TiVo's YouTube Pact Aimed At Setting DVRs Apart From Cable


TiVo, in its continuing quest to differentiate its namesake digital video recorders from cable and satellite services, announced Thursday that its subscribers will soon be able to watch any of the millions of videos hosted by Google's YouTube on their TVs.

For TiVo, providing access to the Internet's No. 1 video destination lets it claim that its subscribers "have more choice on their TV sets than any other TV viewers in the world," as TiVo CEO Tom Rogers said in Thursday's announcement. He noted that such content is "simply unavailable on cable and satellite."

The business terms of the relationship aren't clear.

YouTube sells advertising against just 4% of its clips and the site's ad sales of $200 million this year are below expectations, according to a report last week in The Wall Street Journal.

One reason for this, according to the Journal, is YouTube's reluctance to place ads against potentially pirated content, given the pending billion-dollar copyright-infringement lawsuit filed by Viacom against Google and YouTube.

TiVo said that over the next few weeks it will roll out a software upgrade to Series3 and TiVo HD DVRs to enable the YouTube-viewing feature. Customers must have their TiVo DVRs connected to a high-speed DSL or cable modem Internet service to access the feature.

Initially the upgrade will let TiVo users search, browse and watch YouTube videos. A future enhancement would let DVR users log into their YouTube accounts directly through the TV. 

TiVo and Google announced their partnership in March. Apple TV, which plays iTunes content and other video stored on PCs on TVs, also allows direct access to YouTube clips.