TiVo Expands Internet TV Game Plan


TiVo Tuesday took the wraps off its strategy to deliver new Internet services and content through its digital-video-recorder service, including new licensing deals with CBS and other content providers.

Among other new features: subscribers with Internet-connected TiVo Series2 DVRs will be able to access CBS’ news, sports and innertube entertainment programs originally created for the Web; a “unified search” capability to search cable, broadcast and Internet-based video sources; and a new recommendation feature based on picks by Hollywood personalities.

TiVo will also roll out a feature to “autotranscode” Web-video content for viewing on TVs. A new version of TiVo’s Desktop Plus software for Windows XP PCs -- to be available by the end of the year for a one-time fee of $24.95 -- will let subscribers watch video content downloaded as QuickTime, Windows Media and MPEG-4 files on TiVo-connected TVs.

The unified search feature, to launch next year, is supposed to let TiVo subscribers search across multiple content sources, including broadcast TV and cable networks and Internet sources. TiVo didn’t specify which Web-content sources will be included in the unified search.

In addition to CBS, TiVo’s newly announced content partners for TiVoCast -- which provides access to Web-based video -- include Reuters; Forbes; dLifeTV, a provider of diabetes lifestyle content; Plum TV, which delivers content for resort communities such as Aspen, Colo., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.; and Nano Network, a provider of short-form film clips. Previously announced content partners for TiVoCast include the National Basketball Association and The New York Times.

Through a deal with International Creative Management, TiVo will provide Celebrity Guru Guides -- TV-show and film recommendations personally selected by Hollywood actors and directors. The companies didn’t announce which personalities will be tapped for the Celebrity Guru Guides, scheduled to be available in the first half of 2007.

TiVo also announced that it will let subscribers share home videos with friends or family members in a service developed with online-service provider One True Media. TiVo users will be able to upload home movies to One True Media’s service, then provide access to them to other TiVo subscribers.