Posted by The user with no name (259 comments )
Link Flag
beware the DRM
The license agreement for the Yahoo DVR isn't very specific, but it does indicate that their software protects analog and digital rights. To my mind, this is a warning that they care more about the entertainment industry than they care about my "fair use" rights.

Frankly, I'm staying with my current recording equipment. They can't revoke my rights to save a show and watch it again, or loan it to family and friends, or bequeath it to my heirs.
Posted by GreggN (50 comments )
Reply Link Flag
beware the DRM
The license agreement for the Yahoo DVR isn't very specific, but it does indicate that their software protects analog and digital rights. To my mind, this is a warning that they care more about the entertainment industry than they care about my "fair use" rights.

Frankly, I'm staying with my current recording equipment. They can't revoke my rights to save a show and watch it again, or loan it to family and friends, or bequeath it to my heirs.
Posted by GreggN (50 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Danger of Fire--BE CAREFUL WHICH PC YOU USE
Recently a friend's house burned to the ground, due to a PC. If you
plan on using a PC 24/7 for DVR purposes, be aware of the danger
that these machines are flammable, do the research and take
necessary precautions.
Posted by sierraguy (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Eh?
Be careful because PCs are flammable!? Are you sure this is what
you mean? By your logic, don't leave your VCR, cable box or fridge
on 24/7 because they're flammable too.

RB
Posted by ross brown--2008 (57 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Anyone, need Security DVR camera sytem, send me a message @ sauchicago@yahoo.com. for good deal, and cheap price. No monthly payment, no service charge, just payoff one time.
Posted by Da_x_man (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Way to Go YAhoo!!! It Glad To see a Service Providfer Freely Making it to the Big Screen!
PHILC2008@LIVE.COM
Posted by zerobar (1 comment )
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