TiVo Beefs Up Content with Weekly Show

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Personal-television-service provider TiVo Inc. last week announced the launch of its first original-programming venture, TiVo Takes, which will be updated once a week.

TiVo Takes previews upcoming television events and allows subscribers to request that their TiVo personal video recorders automatically record the desired programming once it airs, whether it's delivered via cable, broadcast or direct-broadcast satellite.

The show uses the same proprietary interactive "Ipreview" technology available to TiVo's programming partners for their own on-air promotions.

In addition to previews, the new show gives subscribers tips on using their TiVo service. And each week, TiVo Takes will offer its subscribers a new independent short film from its sponsor, IFILM Corp.

TiVo will deliver the interactive TiVo Takes to its subscribers' hard drives once a week by way of Pax TV, on which TiVo is buying overnight infomercial time.

About 85 percent of television households across the country have access to Pax TV, TiVo chief programming officer Stacy Jolna said. Since TiVo is platform-agnostic, it doesn't matter how the channel is delivered, he added.

TiVo will search for the appropriate television-input source from which to record the show, as it does with other programming.

Like any programming, TiVo Takes eats up space on customers' TiVo hard drives. But TiVo players won't record the show unless subscribers request it, either on an individual basis or on an ongoing basis as part of a "Season Pass." Customers can also erase the show to make room for other programming after they've viewed it.

"That's part of the sophistication of the technology," Jolna said. "The hard disk is very carefully and continuously managed by software, so the disk is always filled with a customer's favorite programming."

TiVo plans to continue to introduce new features to its customers on a regular basis, Jolna said. The company has its eye on delivering such new content as movies, shopping, games and music, he added.

TiVo competitor ReplayTV Inc. has received some recent promotional play from hardware partners such as Panasonic Consumer Electronics, which advertises its "ShowStopper" Replay box on a billboard near the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey.

Direct-broadcast satellite provider EchoStar Communications Corp. is waiving the monthly service cost of its PVR service for new customers for its "DISHPlayer" receiver.

And DirecTV Inc. may announce its own combination DBS/PVR/WebTV Networks player as soon as today (June 12), according to an executive at a nationwide retailer. DirecTV had previously announced plans for a combination TiVo/DirecTV box.

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